Tucked away near one of Maine's most popular tourist attractions is a village that probably isn't well known. However, it's the home of a popular restaurant that continues to garner national attention.

I'm talking about an iconic Mexican restaurant in the tiny community of Sargentville that was recently named Maine's best hidden gem by the culinary crusaders from LoveFood.

The website recently released its annual list of the best hidden gem in every state. Maine's representative is the very definition of a hidden gem, considering it's quite the drive to find it. But when you do, it's like you found an oasis.

This hidden gem is El El Frijoles, a Mexican-inspired restaurant located about 20 miles from Ellsworth and Route 1.

El El Frijoles via Facebook
El El Frijoles via Facebook

First opened in 2006, this funky joint has been serving fine, fresh, homemade food to locals and tourists who make the trip. In fact, El El Frijoles prides itself in making sure nearly everything on the menu is made from scratch. There really is no better quality than that.

The restaurant serves your standard Mexican fare, with much of it with a Maine twist. This includes their iconic spicy lobster, which can be had on the burritos and tacos. The spicy lobster is such a hit that it actually has been featured on the TV show Food Paradise.

If you aren't feeling the crustacean, then you can choose from a variety of meats, a daily vegetable medley, even a delicious-sounding potato and chili concoction. My mouth is watering as I write this.

El El Frijoles via Facebook
El El Frijoles via Facebook

And to top it all off, El El Frijoles has a solid dessert menu, which includes an ice cream sandwich with house-made cookies. Yum.

Don't just take my word for it. Here is a little from LoveFood of why El El Frijoles is the number one hidden gem in Maine.

Based in a converted barn and run by a husband-and-wife team...the entire menu is made from scratch every day, and with the majority of the seating outside (there are only nine seats indoors), the atmosphere on a summer’s evening is truly something else.

So, the next time you are heading to Bar Harbor, perhaps you should take a right on to Route 15 in Orland. That will take you directly to Sargentville, where Maine's best hidden gem is located. You won't be leaving hungry.

Congrats to El El Frijoles on the continued attention and success. It's a wonderful story that deserves to be shared. I look forward to my next trip to the region. I need that potato and chili burrito.

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