Cape Ann Dining
Any good places in the Essex/Ipswich/Gloucester area for foodie friends and I heading up that way - no fried clam highway joints - been there done that too much this summer!
There's been a few discussions over on the New England message board about this. Try the search. I also put one link below.
Essex has a couple of places I like: Periwinkles (seafood and pasta) and Conomo Cafe (modern American), both on main street. Farnham's is a great casual local place for lunch.
I'd second Ithaki in Ipswich.
The most amazing hole in the wall in New England though is called Stone Soup Cafe in Ipswich. It's literally just a little "shack" in the middle of an office park. During the day it has great soups and sandwiches, but at night turns into an incredible dining spot. The food is top-notch, some of the best food I've had - great lobster bisque, fresh seafood and homemade pasta, lamb, etc. It only sits 20 people, with two sittings. Dinner is served on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night. Because of that, you have to book months in advance, but check for cancellations if you're lucky......
So true about stone soup in Ipswich. We hit it for lunch too. BTW, they are moving to the corner of Market and High (1A) street into the old sandwich/soup place likely within the next month. The owners are awesome people too! We often get in standby during the week; thursdays seem to ge the easiest night to snag a table. In Gloucester, you must try the Oceanview on Stacy Blvd (the causeway where the fisherman statue is) for excellent Portogeuse food; very homestyle and very reasonable. Dinner only; during the day its a burger and dog place. its near the very end on the left heading into downtown near the "new" condos. The foodies have not discovered it yet; trust me you will love it! Try Essex Seafood, their fried calamari is to die for!