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Cape Ann recommendations

I'm planning a trip to Cape Ann soon, hoping to get recommendations on good eateries. Care to share? Thanks.

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  1. "the grapevine" in salem is wonderful. owned by two women, it's got good service, a great energy and the kitchen puts out top-notch food at "not-city" prices. they tend to cook fish a bit more well-done than i prefer, but they claim that's how their suburban guests like it. so specify a temp if you get tuna or salmon. i always ate at the bar there, but they have a cute patio, and a fairly quiet dining room.

    also "glen's cool bar" in newburyport. really lively flavors that remind you of miami or california moreso than stodgy new england. great bar scene and i seem to recall they have live music a few nights a week, after dinner winds down.

    and for a casual traditional spot, "woodman's" in essex for fried clams. bare-bones tray service and picnic tables, but the clams are killer.'

    i lived on the north shore for 8 years. there is a lot of very mediocre food up there. combine that with awkward and inattentive service, and options really narrowed. i found myself at the grapevine several times a month.

    1. Neither Salem or Newburyport are on Cape Ann - so here's a few that are in the four cape ann towns & Ipswich:

      Essex

      Farnham's Fried Clams
      Essex Seafood
      The Village
      SKIP: Riverside, Woodmans

      Manchester

      Calas

      Gloucester

      Halibut Point (Pub with decent menu)
      Seafood/Fried - Captain Carlos, The Causeway
      Elegant: Passports, Duckworths, Franklin, White Rainbow
      Sandwich: Virgilios
      Cool, Trendy: Alchemy
      Portageuse: The Oceanview Boulevard
      Old School: Gloucester House

      Rockport:

      Helmands Strudel (Bearskin Neck)
      Seafood/Lobster Rolls, Fried: Lobster Pool, Ray Moore's
      SKIP The Greenery

      Ipswich:

      Ithaki (Greek) is outstanding
      Breakfast/Lunch: Stone Soup
      Italian: Zabiglione
      Clam Box

      Glens in NBPT is quite good.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ipsofatso

        We've spent a lot of time this summer in Rockport and I agree with Roy Moore's for lobster. It's great for the kids as they can have fun eating lobster and not worry they're making a mess. We also love the Lobster Pool. It's BYOB and a great view from the picnic tables out back. The menu has something for everyone: I get the lobster roll, my kids get chicken tenders, husband (who doesn't eat seafood) get a cheeseburger, and our vegetarian friend gets salad.

        I don't get what is to rave about Helmund's Streudel. We went once and our streudel was dry and way over-baked. The cheese one tasted funny in an "off" way. Their coffee was lousy, too.

        Speaking of coffee, I haven't found a decent cup in Rockport. I hear The Greenery serves Starbucks so I'll get a cup to go when we're there this week.

        Also, try Flav's Red Skiff. Get there early for breakfast, though.

        Check the New England board for other comments.

      2. Cape Ann Coffee on Eastern Ave (in front of stopnshop) has an excellent cup. Too bad about the strudel...it's been a while so maybe it ain't what it used to be. Flavs is a rave, yup. Not bad coffee either. Theres a new small coffee shop in Lanesville thats supposed to have good good beans and brews.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ipsofatso

          I noticed that coffee shop today, didn't stop in but I think the name is Grinds if anyone else is looking for it.

        2. I am curious about negative feedback on Helmut's (not Helmand's) Strudel. I have been summering and weekending in Rockport for quite some time and I can pretty confidently state that the product hasn't changed as long as I have been around and the place is nothing if not consistent. On weekends I get a cup of coffee (black) when it opens and get another mid-morning, always the same, always good, best in town. As for the baked goods perhaps your taste has grown accustomed to all of the half cooked baked goods that one typically finds now-a-days. Stuff that sticks to your inards on the way down. BTW, Helmut's, like many, does not make his own stuff and I have yet to learn where he gets his stuff.

          Bean & Leaf is supposed to be a coffee house but I only go occasionally. Whatever I have had there has been good but I'd have to visit a couple of more times before I said anything further.

          Conspicuously absent from Rockport dining is "My Place By-The Sea". Yes, very expensive but it is good and the view better.

          Flav's Red Skiff is solid but nothing to write home about. I used to be a regular until the traitors closed down this past winter for two months.

          Beach Street Bistro is pretty good and has a view.

          2 Replies
          1. re: TweetTooth

            Hmmm, dry, overbaked, overbrowned streudel. Nope, doesn't mean I don't know good baking. It's okay to have a different experience and disagree with the prevailing view, right?

          2. Duckworth's Bistrot in Gloucester is fabulous. We drove out there after a day in Rockport, and have been recommending it to friends ever since (all have enjoyed it greatly). Great seafood, and has the added bonus that you can actually order a drink!