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Lunch recs for Essex, Gloucester area

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Will be in the area tommorrow and am not familiar with the restaurant scene. Looking for lunch recs. Open to any cuisine. Great ethinic? Cool view ( but not boring food please )? Looks like a dive but the food is awesome? Any pointers much appreciated.

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  1. Tough time of year to find someplace open. DON'T go to Woodman's in Essex, whatever you do. Try Passports or Sugar Magnolia's, right next to each other on Main Street in Gloucester, for at least an acceptable meal. There's a decent restaurant in Ipswich called Ithaki, if you're nearby and like authentic Greek food. Good luck and welcome to Cape Ann.

    3 Replies
    1. re: resipsaloquitor

      What sort of food is served at Passports/Sugar Mag.?

      1. re: tunapet

        Creative American casual. Sugar Mag's is better but may be closed for vacation. There's also a Thai restaurant at the other end of Main Street that's definitely open.

        1. re: resipsaloquitor

          But Passports has popovers.

    2. Oh, I adore the Passports popovers! But the last time I had dinner there, it was kind of disappointing -- the food was all mushy. When I first read this post, I thought, It's so sad how few decent restaurant there are out here.

      1. Passports is really a good value. The popovers are great as well as the service, presentation, and quality of the food. We have eaten there a number of times and have not been disappointed. Another nice place is the Windward Grille in Essex. I would agree with the other poster to avoid Woodman's. The best restaurant in Gloucester is probably The White Rainbow - a little pricey and hard to find but it is outstanding.

        1. Passports is a much better choice for lunch than for dinner, and yes, they do have those great popovers. Sugar Magnolia, next door is very creative and delicious. I don't know if they are open yet, but Lobster Land, before the bridge on 128, is great, right on the salt marsh. Halibut Point, further down on Main St, is one of the best places for lunch, as evidenced by the fact the it's always filled with locals. They make a killer spicey fish chowder. Until Farnhams opens, on March 3, I never go near Essex. (although, to be fair Blue Marlin Grill is quite fine)

          2 Replies
          1. re: greenstate

            Essex has some nice restaurants - Eddies, Tom Shea's, The Village, and the Windward Grille immediately come to mind. Woodman's, Conomo Point, Perriwinkle's, Farnham's. and the Blue Marlin wouldn't make my short list. One experience at the Blue Marlin was memorable as when the huge waste barrell between the two dinning areas (frighteningly close to a number of tables as well) was filled to overflowing - our waitress simply stuck one leg into it and compressed the contents to make more room - all while carrying someone's order. Absolutely amazing.

            1. re: amortizor

              I guess we have completely different tastes. Tom Shea's and the Village are worn out and unimaginative; no place I would choose to go. As for The White Rainbow in Gloucester, I've lived there for 25 years and I've seen owners come and go, and it's never been more unappealing than it is now. In my opinion, the best restaurant in Gloucester is The Franklin Cafe.

          2. There is a new Portuguese restaurant in Gloucester --The Azorean I think? --haven't been yet but you may want to search for reviews.

            1. I think the Choate Bridge Pub is open year round. it's a dive but they have great fried clams, a fantastic lobster roll and a surprisingly good chowder. I think I rememeber it's cash only.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Chris VR

                And tartar sauce in little packages.

              2. Periwinkles in Essex has (or used to have anyway) good lunch with a view right over the Essex River. Great sandwiches at Virgillos (sp? -- the Bread of the Fishermen place) on Main Street in Gloucester, if you want to go park somewhere nice with a view and eat.

                1 Reply
                1. re: bee

                  The St. Joseph's sandwich at Virgilios is my all-time favorite sandwich. I grew up on Main St. almost right above it --haven't been there in about 6-7 years though.