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Jun 5, 2007 02:53 PM

Recs for Newburyport, MA

HI: Heading to Newburyport as a stopover enroute to Maine later this weekend, and I am hoping for some restaurant recommendations for Newburyport area. We like casual, fresh seafood since we are near the ocean, craft beers or microbrew available a plus...cask ale a bigger plus, but probably that is wishful thinking.
Most of the posts that turned up in a search for this area were not too current, so thanks for any recs.

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  1. Best bet for seafood and beer selections might be the Grog on Middle Street.
    Local's seem to pick Park Lunch which is on Merrimac Street, but just a little ways from downtown, but you won't find the best beer selection here.
    A few other good picks for casual seafood would be Michael's Harborside or Starboard Galley.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Infomaniac

      second for Park Lunch. a local place with a decent diner-esque menu. they do a great job with fried seafood. they also do a great hot dog, really good.

      1. re: Infomaniac

        I second the Starboard Galley.....was just there yesterday....for more detail you can look here:

      2. My local friend likes Stripers Grill (Salisbury - directly across the river from Michaels).

        1 Reply
        1. re: ginnyhw

          The Black Cow Tap & Grill (down the street from Michaels) has riverfront dining on the deck. Here's their beer menu:


        2. As harry_sparrow indicates, given the wish list, it's not even close. The Black Cow's selection on tap and in bottle isn't approached by anyone in town. Seated on the deck, grazing on good to excellent food and gazing at the waterfront, what's not to like?

          25 Replies
          1. re: Harp00n

            Sounds like the winner to me! Thanks.

            1. re: Harp00n

              Have you ever tried the Plum Island Grille?? A fun/funky place for summertime dinning, with ocean breezes overlooking the salt marsh?
              (BTW we LOVE the BC too!)

              1. re: Lilibet

                Hello Ms. Lilibet, We love The Plum and it's sibling The Powow River Grille, in Amesbury. But not knowing what time of day the OP was going to be in Newburyport, and since the Plum isn't open for lunch, I was keeping it a secret..sssssshhhh! Btw, speaking of Plum Island, have you been to Bob's Lobster?
                It's relatively inexpensive, really, really fresh and so good. I haven't been to Mad Martha's Beach Cafe, as of yet, but it's BYOB. As we used to say back-in-the-day; it looks like a real trip! Especially now that Atty May's in no more:-(

                Here's the link;

                1. re: Harp00n

                  Isn't it actually "Bob Lobster"? Unfortunately, my one time there wasn't great, last Labor Day. I'd definitely had better clams and scallops, maybe cuz it was a long weekend or something.

                  1. re: Joanie

                    Yes it is Bob's Lobster. It's a place we visit often in the summer, and i've always had good luck with the fried clams and haddock there. nice place for lobster too. Your trouble could have been the long weekend, but if your in the area another time, it's worth another shot.
                    As for Mad Martha's we have only been for breakfast and I'd hope to try them for dinner this summer. They are very busy at breakfast during the summer. Their hash and the hash at Fowles in Newburyport are my favorite in the area.

                    1. re: Infomaniac

                      If you're comparing MM's to Fowle's hash I know where breakfast will be the next time we're pulling an over-nighter with our West Newbury friends Kay & Bob. Byob is always such a nice option if you know the food will also shine. Especially, if you're like me an accumulate too much good wine that you can't lay down to improve. It's funny, but other than some Belgians, I never seem to have the problem of being over-stocked with ales:-))

                      Aside to Joanie; We call Bob of Kay & Bob fame, "Bob Lobster"
            's a long story that I'll relate to you over drinks sometime.

                        1. re: Joanie

                          Well I'll have to say, "Lets go to Bob"

                          1. re: Infomaniac

                            It's kind of the Legal/Legal's thing. Altho certainly you'd think it would be Bob's Lobster.

                            And I'm not quite sure who Kay and Bob are but it looks like there's a drink in my future.

                            1. re: Joanie

                              a drink in your least you have that going for ya.

                              1. re: Joanie

                                Okay Ms. Black River Girl, It's Bob Lobster! They must have named the "Precision" Valley after Herself. Regarding drinks, I would hazard a guess that there's probably more than one in your future. I most certainly wouldn't credit myself with a great deal of prescience it making that statement :-))

                                Btw, B&K are our best friends of 30 years and we hardly ever agree on anything! That is, excepting Ron's Landing and, finally, Dubya.

                        2. re: Joanie

                          I've had mixed experiences time was amazing, another really mediocre. The first time we were I wonder if the good experienced was clouded with "hungry sauce" all over the food!

                          Also, although sitting by the marsh to eat there can be quite charming can also be very buggy!!!

                          1. re: Joanie

                            Unfortunately, I have to second your opinion of Bob Lobster. We were there one Sunday - not even a holiday weekend or anything - and we waited in line for half an hour just to place our order. Then we waited another half an hour to get our lobster rolls (which, btw, came on UNTOASTED rolls!). Also, parking can be a bit of a drag.
                            Grog is fun, albeit not fancy. The park lunch is good if you're not looking to impress anyone.
                            Mad Martha's is average, kind of small inside. Not very original.
                            The new Michael's is nice if you want seafood and to sit on the deck.

                            1. re: murszinyi

                              With all due respect, ! wouldn't send anybody to the Park to "impress" them. It's just a consistently good traditional breakfast/lunch spot. That's what they intend to be and do it very well.

                              "Not even a holiday weekend", it's a Sunday, it's weekend and it's summer. What difference does it make if it's not a holiday? Bob Lobster will toast your roll if you ask. It's been mentioned on other posts but, unfortunately for you, not on this one. But it does kinda beg the question; why, after waiting an hour in total, wouldn't you have noticed that the numerous, I'm sure, lobster rolls exiting the kitchen, prior to yours, weren't toasted?

                              Some one musta liked what was being served or else that old Yogi Berra line applies in spades here; "Nobody goes there anymore because it's too crowded!"

                              1. re: murszinyi

                                Just to mentiom, The Grog sent me to the bog yesterday. That is, their tasty haddock sandwich (crispy beer batter!) and lobster bisque must have been not so fresh or something, because my dining companion and I both had terribly upset stomachs afterwards. Enter at your own risk!

                            2. re: Harp00n

                              The PIG (as we call it)... is always a must when we visit friends up in NBPT...yes, and open only for dinner now.. sigh.
                              Also love Aquatini.. but Pearl the owner is now gone.. so it doesn't have the same feel as before.
                              Haven't tried Mad Martha's yet.. and Bob's Lobster.. Unfortuantely husband o'mine doesn't eat seafood.. pity me please!
                              I remember Atty May's from years ago .... (am surprised I am using the term "remember".. ;0))

                              1. re: Lilibet

                                The PIG, what an oxymoronic acronym for such a romantic venue, lol!
                                And before I forget, that's BOB LOBSTER not Bob's Lobster, BOB LOBSTER that we were discussing. DH doesn't do seafood, that really does cut down on the options at the classic shacks, doesn't it? You didn't mention it, have you ever been to the Powow River Grille? (PRG?)

                                1. re: Harp00n

                                  No we haven't been to the Powow (PRG)... only have seen it on the news when the river flooded Mother's Day weekend a year ago last May. Would love to try it though..
                                  No seafood for DH... my cross to bear. We always find something for him the dear boy that he is. Thank goodness I have friends who sympathize. We share across dishes (all seafood) at the table.
                                  He is happy with a piece of beef, poor soul.

                                  1. re: Lilibet

                                    Regards DH & seafood, is it allergies or aesthetics? I've served some beautiful tuna steaks, off the old Charbroil, to people that swore that wouldn't eat seafood and they loved it. When you go to the PRG request reservations on their balcony, overlooking the Powow Falls. Although, both up & downstairs are beautiful spaces. Each with their own separate bars. Here's the link;

                                    1. re: Harp00n

                                      His reasoning is that he overdosed on fishsticks as a kid.
                                      I have to give him credit... he is open to trying but just doesn't like the taste. We have gotten as far as crabcakes and he did have conch fritters in Key West. I think the breading hides any fishy flavor.

                                      Thank you for the link... I always thought it looked interesting!

                                      1. re: Lilibet

                                        So if we were discussing guilty pleasures, Mrs. Paul's fishsticks would be one of mine. Yea, nice and crispy wiith a little lemon and lots Cain's tartar sauce ...mmmm.

                                        Btw, is that Tony Soprano's cat I see there?

                                        1. re: Harp00n

                                          More like Gorton's of Gloucester if I know my M-I-L... every Friday night.. and another "yes" to Cain's too.

                                          No to TS cat... it's Daisy.

                                          1. re: Lilibet

                                            Ya, and franks, beans & brown bread on Saturday night. Didn't everybody?

                                            My 15lb.Sonny Boy sez Daisy's cute, btw.

                                            1. re: Harp00n

                                              How funny, l almost mentioned B&Fs.
                                              Frankie Fontaine and Friend's Beans...(now that's going back a bit) plus brown bread from a can with lots of raisins.
                                              Sometimes there could a bean sandwich on Sunday morning!

                                              Will make sure to tell Daisy that she has a new boyfriend ;-)

                                              1. re: Lilibet

                                                Yup, one of my Old Man's favorites, cold bean sandwiches.
                                                Of course, this is also the man who used to take and swallow a tsp. of Vick's Vaporub for congestion when he had a cold!

                        3. If you're blessed with sunshine, a picnic along the ocean boardwalk is the best. Park near the Chamber of Commerce and walk to the Grand Trunk Old World Cheese shop for a great spread. Not only an unbelievable cheese and dry-cured meat selection-but fresh sandwiches, fruit, cookies, breads and interesting beer and wine selection.

                          1. Recs for Newburyport. . . . hmmm . . ..maybe Michaels. Good seafood, fairly friendly staff. The Black Cow, the bar is good, decent burger and other apps. But for the most part its a place to be seen, not to dine. Aquatini. . . ok, not spectacular. The Grog, they tolerate tourists, but the food is mediocre at best. But for the people into the paranormal, the second floor is supposedly haunted. 10 Center Street, food good, but don' eat in the pub. If you are not a local, do not expect service. And they know who the locals are, don't even try to pretend. The pub caters to locals only. Starboard Galley, take antibiotics before going there. Horrible food all over. Although the Starboard Galley will put cheese whiz over broccoli if your interested. Greta's Grains, great pastries, good coffee. Rosie O'shea, beer good, food mediocre. Young crowd that drinks too much and then vomits behind the building. Park Lunch, fried seafood good, pizza ok. Very scary local crowd. If splashing in the gene pool was a sport. They're doing cannonballs at the Park Lunch. Joppa Fine Foods, great place for cheese and specialty meats. Good staff, very knowledgable. Agave Mexican restaurant, it was good several years ago, now it is the equivalent of El Toritos. Catering to locals, its strong margaritas and mediocre salsa and chips. Another point on Newburyport, if you go on a motorcycle, make sure yo do not rev the engine! Even though Officer Foley is gone, they will issue a citation for noise violations. And if you are pulled over on a bike and give them lip, you will spend the night in jail. Other wise, go to Portsmouth, great restaurants, better service with less attitude and less weirdness..