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Best / Favorite 5 restaurants on North Shore??

Doesn't have to be fine dining, but fine is fine too. Maybe some hidden gems or best bang for the buck, or a great dive, or just plain awesome dining experience.
Grapevine, Salem
Tryst, Beverly
Sixty-Two on Wharf, Salem
Halibut Point, Gloucester
Lobsta Land, Gloucester
Ceilito Lindo, Beverly

Just a few of my faves, would love to hear of yours.

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    1. Pellana, Peabody for a high end meal
      Brothers, Foster St, Peabody for a quick lunch or dinner

      1. Here are a few of mine:
        Favorite pub: Old Spot, Salem
        Favorite fine dining: Sixty2onWharf, Salem
        Favorite Asian: Taste of Asia, Salem
        Favorite Mexican: Agave, Newburyport
        Favorite bakery/hidden gem: A&J King, Salem
        Favorite breakfast: Reds, Salem


        1. My 5 favs:

          Lobster Pool, Rockport
          Top Dog, Rockport
          Nick's Famous, Beverly
          Pellino's, Marblehead
          The Village Restaurant, Essex

          1. To name a few:

            Wild Horse, Beverly
            9 Elm, Danvers
            Windward Grill, Essex
            Garden City Pub, Beverly
            Courthouse Pub, Peabody

            5 Replies
            1. re: ladyfish

              Never heard of 9 Elm. Tell me about it, please!

              1. re: hoohah

                9 Elm is a small (12-15 tables) place in the Square where Grappa's used ot be. It's owned by a local husband & wife, has a great menu. I love their beet salad, scallops, swordfish special - there's alway great specials; it's casual, beer & wine are served, I highly recomend it. I've never had a bad meal there!


                1. re: ladyfish

                  Just recently went to Nine Elm and had an excellent meal there. Cozy dining room, great service and delicious food. The PEI mussels were sooo good, and the filet mignon was terrific. I'm already planning to go back!


                  1. re: NSDishGal

                    I have eaten at 9 Elm twice. Both times, I was completely unimpressed with the food. Spend a little more and walk right around the corner to I Pazzi if you really want a GREAT meal. One night while at the bar at Harry's 240 in Beverly, 9 Elm was the topic of discussion. I wasn't very surprised to hear that almost everyone had the same reaction. Almost everyone had eaten at 9 Elm once, but nobody had the desire to go there again. In other words, nobody hated their meal but the food wasn't good enough to make them want to go there again. However, all agreed I Pazzi was a far better choice for a great meal.

                    I Pazzi
                    50 Maple Street, Danvers, MA 01923

                    Harry's 240 Restaurant
                    240 Rantoul St, Beverly, MA 01915

                    1. re: cjl00_0

                      Interesting. I really did enjoy the food at 9 Elm; thought it was fresh tasting and nicely presented. Though I haven't had a chance to get back myself, friends have reported good meals there since.

                      I have been meaning to try I Pazzi for a while and will have to move it up on my list. Thanks for the heads up!

                      I Pazzi
                      50 Maple Street, Danvers, MA 01923

            2. 1. Lobster Pool, Rockport/Gloucester line
              2. Ithaki, Ipswich
              3. Thai Choice, Gloucester
              4. Black Cow, Hamilton & Newburyport
              5. Cathy's Country Kitchen, Route 1 in Rowley. I've only eaten here once but good Lord, what a breakfast.

              11 Replies
              1. re: resipsaloquitor

                Res Thanks I have wondered about Thai Choice ( purple bldg on Main St , right?) I will give it a shot Anything in particular you think they do well?

                1. re: capeanne

                  Regrettably, I am on a restricted diet for health reasons (THEN WHY DO I READ THIS BOARD, YOU MIGHT RIGHTLY WONDER) so I only eat the pad thai.

                  Yes, big purple building.

                  1. re: capeanne

                    Barging in a bit here.
                    Thai Choice is perfectly adequate, but certainly not stellar.
                    Typical Thai restaurant, like dozens you have been to before.

                  2. re: resipsaloquitor

                    Do you know what hours Cathy's Country kitchen serves and what types of breakfasts do they serve? There is mot much info online when you google it.

                    1. re: edgewater

                      The last time I went to Cathy's was about a year or maybe two ago- used to go there a lot in highschool. If I recall, they're a pretty traditional breakfast place, on weekend mornings we used to wait for probably 15 or 20 minutes for a table, and the food is excellent, great pancakes and stuff like that, traditional egg dishes, basically home-cooking. Nothing fancy.

                      1. re: CoryKatherine

                        I would add that they make their own bread, and it's pretty decent. So the toast and french toast are well above par since they use the homemade bread.

                        1. re: Science Chick

                          This conversation prompted me to go to Cathy's for breakfast on Saturday. Banana-streusel pancakes, nice thick bacon, and the most fabulous homefries -- YUM!!!

                          I was only surprised there wasn't a longer line on a Saturday morning. A sign of the times, I suppose.

                          1. re: resipsaloquitor

                            Maybe it's not the economy:
                            My friends and I sometimes go to Cathy's just for a change- but we love and crave the hash and eggs at Stone Soup in Ipswich. So that's where we often wind up! Stone Soup has recently moved into a much larger space: not as charming, but the food was the same on our first visit there! Cathy's bread is the soft, sweet, spongy kind that just doesn't excite my group of professional bakers... Gasp - bread snobs!

                            1. re: pastrytroll

                              I agree that Cathy's bread can't hold a candle to REALLY good bread, like from Clear Flour. But for a breakfast joint, I still prefer it to the bagged, thin sliced stuff most places park on your plate!

                  3. I'm guessing that Haverhill is not exactly the North Shore, but Evenfall really impressed me on a recent visit -- enough so that I wrote a review of it in my blog as part of a piece ("Evenfall: Take That, You Supercilious Urban Food Snob!") on why suburban restaurants often seem disappointing.


                    2 Replies
                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                      If we include Haverhill, Evenfall is a good choice. I went to Joseph's, almost across the street, last Friday. First time in about ten years. It was superior. Great pastas (the pasta trio appetizer was wonderful). I had scallops on a bed of squash risotto as an appetizer, fantastic. Then it was on to a perfectly cooked duck breast on the best polenta I've ever had. Cheesy and soft. A wonderful meal!

                      1. re: Essex County

                        The polenta at Josephs is to die for!

                    2. I have a hard time picking my top five but Ithaki in Ipswich would definitely be one of them. Ten Center in Newburyport would also make the short list.

                      1. Nice to hear Cielito Lindo getting props. That place just isn't getting the recognition it deserves!

                        1. A few of mine:

                          Phat Cat's Bistro - Amesbury
                          Ten Center Street - Newburyport
                          Flatbread Co. Amesbury

                          1. Tried Cielito Lindo last night as a result of reading this thread. Very impressed. As good as anything in Boston.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: StriperGuy

                              Is Cielito Lindo a cousin of Mexico Lindo in Melrose?

                              1. re: Bob MacAdoo

                                Nope. The place in Melrose, while good, is pretty americanized.

                                1. re: StriperGuy

                                  Thanks striper. It's on my list now.

                              2. re: StriperGuy

                                Yeah, StriperGuy, I lived in San Diego during the 80's and had real, real-good, real authentic Mexican. Have never had anything comparable since, until I found Cielto Lindo (which luckily is about 1/4 mile away from me!!!!!). The guacamole is a no-brainer. They only have a beer and wine license, so margaritas are compromised. But a great beer selection and truly authentic food. Hopefully this posting won't get it too crowded!!!

                              3. One more addition, hit this place this afternoon after a long absence and good as it has ever been:


                                Choate Bridge Pub in Ipswich
                                South Main St.
                                Ipswich - Ph: 1-978-356-2931

                                GREAT burgers, best of boston quality, seriously.

                                Awesome fried clams, no wait, and beer on tap in a really nice pub environ.

                                Good Pizzas.

                                Really good onion rings and fries.

                                Aw heck I just love the place. Even the staff has got the nice, friendly, professional attitude that a well-oiled machine of a pub often has.

                                In fact, this place doesn't even need the chowhound plug cause it is almost always jammed with locals who already know this place is great.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: StriperGuy

                                  And excellent Lobster Roll and succulent fried scallops. You can get an appetizer size to split. Also, an FYI, it is cash only; they do not accept credit cards.
                                  The Ipswich Bed and Breakfast Inn serves a delicious breakfast. Even if you are not staying at the Inn, you can go for a great homemade breakfast.

                                  1. re: StriperGuy

                                    I live in San Diego, my friends took me there, WOW was it ever great, love the joint. The scallops were the best ever!, cold local brews, Red Sox on the tube,

                                  2. I second Flatbread in Amesbury. The Black Cow is good too but if you're in Hamilton and want to go a little more casual/fun I would recommend the Weathervane around the corner- generous portions, cheap(er) drinks and pretty good food.
                                    What do people think about the Grog in NBPT? That used to be my standby up there when I was younger (went to HS in Byfield), but I haven't been back in a while (except to drink).

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: CoryKatherine

                                      OMG forgot about the weathervane. A friend used to live right around the corner. That place makes the strongest drinks in MA. Served in a pint glass. One, and you're done, whew. Food is great too.

                                      1. re: StriperGuy

                                        My parents live right around the corner! Perfect for walking home after a few of those drinks- you're completely right about the strength lol

                                      2. re: CoryKatherine

                                        I think the food at the Grog is pretty average. It's still a fun place to go for drinks though.

                                        1. re: CoryKatherine

                                          The Grog is just a place to drink and eat burgers. Last year it was listed as being one of the top DUI bars in the state. Other north shore bars making the list were; Micheal's in Newburyport; Rock Fish in Newburyport; and Sylvan Street Grill in Danvers (I think they took the top honors as # 1 DUI bar in the state).

                                            1. re: enhF94

                                              It was in the Herald last year. I could not find it in their archives. Sorry.

                                            2. re: NorthShoreFoodie

                                              Michaels' in NBPT recently had to close their dancefloor etc because of the DUI problem. Now there is seriously no place in the area to go out get wasted and make bad decisions. I'm not for drinking and driving but it's a shame.

                                              1. re: CoryKatherine

                                                That place was nuts on a Friday or Saturday. Sounds like you were a fan ;-).

                                          1. The Causeway, Gloucester - excellent seafood and value
                                            Lewis', Essex - total comfort food, awesome prime rib
                                            Franklin Cafe, Gloucester, finer dining
                                            My Place, Rockport, what a view!
                                            Ithaki, Ipswich, Mediterreanan, love to eat at the bar and munch on some olives with a glass of wine.

                                            7 Replies
                                            1. re: treb

                                              They just keep coming, how could we have left out the Franklin and the Causeway?

                                              1. re: StriperGuy

                                                We're lucky to have so many good places on the NS to nosh.

                                                  1. re: StriperGuy

                                                    Don't forget Charlie's in Gloucester, too. Great seafood and chowders (thinner style fish chowder - -yum!) and great value...

                                              2. re: treb

                                                My Place by the Sea - Very good cooking can be undermined by amateurish service. For the money, I would rather go to Duckworth's or Franklin in Gloucester.

                                                1. re: bgavin

                                                  Agree and if you go ask the price of the specials ( they don't offer) ...or you could be very surprised ....

                                                  1. re: bgavin

                                                    I almost agree on the service, some of the kids can be a bit mentally pre-occupied but, I find a little detailed explaination of what I want goes a long way. I also like both Duckworth and Franklin, wish they had a view like My Place.

                                                2. lobsta land, gloucester
                                                  thai choice, gloucester
                                                  wild horse, beverly - bar menu
                                                  organic garden, beverly
                                                  marias, gloucester-- my favorite pizza, not sure if its one of those childhood memory favorites or what, but i love it and must get it every time i am up there

                                                  5 Replies
                                                  1. re: winstont

                                                    Thanks for the thumbs up, went to Organic Garden yesterday. It was quite good, didn't quite understand all of the trade-outs for dairy products, but everything was delish!

                                                    1. re: mcel215

                                                      I believe they are vegan....hence no dairy.

                                                      1. re: Science Chick

                                                        Yes, I am sorry I didn't add that part. But, I just didn't understand what was the switch out for the cheese.

                                                          1. re: Science Chick

                                                            We shared the guac and chips. (dehydrated vegetable chips)
                                                            Baby greens, with 'sea vegetables'
                                                            Marghita pizza with tomato, basil and 'cashew' mozzarella
                                                            Here is a link to the menu:

                                                  2. I like the Thai at Sticky Rice in Marblehead, and the BBQ at American BBQ in Rowley.

                                                    Already mentioned; Ithaki in Ipswich, Causeway in Gloucester, and Cathy's Country Kitchen in Rowley.

                                                    9 Replies
                                                    1. re: Infomaniac

                                                      I agree on The Franklin and I can't believe I forgot Riverview Pizza!

                                                      I've only eaten at My Place by the Sea once and the meal was incredibly disappointing. It was off-season but still.

                                                      1. re: resipsaloquitor

                                                        Riverview !!!! Like going back to the 60's ! food and pizza are OK, but it's the atmosphere that is totally unique. Thanks for reminding me.

                                                      2. re: Infomaniac

                                                        I noticed that Sticky Rice just opened again. It has opened and closed several times, always in the same location, with the same ownership, right? Does anyone know why that keeps happening?

                                                        1. re: Caseophile

                                                          I never realized this and will ask my friend who lives in town if she knows anything. The menu certainly hasn't changed much over the past few years. They do a nice spicy Drunken Noodle dish, and I like the salmon in the tangerine sauce I had last time I was there. It may have been a special.

                                                            1. re: hoohah

                                                              Sticky Rice was closed for at least a year, until they reopened within the last week or so. I think I read somewhere on chowhound that they had done this a few times before.

                                                              I just got takeout from there (my first time). They still seem to be ramping up their operation. Their phone won't even be turned on until Friday -- they're using some temporary phone number, which I guess may be someone's cell phone. My order took 40 minutes to prepare instead of the promised 20, and there were a bunch of other people waiting around for their takeout orders to be ready too. One man was trying to handle running the whole front of house by himself, and he was rather overwhelmed (but still extremely nice).

                                                              The food I had was far from impressive. In particular, avoid the appetizer combo platter, which is just a whole lot of tasteless greasy fried stuff, with the exception of the chicken satay.

                                                              I'm still hopeful about the place, and I'll try it again soon. But for now, I have to give a higher rating to Thai Thani in Swampscott. it's not great, but it's fine.

                                                              Sticky Rice
                                                              26 Hawkes St Ste 1, Marblehead, MA 01945

                                                              Thai Thani Restaurant
                                                              408 Humphrey St, Swampscott, MA 01907

                                                              1. re: Caseophile

                                                                If you are going all the way to Swampscott, go a little further and hit Mittapheap in Lynn for some serious Cambodian food.

                                                                1. re: Caseophile

                                                                  I agree. I just moved here from san diego, where the thai is amazing...we tried Thai Thani last night and it was good, but not amazing. and I am pretty sure the owner scheeched a piercing "nooooooo" when I asked for tofu in my tom yum soup instead of shrimp.

                                                                  Thai Thani Restaurant
                                                                  481 1/2 Washington St, Norwood, MA 02062

                                                              2. re: Caseophile

                                                                Wow, thanks for the heads up. I didn't know they were open again, but just drove by there and indeed they are back. I thought they were gone for good this time. No idea why they closed, am intrigued.

                                                            2. We have enjoyed Madfish Grille in Gloucester and Three Cod Tavern in Marblehead (we had fantastic crab cakes served up by friendly and knowledgeable service last year sitting at the bar).

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: digga

                                                                I was intrigued by Madfish's Web site and hope to try it this summer. Is the outside seating area nice? Anything particular on the menu you would recommend?

                                                                1. re: Northshoregirl

                                                                  The food at Madfish is good to very good. The outdoor seating is nice. The scene is rocking when it get's busy on a Friday or Saturday or Sunday (Reggae night).

                                                                  1. re: Northshoregirl

                                                                    Can't find my original posts, but if I remember correctly, we have stuck with the Asian-influenced dishes (I'm sure there was a salmon dish in there somewhere). All were delicious - sorry for the lack of details. (As a sidenote, we were celebrating a special birthday our first time there and the whole staff was all over it, in a good way.) Second time around was a casual summer weekend lunch that was perfect that day. Sun, seafood, cold+frosty beer....yum.

                                                                    The outdoor seating is nice. Walking around afterwards is a treat. Cool little enclave. For something more upscale, Duckworth's Bistrot is right there, too (we've not been - guess we are not very upscale). ;)

                                                                  2. re: digga

                                                                    Just tried Three Cod Tavern, and was pleasantly suprised. The oyster stew was really good!

                                                                  3. Just created a new post about Maria's place, breakfast place in Salem that I just loved. Hit it for the first time this weekend after eyeing it for a while:


                                                                    1. The Franklin, Gloucester - Try the Hangar Steak!
                                                                      The Village, Essex - Best fried clams, Lobster Mac'n Cheese
                                                                      Red's Salem - Breakfast that will kill lunch too
                                                                      Ithaki, Ipswich - Grilled octopus, salads, lamb
                                                                      Stone Soup, Ipswich - Cuban sandwich, breakfast muffins right from the oven....

                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                      1. re: ipsofatso

                                                                        I absolutely love 62 on the Wharf in Salem.

                                                                        I will definitely have to check out Ten Center Street in Newburyport.

                                                                        1. re: Janiekins

                                                                          My husband and I must be the only people on the North Shore that do not like 62 on the Wharf. I am a vegetarian and only had one thing to choose from. My husband will eat anything, he enjoyed his food but an hour later he was making another meal because he was still hungry.

                                                                          1. re: witchcity

                                                                            Went to Pellino's in Marblehead last night. It was fabulous. Declicious breads and oil. I had the Lobster Ravioli.

                                                                            Newly renovated dining room and bar. Love this place!

                                                                            Last week we went to Bella Verona in Salem. Declicious pumpkin ravioli. You cannot beat the place for the prices.

                                                                            Bella Verona
                                                                            107 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970

                                                                            1. re: witchcity

                                                                              My husband, family and friends are with you with regard to 62 on Wharf. Definitely not a place any of us would return to. Overly expensive, not much in the way of choice on the menu, uncomfortable atmosphere, poor service, and you will definitely leave there wishing you chose another restaurant to spend your evening and your money!

                                                                        2. 5 Favorite Servers/Bartenders Middlesex / North Shore
                                                                          Dale @ Dailey's Bartender Middleton
                                                                          Claudia @ Turners Bartender Melrose
                                                                          Jimmy @ Wardhusrt Bartender Peabody
                                                                          Brandon @ Raso's Medford
                                                                          Everyone @ Cousins breakfast lunch Woburn

                                                                          209 Mystic Ave, Medford, MA 02155

                                                                          1. Duckworth's Bistro- Gloucester
                                                                            The Village- Essex
                                                                            Lobsta Land- Gloucester
                                                                            Essex Seafood- Essex

                                                                            I'll give a tentative vote for My Place By the Sea. STUNNING views. Food can be average to great.. and it is in Rockport, so no wine with dinner.

                                                                            Essex Seafood
                                                                            143 Eastern Ave, Essex, MA 01929

                                                                            Duckworth's Bistro
                                                                            197 E Main St, Gloucester, MA 01930

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: anchor

                                                                              Rockport isn't dry anymore and MPBTS indeed has a wine list

                                                                            2. My picks:
                                                                              Ithaki, Ipswich
                                                                              Woodman's, Essex
                                                                              My Place By the Sea, Rockport
                                                                              Alchemy, Gloucester
                                                                              Anmol's, Beverly

                                                                              A few comments - Woodman's is a great place for some steamer's and chowder, esp. if you're feeling lazy and don't feel like scrubbing clams in the sink! I love Ithaki - never a bad meal there (grilled octopus appetizer is delicious) . Alchemy - because they strive to use locally grown foods and get tasty results. My Place - for the outstanding view. And, Anmol for Indian food (dosas) that I don't need to drive into town for.

                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                              1. re: nlg

                                                                                nig--I have been meaning to try Anmol for a while. Other than the dosas, are there dishes you recommend?


                                                                                1. re: Northshoregirl

                                                                                  Besides the dosas (which are pretty good - not oily, crispy with a good filling and coconut chutney) what we have eaten there have been typical Indian fare: masala chana, sag paneer, lamb korma, chicken tiki masala, etc. The quality is ok. I've had lots worse, but I've had better too. (note: yummy mango lassis, and the pappad is fresh and plentiful) However, we live nearby, so it's exciting to have an Indian restaurant so close by.

                                                                                  Our favorite in town was Rangoli (so sad that it closed earlier this year). When we're in North Andover, we like to go to Bollywood Grill (see: http://www.bollywoodgrill.com)

                                                                                  1. re: nlg

                                                                                    nlg, rangoli's owners still have Tanjore in Harv Square- has alw been excellent.

                                                                                    18 Eliot St, Cambridge, MA 02138

                                                                                2. re: nlg

                                                                                  Alchemy has always disappointed me. I really want the food to be as good as the decor and it never is although I was there two weeks ago and at least the pizza wasn't as sopping wet as it used to be. I would put, for example, The Franklin or Duckworth's above Alchemy. What are some of your preferred dishes there? Maybe I'm trying the wrong things.

                                                                                  1. re: resipsaloquitor

                                                                                    I agree about Alchemcy, last year the chef at a small breakfast place I go to in Gloucester, blew him (Alchemy) out of the water in a seafood cook-off. I also think both Duckworth and Franklin are excellent places.

                                                                                    1. re: treb

                                                                                      Which breakfast place? I could eat breakfast three meals a day.

                                                                                      1. re: resipsaloquitor

                                                                                        Yes, please tell, treb. Will travel for breakfast.

                                                                                          1. re: treb

                                                                                            I'd kill for their raisin French toast but fortunately don't have to. Even their simple egg/bacon/toast is delicious.

                                                                                  2. necn's half price project


                                                                                    currently has about 6 "half off $100" GC's left for Sixty 2 on Wharf (so buy for $50 get $100 GC). I expect they'll be gone within the hour.

                                                                                    Sara (Not affiliated with the restaurant or NECN but now a happy owner of a GC!)

                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: owen_meany

                                                                                      checked out the website, nothing there even worth $50.

                                                                                      1. re: treb

                                                                                        Then I guess you're glad you didn't buy one of the half price gift certificates. :-) The deals change weekly. I'm glad to have gotten one to Sixty 2 on Wharf but sounds like YM DID V.

                                                                                        1. re: owen_meany

                                                                                          Maybe I'll look back at the site once and a while.

                                                                                          1. re: owen_meany

                                                                                            Overrated and uncomfortable. Had our meals brought out to us and the presentation was very nice, the service was lacking and the food while it looked nice left a lot to be desired. Had to eat after we left there!

                                                                                      2. Ithaki. IPS
                                                                                        Duckworths, GLO
                                                                                        Su Changs, Pdby
                                                                                        Eddy's, IPS
                                                                                        Glenn's NBPT

                                                                                        1. We are from NJ but love the North Shore and go there frequently. We love Franklin Cafe in Gloucester for dining and the Old Spot in Salem for pub fare and beer. Gula Gula Cafe in Salem is also very nice for a good tap list. We are dying to get to Duckworth's, hopefully in January. We have not been impressed with Grapevine, Alchemy, My Place (overpriced for the view food). Rockport in general is not a food destination although Sea Shack is passable. Bella Verona in Salem is very adequate and the prices are friendly. Red's is a definate for breakfast and for clams we always go to Woodman's.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: thaichile

                                                                                            I was with you 100% right up until Woodman's ....

                                                                                          2. I wish I could agree with others who like Duckworth's Bistrot in Gloucester. I've been three times now. The server I've had the last two times was off-putting and snidely insincere. When I mentioned that I'd liked the appetizer I'd had, she replied in a falsely theatrical way, "I'm SO glad." The resto is expensive and should provide a better overall experience than the one I had. Too bad, too, because I can walk there from my home.

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: Shep Huntleigh

                                                                                              agreed. I was there only once a couple of years ago, food was ok (but not special) and service was a bit snotty. I do know people who love Duckworth's but it didn't impress me at all.

                                                                                              I second the recs above for gulu gulu and old spot for their great vibe and beer selections.

                                                                                            2. 62 on Wharf has to be one of the most overrated restaurants new to the North Shore. Plan on leaving hungry!

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: jostla

                                                                                                I've never left hungry- (and I like to EAT) I have some of the antipasti, maybe split an appetizer and have a pasta (usually the smaller plate) and a dessert. I enjoy having several courses of different food- maybe try their Neighborhood Nights prix fixe menu (Tues, Wed, Thurs- $28 for 3-4 courses)? I've also found their staff on all levels warm and welcoming.

                                                                                                As was pointed out above, YMMV- but I wanted to add my 2 cents.

                                                                                              2. Agave

                                                                                                7 Beach St, Manchester, MA 01944

                                                                                                9 Sylvan St, Peabody, MA 01960

                                                                                                Brutole Restaurant
                                                                                                65 Newbury St, Danvers, MA 01923

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: fcorv74835

                                                                                                  Is Cala's on your list from before or after the refurb and menu change this past winter?

                                                                                                  1. re: fcorv74835

                                                                                                    Brendan Crocker's Wild Horse - Beverly
                                                                                                    (both lounge drinks/apps & dining room meals are sensational!)

                                                                                                    Su Chang's - Peabody
                                                                                                    Incredible, fresh food - good service in a more "upscale" atmosphere - lunch is a steal!

                                                                                                    Wild Horse Cafe
                                                                                                    392 Cabot St, Beverly, MA 01915

                                                                                                  2. I am taking Ithaki off my list. and Eddy's has closed. Hmph.

                                                                                                    Franklin - Gloucester
                                                                                                    10 Central - NBPT
                                                                                                    Su Changs - Pbdy
                                                                                                    Bianchi's - Revere Beach has the best pizza on the NS!

                                                                                                    How BAD is that....can barely name THREE!!!!

                                                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: ipsofatso

                                                                                                      I also can only name three:
                                                                                                      Cielito Lindo for ONLY their pozole and coconut flan
                                                                                                      Hoping 62 Wharf will be good.
                                                                                                      Glen's in Newbport is quite good; surprised no one has mentioned it.

                                                                                                      Cielito Lindo
                                                                                                      150 Cabot St, Beverly, MA 01915

                                                                                                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                        Had brunch at Tryst on Sunday. All I can say is you have never had corned beef hash and eggs unless you have had it at Tryst. And (I know it's hard to believe, and I fought it for at least 6 months) the pancakes are the BEST I have ever had. The hash was large chunks of corned beef with potatoes and roasted red peppers and onions. Whole grain toast and orange quarters finished the dish. Warning, cash only, so go to the ATM before you sit down. It's worth it.

                                                                                                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                                                                                                          Definitely Glenn's for tuna - it's so good I almost never order anything else, and don't get tuna elsewhere.
                                                                                                          Most of his fish dishes and soups are very good. Meat dishes seem to be a weakness. I always order a soup and the tuna, and I'm never disappointed.

                                                                                                          I really like Tryst, too. My only complaint is their limited number of menu selections. Sometimes they just don't have anything I want.

                                                                                                          For Thai, I like the Royal Orchid in Rowley. They seem to have a lot of the staff (both kitchen and servers) from the Duck Walk in Wakefield. Perhaps this explains the recently reported decline of the Duck Walk?

                                                                                                          Royal Orchid
                                                                                                          303 Haverhill St, Rowley, MA 01969

                                                                                                        2. re: ipsofatso

                                                                                                          I recently went to Su Chang's for the first time. It was OK but not spectacular. At the risk of being mocked mercilessly, is Su Chang's that much better than, say, Fortune Palace in Essex?

                                                                                                          1. re: resipsaloquitor

                                                                                                            Yes, Su Changs is MUCH better than Fortune Palace in ESX! I mockingly call it Unfortunate Palate but I won't mock you; we're just getting know each other!

                                                                                                            I do go there for the sushi however, which is actually pretty darn good.

                                                                                                            1. re: ipsofatso

                                                                                                              I'm not saying that Fortune Palace is that great. I'm saying Su Changs was that unimpressive. But tell me some dishes to try the next time I'm there and I will try to eat with an open mind. So to speak.

                                                                                                              1. re: resipsaloquitor

                                                                                                                Su Changs is just so so for me too. My family loves it so we do end up there a lot for family get togethers. One thing I do really love there is the shrimp stuffed eggplant.

                                                                                                        3. 5 Corners Kitchen has opened in Marblehead since this thread started, and I would definitely add them to the list. While their small dining room can get loud, the food is excellent; fresh and expertly prepared.

                                                                                                          Another one on everybody's radar should be The Market at Lobster Cove in Annisquam. Two ex-Chez Panisse chefs have just moved into the location and are doing terrific things with super local fresh ingredients.


                                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: NSDishGal

                                                                                                            We enjoyed Market last weekend and yes it is a breath of fresh air (literally and figuratively) for Rockport Gloucester dining. Byo and limited choices (3 apps,3mains,1 dessert). But we left very happy. Had salads to start and fish chowder that was loaded with lobster and steak that was accompanied by fried green tomatoes. Dessert was delicious baked peach. Yes they take reservations.
                                                                                                            They were busy so service was slow but very pleasant. Will gladly return.

                                                                                                            1. re: capeanne

                                                                                                              Went to Market, in Gloucesta, yesterday, surprisingly, parking was pretty decent. The menu is small and could have used a chic entree. They did offer a fish stew, veggie lasagnia and a beef offering. The fish stew was outstanding, made with a clear fish stock, served with a portion of halibut, a few mussels and native corn. The veggie paste dish was made with fresh thin pasta sheets and stacked with mushies and roasted veggies, not a heavy dish at all. The bread was housemade, crusty and chewy, delish. Dessert was a roasted peach with berries and ice cream but, pricey at $10. It's BYOB with a $10. corkage fee.

                                                                                                              Overall, the flavors and textures were right on, the only dis I have was the entree and dessert portions were very small for the price point, mid 20's to 30, more like a heavy app size.. The place has charm, the view is excellent and the service efficient and thorough. I will return for more. This is way better than Stone Soup that was in this location last year.

                                                                                                          2. Have to give a shout out to Sea Glass in Salisbury, right on the beach. I've had two wonderful meals there. It's a gem in a desolate dining area ~ Every table has a great view of the ocean and there is a patio for al fresco dining.

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: mcel215

                                                                                                              Wow, this place looks superb! I've been looking for a place to take my mother for a belated 80th birthday dinner, and I do believe this will be the place - thanks!

                                                                                                            2. I love Tryst in Beverly. consistently good, simple food, well-prepared and the bartender really knows what flavors work together!!
                                                                                                              Sixty-Two on Wharf in Salem's food is wonderful, and innovative and has a focus on locally sourced foods
                                                                                                              Breakfast and lunch at Stone Soup in Ipswich are wonderful. The new dinner concept is underwhelming.
                                                                                                              A and J King in Salem for baked goods, check out the sticky bun!
                                                                                                              15 Walnut in Hamilton gets a nod for their burger on brioche (truly delicious), but expect poor service from untrained staff. I still got charged for a Seafood Chowder that I complained had only seafood stock, cream and potatoes, no actual seafood!! And I had to wait for the staff to finish eating at the end of the bar for the priviledge of paying my bill.

                                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: iggypup

                                                                                                                Used to like Stone Soup for breakfast, but the waitstaff has too much 'tude and the food was getting tired. I really Sugar Magnolias in Gloucester, much better breakfast.

                                                                                                                Sugar Magnolias
                                                                                                                112 Main St, Gloucester, MA 01930

                                                                                                                1. re: treb

                                                                                                                  Treb: The food at Sugar Mag's is fantastic, tis true, but do you find that the wait staff has a kind of Durgin Park attitude? I often prefer the quality and simplicity of breakfast at Two Sisters.

                                                                                                                  Two Sisters Restaurant
                                                                                                                  27 Washington St, Gloucester, MA 01930

                                                                                                                  Durgin Park
                                                                                                                  1 Faneuil Hall Sq, Boston, MA 02109

                                                                                                                  1. re: resipsaloquitor

                                                                                                                    I've tried 2 Sister's a few times, the food is rather plain, pricey and a bit skimpy for cash only, last time I was there I had to practically beg for a refill on my coffee. Agree, one two of the staff at Sugar's, particularily on Sunday, can be that way. I generally request a waitstaffer that I like. Still, far better than Stone Soup with better food and easier on my wallet.

                                                                                                              2. Although Stone Soup can be tasty, the waitstaff have the worst attitudes I have found in the Ipswich area. NO SOUP FOR YOU!

                                                                                                                Martha's Stone Soup - CLOSED
                                                                                                                517 Old Sandwich Rd, Plymouth, MA 02360

                                                                                                                1. Had some awesome pizza at Soma in Beverly and it was one of the best pizzas I've ever had. Hand-tossed sourdough crust and fresh toppings. My wife wanted the "Greek Pizza" with olives, feta, spinach etc, It was terrific. I want to go back and get a simple cheese or pepperoni pizza. Great beer selection and interesting menu.

                                                                                                                  1. Driving down to Rockport, MA from NH this weekend. Would appreciate any recommendation for LUNCH. We are not meat eaters. Thanks!

                                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: 3catsnh

                                                                                                                      In Gloucester, Halibut Point on Main St is a great locals place. La Tratoria just up the street for Italian, Passports also just up the street. The Causeway on rt 133 a shack for good seafood that's BYO who also does pretty good old school Italian dishes.

                                                                                                                      Halibut Point
                                                                                                                      289 Main St, Gloucester, MA 01930

                                                                                                                      1. re: treb

                                                                                                                        A great suggestion--thanks! I would have missed Halibut Point if I had not been looking for it. A cozy place and it was hopping, but the service was friendly and attentive. I had one of the specials--grilled haddock with cheese and panko, cherry tomato/feta salad, and mashed sweet potatoes. And a good local beer on tap. Thanks for the tip!

                                                                                                                        Halibut Point
                                                                                                                        289 Main St, Gloucester, MA 01930

                                                                                                                    2. 1. Harry's 240, Beverly
                                                                                                                      2. Sawasadee, Danvers
                                                                                                                      3. The Franklin, Gloucester
                                                                                                                      4. I Pazzi, Danvers
                                                                                                                      5. Lobstaland, Gloucester

                                                                                                                      I Pazzi
                                                                                                                      50 Maple Street, Danvers, MA 01923

                                                                                                                      Harry's 240 Restaurant
                                                                                                                      240 Rantoul St, Beverly, MA 01915

                                                                                                                      1. I am surprised no one has mentioned The Blue Ox in Lynn. Amazing reviews...I just moved here and am looking forward to trying it.
                                                                                                                        Please no comments about it being in "lynn", This is about food quality.

                                                                                                                        Blue Ox
                                                                                                                        191 Oxford Street, Lynn, MA 01901

                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: erinkeely

                                                                                                                            The blue ox is amazing.. Tried to get a res for a group of four last night earlier in the week and they were booked solid.

                                                                                                                          2. Top 5 in no particular order- or 6 if you are counting
                                                                                                                            Mr. India - Newburyport - Best Indian food you'll eat
                                                                                                                            Choate Bridge Pub - Ipswich - Great Burgers
                                                                                                                            The Clam Box - lightly breaded clams with big bellies - YUM And the Fried Lobsta ...Oh Yeah
                                                                                                                            North End Cafe - Great wait staff and the chef accommodates special orders
                                                                                                                            Sushi - Sake - Fresh, Fresh, Fresh and creative - try the "Chips and Salsa" for a pleasant suprise
                                                                                                                            Stone Soup - good food every time

                                                                                                                            Choate Bridge Pub
                                                                                                                            3 S Main St, Ipswich, MA

                                                                                                                            Clam Box
                                                                                                                            789 Quincy Shore Dr, Quincy, MA 02170

                                                                                                                            1. redux:

                                                                                                                              Sushi: Fortune Palace, Essex (not kidding; just avoid the Chinese food - you have been warned)
                                                                                                                              Bar Fare: Shea's, Essex
                                                                                                                              Blue Hair: The Village, Essex
                                                                                                                              Long Hair: Grapevine, Salem
                                                                                                                              Asia Flare: Su Chang's Peabody

                                                                                                                              1. We went to 9 Elm in Danvers last weekend and it was very good. Of course, dh isn't too daring so, of course, he had steak. It came with potato and mushroom gratin and very nice veggies. I had their seared scallops, with truffle mashed and the same veggies. I had key lime tart with whipped cream and a couple of raspberries on it and he has his usual creme brulee. But we decided it will be a go again. Good attentive service and the food was excellent. They only have a beer and wine license, but that doesn't bother me since I usually only get wine. But if that's a concern for you be prepared.

                                                                                                                                1. 1. Pellana
                                                                                                                                  2. Cala's
                                                                                                                                  3. Brutole
                                                                                                                                  4.Blue Ox
                                                                                                                                  5. Donatellos

                                                                                                                                  7 Beach St, Manchester, MA 01944

                                                                                                                                  9 Sylvan St, Peabody, MA 01960

                                                                                                                                  Brutole Restaurant
                                                                                                                                  65 Newbury St, Danvers, MA 01923

                                                                                                                                  1. Can I get an update on this list from Chowhounders? Where would you go for a special romantic celebratory dinner on the North Shore? We usually drive up to Portland, Maine but would be happy to drive south and discover something new on the North Shore.

                                                                                                                                    8 Replies
                                                                                                                                    1. re: 3catsnh

                                                                                                                                      Yella in Post Office Square in Andover has gotten some decent press for being romantic, with excellent food. Small place.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: 3catsnh

                                                                                                                                        I like Ceia in Newburyport, nice atmosphere and mediterranean influenced food (I haven't been in since they moved across the street). I still love 62 in Salem. Cava in Portsmouth is a nice special occasion spot. Barrel House American just opened in Bevery, not sure if it qualifies as romantic, but the drinks are great and every menu item I tried was delicious

                                                                                                                                        1. re: 3catsnh

                                                                                                                                          imo, if you don't go to Black Trumpet in Portsmouth, then you will find better food in Portland. Bl Trumpet is romantic , very farm and sea to table, really nice person chef-owner,unusual ingreds always somewhere on the menu.partic strong in his pork and seafood dishes. exc bar too. And what a beauty town for an after dinner stroll.

                                                                                                                                          Four of us def did not like the food or the service at Ceia last yr.; the food showed many amateur indicators. (As with the Wizard of Oz, "Pay no attention" .... to the chef having done a James Beard dinner.) 62 on Wharf in Salem has some v good things, but we are not the big fans we were for his first year. Still, an exc bar, lovely comfy room and great service.

                                                                                                                                          In Portlnd so many lovely spots. Long threads of mine if you do a search.

                                                                                                                                          Duckworth in Glouc. looks promising but we haven't been.
                                                                                                                                          Hope you have a lovely celebration.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: 3catsnh

                                                                                                                                            Check out Keon's in Haverhill, very intimate setting, sit at the bar or ask for a window seat. the menu is really well done. they have a pretty nice special during the week, 2 entrees and bottle of wine (or martinis) for $59.00. but you don't want to miss the korean bbq with home made potatoe chips~

                                                                                                                                            1. re: grumpyspatient

                                                                                                                                              Def not a fan of Keon's. We go there for business dinners sometimes, and things are generally oversalted and overcooked.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: cocoabrioche

                                                                                                                                                we've been going there a long time and have can't say over cooking or over salting has ever been an issue. its doesn't strike me as a business dinner location tho. is it haverhill or the black swan location that you go to?

                                                                                                                                            2. re: 3catsnh

                                                                                                                                              I am loving The Azorean in Gloucester as of late. The Cataplanas are a hit with us.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: 3catsnh

                                                                                                                                                62 in Salem is very good. The vitello tonnato appetizer is especially good.

                                                                                                                                                Enzo in Newburyport is another fine choice.

                                                                                                                                                If you end up int Portland, though, check out Miyake. Best sushi I've ever had.

                                                                                                                                              2. 62 in Salem

                                                                                                                                                5 Corners in Marblehead

                                                                                                                                                Dubes in Salem

                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                1. re: phatchris

                                                                                                                                                  Also Barrel house and Cielto Lindo in Beverly.

                                                                                                                                                2. Take Out:
                                                                                                                                                  Land n Sea-Peabody
                                                                                                                                                  Santoros- Peabody Square
                                                                                                                                                  Nickys Pizza-Lynn