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Fun, beachy restaurants?

To celebrate a couple of summer birthdays we'd like to spend a few hours at the beach and then walk to a nearby restaurant where we can relax (not take-out) for casual food and drinks. The only 2 spots in easy driving distance to Boston that I can think of are Nantasket and Revere.

Last year we went to Schooner's on Nantasket and while the food was good it doesn't really have that party type of atmosphere we're looking for. Barefoot Bob's is fun but I'm not sure it has the quality of food we're looking for. We don't need drop dead deliciousness-a solid B+ is fine by me!

Are we asking for too much? Should we settle for mediocre food at Barefoot Bob's or are there any other options out there for us?

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  1. Bridgeman's (bring a change of clothes to get out of your bathing suits--but nice casual is OK)., Mezza Mare, or la Dalat. Bridgeman's has best locale and atmosphere with great food. MM is very casual Italian (haven't been in a while but it was always a solid B+, as you say) and Dalat has great Asian including sushi.

    Have fun!!

    1. I may be making a recommendation that is beyond the pale of easy driving distance from Boston, but Plum Island's gorgeous beach and the very good Plum Island Grille is a pair that beats a full house in my book any day. There are several parking lots to choose from on Plum Island with some residents charging even less for front lawn parking (can you believe it!?!!?!?) :). They range from $8 to $10 on weekends and $2-$3 on weekdays. I have to run now, but I will track down the menu and link to P I Grille a little later - we ate there last week, and we were delighted!

      7 Replies
      1. re: Small Plates

        I'd really like to hear about this place. Planning a Plum Island getaway soon.

        1. re: yumyum

          I went with friends to the Plum Island Grille last Saturday night. The food was excellent and it was a great atmosphere to dine. While it would be a little bit of a hike to walk from the public beach, it's free parking at the restaurant.

          I have given the website and just want to add. The pork granita Spring rolls were over the top delicious as were the mussels. The seafood chowder was okay, extremely rich and kind of bland.

          I got the Grilled fish special of the night, which was Sea bass over wilted spinach and garlic mashed. It was excellent. My DC got the grilled scallops with sauteed carrots, olive tapenade and garlic mashed.

          They have blackboard specials, and you can eat at the bar. It's a little pricey and make sure you call ahead for reservations. We went at 5:30pm, and the place was packed and had an hour wait.


          1. re: mcel215

            Our house was down the street from the Grille and had a right of way to the beach - less than 10 minute walk. We had our visitors park in the lot across from the grille and walk down (or we shuttled some of the older guests). Not a bad walk at all - depending on your level of fitness.

            1. re: mcel215

              Did you say "pork granita spring rolls"?! I'm having trouble picturing this. Can you expound?

            2. re: yumyum

              I'm another fan of Plum Island Grille and another fun place is Mad Martha's Beach Cafe which is BYOB. The dinner menu changes every weekend. It's very small and cozy. Decent breakfast spot also.

              1. re: Infomaniac

                Haven't tried Mad Martha's yet, thanks for the info!

                1. re: Infomaniac

                  Mad Martha's is awesome! Our house was right across the street - LOVE it! The crispy French Toast for brekkie is sooooo good (and I usually prefer eggs to sweet breakfast entrees).

            3. Bridgemans in Hull or in Hingham Harbor ,Tosca is very highly regarded (and expensive) but they have a more moderately place across the street which is also excellent (it may be called Tosca Cafe but I forget).

              1. Mezzo Mare across from Nantasket is a good choice for Italian food. It's more intimate and romantic than casual beach-y, but the food is very good.

                I'm actually a pretty big fan of Barefood Bob's. Some of the food is really quite good, and the scene can be pretty crazy.

                You could also walk to Jake's, which is a couple of blocks from Nantasket Beach on the Harbor side.

                As far as Revere? I really can't think of much. I love Bianchi's, but it's only takeout. I suppose you could walk over to the Mount Vernon on Route 1A....

                4 Replies
                1. re: hiddenboston

                  Thanks for all the suggestions. So far though none sound quite like what we're looking for. Casual, beachy, fun, a little loud, but with decent food...................maybe it'll be Barefoot Bob's after all! I'll be interested to see about the Plum Island Grille though so I'll try to find the website too.

                  1. re: mtm7654

                    A few weeks ago we were eating near the outdoor tiki bar at Barefoot Bob's and these two huge bikers came over to our table. One put his beer on the table and said, "You don't mind if I put my beer here, do you?" I gave him a hard stare, leaned forward a bit, and said, "Uh, no, not at all! Go right ahead!" :-b

                    The steak tips there are outstanding, by the way.

                      1. re: mtm7654

                        Heh, if I had asked him that question, I don't think I'd be sitting here talking with you today (and my GF would be really confused as well).

                2. At Revere Beach there is a place about 1/2 mile past Kelley's. I believe it's called Antoine's. I haven't been but remember some posts about it. At Nahant Beach there is the Tides but the food is average at best.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: chuck s

                    i remember many years ago when the tides was the place to go

                  2. Red Rock Bistro in Swampscott overlooks the beach. There is outside informal seating in addition to the dining room and bar.

                    9 Replies
                    1. re: greygarious

                      Hmmmmmmmmmmm, wouldn't have thought of Swampscott. I'll check it out-thanks.

                      1. re: mtm7654

                        And you can get an ice cream at Raspberry Lime Rickey's afterward, as they are attached to the same building!

                        1. re: hiddenboston

                          or a Kell's soft serve cone across the street.....

                          1. re: hiddenboston

                            Lime Rickey's is on Devereux Beach in Marlbehead about 5 miles from Red Rock Bistro, although they are owned by the same family.

                            1. re: phatchris

                              Just to clarify, there are two Lime Rickey's - one within the same building as Red Rock in Swampscott, and the one in Marblehead.

                                1. re: phatchris

                                  The Marblehead branch has live music on the weekends. Haven't been but sound s like a nice idea. Great spot. Call for music schedule.

                                  1. re: 9lives

                                    The food at Lime Rickeys on the beach in Marblehead is AWFUL. What do you get when you put 11 sixteen year olds in charge, terrible service and terrible food. Complete chaos!

                                    1. re: drewinmrblhd

                                      I've had reasonable quality clam rolls there. The 16 year olds seemed capable of doing that. That's my experience over a few visits. As to the service, I went to a window, ordered and waited til I was called and got my clam roll..so service wasn't an issue.

                      2. I would suggest Nahant beach then a stroll down to The Tides. Usually an active, loud bar and a nice outdoor patio. A dozen cherrystones and the french dip sliders and you're in heaven !!!

                        1. I almost hate to respond with this suggestion- because this place is on the verge of being completely swarmed with folks...But because CH has served me so well in the past, I'll take my chances.

                          My suggestion is Chauncey Creek in Kittery. It's a hike...but you can combine it with an afternoon in Portsmouth or shopping at the outlets. It's BYOB, outside along the ...Creek...and great. Simple food. Great staff. And you can find people in cutoffs/t-shirt or decked out on a romantic date. We go every summer, bring some wine and sides...and just enjoy the surroundings.


                          5 Replies
                          1. re: mbasnack

                            Anyone know what the beachs in Lynn/Swampscott are like? We do want to go to the beach either before or after we eat . The jazz Brunch at Red Rock would be great but what's the beach situation there? Parking? Bathroom facilities?

                            The map showed Red Rock blocks from the beach. How can it "overlook" the beach or am I missing something??

                            1. re: mtm7654

                              I was only at Red Rock once, and am not familiar with the area, but from our seats in the restaurant we watched people walking on a beach below, and could see Boston in the distance.

                              1. re: mtm7654

                                The beach area on the Lynn/Swampscott line isn't really a place to set up a beach chair and go in the water. At high tide, there IS no beach, and the algae can get smelly. Plus, I don't even think you're allowed to go in the water there (someone correct me if I'm wrong on this). I'd say go to Nahant Beach if you want to hit a place to eat around Lynn/Swampscott.

                                1. re: hiddenboston

                                  Yes, you can go in the water there. Sometimes it's closed due to red tide... there's parking right on the street near the Lynn/Swampscott beach, where there's no parking in Nahant. Go a bit further towards Swampscott and there's an even nicer little beach, too.

                                  If you're going to go to Swampscott, some people have mentioned the restaurant right across from the Swampscott commuter rail station - Paradiso Restaurante. Still, prob. isn't what the OP is looking for, though. Never ate there myself, but it's not too far, esp. if you take the side roads.

                                  I second Kell's Creme for ice cream, across from the Red Rock.

                                  1. re: threedogs

                                    There's a huge parking lot at Nahant! Parking is $3. It's the best city beach, IMO. And then it's a very short drive up the road to Red Rock.

                            2. Went to OCean Club in Hull to meet up with folks for a drink and then across the street to Bridgeman's for a birthday dinner last night.

                              Ocean Club: great location with indoor and outdoor seats overlooking the ocean. They also have direct beach access. Can't speak to the food as we only met for drinks. Great spot though--and did check out the menu: basic items like burgers, steak tips, surf and trurf, fish and chips, etc. Fried plates going by looked tempting.

                              Bridgeman's: 10 of us had dinner. Service was excellent. Everyone loved their dish. No exaggeration. We actually went there for this birthday dinner specifically because last time we went everyone loved their dishes. I had the duck breast with fig risotto. Duck and fig together was all I needed to hear and it was delicious. I shared and I still have leftovers (yay!). Sampled the pan seraed scallops, shortribs, and a pasta dish. All were excellent. Shared apps included an heirloom caprese salad (very good, but this is something I so often have at home and I would not have orderd myself--still it was very nicley done with the tasty addition of cripsy prosciutto); remarkalby delicious seafood cocktail (I got one tiny bite from hungry brother and wanted the whole thing!); and excellent calamari.

                              Great wine list with good choices in all price ranges. Lovely serivce.

                              All in all it was fabulous. It may be a bit more formal than you want for post-beach dining, but it would be worth it. Hit the beach, go to Ocean Club for a drink and maybe a change of clothes, and across to Bridgeman's.

                              While I love my little trips to Horseneck and the Back Eddy, this is a lot closer (and I daresay the food is even better-sorry B.E.).

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: SeaSide Tomato

                                Thanks for the update on Bridgeman's. At some point I am definitely going to try it! But I think for this occasion that I'm going more for a casual, fun time where we can be loud and won't have to worry about how we're dressed, etc. Since I only get to the beach once at year (at most!) we're going to Barefoot Bob's. My feeling is that we can get a meal like Bridgeman's elsewhere but how many other places can you do a place like BB's with it's tacky, beachy charm? Hidden Boston even liked the food on a recent outing so how can we go wrong? Hmmmmmmm-Hurrican Bob perhaps??

                                1. re: mtm7654

                                  Great, now I'm on the spot, LOL.

                                  I've been away for the past several days--eating my way through upstate NY--but several people I know (all of whom are foodies) went to Barefoot Bob's over the weekend and gave it yet another good review. It ain't gourmet and it's not going to make people forget about Clio or The Oak Room, but the combination of ocean breezes, great people-watching, and above-average food definitely make it worth going to, IMO.

                                  1. re: mtm7654

                                    While not in the local area, next year you should take a look at the NASWA in Laconia, NH. Tiki bar, right on the beach, tables in the sand and live entertainment on weekends. The food is pretty good as well. For drinks I always go for the Goombay Smash!

                                2. This past Sunday, drove to Gloucester, parked at stage fort park, right off of route 127. Spent the day at the beach and park. Great swimming!. Walked town to the end of the beach and took a stroll to Captain Carlo's. Great food, outdoor eating area and bar available. Live music in the middle of the day. I had the Tuna steak over a great salad with craisins and apples in it. A true hidden gem!

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: drewinmrblhd

                                    I think I like Captain Carlo's more for its great outdoor dining area and kooky clientele than for its food. I've had good chow there, but to me, it's all about chilling outside with a drink or five and doing some terrific people-watching.

                                    1. re: hiddenboston

                                      Good to know about Captain Carlo's though for the next time we're in that neck of the woods. Or beach........

                                      1. re: mtm7654

                                        I love Madfish Grill on Rocky neck in GL. Totally reasonable food and nice view of the harbor.

                                  2. So, after all the wonderful suggestions that everyone offered, my dc's got very dysfunctional about whether to go to the beach on Saturday or not and where to go to eat. So in disgust I nixed the whole thing and instead went by myself to the Junction in Southie where the cook did my burger exactly as asked-medium rare-which was on the red side all the way through-not the wishy washy pink they usually do. The fries were also done crispy as requested but they were only meh. Washed that down with an Allagash White and all was right with the world once again!

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: mtm7654

                                      Allagash White has a way of making everything right with the world.

                                      I have to get to The Junction one of these days. We tried awhile ago, but parking was horrendous, so we went to St. Alphonzo's instead.

                                      1. re: hiddenboston

                                        When you get to the Junction, try the shepards pie!!

                                          1. re: hiddenboston

                                            Burger may be the good, but the shepards pie was the best I've ever had.

                                        1. re: hiddenboston

                                          St. Alphonzo's-not a bad 2nd choice! And I'm with Pegmeister on the Junction's shephard's pie. Mmmmmmmm good! Not the dish for this weather though.