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Recommendations for Boston area

I'll be in Boston for 4 days in June with a couple more in Rockport/Salem/Gloucester with kids. Any can't miss places for good local food, clam shacks, etc to check out?

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  1. Gloucester has some great spots. Head to Bear Neck to be by the water. I enjoy the raw bar at Rudder, but haven't had much more there after a bad dinner years ago - I'm sure it has improved, but a great spot to watch the boats and enjoy a few bivalves. We really like Franklin Cafe on Main, and for family dining Causeway is excellent. You can always order a fried seafood platter to go and have a picnic on the waterfront.

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      1. In the Essex/Rockport area I would recommend the following:

        Ipswich Clam Box ( Ipswich)
        Village Restaurant in Essex
        If you are looking for a great place to have breakfast in that area..you won't find better than Village Pancake House in Rowley ( about half hour from Rockport...10 minutes from Ipswich Clam Box). Don't let the name fool you ..it's very pretty and the breakfast is excellent.

        1 Reply
        1. re: BlueMagic

          Breakfast in Gloucester: Sugar Magnolias
          Clams between Gloucester and Rockport without having to travel out to Essex or Ipswich and with a great view: the Lobster Pool.

        2. Daily catch in the north end. Yankee lobster on northern ave. Paramount on Charles street for breakfast. Legal harborside in the seaport district. Channel cafe and flour bakery for lunch

          5 Replies
          1. re: libertywharf

            I think the Paramount is a great suggestion for when you will be in Boston. make sure you follow the rules of ordering before squatting on a table. The system really works! I have never seen anyone standing with a tray, waiting for a table!

            1. re: libertywharf

              Had one day in Boston and wasn't anticipating a lunch. Family and friends were depending on me for a recommendation, so I quickly glanced at this post and went to the Daily Catch for seafood. This was one of the most disappointing dining experiences I've had. I let down everyone.

              The food was below mediocre. We ordered calamari, which arrived over fried and mostly with bits of batter. I had the house specialty of the puttanesca black pasta with scallops. The scallops were nicely cooked, but the black pasta seemed to be made with a pound of salt. The broiled fish was insipid and the accompanying vegetables were burnt rather than broiled. Shrimp was fine but forgettable.

              The decor and service of the restaurant were mundane. The restaurant is tucked away in an office building without much ambiance.

              All in all, I would not ever recommend this restaurant to anyone. There must be better food in Boston!

              1. re: croissantanyone

                You went to the Daily Catch on the waterfront, not the Daily Catch in the North End.

                1. re: justbeingpolite

                  Is the North End location consistently much better than the courthouse/waterfront location? How about the Brookline location? I've only been to the waterfront location, where the food was just ok and the service despite an empty house extremely slow and rude. Best experience was at the Kendall Square location, decades ago.

                  1. re: Madrid

                    IMO, the NE is the only one worth going to.. the courthouse is poor at best. The NE location is far different, tiny bustling place with a family run feel. Feels much more made to order.
                    I've never been to the newer Brookline location.

            2. In regards to clam shacks, although I mentioned the Causeway, it is not a true clamshack in the sense of the Essex County Clamshack Competitors, but serves up well executed fried food and lots of other great family friendly food.

              People have their favourites, but I have found thru years of research that one place that may be great one month may suffer another month due to the lacking skills of the fry chef/staff/oil. I find it always best to order just one platter for the fam, and see how it goes. If it goes well order a second plate. Most Fisherman's Platters etc, can feed a family of four.