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May 2, 2012 02:57 PM

More North Shore MA dining

Try I Pazzi in Danvers. Refined Italian. And City Grill - a storefront in Vinnin Sq Swampscott. Remarkably good. I'm the one who was corrected for calling North Shore a dining wasteland - I have egg on my face!!!!

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  1. I second I Pazzi, it is delicious. I always say it is like having the North End right in Danvers Square. 9 Elm around the corner in Dnavers is divine as well!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Snafu1236

      I agree with Snafu's recommendations. Both very good.

    2. 5 Corners Kitchen in Marblehead is great.

      13 Replies
        1. re: opinionatedchef

          Sorry to see City Grill close its doors. Don't miss Life Alive in Salem - my #1 favorite lunch. It's a winner.

          1. re: samiwolf

            That's a real shame...Definitely could have used a different store front that fit it's interior and cuisine better. Place was always close to empty the few times I'd been there. Great food though. Wicked Bummah.

            And there's some very good to great food on the North Shore. The places mentioned here are just the tip of the iceberg

            1. re: AngerHeSmiles

              oh boy, i def have to say that I find the No Shore a veritable hinterlands when it comes to excellent or near excellent food( and I don't include seafood places and clam shacks in the exc-near exc category.) What are your 'great' s ?

              1. re: opinionatedchef

                I have to agree with AHS that the North Shore offers very good to great food, from Newburyport, to Lynn, to Salem, and Gloucester.

                It looks like you're trying to set the parameters of her statement and twist them, and wouldn't it depend on what ones definition of very good to great food is, to another persons definition of what excellent food is?

                AngerHeSmiles could be thinking of donut shops, breakfast joints, bakeries, roast beef sandwich joints, clam shacks, latin or portugese, seafood places, and places like 5 Corners Kitchen as being very good to great food.

                You wanting excellent food may be thinking of high-end places like Clio, Salts, or O ya, or what ever is in your mind.

                1. re: Infomaniac

                  High end places? no, that's not at all what i had in mind (and certainly not clio, which comes nowhere near 'great' imo.) I was following the OP's title, which addressed 'dining', and not donut shops, bakeries, bbq, sandwich and sausage places. To identify what I consider 'near great NS dining', I think about which 'dining' places are good enough to get me to drive to them instead of into Boston.

                  5CK and 62 Wharf (though my 62 fandom has waned alot the last yr or so) have filled that bill;Franklin has not. We've not tried Duckworth or I Pazzi, though we'd like to.

                  And yes, I agree>> MV and up into NH are 'Excellent dining' Wastelands (way beyond Hinterlands) imo.
                  Just to be clear, I am specifically addressing the OP's 'Dining places', not donut shops etc.

                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    While you may have been following the OP's title, you were responding to another persons comment about there being good/very good food on the North Shore.

                    If you want to know if there are good enough place to dine on the NS and not go to Boston....forget about it!

                    The NS is not a dining destination when you have the plethora of dining/food options available in the Boston area. I don't think anyone is claiming that the NS is a dining destination either however; if you happen to live or are visiting the NS and are looking for very good food/dining options, they are available depending on what you are looking for.

                    As for I Pazzi, it's not worth the visit based on my one experience there. I'd rather spend a little extra and go to the North End or Tuscan Kitchen in Salem, NH.

                    I can tell you that living in the MV area for me Duckworth Bistrot in Gloucester is a dining destination. From the way we were welcomed, thru dinner, and on our way out the door, it was a very positive and memorable experience.

                    1. re: Infomaniac

                      Great about duckworth; your rec has sealed that we gotta get there soon.

                      For our part, 5 Corners Kitchen IS a destination spot for us for brunch. The South End should be so lucky. Aside from a handsome light filled and comfortable space where it is plenty quiet for conversation, and friendly professional service,there's the top notch food.
                      The chef owner, an Aquitaine alum, gives us Eggs Benedict that include their fantastic fries or homefries! and their perfect lemony hollandaise sauce; berried brioche French Toast, house cured bacon; beet salad,house made blueberry basil soda, and .... ta da!!!>> kouign amann (take it home for your reward after the marathon!!)
                      All this AND we can curb park right there, and we don't have to compete for a table (on what should be a peaceful competition-banned Sunday.)
                      Gee, I think I'm getting worked up because tomorrow IS Sunday!!

                      So, we'll get ourselves up to Duchworth, and i hope you'll treat yourself some time to 5CK!.

                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                        Funny: we arrived there today around 2pm and the place was PACKED. Instead of 1/3-1/2 full, it was just short of full. We were both amazed. After we were seated , My Love looked at me and said "Maybe more Chowhounds are reading you than you think!" ho ho. The surpriing thing was that we were still able to find a banquette (its back to the bar area)that was quiet enough for conversation.

                2. re: opinionatedchef

                  If you want the hinterlands check out the Merrimack Valley, believe me when I tell you the North Shore is a paradise compared to MV. Nothing in the MV comes close to 5CK or 62.

                  1. re: phatchris

                    Indeed. It's a wasteland of chains, pizza joints, and mediocrity.

                    1. re: phatchris

                      You're right....I live in the MV area and the pickings are very slim but there are a few diamonds in the rough.

                3. re: samiwolf

                  Life Alive always seems to have more employees behind the counter than customers and the service is so slow it makes it unbearable. The menu seems to have many dishes with all the same ingredients listed in a different order. I'll take Gulu Gulu cafe instead around the corner. Their Hummus appetizer is fantastic!

            2. NS is certainly no powerhouse but, not hinterlands either. Have you tried, Duckworth Bistro, Franklin Cafe, Alchmey all in Gloucester. In Ipswich Zabaglione's, though I haven't been in a while. For OK BBQ, American BBQ in Rowley. There's Stone Soup but, I'd stay away as the waitstaff is very snarkey. I also like Sake on rt1 for sushi.

              7 Replies
              1. re: treb

                Just made it to Duckwork Bistro a few weeks ago and we really liked it.

                Here is a small list of places I like if anyone wants to add to it for food, depending on what you are in the mood for:

                A & J Artisan Bakery - Salem
                Annarosa's Bakery - Salisbury
                Cassis Bakery - Beverly
                Karl's Sausage Kitchen - Peabody
                Donut City - Lynn
                Ziggy & Sons Donuts - Salem
                Blue Ox - Lynn
                Sixty2 on the Wharf - Salem
                Casa Antigua - Lynn
                Nick's Roast Beef - Beverly
                Dube's Seafood - Salem

                I can't even count all the farm and ice cream places on the North Shore.

                  1. re: pinehurst

                    175 Elm St, Rte 110, Salisbury MA
                    It's tucked away in a kind of decrepit strip mall

                  2. re: Infomaniac

                    Your list reminded me about the smaller places that are very good. I think Opinionated So Called Chef doesn't get it, this may not be white table cloth cuisine but, the chow is worthy. Wonder if she ever had a sausage from Karl's?

                    1. re: Infomaniac

                      I've got to add to the list The Antique Table in Lynn. Always fresh tasty ingrediants in a charming setting

                      1. re: bluesjack

                        Everyone has their standards. Me, I won't eat anywhere that serves Shrimp Grand Marnier.

                        1. re: opinionatedchef

                          I guess the North End is out of your lineup then as at least 50% of the restaurants serve a version of that dish.

                  3. Finally tried Duckworth's in Gloucester and while we had a nice meal, it was way over-salted but the dishes were well intentioned in every other way. Service, salads, appetizers were all very good but the graph trended downward on the main courses. Not rushing back.

                    1. Gulu Gulu in Salem, excellent beer list

                      Cale Polonia in Salem, very good Polish

                      The Old Spot in Salem, awesome pork Sammie

                      Dube's in Salem, great fried seafood

                      I would have killed for any of these options last year while living in the MV.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: phatchris

                        Salem, being a tourist magnet, is getting a number of mid- to upscale restaurants. Most are only a few years old. Clearly 62 is high on the list. Red Lulu's (pseudo-Mexican with a good bar) is getting rave reviews. There are a few others, all concentrated in a fairly small area (4 block square, at most). But only a handful, including 62, are open late, which is annoying.

                        My personal preferences tend to steer away from Italian. The North End is colorful and is ok for dinner if you're already there, but there's no way I would go out of my way to go to a North End Restaurant. Most are overpriced and overhyped and there is usually a reason why the rest of them are not. For a place that puts a premium on authenticity, there is a lot left to be desired on most menus. Still, if you are willing to pay the ransom, there are a few places that offer decent food. Why am I talking about the North End? Because a handful of places around Salem/Beverly have been compared to the North End. So my comments mostly apply here too. If you are going out, give Italian a miss. With so much other food available, you won't really miss a thing. But for interesting pasta variations (including, for example, a pasta dish with wild mushroom and truffle "ragout") take another look at the 62. It's a smaller menu, but it's actually more diverse and some selection qualify as exceptional. (Caveat: The comment generally applies to the Boston area. You can find great Italian food in other parts of the country, like Philadelphia. But if you're around Boston, and not already in the North End, you might as well look for more fun food. Make spaghetti when you get home.)

                        1. re: aardvark_cousin


                          Well said.

                          A lot of the North End is, for sure, a sentimental and charming neighborhood steeped, still, with families, food and tradition. And some of the food is really good. But for the most part, it's not redolent of the food of Italy, and is sometimes just a plain red sauce place with a high price.

                          No need to leave the North Shore for excellent food, breakfast, lunch or dinner. You can't beat Red's in Salem for breakfast, Gulu Cafe for lunch or 62 for dinner (and your pasta fix). Bella Verona is also terrific for fine Italian. In Gloucester, Alchemy rocks, Passports is terrific for lunch or dinner.

                          But the post was about Italian specifically, pasta in general. Try the truffled mac and cheese at Tavern on the Square in Salem. My guilty pleasure. In East Boston, the best pasta around is Rino's (good luck getting in). Paulina's Caffe in Swampscott is run by Paulina and her husband Vincenzo, who owned two restaurants in Tuscany and moved here when their children came here for college. BYOB, breakfast, lunch and dinner, great food. Antique Table charming. I could go on...

                          1. re: rosiebcook

                            <No need to leave the North Shore for excellent food, breakfast, lunch or dinner.> While the No Shore food scene has def improved in my 30 yrs north of boston, we have only found one restnt that we choose over a Boston competitor and that is Five Corners Kitchen, Marblehead, for brunch. Given the places that wow you, i think we may have diff tastes in food, but am happy you are psyched by the offerings. I think 62 and Passport are very good and we are thankful they are there when we are in the area.

                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                              I also enjoy Five Corners and 62, but I would choose Barrel House in Beverly over many Boston competitors. I am baffled that it hasn't gotten more love on this board.

                              1. re: fesenjan

                                I love the bar program, the food is just O.K. to me.

                          2. re: aardvark_cousin

                            Firenze should be opening soon in Salem, Italian from the chef of the much loved Trattoria Toscana.