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Vacation Help - Cape Ann Gloucester Rockport

Going up to Cape Ann for a four day vacation. Any help on where to find the best local eats would be much appreciated......

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  1. Breakfast - Sugar Magnolia's, Main St. Gloucester

    Lunch - Halibut Point, Main St. Gloucester

    Lunch - Roy Moore's - Rockport, lobster in the rough

    Lunch - Lobster Pool, Rockport, great view

    Dinner - Franklin Cafe, Main St Gloucester, very nice

    Dinner in the Rough - Causeway, rte 133 Gloucester, fresh fish seafood shack style

    Clam Shack - The best of the Best, Clam Box, Ipswich rte133

    Enjoy your vac.

    8 Replies
    1. re: treb

      We had a couple really nice dinners at Franklin Cafe a few weeks ago. Very friendly staff, and very generous about letting my friend taste some wines so she could make a decision.

      Thank you treb and AngerHeSmiles for your recommending.

      1. re: Infomaniac

        Don't forget to put Duckworth on your agenda, it's a great place in the fall. Curious, what did you order at Franklin?

        1. re: treb

          I started with the tuna tartare and my GF started with grilled calamari...both excellent.
          I had the grilled hanger steak with gorgonzola butter and fresh cut fries which was excellent, and she had a striped bass special they had that night.

          We also stopped into Causeway before going to pick up two bowls of fish chowder to go and packed them in a cooler in my trunk for the next day at home. It's a very basic fish chowder they make, but I love it. It's just loaded with fish.

          Our plan is to get to Duckworth sometime in September with friends.

          1. re: Infomaniac

            My Love i a fish chowder guy. Have you had the fc at Fresh Pond Seafood(now in Arlington)? wondered how it compared to the causeway's.

            1. re: opinionatedchef

              Sorry....I never had the fish chowder at Fresh Pond, and it is something I usually never order out as I frequently make my own version(s) at home.

              Causeway's fish chowder is a real basic version made with milk is my guess. It's very simply prepared with very little going on in it by way of seasonings and herbs. It's a light broth and just loaded with fish, and a lot of it. I always struggled to find any potatoes in it, and a bowl has got to have close to a half pound of fish in it, no exaggeration.

              It's not the best fish chowder I've ever had, but sometimes I like a simple version with a light milk & fish stock.

              1. re: opinionatedchef

                You should try the fish chowder at Lobsta Land, right before the bridge over the Annisquam on 128. I think it's the best I've ever had.

                1. re: hoohah

                  Def will do takeout there soon, so thx much for the tip.

                  1. re: hoohah

                    hoo, wanted to th you for this rec. In August, i stopped by and bought some surprise fish chowder for My Love's Bday. He didn't think it was the best he'd ever had, but he really liked it. Could use some thyme and a little bit of cream (!) imo. The view out to the marshes in back is a surprise- v. pretty.

        2. I'd head down to Essex and Ipswich for a visit. Antique shops galor, if you like that. For eats:
          Village Restaurant, Essex - Old school family sit down with top notch fish/seafood. Pluses over shacks: alcohol, baked potatoes, salads

          Farnham's, Essex - Excellent shack for fried seafood. Lovely outdoor seating on marsh
          I would avoid Essex Seafood, which is liked by some but has spotty posts on the boards (I had one of the worst seafood meals there I've ever had a couple of years ago).

          Ice Cream: White Farms Homemade ice cream in Ipswich. Ridiculously huge portions of excellent ice cream

          Russell Orchards in Ipswich: Great farm store w/petting zoo if you have kids. Some pick-your-own stuff (blackberries in season now).
          http://russellorchards.com/

          1. Casual lunch or dinner: Choate Bridge Pub, Essex Seafood (I've never had a bad meal there), Clam Box.

            1. Breakfast: Lee's (Gloucester)
              Lunch: Agreed on all of treb's options. My favorite is Roy Moore's (the shack on Bearskin Neck, not the sit-down restaurant).
              Dinner: Captain Carlo's (Gloucester) for the best fried seafood and clambakes

              I've also become a fan of Alchemy in downtown Gloucester. Creative food, terrific drinks.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Boston_Otter

                Also consider: Market in Annisquam, run by Chez Panisse alums
                And Duckworth Bistro near Rocky Neck

                1. re: justbeingpolite

                  Not a fan of Market, they have this BOS business expense account attitude when it comes to their priceyness vs quality of their fare. Duckworth would be my option.

                  1. re: treb

                    Ditto on Market, great hype, less than stellar deliverables. Once had the nerve to feature a sardine as their seafood special and service was pretty awful. Great buzz but an overall buzz-kill.

              2. Thank you all for your recommendations.....will try to report back after my visit!

                9 Replies
                1. re: Gastronomic

                  Maybe you've been to G before, but Wingersheek (sp) Beach is special. And Annisquam gets beautiful sunsets.

                  I also encourage you to visit Marblehead and Salem during your 4 days. Marblehead is just so beautiful on the harbor (and there is a wonderful picnic park at the Lighthouse and across the harbor at Fort Sewall.) Exc. dinner at Five Corners Bistro in Mhead. In Salem, 62 on Wharf is a lovely small artisinal Italian spot where the chef/owner makes all his own pastas, and does lovely things w/ seafood. Also a comfortable quiet handsome spot.

                  Are you coming and returning through CT/ need any recs there/posting on the CT. or So. New Eng Board?

                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    I would have to add Virgilio's bakery on Main street in Gloucester to your list, the sandwich's and pizza are fantastic. Their chicken salad is one of the best I have ever had.

                    Capt. Carlos as mentioned by others is also very good with an outdoor deck on the water.

                    Stop by the Cape Ann Brewery for an IPA, they also have an outdoor deck.

                    1. re: drewinmrblhd

                      drew, that is so great to know about a good chicksalad sdwch there. Speaking of which, is there anywhere in Mblhd for exc sdwiches? we were sorely disappointed by that overpriced 'gourmet' market, S_________? sorry, can't remember name but we could really use a good sdwch place there, for our Ft Sewall visits.thx

                      1. re: opinionatedchef

                        Cafe Vesuvius or Marblehead Munchies are both very good. I prefer Vesuvius. I think you had been to Shubies, quite pricey for food but a fantastic wine selection. The Tuscany sandwich on foccacia bread from Vesuvius is awesome.

                        http://cafevesuvius.net/

                        Crocker Park on Front Street is also a nice place for a picnic and has a swimming dock.

                        1. re: drewinmrblhd

                          this is terrific; thk you :-}

                          and look at Crocker Park! i had no idea,,,

                          http://www.marblehead.org/index.aspx?...

                          1. re: drewinmrblhd

                            OC, sounds like you're talking about Shubie's in MBHD. Good wine/cheese/imported cold cuts but pricey.

                            I had a good lobster roll at The Muffin Shop a few years ago and good fried haddock and sole at Driftwood..chips..standard Sysco recently. Breakfast/lunch only.

                            Barnacle is a nice spot but I'm not a huge fan of their food.

                            1. re: drewinmrblhd

                              Just to be clear Marblehead is not near Cape Ann, about 45 - 60 mins by car south x southeast.

                              1. re: drewinmrblhd

                                The OP wanted to know about Cape Ann. Not Marblehead.

                            2. re: drewinmrblhd

                              I like their "Southwester" with hot capicola ham and olive salad. Head over to the Boulevard by the fisherman's statue and watch the boats go through the cut.

                        2. just to add my $.02- I like Down River Ice Cream on the Essex/Ipswich border- real home made whipped cream on the sundaes; Alexandra's Bread on Main St. in Gloucester makes good breads- flavorful chewy Whole Wheat as well as rolls, baguettes etc; and yummy chocolate chip cookies.
                          Open 8am to 3pm, closed Sunday and Monday. I've learned this because they often sell out.
                          The Willow Rest in Gloucester feels like another time and place, combination specialty grocer, produce market, and diner- for want of a better word.
                          Alchemy in Gloucester usually has a Groupon offer every day.

                          1. And if you make it to Salem don't miss Coffee Time bakery. Homemade, old fashioned goodies. I've had bismarcks that were to die for!

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: mtm7654

                              Salem is also not on Cape Ann and it would be way out of the way to go to Coffee Time from Rockport.

                              1. re: ipsofatso

                                i think you have not read through the thread, ips. or you would have seen that I encouraged the OP to visit Mbhd and Salem, and those responses were about that.

                                1. re: opinionatedchef

                                  Sorry, but it was a good thread drift nonetheless. Your post was not completely clear about where Cape Ann begins and ends. I once had a discussion with someone who insisted Amesbury was part of the peninsula. Rockport, Gloucester, Essex, Manchester, for the record.