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Vacation Help - Cape Ann Gloucester Rockport

Gastronomic Aug 14, 2012 06:31 AM

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. t
    treb RE: Gastronomic Aug 14, 2012 06:58 AM

    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
      Infomaniac RE: treb Aug 14, 2012 10:32 AM

      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
        treb RE: Infomaniac Aug 14, 2012 11:10 AM

        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
          Infomaniac RE: treb Aug 14, 2012 11:43 AM

          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
            opinionatedchef RE: Infomaniac Aug 14, 2012 10:31 PM

            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
              Infomaniac RE: opinionatedchef Aug 15, 2012 06:54 AM

              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
                hoohah RE: opinionatedchef Aug 17, 2012 11:33 AM

                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
                  opinionatedchef RE: hoohah Aug 17, 2012 12:31 PM

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

                  1. re: hoohah
                    opinionatedchef RE: hoohah Sep 22, 2012 01:47 PM

                    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. Science Chick RE: Gastronomic Aug 14, 2012 08:23 AM

          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).

          1. mtm7654 RE: Gastronomic Aug 14, 2012 09:41 AM

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

            1. Boston_Otter RE: Gastronomic Aug 14, 2012 09:57 AM

              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
                justbeingpolite RE: Boston_Otter Aug 14, 2012 10:51 AM

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

                1. re: justbeingpolite
                  treb RE: justbeingpolite Aug 14, 2012 11:09 AM

                  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
                    ipsofatso RE: treb Aug 15, 2012 08:21 AM

                    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. g
                Gastronomic RE: Gastronomic Aug 14, 2012 11:49 AM

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

                9 Replies
                1. re: Gastronomic
                  opinionatedchef RE: Gastronomic Aug 14, 2012 10:42 PM

                  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
                    drewinmrblhd RE: opinionatedchef Aug 15, 2012 11:02 AM

                    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
                      opinionatedchef RE: drewinmrblhd Aug 15, 2012 12:51 PM

                      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
                        drewinmrblhd RE: opinionatedchef Aug 15, 2012 01:05 PM

                        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.


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

                        1. re: drewinmrblhd
                          opinionatedchef RE: drewinmrblhd Aug 15, 2012 02:07 PM

                          this is terrific; thk you :-}

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


                          1. re: drewinmrblhd
                            9lives RE: drewinmrblhd Aug 15, 2012 02:44 PM

                            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
                              ipsofatso RE: drewinmrblhd Aug 18, 2012 06:21 AM

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

                              1. re: drewinmrblhd
                                ipsofatso RE: drewinmrblhd Aug 18, 2012 06:23 AM

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

                            2. re: drewinmrblhd
                              ipsofatso RE: drewinmrblhd Aug 18, 2012 05:36 PM

                              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. g
                          gracenote RE: Gastronomic Aug 15, 2012 05:05 PM

                          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. mtm7654 RE: Gastronomic Aug 16, 2012 07:59 AM

                            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
                              ipsofatso RE: mtm7654 Aug 18, 2012 06:22 AM

                              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
                                opinionatedchef RE: ipsofatso Aug 18, 2012 01:24 PM

                                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
                                  ipsofatso RE: opinionatedchef Aug 18, 2012 05:34 PM

                                  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.

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