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Aug 3, 2013 04:30 AM

So now we're in Swampscott. Where to eat?

Just moved here (close to the Marblehead line) from Newton, and are looking for the restaurants that will become our staples.

Have already found and thoroughly enjoyed The Blue Ox and and Five Corners Kitchen; thought that Gourmet Garden was perfectly serviceable suburban Chinese (Sichuan Gourmet it ain't, but sometimes you just want fried rice, dang it); found Paradiso for pretty good red sauce Italian; had a better experience than most of the Yelp reviews would indicate at Red Rocks Bistro (though we've only been for lunch and brunch, so maybe the infamous bar scene hadn't started up yet); and thought that Kame in Beverly was OK (we were spoiled by Oishii).

Unfortunately, a couple of the other places people have recommended for the area on Chowhound seem to have closed: City Grill sounded like it'd be a good spot for a burger and a beer, but alas is no longer; the Lyceum in Salem turned into 43 Church, and now that's closed too. Haven't yet found an occasion to go to 62 in Salem, but it's on the list.

So what are we missing? The towns are small around here, so anything in Lynn, Salem, Swampscott, Marblehead, Beverly and maybe Peabody would be helpful - or farther afield if it's worth it. We like anything and everything (pizza or Indian or new American or Vietnamese or Thai or French or...), just looking for the places that will fill up the three or four days a week we're too tired to cook or want to go out.

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  1. I'm not an expert on that area but when I'm going there and want a restaurant recommendation I follow North Shore Dish.

    These bloggers do a good job of keeping up with your new area. And if you click on their Restaurant and market index you'll see a list of the places they have covered.


    1. These probably aren't new to you since it is a small corner of the world, but places I've been meaning to try in Beverly are Hale Street Oysters, Barrel House, and Cielito Lindo. I thought the Organic Cafe was a cute place but that might not be your thang.

      1 Reply
      1. re: digga

        We had Beverly/North Shore on the brain yesterday, so we took off late afternoon. Stopped into Cielito Lindo's cute little taqueria, La Victoria. B hadn't eaten all day so he wanted a small snack of two tacos - Mexican sausage and steak. They do tacos right, with doubled-up pliable corn tortillas. He liked the steak but thought it a little dry but said the flavor was good. He felt it would benefit from a touch more saucing. Mexican sausage was the winner of the two - looked wonderfully sloppy joe-esque to me. ~ $6 for the two. We noticed a new "gourmet" Vietnamese place right on Cabot - forgot the name. Not quite open yet.

        Then off to Barrel House for an early dinner. At 4:30 pm, the place was empty so we had our pick of seats. Service at the big comfy bar was attentive and well-informed. One of the bartenders worked at Eastern Standard and it showed in the level of service. They offer free filtered still or sparkling water, which we appreciate since we like our bubbles. I stuck with a dry rose and B went with the Green Flash IPA and a spicy red that I don't remember. Small loaf of seeded Italian scali-like bread with maple sugary butter. We split the heirloom tomato and burrata salad. It was fine, but definitely not worth the $14 price tag with two tomatoes split in half, a ball of burrata, all on a bed of arugula with a rather pedestrian balsamic dressing (I generally find myself thinking that way about salads in restaurants, so I almost never order them). We then split the scallops dish - perfectly seared scallops (4 or 5 to an order?). Nice light meal as we were looking for. Company at the bar was convivial - J and J are regulars at Barrel House and if we lived closer, we would be, too. Place was packed by the time we left, around 6:30 pm. There was a block party going on outside, so it was a really festive scene! We ended the day with sunset dip at Wingaersheek.

      2. It's not the best Vietnamese around, but they do a few dishes very well...SugarCane in Peabody Square if you can't get to Lynn...Their bun (vermicelli on their menu) Bun Rieu (it's on the dinner menu) and Crab and Asparagus soup are winners...

        1 Reply
        1. re: galleygirl

          The Cahn Chua soup is also really good. It's very sour and despite it saying that it's only for two on the menu, you can order a single portion.

        2. i lived in salem for awhile and always enjoyed the grapevine. i know those owners have since sold, but i hear it remains solid.

          finz for oysters.

          1. Evan's Deli in Marblehead.

            Thai Market in Marblehead is good for takeout. Shubies in Marblehead is good for prepared foods and cheeses, etc.

            I like Howling Wolf in Salem (Mexican) a lot. But it can get touristy and crowded at times.

            The Landing in Marblehead....... on a nice day, lunch on their deck can be really nice because of the location. The food is not world class, but it is pretty consistently good for the basics. Their mussels are outstanding.