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.
Barrel House in Beverly has become our main go-to place: great food of all sizes and descriptions without a pretentious atmosphere, interesting wine list, very creative craft cocktails. I also love Cielito Lindo (as long as you stay away from the Tex-Mex page, which is nothing remarkable) and their new taco place, Taqueria La Victoria. All in Beverly.
Life Alive in Salem is another place that's similar to Organic Cafe -- if you like juices, vegan, raw, etc, they're both actually excellent. Also i definitely second AJ King and 62 for Salem places.
penny's suggestions are good ones. Our experiences:
-cielito lindo (and boy do i wish i felt otherwise because the owners are so nice)--yech. but v good red pozole and flan.
- Howling Wolf has a few good things- the chile colorado sauce(in tacos, etc), sometimes the carne asada (in whatever), guac., red sangria; their Wings night on Wed. has a very good spicy sauce on the wings. LOUD and crazy on wkends though.
- 62 on Wharf- artisinal Italian; comfy and relaxing; exc bar and service. I really like his arancini and his current pasta w/ tuna crudo
The owners and chef from Lolita in Boston have opened a Salem outpost- Red Lulu. In Boston, we have liked their more creative and upscale take on Mex. but the scene there is not our thing.
For very cheap and filling Dominican take out food, La Fe in Lynn.
Do a CH search for many dedicated threads on all these places.
AJ King- great breads and croissants.
Atomic cafe- good coffee
Soall Bistro- decent Americanized Pho and Banh Me
Village Roast Beef- great North Shore style roast beef sandwiches.
Dubes- Awesome fried seafood.
Flying Saucer Pizza- O.K. Pizza great beer list.
Gulu Gulu- O .K. Sandwiches great beer list.
The chef of the much loved Trattiria Toscana near Fenway is opening a Restaurant in Salem very soon Firenze I believe.
Nick's Famous Roast Beef in Beverly for the tastiest roast beef sandwich. Also in the same area Depot Diner is very tasty for diner fare for breakfast (waffles, omelets) and lunch time (I've really liked the kabob salad and greek influenced specials). There's also a Pinkberry, which I have to admit a weakness for. Enjoy!
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.
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.
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.
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.