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Newburyport area?

I'm not sure if Newburyport still qualifies as the "Greater Boston Area". That said, my boyfriend and I will be staying there this weekend, and would love ideas for places to eat. I'm guessing at least some of the restaurants in town are tourist traps or should be avoided.

What's good? Restaurants in Newburyport itself is best, but we'd drive for something great.

I've been to Brine before and liked it enough, but don't necessarily want to go back.

Also, we've been affected by the furlough, so the cheaper the better!

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  1. Sit at the bar and grab a few apps at Enzo. Don't forget a bagel at Abraham's- yum!

    1. Sorry to hear about the furlough - my husband is furloughed as well. :( That said, you deserve a good meal, and I would say - try Ceia - I love everything on the menu - they have the "farm to table" claim - and everything is always fresh. For something a bit more rustic, head out to Plum Island and along the Turnpike - just before the bridge - is Bob Lobster - a clam shack, which serves the most delicious fried clams and scallops. Their lobster roll is good, too and is a good value. I have not been there since our Plum Island vacation a few months back, but the lobsters were pretty cheap - call ahead and order - chicks for $5.99 lb plus $.50 for steaming. You can't beat that. Back to Newbuyport - Agave is pretty good Mexican. Glen's Restaurant and Cool Bar is really good. The tourist traps are The Grog, Michael's Harborside, and I would throw in The Port Tavern, even though we are faithful there because my dad likes it. I would have a drink at either of those touristy places, however because you can't beat the view at Michael's and the Port and The Grog have entertainment and a lively atmosphere. OH - just forgot - even though this place is considered by some part of a local chain - I think the food is excellent - 10 Center. Mission Oak Grill - same thing.



      Ten Center
      http://www.tencenterstreet.com/dinner The fried chicken with the pistachio sage waffles were the best chix/waffles dish I've had! The tacos were great too.

      Mission Oak Grill
      http://www.missionoakgrill.com/food-m... I always order off the apps menu

      Bob Lobster

      1. Not a big fan of Enzo but YMMV. Take a drive down Scenic 1A (just be mindful for the locals who want to go the speed limit plus 5) and go to Gloucester, check out 'Short and Main' for oysters, pizza beer or The Franklin. If you stay in the Port, I do like 10 Center and Glens, but they can be $$$. Avoid The Black Cow unless you just want a burger but then...why? For Fried clams if that is your thing try The Clam Box in Ipswich or Farnhams in Essex.

        1. I don't know if this is a local greasy spoon or a hidden find: The Park Lunch on Merrimac St, Newburyport. I heard a couple of locals talking (after a bird walk with Mass Audubon) last year and they said it's the only place they go.

          The menu looks pedestrian, but you never know- their seafood might be very good. There's a place in Gloucester, Charlie's Place that has the same vibe, but the seafood and homestyle cooking are good.

          1 Reply
          1. re: gracenote

            Park Lunch is definitely a place the locals go to. Not a greasy spoon, but not a place worth seeking out unless you want some good fresh fried clams, scallops, or haddock. Good prices and a local vibe.

            Annarosa's Bakery on Rte. 110 in Salisbury is well worth visiting for fantastic bread and pastries which you could pair up with some nice cheeses and cured meats from Joppa Fine Foods or Grand Trunk both in downtown Newburyport and then find a nice spot with a view to enjoy for a lunch or snack.

            Sunday morning there is a Farmer's Market in the Tannery parking lot to explore.

            Mad Martha's on Plum Island, and Angie's Coffee Shop downtown Newburyport, are both popular places for breakfast.

            I would agree about avoiding Black Cow, Michael's Harborside, The Grog, and The Port Tavern.

            I like Ten Center Street, Bob Lobster, and Ceia that have already been mentioned.

            You are not very far from Agawam Diner in Rowley which has excellent fried seafood, and other daily specials at great prices.

            I hope you have a nice weekend!

          2. Thanks for the ideas, all! I'll report back next week.

            3 Replies
            1. re: nyc_to_ma

              man, you're coming from the best food city on the East Coast, so i will answer very cautiously. Newbport is one of the most handsome towns in all of New England; exquisite. but the food has always been lacking. Really did not like Ceia; faux chef, faux food.Agave very substandard Mex. Have heard exc things about new neighboring town bakery:

              Glen's can be good for dinner, but hands down, i'd send you 1/2 hour north to Black Trumpet in Portsmouth.Great romantic historic warehouse space, innovative artisinal cuisine and bar; farm and sea to table. For casual Portsmouth lunch, 360 Street for Intntl street food, or Clam Box in Ipswich.Portsmouth is also historic beautiful; great for walking and window shopping. Very popular craft beers and lunch at Portsmouth Brewery too.

              You may want to do some Searches on the Northern New Eng board. Have a beautiful stay!

              1. re: opinionatedchef

                I'm not sure when you last visited Ceia however; they replaced the faux chef you are referring about a year ago, and the kitchen has improved greatly with this new guy.

                As for the new neighboring town bakery you mention, if you are referring to Annarosa's Bakery, they have been in the Newburyport/Salisbury area for over 15 years so they wouldn't be that new unless you are just hearing about them.

                While I like the Black Trumpet in Portsmouth, it's not a place I would rec. for someone effected by the furlough, and requesting the cheaper the better.

                1. re: Infomaniac

                  man, so glad you told me that. so plse, what's the new chef like- talent-wise? and what do you think of annarosa's? maybe i mixed them up w/ a french bakery in Newburyport that i heard about starting a few yrs ago?

                  as far as furlough, it's possible OP will be wowed by Bl Trumpet enough to eat there, and decide to save elsewhere.....i just wanted them to know about it.thx again.

            2. We had a great lunch at Loretta recently. I believe it is next door to Brine. Hubby had a burger, and I had an oyster po-boy that was a daily special. Both were excellent. We ate at one of their outside tables since we had our dog with us, so I can't address the interior of the restaurant. We'll definitely go back.

              On the other side of things, we had an awful experience at Ten Center Street a couple of weeks ago. We had reservations, but had to wait almost 30 minutes for a table. We were seated in the downstairs bar room which had so many tables crammed in there that we would have had to asked someone from another table to stand up if we had needed to go to the restroom. In the middle of the chaos, there was only one waitress working all of the tables. The food was good - not outstanding - but we won't be back because of the service.

              1 Reply
              1. re: maestrette

                Sorry to hear about your bummer experience at Ten Center Street, and thanks for the reminder about Loretta's which I have not been to yet but keep hearing good things about this place.

              2. I would skip Bob's Lobster. I went only once and we found it very underwhelming...

                1. Big fan of Brine, sorry you weren't impressed enough to return. The third floor of Ceia is wonderful. Jewel In The Crown is really good for Indian, their combo biryani is really good and they'll crank up the heat upon request. Avoid Agave as the last few times I've been there the fare was a notch above cat food. However, Agave's tequila selection is fantastic and worth a visit for that. Enzo really wowed me on my first two visits not so much now, but their cocktail program is Good. 10 Center is pretty good with their risotto being a favorite, sit at the downstairs bar.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ScubaSteve

                    Definitely sit at the downstairs bar at 10 Center.

                  2. I would definitely recommend the Arrowhead Farmers' Market at the Tannery (State & Federal Sts) on Sunday. Also, Middle St. Foods is open again. They are serving Sunday Brunch (I believe 9 am - 1). Freshly prepared food, lower price points. Park Lunch is a local spot, very reasonable. Agree that Bob Lobster isn't what it used to be. Enjoy!

                    1. Go to the grog! I wouldn't call it a tourist trap at all. Awesome town bar right off the main street and foods awesome! Great list of beers too. There's a Thai place called brown sugar that's good, and a awesome pizza place in the next town over (amesbury) called flat bread.
                      People love the Mexican placed Agave, but moving here from San Diego, I don't think it's worth it at all.. I've heard Ceia is great but haven't been. Don't go to the black cow, foods gone way down hill over the past few years, that's a tourist trap. Have fun!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: erinkeely

                        I loved the beer selection at the Grog - and that you can get 4 oz samples proportionately priced as a full pint. Had fun interacting with some friendly locals there.

                        But stay away from the $1 oysters - even if they offer you a $1 to eat them.

                      2. Just had a couple of memorable Newburyport visits so I'll chime in. We stopped into Ceia over the summer and enjoyed it so much I opted to return for a birthday dinner last month. It is largely Iberian with some French / Italian. We enjoyed everything, particularly the charcuterie appetizer..

                        We had lunch from Starboard Galley yesterday which has been there forever. It has just about any kind of standard seafood you would expect, some distinctive specials, decent prices,and what looked like a recent upgrade to the dining room with a great view and outdoor deck. A crate of apples in the bar from the fruitful tree outside - take one for your pocket on the way out. Very nice staff, too.

                        38 State St.

                        Starboard Galley
                        55 Water St.

                        1. Thanks all for the suggestions! Despite the rain, we had a nice weekend.

                          Friday night we went to Loretta, which was enjoyable but nothing spectacular. It's a good neighborhood spot, and would return if I was in the area again.

                          Saturday night we ended up at Ceia, mostly because we waited to go to dinner until after the Sox game was over, and it seemed to be the only place open. We split a bunch of appetizers, and 3 of the 4 were really fantastic - the heirloom tomato salad, octopus, and mussels. The only 'miss' were the meatballs.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: nyc_to_ma

                            Thank you for the follow up, and glad to hear you had a nice weekend!

                          2. I realize the OP has come and gone from Newburyport, but for future searchers, I thought I'd add Lexie's on State to the mix. I ate there are few days ago and greatly enjoyed it. It's a low-key, casual place primarily serving burgers and fries. Lots of great toppings for the burger and it is served on a potato roll. I got the special Hobbs (?) fries topped with BBQ and ranch sauce, bacon, scallions, etc and thought they were worth the calories (they seemed hand cut to me). I tried some of the truffle fries and would probably order them on my next visit. The burgers were on the small size which was perfect for me but I think my dining companions would have been happier with something larger so order accordingly. The seats weren't the most comfortable but for a quick burger, it was fine. The place seems popular and we had to wait a few minutes for a table on a Thursday before noon but the turnover was fairly quick.

                            Apparently Lexie's is associated with Lexie's Joint in Portsmouth but I've never eaten there so I can't compare.

                            1. Heading up for another Newburyport weekend soon... is there anything new and notable in the area? We loved Ceia last year so we'll definitely head back there.


                              3 Replies
                              1. re: nyc_to_ma

                                We had dinner at Brine a few weeks ago, and it was out of this world!! Here are some photos of the buttered lobster, brioche, cucumber, zucchini, and mascarpone salad, arctic char with house made tarragon linguine, and cod with corn, asparagus, and chanterelles. Truly amazing!


                                1. re: Small Plates

                                  Brine is definitely my favorite restaurant in the area right now!

                                2. re: nyc_to_ma

                                  sounds like Brine is a great addition to the dining scene up there. I also continue to be a fan of Black Trumpet in Portsmouth (have you been up there? V. diff from Newbport but also similar with big area of great architecture, well preserved and well maintained. Driving around the charming island of NewMarket is a treat too.)
                                  Last year, we discovered The Deck at the Marina in Salisbury, just across the bridge ; it's a beautiful view right on the river looking over to Newbport. Always a lovely breeze. Hope you have a well earned restful vacation!

                                3. Just want to follow up to say that we went to Ceia for our 'nice' dinner out this weekend and were pretty disappointed. I was there about a year ago and really liked it, so maybe it was just an off night.

                                  We shared a bunch of appetizers instead of ordering entrees. Everything came out really fast - all 5 dishes were on the table within 10-15 minutes of ordering. The stuffed piquillo peppers mostly just tasted like refrigerated EZ cheese and cheap pimento peppers - they were pretty gross. The $15 shrimp dish was just 3 (poorly seasoned, slightly overcooked) shrimp. I liked the chilled octopus - that was a highlight - though the octopus preparation the last time I was there was better. The burrata was tasty, but that's hard to mess up. And I didn't really care for the mackerel, though my partner did. For dessert we had the maple flan... it was fine, if a little Aunt Jemima-y.

                                  So, generally pretty disappointing - nothing was really fantastic.

                                  On the plus side, the Sunday Farmer's Market was great! And I had a fun popsicle at the (new, I think) Ice Lollies in town. Lastly, I really liked the takeout Indian from Jewel in the Crown.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: nyc_to_ma

                                    That's too bad. Brine is excellent beyond words. Funny that they have the same owner. My meal there a few weeks ago is among the best I had all summer.