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Gloucester/Cape Ann ideas

My friends and I go to Cape Ann every year about this time, and we typically hit a few favorite spots: Roy Moore, Captain Carlos, Passports, Lee's, and sometimes Sugar Magnolia's. One place we always visit for a big dinner is Alchemy, which has gotten surprisingly excellent. Sadly, they're closed for renovations.

The Alchemy folks recommended Latitude 43 and called it their "sister restaurant", but their menu looks sort of generic and expensive, and the last reviews of the place were from 5 yrs ago and called it mediocre. Anyone been lately?

I know there's lots of love for Duckworth and Franklin, but we're a bit budget-conscious... any other thoughts?

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  1. Short and Main: pizza and oysters from the folks at Market in Annisquam (another place to try)
    The Causeway (for value but not atmosphere) good fried food.
    Halibut Point

    1 Reply
    1. re: justbeingpolite

      I Second Short and Main! Love the food, atmosphere, drinks and the bartenders.

    2. Never been, but a co-worker raves about The Causeway Restaurant in Gloucester


      1. Halibut Point on Main St. may be a good option. The Causeway on 133 offers casual seafood and some Italian entrees plus it's BYOB. The Lobster Pool, in Rockport, has wonderful views and solid seafood and BYOB. All are affordable. If you go to Essex, there's The Village and in Ispwich, Zablignones. IMO, Lat 43 is just OK but, pricey.

        1. I'm a big fan of The Azorean Portugese restaurant.

          For sandwiches, salads and some other things, check out The Willow Rest.

          1. I agree with some of the ones mentioned:

            Short and Main
            Halibut Point

            The Causeway has big portions (easy to split a meal) and not just fried food and I generally think it’s pretty good. There is often a wait and they don't take res. The atmosphere is not so great but the plus is BYOB and value.

            We hit the 3 mentioned above often but Causeway maybe once a year.

            The best thing about Lat 43 for me is sitting at their outdoor patio overlooking the harbor on a beautiful day, so in those instances I will go there... usually for lunch.

            The Studio in Rocky Neck has renovated and reopened under new ownership (I think the owners of The Rudder). Anyone been? There is one review in Yelp since the reopening and it is so glowing that I am not sure if it is planted or not.

            I like The Rudder once in a while too, but that may be at a little higher price point than the others.

            1 Reply
            1. re: SEH

              If the Rudder is in your price range, it was the best dinner I had last summer. Check out their menu for prices. They also have several nightly specials that aren't on their menu. Reservations necessary and request an outside table.

            2. For good Mexican, Jalapenos is worth a try on Main Street.

              1. Halibut Point on Main St. gets a lot of praise for its chowder; Stone's Pub across the street is known for its burgers.

                Virgilios is great for sandwiches; Tacos Lupita has Mexican- both are essentially take out places.

                I think the rec for Lat 43 was simply a plug for another restaurant owned by the same group. What else could they say.

                All winter Short and Main had $1 oysters for the first and last hour of service, not sure if they still do.

                Agree about the Causeway, a real slice of local color, with a good basic menu.

                Farnhams in Essex is also good, - an eat in the rough kind of place.

                3 Replies
                1. re: gracenote

                  grace, have you had the chowder and could you describe it ? thick/thin, corn, bacon? herbs like thyme, or herbless? th you!

                  1. re: opinionatedchef

                    Well, I'm embarrassed to say I screwed up on this one. In Gloucester, Halibut Point gets praise for its chowder. I haven't had it, and the menu lists clam chowder, and Italian fish chowder with a spicy red broth. Halibut Point is a local bar/pub kind of place.

                    But I did go to Short and Main to ask about the $1 oyster special, specifically in response to your question, and the info further down is correct.

                    1. re: gracenote

                      thx so much, grace. must try it soon. and i'll call re the chowder.

                2. I forgot: Ohana might be a choice for your big dinner.

                  1. my hairdresser, a boater, says Lat.43 is crummy.

                    1. I tried Latitude 43 last year, and I was disappointed. It's not nearly as good as that group's other restaurants like Alchemy, 15 Walnut and Maggie's Farm.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: croutonweb

                        15 Walnut has great food but the service is lacking. What a surprise when you entrees arrive, then your salad, and then your appetizer. I guess we didn't remember to tell the server we would prefer our salad and appetizer to arrive prior to our entrees, our bad?

                      2. Thanks for all the great suggestions! Several of my group won't eat Mexican food so we're hitting Jalapenos before they join us, and it's a tossup as to whether we're going to Azorean, Short & Main, Ohana, or Passports.

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: Boston_Otter

                          Quick update:
                          Jalapeños was definitely a worthwhile stop. Very reasonably priced, and the mole sauce on my enchiladas was the best thing I ate all weekend.

                          Capt. Carlo's served up their usual massive portions of fried seafood, but their wholebellies were sort of scrawny and chewy, which was disappointing. Great chowder. I really miss when this place used to do a full clambake dinner for around $30... nowadays, even a little side of steamers is $15 by itself.

                          Due to various issues, we ended up not going out to any other restaurants after all. Ended up getting Chinese delivery from The Pilot House (?) and it was reasonably okay.

                          1. re: Boston_Otter

                            otter, might you plse describe that chowder? thx.

                            i was looking at the Jalapeno's menu the other day (referred by this thread)and it looked good so now i look forw to trying it.glad you liked it.

                            1. re: opinionatedchef

                              Their chowder is very thick but not gloppy/gluey, lots of big clam chunks. I know that a lot of folks prefer a more brothy chowder but it was a good hearty bowl.

                              We had several breakfasts at Lee's, which is always good. They have a dozen or so Benedicts, including a linguiça hash benny, fish cakes, steak, and other combos. I had the Pineapple Benedict (grilled pineapple, whole linguiça links) and enjoyed it very much.

                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                Maybe give Scratch Kitchen in Salem a shot for their clam chowder. Housemade bacon, lots of clams and cream.

                                Or if thick is your thing the Sail Loft has a very thick chowder loaded with dill.

                          2. Short and Main is very good. Great pizza and raw bar, italian wine and craft cocktails. Everything I want, under one roof.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: phipsi102

                              they got a positive small feature in the Globe sometime this past year or so; put it in my radar. Do you know if they have a $1 oyster deal, and if it includes Island Creeks? thx, ph.

                              1. re: opinionatedchef

                                Yes, they still have $ oysters first and last hours of service. They do usually have Island Creeks, and have a list that they update daily. Oysters are delivered fresh every day. Open at 5pm,close at different hours during the week; closed on Wednesdays.

                                1. re: gracenote

                                  Short & Main has $1 oysters for the first hour they're open too. At least that's what the sign by the door says.

                                  1. re: total13

                                    not really OT cuz we would try to combine it w/ short and main, but does anyone know if Gloucester is hosting any schooners this summer? We watched a bunch of them at Beauport 2? yrs ago, and it was thrilling!

                            2. The Market Restaurant in Annisquam is lovely. It might be out of your price range (entrees in the mid 20s), but others reading this thread may benefit from the suggestion.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: chefematician

                                Went there several times, food is passable at best, way over priced and over rated. Great view but, that's about it.

                                1. re: chefematician

                                  i have to say, they may have the shortest menu i've ever seen in a place with their price point! If you're a flexible eater (Flexible? what's that?!!) you're fine I guess.