Boston Hounds Moving North
My DC and I are moving to Newburyport after 10+ years in the Boston area. Some of our current area favorites are Myers & Chang, Craigie, The Abbey, Oleana, Puritan & Co and all the standards frequented by our fellow Hounds.
So as much as I like to think we'll come back to Boston for dinner on the weekend (or drive to Portland!), I'd love to hear what some of Newburyport's all-stars are. We need a place with a strong beverage program, maybe a go-to burger, something for a lazy Sunday night dinner, a good breakfast spot, and of course a reliable fish market.
Any local Hounds have suggestions of how to wean oneself off city dining? :)
Newbport- what a beautiful town. For historic architecture and streetscapes, I think it's MA's best. And boy is it a culturally active community as well. Congrats!
I'm sure you've done a Search and seen the more recent CH threads, so I'll mention a few places that we've enjoyed enough to be destinations from the Boston area. (We are big fans of M+Chang and Oleana,Ribelle, Sarma...)
The Deck at the Marina:
Glenn's Galley has been in Nbport for a very long time now but we haven't been there in maybe 8 yrs. Last time it was as delicious and diverse and great music- as ever- but it seemed expensive to us.
I'm sure that a number of local CHs will give you lots more N advice.
Portsmouth, just a 20-30 min. drive, is a great town as well , w/ a very active young chef scene. Black Trumpet Bistro is in a terrific historic warehouse and imo the chef/owner is P's best; Evan is the essence of farm and sea to table commitment, and is always introducing unusual new discoveries, from spices to fruit to seafood.
360 degrees is a tres casual funky bar resto w/ a v good bibimbap and a devoted local following.
The Press Room- we ate there for the first time a few months ago during an Anais Mitchell gig and the food was really excellent- (I had no idea! what a surprise
)Mexican and Cajun dishes were very authentic.
The Friendly Toast- funky retro space and menu for bkfast, brunch, lu,etc.
just FYI, the Music Theater in P is a fantastic building and venue for films and a very full schedule of performances. We often will drive up there for dinner and a show like Lyle Lovett or Rufus Wainwright; much more intimate space than many venus in Boston.
Nbport has a small funky film venue, The Screening Room, that shows consistently good Kendall Sq.-like films.
Our entire family has migrated to Newburyport, Plum Island, and Amesbury - we love the area, and there are some really nice options. The obvious (relative) newbies are Brine and Ceia - which are both delicious. We like to sit at the bar at 10 Center for the tacos. Another little gem on State Street is Loretta's - we had a delightful lunch one day a few weeks ago - the service was a tad slow, but the food was fresh and very good. While others complain about the price/value at the Plum Island Grille, we love it - the fish is always very fresh and cooked perfectly. You also cannot beat the location for a perfect cocktail on the deck as the sun goes down over the flats. My father and brother like a locals place - Park Lunch, where I have not been yet - good burgers, steamers, pizza, sandwiches. For breakfast I love the Riverside Cafe - just a good breakfast all around. If you want to trek out to the island, Mad Martha's is excellent. It abuts our summer house so we are regs. MM's also has a Thursday wine tasting, which is lovely. You can get takeout at MMs and head over to the beach across the street for your morning coffee. For the best fried seafood and lobster roll (arguably) around - Bob Lobster on the PI Turnpike is pure summer (or winter for that matter as they are open year round). I don't love the food at the Grog, but it is a lively pub - you can bring the kids - standard pub fare - fun atmosphere and there is music. We also love the Mission Oak Tavern - the menu is huge - you can get all manner of seafood and steaks - nothing earth moving - but good for what it is. Michael's food is OK - best bet there is a drink at the outside bar while listening to the cover band. There's probably more - I will add on as I think of it. Hope this helps. You are spoiled for choices in anything you want to do in Newburyport - the location and the community are about the best on earth. We love it here.
re: Small Plates
+2 on each of Ceia for more upscale, urbane cuisine with a good bar program, and the Park Lunch for the complete opposite. I'm chiming in mainly to add that Park Lunch has the best fried clams I'm aware of; while I haven't braved the line at the Clam Box, Park Lunch blows Farnham's and Woodman's out of the water. Note, however, that there are no reservations, and lines can be long for a table at prime time (which being the north shore means 6pm). The Grog has a good beer list and excellent thin broth clam chowder, though other than that I'd stick to the grilled shrimp caesar and call it a day. The Newburyport Farmers' Market is a good Sunday morning destination, with live music and usually a vendor or two selling good pastries and coffee; hopefully the produce will improve as we get later into the season, as it's been a bit disappointing so far.
In Amesbury try Restaurant Molise for Italian, Ale House, Flat Bread Co, Hodgies Ice Cream, Bob Seafood on Plum Island for seafood and Mad Martha's for breakfast. I'd avoid Glenn's Galley, pricey and barely average.
FWIW, this from a major foodie friend who's been up there ~10 yrs.:
<There is nothing that equals the restaurants the CHs mention. But David's Seafood is an excellent fish market. Anna Rosa for bread. Park Lunch for fried clams and traditional burgers. Great American BBQ for great American BBQ. Riverwalk to fill a growler.
Most of the places people mention as being the top restaurants - Ceia, Loretta's, Crudo, Plum Island Grill etc. - have Boston prices but not the same quality or sense of adventure. I just find them annoying. That's why it's nice to sit at The Deck, that's more of a Newburyport thing. Once in a while I like going to Glenn's as a neighborhoody dinner place with pretty good drinks and steaks. Ale house in Amesbury for decent burgers and a very good beer list. There are no great cocktails anywhere. So OK, I'm a curmudgeon. Anyway, these hounds will hit everyplace there is in the first month or two and can form their own opinions pretty quick.
I guess I could mention a couple of beer gems - Earth Eagle in downtown Portsmouth, WHYM in Hampton on route 1.
Also maybe to mention that Newburyport Brewing Co has utterly mediocre beer but it is really fun to go there early friday and saturday evenings, when a band is playing. And you could do MUCH worse than to hang out at the Beach Coma in Plum Island. Another burger and beer place with very reasonable prices, a local crowd, good relaxed atmosphere and sometimes good pub style food.>
As someone who has lived in the area all their life, and summered in Plum Island all their life, I disagree with you and your who ever your foodie friend is other than Annarosa;s (spelt correctly) in Salisbury on Rte. 110, and David's Seafood which is an excellent fish market, as is the Newbury Market Basket fish counter.
It's also called American Barbecue in Rowley for decent Q not great.
New really small burger place on State St. called Lexie's on State. Nice place for a quick burger & fires, or to take out. Great prices too!
Don't ya think most of the places people are mentioning being the top restaurants, are the top restaurants for the Newburyport area and not Boston?
Loretta;s isn't any dinning destination by any means, and has nothing in common with Plum Island Grille, Ceia or Brine other than they are in the same town. It's a really nice place for lunch or dinner with great quality and value for what they serve.
Ceia and Brine could compete in Boston, and their pricing is on par with just about every restaurant like them on the north shore, and again the quality is as good as you'll find anywhere on the north shore or Boston so if you're speaking for a third party, wtf are you talking about?
Newburyport will give you the best sense of adventure on the North Shore and Salem for entertainment and options to dine, but it's just a small town and the surrounding towns are small family towns...some with some good dinning options.
What we find about the area is it get's boring because the choices are limited in each of the towns, and when you know where to go in all the towns you are then out of options.
So when we want a night out, rather than go to Salem or Portsmouth we head to Boston because compared to the North Shore area, the Boston area offers endless choices of places to go.
To the original poster, the area offers some good to very good restaurant options, bakeries, butchers (Fowles Market), cheese shops (Joppa Fine Foods and grand Trunk), farms and farmers markets, as well as places to entertain yourselves for just about all your needs, and you'll figure out what you like and don't like sooner than you think.
If you have any questions or request keep them coming.
I know a guy who knows a guy, but I won't speak for him. It will come from my own experiences, and not a place I visited once a while ago, or never visited at all.