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a long line of people outside of a casual seafood restaurant
The line outside Woodman’s is always long — and always worth the wait
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

Where to Eat on Cape Ann

First go to Singing Beach, and then eat a box of fried clams at J.T. Farnham’s or Woodman’s

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The line outside Woodman’s is always long — and always worth the wait
| Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

Massachusetts boasts some truly breathtaking beaches, and Boston’s North Shore is home to some of the state’s best. And some of the best beaches on the North Shore can be found on Cape Ann — the state’s smaller, but not lesser, cape, which encompasses Essex, Gloucester, Manchester-by-the-Sea, and Rockport.

Cape Ann isn’t just gorgeous marshland and scenic swimming destinations: It’s got great food, too. Whether you’re looking for a seafood shack or something more upscale, a quaint bistro or a greasy spoon diner, Cape Ann has you covered.

Here’s a map to get you started visiting some of the best restaurants on Cape Ann this summer.

The latest CDC guidance for vaccinated diners during the COVID-19 outbreak is here; dining out still carries risks for unvaccinated diners and workers. Please be aware of changing local rules, and check individual restaurant websites for any additional restrictions such as mask requirements. Find a local vaccination site here.

This map was originally published on June 6, 2018; it is updated periodically. The date of the most recent update appears above.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Roy Moore Lobster Co.

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Roy Moore Lobster Co. is one of the best spots for lobster on Cape Ann, if not the entirety of New England. The views on Bearskin Neck are stunning: Pop into one of the neighborhood’s many boutiques or galleries after lunch, and then walk down to Front Beach for a quick dip.

Roy Moore is open for outdoor dining and takeout and is not requiring its customers to wear masks.

A quaint seafood shack is made of aged wood and features a large lobster sign and American flag out front
Talk about quintessentially New England
Roy Moore Lobster Co./Facebook

J.T. Farnham's

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J.T. Farnham’s might be the home of the best fried clams in the world, and it’s great for marshland bird-watching as well. After the clams and the birds, head into the center of town for some antiquing.

Farnham’s is open for indoor dining, outdoor dining, and takeout, and it is not requiring its customers to wear masks.

Closeup on the yellow rectangular sign on the side of a gray-shingled restaurant exterior. The sign reads “Farnham’s Famous Clams” and includes a clam.
The best fried clams on earth
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

Windward Grille Restaurant

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The Windward Grille has one of the prettiest bars you’ll ever see, and the main building is over three centuries old. The restaurant serves food from the surf and food from the turf equally well. Be very North Shore and get steak tips and fried clams.

Windward Grille is open for indoor dining and takeout.

windward grille
Exterior of a large white house on flat grassland with a blue sky in the background
Windward Grille/Facebook

CK Pearl

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What we talk about when we talk about marsh views. Sitting on the back deck is the only move at CK Pearl. Go for the raw bar — littlenecks, oysters, and shrimp — and then get an order of smoked bluefish pate.

CK Pearl is open for indoor dining, outdoor dining, and takeout, and it is not requiring its customers to wear masks.

Marshland waterfront view from a wooden deck lined with yellow chairs
Can’t beat this view with a stick
CK Pearl/Facebook

Woodman's of Essex

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Woodman’s of Essex has been around since 1914 and started serving fried clams two years later. While Woodman’s likes to say it’s the birthplace of the fried clam, the dish appeared on a menu at Boston’s Omni Parker House decades earlier, but Woodman’s certainly popularized and perfected it over the course of the last century. Another must-try at Woodman’s: the clam chowder. Open year-round.

Woodman’s is open for indoor dining, outdoor dining, and takeout, and it is not requiring its customers to wear masks.

On top of a red and white checkered tablecloth, a cardboard tray is stacked high with fried onion rings, clams, and fries, with little paper cups of red ketchup to the side.
The fried clams at Woodman’s are among the original fried clams
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Essex Seafood

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This Rte. 133 icon was destroyed by a fire last spring, but it has since rebuilt and reopened in the same location. While its views are less breathtaking than those of the other Essex restaurants on this list, Essex Seafood’s cuisine more than makes up for it. Get a lobster, and get some fried clams.

Essex Seafood is open for indoor dining, outdoor dining, and takeout, and it is not requiring its customers to wear masks.

Exterior of a small white restaurant with signage reading Essex Seafood in bold red print
Essex Seafood is a little rough around the edges, but damn are those fried clams top tier
Essex Seafood/Facebook

Azorean Restaurant & Bar

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We can’t talk Gloucester without talking Portuguese food. This spot, influenced by the food of the Azores, does a perfect version of Portuguese soup (kale, potatoes, red and white beans, rice, linguiça), and the octopus salad is not to be slept on. Hop in the car after the meal and drive the five minutes to Stage Fort Park for great views of Gloucester harbor.

Azorean Restaurant & Bar is open for indoor dining, outdoor dining, and takeout, and it is not requiring its customers to wear masks.

exterior of a very rectangular, off-white building with signage reading Azorean Restaurant & Bar. A wrought-iron fence and some tall evergreens embellish the front.
Get the octopus
Azorean Restaurant & Bar/Facebook

Tacos Lupita

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Cape Ann isn’t all seafood and marsh views, folks. Thanks to Tacos Lupita, there are great tacos on Cape Ann as well. Get the lengua. Always get the lengua. The menudo soup (this is made with tripe, or cow’s stomach) is also a must.

Tacos Lupita is open for indoor dining and takeout, and it is not requiring its customers to wear masks.

closeup on a plate of tacos
A good taqueria on Cape Ann, you say?
Tacos Lupita/Facebook

Sugar Magnolias

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About as good as brunch gets on Cape Ann. Sugar Magnolias (cue the best Grateful Dead song) does a lot of things well. Get the crab cake Benedict, then hop in the car and book it to Good Harbor Beach.

Sugar Magnolias is not requiring its customers to wear masks.

Closeup on an oval-shaped restaurant sign that says “Sugar Magnolia’s — cuz it tastes good” in white font on a dark green background, embellished with a flower.
Your brunch move
Sugar Magnolias/Facebook

Passports

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This adorable space is located in the heart of downtown Gloucester. Passports’s menu is all over the place, but in this case that’s a good thing. An eater can’t go wrong with Thai duck, fried haddock, paella, or an oyster po’ boy.

Passports is open for indoor dining, outdoor dining, and takeout, and it is not requiring its customers to wear masks.

A tray of popovers sits on a white surface
Fresh popovers from Passports
Passports/Facebook

The Causeway Restaurant

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This local favorite on Essex Avenue is the spot for baked scallops or linguine in clam sauce. And it’s a quick walk or drive from Stage Fort Park and Stacy Boulevard.

The Causeway is open for indoor dining, outdoor dining (no table service), and takeout, and it is not requiring its customers to wear masks.

Plate of fried seafood and fries
Many fried sea treats from the Causeway
The Causeway/Facebook

Short & Main

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Partly owned and operated by a couple of Chez Panisse alums, Short & Main is serving some special food (and wine) on Cape Ann. The wood oven turns out fresh bread (and much more), and the oyster list is vast and ever-changing.

Short & Main reopened for indoor dining on May 28, 2021, and is also offering takeout.

Closeup on a white plate of a white fish filet with pesto and other accoutrements
A pretty plate at Short and Main
Short & Main/Facebook

Tonno Restaurant

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The seasonal risotto is a great way to start a meal at Tonno, and the cioppino is perfect for cold, seaside nights. The restaurant, which also has a location in Wakefield, is the sibling spot to Prezza in Boston’s North End.

Tonno is open for indoor dining and outdoor dining (reserve here.)

Several plump pieces of raw tuna are arranged in a line across a white plate with a blue border and garnished with several accoutrements, including a drizzle of oil.
Yellowfin tuna crudo at Tonno
Tonno/Instagram

Black Arrow

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Brenden Crocker, the former owner of the Old Spot in Salem and the Wild Horse Café in Beverly, returned to his hometown of Manchester-by-the-Sea last year to open Black Arrow. He’s since received very good reviews. Cove views abound.

Black Arrow is open for indoor dining. Call ahead for availability and hours of operation.

A pan-seared filet of a white fish is garnished with microgreens and sits atop a pile of grains and greens. There’s a thick swoosh of a pinkish orange sauce on the side of the white plate.
Fancy fish at Black Arrow
Black Arrow/Facebook

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Roy Moore Lobster Co.

A quaint seafood shack is made of aged wood and features a large lobster sign and American flag out front
Talk about quintessentially New England
Roy Moore Lobster Co./Facebook

Roy Moore Lobster Co. is one of the best spots for lobster on Cape Ann, if not the entirety of New England. The views on Bearskin Neck are stunning: Pop into one of the neighborhood’s many boutiques or galleries after lunch, and then walk down to Front Beach for a quick dip.

Roy Moore is open for outdoor dining and takeout and is not requiring its customers to wear masks.

A quaint seafood shack is made of aged wood and features a large lobster sign and American flag out front
Talk about quintessentially New England
Roy Moore Lobster Co./Facebook

J.T. Farnham's

Closeup on the yellow rectangular sign on the side of a gray-shingled restaurant exterior. The sign reads “Farnham’s Famous Clams” and includes a clam.
The best fried clams on earth
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

J.T. Farnham’s might be the home of the best fried clams in the world, and it’s great for marshland bird-watching as well. After the clams and the birds, head into the center of town for some antiquing.

Farnham’s is open for indoor dining, outdoor dining, and takeout, and it is not requiring its customers to wear masks.

Closeup on the yellow rectangular sign on the side of a gray-shingled restaurant exterior. The sign reads “Farnham’s Famous Clams” and includes a clam.
The best fried clams on earth
Terrence B. Doyle/Eater

Windward Grille Restaurant

windward grille
Exterior of a large white house on flat grassland with a blue sky in the background
Windward Grille/Facebook

The Windward Grille has one of the prettiest bars you’ll ever see, and the main building is over three centuries old. The restaurant serves food from the surf and food from the turf equally well. Be very North Shore and get steak tips and fried clams.

Windward Grille is open for indoor dining and takeout.

windward grille
Exterior of a large white house on flat grassland with a blue sky in the background
Windward Grille/Facebook

CK Pearl

Marshland waterfront view from a wooden deck lined with yellow chairs
Can’t beat this view with a stick
CK Pearl/Facebook

What we talk about when we talk about marsh views. Sitting on the back deck is the only move at CK Pearl. Go for the raw bar — littlenecks, oysters, and shrimp — and then get an order of smoked bluefish pate.

CK Pearl is open for indoor dining, outdoor dining, and takeout, and it is not requiring its customers to wear masks.

Marshland waterfront view from a wooden deck lined with yellow chairs
Can’t beat this view with a stick
CK Pearl/Facebook

Woodman's of Essex

On top of a red and white checkered tablecloth, a cardboard tray is stacked high with fried onion rings, clams, and fries, with little paper cups of red ketchup to the side.
The fried clams at Woodman’s are among the original fried clams
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Woodman’s of Essex has been around since 1914 and started serving fried clams two years later. While Woodman’s likes to say it’s the birthplace of the fried clam, the dish appeared on a menu at Boston’s Omni Parker House decades earlier, but Woodman’s certainly popularized and perfected it over the course of the last century. Another must-try at Woodman’s: the clam chowder. Open year-round.

Woodman’s is open for indoor dining, outdoor dining, and takeout, and it is not requiring its customers to wear masks.

On top of a red and white checkered tablecloth, a cardboard tray is stacked high with fried onion rings, clams, and fries, with little paper cups of red ketchup to the side.
The fried clams at Woodman’s are among the original fried clams
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Essex Seafood

Exterior of a small white restaurant with signage reading Essex Seafood in bold red print
Essex Seafood is a little rough around the edges, but damn are those fried clams top tier
Essex Seafood/Facebook

This Rte. 133 icon was destroyed by a fire last spring, but it has since rebuilt and reopened in the same location. While its views are less breathtaking than those of the other Essex restaurants on this list, Essex Seafood’s cuisine more than makes up for it. Get a lobster, and get some fried clams.

Essex Seafood is open for indoor dining, outdoor dining, and takeout, and it is not requiring its customers to wear masks.

Exterior of a small white restaurant with signage reading Essex Seafood in bold red print
Essex Seafood is a little rough around the edges, but damn are those fried clams top tier
Essex Seafood/Facebook

Azorean Restaurant & Bar

exterior of a very rectangular, off-white building with signage reading Azorean Restaurant & Bar. A wrought-iron fence and some tall evergreens embellish the front.
Get the octopus
Azorean Restaurant & Bar/Facebook

We can’t talk Gloucester without talking Portuguese food. This spot, influenced by the food of the Azores, does a perfect version of Portuguese soup (kale, potatoes, red and white beans, rice, linguiça), and the octopus salad is not to be slept on. Hop in the car after the meal and drive the five minutes to Stage Fort Park for great views of Gloucester harbor.

Azorean Restaurant & Bar is open for indoor dining, outdoor dining, and takeout, and it is not requiring its customers to wear masks.

exterior of a very rectangular, off-white building with signage reading Azorean Restaurant & Bar. A wrought-iron fence and some tall evergreens embellish the front.
Get the octopus
Azorean Restaurant & Bar/Facebook

Tacos Lupita

closeup on a plate of tacos
A good taqueria on Cape Ann, you say?
Tacos Lupita/Facebook

Cape Ann isn’t all seafood and marsh views, folks. Thanks to Tacos Lupita, there are great tacos on Cape Ann as well. Get the lengua. Always get the lengua. The menudo soup (this is made with tripe, or cow’s stomach) is also a must.

Tacos Lupita is open for indoor dining and takeout, and it is not requiring its customers to wear masks.

closeup on a plate of tacos
A good taqueria on Cape Ann, you say?
Tacos Lupita/Facebook

Sugar Magnolias

Closeup on an oval-shaped restaurant sign that says “Sugar Magnolia’s — cuz it tastes good” in white font on a dark green background, embellished with a flower.
Your brunch move
Sugar Magnolias/Facebook

About as good as brunch gets on Cape Ann. Sugar Magnolias (cue the best Grateful Dead song) does a lot of things well. Get the crab cake Benedict, then hop in the car and book it to Good Harbor Beach.

Sugar Magnolias is not requiring its customers to wear masks.

Closeup on an oval-shaped restaurant sign that says “Sugar Magnolia’s — cuz it tastes good” in white font on a dark green background, embellished with a flower.
Your brunch move
Sugar Magnolias/Facebook

Passports

A tray of popovers sits on a white surface
Fresh popovers from Passports
Passports/Facebook

This adorable space is located in the heart of downtown Gloucester. Passports’s menu is all over the place, but in this case that’s a good thing. An eater can’t go wrong with Thai duck, fried haddock, paella, or an oyster po’ boy.

Passports is open for indoor dining, outdoor dining, and takeout, and it is not requiring its customers to wear masks.

A tray of popovers sits on a white surface
Fresh popovers from Passports
Passports/Facebook

The Causeway Restaurant

Plate of fried seafood and fries
Many fried sea treats from the Causeway
The Causeway/Facebook

This local favorite on Essex Avenue is the spot for baked scallops or linguine in clam sauce. And it’s a quick walk or drive from Stage Fort Park and Stacy Boulevard.

The Causeway is open for indoor dining, outdoor dining (no table service), and takeout, and it is not requiring its customers to wear masks.

Plate of fried seafood and fries
Many fried sea treats from the Causeway
The Causeway/Facebook

Short & Main

Closeup on a white plate of a white fish filet with pesto and other accoutrements
A pretty plate at Short and Main
Short & Main/Facebook

Partly owned and operated by a couple of Chez Panisse alums, Short & Main is serving some special food (and wine) on Cape Ann. The wood oven turns out fresh bread (and much more), and the oyster list is vast and ever-changing.

Short & Main reopened for indoor dining on May 28, 2021, and is also offering takeout.

Closeup on a white plate of a white fish filet with pesto and other accoutrements
A pretty plate at Short and Main
Short & Main/Facebook

Tonno Restaurant

Several plump pieces of raw tuna are arranged in a line across a white plate with a blue border and garnished with several accoutrements, including a drizzle of oil.
Yellowfin tuna crudo at Tonno