Sea Level Oyster Bar, Salem
Standout Qualities: Breezy views of Salem Harbor, the Tall Ship Friendship of Salem (which will be back in September after repairs), and surrounding national park land, all visible thanks to clear doors that roll down to keep bad weather at bay.
Philosophy: Permanent vacation. There isn’t a bad seat in the house, and the sound system keeps the party going with music from Bob Marley and the Beach Boys, as does sayings like “Wanna see my mussels?” on waitstaff T-shirts.
Fun Fact: The popcorn shrimp appetizer comes with actual popcorn.
In the works: The Newburyport location, expected to open by press time, will have two patios—one on the Merrimac River and one on Market Square.
94 Wharf St., Salem, 978-741-0555, sealeveloysterbar.com
C.K. Pearl, Essex
Fun Fact: Chef/owner Patrick Shea grew up in Essex and named the restaurant for his daughters, Copley and Kennlee.
112 Main St., Essex, 978-890-7378, ckpearl.com