1606 Restaurant at the Beauport, Gloucester
Philosophy: Luxury without pretense. Just like the hotel that houses it, 1606 offers guests a comfortable retreat with high-end polish.
What’s Unique: From its perch a full story off the ground, 1606 is all polished wood and carefully crafted millwork, treating visitors to panoramic views in a space that evokes a classic yacht, while the outdoor deck is more Newport than North Shore, in the best possible way.
Insider tip: A special menu served from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. highlights small plates including a luscious lobster-crab cake.
55 Commercial St., Gloucester, 978-282-0008 Ext. 5, beauporthotel.com
Casual Hangouts, new
Standout qualities: A playful take on Asian street food, roaming from deeply flavored pork belly ramen to an octopus “hot dog”—a slow-cooked tentacle served on a bun and topped with daikon slaw and sriracha mayo.
Fun fact: The kitchen is inside a shipping container.
Insider tip: No reservations—seating is strictly first come, first served, but if you don’t mind a communal table, you’ll sit quickly.
41 Lafayette St., Salem, 978-594-4197, kokeshirestaurant.com
The Paddle Inn, Newburyport
What’s Unique: Playful coastal cuisine that skips around the globe, from Thai-style fries (Pad Thai atop French fries instead of noodles) to cioppino.
What’s New: Lunch seven days a week
Insider tip: Master mixologist and co-owner Beau Sturm has a way with the Americano—a classic low-alcohol mix of Campari or Aperol with sweet vermouth and soda.
27 State St., Newburyport, 978-572-1242, paddleinnsurf.com.
Standout qualities: Owners Matthew Gaudet, Chris Robins, and Paul Emmett, a threesome with a collective 60 years in fine dining, stripped away the pretense to make delectable casual cuisine using local ingredients.
Philosophy: Elevated kid food—apply fine dining techniques to the chefs’ favorite comfort dishes, creating terrific pizza, burgers, and fried chicken
Insider Tip: Check the website for a weekday prix fixe menu 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday. At under $30 for three courses, it is the best deal on the North Shore.
25 Union St., Manchester-by-the-Sea, 978-526-0964, superfinefood.com
Fun fact: The salad bar in the former Striper’s space has been replaced by an extensive raw bar.
175 Bridge Rd., Salisbury, 978-358-1700, vasawaterfront.com