Standout qualities: The sleek marble bar, industrial lighting, and ample galvanized furnishings make the fresh fish and butchered meats the stars of the show—ceviche, crudo, tartare, sashimi, carpaccio.
Insider tip: The good news is that Thursday through Saturday, this intimate gem is open until 11:45. Feeling a bit decadent? Try the caviar sampler. Alfresco dining in beautiful downtown Newburyport—what a way to spend an evening.
25 State St., Newburyport, 978-358-8479, brineoyster.com
Howling Wolf Taqueria, Salem
Standout qualities: The place is packed seven days a week, but in a good way where there is always a busy bar and a nice buzzy margarita happiness wafting across the restaurant. Tacos in shades of fried avocado and al pastor (with a pineapple–red chile marinade) are sure to please.
Insider tip: Late-night menu goes until midnight on Friday and Saturday—and they will deliver with a $20 minimum. Howling Wolf Express in downtown Marblehead feeds hungry wolves in Old Town.
76 Lafayette St., Salem, 978-744-WOLF (9653), howlingwolftaqueria.com