The Blue Ox, LynnStandout Qualities: Devotion to high-quality ingredients in everything from the spicy clam chowder to the craft cocktails.
What’s Unique: This godfather of North Shore gastropubs jumpstarted the dining scene in Lynn. Now entering its 10th year, it’s still firing on all cylinders.
Fun Fact: After winning the Boston Battle of the Burgers three years in a row for his truffle aioli–laced Sin Burger, chef/owner Matt O’Neill retired from competition.
191 Oxford St., Lynn, 781-780-5722, theblueoxlynn.com
Elm Square Oyster Co., AndoverStandout Qualities: The dream team of executive chef Michael Sherman and bar manager Colin Welch elevate the food and drink experience to greatness.
2 Elm Square, Andover, 978-470-2228, elmsquareoysterco.com