The Paddle Inn
Menu mainstays like the Chinese Chicken Salad, scratch-made Crab Rangoon, and the Thai fries—a heaping pile of house-cut potatoes topped with Thai chile sauce, scallion cream, carrots, cilantro, and peanuts—are luscious and indulgent. But keep coming back for the surprises that pop up frequently, from a thick moist fish filet sandwich to rotating burger offerings, which might be a classic patty melt or Cubano-style with tasso ham and mojo sauce. For true comfort, wash it down with a tiki drink or a craft beer.
27 State St., Newburyport, 978-572-1242, bandbfish.com
A tavern for more than a century, this popular spot speaks of comfort. Soak up the ambience while enjoying a quirky casual menu that runs the gamut from traditional fresh seafood and burgers to the sweet potato burrito and terrific fish tacos that are a holdover from the day when the upstairs space was a Mexican restaurant. The top-notch cooks show off their skills with specials and an elegant catering menu.
13 Middle St., Newburyport, 978-465-8008, thegrog.com