Fresh, scratch-made meals at affordable prices keep the tables full at this festive spot—but a new outdoor patio has expanded the options. That’s a good thing because the restaurant doesn’t take reservations. Fish, pork, and beef are all on the menu—not to mention a rich deep-fried avocado—and all are served up with flour tortillas. Check out the Mexican beer and tequila list. If you can’t make it to Salem, try the takeout-focused location in Marblehead.
76 Lafayette St., Salem, 978-744-9653, howlingwolftaqueria.com
For a creative mash-up at this spot near the Newburyport train station, try the Cuban taco, topped with pulled pork, ham, and a deep-fried pickle. Other fun options skew Asian—think Korean barbeque shrimp or chicken. Paired with a selection from the cult beer menu, live music, and maybe a game of cornhole, it’s a recipe for a party every day.
5 Boston Way, Newburyport, 978-255-7347, metzys.com