Seafood and summer on the North Shore are as good a match as you can get. It’s a combination that defines the season here and is guaranteed to bring everyone together after a day at the beach. These eateries are all casual, so wear your sandals and bring the kids.
The Gloucester House
After 52 years, The Gloucester House still offers some of the most spectacular views of fishing boats, swooping gulls, and the Gloucester Harbor skyline. The fried fish is light and crisp while the lobster pie is loaded with sweet lobster meat. Impressively fresh seafood and warm and friendly service are two great reasons to eat here any time. 63 Rogers St., Gloucester, 978-283-1812, thegloucesterhouse.com.
This quintessential North Shore fish shack has booth seating inside and picnic tables outside, but the food is so fabulous, you’d be happy sitting on a box in the driveway. Fried seafood, from clams to shrimp to haddock, is fresh and expertly prepared with a perfect crunch and generous portions. Important to the repertoire of any fish shack, Essex Seafood is a master of crisp, flavorful French fries. Rte. 133, Essex, 978-768-7233, essexseafood.com .
The Clam Box
They’ve been serving seafood here for over 60 years, and it’s not unusual to see lines wrapping around the building. The Clam Box has a distinctly different style to its fried seafood batter-it’s a little thicker and offers a more dramatic crunch. You can dine inside or outside, but get there early, because it all fills up fast. 206 High St., Ipswich, 978-356-9707, ipswichma.com/clambox.
The fried food batter is light, but the haddock sandwich is a great deal. The lobster salad roll on buttered, toasty buns, complete with shreds of lettuce and a light touch of mayo, is a classic in and of itself. Eat inside at a booth and enjoy a dreamy view of the water and summer sunsets. 88 Eastern Ave., Essex, 978-768-6643.
Kelly’s Roast Beef
To the hordes of die-hard fans they have amassed through the decades, Kelly’s fried clams and lobster rolls are objects of worship. And it doesn’t hurt that they’re right across the street from world-famous Revere Beach. 410 Revere Beach Blvd., Revere, 781-284-9129, kellysroastbeef.com.
– By Anna and David Kasabian, photograph by Anthony Tieuli