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From a jewel-box of a dining room at the top of a lighthouse to an international hot spot dripping with modern art, the North Shore has no shortage of restaurants that turn heads with design while turning out beautiful food. Here are a few of our favorites.

Nightshade Noodle Bar | Photograph by Anthony Tieuli

Nightshade Noodle Bar, Lynn

Flowers, hand-painted in shades of blue and green, climb dark walls on the way to an ocean green ceiling in this tiny, sexy spot. Feast on a menu of delicate small plates—the food is as beautiful as the space— sophisticated, indulgent and seafood-heavy. It’s prix fixe only, up to 14 courses and awash in luxury, from crab and oysters to foie gras and truffles. The lighting is low and the vibe is urban and exotic—like a portal into some imaginary land far from here.

73 Exchange St., Lynn, 781-780-9470,

The Bancroft, Burlington

Mismatched furniture, including custom-made plush banquettes, chairs wrapped in cowhide and floors covered in a patchwork of different materials, from tile to throw rugs to dark wood,  work together to create a warm, sophisticated experience that leaves diners plotting a return trip. While the soaring purpose-built space seats 278 people, smart design and furniture choices make the space feel warm and intimate, perfect for feasting on a top-notch menu of steak and seafood.

15 Third Ave., Burlington, 781-221-2100,

Newburyport Rear Range Lighthouse, Newburyport

Dining in this intimate jewel box, five stories above the Merrimac River, is surely a unique experience in New England, and perhaps in the world. With 360-degree views of the Merrimac River Valley, out to Plum Island and the ocean, the restored Rear Range Lighthouse is a cozy eight feet across, outfitted with a single table enveloped by banquette seating, a CD player with a selection of romantic music and binoculars for taking in the sights. Diners ascend 55 steps, climb a short ladder then are left in complete solitude, save for the waitperson who delivers each course from a choice of area restaurants. The lighthouse is available for breakfast, lunch or dinner year-round, for $350 per couple plus the cost of food.

61½ Water St., Newburyport, 1-800-727-BEAM,

La Fina, Andover

From the white marble floors and posh upholstered chairs to the large abstract paintings lining the walls, the décor at this hot spot runs the gilded age through a sleek modern filter. The result is an international hot spot vibe, where the clientele is chic and the menu of prime beef entices. Reserve a spot front and center by the spectacular Art Deco tiled fireplace—a glowing focal point in this light, bright spot—or slide onto the plush banquette to canoodle and watch the scene unfold.

27 Main St., Andover, 978-475-4082,

Ledger Restaurant & Bar, Salem

A stunning hand-carved plaster ceiling– original to the building’s former life as Salem Savings Bank–is the centerpiece in this spot, which uses details from the building’s 200-year financial history to great success. The vast space is brought down to size thanks to repurposed original details—divider walls built from safety deposit boxes and bank teller windows add warmth and intimacy. The menu of elevated New England classics and a killer cocktail and wine list elevate the experience.

125 Washington St., Salem, 978-594-1908,

Daniella’s Ristorante, Peabody

This cozy classic Italian spot exudes welcoming warmth, with dark wood beams, a red-brick wood burning oven and polished brass throughout. Snuggle up inside, where family photos line walls, emphasizing the intimate ambiance, or reserve on the large enclosed patio. It is heated year-round and it’s especially welcoming at lunchtime, when sunlight streams in. While the dishes are familiar, everything from the eggplant rollatini to the veal marsala is elevated by a careful attention to detail.

41 Cross St., Peabody, 978-871-2942,

Ristorante Lucia

A hand-painted vaulted ceiling evoking the Sistine Chapel brings the romance of Italy within reach at this snug spot. Exposed brick walls, well-spaced tables and pre-dinner martinis evoke old school posh, with banquette seating that yields lots of cozy corners. Enjoy authentic interpretations of classic North End Italian food—many of the recipes traveled from the old country with the owner’s family.

13 Mt Vernon St., Winchester, 781-729-0515,