Where to Eat on Cape Ann MA 2021 | Eater

Hats off to Eater Boston for publishing a current guide covering where to eat on Cape Ann. Bonus points for including whether indoor and/or outdoor dining are available.

I have my eye on an outdoor table at The Azorean sometime in the not-too-distant future. Been too long.

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I decided to add to this post when we visit various restaurants up on Cape Ann this summer. Feel free to chime in with your own experiences!

First up: The Azorean.

A beautiful, sunny June Saturday was ideal for a late lunch on the expanded patio at The Azorean. The formerly tiny patio on the side of the building has been expanded and (I think?) elevated to hold a few tables. Part of the parking lot has also been painted and cordoned off with plants to provide additional seating.

I did reserve ahead to request a table in the shade.

The menu has been streamlined a bit—no tapas—but you can still get their tapas dishes in the form of appetizers. Our table of four decided to share appetizers of grilled linguica over pineapple, cod cakes, Portuguese-style mussels, an “Owner’s Mix” app of garlic shrimp and breaded calamari, and what I believe must have been a daily special Portuguese salad of chickpeas and salted cod. Expect straightforward, homey Portuguese favorites.

To sip with our meal we chose their house rosé, which turned out to be a delightfully light vinho verde rosé.

Afterward we drove the short distance to Gloucester harbor to take a walk along its paved promenade. The drawbridge on the harbor seems to open a lot in season to let recreational boats in and out of the marina, which snarls street traffic. So plan your route accordingly if you decide to add a scenic stroll after your meal.

Note: There’s a sample menu at The Azorean’s website. But the restaurant’s online ordering menu much better represents the dishes on offer.

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One of my favorite restaurants in the world is in Horta in the Azores. They bring you bits of raw food and a flat rock heated to 800F on which you cook your own dinner. It’s a great time. I’d go to The Azorean in Cape Ann on the basis of that memory alone even though they don’t offer that. US OSHA would have an organizational heart attack.

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I have heard about a dish at a different Portuguese restaurant closer to my home called “steak on a stone.” Similar idea to what you experienced in the Azores though I am sure the cooking stone isn’t anywhere near as hot!

The actual Azores are on our list for when travel conditions are better. For now, a meal at The Azorean in Gloucester let us dream.

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Go when you can. Across Europe, wealthy people hire Portugeuse gardeners. Wealthy Portugeuse hire Azorean gardeners. The islands, particularly public gardens, are beautiful.

If/when you go let me know and I’ll tell you what I found, mostly on Faial.

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Canto da Doca?

That’s it. I call it “the hot rock place.” Truly a favorite. From the docks, head up to the main street where Peter’s Cafe Sport is and turn left, at the intersection at the end of the harbor.

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We had time in 2019 to visit only Sao Miguel Azores trip teport and we are poised to go back as soon as they open up. It was an awesome trip. We never encountered a “hot rock steak” restaurant, which doesn’t sound like something we’d be interested in anyway but what we did encounter were lots of unpretentious mom and pop places that were homey and delicious. As I’m from RI and live in MA, we are well-acquainted with Azorean food establishments. And we were so delighted, food-wise and otherwise by that beautiful island. We’ll be back for more.

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To bring this thread back to dining on Cape Ann, here is a link to our April 2021 visit to CK Pearl.

CK Pearl is a popular spot among locals and visitors alike, so do reserve ahead whether you want lunch or dinner (Open Table). Especially if you want outdoor seating. That goes double on a nice day.

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To drag the thread away from dining on Cape Ann, looking on the map I see Ipswich, Gloucester, and Manchester. @Harters?

However, I have to ask, after the Google rabbit hole: what about Red Skiff? Feather and Wedge? 7th Wave?

How about River Boatworks? Can you walk to restaurants from there? Are curmudgeons allowed? Can you get 6’ in there?

Only two minutes down the rabbit hole. I’d take more time if I had a boat going in there.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold