Though it overlooks Gloucester Harbor, where fishermen haul in the restaurant's supply of fresh fish and lobster, the dining room of Latitude 43 feels like it's underwater. The hull of a 36-foot Coast Guard rescue boat hangs overhead, a 16-foot iron-and-glass octopus sculpture wrought by a local iron artist dangles above the sushi bar, and a harbor mural painted by local artists enlivens the walls. The aromas of coastal cuisine waft through the oceanic interior, signaling the arrival of dishes such as grilled local swordfish, more than 17 sushi rolls, and a host of non-seafood entrees that can be prepared in gluten-free or vegetarians versions. Latitude 43 has won 'Best Sushi' by Northshore Magazine three years running, and their menu includes dishes such as Jeff's clam chowder ($4/$6), grilled swordfish with a red-wine-mushroom glaze ($24), and a signature sushi roll with tempura tuna, wasabi, goat cheese, and enoki mushrooms wrapped with a daikon radish ($18).
Because a strong ecosystem produces healthy fish, Latitude 43's restaurateurs do their part to ensure earth's well-being with their green facility. Recycled materials compose the tiles in the kitchen and around the sushi bar, and the deck's sunshades heat the dishwasher's hot water while shading guests from the sun’s deadly laser beams. An oceanfront patio hosts feasts in the summertime, while a fireplace made from locally sourced granite keeps diners cozy in the winter.
Nestled near the shoreline that juts into the Atlantic’s waters at Cape Ann, The Fish Shack nets a menu of fresh seafood soups, baskets, entrees, and lobster, hauled in by their neighbor and parent company Roy Moore Lobster Co. Traditional chowders brace bellies for autumnal chills and baseball blues, with thick and creamy new england clam chowder or thin and milky haddock chowder stepping up to the plate ($4.95/cup). For more substantial hungers, enlist the aid of a fried-sole-fish sandwich with fries or coleslaw ($8.95) or a 7-ounce shrimp basket with fries ($11.95). To create a local favorite dish, chefs crumble a crunchy Ritz-cracker crust on top of fresh scallops before baking them and drizzling them with a provençal sauce, a motley infusion of garlic, butter, and capers ($17.95). With regular fresh catches, The Fish Shack prices its lobster daily, serving the crustacean boiled, casseroled, scampied, standardized tested, and rolled.
Periwinkles Restaurant & Bar is steeped in shipbuilding culture, from its views of boats passing by on the Essex River, to the hanging gas lanterns that light the dining room, to the local sea-centric artwork displayed at the onsite gallery. The theme is fitting, since Periwinkles sits on land that was a wooden shipbuilding hub for nearly 300 years. The building itself fits right into the nautical theme, with its weathered clapboard siding and bright, whitewashed interior.
Diners can enjoy the picturesque river views two ways. They can grab a seat inside the dining room, which is lined on two sides by large picture windows. Or they can venture out to the wooden deck for a waterfront dining experience, and people-watch as clammers, kayakers, and boaters dock right outside.
Customers might first visit for the views, but it's the food that keeps them coming back. Periwinkles' clam chowder is a 14-time winner of the Essex Clamfest, and the only chowder to have ever won the People's Choice and Judges' Choice awards in the same year. All the seafood is local, never shipped in from one of the moon's seas, and includes seasonal specials such as lobster and swordfish. Diners can start meals with the warm salad, which eschews traditional greens for sautéed veggies, chicken, pine nuts, and grilled shrimp. Beyond seafood, the menu features grilled steak tips served with mashed potatoes, or chicken breast and ziti tossed in a light chicken-parmesan broth.
Alongside the sandy shores of Devereux Beach, Lime Rickey's grill masters pacify hunger pangs with a seafood-centric menu overflowing with sandwiches and entree plates. Shellfish fans savor the lobster roll's succulent chunks of fresh Atlantic lobster resting inside the crusty-bread chrysalis, accompanied by a bag of potato chips ($16.95). Buffet tongues with deep-fried dishes such as the fish 'n' chips ($12.95) and the fried clam-strip plate ($13.95), or appease circular cravings with nests of onion rings ($4.50). A variety of classic sandwiches, salads, and wraps comfort lonely taste buds or grant nostalgic last meals to wisdom teeth awaiting retirement.
Today, Victoria Station in Salem is unique—but it wasn't always. In 1970, inspired by the landmark Victoria Station in London, three Cornell Hotel School graduates created a restaurant with English touches, such as a bright-red phone booth and authentic train cars they'd turned into dining cars. They opened up in San Francisco, and the business grew. By the 1980s, there were about 100 Victoria Station locations in the United States and around the world. Johnny Cash did a stint as their spokesman.
But the company filed for bankruptcy in 1986. Its rise and fall is documented in Tom Blake's book Prime Rib and Boxcars: Whatever Happened to Victoria Station? The waterfront Salem location was the very last to open, and it's the only one left.
Today, the restaurant has gone in its own direction, drawing inspiration from both the restaurant's past and its current surroundings. Classic New England cuisine and old steak-house favorites mingle comfortably on the menu. The chefs coat haddock in a seasoned cracker crust to bake and serve with chardonnay and fresh lemon juice, and the slow-roasted prime rib that made the original restaurant famous still has a place on the menu. Diners can also order up house favorites, such as lobster mac 'n' cheese with five-cheese béchamel sauce and cornbread shallot crumbs, or they can opt for an Angus burger.
Vic's Boathouse, a bar and lounge, opened in 2010. There, diners can request a local or craft brew, order a martini, or pick from the pub menu. The bar hosts nightly live entertainment, including open-mic sessions, live musicians, and karaoke, which makes for lively evenings without the expense of hiring a DJ for family dinner.
Situated on Salem’s scenic Pickering Wharf, Capt's Waterfront - Premium Steak & Seafood Grill provides guests with picturesque harbor views from its upstairs dining room and deck or first-floor bar and grill. While catching sports games playing on the widescreen televisions, guests in the bar and grill can overlook the harbor while cozied up next to the fireplace. Upstairs, the main dining area offers an ideal atmosphere for a romantic date or special event, with a full wine list and meals of charcoal-grilled steaks, lobster, and other market-fresh seafood. On Sundays, brunch momentarily takes over the eatery, with specialties such as lobster eggs benedict and apple-and-cheese French toast box served with a Bloddy Mary bar and bottomless coffees or espresso drinks.