Against the rolling whitecaps of Devereux Beach sits Lime Rickey's, a beachfront eatery overlooking the 2,400 sailboats bobbing beside Marblehead's renowned harbor. It's an idyllic vista that encompasses everything lovely about New England's seaside culture, including the food. Lime Rickey's chefs pack ocean-fresh lobster into hearty rolls, fry clams, shrimp, and scallops, and press marinated pork, ham, and cheese into cubano paninis. Cocktails clink to the tune of live musicians, who serenade diners on the wraparound deck and deftly ignore the cries of seagulls shouting for "Freebird."
Manhattan Sandwich Company concocts a menu of tasty New York–style deli fare, including specialty sandwiches, soups, and salads. Noontime noshers can calm down rumbling bellies with a specialty sandwich, such as Mickey's #7, a pile of turkey, coleslaw, and melted swiss cheese topped off with a splash of russian dressing ($7.09). Or, stride inside the deli and insist that you must have either liberty or the herbivore-friendly Central Park veggie melt, a smattering of veggies and cheeses that also happen to be drenched in russian dressing ($6.49).
Anthony Conelisee, Hungry Betty’s executive chef, comes from a tradition of restaurateurs: his family has opened several restaurants on the Cape. He himself honed his cooking skills overseas, learning from some of the top chefs of Ireland and Italy and running a London bar in the early 2000s. Today, he brings that experience to bear in crafting Hungry Betty’s new menu of bar-and-grill fare with fine dining twists—one of the changes to come along with the restaurant’s recent change in ownership. Alongside classics such as meat loaf and fish and chips you’ll find more creative offerings such as seared scallops served with mushroom ravioli and egg rolls stuffed with shaved steak and salami.
The restaurant has a fun, family-friendly vibe. Kids (11 or younger) eat free on Tuesdays, and the décor is open and casual with five TVs and a well of windows looking out from the second level of the Village Plaza. You can check out Hungry Betty’s event calendar to see what’s going on each day, but some ongoing events include Wednesday trivia, Friday night karaoke, and live music on Saturdays.
Upon entering Yannalfo's, the warm orange walls of the dining room and the clinking of glassware at the gleaming wooden bar compete for sensory attention. But neither can hold guests' attention once the scents of savory Italian sauces and baking seafood emanate from the kitchen. They start off making the basics with a touch of flair, from pasta strewn with freshly made meatballs and ravioli in a sauce made from simmering wild mushrooms and cream. But from there, they tackle more complicated, nuanced dishes. They toss five types of seafood in a zesty red clam sauce and make desserts from sweet seasonal ingredients such as berries or big tax return documents. For their signature dish, the Pappardelle alla Yannalfo's, they combine the best of which features sea with shrimp with portobello mushrooms in a vodka tomato cream sauce over pappardelle pasta.
Today, Victoria Station & Vic's Boathouse 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 almost 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 99th and final location 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 b?chamel sauce and cornbread shallot crumbs, or they can opt for an Angus burger. The menu has earned the restaurant scores of accolades, including Best Waterfront Dining, Northshore Magazine, 2011?2013.
Vic's Boathouse, a bar and lounge at Victoria Station, opened in 2010 and has already earned the honor of Best Bar, North of 2012, according to Boston Magazine. Inside, 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.
One might leave Red Lulu Cocina & Tequila Bar, which was named this year's best new restaurant north of Boston by Boston Magazine, with some sense of the broad scope of Mexican cuisine, geography, and culture. That epiphany might come from the selection of 180 tequilas, which slip down in shots, release bell peals of clicking ice in glasses, or blend with lime in thick margaritas rimmed with salt. The tantalizing menu also parades traditional Mexican ingredients, though they are tangled into surprising configurations.
Red chandeliers glow, bringing to life the colors of chipotle peppers on plates at plush black booth seating, all beneath red wallpaper. In the tequila lounge, ample couches create a circle around red, candlelit tables for resting a glass of sangria or a mojito muddled with strawberries or cucumber. A row of inset shadowboxes displays the colorful lucha libre masks typically used in overblown battles and attempts to go out in public without being recognized as Kevin Bacon.