10 High-End Dining Options Along the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway

May 17, 2023

If you’re looking for some of the nicest dining options on Massachusetts’ North Shore, you’re in for a real treat. The towns and cities along the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway boast some of the finest restaurants, each offering their own unique experience. From Lynn to Salisbury, you’ll find an array of culinary delights that will excite your taste buds and leave you wanting more. Whether it’s a special occasion, or you just want to treat yourself, here are ten restaurants to definitely check out.

Seaglass in Salisbury


Address: 4 Ocean Front North, Salisbury, MA 01952

Excite your senses with a unique take on traditional American food while enjoying breathtaking views of the Atlantic ocean! The diverse menu at Seaglass features an array of shareable appetizers, creative salads, and a distinctive focus on fresh seafood entrees and steaks. The amazing location, great food, and warm beachy atmosphere make this spot an oceanfront dining destination along the Byway in Salisbury.

Nightshade Noodle Bar 

Address: 73 Exchange Street, Lynn, MA 01901

In the center of downtown Lynn, Nightshade Noodle Bar offers seafood-focused tasting menus with French and Vietnamese influences, a chic jungle vibe, knowledgeable staff, tropical cocktails, and hand-selected natural wines. The menu features creative dishes such as miso clam chowder and pork belly bao buns, as well as traditional noodle bowls. From Chef Rachel Miller, a current semifinalist for the 2023 James Beard Foundation “Outstanding Chef” Award. The cozy ambiance, attentive service, and delicious food make Nightshade Noodle Bar a must-visit spot in Lynn. 

Ledger Restaurant & Bar

Address: 125 Washington Street, Salem, MA 01970

Ledger is a great part of the Salem downtown community and is housed in the former Salem Savings Bank building, which dates back to 1818. This unique restaurant elevates 19th-century dishes, beverages, and methods using 21st-century resources. The James Beard Foundation nominated Chef Daniel Gursha for “Best Chef Northeast” in 2022 for his culinary work at Ledger.

The menu includes dishes such as lobster bisque, roasted duck breast, and a variety of creative cocktails. The decor is industrial-chic, with exposed brick walls and rustic wooden tables. This is the perfect spot for a date or a special occasion. 

G Bar and Kitchen

Address: 256 Humphrey Street, Swampscott, MA 01907

Located near the beaches of Swampscott, this stylish restaurant offers a modern take on American cuisine. The chef and owner of G Bar & Kitchen is Gregg Brackman.  He prides himself on how he sources his meats, produce, and seafood locally. With quality being the top priority, people always finish their meals or take them home. The menu includes dishes such as seared scallops, wagyu beef burgers, and creative cocktails. The decor is sleek and contemporary, with exposed brick walls and industrial-chic lighting. Come see for yourself and plan a visit with family and friends. 

1606 Restaurant & Oyster Bar

Address: 55 Commercial Street, Gloucester, MA 01930

The beautiful 1606 Restaurant & Oyster Bar is situated on the lobby floor of Beauport Hotel Gloucester and features an oceanfront deck displaying top-notch New England coastal cuisine. Enjoy a delicious Modern American menu created by Chief Chef Jon Mckechnie using seasonal, local ingredients. This gem on Cape Ann offers a memorable dining experience with its warm interiors, picturesque beach views, and relaxed luxury ambiance. Visit one of the most popular seafood restaurants along the coast!


Address: 2 Main Street, Gloucester, MA 01930

Italian for “tuna,” Tonno brings a level of sophistication to the dining scene within a framework of Italian favorites. Tonno is located in Gloucester and is helmed by chef and owner Anthony Caturano. He and his team bring together Old World culinary styles with nightly specials that reflect the catches of the day from the local waters.

This local favorite specializes in traditional Italian seafood dishes. A variety of sfizi and primi selections, handcrafted pastas that come in half- and full-portions, secondi courses featuring popular fish and meat dishes, and delectable desserts make up their menu.

The Blue Ox

Address: 191 Oxford St, Lynn, MA 01901

The Blue Ox is a well-known, upscale yet casual American restaurant in Lynn. They won Boston Magazine’s “Battle of the Burger” competition three years in a row with their signature Sin Burger, and it was a critically acclaimed participant in the South Beach Food & Wine Festival. The contemporary bistro features local, seasonal dishes & craft cocktails in a candlelit romantic venue.

You can explore their menu featuring some fan-favorite appetizers and cocktails here.

1640 Hart House

Address: 51 Linebrook Rd, Ipswich, MA 01938

1640 Hart House is a hearty new American fare served in an airy, early-American farmhouse, plus an atmospheric tavern. The house has quite a bit of history, making the experience all the more interesting!

The house, originally one room, was the home of a local tanner named Thomas Hart who became the town’s first selectman. As one of the oldest homes in the country, the house is well-known for serving some of the first steins of ale in the nation during the late eighteen or early nineteenth centuries. Featuring five distinct levels and staircases, 363-year-old fireplaces, and wall panels with Colonial hand-painted tea boxes illustrate why the house remains a prime example of early American Architecture. Their great food makes this spot a must for history lovers and foodies alike!


Address: 112 Rantoul St, Beverly MA 01915

With a locally sourced, uncomplicated, New England-inspired menu, Frank offers a true “farm-to-table” approach to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This great spot in downtown Beverly has a farmer-first philosophy and an enduring commitment to credible food origin. All season-centric dishes are made with quality ingredients sustainably sourced from local farmers and fishermen – and seriously delicious.

Tuscan Sea Grill & Bar

Address: 38R Merrimac Street, Newburyport, MA 01950

Tuscan Sea Grill & Bar offers a menu with coastal Italian influences that include desserts, gelato, locally sourced seafood, their famed scratch-made pasta, and Neapolitan-style pizzas. The restaurants stunning waterfront position overlooks the Merrimack River and offers panoramic views of the port.

It has plenty of outdoor space for al fresco dining in warm weather and is heated during the colder months in New England. Enjoy our all-season 116-seat outdoor deck while dining on coastal Italian cuisine while surrounded by our seaside décor. For those who prefer bar sitting, curl up at our spacious bar and take in the views of the deck and harbor while sipping one of our inventive cocktails or a locally brewed beer.

The Essex Coastal Scenic Byway of Massachusetts offers high-end dining restaurants that are worth exploring. From cozy and rustic to elegant and sophisticated, there’s something for everyone. Whether you’re looking for a romantic dinner, a special occasion, or just want to go out on the town, these restaurants never fail to impress new customers. 

Looking to grab a few drinks after dining? Check out the top breweries along the byway and see what you like!