Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Rating Gloucester Restaurants

“Where should we go for dinner?” visitors ask the minute they get their bags in the front door.

Almost anywhere you go in Gloucester you’ll find a good meal, especially if you like seafood. One of my guests, a seasoned international traveler, told me the best meal he had in the whole United States he found here in Gloucester.

Guests enjoy sharing their restaurant experiences. Many mornings at breakfast I’ll ask, “Where did you eat? What did you order? How was it?” I only recommend eateries that garner consistent rave reviews from my guests.

Here, in no particular order, are the eating establishments rated best by Hovey House guests in 2006. Although seafood is always at the top of the guests’ wish list, these restaurants have menus that are varied enough to accommodate meat-eaters and vegetarians, too.

The Rudder The quintessential summer restaurant, right on the water in the inner harbor. Feed back: Wonderful food, good, service, picturesque, romantic, fun. Ask to be seated on the back deck, looking over the water.

Duckworth’s Teeny, tiny, intimate, but with ambience and an elegant menu. A great choice for a romantic special occasion.

Passports A favorite spot for lunch. The popovers that appear as soon as you’re seated are stupendous!! Unusual salads and sandwiches. Also open for dinner.

Lobsta Land That’s right: lob-STA. As in where you’re visiting: Gla-STA. Not strong on looks but this place has a large and varied menu — all very well prepared. From plain boiled lobster, to their pasta dishes, to the best Seared Ahi Tuna ever, this is a great choice if your dinner party has mixed tastes in food. A big favorite.

The Franklin Always packed because it’s reliably good. Menu changes seasonally. The ravioli appetizer is a winner, also the luscious, falling-off-the-bone lamb shanks, in season. Go early or late because the noise at the height of the dinner hour is deafening.

West End Trattoria Best steak tips in town, they say. Lemon chicken also brings raves. Best of all it’s the quietest restaurant in town, even when full.