Culinary Delights in Essex, MA

Foodies flock to Essex, Massachusetts for fresh, locally harvested seafood, eclectic takes on New England fare, comfort food and homemade desserts. Scroll down for a few suggestions and check out all of our Day Tripper Guides to make any day an adventure in Essex!

Brunch at C.K. Pearl in Essex, MA
Photo: C.K. Pearl

1.  Start your day with a made-to-order breakfast sandwich, chocolate croissants or cinnamon roll from The Mill. Here on a Sunday? Brunch with a river view is a specialty at C.K. Pearl and seasonally at Shea’s Riverside, and Riversbend (open seasonally).

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2.  Essex, Massachusetts is known for its fresh seafood and locally harvested clams - after all, the fried clam was invented right here at Woodman’s in 1916. Fried or steamed, each restaurant serves up their own signature recipe. So try one place for lunch and another for dinner! View Restaurant Directory

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3.  Stop in the Taproom and relax in the outdoor Beer Garden at Essex’s new brewery, Great Marsh Brewing Co. – offering an extensive selection of outstanding craft beers, hard and soft seltzers.

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4.  Shop Small and Dine Small: several Essex antique and specialty shops are located within walking distance of Essex eateries. Browse the shops, then relax with a specialty cocktail or craft beer and an appetizer or entree. C.K. Pearl, Ripple, RiversbendShea’s Riverside, Village Restaurant and Woodman’s offer outdoor dining (in season) overlooking the Essex River. In winter months, enjoy the ambience of a crackling fireplace at Shea’s Riverside or the Windward Grille. And stop in the Taproom at Great Marsh Brewing Co. and find local beers and wine to enjoy at home from Essex Wine Exchange.

View of Eben’s Creek from J.T. Farnham’s in Essex, MA
Photo: View of Eben’s Creek from J.T. Farnham’s by Arlene Taliadoros

5.  Choose from a wide range of dining experiences for dinner: wood-fired pizza and campfire cooking at Riversbend (in season); casual dining on Eben’s Creek at J.T. Farnham’s (March - December); or classic dining in a New England farmhouse that’s over 300 years old at Windward Grille.

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6.  Save room for dessert! Delicious homemade desserts at the Village Restaurant (Chocolate Lava Cake, Indian Bread Pudding, and Carrot Cake are among the family recipes.) Or get a refreshing ice cream at Woodman’s or the Village Creamery  (seasonally) including sugar-free, gluten-free and vegan! Dessert at Ripple and C.K. Pearl rival any of Boston’s top restaurants, along with specialty sweets at many other Essex eateries.

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