Featured on NECN’s “Wicked Bites”

“When you come to the Village Restaurant in Essex expect this: unbelievable fried clams. The best fried clams in the world!”

Village Restaurant Reviews

Restaurants come and go. Some get good reviews for a while. A few get rave reviews from top publications. Very rarely does any restaurant consistently get stellar reviews and awards from top food writers for nearly sixty years. The Village Restaurant is one of those rare gems.

Let’s focus on 21st Century reviews. They start off with acclaimed food writer, Mark Bittman saying, “My favorite is Essex’s Village Restaurant … There is something special about the clams here … No clam lover should pass through Cape Ann without sampling a plateful of the best soft-shells in the universe.”I

In July 2018, Expedia’s CarRentals.com article “10 towns that will take you summer to the next level,” featured Essex, MA praising its “superb” beaches, noting its rich shipbuilding history, and lauding its strong shellfish industry. The author also made reference to the claim that the fried clam was invented right here and recommended one restaurant as a ‘must eat’ – The Village, of course!  We are honored. (See full article here.)

In August, 2012, Frederick Kalil wrote a series for Tufts on fried clams from Boston’s North Shore. He visited The Village precisely because of Mark Bittman’s 2000 review in Saveur Magazine and reported, “The locally harvested clams lived up to their daunting reputation: fresh tasting, meltingly tender treasures that appeared to have been individually prepared … the fried clam equivalent of fine dining.” (See full article here.)
The Summer 2013 issue of Cape Ann Magazine proclaims the Village is “Where the clammers go for clams.” Wicked Local’s 2013 Following the Seafood Trail says about the Village, “The fried clams here are the best I have ever tasted …”

When Toronto’s The Globe and Mail set out to find “the best clam place in Essex”, their choice was definitive, calling The Village clams “the best of the lot … If there is a golden-standard for fried clams, the Village’s fare is it.”See full article here.

And that’s just the clams. Here’s what The Phantom Gourmet’s Guide to Boston’s Best Restaurants says: “At Village Restaurant, the bronzed Essex clams practically take flight with a light airy batter and flawless sea flavor. Contrary to most fried seafood legends, this Cape Ann eatery is sit-down with full service and real silverware. There’s lots of local history displayed on the walls … The fresh catches come in generous portions and the house desserts are divine.”

Gourmet Magazine says simply, “We recommend the Village in Essex.”

Coco McCabe and Doug Stewart of The Boston Globe say, “In this Village, fresh seafood is the real thing.” (See full article here.)

“Village Restaurant is obviously dedicated to the craft. Their food is simple, uncomplicated by too much fanfare and everything is made in house with love. It is definitely worth a stop for true New England fare.” A Boston Food Diary July 2013

Epicurious put The Village in their list of America’s Top 10 Small-Town Cafés.

Roadfood says, “The Village Is Where We Go . . . Truly Where the Locals Eat.” James Beard Award-winning food journalists Jane and Michael Stern included The Village in their acclaimed book 500 Things to Eat Before It’s Too Late: and the Very Best Places to Eat Them.

The Village has won numerous Reader’s Choice awards in a number of local publications, including Cape Ann’s Best Seafood Restaurant.

But don’t take their word for it, check out The Village for yourself — a convenient location with plenty of free parking. Less than 4 miles from Route 128 and a pleasant 45 minutes drive up the coast from Boston (get directions), we’re in the heart of historic Essex, MA — filled with antique shops — where over 4,000 schooners were built.

Reservations are always accepted for parties of 6 or larger, Call us at 978-768-6400 and we’ll be happy to help you.