• star rating  A spot my wife and I have been talking about going to for several years. We're glad we did as not only was the food good our server was fantastic.... read more

    avatar thumb HappyVacationMan
    September 12, 2022

    star rating  I have been going to the Village Restaurant since the mid 1960's and it was my father's favorite restaurant before then. I make a trip every year or two just... read more

    avatar thumb rockman1960
    August 10, 2022

    star rating  Outstanding whole fried clam plate. Been going here for over 40 years. Always delicious. Not to be missed. And service matches the food. Lots of choices.

    avatar thumb 166lynetteg
    June 14, 2022

    star rating  Stopped for lunch after 3 days in York Maine and had the sweetest whole belly clams.
    Their flavor and batter beat all the Maine clams we had.....

    Onion rings... read more

    avatar thumb rgc1515
    May 20, 2022
  • star rating  Wonderful restaurant. We enjoyed filet mignon, seafood casserole, sausage cacciatore and chicken parm. We topped off dinner with Indian pudding for dessert! Fabulous server, cozy ambiance and will go back... read more

    avatar thumb BTK1127
    March 24, 2022

    star rating  We've been here a few times and have always been pleased with the friendly, attentive service, delicious food, and reasonable prices. Last time we ate outside (cognizant of the Delta... read more

    avatar thumb janievoyageur
    September 28, 2021

    star rating  We had another super meal. Everything was great from start to finish!
    We had a very tasty shrimp cocktail
    My husband order the baked trio which had haddock,shrimp &scallops... read more

    avatar thumb dj2182
    July 28, 2021

    star rating  We got our reservations mixed up and were very late. They were understanding and sat
    Us before they closed. We did not feel rushed even though they were closing. Thank... read more

    avatar thumb Travel-brilliant
    July 11, 2021
  • star rating  me and my grandparents come here a lot (Usually every weekend before covid)and we are always happy. We have not visited that much since covid but we probably will come... read more

    avatar thumb Colinthe0w1
    June 30, 2021

    star rating  Stopped at our favorite place for their homemade onion rings and large fried clam platter. All with tax under $40.
    Don't go any where else.

    avatar thumb rgc1515
    March 22, 2021

    star rating  I ordered the “Romantic” for my husband and I for New Years Eve dinner to go. We just finished and I have to say it was absolutely delicious. The baked... read more

    avatar thumb 832ronaldd
    December 31, 2020

    star rating  Excellent clam chowder! It’s not thick, heavy (which hubby & i don’t like) but a very tasty stock with plenty of clams and a good balance of potatoes. Cornbread was... read more

    avatar thumb delosestadosunidos
    August 6, 2020
  • star rating  The food is great here this is our first time going under the new owner and it is just as good as it ever was. the service is great the... read more

    avatar thumb Joe V
    February 12, 2020

    star rating  Tis half a decade since our last visit. On a quiet Sunday evening we were graciously seated. There are new owners but the Village feels the same.
    Server Rita, a... read more

    avatar thumb Zeno H
    February 5, 2020

    star rating  I would like to say this is our favorite restaurant.The clams are spectacular and the baked haddock and scallops.Like the shrimp and lobster are awesome.The service is excellent This place... read more

    avatar thumb colichartier
    December 31, 2019

    star rating  Great place to eat.. outside patio or about 5 different dinning rooms inside...
    We ate sm order onion rings, Fried calamari, and lunch portion of fried clams with fries and... read more

    avatar thumb rgc1515
    July 20, 2019
  • star rating  Our group enjoyed the Prime French Dip, Street Tacos, Fish Tacos and Chicken. Service was quick and efficient, food was very good.

    avatar thumb DeeinTN
    July 16, 2019

    star rating  We were a group who came to Essex in order to board a boat for touring the Essex River. The parking lot was large enough to accommodate our tour bus.... read more

    avatar thumb Georgette M
    July 6, 2019

    star rating  The salmon here is to die for. I love the glaze and always request a little extra on the side. Haddock is delicious also. Wish they had the haddock and... read more

    avatar thumb Patricia R
    June 20, 2019

    star rating  I’ve been going to the Village for over 40 years and I’m never disappointed. Great menu and service. Today delicious fried clams plate. It was a beautiful day so I... read more

    avatar thumb 166lynetteg
    June 16, 2019
  • Best seafood by far . The food was fast and our waitress Stevie was excellent! Very upbeat and friendly! Atmosphere needs updating. We Most definitely will be returning soon

    Kathy Dorris Avatar Kathy Dorris
    December 24, 2021

    Fun leisurely lunch with great food and friendly service!

    Nancy Nemiccola Avatar Nancy Nemiccola
    January 24, 2022

    Always great food and service.
    Are go to place for seafood, I did surf and turf this time and the steak was great.

    barry taylor Avatar barry taylor
    December 24, 2021

    Great seafood favorite place.

    Paul Mahoney Avatar Paul Mahoney
    February 17, 2022


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


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 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.