2 Essex Street, Lynn, MA 01902
In recent years, Lynn has become a place filled with all kinds of ethnic restaurants, with little independent eateries popping up all over this old industrial city on the North Shore. But Lynn is also seeing more and more in the way of upscale bistros and romantic dining spots, with a charming place on the Swampscott line called Antique Table certainly leaning toward the latter. It also happens to be nearly invisible to folks outside of the area, as it sits in a primarily residential neighborhood on a street that doesn't get much traffic, making it a true hidden gem in a city full of little-known restaurants.
When we say that Antique Table is on the Lynn/Swampscott line, we mean that literally, as the "Entering Swampscott" sign is a very short stone's throw away from the restaurant. The rather plain exterior of Antique Table contrasts with its utterly charming interior, with the narrow wooden ceiling beams, stained glass and mosaic lamps, rough plaster walls (with fake trees "climbing" up them), and hanging copper kitchenware giving the place the feel of an Italian country villa. The right side of the relatively spacious eatery includes a cozy little nook with a few tables, while the central section houses the main dining area, which includes large tables. To the left is a small bar with a few seats. A semi-open kitchen up above looks out over the nook and part of the main dining area.
Antique Table focuses a bit more on Southern Italian than Northern Italian cuisine, with all dishes cooked from scratch. Appetizers include an antipasto with a variety of meats and vegetables, daily soup specials (including a hearty chicken tortellini with squash, zucchini, and carrots), sauteed clams in a white wine sauce, prosciutto rollatine in a balsamic reduction, and bruschetta. About half of the entrees at Antique Table are pasta dishes, with the orecchiete (ear pasta) being a wonderful option, as the crumbled sausage ragu adds a rich and sweet taste to the pasta, and the broccoli rabe adds a nice amount of bitterness. A few other pasta dishes include lobster ravioli, fusilli bolognese, fettucine carbonara, and linguini and mussels. For those looking for something other than pasta, the chicken valdostana is tough to beat; the dish consists of a chicken breast stuffed with a savory mix of fontina cheese, prosciutto, roasted red peppers, and spinach, all in an earthy and slightly sweet truffle/tarragon sauce. In addition to this dish, diners can choose from grilled salmon, veal florentine, fried haddock, pork chops, sirloin steak, and more. Desserts are freshly made, and include a particularly rich tiramisu as well as chocolate mousse cake and cannoli. Drinks include a number of wines and a few Italian and domestic beers.
Antique Table is a real find, as it isn't really the type of place you'll come across while driving from one place to another. Plus, like so many places in Lynn, the restaurant tends to get overlooked by critics and diners alike, perhaps because it is in a city that really wasn't known for its dining scene for many, many years. But Lynn is indeed becoming a bit of a food destination, with Antique Table being one of the most pleasant restaurants within its borders.
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