Gloucester is seen by many as one of the main places to go for seafood north of Boston. The city has a number of seafood spots, from down and dirty to upscale, and many of the restaurants are wildly popular--especially the ones on and near Gloucester Harbor. A few places are not as well known, however, perhaps because they are not as touristy, or their less central locations make them easy to miss. One of these dining spots--the Gull Restaurant--seems to fall at least partly into both categories, as it has the feel of a local hangout, and it is located on the Annisquam River a fair distance away from the harbor and set a good ways back from Route 133. And while the Gull Restaurant might not have the best seafood on Cape Ann, it does have a lot going for it, including a calm, peaceful atmosphere, a surprisingly varied menu, and a wonderful view of the Annisquam River from the windows of the dining room.
The Gull Restaurant, which is located at the Cape Ann Marina Resort, is squeezed between a windy, dusty parking lot and the aforementioned Annisquam River, giving it a feel of a real diamond in the rough type seafood joint. But this is not entirely the case, as the interior of the Gull Restaurant is much nicer than your typical fish place, with comfortable wooden tables, shiny wooden walls and ceilings, and noise-deadening carpeting. The restaurant has a family-friendly feel to it, and indeed has a number of tables that can accommodate large families or other groups. In addition to the dining room, a decent-sized bar can be found on the other side of the restaurant, but only the dining side has the views of the river.
There is a definitely Greek influence to the menu, which includes such appetizers as a delicious feta cheese and Greek olives plate that comes with grilled whole wheat pita bread; a dish called saganaki, which has broiled hard Greek cheese with lemon juice and grilled pita bread; and dolmadakia, or grape leaves stuffed with ground beef, rice, and herbs. Entrees are mostly seafood-based, with seasonal dishes such as the outstanding grilled mahi-mahi plate helping to lead the way. Everyday items include a delicious baked stuffed haddock with a homemade seafood stuffing and a lobster cream sauce; a dish called cioppino, which has mussels, scallops, shrimp, lobster, and calamari in tomato broth and served over linguini; a New England crab cakes plate, which has seared crabmeat served with chipotle remoulade; and P.E.I. mussels sauteed in either red sauce or white wine. An assortment of fried and broiled seafood dishes are also offered at the Gull Restaurant, and for those who don't like seafood, there are a few steak and chicken dishes as well.
A sense of discovery comes with the Gull Restaurant, as its hidden location and low-key feel make this seem like a place that only a few folks know about. There are plenty of excellent options for seafood in the Gloucester area, but if you don't like waiting in line and don't mind having your water views from inside a restaurant rather than on an outdoor deck, the Gull Restaurant is indeed a fine choice.
Copyright © 2008, Boston's Hidden Restaurants (www.hiddenboston.com).