Cape Ann is a beautiful section of the North Shore that has a Maine-like feel to it in some ways, right down to the abundance of seafood restaurants. Many of the better-known dining spots can be found in Essex and Gloucester, with the former being home to the legendary Woodman's as well as the highly-rated Farnham's, while Gloucester is home to such classic places as The Causeway, Lobsta Land, and the Gloucester House. The other two towns that make up Cape Ann are Manchester-by-the-Sea, which is more residential than touristy and has relatively few restaurants, and Rockport, which is a famous fishing village and artist colony that gets jammed in the summer but has surprisingly few seafood restaurants for the number of people it attracts. And while the only classic down-and-dirty seafood shacks in Rockport are The Lobster Pool, which is far out by the Gloucester line, and Roy Moore Lobster Co. on Bearskin Neck, Rockport does have a handful of full-service seafood spots from which to choose, including Roy Moore's Fish Shack Restaurant, a sister restaurant to Roy Moore Lobster Co. that tends to get lost in the shuffle a bit but which is an excellent family-friendly place with views that will make you realize why people love coming to Rockport.
Roy Moore's Fish Shack is located in Dock Square, which is basically where the ever-popular Bearskin Neck begins, but perhaps because of its basic white sign out front or its small entrance or its deceptively plain look that gives no clue as to the views inside, it can be easy to overlook this place. The name can also confuse some newcomers to the area as well, as the quirkier and better-known Roy Moore Lobster Co. is just up the way on Bearskin Neck, and that spot is much, much different, basically being a bare-bones fish market and lobster pound with very limited outdoor seating in the rough. As indicated earlier, Roy Moore's Fish Shack is much more of a true restaurant than Roy Moore Lobster Co., with a fairly spacious bar to the left when you first walk in and a main dining room further back that has unforgettable views of the harbor. A little dining room sits off to the right of the main dining area, with more great views of the water and a bit more peace and quiet since it has only a few tables.
The menu at Roy Moore's Fish Shack is much more extensive than that of Roy Moore Lobster Co., which has boiled lobster (of course), lobster rolls, clam chowder, and only a few other items. All of those and more can be found at the restaurant, with a few of the highlights being the wonderful fish cakes (made with salmon, cod, and haddock), steamed mussels in a garlicky tomato sauce, a thick and creamy clam chowder, a fried clam roll with plenty of juicy bellies, a small but delicious lobster roll with about the freshest meat you'll find and which comes with mayo on the side, fried scallops which are fall-apart tender (though not too tender), a twin lobster and a triple lobster special, a lazy lobster casserole with a buttery Ritz cracker crumb topping, a classic baked haddock plate, and for landlubbers, choices such as hot dogs, linguica, chicken tenders, and linguini and meatballs. As indicated by the bar out front, Roy Moore's Fish Shack does offer beer and wine (Rockport actually used to be a dry town but that has changed over the years), and cocktails are also offered as well. Meal prices are moderate for the most part, with many dishes being under $20.
While it doesn't have the name recognition of a Woodman's or a Farnham's, or even that of its sister spot up the street, Roy Moore's Fish Shack is a very fine option for those looking to dine out while on Cape Ann. The views from the two dining areas are worth the trip alone, but the food is also excellent, which should come as no surprise as the better-known Roy Moore Lobster Co. is famous for its lobster and chowder. It is nice to be able to choose whether to eat in the rough (Roy Moore Lobster Co.) or have a more low-key and comfortable meal (Roy Moore's Fish Shack), knowing you'll get the same quality food at both, and with Roy Moore's Fish Shack, you get a lot more as well.
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