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Globe Magazine

Top restaurants for takeout north of Boston

18 places to pick up a great meal in Somerville, Gloucester, and other communities north of the city.

Chef-owner Rachel Miller of Nightshade Noodle Bar in Lynn.
Chef-owner Rachel Miller of Nightshade Noodle Bar in Lynn.Barry Chin / Globe staff

A month ago, The Boston Globe launched Project Takeout, encouraging you to get food to go that you can afford from local, independent restaurants. Takeout doesn’t just support these small businesses, it supports those they employ. Pre-pandemic, 1 in 10 Massachusetts jobs was located within the four walls of a restaurant.

So where are you getting takeout from tonight? To help you decide, we’ve created an Ultimate Takeout Guide, with 100 recommendations divided among four geographic regions. Below, you’ll find 18 of our favorites from north of the city.

We want to know your favorites, too, and check out the more than 800 on the Globe’s list of readers’ picks at globe.com/projecttakeout.

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EXPLORE BY REGION: METRO BOSTON | WEST | SOUTH

NORTH OF THE CITY

B&B Fish

Jason Santos (Buttermilk & Bourbon) brings his carnival-style food to the beach with this cheeky seafood shack where everything is outsized and deep fried, from oysters to Oreos. The sleeper hit? Honey-glazed biscuits dunked in pimento cheese and cinnamon butter. Look elsewhere for your veggies.

195 Pleasant Street, Marblehead, 781-990-1739, bandbfish.com

Barra

Opened shortly before the pandemic, this Union Square spot was made for hanging out, sipping cocktails, and enjoying Mexico City-style snacks. Barra barely had a chance to win our hearts, yet win them it did. Even if we couldn’t enjoy some of its social aspects, we still had tamales, tlacoyos, and mezcal galore, along with Mexican spirits rarely found in these parts.

23A Bow Street, Somerville, 617-764-1750, barraunionsquare.com

Bob’s Italian Foods

This old-school deli in the heart of Medford has churned out meaty marvels since 1936, a reassuring landmark in an era marked by change. Luckily, some things never do, such as Bob’s monstrous Italian sub layered with operatic slabs of capicola, mortadella, prosciutto, and provolone, which you can get with a crown of chopped pickles, hot peppers, and tomatoes sliced thin enough to see through.

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324 Main Street, Medford, 781-395-0400, bobsfood.com

Celeste

At this tiny Union Square spot, chef JuanMa Calderón prepares dishes learned from his mother in his native Peru — ají de gallina (creamy shredded chicken), lomo saltado (stir-fried beef) — with a sure hand and plenty of heart. Ceviche and to-go pisco sours are top choices, but don’t miss the causas (cold terrines of mashed potato layered with various fillings) or the complex and soulful stews.

21 Bow Street, Somerville, 617-616-5319, celesteunionsquare.com

Honeycomb

In picturesque Hamilton, pastry chef Lauren Kroesser Moran is known for her array of cookie-jar confections, muffins, beautiful salads with caramelized delicata and roasted beets, avocado tartine on homemade sourdough, and more. A recent dinner of the week on the takeout menu was a tempting chicken pot pie with cream cheese pastry.

248 Bay Road, Hamilton, 978-626-0014, honeycombhamilton.com

Istanbul Diner Café

It may look like this spot near Bell Circle in Revere is serving ordinary fast food. But step in to pick up exceptional Turkish cuisine, including a fame-worthy red lentil soup, “pide cheese” (a huge boat-shaped pizza), and skewered meats, especially the Adana Kebab, ground lamb with hummus and grilled tomatoes.

120 Veterans of Foreign Wars Parkway, Revere, 781-289-4249, istanbuldinercafe.com

Selections from the “all day menu” at Juliet in Someville.
Selections from the “all day menu” at Juliet in Someville.Brian Samuels

Juliet

Menu highlights include a fried chicken dinner and a three-course meal centered around duck confit. Lately, customers are requesting takeout food to cook at home, so owners Joshua Lewin and Katrina Jazayeri now offer steak with cooking instructions, along with sides to reheat. The popular Somerville restaurateurs teach virtual classes, too.

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21 Union Square, Somerville, 617-718-0958, julietsomerville.com

La Metapaneca Grill

The best beach snacks are in Revere — even when it’s not beach season. You’ll find them at this seaside stop, where you order at the window. Get piquant shrimp ceviche; street corn on a stick, slathered in mayo and ketchup; tacos alongside Salvadoran pupusas; and all manner of shaved ice drinks. When the weather cooperates, adjourn to the low wall across the street and watch the gulls wheel over the waves while you eat.

63 Revere Beach Boulevard, Revere, 781-629-6155

La Ventana

This pop-up taqueria from chef Jeremy Sewall operates out of his Burlington Island Creek Oyster Bar and shares a seafood focus, specializing in trios of soft corn tacos (fried haddock, grilled shrimp) and the naughtiest queso you’ll ever try: a velvet pool of seemingly bottomless cheese coating smoky chorizo.

300 District Avenue, Burlington, 413-406-8329, laventana.co

Lucia

This North End favorite with an outpost in Winchester is run by the Frattaroli family, who oversee many of the neighborhood’s mainstay spots. Lucia has adapted well to changing times, with themed to-go menus (for Valentine’s Day, it offered a feast with heart-shaped ravioli and a gift card) and an “at home” food shop with everything from quarts of tomato sauce to veal roast for four.

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13 Mount Vernon Street, Winchester, 781-729-0515; 415 Hanover Street, North End, 617-367-2353, luciaristorante.com

The Modern Butcher

Warren Means and Lisa Nichols’s whole-animal butchery offers harder-to-find cuts of meat — all locally sourced, pasture raised — as well as house-made specialties like eight sausage varieties rotated weekly. The sandwiches of the day are fan fare: a recent North Beef three-way (roast beef plus mayo, sauce, and cheese) saw crowds down the block.

226 Merrimac Street, Newburyport, 978-465-6500, themodernbutchershop.com

CHECK THE MAP FOR READERS’ FAVORITES:

Neighborhood Kitchen

Eddie George, who aptly goes by Chef Flexx, makes movie night a little spicier. His name fits: He marries creativity with comfort in lasagna piled high with plantains instead of noodles and an electrifying Haitian spaghetti, drenched in peppery tomato sauce and topped with sliced hard-boiled eggs.

84 Spring Street, Medford, 781-391-9000, nkboston.com

Newburyport Fish

Owner Fred Derr updates his website with the day’s catch, much of which is sushi-grade or from local fishermen, as well as prepared-case items like bluefish pate, salmon bacon, and fish burgers; his made-to-order poke bowls are simple and healthy. Take away oysters, too. Call-ahead, curbside-pickup orders only.

75 Water Street, Newburyport, 978-255-1597, newburyportfish.com

Nightshade Noodle Bar

Chef-owner Rachel Miller worked in the kitchen of places like Clio and Bondir before starting Nightshade, a celebration of her love for Vietnamese cuisine. She and her small team have powered through these last months, working on a new neighborhood market called Sin City Superette and introducing promotions like $10 Noodle Wednesdays, Free Delivery Thursdays (within an 8-mile radius), and Viet Cajun Fridays. Look for noodle soups, bone marrow fried rice, banh mi, bottled cocktails, and more. Check Instagram for daily updates, and preorder if you can.

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73 Exchange Street, Lynn, 781-780-9470, nightshadenoodlebar.com

Pastaio Via Corta

Chez Panisse alum Danielle Glantz makes her homemade pastas out of milled-to-order, organic flour from the Northeast; non-GMO fed eggs from Essex; and vegetables and herbs from across town. She sells these alongside curated natural Italian wines and pasta-adjacent provisions, such as artisanal olive oil, tinned fish, and sauce (of course).

123 Main Street, Gloucester, 978-868-5005, pastaioviacorta.com

Crab and red lentil kibbeh from Sarma in Somerville.
Crab and red lentil kibbeh from Sarma in Somerville.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Sarma

Ana Sortun and Cassie Piuma’s inventive Mediterranean mezze temple has one of the most varied menus in the area, and it’s a must for vegetarians, who are often overlooked. Here, charred carrot hummus, Moroccan eggplant lettuce wraps, and cauliflower tagine take center stage in colorful assemblages that look like a Bob Ross easel. Carnivores get their due with sesame fried chicken and sweet-and-sour brisket. Nothing feels like an afterthought.

249 Pearl Street, Somerville, 617-764-4464, sarmarestaurant.com

Short & Main

The likes of wood-fired pizzas, gnocchi, and beef ragu with polenta are all made for curbside pickup at this charming Gloucester spot, owned by Chez Panisse grads Nico and Amelia Monday with partner Matt Cawley. There’s also a Sunday supper option available for preorder.

36 Main Street, Gloucester, 978-281-0044, shortandmain.com

Viet Citron

This friendly Vietnamese restaurant in Burlington specializes in flavorful banh mi and rice bowls for grown-ups, but doesn’t forget the kids (bowls with chicken and veggies, a toasted peanut butter and jelly). Of course, epicures of any age can always try the oxtail pho. Fun specials include delicacies such as pork belly ribs with braised eggs and vats of pickled mustard greens. Ask for extra chili paste.

47 Middlesex Turnpike, Burlington, 781-739-3655, vietcitron.com

EXPLORE BY REGION: METRO BOSTON | WEST | SOUTH


With contributions from Peter Bailey-Wells, Michael Fitzgerald, Alyssa Giacobbe, Sheryl Julian, Jakob Menendez, Jeneé Osterheldt, Mark Pothier, and Melissa Schorr.


Devra First can be reached at devra.first@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @devrafirst. Kara Baskin can be reached at kara.baskin@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @kcbaskin.