Alchemy Review (Gloucester, MA)

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.*

I don’t know about you, but I get a ton of recipe inspiration from meals I have when I’m out.

Last weekend, I hit Alchemy Cafe and Bistro in beautiful seaside Gloucester, MA, with the Little Black Cat, my good friend and frequent partner in crime.

If you’re not from around these parts, Gloucester is one of THE places to get seafood. Located at the tippy top of the Massachusetts coast, Gloucester is basically an island. It’s some of the prettiest, rocky New England coastline going.

Remember the movie The Perfect Storm? Same Gloucester.

Forget Hollywood, though. Fishing is very much a mainstay for Gloucester peeps in the real world. And it definitely shows in the high quality seafood you can find on its restaurant tables.

We usually wind up at Alchemy on the weekend at some odd hour for lunch. It’s one of my friend’s old haunts. This is the first time I had ever been for dinner.

True to its name, Alchemy is all about great mixology—food, booze, and decor. The cocktail list is creative, and they have a great selection of craft beer, hooch, and bitters, a lot of them locally distilled.

We talked about hitting up Ryan and Wood Distilleries sometime for a tour. The barkeep at Alchemy was kind enough to give us a thimbleful of their Knockabout Gin to taste on the house, and it was out of this world. Stay tuned for more on that one of these days. I definitely want to investigate.

What’s the vibe?

Alchemy is one part pub, one part speakeasy, one part bohemian living room. It’s incredibly down to earth and comfortable. Think candles, warm wood, leather couches, funky lamps, well-spaced tables. It’s the kind of place that has an artisan cocktail menu AND a bluegrass brunch on Sundays. Know what I mean?

Love their old-school phone booth.

What did we eat?

Another thing we both really like about Alchemy is that they’re thoughtful about where they source their food. Their seafood is all wild caught, and their meat comes from family farms that certify their animals are raised without antibiotics, hormones, or other nasty stuff. Awesome all around.


Cheese & Charcuterie Board

From the menu
“Served with Chef’s choice of accompaniments.”


What did we think?
This was more than enough for two as an app. Our bartender took us on a tour of the board when he presented it. I got a big high-five for knowing that the coppa comes from the fatty meat around the pig’s neck and head. There were thin slices of cured beef, prosciutto, and two kinds of salami—one spicy, and one sweeter that was made with cocoa nibs. There was a good creamy blue cheese and aged cheddar. A pile of spicy mustard and few heaps of house pickled shallots, fennel, and red onion cut all that fat nicely.

Beef Short Ribs

From the menu
“Sweet potato & gouda pave, spinach, pan jus, onion & bacon jam.”


What did we think?
Just what you want a short rib to be. Rich but not fatty. (You know how short ribs can have those gross globs of fat? There was none of that here.) Meltingly fork tender. Perfect amount of sauce, not swimming in it, but enough to dip everything. The sweet potato and gouda pave, which was like a scalloped potato deal sitting under the rib, was so good I could have eaten a plate of that on its own. Definitely good recipe inspiration. If you’re a carnivore, order this. You won’t be sorry.

Pan Roasted Day Boat Scallops

From the menu
“Brussel bacon & mushroom hash, butternut squash puree, crispy sweet potato.”


What did we think?
Comes in a half portion and full portion, so you can scale your plate. Perfectly cooked. Good sear. Moist and sweet inside. We both wanted to swim around in the velvety butternut squash puree. The hash in the middle was crisp and generously dotted with bacon. Very well balanced between sweet, creamy, and salty.


Rock solid place for both food and drinks. Not our first rodeo here, definitely won’t be our last. This is one of our go-to places on the North Shore. The same restaurant group is actually opening a place in Salem, called Opus, in Green Land’s old spot on Washington Street. If it’s anything like its sister in Gloucester, it should be a knock-out, as well. More on that when Opus opens this summer.

Alchemy Cafe & Bistro

3 Duncan Street
Gloucester, Massachusetts 01930
(978) 281.3997

What do you think?

Get any recipe inspiration? I’m thinking I’m definitely going to try to noodle out a sweet potato and Gouda gratin sometime in the near future.

*If it needs to be said, I wasn’t compensated for this review in any way. I eat out a fair amount, and want to share some of my better meals with you guys. Inspiration comes from a lot of different places. 😉

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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie works as an advertising copywriter in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.


  1. Oh my, this looks and sounds delicious! I am planning a trip up the east coast, this will have to be one of my stops :)