Michael’s Harborside is one of those restaurants I’ve been to several times before, but never considered it a “family” place. That is until one day, I saw this dad come in with his four kids (all under 10!) for lunch. Everyone was having so much fun! I decided to try this place out on my little guy and see if it passed his own ultra-strict restaurant test.

The Vibe
Michael’s Harborside is situated amongst the bridges and boat marinas in Newburyport’s harbor and has a beautiful view of both the downtown and riverfront leading out to the ocean. Michael’s has two levels of dining and when we arrive on a busy weekday, the downstairs is bustling with hungry lunch-goers. My son and I opt to head upstairs to the lounge area which has access to the outside deck (opening the end of April). We choose one of the tall tables adjacent to the window overlooking the deck, which happens to be a great place to sit and watch the two resident seagulls (Doug and Gimpy) who have made this area their own during the off season.

Our cheery waitress drops off menus, a coloring activity paper mat and a rather sad looking cup of half-broken crayons in three colors, although my son doesn’t care and sets to work coloring the aquatic life swimming around the page. If he’s not complaining, I certainly won’t either.

On The Menu
Hands down, Michael’s Harborside has the best kids menu around. For only $5.50, kids receive a beverage, an entrée, a choice of side dish and dessert. In addition to the normal beverages like fountain soda, juice or milk/chocolate milk, Michael’s also offers bottled root beer—and anyone who was once a kid knows how fun bottled beverages are for youngsters! They have a rather large selection of entrées like chicken fingers, hot dogs, burgers, pasta, mac-n-cheese, cheese pizza and cheese quesadillas, and baked haddock (!) or fish and chips for the seafood lovers. I’m also happy to see that, in addition to the usual french fries, they offer healthy side dishes like carrots and dip, the daily vegetable or apples and peanut butter. And don’t forget dessert! Kids can choose between an Ice Cream Rocket Pop or a “Build Your Own Cupcake” which includes chocolate chips, ice cream and a cupcake. They even have Gluten Free entrée options! Did I mention this was all for $5.50?!

Michael’s lunch menu has all kinds of great sounding options for adults, too. Salads and sandwiches range from $8-$10 (their famous lobster roll is $16) and fried seafood plates and lunch entrées hover between $11-$15 (you can also order a selection of half plate entrées at lunch).

Our food arrives and everything tastes as good as it looks. My son’s fried fish is light and crispy with a bowl of cut apples with peanut butter. My Ahi Tuna burger is served on an English muffin and has a really tasty wasabi sauce, mmmmm. Doug the Seagull agrees and lets us know that he’s up for a bite by tapping his beak on the window to get our attention. After dessert, we head out onto the deck to throw Doug and Gimpy some oyster crackers and enjoy a sunny view of the harbor.

What’s The Damage?
Our check arrives and for the two of us, the bill is only $16. Sweet! The food was tasty, our view was fantastic and Doug & Gimpy were a fun distraction. My only complaint would be that I found the service to be a *little* slow, but that’s only because my lunch date is three years old and has a much lower tolerance for waiting than I do. All in all, we’ll be back, especially when the deck opens. Fresh air, boats, good food and family. See you there!

The Bottom Line (based on a five-star rating):
Distraction Offering: ???? (coloring, view, bottled rootbeer, Doug & Gimpy!)
Atmosphere: ???? (nice view of the harbor activity and offers two outside decks)
Food: ???¾ (fried seafood was delish and a great menu with lots of options; awesome tartar sauce!)
Affordability: ???¾ (the kid’s menu is incredible for only $5.50)
Service: ??? (a little on the slow side, but we appreciated the offer of crackers for the birds!)

coloringmat     kids_fish

tuna_burger     icecream_pop

seagulls     deck

Michael’s Harborside
1 Tournament Wharf, Newburyport MA

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