Cape Ann Dines Out!

Reviews for Franklin Cape Ann ~ Gloucester

118 Main Street
Gloucester, MA 01930
(978) 283-7888

On the web:

Posted by Cape Ann Web at November 12, 2003 08:42 AM


We are discerning, mindful restaurant critics who eat out a lot, and care very much about the food & the service.

Several months back, on a winter evening, we were standing outside the Franklin, trying to decide whether to give it another try or to eat a Passports, which is consistently good. Having a sentimental attachment to the Franklin, we wanted to try it, but had been disappointed of late.

It turned out that Brendan, the head chef, came upon us trying to make a decision, and persuaded us to give the Franklin another try.

We were given attentive service, which included complementary appetizers and a dessert sampler, courtesy of Brendan. The food was outstanding, as was the service and, as a result, we have been back.

Brendan cares enormously about the menu at the Franklin. He is a creative, conscientious chef, changing the menu with the seasons.

We encourage you to experience the food, service, and entertainment at the Franklin. We will be back.

Posted by: B&C at April 25, 2009 06:24 PM

What is wrong at the Franklin? What seems "off"? On the face of it, the food is very good, certainly meticulously prepared with the best intentions. Obviously painstaking and professional. Okay, then maybe that's what's wrong . . . served by a female server wearing jeans and a sort-of sweatshirt thing? Franklin Cafe, you are a class place, so why not take it the rest of the way? At least the black pants, white shirt thing for servers?

Good things: the food, the hummus and bread before dinner is excellent, fabulous wines- we know you care about the quality of everything you serve.

Not So Good things: a little too dark, booths that feel like old-fashioned church pews, hosts and servers who (with the exception of the masterful, professional Sal), do not really know what they're doing.

For the price, hope for a more elevated dining experience next time.

Posted by: discerning "EATS" critic at September 19, 2008 05:09 PM

This place was great and still is in some ways, but it is not the upper crust, treat me like a king place anymore. The food is good as is the service, but this is not a class place anymore. Maybe it never was and we accepted it as the ONLY place in Gloucester.

Posted by: bill at September 9, 2008 05:30 PM

I am amazed by the number of people who rave about this place. I have been to the Franklin 5 or 6 times and would say it is okay, certainly not the best on Cape Ann or comparable to fine restaurants outside of Cape Ann, and tremendously overpriced. You cannot call a place that offers hanger steak, one of the cheapest cuts of beef, as steak frites, you have to know that you are paying for trendy atmosphere and not a fine dining experience.

Posted by: Wendy at August 12, 2008 04:45 PM

pretty excellent restaurant. prolly the best in town. i've brought lots of people here (snooty new yorkers, spacey cali hippies) and everyone likes it. the bar areas are nice. stiff drinks. and it is awesome that they serve food so late seeing as everything closes early downtown. i've had the tuna here a couple times and it has been perfect. the short ribs are good. my girl likes this place. parents love it. it passes all the tests.

rip herb pomeroy.

Posted by: g stacka at June 29, 2008 12:13 AM

just ate there earlier in the week...
the food was as good as its ever been...skillet roasted mussels were huge and really juicy good, and the mushroom ravioli had the just right balance of earthiness and herbs...
the service was positively atrocious, in my opinion. in your face waiter calling me "sweetie"...young woman helping dropping silverware all over the place...bringing wrong food to the was really bad...had to hold my tongue...actually, it was busy enjoying the food which just about made up for the mind bogglingly bad service.

Posted by: libby at March 14, 2008 04:17 PM

My husband and I recently enjoyed a fantastic meal at the bar; food was exceptional, servic a-ok. We haven't been in over a year, and were a bit leary as we have read some of the reviews citing inconsistancy in food, however, we found Franklins to be just as fantastic as we remembered and would rate it top-notch past and present.

Posted by: rjr815 at December 9, 2007 08:23 PM

I went here with my cousin and a bunch of people. Not alot of seating. My cousin lives in Boston and he said it's the same owner as the one out there. It was just a try to see if it flew or not. And it did! The food is awesome! We were all picking of each others plates to try everything and it was all wonderful! The people who work their are pleasant too. The desserts to die for!

Posted by: Tammy at May 18, 2007 04:40 PM

I always recommend the Franklin to visitors because I know I have never gotten a bad meal there. In fact, I have always been impressed with every dish that I have ordered, from appetizers to main courses. The atmosphere is romantic and we've always been happy with the service. For the excellent quality of the food, the prices are very reasonable. I have to agree with a previous reviewer (David's entry from March of 06 which really made me giggle) in response to a negative review from someone else about the fact that the Franklin was not suitable for young children because they did not offer crayons or kids meals. Puh-lease! This is a place to go to get away from all of that. Why not take them to McDonald's for a happy meal complete with the toys? Leave the Franklin for us grown-ups who like to enjoy our meals in a relaxing, sophisticated atmosphere without the disturbance of young children who do not belong there in the first place!

Posted by: Bubbles at April 2, 2007 02:37 PM

This is the very best restaurant in Gloucester, and my husband & I have been to nearly all of them. The food is consistently superb. The atmosphere is a bit noisy, but go early or late and you'll avoid the crowd. Service is fine, but the food is brilliant.

Posted by: Diane at March 31, 2007 11:47 AM

This restaurant was highly recommended to me by a friend, and after reading many many good reviews of the Franklin Cafe, along with their attractive looking website, I was anticipating an excellent experience. Now, here is the catch, which I'm sure you were waiting for. The design of the place from my perspective was appealing, but after that everything started to go downhill. I am not sure if this was an off night, but as many people say, the first impression is the most important, and this first impression left a sour taste in my mouth. The service was extremely poor. Once arriving my girlfriend and I sat and waited 10 minutes to actually get acknowledged by the wait staff, who did not acknowledge the fact that we were sitting and waiting around for someone to take my order. Now, I normally am fine with this, but the place was extremely hard to hold a conversation, because you had the trendy music clouding the dining room along with people shouting over one another to get each others attention,(my advice bring a megaphone if you want to be heard) and with that the pressure just kept mounting and mounting, and by the time the waitress came to us we were ready to leave. I order the standard Mix Greens, which were like I said standard and bland. They tried to spice up the dish with some wasabi peas, which were completely out of place. Finally, my dinner was a bone-in filet mignon. Now, I honestly thought that it was a little strange that it had the bone in it, because I've never seen that before, but it was all bone and no meat, and for 24 dollars I was expecting much more. If it was a 12 oz piece of meat 8 oz were the bone. They should scrap that from the menu if I were them. My girlfriend had the salmon, which had a fishy taste and had so many flavors to chew upon that it left us feeling like it was a masking agent to downplay the poor quality of the fish. Now after a lousy salad and entree we embarked onto the coffee, which happened to be the best surprise of the night, because it was the best thing! It might as well've been a coffee house. Also, during our meal the staff had heavy feet and was chewing gum with their mouths open like they were at some sporting event. If I were the owner I would like to speak with them about some rules, because from my perspective the place does have potential in terms of the setting, but after that it was like a never ending rabbit hole of disasters. Lastly, I would never recommend this place to anyone.

Posted by: Alex at March 26, 2007 02:24 PM

The Franklin remains my favorite place to eat!! None other in Gloucester can compete. Go on a night when Elizabeth is there behind the bar, she's absolutely the best!!

Posted by: Locke at January 10, 2007 01:43 PM

I may not have discerning taste buds... i just might enjoy hot dogs or fried cheese... but oh man, the franklin makes me flip out... and unfortunately its less than 30 seconds away... i have now gone over my credit card limit 3 times just to eat there when i needed to... so what is the point of this review... go there, get anything, you'll be amazed... you hate bread pudding, get their bread pudding desert then you'll be a fanatic... don't really do the fish thing? try anything that looks like it might be fish related... no bones, cooked perfect, so many spices... im depressed now because its 1215 am and their kitchen is closed... so do you feel like you wasted your time readin this review or what? sorry, their food is good i can't think clearly

Posted by: Judson Abts at October 13, 2006 12:17 AM

I've been really disappointed with the meals I've gotten at the Franklin over the past few months. Nothing terrible, but nothing like what it used to be. It seems like there's been a lot of turnover and the food is suffering. This used to be my favorite place, so hopefully things will get back to normal soon.
My biggest complaint though is this restaurant doesn't know how to leave well enough alone. They switch things up, which is fine, but they seem to completely strip out the best things on their menu. Warm chocolate pudding cake RIP. Iceburg, beet and bacon salad, we hardly knew ye. French 75, the best drink on earth and now no one there even knows how to make it. I shed a tear for the Franklin... still, it's not the worst place you could go, but it USED to be the best.

Posted by: Nance at August 16, 2006 12:14 AM

my husband and i used to go to the franklin every week, sat at the bar, just got maybe 3 drinks each and a couple of appt and our bill counting tip was always over the 100 mark, 1/2 bottle of my favorite wine $28.00, i am the fool for paying it, but no other choices, and if you went with another couple, you couldnt get a full bottle of it it only came in 1/2, quite a ripoff if you ask me. then they took it off the menu and the food is not what it used to be. a large turnover in help. that says something. we dont go anymore. nothing else to say.

Posted by: sarah at July 26, 2006 12:39 PM

By far the best restaurant on cape ann. My wife and I went for dinner tuesday (6/20) and were pleasantly welcomed by the hostess who took us to two seats at the bar. The bartender was phenomenal - so friendly and attentive, but not overwhelming. Our drinks and food were perfection. We have already recommended the Franklin to friends and family and we will definetly return!

Posted by: Ron & Rebeca at June 23, 2006 11:17 AM

5 stars for sure...The food is always amazing, fresh and delicious. Just a quick answer to a review from above....don't bring your children here, adults want to eat with other adults, take your kids to McDonalds and don't bother the rest of us with your obnoxious kids.

Posted by: David at March 9, 2006 02:51 PM

I've been there twice and have always sat at the bar. The food, prices, cocktails, service and atmosphere are absolutely the best.

Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Laurie at March 7, 2006 08:00 AM

My daughter and son-in-law were visiting from Vermont this past week and asked me to recommend a nice restaurant in Gloucester for them to dine out. My husband suggested The Franklin Cape Ann. They went and when they returned, they were ecstatic!! I have never heard one restaurant receive so many accolades!!! They even went so far as to say that they had the best meals they have ever had in any restaurant at any time!!! And believe me, they have eaten in many!!! Not only the food but the waitstaff, the atmosphere, the music (and of course, the wine) were outstanding!!!

Posted by: donna kramich at November 9, 2005 12:05 AM

Spectacular mussels, tender and elegantly, subtly flavored. Entrees were also perfect---grilled lobster, panko crusted scallops. One of the best meals we have had anywhere.

Posted by: Ron howland at September 4, 2005 10:06 AM

Excellent! Called for a reservation on Saturday morning 8/20/05, Franklin Cafe called back same afternoon to confirm an 8pm res. during Gloucesterfest weekend! We arrived promptly and were seated promptly. Waiter was friendly and pleasant, made wonderful suggestions. The bread and hummus were amazing. The chicken with 20 cloves of garlic was perfection on a plate. Will definitely visit again.

Posted by: L_Magno at August 21, 2005 11:11 PM

Food was amazing. The only complaint I have is that our salads took over 20 minutes to come out. Our waiter apologized though. Steak cooked to perfection. And they serve dinner until midnight. The place wasn't as formal as I expected it to be, which makes me want to go back more often.

Posted by: Elizabeth at July 13, 2005 10:47 PM

We had heard that this restaurant was good for kids--so we write here to correct that impression. It is a nice restaurant: food very good, service acceptable, atmosphere pleasant--but not necessarily for kids. No kids menu, no special nods to kids (plastic glasses, crayons or something for kids to play with, nothing on the menu that might suit kids especially etc.--nothing like that.) So while we liked the restaurant and rate the food as good, not necessarily for families of children under, say, 10.

Posted by: Karen P at July 10, 2005 08:31 AM

Dark, pretty interior, and every bite a pleasure. Truly excellent tuna sashimi, salmon entree divine, roasted sweet potatoes as succulent as plantains, and a chocolate mousse and creme brulee made the way they should be. Returning this evening and hoping it has maintained an excellent standard.

Posted by: Janet at June 24, 2005 01:45 PM


Posted by: ANG at June 12, 2005 08:16 PM

Everything is excellent, from the hummus and pita to begin to all entrees. I love the tuna tartare,but isn't always available. Martini's are great too.

Posted by: Vicks at October 23, 2004 06:35 PM

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We were hit last week and in our haste to delete the spam comments, we may have deleted a review or two in error. We believe there was a very nice, thoughtful review of the Franklin that is not here now, for one.

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Posted by: Cape Ann Web at August 13, 2004 07:36 PM

Service is not consistent. The bar area was noisy and a reason we sometimes didn't go there. Food is variable, not bad for the most part (have had things arrive cold or overcooked. In my view there are much better places in town for the price.

Posted by: Charlie P. at April 13, 2004 04:10 PM

The BEST dining in Gloucester. The seared tuna is outstanding! The martinis are delicious, each one better than the last...

Posted by: Hank at March 10, 2004 04:41 PM

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