1/07/2013 01:30:00 PM

Ceia Opens Tonight for Dinner in New Newburyport Digs

The first floor of Ceia's new location at 38 State St. in Newburyport
For two years Ceia Kitchen + Bar (pronounced SAY-ya) has been blossoming into a go-to dining hot spot in Downtown Newburyport. Tonight the popular European coastal eatery specializing in Portuguese fare is opening tonight in a new location - a historic brownstone offering more seating (three floors of it), just up the street from its former location. For those worried about a change in atmosphere, don't be - it still maintains its romantic, intimate vibe.

If the buzz at the opening party last night is any indication of its success, you’ll need to book your rezzies now.

Just coming from cooking at the James Beard House last month, the kitchen team, headed by Soucy, is pumped and primed to offer the best in show from a creative menu. Dishes include cocoa tagliarini, a delicate pasta made with single-source cocoa served with smoked oyster mushroom sauce and Pecorino Toscano; a seafood stew; and a pork dish that features the tenderloin cooked with salt, olive oil and lemon (“That’s it,” says Soucy). The pork ribs are braised with cinnamon, raisins, almonds and dried chilis, the way the Moors might do it. Entree prices will run between $24 and $36. As far as beverages, owner Nancy Batista-Caswell continues her tradition of serving an eclectic wine list that offers wines by the glass as well as outstanding pairings with the food.

A large copper bar, fashioned with the same copper from the original bar in the old space, greets you on the first floor. There’s a TV at the bar, high-top and table seating, and a cozy nook with a wooden booth to watch the action. Wooden booths and copper-top tables throughout the restaurant are the reminder of the old Ceia.

An exposed kitchen is the highlight on the second floor, where diners can sit around a rustic communal table and order the chef’s tasting menu, peering through an open window area to see how it’s all being done. The chef’s tasting is an extravagant adventure where you trust executive chef Patrick Soucy to provide a multiple course tasting in which he pulls together the best-in-show of ingredients to create a custom menu, paired with wines, if you like.

The third floor buzzes with more bar action, where a long mahogany bar with a TV, table seating as well as a communal table with saddle stools is great for cocktails or dining. The lighting - glass and antique-style chandeliers, lamp sconces (from the old Ceia) and votive candles - cast a romantic glow throughout the space that’s warmed by the exposed brick and reclaimed wood.

38 State St., Newburyport; 978-358-8112


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