Tried & True and Something New
One of the best things about Cape Cod summers is the way the whole area comes alive with restaurants opening up, sprucing up and gearing up for the summer clientele. From ice cream and fried seafood to cocktails on the deck shared with dear friends and family with whom we spend too little time, we look for any opportunity to get out and enjoy the season.
We’re fortunate around here that the culinary trends impacting cuisine are firmly rooted in locally sourced ingredients. Our proximity to the ocean is one of our most valuable and unique characteristics. But our bounty doesn’t stop at the water’s edge. We are lucky that our soil, climate and the dedication of local farmers also provides high-quality and unique produce from the earth as well.
Locally produced honey, vegetables, salt and fruits are just some of the staples that accentuate the local seafood we enjoy. We also benefit from local purveyors of pork, beef and poultry, making for everything any innovative chef would love to get their hands on!
Our Summer Dining Guide has some of the familiar things we have presented to you in the past, like the Waterview Dining Guide, but we are also highlighting 51 restaurants that if you haven’t tried yet, you really should! The list includes long-loved local favorites and some newcomers on the local dining scene that we think will delight you in what they have to offer. Our new series “Art on the Plate” explores the food and dynamic cocktails some talented chefs and bartenders are creating across the region. Don’t miss our first round of this beautiful series in our 2018 Cape Cod ART issue.
Despite your tastes, your budget and your location, as long as you are somewhere on this sandy peninsula or our island outposts, you should be able to find some local delicacies that sum up summer in a single bite.
Upper Cape Dining
Tried & True Restaurants in Bourne, Falmouth, Mashpee & Sandwich
The Upper Cape has enjoyed a fresh take on Mexican cuisine for almost a decade since Anejo first opened their doors on Main Street in Falmouth in 2010. Their innovative interpretations of classic mexican ingredients are complemented by a vast list of tequilas accompanied by fresh mixers and juices. With an outdoor patio that flanks Main Street, the comings and goings of the bustling town make for great entertainment.
This popular Mashpee restaurant has been serving up sumptous Italian favorites since 2005. An extensive wine list highlights their commitment to fresh, high quality ingredients, showcasing the talents and passion of their Executive Chef, Kevin P. Doherty. Sure to please any Italian aficionado, standard fare like veal, chicken, beef and seafood are prepared in the traditional manner, but there are always unexpected pairings and presentations to be found both on the menu as well as on the specials list.
The iconic renovated former church located in Sandwich Village has been serving high-quality regional cuisine for decades. The sophisticated interior, complemented by professional and attentive service, ensures patrons will have a memorable dining experience. A well-curated wine list confirms that every detail has been carefully considered in this fine restaurant. Open year-round and perfect for special celebrations.
Literally translated as “The Kitchen by the Sea,” this authentic Italian eatery, located on Main Street in the heart of downtown Falmouth, serves up Italian specialties for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Owners Mark and Cynthia Cilfone truly make it a family affair, as their grown children are often seen working throughout the restaurant—even the customers are made to feel like family. For over 15 years, the Cilfones have been sharing the warmth of their hearts and their kitchen with diners by the sea in Falmouth.
Travel to France without ever leaving the Cape. This charming restaurant mainstay in the heart of Mashpee Commons delivers authentic French bistro cuisine with a contemporary flair, all under the guidance of Executive Chef and Owner Frederic Feufeu from France’s Loire Valley. Serving lunch, dinner, an off-season Sunday brunch and an ever-changing daily prix-fixe menu at an incredible value, there is always something wonderful in store for discerning diners.
Complete with a fountain, this European-inspired café, in a shaded courtyard within Mashpee Commons, serves up small plates of contemporary continental cuisine. The thoughtful wine list has many varietals available by the glass or bottle, making the outdoor seating area the perfect place to sit back and take your time enjoying your meal.
A few new places to add to your favorites list
This summer, the Soprano’s family has opened a new restaurant in an old location at 286 Grand Avenue in Falmouth. This new venture is a welcome addition to the Cape’s restaurant landscape as they serve up their traditional Italian cuisine, complemented by a fresh and creative specials list focusing on the waterfront location on Vineyard Sound in Falmouth Heights, with views to Martha’s Vineyard. This historic spot that has been the finish line for the Falmouth Road Race for decades will surely be the new spot to gather for food, fun and cocktails this summer.
In keeping with what is obviously a trend of continuing the success of one restaurant by opening a new one, Chris Wilson, owner of the Belfry Inn & Bistro, opened the Next Door Burger Bar adjacent to his popular restaurant. Offering an alternative to the fine dining at The Belfry, the Burger Bar features casual fare that has benefited from thoughtful consideration. Additions like foie gras and regionally sourced cheeses, all served on toasted brioche buns, remind diners these are not your average burgers.
Once again, if something is good, then two of something is better, and therefore three of something must be incredible. Sandwich restaurant owner Chris Wilson is waving his magic wand over another eating establishment. The former Horizons restaurant on the beach at the entrance to the Cape Cod Canal has been transformed into the Drunken Seal. Wilson has crafted a fresh and simple menu that highlights quality ingredients and complements the stunning waterfront location perfectly. The atmosphere and simplicity of the menu keep the vibe casual and carefree, as diners gaze at the endless parade of ships and boats as they move through the canal.
A summer institution in Woods Hole for decades, Shuckers has recently been acquired by new owners who, like a fresh breeze, have revamped the menus to still feature the freshest seafood around, but in unexpected ways of preparation. Their impressive raw bar and appetizers like Ahi tuna nachos and buffalo cauliflower are accented by a full bar, extensive wine list and creative cocktails including homemade sangria. Tucked into a sweet spot on Eel Pond with plenty of boats at the dock and on moorings, there is no better place to duck in while waiting for a ferry to the Vineyard.
Mid Cape Dining
Tried & True restaurants in Barnstable, Dennis & Yarmouth
This small, unexpected gem tucked in the back of a building on West Main Street in Hyannis has been serving high-quality, authentic sushi and Japanese cuisine for years. A bit of a local’s secret, Misaki flies slightly under the radar, but an evening with friends and some of their creative cocktails to complement their outstanding cuisine is one that will be long remembered.
The Naked Oyster, located adjacent to Puritan Cape Cod on Main Street in Hyannis, has been serving not only oysters on the half shell and in a variety of other creative ways, but also a fresh collection of seafood and other innovative cuisine for almost a decade. Chef/Owner Florence Lowell brings her French upbringing to her kitchen, and her customers are rewarded with her classically influenced cuisine. She also maintains and harvests the oysters she serves from her own oyster farm, so the freshness and quality are always guaranteed.
2018 marks the 18th year for this family-owned harbinger of summer. With long lines out the door, and scores of picnic tables lining their spot on Sesuit Harbor, this popular restaurant turns out lobster salad rolls by the ton as well as delicious fried seafood, raw bar favorites and an under-acknowledged extensive breakfast menu. They do not have a liquor license, but diners can bring their own to enjoy with their meals.
Established in 1981, the Roadhouse is as much of a dining institution as you will find on the Cape. Part of the Columbo Group of restaurants, owner David Columbo continues the tradition of exceptional food and service offered in a classic yet casual atmosphere established by his father almost 40 years ago. Other restaurants under the same quality management include the Black Cat, the Black Cat Harbor Shack and Columbo’s Café & Pastries. All located in downtown Hyannis.
This consistently popular restaurant has been turning out family favorites for a while now, but it seems that people are still discovering their unique interpretation of American classics. Located on Lower County Road in Dennis Port, the owners put a Greek twist on their extensive menu that includes burgers, salads, grinders and pizza. With an eye on quality and affordability, they always offer generously portioned entrees and have a full liquor license.
A few new places to add to your favorites list
The owners of Rock Harbor Grill in Orleans open their second restaurant, on Route 6A in Yarmouth Port, this summer. The menu offers a tantalizing selection of comfort food, ranging from homemade haddock chowder to mac ‘n cheese, fried chicken, burgers and flatbread pizzas. Open year-round, the new spot will certainly be welcome in a fairly quiet section of the Mid Cape.
Formerly the Angler’s Club on Hyannis Harbor, the Harborview has adopted a fresh-faced approach to the next chapter in the historic location. Presenting Mediterranean-influenced small plates like tapas, the kitchen is turning out fresh seafood with a decidedly different twist. Their innovative cocktails will reinforce your suspicion that you are enjoying a very special restaurant.
A good thing has to be shared. Keying on the success of their original restaurant in Dennis Port, the Balanos family expanded to the north side of the Cape when they opened this neighborhood gem in Yarmouth Port in 2013. This new restaurant also offers their authentic Greek classics as well as Italian and American standards. The tasteful interior steps things up a notch with an inviting dining area, a comfortable lounge with a full bar, and seasonal outdoor seating.
The owners of the very popular Sesuit Café have found a year-round home where they can indulge in their culinary passions. Tucked into the Cape Playhouse campus in Dennis Village, this cozy restaurant is turning out innovative and thoughtful cuisine for a variety of palates. A tiny, cozy bar on the side of the building is the perfect spot to warm up when the Cape winds blow. Outdoor seating during the warmer months serves up the perfect place to grab a bite before or after a play or a film at the historic Cape Cinema next door.
Since opening in the summer of 2017, this unique restaurant offers an experience not found anywhere else in the region. With a strong focus on locally sourced ingredients, their commitment to quality is evident at every turn. The atmosphere has a plucky, energized vibe that makes any meal feel like a celebration of a special occasion. Add a couple of their creative concoctions from the bar, and you have a great night out.
New in the summer of 2018, the extremely popular Falmouth restaurant will be opening a second location on Main Street in Hyannis. The same fresh and innovative interpretations of Mexican cuisine will be available, along with the extensive tequila list and the endless varieties of margaritas. The historic patio out back, with a 200-plus-year-old beech tree, will once again be the place to grab a cocktail in Hyannis.
Lower Cape Dining
Tried & True restaurants in Brewster, Chatham, Harwich & Orleans
Not ready to commit to an Italian vacation? Get your feet wet with an authentic Italian feast at Buca’s Tuscan Roadhouse in Harwich, where you can have everything from a piece of cheese and a glass of wine, to a mouth-watering pasta entrée. Imagine yourself sitting on an Italian vineyard or amongst the bustle of the streets in Tuscany without ever leaving the Cape. If it’s a genuine Italian experience that you want, look no further!
What’s more Cape Cod than dinner in an old sea captain’s home? The Barley Neck Inn provides just that along with stellar cocktails, an expansive wine list, and delicious appetizer and Sunday brunch options. Located in East Orleans, just a short distance from Nauset Beach, the Barley Neck Inn features four intimate dining rooms as well as the Beach Road Bar & Grille in the attached barn, and is great for events or a nice family meal.
Guapo’s Tortilla Shack is a family-friendly restaurant serving deliciously simple, Mexican-inspired meals. With two locations—one in Brewster and one in Orleans—Guapo’s is the place to go for fresh, mouthwatering dishes. Owners Kyle and Danna Parker are also committed to helping out the community, routinely raising money for local families and nonprofits, and sourcing as many regional ingredients as possible.
For a sophisticated meal in a relaxed setting, look no further than Mahoney’s Atlantic Bar & Grill. This charming spot is centrally located in downtown Orleans and passionately run by Chef Ted Mahoney. Try one of their creative cocktails, like the “Blue Lemon Drop” or the “Meet Your Maker Manhattan,” and be sure to enjoy some of their incredible, fresh seafood as well.
Known for its cozy atmosphere and creative specials, the Beacon Room is a true go-to spot. For a nice lunch with friends or a great family get-together, this is the place. Expect inventive dishes, attentive service and a comfortable atmosphere to ensure you have a meal and an experience that is both incredible and relaxing.
A few new places to add to your favorites list
Many have been waiting for this, and finally it’s happening! Chef/Owner Mason Pryme, Co-Chef Timothy Ames, and their seasoned front of the house team are opening a concept of their own on Main Street in Brewster with the ambition to create no less than the ultimate food destination on Cape Cod. The menu features creative coastal New England cuisine, including bite-size and small plate appetizers, center of the plate proteins, wild game selections, artisan burgers, homemade desserts, and specials prepared with locally sourced ingredients.
Spinnaker in Brewster is taking hospitality to a new level, from the inn upstairs to their beautiful restaurant. With friendly waitstaff, a cozy ambiance and delicious menu selections, Spinnaker leaves nothing to be desired. Try their seasonal menu options for flavor profiles that are sure to delight the taste buds.
Lanyards are used to tie owners to their valuables, and at the Lanyard Bar and Grill in Harwich, the local community is something to be treasured and held close—hence the name. Providing crowd-pleasing menu items, refreshing drinks, great company and an all-around good time, this hip spot is a must-try.
Vers means “fresh” in Dutch, and that’s certainly something that Vers in Orleans has captured in both their food and ambiance. Owners Jonathan and Karen Haffmans have paired elegant dishes with a comfortable dining environment, providing guests with rich flavors and unparalleled comfort. For something a little different, try the four- or eight-course tasting menu paired with flavorful wine selections.
Sunbird in Orleans boasts a laid-back, modern vibe for “life on the fly.” Their dishes capitalize on classic flavor combinations and feature everything from breakfast and coffee to dinner and drinks. They say birds of a feather flock together, and at Sunbird, this old adage has never been more true. For your next big get together—be it with family or friends—it’s the place to “flock.” Short on time? Sunbird’s menu is also perfect for takeout.
Outer Cape Dining
Tried & True restaurants in Eastham, Provincetown, Truro & Wellfleet
Hungry but don’t want to miss out on any beach time? The Canteen is a cute little spot in Provincetown set in a 200-year-old building that has been transformed into a quaint beach shack. Inside, sit in the communal dining area, or outside enjoy the comfy seating area that backs right up to Cape Cod Bay. A real community staple, this place is welcoming for locals and visitors alike.
PJ’s started as the dream business of a family eager to return to Cape Cod. Today, visitors can still find Don Reeves, son of the original owners John and Dorothy Reeves, in the kitchen along with other family members. PJ’s strives to use quality local products to create an expansive menu of tantalizing dishes. Stop by for some homemade lobster chowder!
A true escape, Nor’East Beer Garden is located in the heart of Provincetown and provides customers with a wide selection of craft beer and cocktails and, of course, fresh meals. Executive Chef Samuel Greene prides himself on creating new, one-of-a-kind menus each week, and the beer selection also changes regularly. What more could you ask for?
This romantic venue is nestled right on Commercial Street in Provincetown. With incredible Italian cuisine, brick walls, handcrafted wooden tables and intimate lighting, the atmosphere at Front Street can’t be beat. Chef and Owner Donna Aliperti treats each day as a new adventure, and the menu changes weekly, so there’s always something different to enjoy with a delectable glass of fine wine. Plus, be sure to try a sweet made by Sous Chef and Pastry Chef Kathy Cotter.
Founded in 2007, Jimmy’s HideAway is literally a hidden gem, tucked underground on Commercial Street in Provincetown. You couldn’t ask for a more unique spot, and that’s saying something in Provincetown, an area known for its one-of-a-kind arts scene and unbelievable food destinations. Candlelight and low ceilings make this spot a romantic getaway perfect for a date night or classy meal. Owners Raife Menold and his partner Jim McNulty have created something special, and for foodies, this place is a must try!
A few new places to add to your favorites list
Zia Auch, chef and owner of Brine in Eastham, grew up in Wellfleet. As the daughter of a fisherman, it’s no surprise she has a passion for seafood, and as a Cape native, it’s also no surprise she has a dedication for fresh, local ingredients. Described as American with strong French influences, Auch’s restaurant is an amazing addition to the Eastham community. But don’t take our word for it—try her incredible food yourself!
Opened in 2016, Spindler’s in Provincetown has worked with consulting chef Barbara Lynch to develop a unique culinary experience, and paired with famed mixologist Ezra Star to come up with a creative bar menu. Led by head chef Liam Rowland, Spindler’s merges fresh Cape and New England ingredients with French techniques and Italian soul for an unparalleled dining experience.
At Ceraldi, the focus is on local food that tells a story, and that story is told through seven-course, prix fixe meals. Each course comes with a carefully chosen wine pairing that brings out not only the flavor of the dish, but also the flavors of the region. The menu changes daily, ensuring that each meal is a new, unique experience.
Joon Bar and Kitchen, located in the west end of Provincetown, invites diners to experience freshly prepared recipes and fantastic wine selections chosen by the restaurant’s sommelier. Chef Paul Krikorian creates unbelievable dishes that showcase the flavors of the season and change by the day to ensure every meal is a different experience. Hip decor and friendly waitstaff make this restaurant a true, one-of-a-kind experience.
While this special restaurant is not officially considered “Something New,” we are including it in this category because it is such a well-kept secret. Granted, some may consider it to be off the beaten path since it is located in Truro Center, but trust us, it is worth the trip. Tucked into a former blacksmith shop (and the name of the restaurant that occupied the space years before), this secret gem has ambiance galore, with its rustic brick walls and eclectic decor. But what Chef Eric Jansen sends out of the kitchen epitomizes what any master chef would do with the local bounty that is celebrated in this tiny town. This restaurant is so good, it may cause you to consider moving to Truro.
Martha’s Vineyard Dining
The Vineyard has been, and always will be, a true foodie destination
Ben Deforest, owner of Red Cat Kitchen in Oak Bluffs, has taken over the space down the street previously inhabited by Down Island. His new venture will be called the Cardboard Box, and diners can expect a farm-to-table and a sea-to-table menu like only the Vineyard can do. Late-night entertainment is also expected to keep the place lively long after dinner.
Opened only a couple of seasons ago, this intimate space right in downtown Oak Bluffs proudly declares that everything they serve is made from scratch. Part of the Martha’s Vineyard Celestial Restaurant Group, the management collectively brings over 50 years of experience successfully serving residents and visitors of the Vineyard a high-quality dining experience.
The team behind the very successful Port Hunter in Edgartown opened a new restaurant across the street in the summer of 2017. The owners say they try to convey the love and passion they have for the Vineyard through the food, beverage and atmosphere they serve. Fresh from the sea, the farm and the garden, nightly selections reflect the best the Vineyard has to offer.
This staple of fine dining on Martha’s Vineyard has been impressing patrons for years. The experience of an evening at Détente is one that will become memorable, even if the occasion is ordinary. Their American fare with European influences has a sophistication usually only found in the finest metropolitan centers of the world. Reservations recommended.
It might be easy to discount this small deli-style stopover in West Tisbury as something ordinary. That would be a mistake. Yes, you can stop in and get great coffee and a muffin in the morning, or soup and a sandwich at lunch. But to not expand your horizons by sampling everything and anything on the menu, as well as prepared foods in the refrigerated case, would be letting your taste buds down. Their baked goods will cause you to come up with reasons to entertain in the morning.
Nantucketers put a premium on high-quality, one-of-a-kind dining
Diners with a taste for the romantic often find themselves at The Chanticleer on Nantucket. From a rose garden with al fresco seating to personal dining rooms, it doesn’t get much more intimate than this special location. Opened originally as a small tea house, this quaint spot has flourished—much like the gardens out back—into a premier dining location under the direction of Chef Jeff Worster.
No one could argue that The Languedoc has character—from the local clientele to the variety of dining experiences to be had, there’s something for everyone. In the summer, enjoy the terrace for some quaint al fresco dining, or in the fall, cozy up in the downstairs café or the intimate dining room. The innovative dishes here are French inspired and locally sourced.
The Greydon House restaurant and bar puts an upscale, worldly twist on American favorites. Under the leadership of Executive Chef Marcus Gleadow-Ware, Greydon House provides a simple yet progressive menu in a hip setting. Enjoy the bar, dining room or veranda overlooking the happenings of Broad Street.
Patrick Ridge, chef and owner of the Island Kitchen, has a passion for island living and, of course, food. With a vast culinary experience under his belt, Chef Ridge is offering island natives and visitors alike a one-of-a-kind dining experience. He has incorporated his other love, real estate, into his business to create a multitude of spaces, each with their own culinary offerings and unique character.
It doesn’t get much more original than a bar in an old train car. The Club Car on Main Street, Nantucket is a modern dining space complete with an attached train car turned bar. Baby blue couches and hip lighting set the tone for this modern, upscale spot. Try one of their creative “Seasonal Sippahs” and pair it with equally delicious seasonal menu options.