Savor this list of 108 Cape & Islands restaurants with wonderful water views
Are you in the mood for lobster? How about salmon, or tuna, or a nice juicy steak? Have you been dreaming, perchance, of a strawberry arugula salad, or—even better—baked Alaska served with meringue and strawberry sauce? Getting hungry?
In this section we continue a longtime Cape Cod LIFE tradition of providing a list of restaurants on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket that boast fantastic water views in addition to their great food. In all, we’ve tracked down 108 restaurants, cafes, and clam shacks that overlook our local waters—whether the Atlantic, the Sound, Cape Cod Bay, or other.
Throughout the section we also provide brief profiles on six of these water-view restaurants, offering some details on the cuisine they serve and the scenery they enjoy. Happy reading—and bon appetit!
Set a course . . . for The Chart Room
The Chart Room, Cataumet
As soon as the doors to The Chart Room open in mid-May, visitors and locals head to the Cataumet establishment to enjoy stunning views, great food, and a lively atmosphere.
Located on Red Brook Harbor, The Chart Room is a unique dining spot in that the restaurant itself is built on a previously functioning barge. According to owner Dave Jarvis, the barge, once used by the New Jersey Central Railroad, arrived at the Cataumet Marina in the 1950s and was used for over a decade as a machine shop. As the marina developed—and the numbers of hungry fishermen increased—the barge was transformed into a restaurant—The Chart Room— in 1966.
According to Jarvis, the restaurant offers a traditional Cape Cod ambiance with, he says, “a casual, upbeat atmosphere.” On the menu, diners will find a variety of crowd-pleasing entrees and appetizers such as scallops, lobster salad, and scrod.
Nightly piano performances often inspire diners to get up and sing, and Jarvis says even while waiting for seating guests can relax in a comfortable Adirondack chair outside, while sipping on a cool cocktail and enjoying the view of the harbor.
Located at 1 Shipyard Lane in Cataumet, The Chart Room is open daily through Columbus Day, from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. ~ Maeve Mudie
Great food, casual dining, and views of the harbor
Sesuit Harbor Café, Dennis
Looking for an authentic Cape Cod dining experience? The popular Sesuit Harbor Cafe in Dennis is a family owned and operated clam shack now in its 16th season. Since opening during the summer of 2000, the restaurant has developed a following due to its great food and wonderful views overlooking the harbor.
Sitting at the restaurant’s casual outdoor tables, diners can watch boats coming in and out of the harbor and take in a great sunset. For breakfast, diners can enjoy omelets, egg dishes, and more. The menu for lunch and dinner provides an extensive variety of fresh seafood including fried clams and a famously large lobster roll. The cafe also makes fresh baked goods daily, including croissants, scones, cookies, and cupcakes.
Note: diners should plan to arrive early and bring cash as the restaurant does not accept reservations or credit cards. Located at 357 Sesuit Neck Road in Dennis, Sesuit Harbor Café is open from May 1 to Columbus Day, from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. For more information, visit sesuit-harbor-café.com. ~ Michelle Atwood
Tugboats offers savory food and sweet sunsets
Located on Arlington Street in Yarmouth, Tugboats overlooks the captivating Hyannis Harbor and has been a go-to spot for locals and tourists for more than 15 years. With its three dining areas, an open-air deck, and a large bar and lounge, Tugboats is a nice spot to enjoy a family dinner, appetizers after a day at the beach, or a drink to sip on while watching the sunset. The restaurant draws all kinds of customers, but is proud to be a popular attraction for families.
According to Scot McNeil, one of the restaurant’s managers, one thing that makes Tugboats stand out is its fabulous view. “The sunsets are incredible,” McNeil says. “The building faces west so when the sun drops, it’s nothing short of stunning.”
Known for its great good and affordable prices, the restaurant’s menu features everything from steak and salads to a large variety of fresh seafood. These dishes include fish and chips, a raw bar sampler, and a Cape Cod stew loaded with cod, mussels, scallops, shrimp, and chourico in a tomato broth.
Located at 21 Arlington Street in Yarmouth, Tugboats is open Sunday through Thursday, from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, visit tugboatscapecod.com. ~ Meaghan Donnelly
A wonderful discovery in Wellfleet Harbor
Known for its scenic views and delicious food, Pearl is a popular restaurant overlooking Wellfleet Harbor. Standing on the multi-level deck and patio, diners can enjoy stunning views of the harbor, including the town pier and boat docks, as well as Mayo Beach and Great Island beyond. “Every table has a view of the water,” says manager Alison Hester. “It’s a panorma view.”
Notable for its seafood, Pearl’s raw bar is constructed from the re-purposed transom of an old wooden fishing boat. The restaurant’s oysters are harvested from Wellfleet Harbor, guaranteeing fresh taste. Popular entrées on the menu include the New England shrimp and grits, lobster risotto, and buttermilk fried chicken.
Located at 250 Commercial Street in Wellfleet, Pearl Restaurant & Bar is open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. In summer the restaurant remains open until 10 p.m. For more information, visit wellfleetpearl.com. ~ Meaghan Donnelly
Be on the “Lookout” for this island tavern
Lookout Tavern, Oak Bluffs
Lookout Tavern in Oak Bluffs provides one of the best views of the water the Vineyard has to offer. From both indoor and outdoor seating, diners can enjoy breathtaking sights of Nantucket Sound and watch as all six of the island’s ferries come and go. “We’ve got the best view of Nantucket Sound on the island as far as restaurants are concerned,” owner Mike Santoro says. “The view and the food go hand in hand.”
Lookout Tavern is a great spot for lunch or dinner, or just to enjoy a drink before shipping off. Inside, the eatery offers a casual and energetic atmosphere with a fully stocked raw bar and an extensive sushi menu. Popular sushi rolls include the mango tango roll, a volcano roll, and an angry bird roll, which features shrimp tempura and spicy tuna and is topped with steamed shrimp, avocado, kabayaki sauce, and more.
Now in its 18th season, Lookout Tavern, 8 Seaview Avenue Ext. in Oak Bluffs, is open daily for dining, from April through December, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.; the bar remains open until 1 a.m. For more information, visit lookoutmv.com. – Michelle Atwood
Taste and tradition—and a sweet view of the Sound
Galley Beach, Nantucket
Located on Nantucket’s Cliffside Beach since 1958, Galley Beach is a popular restaurant that offers a refined Mediterranean menu—with beautiful views overlooking Nantucket Sound. The restaurant has several lounges and dining areas, each with a unique feel, but is marked by an overall elegance. “Because the restaurant is on the beach it has a casual atmosphere,” managing partner David Silva says, “but it is fine dining, so we try to merge the two together.”
The staff at Galley Beach pride themselves on their attention to detail, in everything from customer service to décor. The restaurant uses high-quality seafood, produce, and other ingredients from Nantucket suppliers and from other area sources. Since the restaurant is seasonal, the owners take advantage of the off-season to seek inspiration from other great restaurants. “We open in May and close in October,” Silva says, “so we have the winter to research other restaurants from here
to New York, and all over the world.”
In season, Galley Beach, at 54 Jefferson Avenue, is open for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and for dinner from 5:30 to 10p.m. The bar is also open from 2:30 to 10 p.m. On weekends, the restaurant serves breakfast from 8-10 a.m. and brunch from 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., and the bar and dinner hours of operation are the same. ~ Grace Ballenger