Cape Cod Restaurants
89 Old Colony Way
Orleans , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 255 8144
Abba's fusion of Israeli and Asian cuisineon Cape Cod, of all placesis as good as it is unusual. And it's been drawing crowds. Israeli chef and co-owner Erez Pinhas is equally confident pairing poached lobster with Masaman curry as he is marinating lamb in a ras el hanout spice blend, and the wine list is long and global, with a focus on Israeli wines. The unassuming exterior of this converted barn belies the minimalist (and snug) interior lit by flickering candles in Moroccan tea glasses. There's also a covered outdoor seating area that's roomier—a better option when the weather's good. Reservations are encouraged; call a week ahead for dinner on summer weekends.
Open daily 5 to 10 pm, Memorial Day through Labor Day; Tuesdays through Saturdays 5 to 9 pm the rest of the year.
3580 State Highway (Route 6)
Eastham , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 255 2575
Arnold's is by far the best of Cape Cod's many clam shacks. Named, regrettably, for the Happy Days diner, it turns out lightly battered shellfish (including whole-belly clams) and truly amazing homemade onion rings piled so high that they're hard to balance on the walk from the counter to your picnic table. The long lines move quickly; credit cards are not accepted.
Restaurant open daily 11:30 am to 9:30 pm, mid-May through Columbus Day; ice cream stand open daily 11:30 am to 10 pm mid-June through mid-September.
2019 Main Street (Route 6A)
Brewster , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 896 7644
The Bramble Inn offers traditional Cape Cod dining at its best: fresh, local ingredients prepared and served in a 19th-century farmhouse. The four-course prix-fixe menu (around $60, depending on what's being served) changes every three weeks and is influenced mainly by the chef-owners' off-season travels. (The unusual specialty of boneless roasted chicken and shelled lobster drizzled with Champagne sauce is, however, consistently available.) Seafood comes from neighboring Chatham, and many of the vegetables and herbs are plucked from the owners' daughter's garden. There are four dining rooms, but ask for a table overlooking the Inn's backyard garden in the equestrian-themed Hunt Room (landing a table facing the constant whir of traffic on Route 6A will sap the romance from your meal). If you're not up for four courses, you can order from the (still pricey) à la carte bistro menu or the bar menu in the courtyard garden or Bay Side bar. If you like your meal so much that you don't want to leave, the inn also has five guest rooms furnished with canopy beds and antiques, with Wi-Fi and smallish bathrooms; breakfast for overnight guests is surprisingly plain. Reservations are encouraged; call several days in advance for dinner on summer weekends.
Open daily from 5 pm, mid-June through October; Wednesdays through Sundays, mid-April through mid-June; and open overnight and for dinner, Thanksgiving weekend and New Year's Eve.
2449 Main Street
Brewster , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 896 3640
Julia Child celebrated several of her birthdays at this antique-filled, 17th-century home, and it gets our vote for the best restaurant on Cape Cod. Service is flawless throughout the seven-course dinner of impeccably prepared French and American cuisine. Your meal might include escargots on grilled brioche, foie gras salad drizzled with truffle vinaigrette, lamb dressed in a tomato-olive-caper relish, or basil-crusted slow-baked salmon. Depending on the weather, predinner cocktails are served in the garden or around a cracking fireplace. Both the mood and the menu are less formal in the Bistro (where lunch and Sunday brunch are also served). Reservations are essential for dinner and brunch; call at least a week ahead of time in summer.
Open Mondays and Tuesdays 5:30 to 10 pm, Wednesdays through Sundays 11 am to 3 pm and 5:30 to 10 pm, mid-May through November.
1 Water Street
Sandwich , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 833 2485
Located in a 1740 carriage house, the Dunbar Tea Shop is an Anglophilic oddity that serves imported teas, finger sandwiches, fresh-baked scones, and the like in a dainty room that looks like your grandmother's kitchen. There's also a gift shop that sells British jams, clotted cream, teas, and chutneys.
Open daily 11 am to 4:30 pm.
230 Commercial Street
Provincetown , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 487 9715
While there are many restaurants in Provincetown, there are surprisingly few standouts. Front Street is a reliable mainstay that serves both Continental cuisine—filet mignon and swordfish surf-and-turf, for example—and Italian salads, pastas, and mains. There's a very good wine list, and the breadth of the menu is surprising, given the restaurant's small size: You'll find it in the low-ceilinged basement of an old Victorian at the end of an alley. Expect to squeeze past people at the bar to get a spot at the usually packed booths and tables, and don't be surprised if service is brusque. Reservations are encouraged at least a day or two ahead of time in summer; while tables open up occasionally for walk-ins, there's limited room to wait at the bar.
Open Wednesdays through Mondays 6 pm to 10 pm, mid-May through mid-October.
15 Chatham Bars Avenue
Chatham , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 945 3545
This simple, boxy restaurant makes up for what it lacks in decoration by packing in a lively crowd that seems to fill it to the (very high) rafters. The creative menu gives a global spin to the local catch, such as seafood Fra Diavolo over fettucine or sesame-soy-ginger-marinated tuna fillet, pan-seared with a sesame crust. The central Chatham location attracts both regulars and visitors, and the service is friendly and familiar. Reservations are encouraged, but it's also fun to eat or wait at the genial bar.
Open Mondays through Saturdays 11:30 am to 3 pm and 5 to 10 pm, Sundays noon to 3 pm and 5 to 9:30 pm.
157 Route 6A
Yarmouthport , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 362 5522
Inaho prepares its fish in a way not typical of Cape Cod: raw. The ultrafresh sushi and sashimi is served in a dining room with shoji screens and woven mats behind the deceptive facade of a colonial-style house in Yarmouthport. There's also an extensive sake selection.
Open Mondays through Saturdays 4:30 to 10 pm.
2022 Main Street
Chatham , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 432 9439
No visit to Cape Cod is complete without a visit to Marion's Pie Shop. This 60-year-old institution bakes up breakfast treats such as staggeringly good cinnamon buns (seriously, you'll stagger), plus sweet and savory pies, including a seafood variety filled with lobster, scallops, shrimp, and Chatham cod in a cream sherry sauce.
Open Mondays through Saturdays 8 am to 6 pm, Sundays 8 am to 5 pm, Memorial Day through Labor Day; Mondays through Saturdays 8 am to 5 pm, Sundays 8 am to 4 pm, the rest of the year.
429 Commercial Street
Provincetown , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 487 1500
Named for the converted stable in which it was originally housed, the Mews is friendly and unpretentious—and serves standout food. You'll find it in Provincetown's quiet East End art-gallery district. The upstairs dining room and bar—done up in mahogany, brass, and stained glass, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Provincetown Harbor—is good for a casual bite from an American bistro-style menu of burgers and pastas, while the beach-level dining room is more romantic and serves global fusion dishes. Specialties include almond- and panko-crusted cod and filet mignon that's as creamy as the béarnaise sauce that comes with it. Service is in keeping with P-town's aloof standards, but you'll hardly notice after sampling a few of the restaurant's 256 varieties of vodka.
Open daily from 6 pm.
410 Main St.
Hyannis , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 778 6500
With its modern furniture, spun-glass light fixtures, mahogany bar, and tattooed hostesses dressed in black, the Naked Oyster looks as if it had been transplanted straight from Manhattan. The food, however, is decidedly local: Oysters are harvested from the owner's shellfish farm in Barnstable Village, organic produce comes from nearby farms, and the fish was probably caught off the Cape just hours before you ordered it. When former head chef David Kelley left in 2008, sous-chef Rick Orton landed the top job, and the transition appears seamless. The menu of simple but delicious dishes changes weekly to reflect what's freshest and in season, but Orton might be baking panko-crusted native haddock, seafood paella, or Thai shrimp.
Open Tuesdays through Fridays 11:30 am to 3 pm and from 4 pm for dinner, Saturdays from 4 pm for dinner, and Sundays from 11:30 am.
Planning a picnic? The Brown Jug in Sandwich will pack a basket for you, or you can pick your own fixings from their selection of cheeses, meats, nuts, chocolates, crackers, spreads, fresh-baked breads, prepared sandwiches, and wine. In the mid-Cape, Ferretti's Market, just off Route 6A near several bay-side beaches, makes outstanding sandwiches on fresh bread that are moderately priced and big enough for two. Try the Ferretti Supreme: Genoa salami, cappicola, mortadella, ham, provolone, and pepperoni with pickles, tomatoes, and Italian dressing.
The Brown Jug open daily 6 am to 6 pm.
Ferretti's Market open daily 7 am to 8 pm.
15 Commercial Street
Provincetown , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 487 7334
The Red Inn's 200-year-old dining room in Provincetown's West End is a stunner: Its unparalleled views of Cape Cod Bay, Provincetown's dunes, and Long Point Light have attracted the likes of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, Norman Mailer, and Isabella Rossellini. The food is good, though not quite as estimable as that guest list: Our dry, bland grilled lobster made us pine for the traditional boiled variety. Indeed, surprisingly for a restaurant in a fishing town, the Red Inn does best with meat dishes, most notably herb-crusted roasted lamb chops. The wine list is quite good, although it's pricey and, inexplicably, arranged in alphabetical order, instead of by variety or region. Ask to be seated away from the bar or large parties, as some of P-town's rambunctious spirit can drown out the conversation at your own table. There are also eight bright and airy guest rooms and suites, most with the same outstanding sea views. Dinner reservations are essential.
Open Mondays through Wednesdays 5:30 to 9:30 pm, Thursdays through Sundays 10 am to 2:30 pm and 5:30 to 9:30 pm, May through early September; Thursdays through Sundays 5:30 to 9:30 pm, early September through November.
905 Main Street (Route 6A)
Dennis , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 385 2133
Located in a 200-year-old barn that still has its original wide-plank floors, exposed beams, and working fireplaces, the family-run Red Pheasant is a New England classic. Although it has a creditable seafood selection, the country-style menu is strong in meats and game—rack of lamb seasoned with port wine, rosemary, and garlic is the not-to-be-missed specialty of the house. Because it operates year-round and doesn't rely on seasonal help, the staff is experienced and knowledgeable—especially about the wine list, which focuses on Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhône, and California labels.
Open Sundays through Thursdays 5 to 9 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 5 to 10 pm, mid-April through mid-October; Tuesdays through Thursdays 5 to 9 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 5 to 10 pm, and Sundays 5 to 9 pm, mid-October through mid-April.
4631 Falmouth Road (Route 28)
Cotuit , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 428 5715
Housed in a 200-year-old mansion with low beamed ceilings and creaky wooden floors, the Regatta is a blue-blood staple for romantic dinners and special occasions. Among the seafood-focused fare, the Grand Ravioli appetizer, stuffed with lobster and scallops, is a standout, as is the "carpetbag-style" filet mignon, seared in a cast-iron pan and topped with fried Cotuit oysters. A less expensive but comparatively pedestrian pub menu of burgers and salads is served in the Tap Room bar.
Open daily from 5 pm, mid-June through mid-September; Tuesdays through Sundays from 5 pm, mid-September through December; Wednesdays through Sundays from 5 pm, December through mid-April.
357 Sesuit Neck Road
East Dennis , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 385 6134
You'll find the Cape's best lobster roll at the Sesuit Harbor Café—that is, if you can find the restaurant. It's located in a weathered, low-slung building hung with lobster buoys at the back of a working marina. They say the secret is spices in the mayo, but whatever it is, it attracts not only tourists but fishermen and marina workers to the picnic tables set up in the back along the harbor.
Open daily 7 am to 8:30 pm, mid-April through Columbus Day.
50 Main Street
Wellfleet , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 349 3455
Even if it weren't pretty much the only decent restaurant between Provincetown and Orleans, the Wicked Oyster would be worth a visit for its friendly atmosphere and all-day comfort food, such as clam chowder and oyster stew. It's popular with families, especially at breakfast (the omelets are a local favorite), and there's a laid-back bar that's a nice change of pace after the nighttime drama of P-town. The consistently mediocre service is a Cape Cod staple.
Open Thursdays through Mondays 7 am to 2 pm and 5 to 10:30 pm.