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Martha's Vineyard Restaurants

71 Main Street
Edgartown , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 627 9999

This buzzy (sometimes to the point of earsplitting) bistro with polished wood floors, French café-style rattan chairs, and large front windows seems more SoHo than Edgartown. But locals love the converted onetime grocery store for its eclectic menu—wild mushroom risotto balls, braised short ribs, gnocchi, burgers, just-plucked-from-the-water steamers, and lobster shepherd's pie—and because everyone drops in here, especially when the Red Sox game is on.

137 Main Street
Edgartown , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 627 5850

Named for a star used by sailors to navigate, Atria is the Vineyard's first certified organic restaurant. Christian Thornton, the chef (and co-owner, along with his wife, Greer), sources ingredients from island farmers and fishermen. He changes the menu daily to reflect what's freshest—lightly seasoning and wok-firing a two-pound lobster caught just off-shore one day, and wrapping cod in prosciutto with a drizzle of lobster and lemon butter the next—but the dish the locals praise the most isn't on the menu at all: the island's best cheeseburger. (The big, juicy burger is available only in the Brick Cellar Bar—a local hangout with leather club chairs, saltwater fish tanks, and live music). The large, reasonably priced wine list emphasizes Napa Valley (Thornton's original home), and in addition to the main dining room—with white tablecloths and rustic wooden chairs—there's outdoor dining on a back deck.

Black Dog Tavern
20 Beach Road Extension
Vineyard Haven , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 693 9223

Less known for its food than for the T-shirt Bill Clinton gave Monica (which set off a run on its famous apparel), this island icon has become a touristy cliché—the Hard Rock Café for the Vineyard set. The wait in summer can top an hour, and nary a diner leaves without a black-Lab-emblazoned souvenir from the gift shop, which peddles everything from tote bags to ice buckets. If you must, go for breakfast—the Black Dog has the area's largest menu of omelets—and be sure to snag a seat on the deck for the harbor views. At other times of day, the kitchen turns out serviceable seafood, burgers, chowders, and its famous Blackout Cake.

22 North Water Street
Edgartown , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 627 5187

For 20 years, chef Michael Brisson served his creative New French cuisine in the formal dining room deep inside the Charlotte Inn, in an equally formal prix fixe format. In the spring of 2006, though, Brisson decamped for more contemporary quarters in the town center a few blocks away, and in the process liberated his menu as well. The prix fixe is still around, spotlighting classic dishes such as seared four-spice-crusted duck foie gras and sautéed Dover sole filet, but you can now order à la carte. There's a moderately priced bar menu, too, with dishes including lobster ceviche, quail, Cornish game hen, and braised short ribs. Although many are meticulously crafted from local and seasonal ingredients, L'Etoile occasionally breaks with the Vineyard restaurant trend of focusing on what's been raised or grown on-island, incorporating such global tastes as Australian lamb rack chops and Israeli couscous. Reservations are a must.

Open Thursdays through Sundays July 4 through mid-September

Lattanzi's Pizzeria
Old Post Office Square
Edgartown , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 627 9084

Albert and Cathy Lattanzi have been feeding crowds at this Edgartown first-come-first-served slice of pizza heaven for 12 years. Their renowned wood-fired, brick-oven pies are piled high with just about any topping combo you can imagine—baby clams, roasted garlic, plum tomatoes, herbed ricotta, black olives, and more. Also on the menu are panini, salads, and gelato. Homemade pastas and breads are dished out at their sophisticated Tuscan-inspired eatery next door.

Open December through October. Closed off-season Sundays and Mondays.

Mad Martha's
117 Circuit Avenue
Oak Bluffs , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 693 9151

Don't be distracted by the other ice cream shops on the Vineyard; there's a reason why Mad Martha's has lines out the door all summer long. The ice cream, made at the Oak Bluffs establishment but also sold in Edgartown (7 North Water St.; 508-627-8761) and Vineyard Haven (20 Union St.; 508-693-5883), comes in more than 20 flavors, including a killer black raspberry and a nutty, not-too-sweet pistachio. Avoid the sundaes, though, unless you're lucky enough to score one of the few tables: They're too gloppy to eat standing up.

Open mid-May through late October.

The Newes From America
23 Kelley Street
Edgartown , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 627 4397

This colonial-era pub, attached to the Kelley House hotel, is popular in winter for its roaring fireplace and in summer because its stone exterior and wood-beam ceilings make it naturally cooler than anywhere else. It draws locals and visitors alike for its well-prepared basics: onion soup, fried onion rings, fish and chips, and half-pound burgers. The cozy rooms are small and dark, with exposed brick and comfortable cushioned chairs. Some customers, of course, just come for a brew. You can order a "rack" of five drafts to sample the on-tap offerings, but the selection isn't all that exotic—Sam Adams, Harpoon, Anchor Steam, and the like, plus the house beer, Light Newes.

Oyster Bar Grill
57 Circuit Avenue
Oak Bluffs , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 693 6600

Despite its name, the Oyster Bar Grill is a French-influenced American steak house—the place to go when you want to slice into a 16-ounce Delmonico or tender, black pepper–crusted filet au poivre. There's also a raw bar, seafood dishes such as stuffed lobster, and a signature fennel-crusted double-thick pork chop; but the crowd favorite is a side dish: lobster mac and cheese. The high-ceilinged dining room is decorated with works by local painters and sculptors and behind heavy velvet curtains is a hopping bar (Luke Wilson is a regular) with couches and a robust selection of wines and liquors.

Slice of Life
50 Circuit Avenue
Oak Bluffs , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 693 3838

Chockablock with touristy fried-food joints and a few upscale dinner restaurants, Oak Bluffs' main drag has precious few choices in between. But this small, laid-back café, where artsy black-and-white photos hang above simple wood tables and folding chairs (the best on a small, closed-in porch), serves sophisticated comfort food that hits the sweet spot. The on-site bakery turns out terrific breads and while you can buy loaves to go, the best way to enjoy them is as bookends to one of the café's signature sandwiches. The Tivoli, served at breakfast, pairs fried egg with ripe tomato, arugula, and white cheddar on a hot buttermilk biscuit. For lunch, go for the fried-green-tomato BLT, served on rosemary bread with a smear of tangy basil mayo.

Smoke'n Bones
20 Oakland Avenue
Oak Bluffs , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 696 7427

If a day of slow cooking on the beach leaves you with a taste for pit barbecue, head for this rib joint a few blocks from downtown Oak Bluffs. The setting is gimmicky—red neon flames flicker above the open kitchen, the marble door handles are shaped like bones, and each dining table has a hole at the end for diners to throw their scraps into. Jokes aside, much of this place's success is down to the smokehouse out back, where a pit crew uses mesquite, hickory, and oak to cook dry-rubbed Virginia pork ribs and Texas-style beef brisket. Every meal comes with a slab of cornbread, a pile of baked beans, and fresh-made coleslaw—and, thankfully, a roll of paper towels to clean up with.

Open early April through late October.

Sweet Life Café
63 Circuit Avenue
Oak Bluffs , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 696 0200

It doesn't get any sweeter than this gem of a restaurant in a restored Oak Bluffs Victorian house. Chef Scott Ehrlich's constantly changing, French-inspired menu makes good use of seafood and local produce (Ehrlich himself lives on a farm). Starters include Sweet Life artichokes with herbaceous vinaigrette, followed by squid ink fettuccini. The name of the place pretty much demands you pay attention to the dessert menu (try the dark chocolate cake with cappuccino custard, ganache and crème angalise). There's a choice of intimate dining room, outdoor bar, or a serene garden lit by candles and warmed by heaters in the fall. French owner Pierre Guerin has assembled a superb wine list, with 120 varieties from around the globe.

Water Street
131 North Water Street
Edgartown , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 627 6371

The view of Edgartown's harbor and lighthouse just outside the picture windows of the Harbor View Hotel's Water Street restaurant competes with the kitchen for the diners' attention. But the food here is up to the challenge. Chef Josh Hollinger is classically trained in French cuisine, but at Water Street he focuses on New England favorites: He balances the silkiness of day-boat scallops with a snappy corn-and-lima-bean succotash and calls on the flavors of his childhood (Hollinger grew up on a 1,400-acre farm in Mennonite country) for his signature dish of Katama Farm chicken and gnocchi-like Mennonite dumplings in pan gravy. For the quintessential coastal dinner, tie on a lobster bib and dig into the Vineyard Shore Dinner: steamed lobster, littleneck clams, linguiça (Portuguese sausage), boiled red bliss potatoes, and corn on the cob. Many menu items are served as small plates that families can share, though you can order most of them as entrées. Water Street also has one of the best wine lists on the island, plus an impressive choice of scotch, bourbon, cognac, Armagnac, and port.

Open mid-May through late October.

Zephrus Seafood & Grill
9 Main Street
Vineyard Haven , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 693 3416

At Zephrus, the Mansion House's casual restaurant, fresh salads topped with shrimp or soft-shell crab and generously sized sandwiches (grilled chicken breast with spinach, roasted red pepper, and melted cheddar, for example; or grilled yellowfin tuna with lemon aioli on ciabatta bread) are served all day at reasonable prices. There are also larger entrées, from swordfish steak to fish-and-chips to Angus burgers. If you're on your way out of town and don't have time to eat in the hip dining room or on the screened-in front porch, order the Steamship (turkey breast, avocado, mayo, lettuce, tomato, and Cape Cod potato chips) for the ferry ride to Woods Hole.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.