Martha's Vineyard restaurants
You expect great seafood on an island, and while Martha's Vineyard restaurants don't disappoint (Atria and Water Street serve some of the best), you'll often find it in the most unexpected places. On Fridays between May and September, locals head to the Parrish Hall of Vineyard Haven's Grace Episcopal Church for the island's best lobster rollsat just $13, including chips and a drink, they're a steal (available from 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm; Woodlawn Avenue and William Street; 508-693-0332; gracechurchmv.com). At The Bite, a roadside clam shack in Menemsha, two sisters and a brother using Grandma's recipes turn out the Vineyard's best clam chowder, and plump, whole-belly clams (29 Basin Rd.; 508-645-239; thebitemenemsha.com). On the Menemsha dock, family-run Larsen's Fish Market serves up an excellent lobster roll, as well as crab cakes, seafood sausage, and the like (Dutcher Dock; 508-645-2680); or if you're in Vineyard Haven, head for the other Larsen family seafood outpost, the Net Result, for fried clam rolls, steamed mussels, full clambakes, and sushi (Tisbury Marketplace; 79 Beach Rd.; 508-693-6071; mvseafood.com). More surprisingly, Martha's Vineyard also has good pizza (Lattanzi's Pizza), barbecue (Smoke'n Bones), and Spanish and Mexican food (Sharkey's Cantina in Oak Bluffs offers satisfying paella with shredded pork, shrimp, lobster, and homemade chorizo; 31 Circuit Ave.; 508-693-7501; sharkyscantina.com).
Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but on Martha's Vineyard the real star is the picnic. If you're planning a picnic lunch, stop by the Waterside Market for gourmet sandwiches and fixings such as tapenade and fig spread (76 Main St.; 508-693-8899; watersidemarket.com), and the Scottish Bakehouse just outside downtown Vineyard Haven. The brownies melt in your mouth, and the almond croissants are so good that a customer wrote a song about them (977 State Rd.; 508-693-6633). You can, however, get a great early-morning meal here too. The hands-down best breakfasts on the Vineyardand the friendliest waitressesare at Linda Jean's in Oak Bluffs. Grab a seat in one of the cozy booths and try the Maine wild blueberry pancakes, or "the Mess": scrambled eggs with spinach, onions, and Swiss cheese, served with home fries, toast, and coffee (25 Circuit Ave.; 508-693-4093). For a fancier start, opt for the Artcliff Diner in Vineyard Haven, whose owner, Regina Stanley, once cooked for visiting dignitaries at Washington, D.C.'s historic Blair House and now whips up the likes of avocado, salsa, and chorizo breakfast tacos and codfish cakes with hollandaise sauce (39 Beach Rd.; 508-693-1224).
Wherever you eat, keep in mind that four of the six towns on Martha's Vineyard are dry (only in Edgartown and Oak Bluffs do the spirits flow freely). So remember to BYOB. Reservations are strongly recommended at the best restaurants on Fridays and Saturday nights, and weeknights at the peak of the summer; call ahead as soon as you know your travel plans.