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Ever try to plan for a prospective trip, only to have it turn out to be a food bucket list? No? Ok, so maybe it’s just me, but good food is just so hard to resist! When I started researching things to do in Cape Cod, naturally the first thing that came to mind was fresh seafood, fresh seafood and… Did I mention fresh seafood? Before long, my foodie bucket list for Cape Cod was complete. Here are my recommendations for the best places to eat in Cape Cod, including everything from lobster to dessert along the famous Atlantic seashore.
Best Places to Eat in Cape Cod
Wicked Clam Chowdah
Captain Parker’s Pub in West Yarmouth
If you’re not able to make it to the Cape for a bowl—because cups are child’s play—the pub has graciously volunteered its recipe up to the Food Network gods. (They recommend Minor’s clam base for the best results). And if stirring up your own batch of the chowder is still too much of a hassle, Parker’s has gone the extra mile to sell the chowder in stores. Be warned though: Facebook reviews from some folks say the stuff in stores is severely lacking in the clam department.
BOMB Lobster Rolls
Sesuit Harbor Café in Dennis
Sure, getting to the Sesuit Harbor Café feels a bit like a scene out of the Sopranos (Tony, please don’t whack me here in this oddly desolate marina), but once you pass all the stacked ships and reach the café, you can immediately see the appeal. Eating outdoors right by the water and watching ships pass by is great within itself; however, it’s the famous lobster roll that makes it worth the trip. The lobster is so incredibly fresh you’d think they just fished it out of the marina. I mean, really, they probably did. And it’s BYOB. Win win.
Honorable Mention: The Raw Bar in Mashpee
Come for the Raw Bar’s lobster roll on an empty stomach, because this bad boy is massive. Don’t let the $30 price tag deter you; there’s not much by ways of fillers here—it’s all lobster meat! The Raw Bar has come under new ownership, so some vacationers and locals alike swear the rolls are smaller, but if you’re famished and want enough food to feed a small village, they’re still the place to go for your roll.
Beast mode lobster roll… Come hungry!
Oprah’s Favorite Pie
Centerville Pie Co. in Centerville
When has Oprah ever steered you wrong?
She swears by Centerville’s chicken pot pies, which she named one of her favorite things in O Magazine in 2017. Stuffed with loads of hand-pulled chicken and gravy in a flaky crust, there seems to be only one thing missing from the classic recipe: veggies. That doesn’t seem to bother the troves of people who visit the small restaurant or pie shop, or those that order the famous pie online. THEY SHIP NATIONWIDE!
I have yet to try the BBQ pulled pork pie, but any place that even offers a BBQ pulled pork pie gets my stamp of approval.
Dinner with a View
Ocean House Restaurant in Dennis
My main tip for visiting the Ocean House is to make a reservation! The place is busy during the summer, and for good reason. You’d be hard-pressed to get a view like that of the Nantucket Sound at another restaurant. If you don’t mind the crowds, the outside beach bar is where you’ll get your best view. The Ocean House is on the pricier, more upscale side of Cape food, so save it for when you’re looking to treat yourself.
Drink Worth Saving the Calories For
The Skipper Chowder House in South Yarmouth
I have mixed feelings about Bloody Mary’s. Perhaps it is because I haven’t figured out what Bloody Mary mix I like or the type of vodka I enjoy, but I knew when I saw a picture of the Skipper’s Ultimate Bloody Mary that I had to give it a try.
To really get it decked out like the photo below, you’re going to be paying a lot for the extras ($20-$30 range), but the extras were what made it worth it.
I skimped out on the quality Bloody Mary mix and vodka… Let’s just say that was not a good idea. Just pay the extra $$$. Please. Take my word for it.
What’s for Dessert?
I Scream, You Scream
Sundae School Ice Cream in Dennis Port (Additional locations in Harwich Port and East Orleans)
I know, I know, I know. The best ice cream in the Cape is a heated debate and devoted Cape Cod vacationers might tell you Four Seas or Cape Cod Creamery are the best. Sundae School was named the 5th best ice cream parlor in the nation on USA Today’s 10Best in 2016. Nothing to scoff at! I’m a sucker for hot fudge and theirs is sinfully (get it?) delicious. Plus, where else are you going to get the old school décor, the retro diner hats and the quarter-operated player piano? Lines during summer nights can get outrageously long and the establishment is cash only, but it’s a small price to pay for a solid sundae.
For the Dessert Connoisseur
Maison Villatte in Falmouth
If ice cream is not your thing, then perhaps French desserts are? Maison Villatte boasts a 5.0 out of 5.0 on TripAdvisor, which is not an easy feat. The pastries and fruit tarts are to die for and you won’t find anything else like them on the Cape. An added bonus: you can pick up fresh baguettes and croissants to make sandwiches later on in the day. BOOM.
When the Kids Are Asleep…
The Beachcomber in Wellfleet
Voted one of the best beach bars in the US by Thrillist, the “Combah” is located on prime real estate overlooking the Atlantic on the Cape Cod National Seashore. Despite the parking hassles (everyone I’ve spoken to has warned me it can be atrocious), the drinks and live music by the water make the trip worth it. And of course, there’s a menu and raw bar that people rave about to satiate your seafood cravings.
The Late Night Craving
Back Door Donuts in Oak Bluffs (Martha’s Vineyard)
Sacrilege! Am I suggesting anything other than a Dunkin’ Donuts in New England. Damn right I am, especially if you’re exploring the vineyard late or maybe missed the ferry back to the mainland.
Back Door Donuts is open for business until 1 am and, as the name implies, they sell warm donuts out the back door. Folks swear by the apple fritters and wait in pretty lengthy lines to get them. I know from experience that a visit to the bakery during the day feels a bit underwhelming, but if lines annoy you, that is the way to go.
Still looking for some foodie adventures within the US? Check out this post about Vegas on a Time Crunch!