There’s something about Cape Cod that never seems to get old. My husband and I just returned from a lovely ten day vacation through southern New England. I grew up in central Massachusetts and have spent most of childhood vacations in New Hampshire, Maine and Cape Cod, but this year we added a couple of stops in Connecticut and Rhode Island before heading to the Cape (I’ll cover those spots in another blog post).
I have been spending time on the Cape nearly every summer for about 20 years now. I got married on the beaches of Cape Cod Bay in 2011 and I still have family there. Cape Cod is divided into four sections, Upper Cape, Mid Cape, Lower Cape and Outer Cape. No matter where you visit, there’s just something about the air, the sand, the majestic views, the history and the small quaint towns that run along Route 6a, the main coastal road, through the Cape. And, don’t forget about the deliciously decadent seafood! While the fruits de mer are plentiful, it’s all about the lobstah and clam chowdah for me. As you take a leisurely drive along 6a, you will see sign after sign through just about every town proclaiming, “Best Chowder” or “World’s Best Lobster Roll!” While I have visited just about every area of the Cape, I have spent the most time in the Dennis and Chatham areas. Here’s a list of my top 10 must-try restaurants in Mid Cape, I have some great casual places and a couple of fine-dining options for your next visit to this seafood lovers paradise.
Impudent Oyster – A tradition in Chatham for 40 years now! The chef here is quite inventive, putting a unique spin on many popular New England dishes. For starters, the clam chowder, oysters rockafeller and thai mussels are outstanding. I love a Chardonnay with the chowder and oysters and a glass of Riesling the with thai mussels. For entrees, the pesca fra diablo with lobster, littlenecks and other fresh, local seafood in a spicy white wine tomato sauce is heavenly. Select a Riesling to tame the heat in the sauce. Stopping in for lunch? The fish tacos and Nantucket scallop sandwich are delicious. Grab a glass of Roséwith the fish tacos and a sauvignon blanc with the scallop sandwich or raw bar selections. Walk off your meal by taking a leisurely stroll through downtown Chatham and explore the amazing art galleries and shops along the way.
Chatham Squire – A local favorite since 1968. Come as you are to this super casual pub featuring well-made classic fare like clam strips, whole belly clams, cod sandwich, fish n chips, whole lobsters and fish tacos. You can’t go wrong with any of the local seafood options here. Grab a Lost Sailor IPA or a delicious Squire Sangria for a great pairing with this casual food.
The Red Nun – Here’s another casual spot in Chatham that’s great for a low key meal after a long day at the beach. The Red Nun has won numerous award for having the best burgers on the Cape. All burgers are served on a sandwich-sized english muffin. The fried lobster and steamed clams are also worth the trip here. This is definitely more a beer and margarita type of place. So, why not grab a local beer and enjoy!
Wild Goose Tavern – The inside is well-appointed and tastefully decorated, but I love sitting on the cozy covered patio for some delicious food and great people watching on the streets of downtown Chatham. As you’ve probably figured out by now, I love lobster and the chef here is some super fun and tasty variations on this decadent crustacean. From lobster rangoon, to lobster quesadillas and lobster mac n cheese, you really can’t go wrong! Other delicious menu items include the fish tacos and the bacon apple and brie sandwich for lunch options. They have a nice diverse wine list. Try an Albarino with the fish tacos and a white Bordeaux with the lobster mac n cheese.
Sesuit Harbor Cafe – This super casual and rustic marina setting has the best lobster (lobstah) rolls on the planet, in my humble opinion. Perfectly toasted New England style roll with overflowing lobster claws! Not into lobster? I won’t hold that against you. 🙂 Enjoy some great treats from the raw bar or choose from a wide selection of menu items. I also love the fact that it’s BYOB. Grab a cooler with a great bottle of Chardonnay, I grabbed a bottle of the Schug 2014 Carneros Chardonnay and created the perfect pairing with the sweet, succulent and buttery lobster roll. There’s nothing better than taking in the briny sea air and the fabulous panoramic views of Cape Cod Bay while enjoying lobster! This place is one of my favorite spots on Cape Cod. Tom and I got married on the beaches here in September 2011.
Pecorino Romano Tuscan Cuisine – Small, intimate and quaint atmosphere with some great Italian cuisine. For me, the lobster ravioli paired with a bottle of Gavi is worth the trip! What a surprise?!
Scargo Cafe – Take in a show at the Cape Cod Playhouse and have a fabulous dinner in the heart of Dennis Village. The menu here changes often, but features some classic New England and innovate options in a warm, inviting, colonial setting. The clam chowder is delicious and the seafood strudel is a rich, decadent dish with bountiful crab, shrimp and scallops in a pastry crust.
Chapins Restaurant – Casual fare in a charming restaurant just steps from Mayflower Beach. You’ll feel right at home as you walk into the popular spot. This is New England comfort food at its best. From lobster pot pie, baked stuffed scrod and fish n chips, you can’t go wrong. They have a small, but decent wine list. You can’t go wrong with a delicious glass of Rose from Provence or a glass of Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc to pair with an array of seafood dishes and the raw bar. Chapin’s features live music several nights a week.
Ocean House – One of my all time favorite spots on the Cape with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. The wine list is superb and the lobster ravioli is a must-try! The romantic setting is the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion or for a great date night. Looking for a little more casual atmosphere, visit the Ocean House Tiki Bar, opened during season.
Gerardi’s Cafe – This small, intimate restaurant is opened year-round. Gerardi’s has a Sicilian inspired menu and traditional Italian cuisine with some delicious variations on local seafood. The creamy burrata bruschetta is a great start to the evening. For entrees, they have a little bit of everything from parmesan to marsala dishes. Some of my favorites include the Seafood Fra Diavolo and the Cioppino (Fisherman’s Stew). Choose a bottle of Soave or Gavi for a white wine selection or a Barbera or Chianti for a red option. These wines are very versatille and will pair nicely with many items on the menu here.
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