Where To Eat & Stay On Cape Cod guide image

photo credit: Timothy O'Connell

CCGuide

Where To Eat & Stay On Cape Cod

All the seafood and ice cream you could ever want.

Sure, people go to the Cape for the beaches, but let’s be honest: what really makes this the ultimate New England destination is the seafood. You'll almost always find fish on the menu here, whether that’s hot lobster rolls that melt in your mouth, fresh Wellfleet oysters on the half shell, or fried clams and tartar sauce that taste best on a picnic bench in the sand. That’s not to say you have to resign yourself to fried mollusks for a straight week. There are amazing fine dining restaurants, along with some great cafes where you can get a casual meal right after you hit the beach.

This guide has all of that and more. You’ll find spots that take you over the Sagamore bridge through Sandwich at the beginning of the Cape, east on Route 6 to Hyannis and Brewster, with the bay on one side, Nantucket Sound on the other, and finally to the Upper Cape. Whether you’re looking for a restaurant with a view of the harbor, a Mexican restaurant with plenty of margaritas, or even a couple of hotel recommendations, these are the best places to eat and stay on Cape Cod.


CLASSIC SPOTS


Stars

$$$$

Chatham Bars Inn, Chatham
View WebsiteEarn 3X Points

This fine dining restaurant inside the luxury, oceanfront Chatham Bars Inn resort might just be the best place to eat on Cape Cod. Try the seared scallops with fresh and grilled cucumbers and fermented grapes and garlic, or the lobster louie and the dry-aged strip steak with cheese puffs. All the vegetables come from the resort’s own farm in Brewster, the fish is freshly caught every day, and the dining room has spectacular views of the Atlantic. All of that combine to make this the perfect dinner spot to impress both the in-laws and your next date.


This fine dining spot in Falmouth has been serving New American dishes, like rich lobster strudel with mascarpone and white wine, for the past 13 years. Other favorites include seafood and mushroom risotto and duck breast that’s brined for hours before it gets a nice sear. While the wait staff still wear ties and pressed white shirts and you’ll probably need a reservation, this place isn’t super formal, and certainly is your best bet in the area for a nicer sit-down dinner. The building was built in 1926 and the dining room is generally pretty stunning with sage green beadboard, floor-to-ceiling windows, and candles everywhere you look.


Sign up for our newsletter.

Be the first to get expert restaurant recommendations for every situation right in your inbox.


By signing up, I agree to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Mac’s has a number of locations across the Outer Cape now, but their original Wellfleet location is our favorite. They serve great lobster rolls, fried clams, and more at picnic tables in the sand overlooking the bay. The fried stuff is gluten-free and the menu is massive, perfect for a great lunch but an equally good casual dinner. All of it makes for a meal to remember, something you'll need months later when the sun is setting at 4pm and you can't go outside without a puffy coat.


This perpetually busy Provincetown institution has been open since 1943 (Anthony Bourdain even worked here as a dishwasher in 1972), and as the name suggests, is where you should eat some lobster for lunch or dinner. Order the pan-roasted variety, which consists of a live lobster cut in half, seared, and flambéed with brandy over a butter sauce made of leeks, chill sauce, and fine herbs. If you’re looking to eat as much seafood as possible, get the shellfish algarve bouillabaisse, made with a garlic and olive oil base with steamed shellfish, shrimp, calamari, and fish served over pasta.


We like to think of Chillingsworth in Brewster as a choose-your-own-adventure French restaurant. The outdoor tables are all set up in the front yard, which sits back from Route 6A, and works well if you want to eat some pan-roasted halibut over Israeli couscous under some umbrellas and string lights. Make sure you don’t skip dessert, as the raspberry souffle and the flourless chocolate cake are both rich and delicious, and probably a nice change from all the ice cream you’ve been eating during your trip.


Buca’s Tuscan Roadhouse is the best Italian restaurant on the Cape. We love the veal scallopini and the cacciucco, a medley of mussels, clams, calamari, shrimp, and fresh fish in a rich tomato sauce, but dessert is also a highlight. Both the blueberry crisp and a rich hazelnut torte with figs make the most of the seasonal produce, but there’s also a great tiramisu if you want to keep things classic. The atmosphere is informal, with red-and-white checkered tablecloths, white string lights hanging from above, and there’s a seemingly never-ending wine list of over 100 bottles.


Twenty-Eight Atlantic

RESERVE A TABLE

POWERED BY

open table

This fine dining restaurant located at the Wequassett Resort & Golf Club is somewhere you should save for your one nice dinner of the trip. The restaurant is located in a renovated 18th-century sea captain’s home with 14-feet tall glass windows that open onto Pleasant Bay, and you’ll probably need a reservation. Like every other sit-down place on the Cape, the menu constantly rotates with all the seasonal produce, but one thing that’s always available is the ash cod that’s served with a black charred vegetable coating and some really tender fish. There’s a lot of seafood, but you can always order something with duck or wagyu on the menu if you need a break from things that come from the ocean.


If you’re looking for a place to meet your friends for drinks after a long day at the beach, come to Añejo in Hyannis. Beyond just chips and guac, go for chicken tacos, something from their large selection of margaritas, and vegetarian and gluten-free options like cauliflower tacos, salads, and roja enchiladas. Make sure to ask for a table outdoors on the patio, as there’s a beautiful beechtree with draping yellow lights in the middle of the dining area. Añejo also has a location in Falmouth on Main Street.


BREAKFAST & COFFEE


Sunbird is one of the best spots for a morning coffee before heading to the National Seashore or Outer Cape bayside beaches. You’ll probably see a lot of tourists here and a fair amount of surfers, but everyone gets along and the energy is pretty relaxed. We love the breakfast sandwiches and muffins, but it’s also a good lunch spot for things like smash burgers and grain bowls.


Sandwich happens to be the oldest town on the Cape, and even though it wasn’t named after a turkey on rye, it’s still a great place to get a sandwich. Come to Cafe Chew for a tuna salad with lettuce, tomato, and onion on multi-grain, or something for breakfast like The Cody Chew with two fried eggs, melted cheddar, and bacon on a ciabatta roll. Cafe Chew has a small inside space with lots of exposed beams and wooden floors, but we also love taking some pastries and sandwiches out to their large garden patio. This is one of your best options in the area if you need something quick, or if you’ve got a bunch of hungry kids to feed.


You can find a few Snowy Owl locations throughout the Cape, but their main cafe is in Brewster. They’re open every day, and it’s a great place to relax outside while drinking a cup of their small-batch Jaws blend made from beans they roast themselves. If you’re on the Outer Cape, consider checking out their Espresso Bar in Chatham, a cozy little coffee spot with an outdoor terrace.


WHERE TO EAT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY


The Canteen gets our vote for the best lobster roll on the Cape. This particular iteration takes toasted brioche and stacks it with a quarter pound of meaty lobster with chives, all served open face. Order at the counter and head to the backyard where you can eat your roll away from the crowds of tourists on Commercial street, Provincetown’s main thoroughfare. Almost everything they do that involves seafood here is good, like poke bowls, lobster grilled cheeses, and cod bánh mì.


This casual seafood spot is directly on Hyannis Harbor, so you can get a table on the pier and watch the boats sail in and out while you snack on fried fish and sip harborside rum punch. There’s always a lively crowd and plenty of outdoor tables, which makes Spanky’s great for big groups, families, and dates for lunch or dinner. Choose from clams, steamers, scallops, or lobster, and do not miss the clam chowder or their delicious seafood stew.


This French bistro in Wellfleet works well for lunch outside on the picnic bench or a sit-down dinner, but we like it best for the excellent to-go options at the bakery. Stop by for watermelon gazpacho soup, quiche lorraine, and lunch sandwich specials like boursin cheese, bacon, honey, and scallions on a tasty baguette. Or pick up picnic provisions like housemade pâté that comes with dijon mustard and pickles, a loaf of french bread, chocolate or almond croissants, and some canned drinks on your way to Lecount Hollow Beach down the street.


Bangkok Kitchen makes the best Thai food on the Cape. This casual spot has terrific stir-fried noodle dishes like pad see ew and entrees like the broccoli medley and crispy duck with the tamarind sauce. There are only a few tables inside, so we suggest taking everything back to your rental or eating some mango sticky rice at nearby Kalmus Park Beach.


BEST ICE CREAM


Ice Cream Cafe has dozens of interesting flavors, like avocado and brownie batter, and many vegan, non-dairy, sugar-free, and gluten-free options. If you come here in the late afternoon or early evening, there’s usually a line out the door that spills onto the deck, but it moves quickly. When you want something more classic, try flavors like black raspberry, peppermint stick, orange sherbet, and maple walnut, and add on a salt-water taffy if you feel like some dessert after your dessert. 


You’ll want this spot’s famous hot fudge sundae with real whipped cream, walnuts, seasonal fruit toppings, and a fresh bing cherry on top. Or, try a classic banana split, ice cream soda, or a slice of ice cream pie. If you’re just going with a cone or cup, the best flavor is ginger.


THE HOTELS


This Yarmouth bed and breakfast is located in a renovated, 18th-century Victorian house right off 6A, the major road through town. You can choose from rooms in the carriage or main house, and the outdoor terrace and garden with fire pits and comfy outdoor couches is a perfect place to relax or have a drink. While you’re there, you should check out famous illustrator Edward Gorey’s house, which has his kitchen just as he left it, alongside rooms full of his creepy drawings.


Known as the granddaddy of Cape Cod seaside resorts, Chatham Bars Inn is set on a hill overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. All the cottages and suites have Bose radios, Nespresso coffee makers, flat-screen TVs, and fireplaces. This is a good choice for couples and families that want a luxury resort that has both beach access and a pool. There are multiple dining options from casual to fine dining, along with tennis courts, a fitness center, and a high-end spa.


An alternative to the many motels and Airbnbs along Route 6, The Seagrove is best for families and couples looking to stay near the National Seashore and near towns in the Outer Cape like Wellfleet, Truro, and Provincetown. Set in a pine grove with hammocks, picnic benches, and a small pool, there are 12 rooms and suites with kitchenettes and even a couple pet-friendly suites.


Chase Sapphire Card Ad

Suggested By Writer

The Best Places To Eat & Drink In The Hudson Valley guide image
Guide
The Best Places To Eat & Drink In The Hudson Valley

Our favorite spots in the upper Hudson Valley, from Cold Spring to Hudson and everywhere in between.

Where To Eat In Portsmouth, New Hampshire guide image
Guide
Where To Eat In Portsmouth, New Hampshire

These are our favorite restaurants, bars, and cafes in Portsmouth.

Where To Eat & Drink On Your NYC To Portland, Maine Road Trip guide image
Guide
Where To Eat & Drink On Your NYC To Portland, Maine Road Trip

Because you or someone you know is visiting New England at some point.

Where To Eat & Stay In Portland, ME guide image
Guide
Where To Eat & Stay In Portland, ME

The best places to eat. Plus, where to stay.