The Best Restaurants On Cape Cod

All the seafood and ice cream you could ever want.
The Best Restaurants On Cape Cod image

photo credit: Timothy O'Connell

Sure, people go to the Cape for the beaches, but what really makes this the ultimate New England summer destination is the seafood: hot lobster rolls overflowing with meaty knuckle meat, fresh Wellfleet oysters on the half shell, or fried clams and tartar sauce that somehow taste even better 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 also amazing fine dining restaurants that serve French food and fancy preparations of things that come from the sea, along with some great cafes where you can get a casual sandwich or burger right after you hit the beach.

This guide has all of that and more, organized by town. You’ll find breakfast sandwiches over the Sagamore bridge in Sandwich (yes, this is a real place), spots to inhale clams in Hyannis and Brewster as you head east on Route 6, extraordinary lobster at the very tip of the Upper Cape, and lots of frozen drinks in between. These are the best places to eat on Cape Cod—never say “in” unless you want to immediately be recognized as a tourist.


photo credit: Timothy O'Connell




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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. 

The inside space is small, so head outside to their large garden patio with your pastries and sandwiches. 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.


This fine dining spot in Falmouth has been serving dishes like rich lobster strudel with mascarpone and white wine since 2009. 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, this place isn’t super formal, and certainly is your best bet in Falmouth 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. Definitely make a reservation.

Up until recently, there weren’t many great Japanese or ramen options on Cape Cod, which is why we’re glad that Tiger Ramen and all their noodly dishes are here now. Start with some ginger pork gyoza and smashed cucumber salad, then focus in on the spicy pork shoyu with a pleasant kick or the drunken clam ramen with sake, butter, and plenty of chilies—and know that most of the menu can be made gluten-free. The space is pretty cozy with hanging red paper lanterns and lots of leafy green plants, and is perfect for quick lunch or a casual weeknight dinner.


If you’re looking for a place to take your friends for drinks after a long day at Kalmus Park Beach, come to Añejo in Hyannis. Go for chicken tacos, something from their large selection of margaritas, and vegetarian options like breaded avocado 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.

Bread and Roses is a bookstore that also functions as a community center for Hyannis. They serve alcohol and coffee, which means it's a great place to browse books on social justice and labor history, sip a cortado or an IPA, and eat something from their plant-based menu like kale salad or a Beyond burger, especially on one of those rainy summer days. They have live music in the evenings and host a slew of classes on writing, painting, and some all-important Dungeon & Dragons meet-ups.

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 are always loud crowds of friends and families here, but odds are you won’t really mind—they have plenty of outdoor tables, meaning you can spread out with your own big group. Go for their delicious seafood stew or try their creamy, thick clam chowder before digging into some fried clams.


Chillingsworth in Brewster is where you’ll find classic French food with a twist, like the pan-roasted halibut over Israeli couscous and yellowfin tuna tournedos with seared foie gras. The outdoor tables are all set up in the front yard, which sits back from Route 6A, and you’ll be in a very pretty scene 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.

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.


photo credit: Timothy O'Connell



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Buca’s Tuscan Roadhouse is the best Italian restaurant on the Cape. Order the veal scallopini or the cacciucco, a medley of mussels, clams, calamari, shrimp, and fresh fish in a rich tomato sauce, and always save room for dessert. Both the blueberry crisp and 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 kind of feels like a moodier Olive Garden in the best way possible, with red-and-white checkered tablecloths and white string lights hanging from above. There’s also a seemingly never-ending wine list of over 100 bottles.

This fine dining restaurant located at the Wequassett Resort & Golf Club is somewhere you should save for your one nice vacation dinner—and unless you want to settle for ice cream for dinner after getting dressed up and turned away, make a reservation. The restaurant is located in a renovated 18th-century sea captain’s home with 14-feet tall glass windows that open onto Pleasant Bay. 

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 also order something with duck or wagyu if you need a break from things that come from the ocean.


You’ll want this spot’s famous hot fudge sundae with homemade 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. They’re located in a renovated barn that now looks like a very convincing old-fashioned ice cream parlor, with tables both inside and out.


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 local scallops with potato pave and charred beans, the poached lobster with asparagus and arancini, or the wagyu strip loin with creamed spinach and brown butter hollandaise. All the vegetables come from the resort’s own farm in Brewster, the fish is caught every day, and the dining room has spectacular views of the Atlantic.

All of that makes this the perfect dinner spot when you want to splurge on your friends for letting you stay at their summer house, or for a fancy date night with the person you split the rent with back home.


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 smashburgers and grain bowls.

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. Try flavors like black raspberry, peppermint stick, orange sherbet, and maple walnut., and add on a salt-water taffy if you feel like having some dessert after your dessert.


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

This French bistro in Wellfleet works well for lunch outside on the picnic tables or a sit-down dinner inside, but is 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.


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 perpetually busy Provincetown institution has been open since 1943—Anthony Bourdain even worked here as a dishwasher in 1972. And as the name suggests, this is where you should eat some lobster for lunch or dinner. Order the pan-roasted variety, which consists of a 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.

The Mews Restaurant and Cafe is located toward the end of Commercial Street and is a longtime Ptown local favorite—both for the food and the views of the sandy beach and water right outside the windows. The menu is always changing, with stuff like baked miso cod, seared scallops, and vegetarian meatloaf, but you can always count on any of the fish specials being exceptional. 

Far Land is far more than a deli. It’s a local’s meeting spot that has some of the best people-watching in town via the porch’s rocking chairs. Try the breakfast and lunch sandwiches, which are named after the area’s landmark beaches. We like the Head Of The Meadow with brie, apple, and honey mustard or the Herring Cove that’s loaded with roast beef, garlic herb spread, and roasted red peppers. Mornings and lunch are the busiest and always filled with writers and artists from the Fine Arts Work Center around the corner—they’re either deep in thought over their next masterpiece or hung over from the night before, we can never tell.

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