The Best Restaurants On Martha’s Vineyard
Yes, there are plenty of summer shacks and lobster rolls on Martha’s Vineyard, and we wouldn’t skip an outdoor hang with fried clams for anything. But look beyond the basics, and you’ll find an outdoor bread baker and pizza maker hosting what feels like the coolest private parties, former city folk turning out lobster rolls on vibe-heavy patios, and late-night donuts you’ll be dreaming about long after you leave the island.
The island is about 20 miles long and 10 miles across, scattered with harbor towns, lighthouses, sandy beaches, and even farmland. For an easy visit, take the ferry right into Oak Bluffs, and walk to a hotel or B&B. You can easily rent bikes, or bring your car on the ferry to visit other spots like Edgartown and Chappaquiddick. There’s also a small airport, and rideshares are available, but during the high season, you’ll need to plan ahead or be ready to wait.
Another thing to know: The season on Martha’s Vineyard is roughly Memorial Day to Labor Day, and some of these spots are only open for that short stretch. This is your reminder to call or check the restaurant’s website and know before you go.
photo credit: Stacey Trottier
In a space just off Main Street in Edgartown, this is arguably the best raw bar on the Vineyard—which is something we don’t say lightly. They usually serve oysters fresh from the waters around the island, with a few bright PEI bivalves thrown in, along with dishes like lobster roll sliders topped with caviar, fresh and creative crudo, and wet- and dry-aged steaks. The patio that’s tucked away behind greenery (but still lets you people-watch as the masses walk by) will be your favorite hang all summer.
photo credit: Emily Burke; ENB Social
The origin story of Back Door Donuts is that people would stop by Old Stone Bakery late at night (and maybe after a few drinks) and beg for donuts. So in 2018, they opened this late-night donut spot. Everything is very good, but the apple fritters are the best thing they do. Plus, the line outside the shop is its own kind of fun hang, with everyone full of fresh seafood and booze.
photo credit: Shored Up Digital
So, you’re on Martha’s Vineyard, it started raining, and you’re simply not trying to get soaked while on vacation. When that happens, hit up this sprawling all-day spot with excellent sweet chili and tandoori chicken wings, mussels in curry sauce, pizza for kids (and your friends who eat like children), and a strong beer list. You’ll be able to occupy yourself with a few games on the 10-lane bowling alley or catch up on the Yankees or Red Sox scores on the TVs throughout the bar. On sunny days, there’s plenty of outdoor seating, too.
We’re not going to apologize for the number of sunny rooms with good cocktails and fresh bivalves on this list, and Beach Road is our favorite spot for this situation in Vineyard Haven. The big dining room overlooks Lagoon Pond, and you’ll want to make a reservation (or luck into a bar seat) for a proper spread of oysters, pasta piled high with sweet lobster meat, and delicious cocktails like the Ginja Ninja (mezcal with ancho reyes, carrot juice, turmeric, and lime). Don’t forget the best bite in the building: an all-beef hotdog with grainy mustard and kimchi.
Get up early, and take the ferry over to Chappaquiddick for an adventure, which should include stopping at the Mytoi Japanese Garden to feel one with nature and have some pond time. When you’re done, Atlantic Fish and Chop House is waiting for you right in Edgartown with waterfront seating and harbor views. It’s not super stuffy, but the energy is resort casual—think heavy on the loafers and linen—and you’ll have a slew of great options for seafood and whole fish. Order the branzino if it’s available and get the charbroiled oysters to congratulate yourself for booking this vacation. For that friend who doesn’t like seafood, they also have great steaks.
photo credit: Dena Porter
Head to the Vineyard’s VFW hall for a non-New England take on seafood, which is a little like going to Paris and skipping the Louvre, but we’ve done that too, so no judgment. Jamaica-born chef Deon Thomas and his wife Emily have been serving a rotating menu of jerk or blackened salmon, zesty island kale soup, conch, plantains, and more in this relaxed space for years, and there’s often live music in the evenings. If Deon’s famous jerk chicken is on the menu, get it, and get it spicy.
photo credit: Molly Glasgow
This Chilmark favorite has been open since 2008—it’s a farm, it’s a bakery, and, yes, it’s got fresh cheese. Visit and you can stock up on freshly baked bread, sweet treats, orange rind-covered Prufrock cheese, milk, preserves, and meats raised right on the farm. Swing by and stock up on a ton of stuff for your visit to the island, because starting your day with a freshly baked chamomile cream bun or lemon poppy danish is clearly the correct life choice.
There aren’t a lot of places to sit down for a meal in Chilmark, but after a day climbing the Menemsha Hills, unwind with the Tavern’s familiar menu of farm-to-table classics. You’ll find crispy fish and chips, burrata with island tomatoes, and a stellar poulet frites. The locals will probably tell you Chilmark is “the wettest dry town in America,” but the restaurant will hook you up with basic mixers for cocktails. Or, you can just bring a bottle of wine like an adult.
You can’t have an East Coast vacation without a perfect summer shack that serves lobster rolls and fried clams, and the Lookout is the best version of that on the Vineyard. With views overlooking Oak Bluffs, you can watch people file out of the ferry, or just gaze at the ocean while tucking into that aforementioned toasted and buttery lobster roll, alongside fried seafood, raw bar offerings, and a solid assortment of fresh sushi, all available to go. They also do a refreshing rum punch and margaritas.
Cozy Détente is one of the most romantic spots on the island, with a charming outdoor courtyard decked in twinkle lights and surrounded by shingle-covered cottages. They’ve been serving seasonal American classics since 2005, and they have a pretty solid wine list, too. While the menu updates almost daily, past standouts include the local monkfish with lobster bao and sauteed Vineyard shitake mushrooms and crab and corn salad with spiced lavash.
Larsen’s is exactly what it sounds like: a market selling fresh seafood in a fishing village. Pick up some fish to cook, or head to the back of the tiny space, grab a lobster roll, shrimp cocktail, or a tub of smoked fish spread from the cooler for a quick bite. You can also order whole steamed lobsters, freshly shucked oysters, crab cakes, and more. Get a spread, and walk over to Menemsha public beach for the best sunset on the island.
Maybe after a day of hiking or chilling at the beach, you and your person want to ball out with a fine French bistro meal. This is the spot to do that right in the center of downtown Edgartown. Set in a restored whaling captain’s house, you can dine in one of the many cozy rooms, or skip that and roll on up to the more casual bar for great cocktails and the same food. That menu is (not surprisingly) heavy on seafood, and that’s exactly what you should order. Try the chilled Menemsha Creek oysters with preserved limoncello cream and pomegranate mignonette, some seared East Coast halibut, and definitely explore the selection of farmstead cheeses for the perfect start or finisher to any meal.
photo credit: Caitlin Cunningham
At some point, you’re going to need breakfast or a quick and tasty lunch. Little House Cafe has the best breakfast sandwiches (check out the BLT), wraps, bagels with lox, and oversized lattes on the island. The sunny spot also serves a solid lunch, doing stuff like red Thai curry kebabs and a chicken shawarma wrap. There are plenty of picnic tables, and you can hit the attached bakery for hearty loaves of bread, sweet homestyle cookies, or even to order a birthday cake.
photo credit: Caitlin Cunningham
With three locations around the island (Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, and Vineyard Haven), it’s basically impossible not to grab a cone from this ice cream shop during a trip to Martha’s Vineyard. They lean heavily on local purveyors for flavor inspiration, so try a scoop of Apple Fritter (made with apple fritters from Back Door Donuts), Chilmark Coffee (made with coffee from Chilmark Coffee Company), or MV Sea Salt Caramel (made with salt from Martha’s Vineyard Sea Salt).
This Oak Bluffs shop is the spot to grab a sandwich or hearty salad—we love the Menemsha lobster cobb—to take with you to Inkwell Beach. Almost all the sandwiches can be made vegan, including the BLT that swaps mushrooms for bacon. There’s limited seating inside, and it gets crowded fast, so plan accordingly.
Nomans is the kind of place that can only exist and thrive in a place like the Vineyard—this is a mostly open-air, first-come, first-served restaurant and hangout. Stop in and order dishes like soba noodles with vegetables, a codfish sandwich, and, of course, a lobster roll at the counter. The cocktails are very good (the Mai Tai is a must), and they usually have local musicians playing in the dog-friendly outdoor space.
Look for the chalk sign near the very end of South Road in Aquinnah that reads “Bread today! Please stop by,” and you’ll have found Orange Peel Bakery. The outdoor oven is often manned by the owner, an island native, and locals will pick up bread and jams from her small shop year-round (it’s on the honor system, so bring cash). From April to November, visit the outdoor location for pizza nights, which almost feel like you’ve snuck into a locals-only hang. There’s no set menu, but you’ll find options like veggie, cheese, and pepperoni most nights, and they also host BYOB Sunday dinners on occasion, with mains like whole fish and filet mignon. Check their Instagram for dates.
Just thinking about this place makes us wish we were sitting at the bar with a summery cocktail in hand and food on the way. There’s a lot to love about this art-filled stop on MV that’s mere steps from the Oak Bluffs ferry. The food is some of the most interesting on the island and the menu changes constantly—order the oyster pan roast that’s more of a creamy stew with oysters and bread for dipping if it’s available. The warm and friendly staff pours rock-solid cocktails too, and if you get there at the right time, snag a seat on their patio.
One of the few nicer restaurants not in Oak Bluffs, State Road in West Tisbury serves a solid farm-to-table menu in a dining room that works well for a dinner with the parents or date night. The burgers are excellent, the seafood is fresh—we love the cod en brick covered with crab meat—and most of the produce comes from the surrounding gardens. You can dine on a patio in the gardens, or in the rustic chic space, and the wine list is packed with grüners and vinho verde that pair perfectly with seafood and warm breezes.
photo credit: Jocelyn Filley
This restaurant comes from a chef who used to work at Puritan & Co., and the always-changing menu focuses on the island’s fisheries and farms. It’s a great stop for brunch (get the shakshuka and bourbon iced coffee) and dinner (order the ricotta cavatelli with wild boar bolognese), and you can either sit inside the classic Cape home or chill outside with a perfect garden seating situation. The service is warm and the playlist is always great, and thankfully light on the yacht rock.