Running a Cape Cod Bed and Breakfast has a rather embarrassingly long list of perks, many of which formed part of our “well I‘m glad you asked me that” speech when inevitably asked “what the hell are you thinking/drinking?” by skeptical friends back home when we broke the news of our venture; the long sandy beaches, the mountainous surf rolling in from the Atlantic, the ethereal light in Autumn &Winter, celebrity spotting in Summer, short drives to Boston and New York City, more golf courses than you can shake a putter at, not waking in the middle of the night in a cold sweat over the demise of the Euro, etc. But one additional surprise has been the bounty of exceptional restaurants at which to fritter away our hard-earned cash. Clearly a top tourist destination such as Cape Cod would indeed warrant a suitable number of dining possibilities but the high standard of these establishments here on the far easterly edge of the USA is exceptional.
Flawed as any “Top Ten Restaurant” list must be by virtue of the different types of cuisine they offer and the different markets/wallets at which they aim I am throwing caution to the wind (which I failed to mention is, in Summer, a wonderful warm south-westerly trade wind breeze – not unlike the Caribbean).
So here we go:
To my mind the top restaurant on Cape Cod serving the highest level of gourmet cuisine that would be at home competing with the top restaurants in Boston and New York City. Pat & Nitzi Rabin consistently produce supreme French cuisine and all accompanied by an excellent wine list.
The Ocean House, Dennisport
The Ocean House is one of the few restaurants on Cape Cod that actually has a water view and the restaurant is perched right on the beach of Nantucket Sound. This is also the only restaurant on Cape Cod that has a city vibe that creates a great dining atmosphere. Janet has steered this establishment to the top of the pile on Cape Cod and the Asian influenced menu has no weak spots. The Bento box selections are always superb. To have this fine dining star at the end of the street from The Platinum Pebble is a great bonus, if a little dangerous for the waist-line!
A great restaurant with the most stunning water view. This elegant fine dining restaurant looks out across Pleasant Bay and is located in the only 4-star resort on Cape Cod, The Wequassett, right here in Harwich. The service and food are always impeccable. Price-wise this is at the high end but you get what you pay for and the food, presentation and setting are first-class.
Undoubtedly the place to go if you are hankering after Italian fare. The Tuscan inspired menu transports you back to an authentic Italian Trattoria. To simply feast on the fresh anti-pasti alone is worth paying a visit to Bucas. Entrée portions can be large but can you have too much of a good thing?
The Oyster Company, Dennisport
This great more casual restaurant, less than 0.5 mile from our inn, serves up excellent seafood especially the fresh oysters farmed daily on Quivet Neck in Dennis, Cape Cod. Jim Dings, the chef, has returned to the Cape after executive chef positions in New York and Philadelphia and created an excellent and consistently strong menu.
Although space is limited in this small restaurants it’s worth getting a table as the food on offer is a unique blend of Mediterranean, New England & Thai. This is where to come to find food combinations that may offer something new to your palate. The steamed mussels in coconut are sublime.
This wonderful French bistro run by Alan & Gretchen continues to build its reputation. The menu is French inspired but works with only local ingredients. Service is top-notch and very knowledgeable if you’re having trouble navigating the great selection of French wines.
Cape Sea Grille, Harwich
Another restaurant that will deliver the highest quality of seafood dishes. The atmosphere is relaxed and quieter than some Cape Cod restaurants. Located in a sea captain’s home and a short stroll from both Harwichport center and from the beach this is a very popular fine dining spot in the Summer.
This bistro/restaurant has one of the best atmospheres of Cape Cod restaurants. The restaurant is always lively and has an open kitchen so you can watch the chefs working their magic. The thin crust pizzas here are the best on Cape Cod. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations so you can have a long wait in the Summer.
Mac’s Shack, Wellfleet
The best seafood bar/shack/restaurant on Cape Cod. It’s reputation is well-deserved and no trip to Cape Cod can be considered complete without stopping in at Mac’s for seafood.