When I go on vacation, the food is a big part of my experience. I especially love eating food that is local to the area – things that I may not be able to get at home. When I vacation on Cape Cod, I love trying the local seafood. Although I live in Massachusetts, I’m not always able to get locally sourced seafood and shellfish as fresh as what is offered on the Cape.
Here are some of the best restaurants on Cape Cod – including fine dining establishments as well as more casual restaurants. Some offer outdoor dining in addition to the main dining room – in the summer I’d recommend eating outside as much as possible for the full experience.
Keep in mind that while some Cape Cod restaurants are open in the off-season, many of them do close. So check with the specific restaurant you are interested in to find out their opening and closing dates for the season. In addition, some of the more popular restaurants do not offer reservations – but you’ll want to check in advance.
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The Best Restaurants On Cape Cod
Located in Mashpee and owned by French executive chef Frederic Feufeu, Bleu is an upscale restaurant. Specialties include French specialties like ahi tuna, Croque Monsieur, Duck Confit, and Steak Frites. It offers lunch and dinner, as well as brunch.
If you are traveling with picky eaters, especially children, I’d recommend looking at the menu to make sure there is something they enjoy. It’s definitely one of the more upscale dining experiences on this list and is also great for a special occasion. But it’s not necessarily a kid-friendly restaurant.
Bleu is located in Mashpee Commons, so you can combine a meal here with some shopping.
Ask anyone for the best restaurants on Cape Cod, and the Ocean House Restaurant is likely to be on the list. This seasonal restaurant, located along the Nantucket Sound in Dennis Port, offers a menu with American cuisine as well as fresh seafood. There’s the main restaurant as well as the outdoor beach bar. The Beach Bar can be a great place to grab a drink and light bite, especially on a nice evening.
The Ocean House is popular in season, as it’s one of the top restaurants in the area. Reservations are accepted on OpenTable, and that’s a great option if you want to be assured availability.
The Oyster Company Raw Bar and Grille
If you love oysters, you’ll want to check out the Oyster Company Raw Bar and Grille. Every day, before 6:30 pm, they offer their signature Quivet Neck Oysters for half-price. In addition to oysters, this seafood restaurant offers yellowfin tuna, roasted cod, lazy-man lobster, Portuguese Paella, and Cioppino.
The Oyster Company isn’t located on the water, and there is a small parking lot. Reservations are accepted, although they do accommodate walk-ins if they are able. They are open for dinner during the week and lunch and dinner on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Sesuit Harbor Cafe
Sesuit Harbor Cafe, located facing Northside Marina in Dennis, is definitely a full Cape Cod experience. This Cape Cod institution is open only in season and only offers outdoor seating on picnic tables. It’s regularly rated one of the Cape’s best seafood restaurants. Reservations aren’t accepted, and it can be extremely busy. It’s not unusual to see a line streaming down the side of the restaurant.
As you enter the marina, you’ll need to follow signs specifically for Sesuit Harbor Cafe. The parking lot can get very busy, and there are often attendants, who will direct you to available parking.
This award-winning restaurant offers seafood specialties, like lobster dinners and lobster rolls. There’s also a raw bar along the side with a separate line that offers oysters, shrimp, and more. My favorite is the sushi oysters, with the added ahi tuna.
Sesuit Harbor Cafe is BYOB, so be sure to stop at a nearby liquor store if you want alcoholic beverages with your meal. It’s also cash only.
The Raw Bar
There are several independent iterations of the Raw Bar on Cape Cod. Our two favorites are the locations in Mashpee and Hyannis.
The Raw Bar Mashpee is located in the Popponessett Marketplace, while the Raw Bar at the Bluewater Grille (Hyannis) is located at the Hyannis Harbor Hotel. The highlight of both locations is the delicious lobster roll, which is a must-have. The two locations do have different menus, but both offer lobster rolls as well as raw bar items.
Both Raw Bar locations mentioned here are open seasonally, and both have a liquor license with delicious rum punch. They are among the best Cape Cod restaurants and are definitely worth a visit.
The Impudent Oyster is a popular restaurant in Chatham, MA. It’s open year-round for lunch and dinner (with more limited opening during the off-season). It offers an expansive menu, and despite the name, has more than just seafood.
Captain Parkers Pub
This casual pub is located in West Yarmouth, right in front of the Whydah Pirate Museum. It’s one of my favorite restaurants on Cape Cod, and is very casual, with outdoor seating in the summer. It’s also open year-round.
Captain Parkers Pub has delicious seafood as well as some pub fare (my kids love the pretzels). Their clam chowder, is, in my option, the best clam chowder on Cape Cod. It’s so good and is sold in take-out containers and in some grocery stores on the Cape.
They do offer takeout, but the system is closed when the kitchen is too busy. I have found that once the weather gets warmer, the restaurant gets much busier.
Skipper Chowder House
One of my favorite Cape Cod restaurants is the Skipper Chowder House, a seasonal restaurant that is located in South Yarmouth across from the Nantucket Sound. It’s very popular but is definitely worth visiting.
Skipper Chowder House offers traditional Cape Cod cuisine, like lobster rolls and New England clam chowder. There are also some inventive takes on these traditional items, like their Fried Clam Chowder (which was featured on the Travel Channel). In my opinion, they offer one of the best lobster rolls on Cape Cod.
Seating is offered indoors, as well as on the upstairs deck, overlooking the water. It’s a beautiful place to sit. This is a very popular restaurant with a small parking lot, and reservations aren’t accepted. So you’ll want to try to arrive at an off-time or prepare to wait.
Once you are done eating, there’s a small ice cream window outside where you can get your dessert.
Surprisingly, there aren’t a lot of waterfront restaurants on Cape Cod. One of our favorites is the seasonally Summer Shanty, located in Dennis. It’s open for lunch and dinner in the summers, and also offers entertainment. Check their website for the live music schedule.
The Summer Shanty is very casual, with both indoor and outdoor seating. Menu items include lobster, sandwiches, and grilled and fried seafood dishes. They don’t accept reservations, but there’s plenty of room along the beautiful Bass River to wait for your table.
Mac’s Chatham Fish and Lobster
Located in the lower Cape town of Chatham, Mac’s Chatham Fish and Lobster is a casual restaurant offering both indoor and outdoor seating. This local favorite is one of the best places to eat in the area, due to its expansive menu with lots of options including small plates, sandwiches, and seafood. They are open year-round, and the menu changes in the offseason.
Ice Cream on Cape Cod
Of course, if you are visiting Cape Cod in the high season, you’ll want to get ice cream a few times during your stay. We have two favorites – and both offer multiple locations.
Cape Cod Creamery has three locations – in Hyannis, South Yarmouth, and Dennis. The Hyannis location is open year-round while the other two are seasonal. Cape Cod Creamery’s ice cream is handmade, with local names such as Monomoy Mud Pie and Chatham Chocolate.
There’s also Sundae School, with locations in Dennis Port and Harwich Port. Both locations are closed in the offseason, but in the summer, they are very popular destinations. We love their ice cream – especially the sundaes!
Planning to stay in Cape Cod? Here are some of the more popular and highly rated family resorts and hotels. This is just a small selection – there are lots of other chain and independent hotels in the area. Keep in mind that some of these hotels are seasonal or have amenities that are best in the summer.
Additional resources: Looking for more Cape Cod travel tips? Click to see our guide with town recommendations, things to do, restaurants, and more in Cape Cod.