11 Hottest Restaurants on Cape Cod & the Islands

By Scott Kearnan  |  June 30, 2015

Now that warm weather has finally arrived, it's only a matter of time before we're hitting the Bourne Bridge, Provincetown Ferry or Cape Air tarmac for a trip to the peninsula or islands. So for a fresh dining itinerary, we pulled together this guide to the latest restaurants. Our criteria: 2015 could only be, at most, their second summer season in operation. Check them out, and stow away a little extra for your vacation budget. 

  • B-ACK Yard BBQ

    Nantucket barbecue lovers are stoked that B-ACK (see what they did there?) Yard BBQ opened last summer. The Straight Wharf restaurant offers freezer-free, from-scratch 'cue made with responsibly sourced meats and inspired by styles from across America. Plus there's live music and a TV-filled bar area stocked with Kentucky bourbons, Tennessee whiskeys and cold craft beers on tap. Your pitmaster: former Brant Point Grill exec chef Fred Bisaillon. 

    20 Straight Wharf, Nantucket; 508-228-0227

  • Bear in Boots Gastropub

    This Falmouth eatery comes from a husband-and-wife team of classically trained chefs, and opened last year to turn out New American fare bearing stamps of inspiration from the couple's European travels. The from-scratch kitchen features everything from ploughman's platters of hand-butchered meats to Belgian poutine, roasted lamb loin to sausage pappardelle. And the cozy interior, perfect for pouring out some craft cocktails, is adorned with repurposed Bordeaux wine bins and reclaimed sinker wood from Boston Harbor. Bonus: nightly special events, including trivia and live music. 

    285 Main St., Falmouth; 508-444-8511

  • Grey Lady

    When biz partners Ryan Chadwick and ACK native Callum McLaughlin opened their New England seafood–inflected NYC restaurant a few years ago, they dubbed it with Nantucket's well-known nickname. Then came an Aspen location. Finally, just in time for summer, Grey Lady comes home to Nantucket. This third location brings into its kitchen David Nevins, an alum of the Todd English empire and Neptune Oyster, who turns out a reasonably priced menu of elevated and elegantly presented surf (think grilled swordfish kebabs) and turf (like roasted chicken with squid vinaigrette). 

    2 Chins Way, Nantucket; 508-901-9858

  • Happy Camper

    The Canteen, a still-new (third season) P-Town hit for chef-driven takes on Cape Cod counter-service fare, has spawned this neighboring newcomer that shows the donut trend isn't going anywhere soon. Move past the sunny yellow exterior and into a new haven of unique donut flavors (like the lemon meringue, pictured), ice cream and popsicles: some icy cucumber-lemon or honey-ginger pops should cool you off on a hot and sticky day.

    227 Commercial St., Provincetown; 508-487-3800

  • Henri-Marie

    From cockel hats and buckle shoes to luxury resorts: Plymouth, you've come a long way, baby. Last summer the Pilgrims' former stomping ground welcomed Mirbeau Inn & Spa, an offshoot of the same-named property in central New York's Finger Lakes region. And with it arrived Henri-Marie, a new fine-dining restaurant housed in a former family chapel neighboring the resort's main manor house. The fancy upper-Cape digs feature vaulted ceilings, art deco design and French-inspired global cuisine. 

    35 Landmark Dr., Plymouth; 877-647-2328

  • Nantucket Prime

    Local farms provide the choice cuts at this just-opened island steakhouse, where the wet- and dry-aged chops (paired with your pick of sauces and butters) are accompanied by raw-bar slurps, cooling crudo and fresh veggie dishes — like creamed kale with garlic bread crumbs — for the herbivores in your party. (Plus, three words: pan-roasted lobster.) Though it's inside the historic Jared Coffin House Inn, the interior is more contemporary than you might expect from a Cape steakhouse — and there's an outdoor patio with separate bar too. 

    29 Broad St., Nantucket; 508-228-2117

  • Credit: Wayne Chinook

    The Nautilus

    Opened last May from a trio of young culinary hot shots, The Nautilus brings Nantucket a new destination for rustic-meets-modern cuisine, with a focus on shareable plates and whole-animal feasts; think Alden & Harlow with a slightly more international sensibility (like nods to Asian street food and Spanish tapas). Also: a 200-variety wine list and intense mixology program pouring out craft cocktails — including a weekly changing selection on tap.  

    12 Cambridge St., Nantucket; 508-228-0301

  • Sunbird Kitchen

    Fly down to the elbow of the Cape's curling arm for this newcomer (spawned from its slightly older food truck) where the sunny vibe parlayed by its Cape-born, California-bred owners bursts through a small menu of eclectic eats — mostly soups, sandwiches and some breakfast fare — composed of locally sourced ingredients. Grilled bok choy, herbed egg salad with pickled cabbage tartine, and crab sliders with chipotle mayo await. (So do craft beers.)  

    85 Rt. 6A, Orleans; 508-237-0354

  • Tin Pan Alley

    Opened last month, this New American eatery has an accessible, affordable menu that includes Portuguese fisherman's stew — a tribute to the town's fishing history — dayboat scallops with crabmeat and sweet-pea risotto, and lobster ravioli. A New Orleans–inspired brunch selection (with choices like gumbo and pain perdu) is a nice surprise, as is the nightly live music planned for peak season. 

    269 Commercial St., Provincetown; 508-487-1648

  • Tumi Ceviche Bar & Ristorante

    Fans of the North End's Taranta will likely appreciate Tumi, which similarly purveys Italian-Peruvian fusion. Unsurprisingly, ceviche is emphasized — shrimp, scallop, oyster and more are all given light, bright citrus treatments. But you'll also find a selection of cuisine-crossing pastas (think yuca gnocchi) and other mains (like pan-seared branzino with an aji amarillo butter), plus a competitively priced prix fixe: four courses for $27-$30. 

    ​592 Main St., Hyannis; 508-534-9289

  • 20 By Nine

    Opened on the Vineyard last year was this craft-beer (16 on tap) and whiskey (45 selections) bar with a vintage tavern-style vibe for slinging American-made spirits and small plates like from-scratch sausage in a pretzel bun and glazed spicy bacon. Per its name, a reference to MV's mileage dimensions, sometimes great things come in small sizes. 

    16 Kennebec Ave., Oak Bluffs; 508-338-2065

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