10 Must-Try New Restaurants on Cape Cod & the Islands

By Scott Kearnan  |  June 27, 2016
Credit: Courtesy Billlygoats BBQ

Now that it's summer, Bostonians are planning their annual getaway to Cape Cod and the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. While you'll probably spend most of your time sipping barely concealed booze on the beach or slurping oysters at some old-school shack, we know at some point you'll find yourself hankering for a real, great meal. So we've scouted some of the newest openings in the region — no older than two seasons — but that have already proven themselves to be fine additions to the Cape dining scene. 

  • Credit: Ian Sullivan

    Clean Slate Eatery
    Successful Hub restaurants like Menton and Asta have proved Bostonians love chef tasting menus, but the concept remains rare in the 'burbs and beyond. Changing that is Clean Slate Eatery, a pop-up that just found a permanent home in the Cape town of West Dennis. Each night the open kitchen turns out two different, weekly changing tasting menus — one "traditional" and one vegetarian — full of inventive New American delights. Most recently, the culinary journey included charred baby kale with pickled beets and shaved walnut, day boat scallop with smoked pork belly and maple syrup hollandaise and chocolate banana bread pudding with cherry sorbet. 

    702 MA-28, West Dennis; 508-292-8817

  • Down Island
    The same team behind three-year-old 20byNine in Martha's Vineyard just unveiled another option for islanders: Down Island, an upscale-casual modern American restaurant serving set, communal-style dinners for $49. Menus change constantly, but some of the more recent dishes at Down have included island fluke crudo with Meyer lemon, roasted carrots with citrus and yogurt and Wagyu rib-eye with corn and mushrooms. 

    6 Circuit Ave., Oak Bluffs; 508-338-2503

  • Credit: Courtesy Billygoats BBQ

    Billygoats BBQ
    BBQ is smoking hot in Boston, from new openings (Andy Husbands' The Smoke Shop, launched over the weekend) to new menus at staples (Southie's Coppersmith). But it's hard to find on the seafood-focused shores. Enter: Billygoats, which opened in November to bring hungry Cape crowds pulled-pork sandwiches, "Redneck Nachos" (tater tots topped with chile and cheese sauce) and trays of tender, smoked meats — from pork sausage to beef brisket.  

    581 Main St., West Dennis; 508-619-3821

  • Credit: Courtesy Father's Kitchen & Taphouse

    Father's Kitchen & Taphouse
    The duo behind a small chain of South Shore pubs upped the ante with this sleek gastropub. Dads (and moms, and just about everybody else) will be excited to find Father's 42 draft lines dedicated to craft beers and a menu of creative comfort food. Alongside the more traditional burgers, pizzas and other tavern-apropos eats are a number of inventive spins: the Ghost Burger topped with ghost chile-pepper jack cheese and habanero relish; the peanut butter and bacon pizza (also topped with mozzarella and Italian sausage); and grilled cheese sticks dipped in tomato bisque. Perfect for a sudsy escape on the Upper Cape. 

    406 Route 6A, East Sandwich; 774-205-2139

  • Credit: Courtesy Fishermen's View

    Fishermen's View
    Move over farm-to-table — here comes boat-to-table, courtesy of a fishermen duo slated to open this sandwich spot in July. We're jumping the gun on our excitement because the concept is so cool: The restaurant offers panoramic views from its covered oceanfront deck, situated right at the marina where Bob and Danny Colbert have docked their scalloper and lobster boats for years. The twosome will use those boats, plus the hauls of other local fishers, to supply Fishermen's View with all the super-fresh seafood your stomach can handle. Outlook: very, very good. 

    20 Freezer Rd., Sandwich; 508 591-0088

  • Credit: Courtesy Garde East

    Garde East
    Though we were bummed to see longtime Bistro du Midi chef Robert Sisca depart the refined, Boston Common-side French restaurant, we're glad it was for something as exciting as this. Garde East bills itself as one of only two waterfront restaurants in Vineyard Haven, the quaint little corner of the island from which the Martha's Vineyard ferries come and go, where Sisca will serve a frequently changing menu of locally caught seafood (think oysters with yellow melon granita; a lobster roll with summer truffle, walnuts, apples and grapes). But you'll also find plenty of other sophisticated ideas, including duck breast with rhubarb and polenta and a pork chop with belly en crepinete and shishito peppers. Godspeed, Garde.

    52 Beach Rd., Vineyard Haven; 508-687-9926.

  • Credit: Courtesy of Oath Craft Pizza

    Oath Craft Pizza
    You don't actually have to hit ACK to check out this new group of pizzerias, which has locations in Chestnut Hill and Davis Square. But the pie slinger launched last May on Nantucket, and this inaugural location is still as hot as the pies. Crisped in 90 seconds and topped with ingredients both traditional and uncommon, we love the Sriracha chicken and rosé pickled onions. 

    44 Straight Wharf, Nantucket; 508-825-5963

  • Credit: Courtesy Barbara Lynch Gruppo

    P-Town's Waterford Inn called in the big guns when reinventing this space. Behold the just-opened Spindler's, for which the hotel teamed with Boston's James Beard award-winning restaurateur Barbara Lynch. Lynch created an excellent New England-inspired menu with raw bar and charcuterie spreads, plus seafood stew, moules frites, roasted chicken and more. And Ezra Star, general manager of Lynch's Fort Point cocktail den Drink, joined in to create a bar program of cool craft tipples. What happens when Boston's best-known restaurant group comes to the Provincetown? One sophisticated seaside spectacle.

    386 Commercial St., Provincetown; 508-487-6400

  • Station 21
    Last summer Nantucket's Lola 41 scored a little (similarly numeric) sibling: Station 21, a sleek and buzzing hot spot serving globally inspired cuisine to sharp-dressed diners. For this second summer season, Station launched lunch service, which includes individual pizzas, salads and gourmet sandwiches. There's also excellent energy during dinner, when meze-like whipped feta and skillets of meatball whet appetites for eclectic mains that range from rock shrimp and grits to beet ricotta gnocchi. 

    21 S. Water St., Nantucket; 508-228-2121

  • Credit: Courtesy Strangers & Saints

    Strangers & Saints
    Housed inside a 19th-century sea captain's home is one of Provincetown's newest restaurants, the just-opened Strangers & Saints. There's an old-world charm to the space, which takes a Mediterranean tavern approach to its menu — meat and cheese boards are complemented by Portuguese brandade, curried octopus, French lentil tartare with North African spices and more. 

    404 Commercial St., Provincetown; 508-487-1449