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Melville Coast


Cape Cod

Melville Coast
Cape Cod
Things To Do
Whale Watching

Cape Cod is one of America's great restaurant centers. The Portugese population gives the food a unique flavor. With Provincetown and Wellfleet prospering as fishing villages for 300 years, seafood dominates. So many restaurants in close competition, being so close to so many newspaper and magazine restaurant critics, has kept everyone innovating. And with a very wealthy clientele, including the Kennedy clan, expectations have always been high. As a result, many of the long timers who come to The Cape every Summer for their entire lives consider dining out twice a day as much a part of their vacation as the beach, fishing, sailing and whalewatching. However, many of these restaurants have long standing clienteles, and with another hundred thousand tourists flowing through The Cape each week, crowds are the norm. You should try to eat early to avoid waits.

If you're only going to spend a few days on The Cape you only have a few chances to eat out. We've narrowed the choices down to the very best, the classics, the ones the local residents and lifetime vacationers agree on. Pictured at right here is a Crabmeat Salad Roll, one of the classics you have to try, along with Lobster, Chowder, Cod, Halibut, Crab Cakes and Scallops.

The Lobster Pot. With the closing of Plymouth's 1620, we rank this the number one seafood restaurant in America. This is a lofty claim, but it's won every award over the years. If you want ambience, wings, drinks or status, go elsewhere. But if you want the finest seafood you've ever tasted, here it is. You walk in through the modest little front shown top right, and pass right through the kitchen to get to the dining room. Then the building widens out with big windows facing the harbor. Service is impeccable, attentive without hovering. The Chowder is second only to the Nantucket Chowder served at the Sea Grille. Paea is a Portugese dish, and while it has been picked up by fine restaurants across the country, it was first served here, and this is still the best. Their fish entrees are all great, especially the daily special, which is coming right off those boats you're watching out the window. The Pot started out as a lobster counter, and that is still their specialty, so if you plan to try lobster while on The Cape, this is the place to order it. The salads, side orders and desserts here are excellent. There is an extensive wine list, with Portugese varieties you may not have tasted before. Their steaks are good, but it seems sacriligious to come to the nation's top seafood restaurant and eat steak. The only restaurants rivalling this are Christiana Campbell's in Williamsburg, Boston's Oyster House, and several on Hatteras and Nantucket Islands and in Charleston.
Sweet Seasons at The Duck Creek Inn in Wellfleet has been the second best restaurant on The Cape. Sweet Seasons was a small, intimate restaurant. It has now been merged with the adjacent Duck Creek Tavern, so the intimate aspect is gone, but the great menu remains plus the live jazz the Tavern is famous for. Judith Pihls remains as chef, with Mediterranean slant and emphasis on all local produce and seafood. Her sage asparagus ravioli, swordfish artichoke, and sea cakes (shrimp-crab-scallops-garlic-olive-black bean mix) have long been unique. The famous Wellfleet littlenecks and mussels in tomato broth, the Wellfleet oysters, and local scallops (second only to Digby scallops in size and sweetness) are worth the stop. The local halibut with backyard herbs and Cape Cod tomatoes and goat cheese, or the Chatham Cod (brought in 20 miles down the Cape) are noteworthy. If you've begun to tire of seafood, try the beef ale pie and Peach Cranberry Cobbler here. You'll eat looking out the window at a large pond. Lobster is the only item on the menu above the teens in price.
Moby Dick's, just off Route 6 at Wellfleet, is a more casual, lower priced family oriented restaurant, but still has the third best seafood on The Cape. They don't have the wine list, fancy salads, daily specials, or national ranking, and their main menu lacks the paiea, boullibaise and squid that the more upscale rivals offer. But the hard core entrees like chowder, scallops, cod, clams, shrimp, crabs, and halibut are still fresh and better than what you were used to back home. Prices will be in the low to mid teens, a notch below the usual Cape fare. Since Moby's has also been around for a while and has its own loyal following, you still need to get here early in the evening or expect a healthy wait. If you're camping at Paine's you can bike or walk over here and then take the long way back around Long and Great Ponds and down Ocean View Drive.
Beachcomber is a whole different story. This is the git down, sandy, suntanned, surfer dude, right on the beach eatery. Most entrees are fried or grilled. There are lots of nachos, wings, burgers and shakes. But the actual seafood menu is surprisingly good. Beachcomber has won awards. The corn on the cob, Chatham Chowder, grilled swordfish or tuna, and BBQ are all excellent. Many take their food out on the huge deck, but the inside is vintage 50s beach shack, as seen at right. Beachcomber is widely known for its evening live music and dancing. If you're camped at Paine's, you can walk or bike to the beach in the morning, stay 'til dark, eat both meals here, and walk or pedal back by moonlight. The New England Surfing Championships are held here every Summer.
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