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Martha's Vineyard suggestions

  • b

I would appreciate any suggestions for Martha's Vineyard as I am about to visit for the first time.

Specifically looking for the following:

1. Best lobster roll

2. Best ice cream

3. Good places for dinner that aren't too expensive and are casual dress

4. Any local specialties that should not be missed.

Thank you.

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  1. I don't know about some of your requests but there is one seafood experience everyone should have: go to Larsen's fish market on the dock in Menemsha and get takeout seafood to eat on the dock. They have a variety of cooked specialties and will do a lobster for you if that is what you want. It is easier at lunch but at night the sunset view from the dock is spectacular. Note: all towns on the Vineyard are dry except for Edgartown and Oak Bluffs; BYOB.

    4 Replies
    1. re: BBHound

      For ice cream, it's Ben & Bill's in Oak Bluffs, hands down. Get a cone and take a walk along the sea wall.

      1. re: BBHound

        For ice cream, it's Ben & Bill's in Oak Bluffs, hands down. Get a cone and take a walk along the sea wall.

        1. re: BBHound

          If you want to eat lobsters and steamers at Larsen's , best to call ahead. They'll have them ready for you. Also try their raw bar. Fresh fresh fresh.

          1. re: BBHound

            Awsome experince, one has to try it.

          2. 1. Lobster roll is Grace Church on Friday nights . It is their fundraising so it is all done by the congregation volunteers.The rolls are $10.00 and they are overstuffed with just lobster and a little mayo, no fillers no fluff. Take them to go and walk down to Owen Park for the band concert. No I am not a member of the congregation.
            2. Ice cream -I suggest the Icecream & Candy Bazaar downtown Edgartown right next to Captain Porky's Bait & Tackle. It used to be Mad Martha's had the best but they have gone downhill.
            3. Good food & reasonable prices is an oxymoron on Martha's Vineyard. Chesca's in Edgartown is good food for what passes for reasonable prices here on sunny old MV. Other than that be prepared to spend $150.00+ a couple for very good food or $75-100 a couple for barely edible food. We either dump the wallet and enjoy the islands fine dining opportunities(sp?) or take advantage of outstanding fresh seafood at The Net Result and eat at home

            1. Try the fried clams at the Bite in Menemsha and at the Clam Bar, accross from the flying horses in Oak Bluffs. For great donuts try the Vineyard Foodshop (aka Humphreys) in West Tisbury.

              3 Replies
              1. re: chuck s

                W Tisbury Humphrey's is closed. Still in Edgartown, still the best crullers. The clam bar you mention is Giordano's Almost as good as the Bite, better deal. Most of what JDB says is true (re: Grace Church and Mad Martha's), but there are many fine dining establishments that don't rip you off. I look forward to trying the Beach Plum Inn "bistro night" (Thursday) where 3 courses will set you back $45. We had a great dinner at Le Grenier last summer for around $100. Of course, both of these places are BYOB, so you get a break there... but I can name 30 places here that offer good food at appropriate, though not bargain, prices.

                1. re: thos

                  Thanks for the heads up re: Thurs. bistro night at Beach Plum. Will also look up Le Grenier.

                  Any other suggestions for good food (but not a rip) are always welcome (bargains are not generally expected at MV!) Have a week there to enjoy as much as possible!

                  1. re: citified

                    Le Grenier is charming. Upstairs, surrounded by trees with glimpses of Vineyard Haven below, it is lovely. French as can be. Frog legs cannot be beat. Years ago, upon being complimented on them, the owner invited us into the kitchen for a demonstration, complete with samples. Avec bread. And vin. Another bonus? Air conditioning. Have a great trip.

              2. If you are a chocolate fan, you must stop by chilmark chocolates on State Road, about a 1/4 mile past beetlebung corner. the chocolates, which are made from the highest qualty ingredients, are made homemade daily on the premises, and are very reasonably priced ($12/lb?). My favorites are the tashmoo truffles and the tulgeywood.

                Also-- don't miss the clam chowder at the Homeport in Meneshma. You can order it take out in the evenings from their back door. yummy.

                2 Replies
                1. re: anna

                  I agree whole-heartedly with both your choices.

                  1. re: anna

                    I disagree strongly with both of these. Bad chowder and bad chocolate

                  2. Just got back from the MV and Cape Cod. Although this initial post is back from 2003, I wanted to provide an update.

                    the trip to Martha's vineyard is worth it, if only for the amazing seafood at The Net Result at Vineyard Haven. The fish & chips are so fresh--not a trace of fishiness and the batter was super light and non-greasy. The lobster roll is succulent and the fried calamari was so lightly battered that you could see the light purply flecks of the calamari peeking from underneath the batter. The lobster roll was lightly tossed with the usual salad fixings but still heavy on the plump juicy and sweet lobster chunklets. plus, with the seafod market side, there are often sales on select seafood which the staff is more than eager to steam up for barely a markup. This past weekend? lobster tails for $6/each. For a new york gal, that is a steal!

                    i'll try to post up pics on my blog later this week. plus the drive from NY to MV made for many successful food stops in hidden seafood joints along the CT shore.

                    1. Best lobster rolls ever can be found at Grace Episcopalian Church in Vineyard Haven every Friday night of the year. They are delicious and chock full of lobster meat. I've had lobster rolls all over the Island over the years and these are hands down the best.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: speranza

                        I hope it's still there (not sure if Bay is still looking) but the Carousel in Oak Bluffs has the largest amount of really good ice cream for the most reasonable price I've ever seen. Well, they did in 2007, at least.

                      2. Went to Martha's Vineyard last summer and heading back July 1. Our experience was: Beach Plum restaurant-- Menemsha-- fine dining and excellent.........Sweet Life in Oak Bluffs also excellent. I enjoyed reading other posts and if any updates are out there it would make a nyc gal a happy one! Thanks!

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: citified

                          I don't believe it's Larsen's anymore - new owners. Meditteranean is probbaly the newest "good" place. Sharkey's Cantina opened a spot in Edgartown and is always busy. They serve a version of southwestern or Tex/Mex food that is good and very reasonable. Lola's has morphed into more of a nightclub, but still serves dinner. Smoke 'n Bones (NOT the chain of similar name) still has real good ribs and I think their cook (not a "chef" hah!) still hails from the south. Their prices are fair. The most overlooked place may be the Grill on Main in Edgartown where the former chefs of the late, lamented Feast of Chilmark serve very good food for decent prices

                          1. re: thos

                            Didn't get to any of the restaurants in Oak Bluffs that were recommended by the cool bartender, Sam, at the Lookout Tavern -- Sharkey's, Sugar Shack, Offshore Ale House, Sweet Life, Slice of Life (breakfast), or Mediterranean in Vineyard Haven, but I did get back to Carousel ice cream in OB.


                            They've downsized. Not their prices, their ice cream. For the price of 3 scoops, they now give 2 scoops. For the price of 2 scoops? They now give a scoop and a half. Can you imagine? Of course I walked out.

                            And went right across the street to Ben and Bill's Emporioum, which 'still' (at least until next year) gives a single scoop that was enough for me. And that is saying something.

                            1. re: dolores

                              Sharkey's - I love that place! I could have eaten there every night we were in MV.

                            2. re: thos

                              Don't know where your info is coming from, but Larsen's is not under new ownership...it has been owned and operated by the Larsens since its inception, and the Net Result and Edgartown Seafood are owned and operated by members of the Larsen family (or their progeny) as well...perhaps you are thinking of Poole's, which has changed hands and names several times in the past few years (and is now, ironically, owned by a Larsen and operating as the Menemsha Fish Market)...

                              1. re: thos

                                Larsens is still Larsens. Sharky's has maybe one edible thing on the menu - its fairly utterly dreadful. But a good, popular bar. Edgartown is maybe a little better than OB - both are open late, which is why I eat there.

                                Smoke and Bones used to be delicious. Its now dreadful since it changed hands a few years back..

                                Never had a good meal at Grill on Main. Never will, as I won't go back. Tastes like Hotel food, and too many good places to eat nearby, like Altria, Detente, and even Harborview with the new chef.

                              1. Great lobster roll at "Seafood Shanty" in Edgartown. Large chunks of lobster on a hot dog bun. I noticed it was the most popular item on the menu as many people were having the lobster roll. The restaurant overlooks the harbor and offers a BEAUTIFUL view of the water, boats, etc.

                                We had ice cream every night after dinner in Oak Bluffs. Two nights we had ice cream from "Mad Martha's" and one night from "Bill and Elmer's." We preferred "Mad Martha's as the ice cream was so creamy. Try their "Butter Crunch" flavor!

                                "Lookout Tavern" in Oak Bluffs. Very casual restaurant/bar serving fresh seafood plus overlooks the ocean. We had fried clams with belllies, clam chowder, lobster roll, etc. All were very good.

                                "Oyster Bar" in Oak Bluffs if you are looking for something other than seafood. Although they serve seafood, the offer a variety of steaks which we all had. Delicious steaks and appetizers. The restaurant is more upscale so the prices tend to be on the higher side but well worth it. EXCELLENT service.

                                In Menemsha: Had the "best ever" fried scallops at "The Bite." "The Bite" is a small shack with two picnic tables outside for dining. We also had fresh lobster and oysters on the half shell at "Larsen's." "Larsen's" was a great experience. You can't get lobsters any fresher than at "Larsen's." Just keep in mind that it is not a restaurant. You order your lobsters inside at the counter and then they call you name once your food is ready. You eat outside on wooden boxes that are sitting next to the water and fishing boats. It's truly a "New England" experience. Don't bother ordering the crab cakes or stuffed scallops as they were below average.

                                We also had fudge from "Murdick's" which has been on the Vineyard for many years. The fudge is delicious. Specifically, we had the chocolate peanut butter fudge. They also sell good peanut brittle.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: Bailey23

                                  I'm glad you liked the lobster rolls at The Seafood Shanty but most of their food is pretty bad. I've had three meals there during the past two weeks. The best was the sushi. Then the mussels. The rest was just plain bad. (Especially a special salmon dish that was dry and tasteless and came out within 5 minutes. I wondered if it had been cooked ahead and was sitting around waiting for an order.) The service was good two of the times I was there but terrible on the other occasion. I sat for 15 minutes before I could get anyone to come over, was given no water, no lemon, etc. etc. My wine glass was so dirty I had to send it back. The best thing about this place is the location. I can not recommend it for the food, but I have not tried the lobster roll there yet, so maybe I will have to give it another chance.

                                  1. re: mvi

                                    I agree with you about The Seafood Shanty. Forget the food and enjoy a cocktail and the view. We tried the new Sharkey's location in Edgartown and the place was hopping, lots of families. Nice friendly service but the food was so pedestrian it was a yawn. Sort of like the Oak Bluffs location. There is still an opportunity for good Mexican food on the island.

                                    1. re: chezdick

                                      Any ethnic food selections would be welcome, for sure. A little variety....

                                      1. re: mvi

                                        The Thai place in Oak Bluffs isn't bad actually - I'm really happy to have it. And the pan Asian place in OB where standby used to be is decent too.

                                  2. re: Bailey23

                                    Seafood Shanty has a great roofdeck to get a drink, but awful food. Oyster Bar is mediocre, though it is expensive.

                                    The Bite serves amazingly good fried food.

                                    I'd take Ben and Bill's over Mad Marthas any day. And Back Door donuts in OB over both.

                                  3. Here's a few thoughts. We just got back. Lobster rolls are outareously expensive. Your best bet is to get one for $11 (versus $21 elsewhere) and a take-out fish market like several in Minemsha (on the way to Gay Head/Aquinnah). It's a little overrated. Lobster meat, mayonaise in a New England hot tog bun but good nonetheless. In you are renting a condo or house, I'd go to Larsen's in same locale and pick up a live lobster and bring in back to your place and have a corn, red potato, lobster, coleslaw feast at your rented house. Much less expensive than going out. Best ice cream: Mad Martha's in Oak Bluffs. Best casual joint is probably Sharky's Cantina (tex-mex food, non-pretensious). If you want good seafood, on an outside deck overlooking the water, I'd try Seafood Shanty in Edgartown. Beautiful vistas of the harbor and they have a competent sushi bar ran by Japanese and not has-beens. Whatever you do, skip Edgartown Deli for breakfast. Cheap food but rightly so. Margarine on the bread, mystery meat, unappealing, a tourist trap. Don't be fooled by the cheap prices. For a an awesome breakfast, check out Slice of Life in Oaks Bluff and for serious French dining, check out Le Guinier in Vineyard Haven. Exceptional.

                                    1. --Art Cliff Diner (Vineyard Haven): Corned beef hash and farm eggs, Billy's Dream, Sweet Potato Biscuits (a special), Blueberry-Lemon Scones (another special), breakfast sandwiches, potato pancakes with apple butter, Bull's Eye, lemon-sugar crepes, homemade jam
                                      --Lobster Roll at Offshore Ale (Oak Bluffs)
                                      --Back Door Doughnuts at Martha's Vineyard Bakery and Cafe (after 8:30 in the summer; apple fritters are great, Oak Bluffs)
                                      --Humphrey's: Gobbler sandwich, belly bomb or jelly doughnuts, buttercrunch cookies (Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven)
                                      --Chilmark Chocolates: chocolate-peanut butter, buttercrunch, fresh fruit (when available, Chilmark)
                                      --Slice of Life (Slice Salad, Salmon Salad, Fried Green Tomato BLT, desserts and pastries, Oak Bluffs)
                                      --Sweet Life Cafe (upscale dining, Oak Bluffs)
                                      --The Bite: fried clams and clam chowder (Menemsha)
                                      --Ben and Bill's Ice Cream (Oak Bluff's)
                                      --West Tisbury Farmer's Market (Wed. and Sat. mornings in summer season)

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: lizbomze

                                        Thanks to all. I agree with all suggestions and have only one more to add:

                                        Best lobster roll is served Friday nights Vineyard Haven, Grace Episcopal Church--$13.00 including chips and a drink. We watched many many locals come in, order 5-10 and take them "out" home? or picnic? or you can do as we did and just eat it right there. It was great. Its a fund raiser and they serve 5pm-8pm but the week before we were there, they ran out at 7pm!

                                        Our favorite dinners were at Sweet Life Cafe-- and Slice of Life for lunch.

                                        Excellent sandwiches can be picked up at the "general store" near Beetle Bung corner in Chilmark!

                                        Thanks for all your suggestions!

                                      2. I just got back from MV and went to Net Results for lunch where I had a fresh lobster roll on a toasted bun along with some clam chowder and it was excellent. It's $3 extra (so $15) for a freshly prepared roll and it's definitely worth it. The lobster meat is fresh and plentiful and there's just the right amount of mayo. I also had dinner at Sweet Life which was excellent but a little overpriced. I had the oysters appetizer which came with a prosecco granita that tasted AMAZING with the oysters. For main course I had the halibut which was cooked to perfection and served on a bed of risotto (which I could have used a little more of). For dessert I split the carrot ginger cake which was incredible.

                                        1. In my 3 years on the vineyard I frequented Smoke N' Bones a lot how did everybody miss that one go there.

                                          Also, Bangkok Cuisine for great thai, Slice of Life is absolutly perfect exactly what you are looking for, Sharky's, Humphry's fantastic sandwiches great lunch, Lattanzi's has good pizza. The Warf is a pretty good bar for wings and burgers. Regae night is fun there. Offshore Ale is also a good bar with good food. You can see some great live music at both Offshore and The Warf. Espresso Love is good for a cup of coffee. Among the Flowers makes a great omlet for lunch and it is really romantic sitting outside litterally among the flowers. One of my all time favorite places to go was Soigne in Edgartown. I would pick up some cheese, marinated vegetables, pasta salad, grilled corn salad with red peppers and feta. I would pack my backpack with all this food and hike out to the Menemsha hills to have a picnic. What a perfect day. Artcliff is good for breakfast but you will never get a table i wouldn't bother trying to go there durring peak season.

                                          Wow I wish Bittersweet hadn't closed. That was a great restaurant.

                                          Do Not under any circumstances go to any of the following restaurants.

                                          The News, Seafood Shanty, LeGrenier, The Lookout Tavern, David Ryan's, and The Main Street Diner. All bad.

                                          3 Replies
                                          1. re: keith2000

                                            Artcliff for breakfast. It's not cheap, but oh my, so so so good. My daughter lives in W.Tisbury so we go to the island frequently, and I try and catch the Artcliff whenever I can. My favorite is the Bullshot...codfish cakes eggs benedict with arugula and a spicy hollandaise. Also, it's the only place I've found on the island where you can get lox and bagel (however, I never go to Edgartown center). Nancy's...the take out, not the dine inn..also has good fried stuff and great onion rings. I agree about The Bite..great fried clams, alas, no onion rings. (I don't like french fries much.) One of the things I love about the island is the local food...Morning Glory Farm has great produce and outstanding pies. Island corn is as good as homegrown, and I grew up in a family of corn-growing purists. (Put the water on to boil, pick the corn, run back to the house shucking as you go, don't stop if you drop one, and boil NO LONGER THAN 7 minutes.) Yum. *Sigh* it's October, no more corn or peaches 'till next summer.

                                            1. re: Altaira

                                              I forgot about Morning Glory. I used to bike there not to far from my house. Just have to be careful that you read the labels a bunch of their produce is ordered for purveyors. They make a pretty good muffin. I swear I had bagel and lox at Beetlebung (the best place to get an espresso on MV). I think there is a bagel shop in O.B. where you can get bagel and lox too. How do you ever get a table at Artcliff? Maybe in May or October but June July and August there is always a line out the door and a two hour wait.

                                              1. re: Altaira

                                                Artcliff was GREAT back when it opened - 2001 or so. Its gone downhill a lot with the popularity, to the point I rarely go anymore.

                                            2. A quick addition to all of the above. The Oyster Bar in Oak Bluffs is offering a raw bar special every Friday and Saturday night. One dollar each from 5-6:30. They have some wonderful wines by the glass. For the oyster lover, this is a nice treat.

                                              The Net Result is the my favorite place on the island without exception. What is it about this place? No other fish store compares.

                                              I have never waited longer than 20 minutes in the summer at Art Cliff. In the off season, it's obviously a lot easier.

                                              Mediterranean in Vineyard Haven is not to be missed. Not sure what is happening with their off season hours, but they are well worth a visit.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: mvi

                                                Sweet Neck Farm's Oysters are bar none the best oysters I have ever eaten. When I was on the Vineyard I ate them constantly. Wish I could find them now.

                                              2. The owners of Mediterranean, in Vineyard Haven, are planning to purchase Lola's, in Oak Bluffs. Dougie is a great and inventive chef and often uses fresh locally caught seafood & other ingredients. The new restaurant will be much larger than Med., so it will be interesting to see how they transition from a very hand's-on role to a more supervisory role. Wishing them the very best on this.

                                                In the winter I miss the Lola's of ten year's ago. Hope they can continue some of that back-room tradition of bar food, live blues, dancing and a local crowd.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Chowmeister

                                                  Just heard yesterday they'll keep the bar open year round with a tapas menu but who knows how things will evolve? Their menu is so fantastic so we're thrilled they'll have a bigger space. Supposedly, they are opening in April.

                                                2. Don't know abouot ice cream or lobster rolls (most of which are from canned meat anyway), but Nickys in Vineyard Haven is the best of the restaurants on the Island. This is the best kept Islander's secret. Casual dress is fine and because its byob the overall price is very reasonable especially given the quality of food.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Livehere

                                                    Say, you aren't the owner or related to him are you? Because in nearly 30 years I have never heard of this place, nor have I ever heard it mentioned. Please give us a review. Do they have a web site? What are they famous for?

                                                    BTW, The Galley, Edgartown Seafood, Menemsha Seafood all use fesh lobster meat - I have seen them preparing the filling for the lobster rolls (at least in the summer). I believe Net Result does too. The others I'm not sure of. I felt the "church lady" rolls were too salty with too much mayo. Maybe canned is how they make them so cheap.

                                                    1. re: thos

                                                      OK Livehere. Did some research and NOW I remember Nicky's. It's in an out of the way location behind Radio Shack, hasn't been there too many years (I believe there were a succession of Asian places there first) and it looks like they do traditional Italian, something lacking in MV. The prices (if web site is accurate) seem very reasonable. I'm going to try it next time out (late August) and report back. Looks like a fine alternative to Jimmy Seas, Giordano's and Lattanzi's Pizza. Thanks for the tip.

                                                  2. For a super-casual dinner - we hit the Art Cliff Diner for dinner -

                                                    Heck you say? It's only for breakfast and lunch? - Maybe so for the restaurant, but the Art Cliff Diner truck parked in the lot slings some pretty awesome and cheap chow after 5pm into late in the night. Menu changes daily, but when we were there, we had a huge falafel sandwich with lots of fresh veggies and feta for $7. Cheeseburger was pretty good too, $6 - other friends had the lamb burger, met with approval, $7 - pork taco (very large) for $4. Fries were mostly great - hot, fresh, comes with interesting dipping sauces for an extra buck (tomato chipotle, basil mayo) - we got ours with garlic and parsley, which they were tossed with. Very garlicky, hot. A friend who came a little later unfortunately got somewhat soggy fries - I would guess that the oil was too cool, so if the place is slammed, you might want to wait. When we first got there, it was pretty slow and we were a big group.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Bob Dobalina

                                                      This is an old thread, but we're here on MV right now and had the best lobster rolls i've ever tasted at MacPhail's Corner Cafe down on Dock Street in Edgartown. It's a new cafe, where Mrs. Miller's Muffins used to be a decade ago. Got a chance to meet the owner and found out he went to culinary school in NYC and comes with a lot of previous experience. We did breakfast there one morning.. amazing muffins and delicious bacon egg and cheese. The owner gets the lobster meat directly from the Net Result so it is hands down the best and freshest around. No fillers at all, just a little mayo on a toasted and buttered home-made ciabatta bun. You need to try it.