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P-town: the OK, the bad, and the ugly

Mrs. B and I hit Provincetown recently, which was lots of fun. We also ate at three places, which were as the title says OK, bad, and ugly.

At the Lobster Pot, a popular seafood place with a long history at that location, started off with lobster bisque (good, if not high-end, with decent cream and lobster flavor and some shreds of meat) and clam chowder (very thick and of its kind pretty good, generous with potato chunks and clam pieces). Decent salad (real greens, not iceberg) with a caddy of four dressings; the waitress's suggestion to mix the creamy garlic and sesame was the best option, as all were pretty average by themselves. Bread basket had pedestrian white rolls and yummy pumpkin bread squares. Shared a lobster ravioli (kind of leaden in Parmesan cream sauce), clam cake (pretty good, with respectable breading to seafood ratio and OK seafood flavor), and sole Rockefeller (very nice, with fresh sole wrapped around a stuffing full of spinach, Parmesan, and shallots -- all of which melded enjoyably into something more than the sum of its parts -- and topped with an OK Hollandaise).

At a little crepe place called The Outer Crepe, got coffee (bitter and lousy, probably sitting around a while) and a Quebecois crepe (nice wheat-style thin pancake, so-so syrup -- probably not the real thing -- and fresh bananas) which proved an odd combo. I'd say lose the bananas and try another fruit.

Also went to another spot that's likely a long time P-town fixture, The Mayflower. The prices were generally right and the service was passably friendly, but that's much of what worked there. Steamed clams were good, clean with nice flavor, though about four of them had smashed shells and were not to be trusted for freshness. Portuguese soup was actually not bad, nice meat stock with sausage, kale, beans, and potatoes. Lobster roll had mealy meat -- lousy and not worth the money. And a Portuguese cod dish was a disaster, a decent piece of white flaky fish drowned in a tomato based sauce loaded with cumin and vinegar; strong competing flavors with a nasty sour aftertaste -- sent it back and waitress removed it from the bill.

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  1. The Mayflower is not at all, in any way, meant to be a "good restaurant". It fills mouths and stomachs at a decent price. That is all. You should be happy that you had decent soup and at least some decent clams. Next time, get take-out at Mojos if you need to keep the wallet in check.

    Ditto the Lobster Pot.

    Good meals in Provincetown, with a few exceptions, unfortunately cost money.

    7 Replies
    1. re: hilltowner

      Appreciate the confirmation of what I suspected given the experience, hilltowner. Any recommendations for some good chow-worthy spots in P-town would be welcome and appreciated. Saw huge crowds at Bubula's by the Bay and The Patio, but am guessing this is no guarantee they're any good. And there was someone trying to wave people into the Governor Bradford the couple times we walked by, which is usually a sign that a place is lousy.

      1. re: bachslunch

        The Governor Bradford is a great place to drink, and watch either a live band or drunk people at the Karaoke machine.

        1. re: bachslunch

          Have seen that "waving in people" down in P-Town and find it rather annoying...

          The Gov. Bradford is a watering hole and for day trippers right off the boat. The Lobster Pot as well.... good for drink, and the food is ho-hum.

          Both levels at The Mews is nice, Ross' Grill has a bayside view (it's located in the arcade area next to the Crown and Anchor), Fanizzi's in the East End, and Napi's. I know Napi's is an old standby to many on this board, but we've always found the food consistent and fresh, even in the dead of winter.

          1. re: Lilibet

            Hi Lilibet,
            I also like Napi's & Fanizzi's as well. It must have something to do with names ending in vowels :-))

            Harp00n

            1. re: Harp00n

              I lOVE it when you sit at the bar in the afternoon, and Napi (Himself) sits down and orders a glass of wine and says... "Have you ever been here before? You should come back for dinner and try..." He's been handing us that line for over 23 years!
              Fanizzi's is a special favorite too - although Rudney, the barkeep tells us that the premium tequila is much cheaper at the VFW... ;0)

              1. re: Lilibet

                Well you just outed, so-to-speak, Rudney, LOL!

          2. re: bachslunch

            Bubula's has decent food and a great outdoor dining space. Mews Cafe is excellent, as are the pricier options of the Martin House and the Red Inn.

        2. Bachslunch,

          Pepe's, unpretentious and consistently good, over The Lobster Pot any day.

          Harp00n

          1. P-tow I always enjoy the Mew"s they have a casual menu at the bar area. Downstairs you are at the beach level and there food has always been wonderful. Napie's (not sure of the spelling) and there is parking is very good. Napie's and the Mew's are open year around which is a very good sign .

            1. Clem and Ursie's is fun, although not on the waterfront. It's definitely not fine dining, very loud and chaotic, but lots to choose from, and most of it pretty decent.

              http://www.clemandursies.com/

              1. Ciro's can be great; especially when they are doing the caccuicco livornese, thursdays, I think. Front street used to be good as well, but it was year before last since I've been there. The moors', out near the beach west of town has excellent portuguese Kale soup.

                1. I am in P-town every weekend as I have a home here and have a different take on some suggestions.
                  Typically tourists and locals do not necessarily frequent the same places.
                  I would definitely recommend Patio as the best place for delicious food and great drinks and certainly people watching. For breakfast definitely check out Devons and for a special night out go to Edwige at Night.

                  1. I second the recommendation for the Mews. Get a table downstairs with windows on the beach at Sunset. Or eat at the bar if you want an entertaining social experience as well as great food.