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Cape - Chatham area suggestions

Hi - we're spending a week on the cape with a party of twelve or so -- including some young kids, and we are looking for recommendations for good food, including everything from good places to shop for ingredients (some very accomplished chefs in the group) to lunch and dinner venues. In some cases, we'll need family-friendly establishments for the whole group but it would also be great to know about places that can accommodate smaller sub-groups. We're all adventurous eaters, so unless the diner or surf-and-turf place that springs to mind is truly exceptional, we probably aren't very interested in it. Conversely, that little hole in the wall serving great *insert niche item here* is really of interest. Excellent ice cream recommendations a plus! Oh, and we'll travel for good eats. Not quite back to Boston, but within an hour or so in either direction.

Many thanks in advance for your help! Also posted in Boston, in case coverage overlaps.

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  1. Just came back from a week on the Cape in the Dennisport area. We were 10, including 2 two-years olds and 2 four-year olds. We had a very nice meal at the Swan River Seafood Restaurant on Lower County Road. There is a fish market on the grounds so there is a variety of whatever is current on the extensive menu. While I would dub it truly exceptional, it was very good. Our party included both adventurous eater and very conventional eaters plus one picky eater and the four toddlers. Everyone was satisfied. Among the notable entrees were the Grilled Sesame Encrusted Tuna Steak, Lobster Scampi and the Broiled Mixed Seafood Platter. The excellent Pan-Blackened Catch of thr Day was Bluefish, which I had. The Lobster Quesadilla appetizer was different and some enjoyed it, although not to my taste. The Quahog Chowder was full of quahogs and not too thick, which is just how I like. After dinner we stopped at Sundae School on Lower County Road for ice cream. It would probably be about a half hour drive from Chatham.

    1. You're going to love Chatham!! For resturants try The Impudent Oyster for your smaller groups. Super sea food and everything else too! Or 10 or 12 miles away in Orleans there is The Academy Ocean Grill, again for your sub-groups or Rosina's - delightful Italian food for the whole family. If shopping for cook-your-own don't miss Chatham Fish and Lobster for the freshest sea food anywhere. And for a treat, go to Marion's Pie Shop for pies and cookies. There is also a great family place right on Main St. in the middle of Chatham but I can't think of the name at the moment - something very nautical - Kind of looks like just a bar but there is a nice dining room on the right side - Good family food! Have a great time!!

      6 Replies
      1. re: bustopher

        For Chatham I would go to the Squire for chowder and drinks and fun. Vinings Bistro is good. Carmines has great pizza. Wequasett Inn for tea. Abba in Orleans or even Capt. Linnell. My mom's friend's son owns Academy Grill ..tell us what you think. Dennisport is a bit far and I personally would not recommend tourist oriented Swan River Fish Market Restaurant...too many other great places such as Ocean House in Dennisport..a must..

        1. re: phelana

          If you go to Ocean House, be prepared to spend big bucks and put up with rather slow service. The food was fine, a little fussy for our group, but not worth the price. We prefer our fish less "dressed up" and I have trouble swallowing a $10 wedge of iceberg lettuce. And leave the little kids home; definitely not "family friendly" unless the kids like slooow dining. We were staying within walking distance of Ocean House, so after the little one finished eating one of our party volunteered to leave with the kids. Including ourselves, most of the restaurant seemed to be tourists, as you find in all Cape restaurants in the summer.

          1. re: IreneC

            Agreed on the kids...unless they are used to fine dining and can sit 2 hours do not bring them. My kid has been fine dining since infancy and she loves it but it's not for all kids. I confess I never dine high season there..the 25.00 Fall and Spring 3 course menu is a steal.

          2. re: bustopher

            Marion's Pie Shop may well have good cookies and may once have been known for their other baked goods, but their pies leave a lot to be desired. I don't know who the original "Marion" was but she's certainly not making them anymore. Looks to me like her kids may have taken over and none of them inherited her baking gene. PROCEED WITH CAUTION.

            Note To bustopher: The place in the middle of Chatham that you're thinking of is The Chatham Squire.

          3. Here's a couple not mentioned yet...
            For Ice cream, hit the Old Schoolhouse on Rt. 28 (N. Chatham). For the gourmet cooks in the group, don't miss Nantucket Wild Gourmet and Smokehouse, also on Rt. 28 closer into town (just up the road ~1 mile from the Old Schoolhouse). AMAZING home smoked fish and the shop has the best selection of hard-to-find items I've seen in a while, even in Boston. Imported crackers, bottled items, oils, etc.

            http://www.nantucketwildgourmet.com/

            1 Reply
            1. re: Science Chick

              Thanks, all, for the great replies and suggestions. I can't wait to check out Nantucket Wild Gourmet and Smokehouse, in particular. We'll be scoping out all of the above in the coming days, but if there are other thoughts out there, please keep 'em coming.

            2. About a mile outside Chatham on Route 28 - the road to Orleans is Campari's Bistro.
              Very casual, kind of noisy, but food is plentiful, pizza good, and they
              welcome kids....coloring supplies at each table, etc. Visit Chatham light after dinner.

              1. I am a life-long summer resident in Chatham It's one of my favorite places on earth. I'm so glad to se that Nantucket Wild Gourmet has been mentioned. They are relatively new to Chatham and they are awesome! I have recently posted a round-up of my recent week up there on my blog, www.mariefromage.com if you'd like to see highlights. It's bluefish season up there right now!