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Places no one posts about on the Cape

Although I've lived here for most of my life, there are a number of places I've (most) never experienced and rarely does anyone one post about them. Please share your experiences with any of these...

Harwich:
-Circadia Bistro
-400 Club
-Buca's Tuscan Roadhouse
-The Port
-Jake Rooney's

Brewster:
-Agro Dolce
-Peddler's Restaurant French Bistro
-Brewster Inn and Chowder House
-Laurino's Tavern

Sandwich:
-Belfry Inn
-Aqua Grille

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  1. I had a wonderful meal at Buca's two summers ago, but just haven't been back there for one reason or another. Have never been to The Port, but friends who are foodies go often and have recommended it. My one visit to Agro Dolce was shockingly bad - gluey pasta, tasteless sauce, and poor service to top it off. Laurino's is nothing to write home about, passable pizza. I did enjoy some delicious kale soup there on a cold winter's afternoon, though. I had a nasty experience at Peddler's a few years ago when the owner/chef refused to serve my brother soup and a salad rather than an entree.....despite the fact that the combined cost of said soup and salad would be more than the cost of the entree....very rigid and strange. Also would not seat us at a table we requested, despite the restaurant being almost empty (they did not take reservations) Perhaps there are new owners now? One can only hope. I have been to the 400 Club East after catching a movie in Harwich - basic pub fare, on the pricey side.

    5 Replies
    1. re: jillian

      I'll second Buca's. The wonderful folks at Brewster by the Sea, our favorite B&B on the Cape, highly recommended it a few years ago. The restaurant even has a table designated for the inn's guests. We had an excellent dinner.

      1. re: jillian

        jillian great story about the peddler
        My wife an i camp at nickerson every year
        after a nice long ride (and showers)
        we wandered over to the peddler (for the third year in a row), we were early only one other table taken. we had already placed wine orders when they
        returned with the wine we made a similar request (salad and app) as wife
        disn't think she could handle an entree.
        We were of course denied.
        Tab easily would have been $100, which the Brewster Fishhouse was glad to take

        1. re: sbs401

          That's SO bizarre. I've never experienced, or seen that happen anywhere! What do they say when you order, "No, That's not available?" I can't believe they stay in business.

          1. re: CapeCodGuy

            It is absolutely ridiculous. I guess they have a regular clientele who either know better or have never attempted this outrageous act! However, like SBS, I'd much rather spend my money elsewhere, and am shocked at the rude and ludicrous behavior of the Peddler staff. It is amazing that they are able to stay in business, particularly in this climate. CCG, I look forward to your review of Circadia.

            1. re: CapeCodGuy

              We've definitely experienced that, and it was uncomfortable -- I wonder if this is more common the further out the Cape you get -- we encountered the same thing at P-town last fall, and in Orleans a few years ago. Maybe the more seasonal places in more-touristy towns get more rules-based just to manage their businesses -- but then when it's slower they just can't seem to snap out of it.

              At Napi's in P-town, we were with a relative who grew up in P-town. She was more embarrassed about her town than she was annoyed at the waitress. We had gone there only because she wanted "real" kale soup. She couldn't even get just the soup if she just paid for whatever the cheapest entree was. nope - had to buy, and get served, an entree nobody wanted. Then she could order soup too.

        2. Brewster Inn and Chowder house is conventional old-time Cape food, reasonably good value, but nothing I would go out of the way to experience. Haven't been there the last two seasons, though.

          Laurino's was pretty decent fifteen years ago or so, some nice American-style pizza, good bread, tasty neighborhood type Italian-American red sauce pastas. Then there was a noticeable change, the food became cruder and more ordinary, salads pitiful. You won't get food poisoning there, but food is indifferent and similar to many other pizza/pasta/sandwich housed you would find inland.

          Agrodolce holds the all-time title for absolute worst meal on the Cape over the last twenty years or so. We went there 2007 after a respected chef had said some good things about the kitchen staff. Wood-fired pizza? I don't think so, more like microwaved frozen pizza. Quiet, elderly relative complained and returned her seafood marinara, and we left early, she is not at all a picky eater, so we were shocked. Service was high school kids with no clue, it was enormously bad all around, laughably overpriced, and even the local bluehairs we sometimes dine with will never go there.

          The others listed I have no experience with.

          1. Have you been to Chillingsworth?

            2 Replies
            1. re: hungrycc

              I haven't been to Chillingsworth in 25 years, so let's add it to the list. While I'm at it let's also add:

              Cummaquid:

              -Anthony's Cummaquid Inn
              -The Harborpoint Restaurant

              1. re: CapeCodGuy

                My wife and I have been to Chillingsworth twice in the last 5 years. Once on our own, second time as guests of some friends. We thought the food was good...not great but we could find things we liked...French influence, lots of seafood...about what we would expect. Our big complaint both times revolves around the service. I do not know if it is because we were not regulars, or because I do not drink so our alcohol consumption was low but each time we felt almost unwanted in the restaurant. There are very few restaurants have have been to anywhere where I have felt more unwelcome than Chillingsworth. I would love to say it was a one time occurance but it happened twice and we have spoken to others who have had similar experiences. My point is for the money, I can think of several places right on 6A within 5 miles that are better dining experiences with food as good if not better...and that is not even including Grumpy's.

            2. I went to the Peddler about 7 years ago for an early dinner. We were the only diners. My child had a book and we wanted to spread out so we asked for a 4 top. We were denied this and we were the only diners when we left. I asked for no starch and extra veggies and this too was denied. I never went back. My friend's bf is the chef at The Port and she says it's great but of course she is biased. A few other places mentioned I have been to over the years and cannot recommend them: Brewster Inn, Laurino's, and 400 Club. We had Mom's b day at Aquagrill over 8 years ago. It was fabulous.

              7 Replies
              1. re: phelana

                Other places no one ever mentions:
                L'Alouette, Harwich(port)
                Cape Sea Grille, Harwichport
                Barley Neck Inn/Joe's Beach Bar, Orleans

                Last time I ate at Circadia, it was still in its previous incarnation, and it was good. But that was a few (4?) years ago. I like 400 East for what it does best: burgers, o-rings, fish and chips. I also like Buca, but haven't been in a while.

                1. re: ciclista

                  All three are on my gotta-try list when the season starts although I have to admit, Circadia's menus look most to my liking So I'll probably give it a try first.

                  http://www.circadiabistro.com/menus.htm

                  1. re: CapeCodGuy

                    here's the deal w circadia... i go every year atleast once. i WANT to love it - atleast the bar area, which is dark and warm, and the staff is awesome. the menu sounds amazing. the trouble is execution... its very hit or miss. this past summer i did the lobster risotto and it was just terrible. another guest at my table didn't send his dinner back out of respect, but didn't eat it, either. its expensive, and i'm ok with that when the food serves....

                    i will say that i'll continue to go for a bistro atmosphere, particularly on rainy days, for starters, etc.

                    the dining room looks stuffy to me... but i couldn't say from experience, we've always shied away.

                    1. re: hzp

                      That's bad news as it is exactly the bar area and it's menu which interests me. I like a casual spot where I can get a nice salad and a small plate or two that's not your typical chicken fingers or so-so pizza. I still will probably give it a shot when they reopen in March.

                      1. re: CapeCodGuy

                        let me know when you go, I'm around the corner. i do like it there, i think i just haven't mastered ordering there yet.

                        1. re: hzp

                          According to the CC Times, Circadia has closed its doors for good....along with Hannah's in Hyannis.

                          1. re: jillian

                            I was on Main Street yesterday and noticed Hannah's was closed and the sign off the building. Sorry to hear about Circadia. I should have tried it sooner. Unfortunately, given the economy, there will be others to follow. Hopefully not all the good ones!

              2. There is a lot to like about the 400. They serve food late (+9PM) all year; the bartenders are competent; I find it an easy place to strike up a conversation.

                But on the chow scale, it is right down the middle. There is someone back there who puts energy into the menu, but I do not see local products - even seafood - the product is limited by its raw materials all come off the SYSCO truck.

                1. I'm curious about the Belfry Inn and Aqua Grille in Sandwich. My parents live there and I've never seen or heard of them, where and how are they?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: dennisl

                    I haven't been to the Belfry in several years. It was very good when it opened and then seemed to go downhill especially for the prices. Aqua Grille is ok. I am not a big fan. It seems to be one of those places that tries too hard so get relatively simple dishes and you will be ok. FYI it closes for the winter season.

                  2. Agro Dolce - went there twice last summer with mixed results. First visit was very good, we ordered 3 or 4 appetizers including a grilled clam dish that was terrific. Great waiter, college student living in Brewster who knew the menu inside and out and wasn't afraid to give his opinions. Based on that we went back in late Aug/early September and were disappointed. Can't even remember what we had but the service was slow and the dining room was very loud.

                    On a better note - can higly recommend the Cape Sea Grille. Celebrated birthdays there for 3 years running with memorable meals each time. Excellent waitstaff. If you go, ask to be seated "on the porch" - its a renovated porch in the front of the restaurant that is very charming (great round table if you have a large party). Avoid the back room at all costs, it's like a dungeon back there.

                    1. Re: Belfry Inn and Aqua Grill:

                      Belfry use to be really good and although I've not been there for a while it seemed to have gone progressively downhill. Now its just expensive.

                      Aqua Grill I believe is owned by the Paddock people and it reminds me of old people food.

                      Sandwich needs some good restaurants, Bee Hive is terrible, Amari's was good when it opened and it too went downhill in a big way. Daniel Webster... in my view its just ok. The food is fine but nothing about it is outstanding, its really another place I put in the "old people food" category. Just sort of ho-hum.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: pixiegirl

                        Yes, Aqua Grill is indeed owned by the same family as The Paddock. I know what you mean by "old people food" but I don't find it horrible for basics, like broiled seafood, but not worth going out of your way for. Sandwich DOES lack good restauarunts but then, so do many towns on Cape. I live in Barnstable and there are only a small handful of truly good spots.

                        I agree on Amaris, it's always a disappointment when we decide to give them another shot. Bee Hive is VERY hit or miss with mostly misses. I used to like some of the "old peoples" dishes at Dan'l Webster, especially the Veal Oscar. Went there a fews ago after hearing they have a terrific new chef and even my old standby dish is now terrible. My wife ordered a simple steak and also felt ripped off from the lack of quality and lousy preperation. We haven't even mentioned the two worst places in Sandwich, Captain Scotts and the Sandwich Tavera, both horrible. The one shing star in town is Tomatoes. Always excellent and one of our favorites on all the Cape. Well worth a visit. Never had a bad or sub-par meal there.

                      2. I love Peddler's. The food is great, and the service is warm and friendly. Found out about it 2 summers ago, and whenever we're in town we go.Never had a bad experience! Are you guys talking about the same place?
                        Also, really like Buca's had a few nice meals there.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: patty2009

                          tiny little place down side road near nickerson? that one
                          and they were wonderful, until we requested an app and salad instead of an entree

                          /just emailed them to get policy update

                          1. re: sbs401

                            Peddler's down the road across from Foster Sq. Rude, intolerant inflexible...YUCK