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Cape Cod Chowhounds: Dennis versus Harwich

Trying to decide where to stay for a few days this summer and for various reasons I won't bore you with, we're down to these two choices.

We'll use a strong showing on chowhound for one or the other to tip the scales (if possible)...

Thoughts? Specific recommendations?

Thanks in advance...

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  1. With the username "hungrykids" I assume you are looking for places that are kid friendly. Dennis and Harwich are very close to one another, so I wouldn't put too much into picking one town vs. the other; it depends on what you like (also, bay side vs. ocean side) and whether you are willing to put the kids in the car and drive to a few places. A little more detail from you re: kids (ages), types of restaurants you're looking for, cost, etc., and I'm happy to chime in with some suggestions. Search some of the older postings on the site by Cape Cod Guy -- he has made excellent recommendations in the past.

    1 Reply
    1. re: The700Level

      You could assume that....but you'd be wrong! In fact, the hungry kids will be at overnight camp! The hungry parents would like (as much as possible) to AVOID kid-friendly places, although for a "must-have" meal will ignore the antics of other people's children and relish in the opportunity to be child-free for a few glorious weeks!

      We don't necessarily need fancy, romantic dinners....but would love to find some innovative food and/or fabulous ethnic restaurants on the Cape. It's a short visit - probably only three dinners and two lunches (and maybe if someone has a to-die-for breakfast we would consider it, although we don't normally eat breakfast).

      I'll search Cape Cod Guy, too...but if anyone wants to venture some suggestions, that would be great.

      Thanks.

    2. We will be heading back to Dennis in August for what will be my sixth trip, and my husband has been going every summer for decades. We get lobster rolls from Sesuit Harbor Cafe every year, the view is great and it's BYOB. We also really like the Harvest Gallery Wine Bar that has live music on weekends. Captain Frosty's is your run of the mill road-side ice cream and fried seafood- but we have always had good food there. For a more upscale meal, there is the Red Pheasant, but I have not been there the last couple of years as we don't mind driving out of town to other places I think are more worth the money, like the Brewster Fish House- it's a must for us- although they take no reservations it is totally worth the wait (or go early or late). The food is amazing. They are open for lunch and dinner, Tue- Sun.
      http://www.harvestgallerywinebar.com/
      http://www.redpheasantinn.com/
      http://brewsterfish.com/

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      Harvest Gallery
      766 Route 6A, Dennis, MA

      Sesuit Harbor Cafe
      357 Setucket Rd, Dennis, MA 02638

      Brewster Fish House
      2208 Main, Brewster, MA 02631

      Red Pheasant
      905 Main St, Dennis, MA 02638

      4 Replies
      1. re: mackkt

        All solid recs mac, although I'd pass on Frosty's as there are so many others that do it better. Gina's By the Sea in Dennis is an old fave for basic feel-good Italian in a funky casual setting. Ocean House in Dennisport is well reviewed here and a board favorite for fine dining with an ocean view. Enjoy your visit and report back your experiences.

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        Ocean House Restaurant
        425 Old Wharf Rd, Dennis Port, MA 02639

        1. re: CapeCodGuy

          If you want fried food for the kids Kreme Kone in Chatham or Dennis fits the bill and is better than Frostys. Some love the Port in H'Port. I used to love Seagrille. Definitely Ocean House. Norabella in W. Dennis is good across from Cuffys. Lyric is good in Y'Port. Harvest Wine Bar for sure...Sesuit too...what fun..a couples only trip. BTW, I had two misses at Brewster Fish House in 2010.

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          Ocean House Restaurant
          425 Old Wharf Rd, Dennis Port, MA 02639

          Brewster Fish House
          2208 Main, Brewster, MA 02631

          1. re: phelana

            Lazy Lobster in Chatham also has good lobster rolls. And Sesuit Harbor Cafe is a great call (although I enjoy it for the seared scallops over greens). The Port in Harwichport is decent but not spectacular (and probably a little overpriced for its value). Pisces in Chatham is a winner. For solid (but again, not spectacular) food and drink you could hit Clancy's in Dennisport.

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            Sesuit Harbor Cafe
            357 Setucket Rd, Dennis, MA 02638

            Lazy Lobster
            247 Orleans Rd, Chatham, MA 02633

            1. re: The700Level

              Drink only at Clancy's promise? Does anyone find Pisces crowded? What is Ember in Harwich? I would love an updated review of Sea Grille.

      2. CapeCodGuy- Yeah, we LOVE Gina's, but I didn't know if it was fair for me to mention it since my husband has been best friends with one of Gina's long-time employees for almost twenty-five years, and I think we know everyone who works there- so my feelings may be a little biased (or a lot!). But I must say I dream of Gina's garlic bread a couple times a year, and my husband loves their clams casino-it's a great scene too!

        1 Reply
        1. re: mackkt

          Gina's for me is sort of my cult classic on Cape Cod..I go once a year and that's perfect. Nothing's changed much...I love the vibe, don't mind a little wait (go in May or Sept.) and love the salad dressing. I am not a fan of the bread funny enough..I call it Italian Wonder bread but I can see why everyone loves the garlic bread...The food IMHO is nothing crazy good but again, it's a place I have been going for over 25 years and will probably go for 25 more if they are still there...once a year...my Chapin Beach fix...

        2. Since i have a Gina's license plate holder on my Jeep, I agree with the Gina's lovers out there!
          Ember is new this spring to Harwichport - on the corner of Bank St and 28, where the old Bank St Grill and for you old-timers, the Rexford used to be many moons ago. It's owned by the same folks as the Port which I thought might be off-putting as I find the Port a little pretentious. But my first trip to Ember was very promising and we'll surely be back. Wood-fired pizza oven so super crispy with decent sauce and lots of choices for toppings.
          Also tried the fried calamari app...husband thinks that's a good test, and if so they passed with flying colors. I should mention that they batter their calamari in cornmeal which all might not like, I thought it made them more crispy than usual and very tasty.
          My guess is it will be pretty busy with families/kids so if you're looking for an adult dinner, the height of summer might not work. But if you don't mind the kids running around I definitely give it a vote.

          2 Replies
          1. re: caperose

            We ate at Ember for the first (and only) time a few weeks ago. The wings were fabulous as were the salads but we were disappointed by the pizza. Crispy crust can be great, but not burned, crispy crust. I had a pizza with white sauce but the sauce was gluey and tasted as if the flour hadn't been cooked enough. My husband had a standard pizza with red sauce and found the red sauce too spicy for his taste. may go back though because we loved the wings and salad; I'd give the pizza another try.

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            Ember
            459 Plain St, Marshfield, MA 02050

            1. re: nfc

              The Ember I referred to is in Harwichport not Marshfield.

          2. We enjoyed Ember very much- The wings were awesome, Artichoke dip was great and we loved the pizza and lasagna. Two reasons why we wo't be back until fall though... It has all hard wood floors and was pretty noisy (and that was in April). They told me that they had hired a noise consultant firm so perhaps they've fixed that now. And the parking was very limited and connected to ice cream parlor (which is always busy in summer)