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Nov 29, 2011 08:52 AM

Martha's Vineyard dining recommendations?

On behalf of a friend, I was looking for any recent experiences and recommendations. I imagine the off-season will limit their options somewhat, but I'd be grateful for any pointers. (I haven't visited in some years, myself.)

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  1. When are they going? Before Xmas or after? Any special requests in terms of ambiance, price, etc.? Happy to help.

    8 Replies
    1. re: mvi

      Before Christmas (possibly as soon as this weekend, which I believe is the last one for the season for several fine dining places), price no object for dinners, some more casual breakfast and lunch spots welcome, too.

      1. re: MC Slim JB

        Art Cliff Diner in Vineyard Haven has pretty special breakfasts. Classic diner with a really top chef who uses a lot of creativity and was on the local food band wagon before it became a requirement. I'm not a huge fan of The Black Dog's food as their main focus seems to be
        t-shirts now, but if your friends insist on a meal there, breakfast is probably the way to go. Another fun spot for breakfast is at the airport. Really generous portions in a sunny, well lit room. but nothing innovative or unusual.

        State Road and the Lambert's Cove Inn in West Tisbury are both really good for dinner. (Keeping in mind that this is the Vineyard, not New York.) They would need to bring their own wine as West Tiz is still a dry town. The atmosphere in both places is lovely and somewhat sophisticated for the Vineyard, which is a pretty laid back place, especially off season.

        Oak Bluffs has Off Shore Ale which is best suited for lunch. It's very casual but the food is decent pub-style fare, and the beer is tops. About a block away is The Sidecar which is a personal favorite. It's small and crowded with locals, but friendly and the food is good. A new restaurant in OB as of this year is called MV Chowder Company and they are also open year round. I've only been once this summer but it was jammed and the noise level was over the top. My mussels were really delicious; I was surprised by how good they were. But that's all I've tried- besides a delicious cocktail. I am sure they'll have a fun atmosphere in the dead of winter, which is badly needed on the island, let me tell you. Winters are long.

        Alchemy in Edgartown is usually open this time of year and is quite good, but not great. (Tell your friends to give them a call...I have not been in Edgartown since mid-September and can't verify that they are open- perhaps some other islanders can.) Fun atmosphere off-season, though. And at this time of year, they are one of the best, for sure.

        Aside from that- it's pretty basic. Sharky's in Edgartown and OB. Zephrus in VH. A few scattered spots for coffee, bagels, burgers. The atmosphere in most of the places can be great as there's often music and an energetic gang of islanders. I really love MV but the pickings are pretty slim off-season and you learn to appreciate your own home cooking a lot more as a result.

        I'm sure others will chime in and if some place has closed unexpectedly, we can update this list of what's open and worth going to in December on MV.

          1. re: mvi

            What's that big honking place on the coast road between Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, on the right before you hit the causeway? Do you know what I'm referring to?

                1. re: Bob Dobalina

                  Lola's it is! Food- eh...but drinks and dancing? Yes, please.

          2. I agree with mvi on Lola's, Offshore, Art Cliff, State Road (not sure if they are still open). Disagree on Black Dog (much better than even 2 years ago), Alchemy (not a fan, period- mostly having to do with service and missing items). I always feel Lambert's Cove is too expensive.

            Detente in Edgartown rivals State Road- maybe even better. These two places are pricey, but worth it.

            Sharky's is average , but good value. One more Lattanzi's Pizza (also Edgartown) has a lot more than pizza and is moderately priced.

            Wife and I will be out for Christmas in Edgartown. Will probably go to State Road for a splurge dinner, choose lesser places other nights.

            1 Reply
            1. re: thos

              I have not been to the Dog for dinner in the last 4 years. They were beyond horrible, a total tourist trap rip off for more than a decade. Now do I have to try them again??? I still love them for breakfast. And the line, in season, is usually shorter than Art Cliff.

              Based on the last few years, the 2 best restaurants on the Island, food wise, have been State Road and Detente. Totally different vibes. State Road you bring your own, always an advantage, but its up island, and a trek. Not really a "splurge" atmosphere" because it is very simple and rustic. Detente is more urbane, if anything on Island can be urbane, and hip.

            2. Almost forgot......Detente has a wonderful wine list. Also forgot to mention the Grill on Main in Edgartown. Very good with more reasonable pricing. They serve a 3 course prix fixe dinner for under 40 bucks. A deal. AND........State Road IS open. Dinner Thurs.- Sun.

              2 Replies
              1. re: thos

                Had to report back after a long weekend on MVI. Have to take back my comments on Black Dog. Went for breakfast (supposedly their strength) and had the worst meal ever at BD. English muffin was stale, ham dried out, poached eggs were hard cooked. cheese gummy.... Complaint gets a blank stare.

                Atria is open for winters now. They have 2 for 1 burger nights. Burgers good, fries greasy (they took 3 bucks off our bill.

                Had prime rib at the Grill on Main. Tasty and overall the usual solid performance. Nothing spectacular, but solid. They have 2 for 1 entree nights too.

                Detente is now closed for winters. Curious. So was Lattanzi, sadly.

                Happily, our dinner at State Road was fantastic. Virtually everything they serve here is local and/or organic and the chef is terrific. My shrimp pizza with onions and arugula was excellent. I ordered skirt steak medium rare and I actually got it that way! With a nice char yet! The side of turnip and potato gratin was among the best I've had and the sauteed spinach was also great. My wife had a salad of local greens, including pickled endive and roasted half chicken for her main (been a while since we've had chicken that actually tasted like chicken). Cinnamon and sugar limpopos were dessert (think beignets) with peach preserves and coconut milk "jam." Had to take a chocolate bar back to the inn too. Corkage was $9 per bottle, not too bad I thought since I saw our wine on another menu for $40 dollars more than what we paid for it in a shop. All in all a great meal.

                1. re: thos

                  One more thing. The building that used to house Cafe Moxie has finally been rebuilt. I spoke to a workman there who said the layout would be the same-restaurant at street level with several apartments on the upper 2 floors. They did a beautiful job, but he wasn't sure if the original Moxie owners were coming back (although I think they had insured the restaurant, if not the building). As you may recall, Cafe Moxie was one of the "up and coming" Vineyard restaurants. By the time it burned down July 4, 2008, getting a reservation there was pretty tough. Hope the original chef/owners return.