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'Epitome' of Cape Cod restaurant?

I am having a Girl's Weekend in September, with some ladies flying in who have never been to the Cape.

If you had to go to one place for dinner which would BE Cape Cod to visitors, what would it be? I am thinking seafood, semi-casual, on the beach maybe? Usually we avoid places like that in the summer, so I'm at a loss.

Thanks in advance.

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  1. It would help if you could give some idea of which part of the Cape you are interested in...big place with lots of yummy chow! ;)

    2 Replies
    1. re: Science Chick

      Ocean House in Dennisport or Mac's Seafood in Wellfleet..both vastly different, depending on your preference...

      1. re: Science Chick

        Pretty much anywhere. Not as far as P-town, we will be based in Sandwich.

      2. Can't argue with Phelana with both of her choices. Ocean House would be my go-to place, although not truly casual, like Mac's, but Mac's is a haul from Sandwich.

        If I were doing it I would drive down historic and scenic 6A, stop at the boardwalk at Grey's beach in Yarmouthport bringing a nice chilled white wine and Dixie cups. I would continue to Barnstable Harbor and stop at Mattakese Wharf for drinks on the waterfront deck (DON'T eat there....well, maybe some clams or oysters on the halfshell or shrimp or lobster cocktail , but I wouldn't venture further than that. Lastly, I'd end up at Dennis Village and have an incredible seafood dinner at Fin, owned by the former head chef of the once excellent Brewster Fish House. Walk from there to the Ice Cream Smuggler for some yummy home made ice cream, and it will be day your friends will talk about for years! Good luck!

        1 Reply
        1. re: CapeCodGuy

          Sandwich, then cancel out Mac's Seafood..I find Ocean House quite casual (smart casual) in the bar...fun vibe..can get crowded but a fun spot for the girls..

        2. If the weather is nice, you could rough it, and go to the Sesuit Cafe right on the jetty at the entrance to Sesuit Harbor in East Dennis. It's the quintessential seaside seafood shack, literally and figuratively. Great raw bar, and excellent fried and broiled seafood served ouside on picnic tables right on the water. Just bring alittle bug spray and a nice bottle of wine as it is byob. (And it still still requires a ride down the beautiful 6A which, IMHO, no visitor should miss while here.) Also a good lunch option.

          1. The Beach Comber in Brewster (or near Brewster) is amazing and fun...I think it is what Cape Cod is all about

            8 Replies
            1. re: meeps2002

              You mean the Beachcomber in Wellfleet? They always close Labor Day Weekend, so it's probably out for this group. If the weather is nice, definitely Sesuit Cafe for lunch. I agree, a drive down 6A is perfect. It is so beautiful!!! Stop at Grey's Beach (as suggested) in Yport, or Howes St Beach or Cold Storage (Dennis). September is the best.

              1. re: ciclista

                Thanks for the suggestions, great ideas.

                Maybe I should start a new thread, but I am also thinking about Sunday brunch, any recs? I have been to The Yarmouth Inn and have enjoyed it, but just can't get past the fake seafood they seem to always serve (unless it's changed?) We are all doing a half marathon on Saturday, so a buffet would be nice if any ideas?

                1. re: dennisl

                  You're staying in Sandwich so perhaps the Dan'l Webster Inn. It's a fine and extensive brunch even though I'm not a fan of their lunch or dinner service. The greenhouse or 'conservatory' room is also quite nice. I know what you mean about the Old Yarmouth Inn's use of "sea Legs" fake crab. I dislike that stuff as well.


                  1. re: CapeCodGuy

                    I like the brunch at Dan Webster too. They make their own sausage and cured salmon.....big pluses. Food, service and atmosphere are quite nice.

                    1. re: CapeCodGuy

                      I know it's not fancy but Hangar B in Chatham at the airport has the real deal homemade baked goods, jams and great tasting food. The ambiance is casual but views of the landing planes is a hit. Chatham is about 35 minutes away getting off at x 11.

                      1. re: phelana

                        That is an awesome breakfast place. Great suggestion!

                    2. re: dennisl

                      I like the conservatory at Dan'l Webster too, for a traditional bruch option. If you're not set on a brunch buffet, Pain D'Avignon has a small menu with traditional French bistro options like Crocque M'sieur. Good coffee, too.

                      1. re: lisaonthecape

                        Good rec, although you can go in the other direction to French Memories in Duxbury. from Sandwich it's no farther really and IMO it's a far better french bakery than Pain D'Avignon, and no attitude is served with your order.

                2. All these recs are good places but I would noit call the Dan'l Webster Inn the 'Epitome' of Cape Cod.
                  Closer to the mark (and I know there will be objections) is Baxter's in Hyannis, You can't beat closing a sunny day at the beach with a drink on the deck, watching boats tie up at their dock and the traffic sailing in and out of the Hyannis Marina. The clams are good, too.
                  Well. maybe you could beat it if you're lucky enough to hit Sesuit Cafe in an off hour.

                  And here's an adventure for you. Head out to Crowe's Pasture, Dennis at low tide, particularly in the morning. Out there on the flats there are several oyster farms, and I bet if you struck up a conversation with one of the guys, you could get a few oysters right out of the sea. Parking is always free and there is plenty of it, the trick is finding the place.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: seaville

                    I don't think anyone here was calling Dan'l Webster the epitome of anything, but the poster also asked where she could find a nice Sunday brunch buffet, and for that, it fits the bill.

                    1. re: seaville

                      The Sagamore Inn to me is old-timey and has a great fried lobster.

                      1. re: piebird

                        Fried lobster? This life-long New Englander has never heard of it, do tell?

                        1. re: dennisl

                          Really? I've seen it on many menues, admittedly not everywhere. I know Arnold's has it, but you need to fill out a second mortgage application to order it. The two or so times I've tried it I found lobster ill suited for the fryolator. Too chewy and flavorless was the result, for me at least.

                          1. re: CapeCodGuy

                            Never. Is it battered and deep fried? Seems like a waste of lobster to me.

                            1. re: dennisl

                              Yes, same batter as you would get on fried clams or scallops or shrimp. And your impression is correct, it is a waste of good lobster. Speaking of which, had my first hot buttered lobster roll that is touted regularly at the Boston Board at Neptune Oyster last week, best $25 I've ever spent on a lobster roll. tender, buttery, and loaded. I wish someone on the Cape could duplicate the quality of this place. Handcut fries were just okay.

                          2. re: dennisl

                            They lightly batter the large shelled pieces of a whole lobster and fry them to a golden brown. Usually the dish is served with melted butter. At an old-style Italian restaurant on Saratoga Lake, NY called Mangino's, this same dish is also served and accompanied by a "secret recipe" melted butter/brandy/sherry sauce in a tiny individual warmer with a candle below. It's a fun and different taste and I really enjoy it for a change. Another wonderful lobster dish (off-topic, sorry) that we tried once at a place called Splash in Connecticut was Shanghai Lobster, which I understand may have been a Wolfgang Puck recipe. It was served in the shell, was messy, nesting in I think a curried sauce with flash-fried spinach. Really interesting, not Cape Cod-dy though!

                        1. re: wohord

                          The Pearl on Nantucket does an Asian-themed wok fried lobster. It's very popular and there would be a foodie riot if they took it off the menu. Very $$$$ though.

                          1. re: ciclista

                            Thank you, Ciclista. I'd love to take this crew to Nantucket, but we are
                            going to be on a time constraint.
                            I'll remember that for Labor Day weekend, my husband & I
                            go for anniversary/birthday weekend and haven't been to The Pearl yet.

                            1. re: dennisl

                              So what we ended up doing, this past weekend (9/22-9/23:)

                              We were all runnng a half marathon on Saturday morning, ended up going back to the house to hang out. We were in Sandwich and walked to the Brown Jug for some cheese, charcuterie, and bread and crackers. Had a platter on the deck with figs, grapes & prosecco. Beautiful afternoon.

                              Everyone was tired so we meandered our way up to Dennis via 6A before it got dark. Great, scenic ride, impressed the tourists in the group.

                              Ocean House was closed for a private function, so I had made reservations at Fin.
                              Well, I called for reservations and the woman said she woud call me back and 'let me know.' I felt like this was strange since I called well in advance, but, ok. We had a party of 8 and tried to add 2 more to our reservation on Friday, she said no. After being there I can see why large parties are an issue, such a small space, but the attitude I received on the phone turned me off a bit.
                              We arrived early thinking we could have a drink in the bar. We were barked at by the bartender that the free seats were reserved for people for dinner. She stepped back after a few minutes and told us we could sit there until the party arrived. Strike 2 (3?)

                              Once we were seated everything was great. Service was friendly and efficient, wine was poured promptly through the meal. Food was excellent. I shared the baby Argula Salad with my friend. Toasted Pine Nuts, Blueberries, Shaved Parmesan Reggiano, Lemon Vinaigrette: fresh and very tasty. My other friend had the crab cake and risotto stuffed artichoke, she really liked the stuffing but the artichoke was too hard for her to eat. She didn't comment on the crab cake. One of our group had the cheese plate, which looked great and she thoroughly enjoyed it.
                              Several of us had the Seared Native Flounder as a main course (had
                              Herb Gnocchi, Zucchini, Pear Tomatoes, Nicoise Olives, Brown Butter, Preserved Lemon. ) I thought it was very tasty, clean flavors. The gnocchi wasn't what I'm used to, it was almost crunchy (?) The vegetarian in our midst had the Grilled Portobello Mushroom and Black Rice Napolean with zucchini and carrots, crispy parsnips and tomato vinaigrette. She loved it. The rest of our party had the special of the evening which had 3 large scallops, perfectly cooked. They all enjoyed it very much. Only 2 had dessert, one a flourless chocolate tarte with a raspberry sauce, and one a panna cotta, they enjoyed the desserts.
                              When presented with the check our waitress told us a 20% gratuity was added already because we were a lage party, which nobody had a problem with, but we were all appreciative of the fact that she told us. We left extra gratuty.

                              I would definitely go back, with a smaller group, and hopefully less difficulty getting a reservation and a drink at the bar.

                              1. re: dennisl

                                Sounds like it all turned out well in the end. Wonderful report. Thanks for posting.

                                1. re: dennisl

                                  Glad everything worked out - more or less - at Fin.
                                  Next time you're looking from something in the Ocean House area - but a little earlier in the season - try Ebb Tide.
                                  Excellent quality, reasonable prices.
                                  Quintessential New England.

                                  1. re: fxm13

                                    Really? Ebb Tide was popular 40 years ago, but I never hear anyone speak of it today. Reminds me of Pate's in a way. Way past its prime. The web site shows a very dated, albeit clean looking room or two. No menu on-line either. Seems a bit like the anti-Ocean House in almost every way.

                                    Educate us. What do you like?