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Special dinners in Provincetown - recs requested

  • d

After many years in Brewster/Dennis/Orleans area, this year we will be staying in Provincetown, where we haven't been to have dinner in the past seven years. Used to love Chester, sadly missed, and Front Street, but need to make reservations pretty soon for Friday and Saturday in mid July, hoping some Chowhounders can help us make a couple of great choices.

We eat seafood on Cape, and look for a Chowhound type experience. Great food is first priority, we are relaxed about service, ambiance, and wine/drinks. One of us has major allergy to mushrooms and intolerance to lobster, but those are the only food restrictions, though we are very seafood oriented.

If we were still on the Lower Cape, it would be a no-brainer: Abba and Nauset Beach Club in Orleans, or Fin in Dennis, we would be happy diners. Where in Provincetown should we be heading for a similar level of satisfaction?

Victor's, Devon's, Jimmy's Hideaway, Ross' Grill, and Dalla Cucina look interesting. Any others we should consider? Good or bad to report about any of these?

We had bad experiences in the past at The Mews and Edwige, so are unlikely to go back to either of those.

We will spend a few days in Wellfleet as well, so any Truro or Wellfleet suggestions will be visited then, for now we are looking for great dinners in Provincetown.

Any recommendations will be appreciated!

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  1. We had an outstanding meal in Jimmy's Hideaway last summer. Impeccable service, wine and food. I had a swordfish special and I think my husband had scallops. We ate at the bar but will go back and eat in the dining room this time. We found Front Street to be over rated as far as the food went and were really put off by the patronizing service and terribly crowded seating.

    1. We were in P'town about two weeks ago and had an excellent experience at The Red Inn. If you search here, you can find the mini review that I wrote about it.

      2 Replies
      1. re: jcanino

        I'll second the Red Inn for a special night out. Food, view, setting, and service all first rate.

        Bonus: they have a parking lot!!!

        1. re: CapeCodGuy

          Red Inn is a fabulous experience - service food and location - sit in an Adirondack chair on the deck and have a drink - I had rainbow trout with mascarpone grits. My hubby had a lighter dish : swordfish over greens.

      2. What went wrong at the Mews Dan?

        2 Replies
        1. re: thos

          The Mews once brought us an entree containing mushrooms, which triggered a severe allergic reaction and an Epi Pen treatment followed by a rush to medical help, this despite our insistence that the server check with the kitchen because of the allergy. Server and management were distinctly unhelpful and unapologetic. Other visits we were only moderately pleased with the food, so we no longer go there.

          1. re: Dan D

            We had several great meals at Jimmy's last year. We dined at Victor's for their Drag Brunch. The setting was congenial, lively and fun. The food was great. I have loved Ross's Grill for lunch many times. Everyone raves about Karoo Kafe, on my list. Harbour Lounge is our pick for next Sunday's pre dinner stop and then Tera Luna in N. Truro for dinner. I am dying to try the Red Inn someday soon.

        2. Thanks for the responses, has anyone tried Devon's? How about Dalla Cucina?

          3 Replies
          1. re: Dan D

            My husband and I adore Devon's both for breakfast and for a special dinner. I always seem to answer these requests for recommendations with my dependable list of Ross' Grill, Jimmy's and Devon's because that's where we eat the most when we're there.

            Here are a couple of photos from Devon's. I can still taste that fabulous pork chop when I see the picture. The wine list is small, like the place, but well matched to the food.


            If you love wine, you'll love Ross' Grill. They have great wines by the glass and we always check the blackboard specials for wine. We have a tradition of selecting our Thanksgiving wine from their list. If Cesar is on the bar, you'll have expert wine guidance and a lot of fun. He's one of our all time favorite bartenders.

            We do like Karoo Kafe but we tend to do take out and bring it home to eat on the deck. And, we stay in the East end so we have a lot of our meals from Angel Foods. Either grabbing a few ingredients or some of their prepared food. Great sandwiches if you want to pack a lunch for the beach or bike trail.


            1. re: BostonZest

              OK, you convinced us to try Jimmy's Hideaway and Devon's, though we will give Ross' a try on a slower night, we've only had lunch there some years back. I will report back and let you know our impressions.

              1. re: Dan D

                I'd love to know your experiences at these restaurants :)

          2. People still rave about Sal & Ciro's and Lorraine's is cute too, with 100's of tequilas though food is spotty, I m also dying to try Red Inn, if I were staying up there I would definitely go, looks amazing. Had a fun lunch at Pepe's Wharf, food average but fine, but the deck on the water was worth it.
            If in Wellfleet you must try Sol, amazing and different from anything else on the Cape, lots of Asian inspired dishes and they have a sense of humor which you don't often find...plus they now accept credit cards...Mac's Shack is also delicious (no reservations) and Blackfish in Truro.

            9 Replies
              1. re: alfresca

                I used to love Ciro & Sal's 30 some years ago, but haven't heard a good word in decades. I would love to think it was good again. Any personal experiences to share or any other hounds have a comment?

                And Sol now takes credit cards. I'm soooooo there!


                1. re: CapeCodGuy

                  We ate at Ciro & Sal's about ten years ago. The menu was right down our alley. The execution of the food was not up to par, and the service was disappointing. We have not been back since.

                  1. re: Dan D

                    That's very consistent with what I've heard from others. Anybody try Sal's Place recently in the west end of town?

                    1. re: CapeCodGuy

                      I admit I haven't been to Sal & Ciro's for many years, but I walked past it last Sunday and it still looks as wonderful as ever, though with so many other choices I probably would go somewhere else if having dinner In Ptown. Red-sauce Italian was SO Provincetown decades ago but I guess we've all moved on...and speaking of "old Provincetown" I used to love lunch at Fanizzi's after wandering through the art museum, the dining room on the bay with a breeze wafting through the open windows was a delight, seemed very 1940's tho I know it's not THAT old...

                      1. re: alfresca

                        I STILL enjoy Fanizzi's for nice lunch. Great setting. Nothing spectacular mind you, but good honest basic food.

                        1. re: CapeCodGuy

                          Agreed - get a table in the room on the water. I personally would stick with fish n chips or the fried fish platter--- a generous portion of crispy lightly fried cod, clams, scallops and shrimp over french fries - all reasonably priced.

                    2. re: Dan D

                      We went to Ciro and Sal's for several summers after a long hiatus from Ptown and were initially delighted to find it unchanged but noticed that the food went downhill every year to a final appalling meal with a polite teenaged waiter who was mortified to serve us our entrees. That was maybe 5 years ago. However my cousin who is a long time resident had a lovely meal of shared apps at the bar last summer after a gallery tour... so perhaps it's worth a drink in the bar.. Never been to Sal's. Now we get our memory lane meals at Fanizzi's and Napi's.

                      1. re: Berheenia

                        We had sworn off Ciro & Sal's, after a bad service experience. But last year we went back, and not only was the service very good, but we were blown away by the food quality. We both had fish or seafood (it's been a year, and I don't remember the full details). His was in a more lemon/butter/garlic sauce, and mine was more puttanesca - beautifully spiced, with nice textures. It was one of the best meals of the week.

                2. Love Ptown and tho its been several years, we had great meals at Ross Grill, Lobster Pot and have heard great things about The Red Inn..

                  1. Has anyone eaten at the Mews lately? I made a reservation a late dinner next thursday? Thanks!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: javaandjazz

                      Not lately..two years ago..great vodka bar..memorable food...(Mews)

                    2. The Cape... Gee we miss it sooo much. Just haven't been able to swing a vaca up there since Fall 2010. Every season the restaurant choices change. Seasonal closures, out of business, etc. One year you find a fav... next year it's gone or changed to something else. Front Street???... NEVER again. My sister's love it but my wife and I went and were treated so poorly it even shocked the staff at the restaurant when they realized when our reservation was for and when they finally seated us. They lost track of how many regulars they seated in front of us while they made us stand around. They bought us drinks, but we just ended up leaving the server a $20 (wasn't her fault) and walking out. I think we ended up grabbing an Arnold's clam roll on the way back into Orleans. Be that as it may... still all in all, even some of the average rated choices are still pretty good. We like Lobster Pot lunches... Dinners at The Red Inn?? Top Shelf... Loved it. Hideaway was good... Nappi's was good... Always wanted to try Terra Luna, but are always drawn like bugs to a flame and end up eating in town and then walking it off up and down Commercial Street. Anyone remember The Arbor in Orleans back in the early 90's... that was an all-time fave that closed.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: tjd241

                        The Arbor was good in its day.

                        I hear comments about Front Street, I have found them to be only slightly ruder than the norm on the Cape, where the standards of friendly service are generally not very high, especially in season. I'm not wild about Front Street's space, but I have had excellent seafood off their daily specials, and can be tempted to break my seafood-only rule for their terrific tea-smoked duck.

                      2. I highly recommend Napi's in P'town and Blackfish in Truro, both are consistently excellent

                        1. Well, I have just a few minutes to post, but the highlight dinners were Jimmy's Hideaway (littlenecks on linguini, scallops piccata); Ross' Grill (excellent grilled romaine salads, lobster and andouille risotto, halibut with arugula pesto on black rice); and Devon's (seared scallops, baked hake with artichoke souffle and roasted carrots, we chose carefully because of an upset stomach). Great choices all. Next year we will definitely try Red Inn, many folks in town recommended it.

                          We had lighter fare at Bubbala's by the Bay, good steamers and chowder and salads. Bayside Betsy's fish and chips was sad. Cafe Heaven was a very good breakfast spot.

                          The big miss was the highly touted Karoo Kafe. We were treated rudely, and left with an upset stomach, I suspect from a tainted sauce in the falafel and the chicken curry pita. We won't be back.

                          The Purple Feather had very good (not truly great, but surprisingly good) gelato. The other gelato place in town, Idreamofgelato, is a bad joke in comparison.

                          Thanks to all Chowhounds for the recommendations!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Dan D

                            Just wanted to reply that our favorite meals on the cape were at Devon's and at PB boulangerie (for amazing take-out). We also had a lovely glass of wine on the deck at Red Inn, overlooking the water. Other than that, we found many restaurants to be way overrated including Jimmy's Hideaway and the Wesquasset Inn (horrible!). My suggestion to any chow-hounders heading to the cape - keep it simple!

                          2. Has anybody been to Ten Tables this season? Feedback?

                            5 Replies
                            1. re: whs

                              I was not, but some friends we met at our inn tried it and reported back that they were disappointed, they had been at the Cambridge location previously and thought the Provincetown location was not up to the standard they remembered there.

                              I can't vouch for their opinion, though, they preferred the Mews and Red Inn, and I'm not a fan of the Mews's menu and have not tried Red Inn, so I can't judge their taste, FWIW. Our innkeeper doesn't rank Ten Tables among the top Provincetown options.

                              With Ceraldi in town now, we weren't tempted to try Ten Tables when we could go back to Ceraldi another time...

                              1. re: Dan D

                                all reviews are completely inconsistent to the point I would not go. Tell me more about Ceraldi? We have a girls night the 26th Aug. and considered Dalla Cucina or Devon..your recs are most welcome..

                                1. re: phelana

                                  Here's the link to my earlier post about Ceraldi:


                                  Here's the website: www.ceraldiptown.com

                                  It's alfresco, upstairs at Tiny's Foods next to the Purple Feather and across from Land's End Marine. He has two sittings at 6:30pm and 9:30pm, chef's seven course table.

                                  Call ahead for reservations, and he can accommodate food allergies or requests for vegetarian options. It's cash only, $70 per, and an optional $30 wine pairing, or a few good wines are available by the glass (3oz, 6oz, or half bottle) at fair prices.

                                  The service and the food are outstanding, creative local and fresh, the menu varies based upon what is available.

                                  Michael Ceraldi formerly was chef at Dalla Cucina, and has NYC and Rome experience, Batali and Bastanich restaurants.

                                  We ate there twice and were blown away, the best meals on Cape in years. But you have to like or accept the chef's table and cash-only format, some people don't share that commitment when dining out in Provincetown. I think it is very much worth it, and look forward eagerly to returning.

                                  I have not heard reports of how Dalla Cucina is faring since Michael is no longer in their kitchen.

                                  1. re: Dan D

                                    Thanks for this. Just made a res for next week. Are all the tables communal?

                                2. re: Dan D

                                  Ceraldi? What is that? We were devasted when Sol closed.

                              2. Our wonderful stay in Provincetown comes to an end today. Outstanding dinners at Saki, Red Inn, Victors and the Mews. The service in each was professional, and each meal was distinctive enough not to blur into a surf and turf memory. Recommended: the tiger prawns at Saki, head on and grilled. The smoked duck at Red Inn. All the tapas offerings at Victors, though the grilled striped bass was amazing. The wild boar naan pizza at The Mews was a truffly, messy treat. We also like Local 186 for the burgers, though I will long remember the steamers with pancetta in a lemongrass chili broth - wow. The only place that did not impress was Bubala's, which served a dry, skimpy lobster roll. Thanks to all for your great suggestions!

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: whs

                                  Thanks for the report. We're heading to the area next week and are looking more for low-to-mid-range options. The Mews, Victor's and Local 186 look great, and we will probably splurge one night (not Asian this time) so it's good to hear that Red Inn is still solid.

                                  1. re: bear

                                    One great lower cost option is Canteen, new this year. It's small and not at all fancy, but the food is terrific, we ate there for lunch at least six times, everything was fresh and prepared by people who cared about food. Didn't eat dinner there, but fish and chips, cod bahn-mi, shrimp bahn-mi, grilled chicken and cranberry salad sandwich, amazing roasted brussel sprouts, grilled sardines with kale salad... all were great, and they have a raw bar as well as extensive menu.

                                    I hear good reports about Local 186, but don't usually eat burgers on Cape. Victor's was very good. Cafe Heaven is small, but quite good food. Some friends liked Devon's Deep Sea Dive, but we didn't get there this year yet.

                                    1. re: Dan D

                                      Awesome suggestions, Dan. Very appreciated. Canteen looks amazing, and right up our alley. I've definitely added it to the list. Devon's breakfast menu looks pretty mouth-watering, too.

                                      1. re: bear

                                        Get the Diablo Margarita at Local 186...crazy good. Want to go to Chach's for breakfast..soon..Della Cucina on our list for Aug. 26 girls night with mrwynter and jillian..

                                        1. re: phelana

                                          Thanks, phelana. So much to look forward to! Wish we were staying longer than four days!