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Cape Cod Bound (Hyannis)!

Heading down for a long weekend tomorrow morning. We just moved to Boston so this is our first trip out to Cape Cod. I have been reading a bit on CH and thought I would get a bit more input. We love food made with passion, whether it is a shack on the side of the road or a abuela and her pickup truck or a french bistro, if they really care about the food they make then we usually love it. Oh yeah and cheese, lots of artisan cheese.

So here are the things that I have put in my list so far.

One of the two bakeries by Villette. (How is the bistro side?)
Hangar B for breakfast.

The Brown Bag for cheese.

Ocean House for seafood if I want to spend the money.

Baxters for cheesy fried seafood?

PJ's for lobster roll. (whatever, I like Duff)

Any thing I am specifically missing or anything here to specifically avoid?

Thanks very much!!!

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  1. We ate the best clam chowder ever at Spanky's Clam Shack. Oh and fantastic oysters too. Their lobster roll was eh. Alas, they don't open for the season until April.

    The Pancake Man had a great breakfast. Real OJ, good pancakes, and great corned beef hash.


    1. Not sure where you're staying. I live on the Outer Cape. If you come in the high season, be sure to stop in Eastham for a lobster roll at the Friendly Fisherman. When we eat out in the off- season we like the Impudent Oyster in Chatham, the Beacon Room (dinner) and Land Ho (lunch) in Orleans. Land Ho has consistently great, classic fish & chips, fried clams & oysters. The menus at the other 2 are more creative and never disappoint.

      Welcome to Massachusetts!

      5 Replies
      1. re: nlgardener

        a few places mentioned are closed..Hangar B opens the 28th. Definitely PB Boulangerie.....Ocean House, Fin to name a few...

        1. re: phelana

          If you have a hankering for some of the best French pastries you will ever eat anywhere, and find youself in Falmouth, stop in at Maison Vilette. Unlike PB Boulangerie in Welfleet, it's open year-round.

          1. re: CapeCodGuy

            Curious CapeCodGuy as you are my goto for food info here on cape cod--no mention of Pain D'Avlgnon any more in Hyannis?
            anything you like now here on Mid cape?

            1. re: chauncy19

              Hi Chauncy, it wouldn't be fair to comment as I haven't dined there since their head chef, Toby Hill, left for Lyric in Yarmouthport. (There's a short discussion on this board regarding a recent visit if you're interested.) Sadly, there's little new to report for the mid-Cape. I did hear that the owners who did the incredible basement to roof renovation on the old Asa Bearse House, fired their chef and replaced him with the ower of E Dolce who is a bonafied Italian who can cook real Italian food. Hopefully, Main Street will finally have food half as good as the excellent and authetic Osteria la Civetta in Falmouth . I have high hopes that the food will finally match the high quality of the rehab. I heard he ordered a custom oven to be shipped from Italy. This will be the fourth such oven for Main St., but the first and only to be installed outside! How fun is THAT!!

              1. re: CapeCodGuy

                Well I don't get out much but have been to Pain D'Avignon once since Chef Toby left. must of been last summer's end.
                don't remember what we had but do remember it was good. Bistrot de Soleil I have been to twice this winter and thought the food was great. Have done the prix fixe and thought it was quite the bargain. anyway the ocean house is best so far for me for dinner. unfortunately Falmouth seems too far away ...

      2. Hanger B is closed right now. If you are coming to Chatham, I'd recommend the Impudent Oyster for lunch or dinner or Del Mar for dinner.

        1. Thanks everyone. Will report back next week.

          1. My husband and I are coming from Western MA and will be at the Ocean House on Sat. It's kind of a tradition to dine at the bar with our favorite bartender, Jaime, on "Opening Weekend". Imagine our surprise when we headed there last weekend only to find out they pushed their opening back a week due to a delay in the renovations. There's worst things to do than spend two weekends in a row on the Cape, so we really didn't mind. With the OH closed last Sat., we opted for our 2nd favorite and had a delicious dinner at the Impudent Oyster, so I second that recommendation. I've never been disappointed.

              1. The Keltic Kitchen or Red Cottage are both great for breakfast. For fine dining, the Red Pheasant or Impudent Oyster as mentioned. If you like clam chowder, Captain Parkers seems to be the favorite in my family. If you go back during the season you may want to try Arnolds up in Eastham for a whole lobster or their clams or mussels. Also in season we like to go to Sesuit Harbor Cafe (go in good weather, it's very informal outside dining) their specialities are lobster roll and lobster bisque. Enjoy your weekend.

                1. been a way for a couple of weeks but why hasn't Pain D'Avignon and Bistrot de Soleil both in Hyannis not been mentioned or suggested? been to both and they are goood.
                  might prefer Ocean House but they are both pretty good.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: chauncy19

                    I have not been to Cafe Boulangerie (Pain D'Avignon) since Chef Toby left. I like the vibe and the bread. I liked the owners at Bistrot de Soleil but was confused with the Italian menu offerings in a French menu and was not wowed.

                    Not a fan of Red Cottage at all and Keltic is fine but the real WOW of Cape Cod's breakfast brunch scene is hands down I say it again, Hangar B, opening this Thur. for the season.

                    Most places mentioned are summer spots...

                    I adore Pizza Barbone in every possible way: setting, staff, menu, bathrooms, taste, smell...location is rather fun now too..Hyannis's Main Street is happening..

                    1. re: phelana

                      I shared your confusion on the French v. Italian thing on Bistrot du Soleil's menu until I ate there and found both cuisines well executed. And it's not nearly as incongruous as the Italian/Brazian combo at Prava. We also had somewhat befuddling and uneven service there, however . Also agree 100% on your b'fast comments. Hangar B stands alone. I never understood the love for the Red Cottage.

                      I know I may be beating my own drum here on my overall unhappiness with Barbone, and many here seem to be okay with paying over $40 per head for a glass of wine, pizza and a small salad, tax & tip. If I'm going to spend that I'd rather spend just a little more and eat at a beautiful spot, off a full menu, and complete bar. It's fine for a year round alternative for the ''same old'' but I'd never recommend it to first time visitor to Cape Cod.

                      And to Chauncy, I know what you mean, Falmouth seems soooooo far away. Nice to hear about Pain D'avignon. I need to get back there. We enjoyed it very much the last time.

                  2. Most recs here are excellent, but I would personally avoid Captain Parker's. They have won some awards for their chowder but i find it overly thickened with a heavy hand of flour. And the rest of the food is just average or worse. Baxters is overpriced, average fried local seafood, but you can't beat the harborfront location. My favorite mid-Cape shack (other than Sesuit Cafe as mentioned) is Marathon in W. Dennis. Ocean House is among the best the Cape can offer in both quality and oceanfront setting, and their prix dix menu one of the best values anywhere. Pizza Barbone is excellent, albeit quite pricey. And I would never recommend pizza to a first time visitor to Cape Cod. With all the excellent local seafood available with so many different preparations, why go for pizza? If you stick to the northside, generally, you'll see some of the nicest villages anyway. If it's just a long weekend, I'd skip Hyannis completely (depends on where you're staying obviously) and hop on 6A off exit 2 and take 6A all the way to Orleans, doubling back on 28 to see Chatham, a remarkably pretty village with some notable food to had at The Impudent Oyster. Or go to the Squire for casual pubgrub and fried seafood. Enjoy, and be sure to report back!

                    1. What a thread! Firstly, thank you everyone for the awesome response. We had an awesome time, despite we were all recovering from colds. We also had great food, which honestly I didn't expect. Here is the report.

                      Lunch at PB's. Croque monsieurs, my first one and definitely the best one I have ever had, frankly if they get better I won't be able to handle it. Cheesy, hammy, a bechamel with rosemary in the middle or something runny and amazing like that. Holy crap I ate the whole thing and then a delicious chocolate eclair.

                      Dinner at Pizzeria Barbone. I didn't think we find food as good as lunch, but damn we came close here. Suveed and broiled wings with an amazing garlic cream sauce. That sauce was so good I would put it in cheerios, we wiped out every last drop with the homemade foccacio, which good, but denser than I am used to for foccacio.

                      Then we had the special porchetta which was nice, it was also my first porchetta, but I wanted something a little more out of it. If it is just meat wrapped meat and that is it, then it was great for what it is.

                      We also had the Potato Pizza with bacon and scallions. It was unusual and delicious. We thought the crust was great and the flavors worked perfectly. I suppose it is like a loaded baked potato pizza.

                      Lastly, we had carrot cake, which my wife loved. I had the ice cream sandwich. The cookies were very hard and I thought too thick. The vanilla ice cream was amazing, clearly homemade and rich and delicious.

                      Service was great. I was also lucky to talk to the head chef/owner I think. He was amazingly friendly, we got on topic about food and suvee's and he took me into the kitchen and showed me all the porchetta's in his suvee. We talked about the awesomeness of the skin which he left on the pork belly.

                      Excellent meal.

                      Horrific breakfast at the Tidewater Inn's Helen's diner, but we were staying there so we tried it. Avoid at all costs.

                      Impudent Oyster. This was a little fancy and a lot blue haired, but certainly worth the visit. Wife had a delicious tomato bisque and I had the chowda. I will not profess to know a lot about NE chowda, but I can say that this was the best one I have had to date. It had a nice, almost gritty, texture, like they used ground up potatoes to thicken it, it was perfectly seasoned and lots of clams.

                      Wife had the meatloaf, she seemed happy. I hate meatloaf so I didn't even try it. Her mashed potatoes were excellent though. I had the scallop sandwich. The bread rocked and the scallops were cooked perfectly, but (and yes this was my fault for not reading completely) it was drenched in a very strong tartar sauce which for me way over powered the scallops. I would have preferred a light aioli or something.

                      Service ok. Not great, we waited a while for attention, but overall we were very happy with our meals and that doesn't happen a lot.

                      I had my heart set on PB's for dinner, but devastatingly I could not get us in. Booked solid. So we went for fried! Sesuit was closed, so Marathon in West Dennis. It took us a while to find it as my GPS got lost. I had the giant fried combo plate. My wife had the souvlaki. The food was disgustingly delicious. No point into really going into it other than saying we enjoyed it. The owner and her husband were amazing! They made it such an incredible meal and were so hospitable (I will certainly give my 1 year old daughter credit for engaging with her adorabilitiy...). I think that a plate of fried deliciousness at Marathon is a must once every year or two.

                      We found a cute little shack on the side of the road along 6A (somewhere in the NW Cape, we were meandering back) that made good coffees and pastries. I have no idea what it was called though.

                      As our less adorable baby woke from her nap she desperately wanted out of her carseat and the first place we saw was Marshland Seafood and Sundaes (or something like that) in Plymouth along 3A heading north. I expected the worst, but it was decent. Staff was very nice. I had a lobster bisque which as sour and too flour-y. Not good at all, but my wife's French onion soup was delicious. Fried haddock sandwich was good, my patty melt was cooked a perfect medium rare and very good on their home made sourdough. So we got lucky on that last one.

                      Thanks again everyone for the great recs. We look forward to exploring the Cape a lot more and, oh, yeah: Hangar B!!!

                      8 Replies
                      1. re: sekelmaan

                        What a great report! Thanks for posting. Sounds like you had a great trip and experienced a nice cross section of what the Cape offers. (Plus you left out just enough options to ensure a return trip!)

                        The old Greek couple, Teddy and Peggy, have owned Marathon for decades. Their welcoming smile and genuine hospitality haven't changed since we've been eating there for well over 3 decades. And the unique crunchy decadence they impart on their fresher than fresh seafood is one of a kind. The place is nothing to look at but one of my favorites.

                        Your yummy description of Barbone's wings, may warrant a return visit for me, although that porchetta, one of my favorite street foods in Rome, doesn't sound appealing. Usually made from slow roasting a whole pig loaded with spice and herbs, I'm surprised at the choice of using a sous vide style of preparation. I suppose it's because it may be the only way to render the fat out of the pork belly he uses. I would expect he could get a nice crisp cracklin by finishing it off in that super hot oven of his? The meat should also be fork tender.

                        Thanks again for reporting back!

                        1. re: CapeCodGuy

                          I was at Marathon the first week in March and had fried oysters. On the plus side, I was able to get lemon to squeeze on the oysters. On the negative side, there was only one other customer at the time, and the need to drain some of the oil from the fried food seems to have eluded them. I may try them again closer to the season.

                          1. re: CapeCodGuy

                            His version was a loin wrapped in belly. The belly was better than the loin and I think saved by the fat in it. The loin was a little drier. He did throw it in the oven and it was very crispy and the best part but maybe doing it that way overcooks the loin just a bit.

                            1. re: sekelmaan

                              I figured as that is the standard 'home version' of the dish. The challenge to this version is getting the heavy layer of belly fat to render into the loin, thus imparting all that yummy pork fat flavor, but still keeping the loin most and not overcooked. I've tried this myself and failed. I've also yet to see anyone else accomplish this successfully. If you're ever in Rome, be sure to hit up one of the street carts slicing up an incredibly moist and flavorable roasted pig into dlices of bead. Yumm!mmmmm!

                          2. re: sekelmaan

                            Thanks for the great report! Our visit to the Cape was a quick one, arriving just before noon on Sat. and leaving around 10am on Sunday, but we were able to enjoy some good food while we were there. My husband had heard T. Murphy's in the Mall had lamb burgers. I LOVE lamb burgers so we opted to give it a try for lunch on Sat. I was disappointed when I read that lamb burgers were a combination of ground lamb, spinach, feta and olives. As much as I LOVE lamb burgers, I despise olives. I just can't get past it and knew there was little chance of having them mix me up one burger without the olives in it. So, I went with the basic burger which was very good. It had a nice char-broiled taste, cooked the way I like it, but not as juicy as I would have liked. I'm sure that was probably due to a leaner cut of beef. My husband had the corned beef and cabbage and liked it. It wasn't as good as the corned beef and cabbage we had at J. R. Brody's in Falmouth on St. Patty's day, but he said he would order it again. We sat at the bar and, Trisha, the bartender took very good care of us. She was pleasant, efficient and welcoming to everyone who came through the door. I did speak to the manager, Andrew, and asked if I called ahead, would they be able to make me a lamb burger without the olives mixed in. He said he was sure they could do that. Next time!

                            We had dinner at the Ocean House (the main reason for the trip) on Sat. night. The renovations included new lighting and a new paint job with everything being black and white. It gives the place a updated, clean look. The first thing we noticed though was the bar was a little tacky. We asked Jamie, the bartender, how long ago had it been painted. It was going on day six and he said there was a problem with the paint they used and the "curing" process. Hopefully time will rectify that. I started with the wedge salad, which was excellent. Who knew iceberg lettuce could be so good. They garnish it with crispy friend onions which have a spicy dusting on them. I liked the combination of the cool salad and dressing with the heat of the onions. I had the lamb chop special with a walnut brown butter sauce served on a bed of beet gnocchi accompanied by broccoli rabe. It was delicious and cooked to perfection. My husband didn't make out as well. He ordered the flat iron steak medium-well (I know, but that's how he likes it). When it came out it looked like a shriveled up piece of meat with no sauce or even garnish. Jamie recognized it was lacking something and brought out some demi to add to it. When he cut into it, it was medium-rare. Again, Jamie was on top of it, saw it wasn't cooked as ordered and brought back in for more fire. The second time it came out, it was medium. Still too rare for my husband, but rather than sending it back again, he ate around the edges and saved the rest for our canine companions. I do understand chefs not wanting to cook a good steak medium well or well done, but if that is what the customer wants/likes and he is paying the bill, it should be cooked as ordered. As you can probably tell, my husband is not a foodie. He likes things plain as can be, so he doesn't love the OH menu as much as I do. We do so love the view though and that alone will keep us coming back!

                            1. re: Maibock

                              Sorry to hear of hubby's disappointment in his meal, but I will say it's difficult to cook a steak that needs to be cut on the bias (flat iron, london broil, hangar, etc) vs. one that is served as a whole filet like NY Strip or Tenderloin to a medium well temperature. Honestly, it may be just roo tough to even chew so the chef may have tried to compensate by undercooking it. Your server probably should have pointed that out.

                              Next time you're in the mood for an excellent lamb burger, go to Lyric in Yarmouthport. Beautiful room, top flight service and usually yummy food. I say usually as my last visit, portions were a bit off, but it's worth adding to your list.

                              1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                I've been wanting to try Lyric and will put it on our list for our next visit, especially now that I know they have lamb burgers!

                                Strangely enough, the flat iron steak at the OH was not sliced. I thought it would have been. He is trying to "like" lesser cooked meats because this happens so often. I've suggested he not order steak when we are dining out and just cook it the way he likes it at home. He keeps trying though.

                          3. Brief report on our weekend on the cape.

                            Drove down early Friday afternoon, no traffic, thanks to the chill in the air and the rain (that had stopped prior to us hitting the road). Lunch on the way down was at Sesuit Harbor Cafe, reviews in their thread.

                            Dinner on Friday was at the Tavern at the Chatham Bars Inn (where we were staying -- punching way above our weights this weekend!). Food and service were very good, although the waitress missed our order for a flatbread -- we figured that out when our entrees (salmon, scallops) came out and we hadn't seen the flatbread. Replaced it with a dessert instead. Waitress was very apologetic. Definitely think we got our money's worth.

                            Both breakfasts were at Hanger B, our first ever visits to Chatham Airport, and we loved loved loved the place. There is a significant NCS factor @ CQX (noisy child syndrome at the airport) but the food and service more than made up for it.

                            Both lunches were lobster rolls from the Chatham Pier Fish Market, and they were excellent (although I prefer no celery). Took them back to our room to eat, this is why: http://i.imgur.com/VaDpRgz.jpg

                            (the view from our patio


                            Dinner on Saturday was at the bar at Ocean House -- for some reason we didn't know they took reservations (that reason being I have been programmed to only look on Open Table and they are not on it). Got there around 8, they told us "2 hours for the bar area, dining room is sold out", but we got 2 spots at the bar itself around 9, and Jamie (the bartender) took very good care of us. They have a 3 courses for $30 deal going on for another week or so which was an amazing value. About half the menu is available that way. Jamie confirmed the portions are a bit smaller than the normal ones, but they were plenty big enough for us and our larger than average appetites.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: L2k

                              Nice report. Sounds like you hit a home run! (or at least a triple)

                              And what a view from your room!!

                              Thanks for sharing. It's always appreciated.

                              1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                Glad to help out. I relied heavily on your information here to narrow things down, really appreciate your hard work.

                            2. I wanna go back to the cape just to eat at Hangar B.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: sekelmaan

                                Hangar B is now open 7 days a week!