great lunch out in cape cod
Cape's almopst 70 miles tip to tip. From Sandwich it's faster to drive to Boston than it is to PTown so it would be helpful to give us the approx. area of interest. Also, seafood tends to be either the basic fried and broiled variety or finer dining like one would find at Ocean House and many other venues. A top 10 for fresh seafood dishes means different things to different people. For instance,I love a fried whole clam plate, but I also love a well prepared cioppino, and a simple baked haddock can also hit the spot. But these are usually going to come from different places. Which are you seeking?
We'll be based in Dennis but will travel for some good food. Favorite thing to do is arrive @ a Wellfleet beach just before sunrise; watch the sky light up and then pick up hot croissants/danish with coffee @ PJ Boulangerie to return to the peace of the ocean. Been to Sesuit (not overwhelmed) & Red Pheasant which I thought tortured the food with heavy sauces & cute platings. Never've been to Ocean House. Should say the best food normally comes out of my kitchen (i'm a professional), but I don't want to cook every meal. I'd say Falmouth/Woods Hole is prob too far to travel for lunch. Aiming more Easternly.
I agree on Sesuit, it's not so much the food, it never wows me, but the setting is quite nice as one of only 2 oceanfront options on the northside in the Mid-Cape. (Matakeese Wharf is the other, and the food there is dreadful. A worthy spot for an afternoon or sunset cocktail though, or maybe the most basic of dishes, think fish and chips, boiled lobster, or broiled haddock.) I've had many fine meals at The Red Pheasant, but I tend to shy away from items that are heavily sauced anyway. I tend to go there mostly in the winter as the food is a bit 'heavier'.
So, I'll stick to mostly mid Cape options. Not a Top 10 necessarily but here goes.
Fin, 6A Dennis, excellent seafood -centric menu, well prepared, a bit cramped and can get loud.
Lyric, 6A Yarmouthport - American cuisine, slightly upper end, nice rooms.
Ocean House, One of the best in terms of location/view and food
28 Atlantic, Wequassett Inn Harwich - top notch room/view/food/service/pricetag -- best restaurant on the peninsula IMHO.
Lunch or Dinner:
Brewster Fish House - 6A -my favorite sit down lunch in the mid- Cape area. Ciopinno is excellent.
Impudent Oyster Chatham -I enjoy lunch more than dinner here.
Osteria la Civetta - Falmouth: Well worth rethinking your willingness to travel to Falmouth. Super authentic Italian from the Emilia Romagna region. Good at lunch, awesome at dinner. (While in the village, stop at Maison Villette, owned by the former head baker at PB Boulangerie, wider selection of possibly even better pastries.)
Hangar B Chatham Airport :B'fast and lunch only. Possibly the best breakfast you'll ever eat. Lemon ricotta pancakes with fresh fruit, house preserves, and red flannel hash all faves. A must go.
Fried Seafood - what trip to the Cape is complete without at least one monstrous plate of fried whole belly clams? To me Arnold's, Kreme & Kone, and the original Seafood restaurant are all interchangeable. IMO, Marathon in West Dennis is the greasy gold standard, There's a special crunchiness to their coating. Ask them for big bellies if you're inclined. It's the only place that has ever done that for me.
Enjoy and report back!
Edit: If you haven't gotten tired of reading quite yet, this thread is also a long, but hopefully informative read. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/900236