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P-Town: 50th Birthday

Quick question: If YOU had a 50th birthday coming up in Provincetown, price no object, where would you have dinner for two, staying in town?

(NOTE: This is in preparation for a trip for next summer, but I like to plan ahead. So sue me.)

Any type of food is good. Thanks in advance!

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    1. I have not been yet but I am in P Town each week and this place is getting great reviews..7 courses is a lot for me. My friend who resides in town loves Red Inn.


      4 Replies
      1. re: phelana

        I've also heard great things about Ceraldi, but didn't recommend it as it's a communal table, lacking the intimacy one might desire for a milestone event like a 50th birthday, It's also out doors only, so I assume it's highly seasonal. Dying to try for myself I must admit.

        1. re: CapeCodGuy

          CCG, I really respect your opinions, you really are the go-to guy for Cape Cod, thanks for keeping us all so well informed! I suspect you would like Ceraldi and hope you get to experience it, but one slight correction, they have separate tables, not communal. They can handle up to 35 or so, but usually fewer diners at any time. All tables are served at about the same time during each seating, but it's possible to have completely separate experiences, or to chat with diners at other tables if you wish. It's a bit of a bootstrap operation, sharing space with Tiny's who serve lunch there, maybe he'll be in a different setting next year when the OP is ready to celebrate.

          1. re: Dan D

            Thanks for both the kind words and the correction to my misconception. I read the website as if it was a communal "chefs table". My bad. Sounds delightful and the sample menus on the web are certainly intriguing.

            Getting back to your foodie relatives who find 28 Atlantic just okay, I'm very curious as to their favorite haunts on the Cape. I'm always intrigued to get new recs. I've been fortunate to have the opportunity to travel the better part of this country and have hit the major cities on multiple occasions, and I honestly find 28 Atlantic to stand out with the best of them. Sure I've had better food in NY, Chicago, New Orleans and San Francisco, but rarely does a place surpass the total experience in all facets of food, service, room and view as 28 Atlantic..

        2. re: phelana

          Phelana, my friends were not stuffed, but pleasantly full. They said the food was flavorful and complex but not at all heavy, not seven full courses at all but a tasting menu.

        3. Depend on what you are looking for. If quality of food is most important, Ceraldi is the clear choice, assuming Michael is still serving in the same location and format next season. Nothing else is even close in Ptown or virtually all the Cape for that matter. Yes, seven courses, but beautifully scaled and paced so that it never seems like too much (outstanding) food.

          If the setting is more important, Dalla Cucina may suffice, food can be variable (Michael Ceraldi is no longer in the kitchen, so there have been adjustments), and some people enjoy The Mews, though I'm not one.

          Red Inn is a nice setting, but food is kind of bland and the crowd can make your new eligibility for an AARP card seem fitting.

          If good food but perhaps crowded and sometimes loud setting is acceptable, by all means consider Front Street or Jimmy's Hideaway.

          Other possibilities are Ross's Grille (ask for window seating when reserving), or Devon's. Each have food ranging from very good to excellent, Devon's more on the intimate side, Ross's with a great bar and wine list.

          11 Replies
          1. re: Dan D

            I do love Jimmy's but it's dark and imho, crowded/tight. We typically go in the cooler months...

            1. re: Dan D

              Although somewhat old school in terms of food, I've never found it bland at the Red Inn. And I've never understood the slamming of a place because they attract an older clientele? Do we somehow lose our discriminating taste buds as we age? Lol...perhaps we do, but I've never noticed a particularly older crowd at Red Inn, certainly not to the extent that a 50 year old would feel out of place. As you mention, the waterfront setting is terrific and IMO trumps all except for maybe Ross's Grille. But I'd give the food at Red Inn a significant edge over Ross's.

              1. re: CapeCodGuy

                Maybe our experience that one time at Red Inn was not representative, but while the setting was very nice, the food was old school and really nothing special, to our tastes, we've found better in Ptown and elsewhere on Cape. A couple of friends went there the night we had dinner at Ross' last month and when we compared notes, it sounded like we had the better meal, and they also noted a more sedate and older crowd than most other Ptown settings.

                That's not a slam, nothing wrong with that, just an observation thrown out there in case it matters to the OP.

                And getting the best meal at Ross' Grille or Front Street is heavily dependent on what you order, they have great dishes and some that are just okay, but the best are quite impressive.

                Front Street, if you order from the daily seafood specials or their always-offered house specialties (stuffed filet, rack of lamb, or the outstanding tea-smoked duck) you'll have a terrific dinner food-wise, setting and service may not be what OP is looking for.

              2. re: Dan D

                We've been to Jimmy's HideAway and, I think, Front Street, and really liked them both. In fact, Jimmy's was suggested as "romantic"-- and it was. It is cozy in there, but the lovely couple (husband and wife from New York) at the next table was struck by our wine choice (was is a Stag's Leap? Maybe a Greg Norman Pinot Noir-- something we drink a lot here at home) that night and we ended up chatting with them; even when you're having a romantic dinner, your temporary neighbors can make the experience sublime. Good vibrations all around.

                Oh, and the food was pretty great. No question.

                We're not food snobs by any means. We hit up the P-Town Lobster Pot for lobster rolls and beer for our first lunch (driving in from my grandparents-in law's house in the Upper Cape). We tried a linguiça sandwich at a local "Portuguese" joint (my husband is a born-and-bred Massachusetts "Portoghee") and were disappointed (we could do it much better). We stayed at the Crown & Anchor and enjoyed their restaurant (and bars-- a bit too much!!). So we're game for anything.

                To all who have responded so far: Thanks!! I'm making my OCD-fueled lists!! :-)

                1. re: rjw_lgb_ca

                  Your story at Jimmy's brought to mind another option, Victor's. We did not order to maximum advantage because of an upset stomach (avoid Fanizzi's for lunch!), but the food was pretty good and depending on what you order, possibly quite good. Our server was more into socializing than serving, but like you we had a fun visit with the couple in the next table. Plenty of time for a very enjoyable interaction, since the server disappeared for long stretches (we observed other tables getting good service, so it was isolated to that lackadaisical dude as far as we could tell). Victor's could be a fun choice as well.

                  1. re: Dan D

                    Do you guys really think either Jimmy's, Ross's, Front St. or Victor's is ideal for a celebration as big a milestone as a 50th birthday? Sure, one can get a good meal at any of the four, but each one comes with a caveat (or two). Personally, I'd drive out of PTown and hit up 28 Atlantic in Harwich and be 100% positive I'd get the best combination of room, view, service, and food that's available on the Cape. And I really don't think it's even close.

                    1. re: CapeCodGuy

                      I'm willing to leave that call up to the OP, everybody has different needs and expectations for such an occasion. The OP is flexible in the food department, so I'm not assuming any particular preference for setting, service, and choice of formality or informality.

                      While I haven't been to 28 Atlantic, I have a relative who does serious fine dining far more frequently than I (in Boston, DC, NYC, Chicago, SF Bay area and Napa), who goes there twice a year with his wife. They find it OK, but it's far from being their favorite on the Cape. You can never tell how someone will react to any given restaurant, but give the OP some options to ponder.

                      1. re: Dan D

                        Sure, different strokes and all. Just curious, what IS their favorite on our man made island?

                        1. re: Dan D

                          Although some people might be amenable to driving to Harwich to dine at 28 Atlantic, I'm going to try to stick to P-Town for the day of my 50th, for various reasons:

                          -- Because of family obligations (in-laws), we probably will be driving into P-Town earlier that day (and lunching at Captain Parker's in West Yarmouth for the chowdah-- a tradition!). I want my vacation to be relaxing, especially after 24+ hours in close contact with the in-laws (don't ask).

                          -- My working life involves a commute of about 3 hours a day in a car. I don't want to spend my vacation in a car for one minute more than necessary.

                          -- Given our proclivities vis-à-vis vacation imbibing, we will probably be thoroughly blotto by the time we actually head to dinner (not LOUD and BOISTEROUS, just pleasantly hammered) and will definitely have a bottle of bubbly. Driving will not be entertained even as a concept-- especially since we will stagger off to a show or karaoke or one of the P-Town piano bars or something afterward.

                          As you can see, I've given this a bit of thought. And, as we all know, Past is Prologue-- especially when vacation is combined with birthday and a party town.

                          I DO appreciate the suggestion-- and maybe on our next trip to the Cape we'll go there. It sounds great. It's just that this time....

                          1. re: rjw_lgb_ca

                            ALL good reasons to stay put in PTown. I'm already on record with my rec there. And others have chimed in with theirs. Good luck and have fun no matter where you go! Just be sure to report back!!!

                  2. re: Dan D

                    Hmmmm.... Food for thought (pardon the lame pun). So the Red Inn gets a somewhat more seasoned crowd? Not that there's anything wrong with that. My husband is resisting the AARP card, but I'm looking forward to it. Bring on the discounts!! ;-)

                    We don't mind less-edgy food offerings as long as they are well-executed. We are huge fans of L'Ardoise in San Francisco, and I wouldn't call their food cutting-edge-- just beautifully-plated and delicious classical French bistro items. We're not at all fussy about cuisines (our regular roster of eateries includes seafood, Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese, sushi and Italian), so suggest away, we're open to anything!

                  3. Red Inn seems to be the place of the moment. One caveat: no AC in the dining room, so it can get hot. The smoked duck was delicious.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: whs

                      Red Inn is on the far west end of Commercial Street, so it is quite a hike back into the center of things, esp if are you three sheets to the wind.

                      1. re: whs

                        That long hike will actually be fine. It's called "walking it off" in our book. As long as we haven't been pounding down hard liquor (and we won't!), we should be fine.

                        Jimmy's came up in conversation last night-- favorably. We really loved that whole dining experience. We're not fussy-- just give us good food in a friendly room with nice people. And Dina Martina to infect our nightmares afterward (love her!!).

                      1. re: johng58

                        I'm gonna need a bit more convincing. What makes the Mews good enough for my 50th? ;-)

                      2. Very fussy foodie friends just declared their dinner at Ceraldi infinitely superior to anything they have ever eaten in PTown. We have reservations at end of month and will report back.

                        1. Ceraldi sounds like a place that I have to get to. I see that the dining room is outdoors. Does anybody know what Chef's plans are when the weather gets colder?

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: kevinricci

                            I was wondering the same thing. Hell, right now it's too cold for outdoor al fresco dining, never mind a month from now.

                            1. re: CapeCodGuy

                              There is a porch heater. We ate at the Patio last year outside when it was quite cool and it was fine. Not ecological, but toasty.

                            2. re: kevinricci

                              OK, I finally hit Ceraldi's website myself when you noted that it has an outdoor dining room.... Now I'm totally intrigued and jazzed.

                              The outdoor dining room won't be a problem for us in August (unless we get rain-- given we live in southern CA, the novelty of water falling from the sky will be thrilling to us).

                              Seven delicious-looking courses, prix fixe for only $70? We are SO going there. Even if it is cash-only...! When oh WHEN is Wells Fargo going to get some ATMs on Cape Cod?!?!?

                              The wine list looks a little limited, but I would wager that they put a lot of thought into their selections. And the prices are good and low...!

                              Yessiree. We are SO going there. And Jimmy's. And the Lobster Pot for lobster rolls. And Capt. Parker's for chowdah! I'd best start dieting now. I have to be "too thin" by the time we get there!

                              And once again: Thanks for the suggestions and tips. They are very, very much appreciated.

                              1. re: rjw_lgb_ca

                                Sounds great! Except for the gloppy, flour loaded, tasteless paste disguised as clam chowder at the dreadful Captain Parker's. Talk about all hype and no substance. Get your chowder at The Lobster Pot, or better yet, Brewster Fish House.

                                1. re: CapeCodGuy

                                  Hint taken...! Brewster's on our list now. Thanks!!

                                  1. re: rjw_lgb_ca

                                    lol...I know...I'm as subtle as a train wreck some days!

                              2. re: kevinricci

                                It sounded to me like they are closing for the season the last weekend in Sept,

                                1. re: magiesmom

                                  these people aren't going till next August! planning ahead.

                              3. I'm topping this thread to solicit any new suggestions-- although it's still pre-High Season. I suppose I'll check back in post-Memorial Day. Still...

                                We're talking first week of August, by the way, so the height of the Season. Price is still no object. But that doesn't seem to be much of a problem in P-Town; fine dining is a relative bargain (compared to some of the joints here in southern California-- or my husband's 50th birthday at Picasso in LV, at $300+ per person!). I can't wait!!! And thanks in advance, friends.

                                1. OK, topping ONE MORE TIME (because I'm pushy like that).

                                  Now that High Season is here, I'm seeing if anyone can report back on the restaurant scene in P-town. And we're still looking for the 50th birthday dinner (I see that Ceraldi's is no longer in P-town, darn it), so I'm looking for consensus on the BEST in town, price no object (or just a little bit of an object).

                                  Thanks again, my friends.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: rjw_lgb_ca

                                    You will get a lot of opinions, but obviously, you will never , ever, get a consensus of the best in town.

                                    1. re: rjw_lgb_ca

                                      If price is no object take a boat to Nantucket for the night and go to Oran Mors

                                      1. re: rjw_lgb_ca

                                        I would still go to Ceraldi but it is now in Welleet

                                        1. re: magiesmom

                                          I was going to star a separate post asking where to go for my 25th anniversary when I'm staying in Wellfleet. I think I have my answer :) Ceraldi sounds like the perfect place.

                                      2. Well, I thank everyone for their great suggestions and tips. We're mulling over our options and will decide on THE BIG MEAL shortly-- and I'll report when we get back. The Red Inn is looking REALLY tempting. Then again, so is the Mews.

                                        Then I did a web search and found something new: Backstreet Restaurant and Bar on Bradford. Does anyone have feedback on this place? The food looks wonderful and reviews are pretty great. (Dammit, more choices!!!)

                                        And while I'm rambling: Any suggestions for good MODERATELY-PRICED options (other than Central House, which we know about and actually really like) in P-Town? We're going to try the Portuguese Bakery (despite our "low-carb" rule)-- and the Lobster Pot and Napi's. Anywhere else of note?

                                        And can you tell I'm excited about the trip?!?

                                        2 Replies
                                          1. re: rjw_lgb_ca

                                            I am also looking for a special occasion restaurant for a birthday dinner in the first week of September. So far Red Inn is first on the list!

                                            1. Quick report back....

                                              Red Inn was a hit!! We couldn't get a table for two the night of the Big Event, but we didn't care, we went and sat at the bar and had a thoroughly enjoyable, delicious meal. A lot of alcohol was flowing by that point, so details are sketchy, but I had a perfect pork chop with delectable cauliflower mash (don't judge till you've had it-- this was quite wonderful)-- and dessert was a lovely, silken bread pudding. Happy Birthday to me indeed.

                                              Lobster Pot was as good as always, so we went twice. First for lobster salad roll, then for fish and chips. Great stuff.

                                              Central House was also a two-timer with us. Flavors and plating were great; maybe portions could have been a bit larger, but then again, maybe we were just gluttons. Location was ideal, of course; Billie Jean King walked by at one point, and naturally we greeted every drag queen that sashayed in earshot ("Hi Ben Delacreme!" "Hi Dina Martina!" "Hi Miss Richfield 1981!" "Hi Lady Bunny!").

                                              We had a lunch at Bubala's, and it was nice to sit outside and dine, and the food was just fine. Tasty and not too expensive. Nothing stellar, but it did the job.

                                              We had a dinner at the Mayflower-- because it had Portuguese Kale Soup on the menu. We had gone in search of a good linguiça sandwich (could not find one, since the one recommendation we had for it, the Canteen, was out), and needed to have some Portuguese food. ANY Portuguese food. This place is a diner, always busy, never excellent (judging by our food, which was pretty mediocre)-- BUT, the Portuguese Kale Soup tasted EXACTLY like my mother-in-law's version (and, according to my husband, just like the one his beloved late Vavó [grandmother] used to make), so it was just fine.

                                              The Portuguese Bakery was a huge hit. Malassadas and lulas for breakfast one morning-- how can you go wrong? Absolutely scrumptious.

                                              Tin Pan Alley, across the street from the Town Hall, was quite good as well, and the patio was just about perfect as the setting for our last dinner in P-Town until next time.

                                              No complaints, really. I had a wonderful, wonderful 50th birthday and can't wait to get back to Cape Cod!

                                              1. Thanks for the report back! Not sure if you cook, but I found this recipe right here and it garnered rave reviews. You could recreate and do a guinness/mollases brined pork chop.