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Martha's Vineyard advice

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We are heading to the vineyard for 4 days in a few weeks. We have not been there in years so I am not sure what restaurants we should put on our list. We are staying in Edgartown but we will have our car so we can go anywhere. We love seafood. Can be upscale or low key but great food a must. Thanks for any help!!

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  1. Try the Saltwater Restaurant (79 Beach Road) in Vineyard Haven. All the way down the end of the street. We discovered it late last summer. Superb food paired with impeccable service. Salt marsh view, but nice room. Entrees approx. $30, but super fresh grilled sword, perfect clams, and honest wine list. Can't dine better than this wearing dress shorts and flip flops. Also, across the street, a great place to order fried clams or steamed lobster take out and eat at the picnic tables. BYO.

    1. here is my report from last August. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/915214

      Been back a number of times since and can attest that Little House Cafe, Dock St and Lucky Hanks remain consistently good.

      Coop De Ville just opened a shuck shack that we are looking forward to trying in the next few.

      Lola's has recently reopened which is worth a venture.

      for fine dining (at a very high price) L'etoile is very nice

      Haven't been to the new "farm to table" at the Beach Plum. I would recommend looking into that. It's on our list for June.

      1. "Great food" seems to be getting harder to find on MV, so settle for merely good and you'll be OK in many places.

        L'etoile is probably the best restaurant on MV, but bring your checkbook. They do allow diners in the same party to order EITHER the tasting menu or a la carte- hard to find these days.

        Detente is another good place w menu items out of the ordinary. The Grill on Main is underrated and they have a two for one entree special most nights which makes the place a relative bargain. Lucky Hank's is an up and comer and moderately priced.

        Away from Edgartown- if the weather is good it's still fun to go out to the Home Port. But don't eat inside. Order from the takeout window, sit on their porch and sip your own wine. The raw bar it outside also.

        Down basin Road is The Bite, a small clam shack w the best fried clams anywhere.

        Red Cat Kitchen and Slice of Life Cafe are still good, both in Oak Bluffs. We feel Sate Road in W Tisbury is very good, but expensive.

        A few places we feel are overrate: MV Chowder Co, Jimmy Seas Pan Pasta and most of amm Beach Plum Inn- this place has gone downhill dramatically.

        3 Replies
        1. re: thos

          Jimmy Seas was sold this past Spring.

          The new Chef, Chris Fischer, at the Beach Plum just took over last spring, did you go? I agree it went way downhill before him but have heard mixed reviews since his takeover, the biggest complaint being limited menu and price. Most have been positive from people whose tastes with whom I usually agree.

          1. re: foodieX2

            Yes, sadly, we went after the new chef came. Menu descriptions are inaccurate, service amateurish. The whole attitude seems to have changed. Crayons and paper tablecloth to draw on. Really? Not the elegance we once loved. Used to be you had to reserve weeks in advance to get in here. I'll bet you can walk in many nights right now.

            Incidentally, the old chef (when it was starting to go downhill) moved to The Cave in VH. We don't like that place either!

            Hadn't heard about Jimmy Seas, perhaps becuase we have been ignoring them for 5 years. Anything new there?

            1. re: thos

              The gazette is reporting the new owners want to keep it pasta/Italian. Haven't heard anything official. We are heading down in 2 weeks so will drive by.

              The beach plum was our special occasion place for years but we stopped going at least 7 years ago after a phenomenal meal but disasterous experience with the front of the house. I posted it about somewhere here. Nightmare. I was hoping this new chef would breathe some life into it.

        2. Is Home Port on the water? That sounds interesting. We have been to L'etoile a few times and it is very nice, loved the Charlotte Inn. We usually like restaurants with great food, more atmosphere, less formal. The menu at Lola's looks good! Thanks for all of the advice! Look forward to going!

          2 Replies
          1. re: Alica

            Yes, right on Menemsha harbor, the "bite" technically. We just tried the chowder there and it wasn't so good, but for fried seafood out on the breezy porch near sundown with your own bottle of wine (no corkage) it's tough to beat. I wouldn't eat inside though. New owners also own Beach Plum Inn and so far both places have suffered.

            Of course you can just as easily buy your items at Menemsha Fish or Larsen's and stroll down to the jetty or beach and eat there too. No tables though

            1. re: Alica

              You should grab food at the Bite or at Larsen's Fish Market (or both), both in Menemsha. If you call ahead, Larsen's will cook lobsters for you. Pick them up and then walk to Menensha beach for a sunset picnic on the beach. One of my favorite activities on the Vineyard. BYOB - probably not legal, but everyone seems to do it. You won't be alone, so arrive early. It's a favorite past time on the beach there.

            2. Last July, I surprised a close friend of mine for his 45th Birthday by taking him to MV (he had never been, I hadn't been in a few years). On the advice of a friend who lives there, I made reservations on that Sunday at THE SEAFOOD SHANTY in Edgartown. The place was perfect - a very nice/casual restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, overlooking Chappy Island. We both had the lobster roll (very reasonably priced) and to this day, we both have said it was THE BEST lobster roll we had all summer (and believe me, we have eaten our share of lobster rolls last summer - in MA, CT and RI!). The lobster rolls were 'overstuffed' and delicious - we didn't even bother with fries which were served with the sandwich. I believe they were about $15, and the service was excellent (he loved his martinis). We can't wait to go again for his birthday in July. I highly recommend this gem - but do make reservations!!!

              1. Definitely explore Menemsha and Aquinnah. I highly recommend the fried clams at The Bite in Menemsha. While I've never had the prepared food at Larsen's, I've heard good things, and the freshly shucked oysters there are always a treat. Frappes at the Galley overlooking the water are a treat.

                Lunch or dinner at the Gay Head Cliffs in Aquinnah can be great fun. My favorite lobster roll on the island is to be found at the Dreamcatcher, a little shack on the right as you head up the hill toward the Cliffs. If you'd prefer table service and a view, the Aquinnah provides good food and a nice experience.

                1. A new spot is Copper Wok in Vineyard Haven, situated at the Mansion House. The menu is still changing, but there are a lot of choices and some of the food is really quite good. It's got an Asian theme and offers up some really fresh sushi. Only beer, wine and sake are available. Prices are decent for MV.


                  Beloved local chef, Josh Aronie ran a food truck this winter after Cafe Moxie closed and is now running the show at the Home Port. This is great news, but I have not been yet so no first hand report. Based on his previous work, this will be a terrific match.


                  I also like Saltwater for dinner and the ambiance, Among the Flowers in Edgartown for breakfast, The Red Cat in Oak Bluffs for really innovative food, The Lambert's Cove Inn for classic food and a charming setting, State Road ($) in West Tisbury for excellent food and wine, and The Net Result for fried clams and take out, including sushi. The Art Cliff in Vineyard Haven continues to offer up terrific breakfasts but you may have a wait.

                  And do not ignore The Scottish Bakehouse if you drive by it on State Road as you leave VH heading up island. They have terrific food, pre-made and made to order, not to mention the best baked goods on island. Very limited seating, though, so it is best for take out.

                  I am not a huge fan of the Seafood Shanty in Edgartown but agree that the view is lovely.

                  The Beach Plum does have a new chef, local friend Chris Fischer. He has been a farmer and a chef on island for years and has done wonders at The Beach Plum. Always a small menu with local food. The NYT followed him around last fall and claims that The Beach Plum is "the best restaurant the island has ever laid claim to."


                  1. Thanks for all of the great advice! We had an okay food experience on the vineyard. We had a very good dinner at Alchemy. The menu looked good at Lola's but we felt it was not that great there at all. Menemsha was definitely a highlight. We had fried clams at The Bite and they were great. We got take out at Menemsha fish market and Larsons for lunch, both were great! We went for dessert at Detente and we so regretted not having dinner there. LOVED The Black Sheep cheese shop! We got Chilmark chocolates and they were wonderful! Look forward to our next vineyard trip it is so beautiful there!