Whether clam shack or fine dining, lunch is a dish best served by the water. Here’s a roundup of 10 local favorites where you can eat up the views.
Where: The Captain Kidd, Woods Hole
The view: Eel Pond Harbor
The menu: If you’ve never been to Woods Hole, put it on your Cape Cod to-do list immediately, unless the thought of biking past shingled shops while the morning mist lifts from the fishing boats isn’t your thing. Once you’re there, join the rest of us in counting The Captain Kidd as one of the many reasons to love this seaside village. On a perfect day, find a spot on the deck and order from the raw bar.
Where: The Flying Bridge, Falmouth
The view: Falmouth Harbor
The menu: The water views are gorgeous, and so is the grand sight of the Flying Bridge rising from the shore as you pull up to the restaurant by boat to dock for lunch. The great wraparound deck is heated, which makes this a perfect pick-me-up spot on non-beach days. The menu is almost as vast as the outdoor seating and views; diners love watching the Island Queen ferry pass by as they enjoy their seafood entrée.
Where: Spanky’s, Hyannis
The view: Hyannis Harbor
The menu: At some point while you’re boarding the Hy-Line Cruises ferry to the islands, you may glance over at the Spanky’s deck and consider staying on the mainland. Instead, plan your return accordingly to stop for lunch at this well-loved clam shack, where you will have a tough choice between fried favorites and fresh lobster. Kick up your Sperrys and think about it over one of the frozen boat drinks.
Where: Mattakeese Wharf, Barnstable
The view: Barnstable Harbor
The menu: There’s just something about lunchtime by the harbor. This classic seafood stop is one more case in point. Perched on pilings above the harbor, the west-facing deck is one of the great places to catch the sunset (if your late lunch turns into dinner), and live music makes for a fun, festive atmosphere on summer nights. Go light on breakfast; baked stuffed lobster is the house specialty.
Where: Chatham Bars Inn, Chatham
The view: Atlantic Ocean
The menu: You haven’t been to Chatham without a drive along Shore Road, and the luxury resort’s Beach House is a classic spot to indulge in one of the Cape’s most incredible views. The panorama sweeps the shore from the fish pier to the lighthouse, with nothing more than beach grass and sand to obscure the mile-wide ocean views. Savor it all with a summer cocktail and the day’s local catch.
Where: The Lighthouse Inn, Dennis
The view: Nantucket Sound
The menu: The clam chowder comes served in a bread bowl, but you have an ideal spot to walk it off afterward—the inn’s private and adjoining town beach offer a beautiful stretch of sand that also beckons for a post-lunch nap. On sunny days, you can slip off your flip-flops and enjoy the views from a table on the lawn.
Where: Skipper Restaurant and Chowder House, South Yarmouth
The view: Nantucket Sound
The menu: Among the Skipper’s many claims to fame, it’s one of the Cape’s oldest waterfront restaurants, it’s a “triple-crown” threat (winner of Boston, Newport and Cape Cod chowder festivals), and it’s got an adjoining ice cream shack that is a compelling reason to skip lunch altogether. But, as the saying goes, don’t skip the Skipper. Grab a spot on the deck and enjoy the view with an old-fashioned lobster roll.
Where: Ocean Edge Terrace, Brewster
The view: Cape Cod Bay
The menu: Whether you opt for a table out on the terrace or gather round the outdoor bar, you’ll have gorgeous views out to the horizon in one of the Lower Cape’s most elegant settings. If you’re an oyster lover, don’t miss the local oysters here (harvested at Bay Pines Beach), or go for a creative seaside twist on a BLT, served with grilled shrimp and avocado,
Where: Fanizzi’s By the Sea, Provincetown
The view: Cape Cod Bay
The menu: It’s hard to pick the best view in P’town, but Fanizzi’s is one of the top contenders, with its “floating” spot above the water, overlooking the harbor and sea. Many love it for the seafood, but particularly on stormy days, you may find the sea stirs up a fisherman’s appetite for homestyle meatloaf or a thick Angus burger.
Where: The Lobster Pot, Provincetown
The view: Provincetown Harbor
The menu: Starting with the sign out front, the Lobster Pot is one of the Cape’s iconic destinations, and the view from its dining rooms would be enough reason why. But this is Provincetown, where the catch is local and the restaurants aim to impress a well-heeled tourist crowd, so come hungry for food worthy of the setting. Start with a cocktail at the upstairs Top of the Pot bar and ask your fellow patrons for menu recommendations; you’ll find out fast that everyone has a swear-by favorite.