Time to put on those fancy flip-flops or Superga sneakers: You’re off to Cape Cod, land of beaches, bike paths, seafood, and ice cream every day. (Or is that just us?) Even if you don’t eat fishy stuff, you won’t go hungry — Main Street in Hyannis, for example, offers a globe-spanning lineup that includes Italy and Peru (Tumi Ceviche), Mexico (Añejo Mexican Bistro), Brazil (Brazilian Grill), and Thailand (Taste of Siam). See? Proof that Cape dining isn’t all fried clams and frappes. (But if those items are indeed what you crave, head directly to The Skipper Chowder House in South Yarmouth. You will not be sorry.) Here are some more tasty places to discover on your next trip over the bridge.
Unwind with your crew at this seaside restaurant-pub, opened on May 27 across the street from Falmouth Heights Beach. Formerly occupied by the British Beer Company, this casual spot offers tasty pub grub (not just something that’ll soak up that watermelon margarita), including pizza, sushi, seafood platters, and gooey delights like Cape Cod Poutine (a triumph of tots, clam chowder, crumbled bacon, scallions, and melted cheese, $12.99). The fried shrimp po’boy ($15.99) served with sweet potato fries, is another (equally decadent) winner. Even if you just stop by for a jerk shrimp cocktail ($12) and a Dark ‘n’ Stormy, this one is worth checking out. Adding to the party vibe: live music on weekends, and 24 draft beers on tap. A con: Parking can be problematic. Located at the Heights Hotel (formerly Seaside Inn), 263 Grand Ave., Falmouth; 508-540-9600; www.facebook.com/ShipwreckedFalmouth.
Taste of Siam
With luck, they’ll have a couple of outdoor tables set up when you read this. Even if they don’t, this tiny Thai place should be on your list. Every dish is made to order, with super-fresh ingredients, and they don’t skimp on the veggies. They’ll chile it up a lot, or a little, it’s up to you. We’d love to say we’ve tried everything on the menu, but no; we can’t resist the Pad Mama, a tasty medley of ramen noodles and tofu, stir-fried with egg and assorted vegetables in a chili garlic sauce ($12.95 with tofu; you can also get it with chicken, beef, or seafood). Open for lunch and dinner. Closed Mondays. 304 Main St., Hyannis; 508-534-9180; www.tasteofsiamcapecod.com.
Chatham Fish Pier Market
As Chandler Bing would say, “Could it get any fresher?” Watch fishermen unload their catch (and maybe spot a seal) at this fish market with a takeout window, as you dig into your ridiculously fresh lobster roll (with fries and slaw, $27), crab cake, or a whole-belly clam roll at one of the picnic tables. There’s more on the menu, but these are the items that keep people coming back. Ask about their locally famous “seahound pies.” Open daily, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. 45 Barcliff Ave. Ext., Chatham; 508-945-3474; www.chathampierfishmkt.com.
The Ocean House
Talk about real estate: The Ocean House can claim Nantucket Sound as its backyard. The dining room overlooks the water, of course; they also offer outdoor seating in a heated oceanfront tent. Many folks consider this the best restaurant on the Cape. See if you agree as you dig into the macadamia-crusted yellowfin tuna with pineapple-yuzu sauce ($34) or the more humble but wildly popular Cape Cod Potato Chip-crusted fish and chips ($25) with fennel-cabbage slaw and herbed sea salt fries. Seafood is a major player on this Pan-Asian-inspired menu, but you can still get a burger, or an Impossible version of same. Open for dinner only; reserve in advance. Dinner Tues.-Sun., 425 Old Wharf Road, Dennis Port; 508-394-0700; oceanhouserestaurant.com.
There’s always a festive feel at this P-town favorite, whether you choose the bistro level (upstairs, with its collection of vintage vodka bottles and bay views) or the beach level, where French doors and full-length windows reveal views of Long Point Light. The menu runs the gamut from a vindaloo to a Vietnamese-inspired beef dish to good old lasagna, and it offers some nice choices for vegans and vegetarians; you can get that vindaloo with tofu ($24) for example, or a choice of vegan pasta dishes ($21-$25). You’ll be in good company; past diners have included everyone from Elizabeth Taylor to Judge Judy. Open Tuesday to Saturday, dinner only. 429 Commercial St., Provincetown; 508-487-1500; www.mewsptown.com.
We really don’t want to share this one; it’s already difficult to snag a table at Crisp on weekends. And so, we implore you to go across the street to Crisp Too and order takeout. Same delicious flatbreads, made with organic flour and locally-sourced sea salt, we promise — so order your toothsome Korean BBQ pizza (braised beef short rib, scallion, red onion, arugula, and mozzarella with sweet chili vinaigrette, $20) or a flatbread topped with a medley of fresh veggies (the Summer Luvin’), and head directly to Craigville Beach. Seriously, it’s 1.3 miles away. Enjoy the best pizza on the Cape, a fabulous sunset, and no fighting with the locals for a table at the original Crisp. Everybody wins. Crisp Too, 770 Main St., Osterville; 508-681-0922; www.crispflatbread.com.
“This feels like Florida!” our companion said of Mac’s, and he wasn’t talking about the heat. Diners cluster around the raw bar/bar, on the patio, and under a giant tent (added last year) in a happy, casual melee that reads “vacation.” This Wellfleet joint is so busy, they’ve got a parking attendant. Families and wine-guzzling BFFs pile in for local oysters, sushi and maki rolls, and entrees such as prosciutto-wrapped cod a la puttanesca ($26) with sauteed kale and grits, and a remarkably light but flavorful lobster gnocchi ($30). Given that the mini-empire of Mac’s restaurants was founded by a local fisherman, seafood is a star here. Nothing disappoints, in our experience, but the sushi side of the menu really shines. Don’t miss the baked hand grenades ($14), four delectable rolls of rice, shrimp, and scallop in spicy sauce; or the deep-fried (but not bread-y) Kung Pao cauliflower ($12) — best use of a cruciferi ever. Open for lunch and dinner. 91 Commercial St., Wellfleet; 508-349-6333; www.macsseafood.com/restaurants/macs-shack.
PB Boulangerie Bistro
Alas, the bistro is closed for the season, but PB’s boulangerie is worth a stop for the craveable pastries and hearty baguette sandwiches — hefty enough to withstand a trip to the beach. They do have a few tables indoors and outdoors, but be prepared to wait, even if you’re just grabbing a coffee and a croissant. The sweets in the case are enticing (that Carla brownie!), and you won’t go wrong with the French Revolution sandwich (boursin, crisp bacon, and scallions with a drizzle of honey, tucked into a plump baguette), or the Parisien, with ham, corniches, Dijon mustard, and butter (each $10.70). They also offer a pizza slice du jour, soup, salad, and a Quiche Lorraine. Rather DIY? Snap up a baguette and cheese from their bakery/French market. Open Wed.-Sun., 7 a.m.-8 p.m.; 15 LeCount Hollow Road, South Wellfleet; 508-349-1600; www.pbboulangeriebistro.com.
As always, we don’t have enough space to highlight all worthy contenders, so here’s a quick list of other excellent eateries for your consideration:
Café Chew, Sandwich — The best sandwiches (and paninis) in Sandwich, perfect for a beach picnic. The Pilgrim on cranberry-pecan bread is best-of-Thanksgiving bite. Bonus points for the option to order a half-sandwich and salad or soup. www.cafechew.com
Ceraldi, Wellfleet — Celebrating something special? This is the perfect setting. They offer an exquisite seven-course tasting menu ($190 per person), enhanced by sunset-over-the-water views. www.ceraldicapecod.com
Cuvée, Chatham — Oenophiles, take note. This Relais & Chateaux restaurant, at the Chatham Inn, offers 32 wines by the glass and has received the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. This American-Contemporary restaurant offers a four- and seven-course chef’s tasting menu ($145/$195). www.cuveechatham.com
Lobster Pot, Provincetown — Hard to miss this one, with its neon lobster sign! It’s lobster every-which-way here: Primavera, Newburg, in pot pie and mac-and-cheese ($39). If it’s a chilly night, go for Tim’s award-winning clam chowder or a hit of spice with the BBQ Pepper Shrimp ($31). www.ptownlobsterpot.com
Water Street Café, Woods Hole — Unique craft cocktails and creative fare make this waterfront spot a local gem. Open for dinner only, the menu is short but well-curated (entrees range from $24 to $45). The cioppino is wonderful, and you could make a meal of appetizers. www.waterstreetkitchen.com
Diane Bair and Pamela Wright can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org