What are the best Cape Cod food experiences?

Answers from Our Experts (3)

Cape Cod has long been known for its local seafood, and its restaurants range from the traditional clam shack to sophisticated fine dining. Many restaurants are housed in period homes with various dining rooms, but there are also a number of more contemporary venues.

Fried fish, especially fried clams, are considered the ultimate Cape Cod meal. Another favorite is lobster, which is prepared in a variety of ways. Raw bars serve local oysters — the ones from Wellfleet are famous, and Cotuit oysters are also notable. "Steamers" or steamed clams, are another favorite and, of course, scallops are a main fixture on local menus. There are many great restaurants in Chatham, Harwich, Brewster and Orleans, in close proximity to the resort. From a romantic candlelit, seaside dinner to a casual gathering of family and friends to a quick bite before the opening of a show, Cape Cod has a wide selection of restaurants for all palates and tastes.

When spending summer at the Cape, it’s Wimpy’s Seafood Cafe for burgers. But the thing about Osterville [on the Cape] is that I can walk to town, and there are only two restaurants and that little bar in the little town. There’s a place called Five Bays Bistro, which is the upscale eatery and is very good. And then there’s the little Veteran’s Hall — you pay $3 to be a member — that’s like the little dive bar in town. There’s also a place in Mashpee called Regatta of Cotuit that was one of the highest-rated restaurants in Massachusetts. We’ll go there for special occasions.

Melanie Nayer

We have one word for you: seafood. Cape Cod’s five best food experiences could begin and end with seafood, but there are a few other culinary attractions visitors to the Cape should try. Here are the five best Cape food experiences:

1. Seafood shacks. You’ll run across dozens of seafood shacks lining the roads that crisscross the Cape, and you should try a few of them. Each shack is different and has a different specialty, ranging from fried clams to steamed mussels and lobster rolls. The concept is simple: park the car, wait in line, get your food, find a picnic bench and enjoy.

2. Fresh lobster. Lobster is a way of life on Cape Cod, so don’t miss a chance to crack a few open while you’re here. You’ll find fresh lobster at most restaurants, and many seafood shacks also boil up whole lobsters for eating (and they’re much cheaper than what you’ll find at the traditional sit-down restaurants). Ask any local where they go for fresh lobster and you’ll get a variety of different answers, but you can be sure it’s fresh and good.

3. Ice cream. Homemade ice cream is legendary on Cape Cod, so be sure to indulge in a cone while you’re here. You’ll find plenty of mom-and-pop ice cream shops along Route 6 and in the various towns. Word to the wise: when you ask for sprinkles on your cone on Cape Cod, you’ll get chocolate, so be specific if you want rainbow.

4. Cranberry bogs. The cranberry bogs served as the foundation for food and harvest in Cape Cod. Today, you can take a tour of the working bogs and even taste test a few of the best cranberry creations.

5. Salt water taffy. Salt Water Taffy is a staple here, so be sure to sample some locally made sugary treats. Head over to South Yarmouth for a tour of the Salt Water Taffy Factory, open daily, where you can watch the taffy making process from beginning to end, and leave with a box of your own for the road.

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