Children playing on the beach compete with sounds of an osprey hunting for fish to feed its newly hatched chicks. As the sun sets over the majestic Chesapeake Bay, you make your way to one of your favorite restaurants in Cape Charles, VA to enjoy another excellent meal before retiring for the night.
This historic town has so many great restaurant choices it would be hard to try them all during a typical three or four-day stay. Add two excellent bakeries, a candy store, and an ice cream shop to the mix to make this an exceptional small town of foodie pleasures.
I’ve narrowed down the nine best Cape Charles restaurants for you to consider. There are waterfront restaurants, main-drag restaurants, and a couple on the outskirts of town to visit. Some of the choices are casual fine dining, and others vacation-casual.
Let’s start our tour of Cape Charles, Virginia restaurants with a taste of the waterfront dining options. Some offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner, while others rely on a lunch and dinner crowd.
9 Must-Try Cape Charles, VA Restaurants
500 Marina Village Circle, Building 900 // +1 757-331-8660
One of the newer restaurants on the list is not only a great restaurant, but it also looks out over an oyster farm and the Chesapeake Bay. Open Wednesday-Sunday, they serve up plenty of oysters and more at their raw bar and cocktail lounge.
For starters, try she-crab soup and follow it with a seafood or land-based entrée. Their crab cake sandwich with sides of coleslaw or a green salad makes for a perfect lunch. Follow the entrée with a scoop of local Brown Dog ice cream to melt away in the warmth of a summer day on the Bay.
Dinner entrees of note are the flounder Francaise, cedar-planked honey glazed salmon, steaks, or chicken pot pie. Dine indoors or outdoors (pet-friendly) and take in the 180-degree views of the Chesapeake Bay. The Oyster Farm also has accommodations and special event spaces if you desire more than a meal. This is definitely one of the best places to eat in Cape Charles.
33 Marina Rd. // +1 757-695-3853
Don’t let the humble name fool you. This waterfront winner serves up an amazing lunch and dinner near the center of town, making it one of the best places to eat in Cape Charles. Located near the center of town, The Shanty is easily reached on foot, or, if you’re like the locals, you have a custom golf cart to get around in.
Like the Oyster Farm, The Shanty welcomes well-behaved dogs on their outdoor deck. Pull up a picnic table bench and order a specialty salad topped with fried oysters, or maybe their delicious shrimp and grits?
Appetizers include Tokyo nachos with ahi tuna on tortilla chips with a wasabi cream drizzle. A fresh catch of the day, mid-Atlantic scallops, steak tips, and Shanty mac n’ cheese are good choices for a full meal.
Street food items like a lobstah roll, chicken salad club, Po’ Boys, or shanty burger make for tasty hand-held meals.
The atmosphere may be casual, but there is nothing casual about the food quality at this excellent Cape Charles restaurant.
32246 Lankford Hwy. // +1 757-331-1776
South of town is one of Cape Charles, VA’s best resorts. This RV-friendly, pet-friendly, kid-friendly, family-pleasing spread is absolutely packed in the summer. The Jackspot Restaurant is right on the beach, serving up casual eats, cocktails, beer, and wine to an adoring crowd.
The Jackspot is one of the best places to grab a meal and watch the sunset over the Chesapeake Bay. Fish tacos, crab dip, onion ring towers, grouper bites, and fried calamari are good choices to get the beach party started.
For a more serious meal, try the crab cake basket, classic cheeseburger, camper’s chicken sandwich, or roast beef bacon & cheddar; all of these come with buttered corn and island fries. Wash it all down with a glass of draft beer, local Buskey cider, a cocktail, or house wine by the glass or bottle.
Like the Oyster Farm, The Jackspot has accommodations in their hotel, campground, or RV village. There is a good stretch of beach, part of which is dog-friendly, for sunbathing, wading, and swimming. They are open only in the warm season; it’s best to check their schedule before visiting. You’ll love the food at this Cape Charles hot spot.
1011 Bayshore Rd. // +1 757-331-2275
With one of the more humorous names of all the Cape Charles, Virginia restaurants, Hook At Harvey serves seriously good food. Now located by the water at the Cape Charles Yacht Center, don’t miss this place if you love casual fine dining.
Start your meal with their Crab Chesapeake en Bouche, a delicious serving of jumbo lump crab, shiitake mushrooms, ham, and butter served over a puff pastry shell and enhanced with a touch of sherry. Poached littleneck clams, spicy tuna sashimi, and jumbo lump crab cocktail, or the smoked poblano pepper are also good starters.
For entrees, try the lemon caper chicken breast, pan-seared beef tenderloin, or wild game mixed grill.
A decent wine list features selections from France, Italy, Argentina, California, and more. I tried the local un-oaked chardonnay from Chatham Vineyards and was pleasantly surprised how good it was.
Hook At Harvey is open only for dinner Tuesday-Saturday and operates year-round. One of the benefits of the new location is an expanded wine list and menu. For fine dining in Cape Charles, this is your place.
555 Mason Ave. // +1 757-331-2482
This local bakery is one of my favorite restaurants in Cape Charles, VA. Run by husband and wife team Bobby and Cassie Patel, this place rocks! Cassie bakes an assortment of cookies, pies, cakes, and more that are some of the best in Virginia.
Her husband Bobby shows off his love of Cajun fare by populating the daily lunch board with sandwiches like blackened chicken panini, muffuletta, or Andouille. He also serves Chana Masala and an occasional Indian dish as a treat for those who love Indian cuisine.
The inside offers a few tables, as does the outdoor dining area. They are open most of the year but take a break in January. Much of their business is take out, and you should plan on taking some of Cassie’s baked goods home with you. For great baked goods and a casual meal, this is one of the best places to go in Cape Charles.
236 Mason Ave. // +1 757-331-4777
Most towns are lucky to have one great from-scratch bakery, but with the addition of the Bakery On Mason, Cape Charles, VA is doubly blessed. Owners Louise Orlando and Andrew Barbour had been selling baked goods at local farmer’s markets until opening their new shop on Mason Street.
Some of their most popular products are their breads. The whole grain loaf, baguettes, and oatmeal bread are loved by the locals. These rustic loaves rely on wild Eastern Shore yeast to rise and shine. A sandwich board hawks the hand-held lunch offerings of the day.
Don’t miss the scones, croissants, and especially the turnovers as they can sell out early. To be safe, call ahead to reserve your order as it would be sad to show up and see your selection sold out.
The Bakery On Mason is one of Cape Charles’ best restaurants, but sadly it closes in late December and re-opens in the spring.
2198 Stone Rd. // +1 757-695-3909
As Cape Charles, VA, continued its path of rebirth in the early 2000s, it was clear there was room for a brew-pub. In 2018, brothers Chris and Mark Marshall opened Cape Charles Brewing Company and filled a gap in drinking establishments sorely needed.
One of the first things a visitor notices upon driving into town is the water tower looking like a lighthouse and Cape Charles Brewing Company. The brothers Marshall have conjured up a beer and food oasis that is fast becoming a local’s and visitor’s favorite.
The beer lineup consists of four main types. They have a Hop Forward, Light and Easy, Tart and Fruity, as well as a Dark and Malty category. Up to 15 beers will grace the board on any given day.
Cool names like Assateague Island New England IPA, Fisherman Island IPA, Smith Island IPA, Puddle Pirate Porter, and Capetober Fest all make the customer feel like they are on a ship of beer off the coast of Cape Charles. The brothers also include local (Cape Chatham) and imported wines (Finca Antigua, etc.) on the drink list.
Like many Cape Charles, VA restaurants, they have indoor and outdoor seating available. There’s also a fire pit for those who like to hang out by a crackling fire drinking beer and swapping tales of the day.
The kitchen cranks out a long list of good eats to pair with beer. Try the drunken clams, drunken shrimp, steamed oysters, or steamed jumbo shrimp to start.
The sandwich list includes a hefty three-meat burger dubbed “Two Brothers Burger” that comes with sautéed onions, mushrooms, peppers, and pepper-jack cheese.
Seafood goes great with beer, and the menu has beer-battered fish and chips, a tuna burger, fish tacos, Cobb Island crab sandwich, or a rockfish sandwich on offer. Cape Charles Brewing Company is open year-round., and is one of the best restaurants in Cape Charles where you can kick back and relax with a brew.
241 Mason Ave. // +1 757-331-1880
Every town needs a coffee house for locals and visitors to gather and get their caffeine fix. The Cape Charles Coffee House not only fills that need, but they also serve up a decent breakfast and lunch all year long.
The owners have renovated the old Cape Charles Bank, circa 1910, and made this one spectacular hangout. Come for coffee and free WiFi, finding a perfect nook to hide out in until the tasks of the day call you out.
The upstairs is a great place to hold a meeting, event, or party. Set amongst the opulence of the wealthy days when this was a bank, the tin ceilings, art deco chandeliers, hardwood paneling, offers a classy space for rent.
Come for the coffee, stay for the food, but definitely check out this Cape Charles restaurant.
203 Mason Ave. // +1 757-695-3868
I’m always puzzled by ice cream shops being included in a town’s best restaurant list. But in this case, brown dog ice cream deserves a spot on the Cape Charles restaurant’s best nine lists. Open only in the warm season, brown dog is legendary among those who have tasted this frozen confection bliss.
With an astounding selection of over 140 kinds of house-made ice cream, it’s the quality, not quantity that makes them stick out. Only around 8-10 of the selections are available any given day.
In summer, be ready to wait 10-20 minutes as the line can stretch out the door. Once inside, take your time and look over the day’s selections so you’re ready to sample and choose your treat.
They have several creative flavors like strawberry basil, apricot pistachio, strawberry-cherry-goat cheese, cookies and cream, and way more than I have space to mention. Get yours in a cup, cone, milkshake, or Belgian waffle ice cream sandwich and enjoy!
If you visit when brown dog ice cream is closed, try Gull Hammock to purchase their ice cream by the pint. You can also find their ice cream at some local restaurants like The Shanty, The Coach House Tavern, or the Seafood Eatery.
There are many excellent places to eat in Cape Charles, VA, but don’t forget to enjoy the natural beauty of the area. History runs deep here, and the roadsides are peppered with historical markers telling part of the story.
Built as an extension of the New York Philadelphia & Norfolk Railroad back in the 1880s, Cape Charles has stood the test of time. Be sure and stop in at the Cape Charles Museum and Welcome Center to learn a bit of the story to get the most out of your visit.
I found Cape Charles, VA, to be a welcoming town with some of my favorite restaurants on the entire Delmarva Peninsula. Chances are, you’ll agree with me.
No doubt, other visitors and locals might have their own opinions of must-try restaurants and are welcome to share their comments.
Which of these restaurants in Cape Charles do you most want to try? Let me know in the comments section below!
Kurt Jacobson is a former chef turned travel and food writer. Food and wine are two of Kurt’s favorite subjects to cover. He has contributed to over 40 websites and nine magazines. Kurt lives in Baltimore with his wife, dog, and big black cat.