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Must-Try Cape Cod Restaurants | 10 Best Seafood Restaurants On Cape Cod, MA, Updated March 2024

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If you haven’t been to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, or if you haven’t been in a while, it is one of the best places to grab a laidback meal where the seafood is the star. Cape Cod restaurants are famous around the world for their seafood dishes. 

As the first stop of the Pilgrims, and once a whaling empire, today Cape Cod is known more for tourism, a deep connection to the Kennedys, and some of the best clam and lobster shacks in a concentrated area.

15 small towns comprise Cape Cod within Barnstable County. In 1602 an English explorer, Bartholomew Gosnold, caught a large amount of Cod out of the waters around the landmass. He named the peninsula, Cape Cod.

The hook-shaped sandy peninsula forms Cape Cod Bay on one side and extends out into the Atlantic Ocean, so the fish is fresh. The Cape Cod restaurants serve up some of the tastiest fried, broiled, or boiled fare on the East coast. There are so many great places up and down the Cape, you can’t go wrong. Here are just a few great stops to visit.

Wonder what else to do when visiting Cape Cod? Check out our guide on the Best Cape Cod Tours & Activities

Visiting other destinations in Massachusetts? Check out our other delicious guide:

10 Must-Visit Cape Cod Restaurants

Spanky’s Clam Shack

138 Ocean Street, Hyannis, MA // (508) 771-2770

Hyannis is synonymous with the Kennedy family. It sits right on Hyannis Harbor and is considered Mid-Cape. It is the second-largest commercial fishing port on Cape Cod and is famous as a destination for the charming downtown and the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum. Tourists heading to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard can catch a ferry to the islands from here.

There is no shortage of great Cape Cod restaurants, but Spanky’s is a casual clam shack that sits right on the inner harbor. Open daily from April to October, they serve seafood harvested locally and make award-winning clam chowder. The menu offers all preparations including fish and chips and a full New England-style lobster dinner. However, don’t miss out on the fried clams.

seafood plate with beer and wine restaurants in Cape Cod

I tried the lobster bisque, and a crab cake topped with a lobster sauce. Lobster chunks fill the bisque and the crab cake was filled with sweet crab, no fillers at all. It was absolutely delicious. My husband ordered the grilled shrimp Caesar salad. The shrimp, fresh and cooked perfectly, sat on top of a mound of crisp romaine, croutons, and shaved parmesan cheese. 

lobster roll and fries Cape Cod restaurants

The beer list includes local breweries like Barnstable Brewing, and the cocktail menu is full of inspired drinks including a Spanky’s Original. The ingredients in this cocktail are proprietary, and the limit is two per person. If you’re looking for cocktails and seafood, this Is one of the best Cape Cod restaurants for that

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The Naked Oyster Bistro & Raw Bar

410 Main St, Hyannis, MA 02601, United States // +15087786500

Next on the list is The Naked Oyster Bistro & Raw Bar, a corner of Cape Cod that felt unexpectedly like a piece of SouthWest France. 

The modern space, with its sleek lines and warm ambiance, was only the prelude to a culinary symphony that celebrated the ocean’s bounty with a flair that spoke of faraway shores.

Our waiter, a connoisseur of the menu’s rich offerings, guided us through each selection with a detail that was both enlightening and inviting. 

Trusting his expertise, we dove into the night’s specials—the scallops and haddock, each a masterpiece of flavor, texture, and presentation that left us in awe. 

The encounter was further enriched by a chance meeting with Florence, the charming owner whose roots in a quaint French town were reflected in every dish’s authentic savor and presentation.

oysters

The oysters, fresh from the bistro’s own farm, were a revelation—meaty and brimming with the sea’s essence, while the ‘Rockefeller’ version presented a delightful twist with its verdant notes. 

The ‘Sword fish cheek‘ was a novel delight, offering a taste of the unexpected that was as delicious as it was memorable.

Dining under the stars in their outdoor seating area, the experience was one of those rare moments where place and palate converge to create memories that linger long after the meal has ended. 

The Chocolate Mousse dessert was the perfect finale—light, yet richly chocolatey, complemented by the efficient and knowledgeable waitstaff. 

Despite the lively buzz in the back room, the vibrancy only added to the bistro’s charm, leaving me eager for a return visit.

It stands as a testament to the magic that happens when passion, expertise, and the freshest ingredients come together, making it an unequivocal highlight of my Cape Cod escapade.

Lobster Trap Restaurant

290 Shore Rd, Bourne, MA 02532, United States // +15087597600

The Lobster Trap Restaurant beckons with the timeless charm of a classic New England seafood shack, complete with a bustling market and a welcoming bar. 

It’s a place where the rustic meets the delicious, and where the air is as filled with the sounds of lively chatter as it is with the tempting aromas of the freshest catch.

Despite the challenge of parking, which is amply resolved with a short stroll from a nearby lot, the anticipation of what lies within makes every step worth it. The restaurant unfurls in a cozy sprawl of indoor and outdoor spaces, the latter a patio that quickly became my favorite spot for soaking in the views and the vibrant atmosphere.

lobster roll

Diving into the menu is like embarking on a culinary voyage through New England’s seafood bounty. 

Every choice promises a delight, from the invigorating cocktails that seem to capture the essence of the ocean, to the array of dishes that speak of skill, passion, and an unerring commitment to quality. 

The prices, a nod to the premium experience offered, felt justified with every bite of their extraordinary onion rings, the savory fish tacos, and a salad that was a vibrant palette of squash and beets.

The calamari, with its unexpected dash of soy sauce, was a crunchy revelation, while the steamers invited you to slow down and savor the moment.

Yet, it was the lobster roll that stood out as a testament to the Lobster Trap’s acclaim – a masterpiece of simplicity and flavor that easily contends for the title of Cape Cod’s best.

Cheers to the Lobster Trap, a true highlight of Cape Cod’s culinary map.

Sesuit Harbor Café

357 Sesuit Neck Road, Dennis MA // (508) 385-6134

Touted as the world’s most beautiful dining room, the Sesuit Harbor Café overlooks the Northside Marina and Cape Cod Bay. The five-star lobster roll is not the only reason that regulars flock to the waterside spot. The raw bar serves fresh oysters, shrimp, and clams.  The chef piles the fried platters high with the freshest fish caught locally.  

lobster roll Cape Cod seafood restaurants

The shack has some rules that, as a newbie, you have to know before lining up to get your meal. The Café is cash only, and they are a BYOB. If you are a party of two or more, one of you should wait in line and order. Meanwhile, one of the others should scout one of the coveted picnic tables along the water. As patrons get up, you can snag a spot.

Many of the diners bring plastic wine glasses, metal flatware, and placemats to decorate the table, but that is totally optional.

Sesuit Harbor Café provides every picnic table with a roll of paper towels and baskets of plastic flatware if you forgot to pack yours from home.

Once you place your order, take your seat and watch the boats sail in and out of the harbor.

If you are lucky to be there on a clear evening, you can watch the sunset over the bay as you slurp on Wellfleet Oysters or munch on fried cod, or bite into one of the best lobster rolls you ever tasted.

plate of fresh oysters where to eat in Cape Cod

Fishermen’s View Seafood Market & Restaurant

20 Freezer Rd, Sandwich, MA 02563, United States // +15085910088

Perched elegantly on the water’s edge, Fishermen’s View Seafood Market & Restaurant is a foray into the heart of Cape Cod’s maritime heritage. 

Owned by a family deeply rooted in the local fishing community, this establishment is a celebration of the ocean’s bounty, brought to the table with care, expertise, and a dash of family pride.

The fusion of smart, modern aesthetics with the timeless charm of the Cape’s seascape immediately sets the tone for a memorable dining experience. 

It’s clear that here, the water isn’t just a backdrop; it’s an integral part of the story, with each dish telling tales of local fishermen’s daily catches.

Our server, a paragon of hospitality, struck the perfect balance between attentiveness and discretion, making us feel both cared for and comfortably private. 

Her recommendations were not just suggestions but invitations to explore the depth of flavors Fishermen’s View has to offer.

broiled scallops

Seated at the patio’s edge, where the boundary between restaurant and ocean blurred, we were treated to a culinary vista as captivating as the panoramic views. 

The Lobster Knuckle sandwich, a novel delight, and the broiled scallops, seared to perfection, stood out as highlights of a menu that sings of the sea.

But it wasn’t just the seafood that impressed; the French Fries, arriving fresh and piping hot, were a revelation in their simplicity and quality, proving that at Fishermen’s View, every detail is crafted with intention and excellence.

As we dined, the breathtaking views served as a constant reminder of the restaurant’s symbiosis with its surroundings—a place where the beauty of Cape Cod is not only seen but tasted. 

Highly recommended, it stands as a beacon for those seeking to immerse themselves in the true flavor of the Cape.

LOBSTER POT

3155 Cranberry Hwy, East Wareham, MA 02538, United States // +15087593876

A local beacon of laid-back charm, this eatery reels you in with its fisherman-themed decor and promises of oceanic delights. 

With ample parking—a rare treasure in these parts—the LOBSTER POT stands as a testament to thoughtful ownership and a commitment to the guest experience.

Summer’s warmth brings with it a flurry of activity, yet the LOBSTER POT sails through with the efficiency of a seasoned crew, delivering culinary treasures with a swiftness that belies the bustling scene. 

Inside, the space is a beacon of cleanliness and light, its bright ambiance matched by outdoor seating that invites diners to bask in the Cape’s glorious weather.

While the menu’s prices sail towards the higher tide compared to other local joints, the bounty it offers assures you of its value. 

Here, quality is the north star, guiding the LOBSTER POT to consistently deliver dishes that are nothing short of spectacular.

fish and chips

The quest for local seafood ended triumphantly with their fish and chips—fish so fresh, it seemed to leap from the ocean onto our plates, embarking on its final voyage as our sumptuous meal. 

The lobster rolls were a revelation, boasting generous chunks of lobster ensconced in a perfectly toasted roll, a harmony of textures and flavors complemented by the lightest kiss of mayo.

Even the sides commanded applause—the onion rings a crispy delight, and the clam chowder a creamy dream, striking that elusive balance between richness and refinement. 

The adventure didn’t end there; a lobster pool offered a choose-your-own epic, a touch that added an interactive flair to the dining experience. 

Despite the bustling crowd, the absence of table service was hardly a bother, with orders whisked to readiness with surprising speed.

Highly recommended for anyone navigating the culinary seas of Cape Cod, the LOBSTER POT is a voyage worth taking, time and again.

Arnold’s Lobster & Clam Bar

3580 Route 6 Eastham, MA // (508) 255-2575

For 40 years, Arnold’s has had a reputation as the place for fried seafood amongst the Cape Cod restaurants. While the line is long, if you visit off-peak, you can have a late lunch, order a cone with premium gourmet ice cream and finish your meal with 18 holes of mini-golf. It is an excellent stop for families. 

fried clams and fries seafood restaurants in Cape Cod
Photo credit: Arnold’s Lobster & Clam Bar, photo by Dan Cutrona

If you aren’t a fan of fried foods, you can order a fresh salad, grilled chicken, Angus burgers, or foot-long hot dogs. But, keep in mind, Food & Wine Magazine named the tender fried clams, “the best in the world.” If you are a seafood lover, the menu includes baked cod, scallops, and salmon. They also specialize in lobster rolls, crab cakes, steamed lobsters, mussels, and steamers. There is a raw bar next to the bar. If you like fried fish, the fried platters are enormous, especially the plate of fried shoestring onion rings coated with a light crispy batter.

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We ordered the fried shrimp platter, and the shrimp were huge. The batter is light but crisp. We ordered the onion rings as we heard they were incredible. They did not disappoint. The chef slices the onions so thin then fries them up so crisp they are more like onion straws. The entire meal we perfect for the two of us to share. Make sure you keep that in mind when you order as these plates were perfect for sharing.   

fried shrimp and fries Cape Cod seafood restaurants
Photo credit: Arnold’s Lobster & Clam Bar, photo by Dan Cutrona

The mini-golf is challenging and fun. You can play 18 holes beside a pirate ship and enjoy the water features along the course. The waterfalls let off an enjoyable mist, and the lush landscaping makes an afternoon here a pleasant activity. It is a perfect shack to have the quintessential Cape Cod restaurants experience. It is cash only, but there are two ATMs on the premises. 

Mac’s Fish House Provincetown

85 Shank Painter Rd, Provincetown, MA 02657, United States // +15084876227

Mac’s Fish House is a  treasure trove of culinary delights, where the sea’s bounty meets artistic flair in every dish. 

The interior, with its tastefully done decor and cozy booths, sets the stage for a dining experience that’s both comfortable and chic. 

The efficiency with which the starters and main courses sailed from the kitchen to our table was impressive, a promise of the swift, seamless service that would define our evening.

The menu, a vast ocean of choices, beckoned with the allure of the unexplored. While the lure of a traditional lobster roll was strong, the sheer variety and innovation on offer swept me in a different direction. 

With the guidance of our exceptionally insightful waiter, I embarked on a culinary adventure with the Spicy Ahi Tuna dinner—a choice that proved to be nothing short of spectacular. 

Each bite was a testament to the skill and creativity that Mac’s pours into its dishes, justifying every penny of the expense.

fried oysters

But the journey didn’t stop there. The Crab Rangoon sushi roll was a revelation, blending the best of two worlds in a fusion that danced on the palate. 

The fried oysters, too, were a marvel of texture and taste, perfectly encapsulating the essence of the sea.

Despite the absence of ocean views, Mac’s compensates with an ambiance that’s rich in character and choice, offering a variety of seating options to suit every diner’s preference. 

The real draw, however, is a menu that dares to defy expectations, weaving in Asian influences with traditional seafood in a way that’s both bold and refreshing.

It’s a place where creativity reigns supreme, and the familiar is reimagined with an innovative twist. 

Mac’s stands as a must-visit for anyone looking to elevate their dining experience to an art form.

Seafood Sam’s

6 Coast Guard Rd, Sandwich, MA 02563, United States // +15088884629

With its inviting indoor-outdoor setting, this veteran establishment has mastered the art of serving up seafood staples in an environment that feels both laid-back and welcoming.

The liberty to choose my own seating in the outdoor area was a breath of fresh air, setting the tone for a dining experience that promised ease and satisfaction. 

The process of ordering, reminiscent of a cafeteria’s simplicity, was refreshingly efficient, allowing more time to soak in the casual yet impeccably clean ambiance.

Seafood Sam’s, a beloved local haunt, encapsulates the spirit of Cape Cod dining. Whether opting to enjoy the ocean’s breeze on the patio or the cozy confines of the indoor space, the restaurant ensures comfort is never compromised. 

clam chowder

My quest for a quick yet memorable lunch found its answer here, where the lobster bisque and clam chowder emerged as the stars of the meal. 

Each spoonful of the bisque was a dive into decadence, while the chowder offered a comforting embrace, rich with the flavors of the sea.

What sets Seafood Sam’s apart is not just its swift service or the pleasant setting but the undeniable authenticity and freshness of its offerings.

For anyone charting their culinary course through Cape Cod, Seafood Sam’s stands as an unmissable landmark.

Make no mistake, a stop here is not just recommended; it’s essential for anyone seeking to experience the true flavor of the Cape.

Bookstore & Restaurant

50 Kendrick Ave. Wellfleet, MA // (508) 349-3154

The Bookstore & Restaurant overlooks the beautiful Wellfleet Bay. It sits near the hook of Billingsgate where an original whaling town stood before it was submerged under the sea. This restaurant has been family-owned since 1964. It is open every day for lunch and dinner daily and serves brunch on the weekends.    

While the setting is pretty, and the sunsets are incredible, what makes this place really unique is the fresh local seafood prepared with the owner’s own family recipes. The Parlante family likes to incorporate their Italian Heritage in their preparations and also honor the Portuguese history on the Cape.

The chef prepares the dishes to order using butter, wine, or marinara sauce. Combine the classics like the Oyster Stew, Fruits of the Sea, and Portuguese Hot Pot with craft cocktails, microbrews, and an extensive wine list, and you will have all the ingredients for a fantastic evening. The shellfish comes right out of the bay, and many customers have a tradition to drop in and have a fresh plate of oysters or clams with a glass of wine and a Wellfleet sunset.

We opted to follow the locals and enjoyed a “six and six,” which is a plate of six oysters and six clams served with spicy cocktail sauce and fresh lemon slices. The staff shucked the Wellfleet oysters right in front of us. Both the oysters and the clams were plucked from the water early that morning. I paired my plate with a Sauvignon Blanc, and I was in heaven.

Steps away from the restaurant is a used bookstore. Here you can find a massive selection of second-hand, antique and rare books, magazines, and comic books. Hard-to-find varieties and classics cram the shelves and make for a great beach read. 

Countless places up and down the Cape take pride in their food. The seaside bounty allows for fresh and tasty meals anywhere you travel. No intricate preparation is necessary; all you need is a lobster boiled and served with lemon and drawn butter.

steamed lobsters with butter places to eat in Cape Cod

Which of these Cape Cod restaurants do you most want to try? Let me know in the comments section below!

10 Best Seafood Restaurants On Cape Cod, MA: To Visit List

1. The Port Restaurant

  1. Cuisine: Seafood
  2. Location: 541 MA-28, Harwich Port, MA 02646, United States
  3. Price: $$
  4. Rating: 3.7 out of 290 reviews.

2. Black Cat Harbor Shack

  1. Cuisine: Seafood
  2. Location: 159 Ocean St, Hyannis, MA 02601, United States
  3. Price: $$
  4. Rating: 4.3 out of 119 reviews.

3. Dolphin Restaurant

  1. Cuisine: Seafood
  2. Location: 3250 Main St, Barnstable, MA 02630, United States
  3. Price: $$
  4. Rating: 4.4 out of 451 reviews.

4. Captain Scott’s Seafood Restaurant

  1. Cuisine: Seafood
  2. Location: 71 Tupper Rd, Sandwich, MA 02563, United States
  3. Price: $$
  4. Rating: 4.2 out of 471 reviews.

5. Sandy’s

  1. Cuisine: Seafood
  2. Location: 132 Warren Avenue, 1 Ryder Way, Plymouth, MA 02360, United States
  3. Price: $$
  4. Rating: 4.5 out of 523 reviews.

6. Wood’s Seafood

  1. Cuisine: Seafood
  2. Location: 15 Town Wharf, Plymouth, MA 02360, United States
  3. Price: $$
  4. Rating: 4.5 out of 2392 reviews.

7. Lobster Hut

  1. Cuisine: Seafood
  2. Location: 25 Town Wharf, Plymouth, MA 02360, United States
  3. Price: $$
  4. Rating: 4.5 out of 2290 reviews.

8. The Island Blue Crab

  1. Cuisine: Seafood
  2. Location: 2377 Main St, Brewster, MA 02631, United States
  3. Price: $$
  4. Rating: 4.3 out of 351 reviews.

9. Yardarm Restaurant

  1. Cuisine: Seafood
  2. Location: 48 S Orleans Rd, Orleans, MA 02653, United States
  3. Price: $$
  4. Rating: 4.3 out of 607 reviews.

10. Captain Parker’s Pub

  1. Cuisine: Seafood
  2. Location: 668 MA-28, West Yarmouth, MA 02673, United States
  3. Price: $$
  4. Rating: 4.5 out of 2944 reviews.

FAQs

What makes Cape Cod’s seafood scene unique?

Cape Cod’s proximity to the Atlantic Ocean means seafood doesn’t just define the local cuisine; it is the local cuisine. 

Here, the day’s catch dictates the menu, ensuring each dish is as fresh as the ocean breeze. 

From rustic shacks serving up clam chowder to upscale eateries offering gourmet seafood platters, the diversity and quality of seafood on the Cape are unparalleled.

Are there any must-try seafood dishes while visiting Cape Cod?

While the list of must-tries is long, a few standouts include the classic New England clam chowder, succulent lobster rolls, fresh oysters, and, of course, the famous Cape Cod fish and chips. 

Each of these dishes offers a taste of the Cape’s rich seafood heritage.

What’s the best time of year to enjoy seafood in Cape Cod?

Seafood in Cape Cod is a year-round affair, but the summer months are particularly special when the seafood is at its freshest and the variety is most abundant. 

However, visiting in the shoulder seasons—late spring or early fall—can also offer a fantastic dining experience with fewer crowds.

Conclusion

It’s evident that this picturesque peninsula is not just a haven for beach-goers and history buffs but a paradise for seafood lovers as well. 

Each restaurant we’ve explored offers a unique window into the heart of Cape Cod’s rich maritime heritage, serving up dishes that are as deeply rooted in the local culture as the lighthouses dotting the coastline.

From the rustic charm of weathered shacks serving up the day’s freshest catch to upscale eateries where innovative chefs put a modern twist on classic New England fare, Cape Cod’s seafood scene is as diverse as the marine life in its waters. 

Whether it’s succulent lobster rolls enjoyed with a side of ocean breeze, creamy clam chowder that warms the soul, or expertly prepared catch-of-the-day plates that showcase the true flavors of the Atlantic, each meal is a testament to the region’s bountiful seas and culinary creativity.

Beyond the impeccable quality of the food, what truly sets these establishments apart is their commitment to sustainability and local sourcing, ensuring that every bite not only tastes good but also contributes to the health of the marine ecosystem. 

Dining at these seafood restaurants is not just an act of indulgence but a celebration of Cape Cod’s enduring relationship with the sea.

As we bid adieu to Cape Cod’s shores, we’re reminded that the memories of our gastronomic adventures will linger long after the last morsel has been savored.

If you are looking for more Massachusetts articles check the ones below!

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Mark mcneil

Saturday 20th of November 2021

Hi I've lived on Cape Cod All my life I love this article it was great and you depicted Cape Cod perfectly thank you so much for your kind words

sam davidson

Sunday 14th of November 2021

I avoid Arnold's. The owner bragged about being at the capital insurrection.

P D MacGuire

Saturday 18th of September 2021

The Red Cottage Restaurant has been closed for over one year, with no apparent plans to reopen anytime soon. It is irresponsible, to direct visitors to closed businesses. Out of date articles are not that difficult to update or edit!

Nathan

Monday 20th of September 2021

The Red Cottage is reporting as temporarily closed but does plan to reopen. From their Facebook page:

The article is not out of date as I provide links to every business's site so readers may check for updates as I'm sure all readers have heard about the pandemic at this point and can assume that restaurants may be affected.

What is irresponsible is you trying to have a struggling business removed from a list that, when they are ready to reopen their doors, can bring them much-needed business. We don't count them as dead when they still have a pulse.

Caroline Blaser

Friday 10th of September 2021

I have loved Arnold’s for over 30 years great place. Serving sizes are perfect. But I do think the Black Cat in Hyannis should replace Spanky’s. Just saying….

Philip Visali

Monday 6th of September 2021

Spankys is the best

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