Known for its delicious seafood shacks given its coastal location beside the Atlantic, Cape Cod is a foodie's delight. In this article, Kim Dinan seeks out this peninsula's best seafood restaurants.
Cape Cod, a windswept peninsula that bends off the coast of Massachusetts, is a popular summertime vacation spot. Famous for its historic lighthouses, picturesque sand dunes, quaint villages and delicious seafood shacks, many city dwellers make their escape to Cape Cod for some relaxation and revitalisation. If you find yourself on the cape, make sure to delight your senses with some of the best seafood around at these popular seafood restaurants.
1. Seafood Sam’s
Credit: Seafood Sam's
- Two locations in Sandwich and Falmouth
- Open Sun-Thur 11am-8:30pm and Fri-Sat 11am-9pm
In 1974 Sam opened his first restaurant armed with his secret recipe. Today, Seafood Sam's features over 100 items and has a reputation of serving large portions at affordable prices. Well known for his chowder, bisques and seafood that is fried, baked, broiled and steamed, as well as chicken and pasta dishes for those that don’t want seafood, Sam has made a name for himself in the Cape Cod seafood market.
2. Lobster Claw
Credit: Lobster Claw
- 42 Cranberry Hwy, Orleans, MA 02653
- Open daily 11:30am-9pm / April - mid October
For those that want the full New England seafood experience, complete with nautical theme, The Lobster Claw does not disappoint. From its boat shaped bar to its Surfboat lounge that overlooks Town Cove, charmed visitors love the atmosphere of Lobster Claw just as much as they love the food. And there’s no doubt that the food is delicious, featuring a varying menu of fresh seafood, lobster, clams and native fish - happy diners return again and again to get their seafood fix.
3. Arnold’s Lobster and Clam Bar
Credit: a-birdie / Flickr (CC)
- 3580 US-6 Eastham, MA 02642
- Open Fri-Mon at 11:30am
Arnold’s is an award-winning clam shack that has garnered national attention (their fried clams were named 'the best in the world' by Food and Wine Magazine) for its delicious food and its family friendly appeal. A self proclaimed 'clam shack, fried seafood and ice cream restaurant', Arnold’s also boasts attractions such as live lobsters and 18 holes of mini golf. Located right on the Rail Trail bike path, fun-loving seafood enthusiasts can bike right up to the front door of this New England seafood establishment.
4. Sesuit Harbor Café
Credit: Sesuit Harbor Café Facebook
- 357 Sesuit Neck Rd. Dennis, MA 02638
- Open daily for breakfast and lunch 7am-2:30pm (May 4th - Columbus Day)
This eclectic little café is hard to miss, decorated as it is with colourful buoys and a small fishing boat propped on the roof. Open seasonally and daily for breakfast and lunch, Sesuit Harbor Café has no indoor dining, though the picnic tables by the water that overlook the marina and Cape Cod Bay are a great place to grab a meal. Known for their world famous lobster rolls and fresh baked desserts of cookies, cupcakes, pies and tarts, Sesuit is a local favourite. Cash only.
- Two locations in Hyannis and Mashpee
- Opened seasonally 11:30am-8:30pm
Lovingly referred to as a Cape Cod institution, Cooke’s is known to have the best fried and boiled seafood in town thanks to an original family recipe used to create their famous batter. This second-generation family-owned restaurant prides itself on its open kitchen where diners can watch their fresh and locally sourced seafood prepared right before their eyes. Burgers, chicken, lobster rolls and onion rings also make an appearance on the menu, so hungry diners can have their pick of mealtime favourites.
6. Spanky’s Clam Shack
Credit: Spanky's Clam Shack
- 138 Ocean Street Hyannis, MA 02601
- Open daily at 11am
Located on the water with beautiful harbour views, Spanky’s Clam Shack is also conveniently located close to all of the stores and shops on Hyannis’ Main Street. Try the award winning clam chowder or the fried clams, scallops or shrimp. Not in the mood for seafood? Spanky’s also serves house-cut New York sirloin steaks as well as chicken and pasta dinners, while its robust children’s menu means there are plenty of families in attendance creating a family-friendly atmosphere.
7. The Lobster Trap
Credit: The Lobster Trap
- 290 Shore Rd. Bourne, MA 02532
- Open daily 11am-close
Looking for a laid back place to hang out with friends and family? Look no further than The Lobster Trap. A simple shingled building on the water with views of Buzzards Bay, the Back River and surrounding saltwater marshes, The Lobster Trap serves up simple, delicious dishes and offers a full bar and live entertainment most weekends. Founded in 1969 as a neighbourhood fish market, diners can still pick up the catch of the day to take home to the freezer.
8. Skipper Restaurant and Chowder House
Credit: Skipper Restaurant and Chowder House
- 152 South Shore Dr. South Yarmouth, MA 02664
- Open Sun-Thur 11:30am-10pm and Fri-Sat 11:30am-11pm
Home of the triple-crown chowder champions, Skipper Restaurant and Chowder House is an old fashioned Cape Cod establishment perched on Nantucket Sound. Hungry diners will often encounter a wait here, but the food is worth it.
9. Chatham Pier Fish Market
Credit: Chris Martino / Flickr (CC)
- 45 Barcliff Ave Chatham, MA 02633
- Open seasonally, hours vary
Named as the best lobster shack in Cape Cod by CBS Boston’s Best section, this quaint gray shingled building right on Aunt Lydia’s Cove serves up mouth-watering seafood selections daily. Fish served in the restaurant is caught in their own boats and the menu is flush with clams, fish and chips, lobster bisque, clam chowder and, of course, a fish sandwich. Stop in at Chatham Pier Fish Market to taste the seafood that big city reviewers are talking about.
10. Moby Dick’s
Credit: Moby Dick's
- 3225 US-6 Wellfleet, MA 02667
- Open seasonally, daily 11:30am-8:30pm
Family owned and operated for over 30 years, Moby Dick’s aims to be the friendliest and best seafood restaurant in Cape Cod. Dishing up hearty plates and kid-friendly and gluten free meals, diners love Moby Dick’s for its laid back and relaxed atmosphere. Order at the counter and grab a table, then kick back and enjoy your experience at Moby Dick’s. If you want a cold one to go along with your meal, bring what you’ve got along - Moby Dick’s is BYO.