A long-time getaway hotspot for celebrities and presidents, Martha’s Vineyard transforms from a sleepy island in the off-season to a bustling tourist hub during the summer months. As you might expect, the island is well-known for its fantastic seafood, but the demands of a diverse group of locals and tourists, means that there’s a lot more to the Martha’s Vineyard dining scene than just fish. Here are 10 of the best places to eat on this Cape Cod Island.
State Road Restaurant
Consistently ranked among the top restaurants on Martha’s Vineyard, State Road Restaurant offers a seasonal menu that emphasises fresh seafood, and locally grown ingredients sourced from nearby farms and the restaurant’s own gardens. The inviting restaurant features artwork by Nancy Lorenz and Alan Whiting, along with a stone fireplace, lamppost ‘chandeliers’, exposed beams, and a bar area with a leather banquette. A self-described ‘contemporary American tavern’, this rustic, yet elegant restaurant famously hosted the Obamas in 2010. Menu highlights include the wood-grilled lamb tenderloin and scallops in white gazpacho.
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State Road Restaurant, 688 State Rd, West Tisbury, MA, United States, + 1 508 693 8582
Red Cat Kitchen
The Red Cat Kitchen offers quirky décor in a relaxed setting, along with a fresh, ever-changing food menu. The eclectic menu offers a diverse selection of dishes, ranging from simple staples like the White Trash Burger, to more complex creations like the prosciutto wrapped codfish with whipped potatoes. Seating is offered inside or outside on a pleasant screened-in porch. . The décor is as unique as the food in this small restaurant, with the interior featuring photographs, glasswork, and vintage soda bottles, as well as paintings by local artists Traeger di Pietro and Rez Williams.
Red Cat Kitchen, 14 Kennebec Ave, Oak Bluffs, MA, United States, +1 508 696 6040
Named for a character in owner Doug Smith’s favourite book, Straight Man, Lucky Hank’s is located in a charming former residential home in Edgartown. The restaurant serves ‘vineyard-inspired comfort food’ in an environment that feels like a cosy, family home. Try the lobster potpie or the black mission figs stuffed with blue cheese. The interior features light coloured wood, pleasantly mismatched fabrics and cutlery, along with an open kitchen. The back porch offers a semi-enclosed seating area, with a covered roof and open sides. During the cooler months, a heater is set out on the porch, allowing customers to enjoy a meal outside in the crisp New England evening.
Lucky Hanks’ 218 Upper Main St, Edgartown, MA, United States,+1 508 939 408
Larsen’s Fish Market
What this family-owned seafood store/take-out shop lacks in seating, it makes up for with fantastic seafood. Larsen’s Fish Market is the wholesale supplier for many of the seafood restaurants on Martha’s Vineyard, which means the market itself offers some of the best prices and freshest seafood on the whole island. There is no indoor seating, so most customers find a spot on the back porch, on one of the restaurant’s inverted lobster pots, or down by the beach on a picnic blanket. Locals bring a bottle of wine, pick up some lobster, clams on the half shell, or stuffed scallops, and then settle down to watch the beautiful sunset.
Larsen’s Fish Market, 56 Basin Rd, Chilmark, MA, United States, +1 508 645 2680
The Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company
The Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company was recently awarded the title of ‘Best Chowder in New England’ by Yankee Magazine, for its creamy chowder loaded with clams. In addition to its famous chowder, the menu includes seared jumbo scallops, lobster salad, and fried chowder balls, as well as non-seafood dishes like steaks and burgers. There is also an excellent selection of 15 different beers on tap to wash down the meal. The low-key dining room is decorated in an endearing nautical theme, and unlike the island’s many seasonal restaurants, Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company is open year-round.
Set in an 18th century former sea captain’s home, Atria is divided into several fine-dining areas. There’s a sophisticated restaurant area, a cheerful outdoor wraparound porch, as well as a bar/lounge area in the basement, furnished with leather chairs, exposed brick and a fireplace. The restaurant’s name comes from the Southern Triangle constellation’s three brightest stars, and the menu draws on worldwide influences, including Mediterranean, Asian, and Middle Eastern. In addition to creative dishes like seared rare tuna steak with lobster potstickers, Atria is known for its fantastic wine selection, which was noted by Wine Spectator Magazine as ranking among the best in the world.
Atria, 137 Main Street, P.O. Box 561, Edgartown, MA 02539, +1 508 627 5850
A veritable Martha’s Vineyard institution since 1960, Nancy’s Restaurant is known for serving some of the best seafood in Oak Bluffs. The restaurant is divided into Nancy’s Snack Bar, which is found on the ground level and includes a quick take-out window; and Nancy’s Restaurant upstairs, which features a full restaurant, lounge area, bar, and patio. The menu is a mix of fresh and fried seafood, including popular lobster rolls and hand-cut onion rings, but the restaurant’s real draw is the view. Both dining areas offer outdoor seating with spectacular waterfront panoramas, particularly at sunset. Open for lunch, dinner and snacks, Nancy’s is another favourite of the Obama family, along with many other seasonal tourists who think of Nancy’s as the nostalgic key to a memorable summer vacation.
Nancy’s Restaurant, 29 Lake Ave, Oak Bluffs, MA, United States, +1 508 693 0006
Art Cliff Diner
This unassuming diner is a local favourite for breakfast. Opened in 1943, Art Cliff Diner serves fresh, homemade food in generous portions. The interior has a retro diner feeling, with cushy red chairs, plates on the walls, and a long counter along the back wall. With a small seating area, there is typically a long line, but anyone who has tried their fresh-baked scones or spicy breakfast tacos agrees that the food is well-worth the wait. The restaurant closes in the early afternoon, but they’ve recently added a popular food truck that serves dinner and snacks in the restaurant’s parking lot after 5pm.
The Terrace is easily one of Martha’s Vineyard’s most elegant restaurants, set in the romantic Charlotte Inn. The restaurant offers classic American cuisine, with Italian and French inspirations, taking advantage of locally sourced seasonal ingredients. Highlights include the lobster bisque, as well as the handmade tagliatelle pasta. The romantic dining room is designed to capture Edwardian-era sophistication, with beautiful antiques, white linens, Limoges china and warm lighting provided by candles. Diners can enjoy their meal in the refined conservatory dining room, or out on the lattice-enclosed terrace in the summer.
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