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Nantucket


coolranch
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We'll be headed to Nantucket mid/late-Sept for a wedding (which is also on our anniversary).

There are many great places to eat, I know-- we have connections through the groom at the pearl and Boarding House, so we'll definitely be eating there.

I'm just looking for any requests or experiences. This is our first time to visit.

Challah back!

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  • 3 weeks later...

Sorry for the delayed response! Sounds like you're off to a good start but if you're able to splurge, do try to make it to the Chanticleer in Siasconset. It's the best meal on the island. Also on that part of the island--The Sconset Cafe.

In town, I recommend 21 Federal and American Seasons for higher end meals, and Black Eyed Susan's for a more casual dinner or breakfast.

Don't miss Something Natural on Cliff Road for beach food--they have the best sandwiches on your choice of homeade breads. Also, you must have ice cream at the Juice Bar on Broad St. just down the street from the ferry. They have blackberry for a few short weeks every year--not sure what the timing is. My favorite there is a watermelon cream-vanilla ice cream blended with fresh watermelon juice.

Have a great trip!

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You'll do well at the Boarding House (one of my favorites) and I second the Something Natural and 21 Federal recommendations. Other comments:

Straight Wharf has been consistently excellent in my experiences there - also one of the best. The menu is creative and dynamic; they are tolerant of long, leisurely meals; the wine list is serious but a little expensive (by Nantucket standards - although I have had good experiences with asking the sommelier what's interesting - he frequently has a few bottles that are not on the list and are, generally, very well-priced.

I find lunch at the Galley next to the Cliffside Beach Club to offer one of the more enjoyable experiences. The food is solid - not fabulous, and the prices are fine by Nantucket standards. However, on a day with decent weather, the combination of decent food, decent pricing, covered, outdoor seating, and basically dining on the beach can not be beat.

Queequegs offers very good food, great prices, and has a very laid-back attitude. Definitely a great alternative to the "fancier" spots.

Have fun!

Knowledge is good.

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  • 2 years later...

So, would Nantuckelleters still agree with these recos? I will be on the island the third week of June, and need suggestions, please!

Food, glorious food!

“Eat! Eat! May you be destroyed if you don’t eat! What sin have I committed that God should punish me with you! Eat! What will become of you if you don’t eat! Imp of darkness, may you sink 10 fathoms into the earth if you don’t eat! Eat!” (A. Kazin)

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My wife and I have been going to Nantucket every year for twenty years

now.

Some places highly recommended:

Blackeyed Susans in town for breakfast

(also Arno's).

Lunch--

The patio of the Wauwinnet (Toppers)--this place is very good for dinner but is extremely expensive. Have lunch (multiple courses of small plates) on the patio!

Spectacular. By the way--the wine list here is superb-best by far on the Island.

also The Galley at Cliffside Beach good for dinner but realy special for lunch--right on the beach.

Dinner:

Sfoglia is a wonderful place for rustic Italian food inexpensive--great bread, pastas,the chicken is superb and wonderful deserts--also inexpensive wines.

There is some really first rate cooking here and the cost is very moderate. ps-they just opened a Sfoglia in New York City.

21 Federal is very good also--nice atmosphere very good food.

Straight Wharf is still great for seafood.

The Boarding House is fine.

also

Brandt Point Grill (lunch here or early dinner is nice because of the atmosphere).

The Pearl--you will either love it or....

I liked it my wife did not.--this is the closest Nantucket has to a scene--more Manhattan or Hamptons (LI) than Nantucket IMOP. Very Expensive.

The food can be excellent though.

Fifty Six Union Street is very good for dinner. Nice atmosphere and the food is fine.

Also the Sconset Cafe.

Oran M'or is quite good inventive cuisine it can be expensive. Definitely worth a try.

Unfortunately, one of my all time favorite restaurants--anywhere--Chanticleer has closed.

let us know how your stay goes!!!

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John, any opinion on Cinco? It's listed on Opentable and the site looks very snazzy.

Food, glorious food!

“Eat! Eat! May you be destroyed if you don’t eat! What sin have I committed that God should punish me with you! Eat! What will become of you if you don’t eat! Imp of darkness, may you sink 10 fathoms into the earth if you don’t eat! Eat!” (A. Kazin)

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The Straight Wharf will be under new ownership this summer, so it may not be quite the same, but in the past, it was wonderful. A good friend of mine has worked there for years.

Her husband is a chef at The Hen House. I haven't eaten there yet, but Andrew is amazingly talented, and I think is a less expensive option.

Black eyed Susan's is a must for breakfast or lunch. I can't visit the island without going there, it's that good.

I haven't eaten there yet, but my friends (the chef and his wife) rave about American Seasons. It's their favorite place.

I have eaten at Topper's at the Wauwinet. It is expensive, but beautiful and delicious.

:) Pam

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The new operators at Straight Wharf are Gabriel Frasca...formerly of Spire in the 90 Hotel in Boston and his SO (maybe wife?..not sure) Amanda Lydon..who was previously at Hasty Pudding and has worked at a number of high end restaurants..Radius, Truc and Chez Henri. I've eaten their food at a couple of places and I'd say Straight Wharf is in good hands. They're both excellent chefs.

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John, any opinion on Cinco?  It's listed on Opentable and the site looks very snazzy.

We almost went last year!

Cinco occupies a spot that was once a nice French place (I believe)

it does look pretty good. Tapas are featured. We may go this year.

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  • 1 month later...

Just got back from a terrific week on Nantucket, and am very grateful to everyone for their suggestions. General impressions from a novice:

- Overall, very expensive, but this has to be expected where almost everything has to be brought in and most restaurants are only open for the season. Winelists in particular gave us some good laughs.

- An emphasis on high-end presentation and concepts, but not quite so much on overall flavor (at least, to my taste). And like their counterparts in so many urban centers, including New York, the locals at the places we visited seemed more interested in the presentation and concepts than in the actual taste. I got the sense that the locals are not real adventurous, but could be wrong.

- Seafood was a little disappointing (I had better scallops by far at Cookshop in New York than any of my three attempts on the island). I guess I had visions of roaringly fresh stuff just off a boat that day, which I gather is not the case.

- Blazers seem to be as mandatory as the shingles on the houses. I hadn’t brought one, so of course felt naked and scorned.

Here’s where we went:

STRAIGHT WHARF: Despite this less-than-happily named property for those of us of alternative lifestyles, this is a charming restaurant right on the wharf in town center with a view of the water. Food overall was OK, if not quite living up to the standard one expected from the décor and the service, (i.e. stuff was a hair overcooked and bland). The prices on the wine list could induce thrombosis, but the very personable sommelier, Scott, managed to dig up a lovely Viognier for $50 that was not on the list, so it always pays to ask! Apps and entrees each, a shared cheese plate, and that Viognier came to $90 a person.

TOPPERS AT THE WAUWINET INN: We walked in and walked back out. This is the highest end (some might say stuffy) restaurant I’ve been in in a while – I almost expected gloves to be required, to say nothing of jackets. Prix fixe started at $85, without booze, and from glancing at the wine list just one glass would have easily brought this to $120 - $130 per person. Just didn’t seem worth it, so we wound up at….

SFOGLIA: Loved, loved, loved this place. Charming and quiet, terrific authentic Italian food, a reasonably priced wined list, excellent bread. Two courses each and a bottle of Primitivo cost us $55 a person. Our favorite lower-end restaurant.

WATER STREET: Brand new on South Water Street, this small restaurant looks wonderfully attractive from the outside till you get inside amidst the slightly oppressive mud-colored walls (some serious redecoration ought to be considered here). The food however was quite good, if not amazing. Sad to say I can’t even remember what we had, except for my lamb, which was expertly cooked. A starter and entrée each and a shared desert with three glasses of wine cost us $90 a person.

THE ICE CREAM STORE ON BROAD STREET: Blech. Is this really what passes for ice cream on Nantucket? Someone out there could easily wipe up this market.

AMERICAN SEASON: Our favorite higher-end restaurant. Charming and intimate, largely candlelit. World-class cooking that could hold its own anywhere. Excellent bread, especially the poppy-seed baguette which rivaled anything I’ve had recently. Our respective starters of tuna and scallops were, as mentioned above regarding the seafodd, kind of bland, but were inventively handled. My friend’s salmon could have used a touch more salt for my taste, but my wild boar chop was roaring with flavor and expertly cooked. I would have paired it with some grits or something other than the crunchy rice cake it came with, but those are minor complaints. The Mexican chocolate tower was superb, and the impressive list of half bottles offered up an excellent Syrah and Voignier, both very reasonable. $110 a person.

Fans of Chanticleer will be happy to learn that this ‘Sconset property is to reopen this summer under the aegis of the proprietors of Black Eyed Susans (which we sadly never got to). And Fahey’s on Pleasant Street has a small but nifty selection of proper cheeses.

Next time (and I really can’t wait), I look forward to trying some of the less pricey places (I was dying for a burger by the time we left), plus return trips to Sfoglia and American Seasons.

Food, glorious food!

“Eat! Eat! May you be destroyed if you don’t eat! What sin have I committed that God should punish me with you! Eat! What will become of you if you don’t eat! Imp of darkness, may you sink 10 fathoms into the earth if you don’t eat! Eat!” (A. Kazin)

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Thanks for the report!

I enjoyed reading it.

Couple of observations:

Nantucket is not IMOP a "food destination." It is a special Island with a high level of consistency across many fine restaurants.

The island is very expensive--real estatewise and has long catered to old money. Over the last twenty years a lot of new money has joined the scene.

Prices are, as to be expected, high--across the board.

High overhead, wealthy clientel.

As for wine, one would also expect big names and high prices.

I am not sure the markups are, in general, usurious--one would have a hard time finding bargains in lower end wines (that find of a Cotes du Rhone at thirty bucks for eg).

One can find some relative "bargains" if one is prepared to spend though.

The list at Topper's is a pretty fine tome with some really great wines at fair prices--especially some older vintages.

The list at the late lamented Chanticleer was also quite wonderful.

The Boarding House has a fine list but again--big names big prices.

As for the restaurants--I thank you for the note about Seasons. I hate to admit it but this is one place we have not been to in twenty plus years--it will definitely be on the list for this year's visit.

My suggestion would be to try Toppers at the Wauwinnet for lunch. The menu is comprised of small plates the cost not overly steep (something like $25 for three or four plates). The food is good but if you sit in the garden the atmosphere is fantastic.

Also the Galley at Cliffside beach--fine for dinner but really nice for lunch and far less expensive.

Same for the Grill at Brant Point--all have great outdsoor dining and atmosphere.

Lunch at one of these spots then dinner at a more modest spot (try the Rope Walk for burgers and chowder and raw bar will take the financial sting away.

Interesting news re: Chanticleer--this was one of the last remaining old style French places with a touch of Normandy in the cooking--the garden was pure magic for lunch. The wine list was magnificent. (older vintages especially).

It iwll be interesting to see what the new owners do there.

I would also note that when one goes to Nantucket probably has an impact on the food/dining situation.

On island there are two family owned and operatied farms. Moors End Farm and Bartlet's Farm. The latter is a fairly large operation and provides many restaurants with produce. (worth a visit).

Also fresh local fish tend to be somewhat seasonal. The Bay scallops most notably.

Otherwise most of the produce and meat and fish probably comes from Boston.

If you have cooking facilities it is well worth it. (and less expensive). We often get some local spear caught swordfish tomatoes and lettuce and corn form Bartletts (or Moors End) some cheeses and some wine from Fahey and Frommagerie and have a meal to remember at home. There are some great wines at pretty good prices via Michael Fahey.

All in all quite a place!

I am now the "old" man from Nantucket!!!

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  • 1 month later...

I'm glad to see this thread back up there. We found Nantucket was a great place to truly get away from it all...so we'll be heading back soon for our 3rd trip.

I have to throw in another vote for American Seasons, last time we were there; it was one of our favorite meals.

As for affordable options, we do like Something Natural for lunch. Grab a sandwich (get a half -it's more than enough) and head out to the beach to eat it.

And Queequegs, out on the patio. And Black-Eyed Susans (breakfast or dinner)

We look forward to checking out Sfoglia, Oran M'or, and the Straight Wharf this go-round.

And yes, a blazer does come in handy, but you get to wear them with Nantucket reds, green pants with whales embroidered on them, or some such look that Mr. Coolranch finds hard to pull off here in Texas.

Challah back!

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  • 1 month later...

We just got back from 2 nights on-island...

And had really terrific dinners both nights - first night at Black Eyed Susans, and the second night at Sfoglia.

Black Eyed Susans - we made reservations for the 6p seating (the only seating you CAN make reservations for) and it was well worth it, in my opinion...when we arrived there was a line to the corner of people who did NOT have reservations...i was much happier to eat early than to wait on line...remember it is a) cash only and b) BYOB...on the later point, i would skip the liquor store on main street (murray's) and go a little farther afield to Island Liquors on Washington Street - the two extra blocks will yield a much better selection of wine.

Sfoglia - Incredible bread, great (mostly) simple italian food, good small wine list, and the dessert - a peach/blueberry tart with corn gelato - was to die for...we liked it all so much that we booked while in the nantucket Sfoglia for a table at the New York Sfoglia for this coming weekend (we live in NYC)...

Other meals:

We had lunch at the Wauwinet (where we were staying)...was quite good and the wine list is impressive...it was just too expensive for us to stay there AND have dinner there...

We needed a quick lunch in Nantucket town one day and got sandwiches at Provisions...they were better than average, with a very interesting sandwich menu....

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We just got back from 2 nights on-island...

And had really terrific dinners both nights - first night at Black Eyed Susans, and the second night at Sfoglia.

Black Eyed Susans - we made reservations for the 6p seating (the only seating you CAN make reservations for) and it was well worth it, in my opinion...when we arrived there was a line to the corner of people who did NOT have reservations...i was much happier to eat early than to wait on line...remember it is a) cash only and b) BYOB...on the later point, i would skip the liquor store on main street (murray's) and go a little farther afield to Island Liquors on Washington Street - the two extra blocks will yield a much better selection of wine.

Sfoglia - Incredible bread, great (mostly) simple italian food, good small wine list, and the dessert - a peach/blueberry tart with corn gelato - was to die for...we liked it all so much that we booked while in the nantucket Sfoglia for a table at the New York Sfoglia for this coming weekend (we live in NYC)...

Other meals:

We had lunch at the Wauwinet (where we were staying)...was quite good and the wine list is impressive...it was just too expensive for us to stay there AND have dinner there...

We needed a quick lunch in Nantucket town one day and got sandwiches at Provisions...they were better than average, with a very interesting sandwich menu....

We also just got back.

Guess we missed each other!

:wacko:

Agree with your assessments, especially Sfoglia.

We have been to the New York version and it is very similar. I believe Gael Greene gave it a nice mention in New York Magazine recently. It is pretty much packed every night (like the Nantucket original it is very small).

You might want to check and see if they got their liquor license (it has been BYOB for a while).

Wauwinet was, as always, quite wonderful for lunch though the new chef has dispensed with the small plates concept. The food is very good and the level of service also near perfect.

One major problem Nantucket has is service help--waitstaff etc. Because the island is so expensive it is impossible to get good professional help. Many places rely on foreign labor--students etc and the service at many places can be very spotty.

Did not make it to Chanticleer which had just opened under the management of Susan (from Black Eyed Susan's) as a French Bistro type place.

If they get it right--this spot can be one of the most romantic and pretty places in the world.

As for wines, The Cellar (a bit out of town) is superb. It opened a year or so ago and is run by a wonderful person--Leslie Chumsae. She has a very nice and eclectic selection at fair prices.

Most reports indicate that restaurant business was down this year (as much as 20%). The thinking is the"new money" folks who have built million dollar mansions are dining at home more often than not.

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  • 10 months later...

Bumping this up as I'm headed to Nantucket for the last two weeks of August. We will be quite a large family group - with a clutch of kids of assorted ages (1-10) - and will likely be cooking for ourselves for the most part.

In that regard, I'd be interested in any specialist grocery/bakers/ butchers/ delis/ wine stores (especially wine stores!) where we can pick up good quality meats and provisions.

My husband and I would also like to take advantage of some free babysitting to celebrate our birthdays (both in the previous week) with a good dinner. While I'm anxious that this will be top notch in the food department, I think it's highly unlikely my husband will be persuaded to pack a jacket unless not bringing one will reduce us to burger and fries. Any suggestions gratefully received.

Also any ideas for casual family lunches/early dinners where we can all relax - preferably where we can sit outside? Breakfast and good ice cream spots, too.

Thanks in advance for any pointers.

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When I lived on Nantucket my favorite place to go for breakfast and for a really good casual dinner was Black Eyed Susan's(lucky for everyone it is a BYOB!). A reservation is a must!

Best high end resaurant in town is American Seasons. Though, in the middle of summer it can be a little off. Since you stated you will be on island in mid September, it should be fine.

I may be a bit byass, because I worked there until the end of last season but, the best high end on the island is Topper's at the Wauwinet. It is the most expensive spot on the island, but the service is the most professional and the food is great. One of the best parts about this restaurant is the view. There is not a better place on the island to have dinner at sunset on your anniversary. Request a table on the deck if the weather is good.

*BTW We had Alain Ducasse in for dinner last year celebrating his 50th birthday with his wife. If it is good enough for AD it is good enough for anyone.*

Lola 41 is a great restaurant in town that has a conemporary global influnce. The sushi I had there last year was great.

Provisions and Something Natural are the best sandwich shops.

The Brotherhood of Theives is a best place to go for drinks. ( as long as you are upstairs or outside.)

When dining in town always skip dessert and go to the Juice Guy's Ice Cream Shop. There is a reason why people line up around the corner to get a taste.

Over all expect to pay a lot. Everything on the island is expensive. If you go into any ACK restaurant expecting to get a good deal, you will always be disappointed. If you go to have fun, you may be pleasently surprised.

Edited by kpzachary (log)
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Bumping this up as I'm headed to Nantucket for the last two weeks of August. We will be quite a large family group - with a clutch of kids of assorted ages (1-10) - and will likely be cooking for ourselves for the most part.

In that regard, I'd be interested in any specialist grocery/bakers/ butchers/ delis/ wine stores (especially wine stores!)  where we can pick up good quality meats and provisions.

My husband and I would also like to take advantage of some free babysitting to celebrate our birthdays (both in the previous week) with a good dinner. While I'm anxious that this will be top notch in the food department, I think it's highly unlikely my husband will be persuaded to pack a jacket unless not bringing one will reduce us to burger and fries. Any suggestions gratefully received.

Also any ideas for casual family lunches/early dinners where we can all relax - preferably where we can sit outside? Breakfast and good ice cream spots, too.

Thanks in advance for any pointers.

Best bakery: Something Natural

Best butcher/deli: Cowboy's

Best Gourmet Store: Fahey & Fromagerie (Thai food in the middle of the season!)

Best Fish Shop: Nantucket Seafood

Best Pizza: Sophie T's ( although, you should try the new Pi Pizzeria)

Best Sandwhich Shop: Tied between Something Natural and Provisions

Best Breakfast: Black Eyed Susan's ( though with a large group, you won't get in, try Arno's on Main Street)

Best Casual Lunch Outside: Topper's (in town try The Even Keel)

Best Casual Dinner outside: Black Eyed Susan's ( there is a small back patio with a large table for about ten or twelve. You must make an advanced reservation.)

Best Ice Cream: The Juice Guy's Ice Cream Shop

Best Burger: The Brotherhood of Theives

Best Bar: The Brotherhood of Theives

Best Liqour/Lower Priced Wine Store: The Islander (you are better off bringing your wine over. It is much, much cheaper that way.)

Best High End Wine Shop: The Cellar

Best Beer: Cisco Brewery

Best Date Dinner: Topper's ( He will need a jacket and the kids are not welcome in the evening. If he refuses the jacket, go to American Seasons.)

***Don't forget that everything is expensive on Nantucket, so if you think about it, maybe you could stop at Stop and Shop in Hyannis before you go over on the fairy.***

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Now that's a comprehensive list! :cool: Thanks kpzachary! I bet that was a wild time on-island.

The only thing I can contribute to that list from personal experience is the quality and courtesy of Souza's Seafood, 23 Trotter's Lane (508-228-9140). It's been some years now but when on our annual week-long visits we stopped by there every day for something and it was always a joy.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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  • 1 month later...

Thanks for all the tips. As expected, the sheer numbers of our group meant that we self-catered for the most part.

We did make it out a few times.

Breakfast at Black Eyed Susan's was a definite highlight and we had a very tasty cheap-ish lunch at a bistro (forget the name) in the building where the coffee joint is.

My husband's relatives gave us a gift certificate for the Straight Wharf for our combined birthdays. I'd say it was good - although it certainly helped we had half the bill covered, with highlights a salad of three kinds of basil and preserved lemon, oysters and a nicely presented cheese plate.

Apart from that, our most frequented spot was probably Sayles' seafood - fresh fish at a reasonable price.

Mostly though, we took it home and cooked it ourselves: lobsters, scallops, bluefish, steamers.... Yum.

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