Where To Eat When You’re on Nantucket
New England Elegance
Charming cobblestone streets, picturesque storefronts, cotton candy-tinted hydrangea bushes, cool salty breezes, and the opportunity to taste a lip-smacking lobster roll—these are the hallmarks of a stay on Nantucket, an iconic windswept island in the Atlantic Ocean just 30 miles off the coast of Cape Cod. Aside from the coastal eloquence that Nantucket is known for, the rising food scene on the island draws more curious food aficionados every year. Here, you’ll find a little bit of everything, from sweet to savory, and of course bountiful seafood.
Brant Point Grill
Brant Point Lighthouse is one of the most Instagram-worthy lighthouses on the Atlantic Coast, and nearby Brant Point Grill is the go-to hub for steak and seafood when you’re on Nantucket. Island visitors take note: Sunday brunch at the Grill is a must. Their signature Lobster Bloody Mary features a quarter pound of straight-from-the-ocean lobster. Plus, the view from the harbor while dining is priceless.
CRU Nantucket is the freshest place to eat and be seen eating when you’re on Nantucket. The hashtag-approved (#shuckingamazing) waterfront oyster bar has interiors designed by Ralph Lauren, and oyster dishes, such as the Roasted Pocomo and Meadow Oysters (green-garlic butter with house-made hot sauce), are delicious enough to warrant sticking around for a second pass while you take in some live music and beautiful views. Aside from the famed raw oyster bar, CRU’s Nantucket Lobster Roll (served warm, buttered, and toasted on a brioche roll) is another food item to add to your Nantucket food bucket list.
You’ll want to wear your very best boat shoes for this nautical upscale dining experience. Nantucket Prime at the Jared Coffin House serves up an intimate American steakhouse menu. The iconic dining room is inside an historic inn that survived the fire of 1846. Truly, it’s the perfect setting for your coastal stay and a one-of-a-kind culinary setting.
The over-80 years’ family owned-and-operated Downyflake is truly a Nantucket staple. Aside from the travel-worthy donuts, the diner serves up coveted breakfast and lunch staples a la Nantucket, such as homemade blueberry scones and the famed The Downy Omelet.
A sophisticated seaside five-star restaurant that’s set inside the quaint Wauwinet inn, Topper’s has a menu for any meal of the day. The buttermilk fried chicken and Belgian waffle brunch dish is pure #vacationgoals on a platter. The restaurant also has the grandest wine list (over 1,450 wines) along the coast, too.
Any Nantucket native can attest to the fact that the line for an ice cream waffle cone from Juice Bar can wrap around the town. However, the line is worth the wait for their homemade creamy creations and fresh juices. Just be sure to snap a photo before it’s gone.
Make time for a quick Sage Spritz cocktail while watching the sunset. The go-to spot for chilled drinks is a coastally charming spot that’s been serving up cocktails since 1958 known as Galley Beach (the Rupert Garcia Margarita is divine). It’s not only their cocktails you’ll want to try, however. The Galley’s New England Clam Chowder is heavenly as well
A leisurely morning bike ride around the island calls for a perfectly chilled Nitro ice coffee, so stop by Handlebar Café before you snap on your helmet. With a variety of unique tea and coffee offerings, Handlebar will become your beverage go-to spot while you're on the island.
Aunt Leah’s Fudge may be “The World’s Best Fudge,” but it’s been earning acclaim from locals for decades. If you can dream of the flavor, Aunt Leah’s has it, so expect to see flavors like birthday cake, cappuccino, maple walnut, chocolate M&Ms, all ready for you to take home. If fudge isn’t your thing, Aunt Leah’s chocolate covered cherries just might be.
American Seasons’ ambiance is provided by candlelight as guests sample dishes made from seasonally fresh ingredients, part of a cuisine referred to as “New American Seasonal Foods.” Tasty salmon and cod fillets and roasted cauliflower pavé are on the menu. You shouldn’t miss the wine list either—it has over 500 American-made wines.
Act like a true Nantucket native and visit the local hangout Cisco Brewery. Whether you kick back and enjoying their assortment of craft beers (and wines) or just want to people watch and admire a classic coastal vibe, Cisco is a must-stop during your time on the island. Plus, the hangout is dog friendly.