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Nantucket is a nautical wonderland where vacationers retreat to cozy inns, while spending their days on the beach, riding bikes, boating, and downing some seriously good eats. There is a heap of great places to eat on the island, from the high end to surprisingly easy-on-the-wallet joints. Scenically, any place to eat here is perfection as it’s generally a gorgeous slice of land near some kind of water, and every business has a cute cottage look. But if we had to pick, based on great tasting fare and outstanding reviews, these restaurants in Nantucket take the cake.
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Downyflake, also known as Downyflake Doughnuts because they have the most delicious homestyle fried rings of dough, is the place to grab a satisfying traditional breakfast on a dime. Sugar, coconut, chocolate glazed—all the donuts are simple yet perfectly sweet and carb-alicious. If you are a berry lover be sure to dive into a stack of steaming blueberry pancakes loaded with fresh, plump blueberries and blueberry syrup, or the warm, drool-worthy raspberry bramble. Eggs Benedict with home fries, loaded omelets, biscuits and crispy bacon are a few things to suit savory taste buds in the morning.
For fancier occasions, the Ships Inn Restaurant features elegantly prepared American seafood dishes, along with many other creative plates. Whether it be halibut, salmon, swordfish or veal, dishes are seamlessly paired with flavors that compliment the proteins. But one thing all customers agree on is that the dessert outshines everything. Pistachio ice cream, raspberry sorbet and the ever famous soufflés which range in flavors like butterscotch and strawberry are truly the stars at Ships Inn. Guests rave about the chocolate soufflé the most.
With a wide menu selection of American classics and more refined seafood plates, Keepers Restaurant is both comforting yet elegant. From wings to a delicious spin on meatloaf, expect to leave totally full and satisfied. To give you more of an idea of the flexible nature of the menu, customers often sing the praises of the fried broccoli, Mexican Street corn, soba noodles, Mac and cheese and brussel sprouts—now that’s versatility. It’s worth mentioning they have a solid TripAdvisor rating as well.
Twists on Asian and seafood staples make The Nautilus a fun place to stop for a bite. Tuna poke is like a mash-up of a vibrant sushi roll, all mixed up in a bowl—it’s pure heaven. Oyster tacos are certainly unique, and the blue crab loaded fried rice is pure garlicky goodness with farm fresh egg and a Thai lime sauce. The mild Shishito peppers are a phenomenal and pleasantly light starter.
Bistro is an appropriate term for this quaint little nook of Nantucket—it’s literally in the rear of a cute cottage. According to guests, they might have the best grilled cheese and tomato soup ever. Local ingredients are used to create artisan dishes—for example, the beef tenderloin is dusted with a bit of truffle (yum). What’s really surprising is that they also have an incredible Pad Thai with mango and fried shrimp.
With tender pulled pork, brisket, Mac and cheese and crunchy burnt ends, B-ACK has all the basics checked off when it comes to a solid barbecue joint. Adding on to all the meaty goodness is a boldly flavorful kielbasa that’s made in house, paired with juicy pineapple. Plates are given a pleasant touch of green via veggies like asparagus. Smoked salmon, lobster empanadas with chipotle aioli and lobster rolls blend both southern and New England flavors harmoniously – it’s the best of both worlds.
You can’t get enough seafood in Nantucket—Seagrille has a menu full of creatively prepared dishes fresh from the ocean. The fisherman’s platter features classics such as clam bellies and enormous scallops, while seafood soups like the Quahog chowder are brimming with clams. For dessert, try the indulgent butter cake or the very “beachy” pineapple crepe.
Okay maybe you can get enough seafood—then there’s pizza! Located on Straight Wharf, it’s a pleasant place to dine outside while taking in views of the water. The crust has a great consistency and is perfectly thin so the toppings get plenty of attention. While classic cheese is available, it’s exciting to try some of the interesting flavor combos, like the Mr. Crunch with artisanal smoked ham and cape cod potato chips. These guys even serve some delicious breakfast pizzas with bacon, sausage, egg and cheese.
Just a quaint little mom and pop sandwich shop, Walter’s serves up filling traditional sandwiches by the water. Grab a tuna melt or Monte Cristo and head to the beach. Prices are quite friendly for basic sandwiches, and you can also find generously sized lobster rolls here. Very simple, yet sometimes the more basic things really hit the spot!