This post originally appeared in the August 5, 2023 edition of Eater’s Travel newsletter, a place for Eater’s editors and writers to share their tips for navigating the world’s most delicious destinations. Subscribe now.
Although I started going to Cape Cod only a few years ago, it didn’t take me long to find the restaurants, ice cream shops, and markets I wanted to keep returning to as frequently as possible. And on a recent visit, I did just that.
At the top of my list is the Beachcomber in Wellfleet. Located at Cahoon Hollow Beach in a former lifesaving station built at the end of the 19th century, it’s a restaurant, bar, and all-around scene. While the inevitable crowds can be a bit of a drag, both the food and extremely efficient service justify the wait for a table: Few things are more pleasurable than sitting at the outside bar and scarfing a platter of ice-cold oysters, followed by some fat steamers dredged in melted butter and a crispy fried clam roll or two.
Like the Beachcomber, Arnold’s in Eastham is as busy as it is efficient and is home to a lot of outdoor seating. My standing order there is the fishwich, served hot and bountiful with fish fried crispy on the outside and falling-apart-tender on the inside. I order mine with a slice of American cheese, then slather it with tartar sauce and try to eat it all before the bun disintegrates between my fingers. I always get it with two side orders of coleslaw — Arnold’s makes its slaw with dried cranberry and apple, which is probably controversial to some folks, but I love it and just don’t care.
As a self-avowed ice cream freak, Cape Cod is my earthly paradise — there’s at least one decent ice cream shop per practically every square mile of it, and as such, it’s hard to choose a favorite. That said, I will always stand in line for Sundae School, which has locations in Harwich Port and Dennisport. It serves one of the two best versions of grasshopper pie ice cream that I’ve ever tasted (the other is at Mitchell’s in San Francisco). The cookie-to-cream ratio is perfection, meaning that it’s basically a bunch of mashed-up Oreos pasted together with mint ice cream, both bold and refreshing.
Finally, I always seem to end up in Provincetown just when lunch rolls around, which means I head straight down Commercial Street to Pop + Dutch. This is a sandwich shop that truly grasps that making a sandwich is as much an art as a skill, and as a pescatarian, I appreciate the balance and breadth of its vegetarian varieties. One of my favorites is the Oh You Fancy, Huh, which is smashed avocado and chile flakes on multigrain bread. The shop also doubles as a small grocery store — you can find salads and baked goods here, but also lube, dog treats, sunscreen, and vintage cookbooks, making it a perfect one-stop shop for almost any conceivable need you might have during a day in Ptown.