This Hyannis landmark has expanded over the years with a stylish year-round restaurant and bar, but at its heart Pain D’Avignon is an Old World bakery. Start your day at the cafe with an iced coffee or espresso and a flaky croissant, and pick up some goodies for later. We can’t resist a tender Cranberry Orange Oatmeal cookie, nor the bright and tangy lemon tart (if available), while freshly baked loaves like Country Sourdough and Rosemary Focaccia pair well with summertime cooking. Dining in at PDA offers the likes of a crispy Croque Monsieur for breakfast or brunch; French onion soup; and plates like cod papillote with summer squash and zucchini.
Sesuit Harbor Cafe
A classic waterfront seafood shack in Dennis, Sesuit Harbor Cafe is where to go for that coveted Cape Cod lobster roll. Overlooking a marina in Cape Cod Bay, this family-owned outdoor restaurant is famous for pairing classic New England views with that must-have sando. Theirs is full of big chunks of sweet lobster, mayo, and just enough celery crunch; served with lettuce and tomato in a grilled hot dog roll. Fried seafood plates and raw bar offerings are also worth the wait. (The line tends to move quickly; don’t worry.) Bring cash and your own adult beverage and snag a picnic table by the beach.
Four Seas Ice Cream
Cape Cod is full of nostalgic pleasures, and Four Seas Ice Cream has been a source of summer memories for nearly 90 years. Rich ice cream and cool sorbets are churned on-site in this blacksmith shop-turned-dairy bar in Centerville. There are plenty of unique flavors in rotation, from old-fashioned Penuche Pecan to Vanilla Chai; and fresh ingredients fuel classics like Strawberry, Coffee, and Cranberry Sherbet. Four Seas also sells pints to go.
An icy cooler full of nondescript lager might do at the beach, but when you’re ready for something a little more flavorful, check out Cape Cod’s booming craft beer scene. The Mid-Cape boasts a trio of taprooms: Devil’s Purse in South Dennis, mainstay Cape Cod Beer in Hyannis, and the newest on the scene, Barnstable Brewing. This family-owned spot makes a range of brews, from the easy-drinking Cape Crusher helles light lager to a not-too-boozy Sweet Night for S’mores stout—plus plenty of balanced IPAs. Barnstable typically hosts a food truck just beyond its backyard, which is a welcoming place to relax in Adirondack chairs pulled up to fire pits or gathered around shaded picnic tables.
With so many lobster rolls and oysters to eat, you’re probably not thinking about SoCal-style street food during your Cape escape—but we’re here to tell you, you should be. La Tacodilla, the pandemic pivot of Dennis fine-dining spot Clean Slate Eatery, is making some of the crispiest griddled corn tortillas we’ve ever had from the kitchen of a colorful food truck. It’s the cookout we didn’t know we needed this summer. Try the quesabirria, oozing with fried cheese and served with a savory consomme for dipping. If you’re really hungry, go for the bacon-wrapped, all-beef Sonoran Hot Dog topped with Porky Pinto Beans.
The inspired plates coming out of the kitchen at The Pheasant would be just as at-home in the big city as they are on Route 6 in Dennis. In 2018, a culinary couple took over the famed Red Pheasant Inn, keeping the iconic fine-dining spot’s farm-to-table ethos but adding a worldly flair. Currently available for takeout or outdoor dining in a whimsical garden, expect dishes like a tropical fruity Ceviche, Elote “Caesar” Salad (a wedge of romaine drizzled with garlicky dressing and topped with roasted corn, popcorn, and chili-lime chicharrones), and Moroccon Lamb Tacos. With a stellar selection of natural wines and well-crafted cocktails, this place delivers casual elegance.