Nantucket, Massachusetts

Hop off the ferry and head straight to the island’s best restaurants and bars.

  • Current
    Weather

Clouds & 56°

  • When to
    Visit

June-September

  • How to
    get there

Ferry or plane

  • Square
    Miles

105.3

By Catherine Smart

All cool breezes and cobblestones, bright window boxes and shingled houses, Nantucket oozes classic New England charm. Sure, you expect to see plenty of Lilly Pulitzer, but the Grey Lady is also home to some of the region’s most talented chefs and hardworking hospitality pros. Whether you’re looking to settle in for farm-focused small plates alongside a magnum of something pink, or packing a picnic to enjoy on a slice of the island’s 9,000 acres of conservation land, book your ferry tickets ASAP to ACK.  Here’s our guide to the top eating and drinking on Nantucket Island right now.

All cool breezes and cobblestones, bright window boxes and shingled houses, Nantucket oozes classic New England charm. Sure, you expect to see plenty of Lilly Pulitzer, but the Grey Lady is also home to some of the region’s most talented chefs and hardworking hospitality pros. Whether you’re looking to settle in for farm-focused small plates alongside a magnum of something pink, or packing a picnic to enjoy on a slice of the island’s 9,000 acres of conservation land, book your ferry tickets ASAP to ACK.  Here’s our guide to the top eating and drinking on Nantucket Island right now.

Roastd General Store and Cafe
Packed with a post-yoga crowd of both visitors and true locals, this mid-island shop serves creative lattes and a wide array of CBD products. Whether you’re looking to try mushroom tea or restock your collagen powder, Roastd is ACK’s one-stop new-age wellness shop. If, like us, you like a hearty mix of virtue and indulgence in your self-care routine, note the island’s doughnut destination, The Downyflake, is just around the corner. Take me there.

Lemon Press
This airy all-day cafe and cocktail bar offers avocado toasts, creamy chia pudding, and cold-pressed juices, as well as sandwiches and savory plates. Wake up with a unique steamer from the latte list (we love the Gold Dust made with turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, date sugar, and cardamom)—or a vivacious cocktail like Sumac Salty Dog, made with a botanical grapefruit and rose vodka. A morning meal at
Lemon Press will revitalize you for another day of revelry on island. Take me there.

Pizzeria Gemelle
It’s hard to overstate the deliciousness of Gemelle’s Neapolitan-style pizza. The mozzarella cheese is made in-house, the oven was imported from Italy and rebuilt brick-by-brick, and it’s the kid-sister spot to Italian heavyweight Ventuno. Of course the pizza is perfect. Choose a classic Margherita or spring for an inventive specialty like Giovanni, topped with thinly sliced potatoes, or Annabella, with sliced guanciale, black truffles, and a cracked egg. But you really need to eat your way through the whole tightly edited menu, because the kale Caesar and Aperol Spritz round things out nicely—and there’s tiramisu. Take me there.

Millie’s
This West End institution is a must for fresh fish tacos, icy margaritas, and laid-back beach vibes. Millie’s embodies the free and easy spirit of Madaket, and it’s well worth the excursion: You can take The Wave NRTA bus, cruise down a bike path, or—our favorite—zip out to Millie’s on a rented scooter. Once you’re there, choose from simple, flavorful dishes like Yellowfin Tuna Poke or the super-summery Steps Beach quesadilla stuffed with lobster meat, slow-roasted tomato, and grilled zucchini. Whether you take in stunning views from the airy upstairs dining room or sit outside at a picnic table, sipping a signature Madaket Mystery cocktail as the sun sets will make you a Millie’s fan for life. Take me there.

The Nautilus
The Nautilus has a casual vibe and serious food, and is one of the buzziest restaurants on island (and off: It recently expanded with a Boston outpost in the Seaport). This lively spot serves comfort food with Asian influence, with signatures such as Blue Crab Fried Rice and Tempura East Coast Oyster Tacos. From a light lunch of tuna poke and shisito peppers, to late dinners over large-format plates like the Whole Roasted Peking Duck, it all pairs with clever craft cocktails, a selection of sake, or—best of all—a porron of wine. At The Nautilus, it always feels like a party. Take me there

The Proprietors Bar & Table
Husband-and-wife team Michael and Orla LaScola, formerly owners of island mainstay American Seasons, fuse their long-time relationships with local farmers and penchant for global fare to thrilling effect at The Proprietors. The cozy space—with its exposed beams and brick fireplace—feels like the couple’s home, and wines and cocktails are top-shelf. Showstopper small plates change regularly, but expect dishes like Chicken Liver Pȃté with cocoa nib and golden mostarda, Red Lentil Hummus with dukkah spice and chewy house-baked naan; the sleeper-favorite Fried Broccoli with crunchy peanuts and sweet-hot sambal; and springy Cavatelli rich and bright with ricotta, spring pea, and lemon crumb. Take me there.

Ventuno
The light is low, and there’s a fireplace in almost every dining nook of the mid-19th century Federal Street mansion. Despite the historical Nantucket setting, Ventuno always feels current. (To say nothing of its hip little-sister Back Bar, one of the most Instagrammable spots on the island.) Start with antipasti like the All Kale Caesar or crisp local Fritto Misto before a primi-sized fresh pasta and an entree of fresh fish or maybe La Fiorentina: a prime porterhouse steak for two. But between your spritzing and spaghetti, don’t forget that you’ll want to leave room for at least one of the fantastic desserts. Take me there.

Straight Wharf
Nearly 50 years in, Straight Wharf is a fine dining institution that hasn’t slipped a bit from its perch as one of the island’s best restaurants. Elegant without ever feeling overwrought, with warm service and an excellent wine list—the dining room is where we want to mark just about any occasion with polished favorites like the clam bake or wood-grilled swordfish with Sicialian caponata. For everyday eating, the attached Bar Grill is our go-to for post-beach drinks and addictive bluefish pâté. Take me there.

Cisco Brewers
You haven’t really been to Nantucket until you’ve visited Cisco Brewers, a.k.a. the island’s happy place. (No, visiting one of Cisco’s newer off-island locales, like Boston’s Seaport, doesn’t cut it.) The experience starts at the visitor’s center downtown, where you’ll hop on the free shuttle blaring Grateful Dead from the speakers. When you roll up to the brewery—which is also home to Triple Eight Distillery and Nantucket Vineyard—the fun really begins. Three covered bars surround an open courtyard with a healthy mix of locals, tourists, summer people, friendly dogs, and free-range kids, all lounging at communal tables or grooving to a local band. It’s worth noting that you don’t have to be a drinker to enjoy Cisco: Come for the live music or the food trucks. Take me there.

Cru
Situated at the end of Straight Wharf, we head to Cru to stare out at sparkling water, beautiful boats, and—let’s just say it—the beautiful people (the likes of Kourtney Kardashian have been known to hang here). At a quartzite-topped bar in a gold-accented dining room, when the ocean breeze blows through it’s almost as if you’re lounging on one of those yachts at arm’s length. The lively brick-lined outdoor area has plush patio furniture and twinkling cafe lights, under which you’ll sip cocktails like Rumor Has It, with gin, refreshing Yuzuri liqueur, lemon and blackberry, and dive into a freshly shucked seafood tower. This is a spot to linger. Take me there.

Updated by Jacqueline Cain

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