Cape Cod

Falmouth and Sandwich, MA

  • Current
    Weather

Clouds & 65°

  • When to
    Visit

Summer

  • Population
     

84,463

  • Founded
     

1639

By Jacqueline Cain

There are plenty of reasons to visit the Upper Cape, the region of Cape Cod closest to mainland Massachusetts. Take advantage of the relative proximity to Boston and plan a weekend around its beautiful beaches, or visit on a stopover en route to Martha’s Vineyard before catching the ferry from Woods Hole. The area is also getting increasingly exciting food and drink options, from a buzzy new beer taproom on the beach to an old diner car now dishing up fresh seafood and top-shelf wine. Ahead, visit six local spots around Falmouth and Sandwich to find the best restaurants on the Upper Cape.

There are plenty of reasons to visit the Upper Cape, the region of Cape Cod closest to mainland Massachusetts. Take advantage of the relative proximity to Boston and plan a weekend around its beautiful beaches, or visit on a stopover en route to Martha’s Vineyard before catching the ferry from Woods Hole. The area is also getting increasingly exciting food and drink options, from a buzzy new beer taproom on the beach to an old diner car now dishing up fresh seafood and top-shelf wine. Ahead, visit six local spots around Falmouth and Sandwich to find the best restaurants on the Upper Cape.

Credit: Snowy Owl Coffee Roasters

Snowy Owl Coffee Roasters
Snowy Owl is a top name in Cape Cod coffee thanks to its cozy coffee house in Brewster, which opened in 2015, and a quaint espresso bar in Chatham. The coffee roasting company, which imports beans directly from a network of farmers in Latin America and East Africa and roasts them on site, grew into this latest location in Sandwich in 2021. Situated on Route 6A, the Upper Cape cafe is the headquarters for Snowy Owl’s coffee roasting operations, as well as the bakery, which turns out food options like tender Peruvian-style empanadas in creative flavors like bacon-egg-and-cheese. The cool and comfortable coffee shop in Sandwich offers plenty of seating inside, as well as picnic tables outside. It’s open every day. Take me there.

Credit: Brian Samuels

Moonakis Cafe
No, you’re not still dreaming: the Blueberry Pancakes at Moonakis Cafe really are that light and fluffy. The summer-staple breakfast stack, bursting with in-season fruit, is one of the reasons why this East Falmouth roadside breakfast joint is so renowned (it’s a multi-year Best of Cape Cod breakfast spot)—but waffle lovers are never disappointed by the version here, either. And don’t sleep on the savory stuff: Omelets and Eggs Benedict are also winners. Corned Beef Hash is another standby; it uses the same house-cured brisket that comprises our go-to sandwich on the lunch menu. The no-frills, family-friendly cafe also offers takeout. It was cash-only for years, but Moonakis recently began accepting credit cards. Take me there.

Credit: Pose Studios

Wolf Pizza at Cape Cod Winery
Cape Cod Winery is a lively, outdoor bar and vineyard in East Falmouth that’s a must-visit for wine lovers—and pizza aficionados. The scenic spot populated with picnic tables, Adirondack chairs, rockers, and fire pits has shaded seats beneath a big-top tent, and a stage that frequently hosts live music. Pick a date when Wolf Pizza is on the event schedule (most Sundays in June and July, and other days throughout the season) to enjoy some of the best pizza on Cape Cod, fired to order in a mobile, wood-fueled oven. Wolf Pizza’s blistered, chewy, neo-Neapolitan-style pies come topped in creative combinations like the Post Malone with vodka sauce, heirloom tomatoes, mozzarella, and pesto—and are perfectly suited to generous by-the-glass pours of Cape Cod’s berry-dry Rosé Mermaid Water or light and crisp Vineyard Sound Sauvignon Blanc. Take me there.

Credit: Brian Samuels

Tree House Brewing Company
Until recently, folks interested in tasting some of Massachusetts’ most storied craft beer had to visit Charlton, a town southwest of Worcester. But Tree House Brewing Company grew several branches across the state in 2021, including a Cape Cod taproom right on the beach in Sandwich. Reservations are required Wednesday through Sunday to stay for pints and enjoy the view, but it’s worth planning ahead. Tree House Cape Cod is a destination for a selection of world-class beers, from hazy IPAs like Julius and Green which Tree House is best known for; to crisp lagers and imperial stouts flavored with coffee and chocolate. There’s a small selection of pre-made sandwiches and snacks for purchase, and Tree House also offers beer, canned cocktails, cider, seltzer, and coffee to-go for preorder every day of the week. Take me there.

Credit: Brian Samuels

Epic Oyster
If not for all the fresh seafood and Portuguese influences on the menu, you might forget you’re on Cape Cod while dining at Epic Oyster. There aren’t many places on the Cape steaming littleneck clams with house-made chouriço, roasted tomatoes, and piri piri sauce; dishing up springy ramen noodle bowls with rich dashi and flash-fried lobster; and pairing it all with a top-shelf selection of organic and small-production wines. The ambiance at this North Falmouth favorite is on point, too: Situated in a former diner car (which was frequented by Bob Dylan, by the way) and an annex, shuckers are stationed behind the counter and provide expert culinary entertainment along with your oysters. Reservations are available, but there’s usually a wait anyway due to this spot’s small size and awesomeness. Take me there.

Credit: Brian Samuels

Smitty’s Ice Cream
This family-owned ice creamery is beloved for friendly service and a huge variety of goodie-packed ice cream made on-site in East Falmouth. Super rich and creamy, Smitty’s Ice Cream is classic New England at its best. Expect a wait on summer nights, with the reward of large scoops in flavors like Black Raspberry, Rocky Road, fresh Peach in-season, and Cape Cod Crunch, a signature vanilla-based creation with dried cranberries, Grape Nuts, and chocolate chips. Sugar-free and other types of ice cream are available, as well as sundaes with luscious fresh whipped cream, frappes, floats, and other treats. The seasonal Smitty’s has a second Upper Cape location in Mashpee, as well as an East Orleans outpost. Take me there.

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