I’m on vacation this week. We’re on Cape Cod, and even though it’s drizzling, we’re having fun—after a stressful month, getting away was highly necessary.
But where to eat? In my other life, I write about restaurants, and people are always asking me for tips. So I’m happy to share some kid-friendly restaurant picks here—yep, of the fried seafood variety, but also a few offbeat suggestions. If you’re traveling to the Cape this summer, here are some fam-friendly ideas.
Breakfast: Eat Cake 4 Breakfast Bakery
Try the New Yorker croissant, which is basically an everything bagel in croissant form, stuffed with chive cream cheese. (There are also plenty of sweet croissants, scones and pastries, too!)
26 Wampum Drive, Brewster, 508-896-4444
Burgers ‘n Frappes: The Knack
Several food-focused locals tipped me off to this drive-in, which looks a little bit like Shake Shack but has a much bigger menu (lobster rolls, clam rolls, plus the requisite burgers and hot dogs). What really separates The Knack from the rest, though, are the toppings: Get your burger with pickled red onions, sweet horseradish sauce or lightly battered onion rings.
5 Route 6A, Orleans, 774-316-4595
Fried Dough: Provincetown Portuguese Bakery
Line up at this 121-year-old institution for red velvet cupcakes, a loaf of Portuguese bread (the perfect host or hostess gift) and sugar-coated malasada, Portuguese fried dough. They move fast, so have your order ready to shout from behind the pastry case.
299 Commercial St., Provincetown, 508-487-1803
Great Ice Cream: Smitty’s Homemade Ice Cream
Smitty’s has tons of flavors, tons of fresh toppings (blueberries, strawberries, plus the standards like hot fudge and marshmallow) and portions that are big but not disgustingly oversized. My go-to order is chocolate peanut butter in a waffle cone; my older son likes watermelon sorbet; and they even top their sundaes with a real, fresh cherry.
210 Main St., East Orleans, 508-255-5473
More Great Ice Cream: Four Seas
This is a Kennedy family favorite, but that isn’t why I love their mocha chip, which is the creamiest I’ve ever tried. Bonus points for lines that move fast and flavors that you won’t find elsewhere: eggnog, cranberry bog, honey whiskey and even pumpkin spice. Move over, Starbucks.
360 S. Main St., Centerville, 508-775-1394
Nostalgic Pick: Craigville Pizza & Mexican Restaurant
I remember coming here as a kid and being absolutely thrilled that I could order pizza and a taco all at the same restaurant. For a kid whose exposure to ethnic cuisine mainly consisted of occasional Chinese takeout, this was incredibly exotic. The pizza is better than the Mexican food here—it’s tough to do both well—and the jukebox and red-checkered-tablecloth nostalgia vibe is probably better than the food. However, for a cheap and quick meal when your crew can’t decide what to eat, you can’t beat it. And really, after too many beers in the sun, a beef and chicken “pinata pie” piled high with refried beans and sour cream is a perfect antidote.
618 Craigville Beach Road, Centerville, 508-775-2267
Scene: The Canteen
Full disclosure: A friend owns this P-town party spot, but I’d recommend it anyway because the food is amazing and the playlists are perfection. (My 4-year-old was enchanted by the combination of the Spice Girls, Britney Spears and Sister Sledge.) Order at the counter and then bring your frosé, fudgy brownies or crab rangoon panini (crab with a healthy smear of cream cheese) to the back patio for a relaxing lunch. If you’re in a hurry to get to the beach, visit the grab-and-go case for deviled eggs doused in gochujang chili sauce, cookies, nuts, salads and pickles.
225 Commercial St., Provincetown, 508-487-3800
Seafood: Captain Frosty’s
This is the decades-old seafood shack of your golden beachy dreams: fried scallops and clams, clam chowder, frappes—best enjoyed on their patio, where your kids can run a (little bit) wild.
219 Main St., Dennis, 508-385-8548
Tacos: La Tacodilla
This pop-up from the team behind Clean Slate Eatery is on my family’s list for tomorrow—we haven’t tried it yet, but people I trust highly recommend these Southern California-style tacos (which aren’t easy to find on the Cape) served on griddled corn tortillas: pork-and-potato puree, sweet potato, cumin-lime Brussels sprouts and an assortment of meats. They also make Mexican grilled cheese and hot chocolate ice cream.
702 Main St., West Dennis, 508-292-8817
What are your favorites? Let me know in the comments!