Monday, August 22, 2016

Where to Eat on Cape Cod with Toddlers

On our last night on the Cape, we were looking up where to have dinner and found a place that seemed to be a bit on the fancier side. Even though we take Luca out to dinner all the time and we happened to be in one of the most family-friendly vacation spots in the entire country, I still didn’t want it to be all soft candlelight and white tablecloths while he’s shoving 25 pieces of pasta in his mouth at once.  

I called the place and asked if it was ok to bring a 2-year-old and the guy basically said: This is Cape Cod and it’s the summer. There are kids all over the place.

And well, that basically about sums it up. We went out to eat a bunch of times during our weeklong stay in Harwich Port, both there and in Chatham. Here’s a quick look at where we went, in case you’re planning a trip or totally want to judge us on our eating habits. (We made lobster rolls one night so that makes us kind of cool, right? ;)

Hot Stove Saloon, Harwich Port: We stopped here as soon as we got into town, since we arrived right around lunchtime. It was quick service and had a good, bar-food style menu. There were high chairs and an entire booth of kids watching the Olympics. We ate inside, but it looked like the outside tables would make it nice to do some people watching. The other upside of this place was that it happened to be right next door to the real estate agency where we needed to pick up keys to the rental house.

Brax Landing, Harwich Port: Speaking of the real estate agency, this is the place they recommended when my father-in-law asked where we should go for seafood. The place itself felt super casual, and with a 90-minute wait, it was nice to be able to sit on the back patio specifically reserved for waiting/drink-ordering. The weather wasn’t the best and it was drizzling/super humid, but I bet on a nicer night the views of the harbor would have been great. Luca shoved an entire place of mac and cheese in his face and everyone liked the calamari in particular.

Ember, Harwich Port: We spent the second half of Tuesday out in Provincetown—we ate lunch at Bubalas—but made our way back home for dinner. This pizza place looks trendy and well-maintained from the outside: there’s a big fire pit right in the middle of the outdoor tables and, from what we saw, fewer families with young kids and more older teens/20-somethings. (Though it could have been because it was a little later in the evening.) There was another super long wait, about 90 minutes or so, and we wound up having to sit inside, even though the outside looked way more fun. We ordered the margherita and a fig and prosciutto, which skewed slightly sweet, though we liked it overall.

The Mad Minnow, Harwich Port: This place just opened recently and, on Wednesday when John and I had a little date night, we decided to try it. We had another long wait (are you sensing a trend here?), but it was one of the town’s Port Summer Nights, so there was live music and the stores were all open, so we browsed a bit before going back to the bar for a drink. They had an Aperol spritz on the menu—which, if you happened to have studied abroad in Padova like I did, you know how amazing/special they are—so I knew we were off to a good start. This was probably my favorite place, food wise. We had one of the appetizer specials, and then I had the pulled chicken and John had a burger. Simple, but really really good. I totally recommend.

The Chatham Squire, Chatham: We spent Thursday morning in Chatham, walking around and eventually getting lunch. This place is totally famous and for good reason. It’s laid back and the food was good: I had the clam chowder (mostly because I overheard someone at the bar the night before saying how it was the best they’d had in the area) and there were little kids everywhere you looked.

Bistro on Main, Chatham: This was the place I mentioned calling earlier. As it turns out, they were pretty right and there were kids, as well as a kids’ menu, though they didn’t have any high chairs. (We were seated in the bar area, so I’m not sure if that made a difference? I’m thinking no, though.) The whole ambiance, even in the bar area, was really nice.

Perks Coffee Shop, Harwich Port: This is a coffee shop PLUS beer garden and can I just say for the record that this is a great combination and there needs to be more of them out there. John and I actually walked in here on our Wednesday night date, but the place was packed. On Saturday morning, before leaving, we went in for breakfast and it didn’t disappoint. It’s super casual and you order at the counter and then bring your food to your table—the garden bagel, which was essentially vegetables and cream cheese on a bagel—was great.  

Throughout the week, we also went to Sundae School and Emack and Bolio’s for ice cream a couple times, which was awesome, and picked up sandwiches and cold cuts for lunches at Scribano’s Italian Deli, because we are a total cliché—no just kidding, it was because it was great and had fresh mortadella and that is the way to my heart.

Any places we should add to our list for next year?


  1. Bookmarking this post! I'm familiar with many of these spots, but will make it a point to try the Mad Minnow and Perks next. Thanks for the great advice -- looks like you had a fantastic trip :)

  2. Thanks - we had the best time! Hope you like those places when you try them!!