Nantucket isn’t just an easy summer getaway for New Englanders; it’s also a hotspot for travelers looking for an authentic island experience full of fresh seafood and frozen beverages. And for a tiny island just 30 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, it’s fairly jam-packed and ready to fulfill any culinary craving. Here are the must-have meals and can’t-miss cocktails to try on a weekend getaway in Nantucket.
Friday Dining on Nantucket
Most people arrive in Nantucket via ferry. If you come hungry, you won’t be disappointed: Provisions sandwich shop is only a few minutes from the dock and it sells wholesome salad and sandwich options made with locally grown vegetables, inspired by summer on the island. The house specialty, the Terrific Turkey sandwich—dressed with stuffing and cranberry sauce—is the perfect bite to tide you over until you check into your weekend residence and get ready for an evening out.
Once you’ve settled in, the Sea Grille, located mid-island, is a great introduction to Nantucket’s food staples like seafood, steak, soups, and salad. The menu provides a variety of options, in addition to extensive wine and drink lists. If you’re thinking salmon or swordfish, the Royal Paloma cocktail from the Porch Bar specials is the way to go; if your eyes are wandering to a center cut of filet mignon, recruit the knowledgeable staff to assist in choosing the perfect glass of red for your palette.
To get the authentic local experience on your first night out, opt for a community table in the lively bar area for mingling during your meal. Be sure to start off with a shared plate of steamed mussels, and don’t give up your stool until you’ve indulged in the gooey chocolate brownie and a round of espresso martinis.
Saturday Dining on Nantucket
Spend your summer Saturday the right way at Cisco Brewers. Tucked away from the center of town on Bartlett Farm Road, this brewery offers live music, an expansive outdoor patio, and three separate bar rooms—all of which makes sampling products from this three-in-one winery, brewery and distillery an experience not to be missed.
Step up to the craft beer bar for a seasonal Summer Lager or sip on one of their signature cocktails, mixed with the distillery’s own Triple Eight Vodka. Be sure to try the Brewmaster Bloody, their take on a Bloody Mary, complete with horseradish-garlic-peppercorn infused vodka.
Complement this spicy cocktail with a fully loaded lobster roll from the Nantucket Lobster Trap’s Food Truck. On-site daily, all summer long, you can catch the truck serving up casual fare, packaged “beach ready” for quick and easy consumption on the go.
Still haven’t had your seafood fix? 167 Raw Bar has you covered. Their team sets up shop on the patio every Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday during the summer to offer a selection of the island’s best oysters, cherrystones, and crab claws.
After slurping down your daily dose of oysters and house-made sangria, skip the sit down dinner and opt for a lighter, sweeter option. No beach vacation is complete without waffle cones and a scoop (or three) of your favorite ice cream flavor. The Juice Bar is Nantucket’s busiest ice cream shop, with good reason. It offers a wide variety of homemade ice creams, frozen yogurt, soft serve, and even healthy juice options if you’re looking to stay in a summer body state of mind.
Sunday Dining on Nantucket
Sunday mornings are made for cozy brunches and hearty plates, especially when you’re running on island time. Black Eyed Susan’s on India Street in downtown is known for no-fuss breakfast dishes and family-friendly service. Pull up a seat at the bar top or claim your corner table and chow down; top picks include the eggs benedict with lemony hollandaise and sourdough French toast complete with orange Jack Daniels butter and cinnamon pecans.
Cap off your Nantucket weekend at the harbor’s most distinctive bar, the Gazebo. This open-side structure, shaped like an actual gazebo, attracts tourists and locals alike with its famous frothy beverages.
Just steps from the Hy-Line Cruises ferry boarding area, it’s the perfect place to unwind at the end of your trip without fearing you’ll miss your ride home. Sip on their iconic Gazebo Mudslide while taking in the harbor view and ocean breeze.