Nantucket Restaurant Review: The Club Car

The Club Car is a local landmark on Main Street, in the heart of downtown. After all, it’s hard not to notice the historic train car nestled alongside the building of this perpetually packed restaurant known for their fresh, sharable bites and upscale cocktails.

Their constantly evolving menu is renowned for a health-conscious obsession with locally-grown, seasonal vegetables and just-caught seafare. Explore what makes The Club Car a must-stop dining experience on Nantucket.

the club car nantucket restaurant

A Unique History

Part of the appeal of visiting this 30+ year establishment is its rich historical charm and carefully curated vintage aesthetic. The restaurant was named after the original ACK train car attached to the building, which has seen many interior updates in its time, all while still maintaining its original structure. This cozy, intimate space includes a bar and is a coveted seating area showcasing the restaurant’s authentic roots and unique view of the cobblestone street.

Present-Day Appeal

The attached dining area boasts a modern vintage aesthetic with wooden ceiling beams, clean white pillars, cool blue, ocean-inspired accents, and abundant, lush greenery. Spacious tables accommodate parties large or small, while wide windows and modern industrial lighting decor make it a bright, airy space for all-day dining.

The club car nantucket restaurant-1

The Club Car is well-known for live, daily tunes, played right from their in-house piano. Enjoy the background music or join in nightly sing-alongs over food and drinks.

Thoughtful, Fresh, Healthy Dishes

The Club Car’s Executive Chef, Mayumi Hattori, grew up picking vegetables from her grandma’s garden to make fresh, healthy Spanish dishes. It’s this tradition of using humble ingredients to craft simple yet thoughtful dishes that earned her a reputation in award-winning kitchens, such as the role of Chef de Cuisine at Straight Wharf Restaurant for nine years strong, as well as the 2014 James Beach Rising Star award.

Today, she uses her 15+ years of culinary influence to make Mediterranean, Asian and Californian inspired cuisines, using fresh-caught and locally-grown ingredients cooked “from the heart.”

Nantucket Restaurants

Lite Brunch

Order your date some baked medjool dates with marcona almond picada, or brunch tapas, like cape cod mussel with sweet pepper relish. The Club Car’s toasts are a favorite amongst diners, who often come back multiple times during their visit to try all three, including the stracciatella with shaved radish and peppercorn.

The club car nantucket brunch

From small plates such as their yucca fries with cilantro and garlic to their large dishes like their hamachi poke bowl, their brunch selection is wholesome yet lite— setting it flavorfully apart from some the island’s other sensational brunch stops.

Dinner

Vegetables and fish are the stars of The Club Car’s afternoon menu, blended together in creative entrees. Start with one of their tapas or toasts, which make a reappearance post-brunch on the dinner table. Then indulge in diverse selections, such as their spiced fried chickpeas or their house-cured sardines with capers and olive oil, at this later hour.

The club car nantucket restaurant

Next, choose from a full list of garden-fresh dishes, such as their stuffed Italian eggplant or some beets and carrots with pistachios, lime, and rose. Come time for the main course, pick your preference: land or sea. From a seared redfish with green tomatoes straight from the local farm at Bartlett’s, to a duck confit salad with maitake and hazelnuts, it’s hard to pick just one.

For those with a hearty appetite, try an entree from their “Go Big” selection, such as half a roasted chicken with kale and lemon or a ribeye prepared with the chef’s best, fresh ingredients. Explore their full dinner menu.

Elegant Drinks

The Club Car is the perfect stop for pre-dinner apps or happy hour drinks and live piano tunes. Their wide array of cocktails, wine by the glass, beers and seasonal blends make their bar a go-to for locals and visitors alike.

The Club Car Nantucket Cocktail

Sip a savory mix of gin, ginger, and cardamom in their House of Hattori or a sailor’s mix of rye, brandy, and absinthe in their SazerACK. Or, order from their list of bubbles, white, rose or red blends from France, Tuscany, Napa and beyond. Those who enjoy a crisp brew can try a sippah or boat beer, such as local Cisco Brewer’s favorites or a variety of classic, big brand pours. Pick your first drink ahead of the time by checking out their list of sips online.

Sample the Best of the Island’s Cuisine

The Club Car offers a fresh taste of island fare and a unique atmosphere, but it’s not the only place to enjoy the flavors of Nantucket.

With over 100 restaurants, the island boasts a variety of world-class seafood and natural dishes. Find your favorites by downloading our free Restaurant Guide.

It’s packed with descriptions of each to help you choose your dining experience. The hardest part about eating out on Nantucket is narrowing down your list.

Nantucket Restaurant Guide 

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Stephen Maury

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