On an island, you can expect most local restaurants to include at least one or two seafood dishes on their menus. In downtown Nantucket, you can find fish entrees around nearly every corner.
With so many fresh, inventive seafood creations, the bar for aquatic cuisine is high. But some have perfected the art of crafting truly exceptional marine platters— known for their above and beyond variety and quality. So tuck in your napkin and tie on that lobster bib, because we’re featuring the best of the best sea to table dining on Nantucket.
Enjoy the quintessential seafare experience right off the docks of Nantucket Harbor, at Cru. This venue is the perfect spot to overlook the ocean as you dine on fresh, locally-sourced ocean favorites— including their revered oysters.
Indoors, think simple Nantucket elegance. The soft interior effortlessly combines class and rustic charm, with chandeliers and driftwood creating a warm, inviting atmosphere for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Their executive chef, Erin Zircher, is known for using her French and Mediterranean influences and nationally-recognized skills to transform classic New England dishes into renowned, palatable masterpieces.
For brunch, go beyond the traditional shrimp cocktail and opt for a Nantucket lobster cocktail with ruby red grapefruit and jalapeno instead. Or, mix a bottle of Billecart Brut Rose with a dozen fresh-caught oysters or crispy clams served with fresh cucumber tartar sauce. Come lunch, order succulent lobster piled high on a toasted brioche roll, from this acclaimed home of the best lobster roll on Nantucket. Finally, Cru’s dinner menu features seafood favorites including a citrus and chili striped bass platter and lobster bisque served with hush puppies alongside aleppo-honey butter.
If you’re looking for some of the freshest regional seafood on the island, look no further than the SeaGrille Restaurant. From the famous Nantucket quahog chowder and delicious lobster bisque to flavorful bouillabaisse and Day Boat Cod, “The Grille” offers an array of delectable dishes that are sure to keep you coming back. SeaGrille has been the recipient of numerous Cape Cod Life and Inquirer and Mirror “Best of” awards as well as Boston Magazine “All New England” mention.
Conveniently located in the Mid Island, SeaGrille offers an atmosphere that’s cozy, upbeat, and just right for a casual-meets-elegant date night. The bar menu, offered at both the inside bar and on the enclosed porch, offers creative, upscale pub fare.
Located right on Harbor Square, Straight Wharf has been reinterpreting beach-inspired bites and platters for over 40 years. Just like Cru, this restaurant has a stunning waterside view, admired either through their white-trimmed windows or from their intimate outdoor deck. With high-lofted ceilings decorated with soft draperies, cherry mahogany chairs and potted plants sitting on white table cloths, the atmosphere sets the tone for fine seafood indulgence.
The iconic island eatery has been featured in The Boston Globe, Food & Wine Magazine, New York Times Magazine and Travel & Leisure Magazine— and is an in-season hit for locals and travelers alike, not only for its prime location but also for its delectable, regionally-sourced seafood.
Their brunch menu has made our list of praiseworthy brunch spots on Nantucket for creative dishes like their lobster étouffée with poached eggs, cheesy grits, and chorizo. Their lunch features, like ahi tuna crudo with peanut-sesame salsa macha and swordfish tacos with lime cabbage, make a dangerously delicious pairing with their seemingly never-ending list of wines.
But that’s not all. Their dayboat scallops with smoked eggplant or spice-crusted local hake only skim the surface of the ocean-wide dinner selections. Their famous SWR Clambake perfectly sums up their elegant take on beach favorites, with an artfully-assembled seafood plate inspired by the classic recipe and topped with two buttered lobster claws.
This popular spot books up quickly, so reservations are recommended during the busy summer season.
Long after many of the seasonal restaurants close their doors, Dune is one of the few remaining off-season staples, welcoming fall, winter and spring travelers to enjoy a tasty lunch or dinner in a warm, inviting atmosphere. With three separate dining rooms featuring earthy browns, wooden floors and silver accents, as well as intimate outdoor seating overlooking Broad Street, it’s a hit every day of the year for sophisticated New England seafare.
If you are looking for local produce from regional farms and freshly baited fish, you’ve come to the right place. Not only does Dune make waves for its seafood dinner menu, but they’re also open from May 15 to October 1 for lunch.
Order light with their crispy Rhode Island calamari with shishito corn relish or plate of Grey Lady oysters. Guests hungry for fresh seafaring flavors musn’t pass on these two must-try dinner entrees praised on Yelp: Dune’s seared yellowfin tuna with roasted cauliflower puree or their sauteed east coast halibut with coconut-lemongrass broth and fresh, locally farmed broccoli.
Don’t skip out on the opportunity to sample some of Dune’s diverse wines or handcrafted cocktails like their CrACKed Out Coconut before closing the tab. Read more about the owner and additional recognition in our full review of Dune.
These three restaurants offer just a small but exquisite taste of all the island’s top seafood purveyors. Many travelers also praise the seafare served at The Sea Grille, The Pearl, Galley Beach, Millie’s, Brant Point Grill, Slip 14 and The Boarding House— just to name a few.
Many of these seasonal hotspots book up quickly, so don’t hesitate to make reservations early and be amongst the lucky lot to experience the exclusive flavors of Nantucket.
Fortunately, seafood aficionados have an abundant selection of dining options to choose from while visiting The Grey Lady. These restaurants and more are featured in the Complete Guide To Nantucket Restaurants. Browse all the best breakfast, lunch and dinner spots to narrow down your choices by downloading the guide today.