A good option for a romantic night out, Alchemy serves elegant but unfussy cuisine in a beautiful two-story setting. New American dishes take center stage, and the varied venue offers a main dining room, alfresco veranda and lively upstairs pub, each with modified atmospheres but the same reliable cuisine.
Art Cliff Diner
A local favorite for decades (it opened in 1943 as the Captain St. Clair Brown Diner), the Art Cliff, one room in a simple white cottage, is located off busy Beach Road in Vineyard Haven near the ferry terminal. Owner Gina Stanley, who took over the kitchen in 2000, whips up such delectable breakfast fare as almond-crusted French toast and “Drunken Sailor” pancakes with pecans and rum raisins. It can be tricky during high season to score a table in the dining room, which seats 39; your best bet is to arrive early (it opens at 7 a.m.).
This local favorite, open year-round, is located in an old mansion and serves an innovative mix of Mediterranean, Asian and Middle Eastern dishes. While the main floor is home to a formal dining room, the cellar bar has a legendary burger menu. Live music is performed on most summer nights.
Ben & Bill’s Chocolate Emporium
While some prefer the ice cream at Mad Martha’s, Ben & Bill’s is far more consistent when it comes to quality. The creamy flavors are reliably excellent, and Ben & Bills also stocks an impressive selection of chocolate confections sure to induce a sugary haze.
The sunsets in Menemsha are as legendary as the ultra-fresh seafood sold in its stores. Arrive early to order at the back door of Home Port and score a table on its large patio, where you can feast on ‘fish and chips’, steamed mussels, stuffed Quahogs and corn on the cob. If you don’t want to compete for a spot outside, you can also make a reservation at the restaurant. Be sure to bring your own wine or beer; Menemsha is a dry town.
This lovely spot serves haute French cuisine in a modern setting in downtown Edgartown. The garden patio is ideal for a romantic evening.
Larsen’s Fish Market
The bounty sold at Larsen’s is literally right off the boats, which pull up behind the small cottage with an azure-blue door. Technically a retail fish store, Larsen’s also sells homemade chowders and crab cakes, and they’ll boil lobsters for you. Prepare to wait if you arrive during peak hours, and BYOB. There’s no seating in the store, but dining alfresco on the Menemsha docks or on the beach is one of the most beloved island experiences.
Sweet Life Cafe
One of the most beloved restaurants on the island, the Sweet Life Café occupies the ground floor of a Victorian house, where the chef creates innovative, French-inspired cuisine. Many dishes include local ingredients, like Katama Bay oysters and organic island greens, and desserts might include pistachio panna cotta with strawberry coulis and fresh berries. In the summer, ask to be seated in the small garden, where strings of small lights create an ambiance straight out of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.