I was happy to find the Nantucket dining scene as lively and as varied as ever. There are restaurants in all styles, featuring a variety of cuisines. Not surprisingly, you will find seafood in abundance. Settings range from beachside, to in-town romantic, to historic wharves. Even though Nantucket is a small island, you won’t lack for choice.
The announcement in 2015 by Michael and Orla La Scola that they were selling their highly regarded restaurant caused considerable dismay. But when the new owner was revealed to be Neil Ferguson of the equally well-loved Galley Beach, the furor began to subside. Ferguson continues to serve excellent food in this charming, atmospheric place just a short walk from the center of town. We began with a chitarra pasta with fresh tomatoes, followed by a special of roasted duck breast. Service was excellent, and the wine list is full of delights.
80 Centre Street. Tel. (508) 228-7111
Cozily decorated in the style of a French auberge, this place is owned by Joseph Keller, a distinguished chef who worked with his famous brother, Thomas, on the openings of both The French Laundry and Per Se. Keller offers a single three-course meal every night; the daily choices are published in advance. We began with an exemplary Caesar salad, followed by moist, flaky swordfish. A luscious berry cake brought the evening to a happy conclusion. The ebullient Keller circulated the dining room and made a point of chatting with every guest. Reservations are essential.
Company of the Cauldron *
5 India Street. Tel. (508) 228-4016*
For a great breakfast, many people on Nantucket will tell you to head to Black-Eyed Susan’s. We did and were treated with less-than-welcoming hauteur. So instead we tried Fog Island Cafe, where we were warmly welcomed. We sat down to a satisfying meal of blueberry pancakes, sausage and endless cups of delicious coffee. The clam chowder at lunch is said to be among the best on the island.
Fog Island Cafe
7 South Water Street. Tel. (508) 228-1818
This airy restaurant has come a long way from its 1958 origins as a humble clam shack. It now has a lively bar and a dining room that runs right onto the sand. We went for dinner at sunset, after a stroll on beautiful Cliffside Beach. My rich mushroom risotto was superb. And a main course of roasted halibut came in a broth enlivened with clams and chorizo.
54 Jefferson Avenue. Tel. (508) 228-9641
This engaging place takes its name from its location on one of the liveliest of the Nantucket wharfs, dating to 1723. Set in a loftlike space, the restaurant also has an outdoor area with views of the harbor. I opted for a starter of pork belly and Nantucket clams, a wonderful combination augmented by kale, tofu and grilled bread in a luscious broth. I continued the pork-seafood theme with a main dish of seared scallops with bacon, wild mushrooms, caramelized corn and roasted tomatoes. Both dishes were deeply satisfying.
Straight Wharf Restaurant
6 Harbor Square. Tel. (508) 228-4499