An Insider’s Guide to the Best Restaurants in Nantucket

How to eat and drink like a Nantucket local.

A beautiful brunch spread with a view.
Toppers. Toppers

For such a small island, there’s a lot going on in Nantucket. From its locally-owned boutiques and its historical landmarks to the luxuriously quaint hotels and dreamy beaches, there’s something for everyone within the 14-mile long span that makes up the beloved East Coast island. But one of the most overwhelming—yet essential—parts of the hotspot? The food.

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Whether it’s a dinner of the finest gourmet gastronomy overlooking the bay or a market salad at a small café for lunch, Nantucket offers an array of delicious culinary masterpieces lining its cobblestone streets. However, with such an abundance of options, it can be hard to know exactly where to stop for a meal. If you’re not sure where to start, don’t fret—we went through and picked out all our favorite island destinations. 

Hit the raw bar at Cru, indulge in freshly caught seafood at Straight Wharf and sip on craft cocktails at Sister Ship—exquisite culinary feasts await. Like we said, there’s something for everyone, and we’re here to help you find it. So dive in and experience the best of the best on Nantucket. Trust us like you trust the Hy-Line Ferry—we wouldn’t steer you wrong.

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a large table full of seafood.
Cru.

Cru

Craving oysters? A trip to Nantucket isn’t complete without a stop at the spot for the delicacy, Cru. With an incredible raw bar, you can enjoy caviar, lobster cocktail, hamachi sashimi and king crab legs or dig into poached halibut or a warm, buttery lobster roll, all in a breathtaking setting overlooking the bay. Pair with a champagne, wine, beer or a craft cocktail from the restaurant’s extensive collection. 

A delicate plate of fine food.
Topper’s. Topper's

Topper’s at the Wauwinet 

Head to one of the most stately hotels on Nantucket, The Wauwinet, for a meal at one of the island’s most highly acclaimed restaurants. The locally-inspired menu features fresh seafood and local oysters that are sourced from just 300 yards away. For your main, try the branzino or lobster and crab cakes, with a side of old bay fries. Atop the covered deck, look out onto the bay and watch the water glimmer.

Or, The Whale

On Main Street, an idyllic alfresco spot beckons. Or, The Whale is an island staple, serving up coastal seafood dishes alongside substantial vegan and vegetarian options. Nibble on a tuna tostada with pickled jicama or spicy rice cakes with eggplant ragu. Other offerings include duck carnitas, Korean pork BBQ and prime ribeye, for those who still have room. The restaurant is named in honor of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick; or, the Whale.

A nautical dining room.
Straight Wharf. Antoinette Bruno

Straight Wharf

For a prix fixe menu rooted in island tradition, head to Straight Wharf, a restaurant that takes its patrons on a culinary journey that changes with each visit. The daily-rotating menu boils down to the season’s influences and freshest catches, such as smoked bluefish pate, swordfish skewers, lobster bisque and a taquito of the day. The harbor views aren’t so bad, either.

A stately dining room with comfy chairs.
Sister Ship. Sister Ship

Sister Ship

Sister Ship brings farm-to-table dining to Nantucket. Located at Faraway Nantucket, the restaurant pairs Mediterranean cuisine with upscale cocktails. Don’t be fooled; the food still heavily draws on its New England home. Enjoy a selection of dishes spanning from razor clams and Koginut squash to crab toast and tuna crudo. Wash it down with some sake or a house-blended, rum-infused cocktail. 

And a few options for a quick lunch… 

Ice cream held up in a variety of colors and cones.
Juice Bar.

Okay, so maybe you don’t have time for a three-course meal, or perhaps you just want to grab a quick lunch between your island exploits. If that’s the case, head to one of these Nantucket spots for some of the freshest bites on the East Coast. For takeout salads and savory sandwiches, Corner Table has options that you can enjoy on their patio outside. If you want to sit down and feast on vegetable dumplings and miso glazed brussels sprouts, hit The Beet. Saved room for a little dessert? The Juice Bar defies its name with delightful homemade ice cream.

An Insider’s Guide to the Best Restaurants in Nantucket