Cape Cod Guide 2010: Where to Eat, Stay & Play

BEST PLACE TO GET BREAKFAST
Chatham Bars Inn
The price for eggs may be steep, but there’s simply no better way to take in stunning seascapes than to sit down for breakfast or brunch at Chatham Bars Inn. With walls of ocean-view windows, stellar service, and knockout food, CBI, as locals refer to it, is a must-visit for any vacationer. The Main Inn, where the dining room is located, was built in 1914, and is the only remaining grand Victorian seaside resort on the Cape. As for the food, CBI vets usually go for the eggs Benedict, the Belgian waffles with fresh berries and whipped cream, or the Chatham lobster frittata with asparagus and tomatoes. Make a morning of it by lingering on the inn’s veranda. 297 Shore Rd., Chatham, 508-945-0096, chathambarsinn.com.

BEST PLACE TO MEET THE LOCALS
Land Ho
Thanks to an expansion 10 years ago, Land Ho restaurant is hardly a locals-only secret anymore. Provided you know what you’re doing, though, it’s still a great spot to schmooze with some real-live Cape Codders. Head to the Ho’s Orleans location and straight to the "old" side of the restaurant, where you’ll find the original bar and dining area. (The new side is where tourists queue for tables.) Everyone from builders to bestselling writers, fishermen to fine-art collectors, congregates here — all wearing appropriately casual attire, and many with the requisite yellow Lab waiting patiently in the bed of a pickup truck outside. It’s this mix (of people, not dogs) that invariably marks a true Cape hangout. Corner of Route 6A and Cove Road, Orleans, 508-255-5165, land-ho.com.

BEST RESTAURANT
Brewster Fish House
It’s not fancy, at least not in the frilly, French way that the area’s more raved-about restaurants are. But who comes to the Cape for foie gras and escargot? Not us. With a combination of impeccably fresh seafood, a menu that changes seasonally, and a carefully chosen wine list, this "fish house" feels effortlessly superb. The lunch options skew casual (think fish and chips and oyster po’ boys) but the dinner entrées — like day-boat scallops with crisp pancetta and chive béarnaise, or the grilled ponzu-lacquered native lobster — are elegant without being over the top. 2208 Main St., Brewster, 508-896-7867, brewsterfish.com.

BEST PUB
The Chatham Squire
Sure, it’s touristy, but the unpretentious, somewhat divey tavern at the Squire is a quintessential Cape Cod hangout — one of those places you just can’t avoid if you’re staying in the area. And why would you? There’s cold beer on tap, Sox broadcasts on the TVs, live music on weekend nights, and a cheerful crowd of summer residents, first-time visitors, and 40-year patrons. (The tavern opened in 1968.) Come in for a pint, and you’ll probably stay for three. 487 Main St., Chatham, 508-945-0945, thesquire.com.