Cape Cod has no shortage of restaurants, but there is one sweet spot where it’s hard to land. Many of the most popular are off the water, and many of those on the water are seasonal spots.
Finding a beachfront restaurant on the Cape that is open all year round, frequented mostly by locals, is right on the water and offers great food and drink, also gives that sense of discovery that can making the simple act of dining out so exciting.
That’s exactly what you’ll find in Falmouth Heights, a sunny neighborhood south of Falmouth Village with plenty of food and drink options. A former British Beer Company location is now home to Shipwrecked, an attractive restaurant and bar that locals and connoisseurs frequent not only during peak beach season in July and August, but also off-season when things calm down.
Falmouth is an interesting place. Even though it’s on the Cape, it feels like a year-round community, perhaps because it’s one of the only towns on the peninsula that Route 6 doesn’t pass through, so which makes it slightly off the beaten path, away from easily accessible places like Hyannis, Yamouth and Dennis.
For this reason, if you head downtown even on freezing days in December or January, most businesses stay open, including many even closer to the water.
Located directly across from Falmouth Heights Beach and Vineyard Sound, Shipwrecked is in a prime location for everything from people-watching to sunsets, and its space makes the most of both. Outside is a wraparound patio that includes seating directly facing the beach, and there are more tables in a party space along the right side of the restaurant that has umbrellas and hanging lights.
The restaurant’s interior resembles a seafood shack, with many nooks and crannies and front windows that open fully on sunny days, helping to bring the breezy salt air into the dining areas. A colorful bar sits near the entrance, as does a small sushi prep area, and the main dining room has plenty of seating, including for large groups.
When you think “beach side restaurant,” thoughts of fried seafood, burgers, fries, and beer might come to mind. While Shipwrecked has all of that, it’s really more of a modern American restaurant, and the menu has a little something for everyone.
PHOTOS: Eat upscale American food by the beach at Shipwrecked in Falmouth
Sushi is one of the highlights – over 20 options including Wicked Tuna, featuring spicy tuna maki and tuna nigiri – and the menu also features a castaway Poke Bowl where diners can choose from tuna, salmon, bass or hamachi (yellowtail) . Entrees have the kind of Cape Cod/South Coast influences you might expect: tender fried calamari served the traditional way with banana peppers and “stuffies”, or stuffed clams, are also available for those who enjoy the briny flavor of chopped hard clams mixed with breadcrumbs and Portuguese spices.
Burger lovers can get a version topped with pulled pork and onion rings, and the turkey burgers are particularly tasty, served with the works including cheddar cheese and mayo — and you can also have fries from waffles with your burger, which really aren’t offered in enough restaurants these days.
If you like fried seafood, you might be lucky to come when fish tacos are on offer, but you can also get a fried cod sandwich from the everyday menu. Speaking of cod, the cod baked in butter with Ritz cracker crumbs may be one of the best menu items at Shipwrecked and is about as New England as it gets. It comes with mashed potatoes which only adds to the old-school vibe of this dish.
Finally, you can’t go wrong with the gourmet pizzas on offer here. One option is a sausage, tomato, ricotta and red pepper flake pie.
For many, seaside dining and tropical drinks tend to go hand in hand, and Shipwrecked is no exception. Mai tais, rum punch, margaritas and sangria are all on the menu, along with Bloody Marys and martinis. You can also order classic versions of pina coladas and landslides, as well as a number of cocktails or spirits. (A handful of local wines and beers are also available, though it really feels more like a place for cocktails.)
By the way, if you’re tired of a full meal and a few fruity drinks, the property also includes a hostel called The Heights Hotel, so it’s one of those places where, once you park your car, you don’t have to. no real need to go anywhere else.
Visitors to Cape Cod often overlook the “upper arm” – Falmouth, Woods Hole, Mashpee and Bourne – even though it is one of the closest sections to Boston, but there is plenty to see and do. do in this part of Cape Town. Falmouth Heights is one of its best spots, with gorgeous scenery, (relatively) warm water, weathered old cottages, and a laid-back vibe.
And right in the middle of it all is a restaurant that, although still fairly new, has the potential to become a destination spot. Shipwrecked has it all – great food, terrific drinks, unforgettable views, and the kind of unique atmosphere you can only get from an oceanfront restaurant.
Castaway, 263 Grand Avenue, Falmouth, MA, 02540. shipwreckfalmouth.com
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