There’s nothing quite like summer in the Vineyard. The island’s coastal charm extends from tranquil, lighthouse-flecked beaches to six seaside towns, and its thriving culinary scene attracts high-profile celebrities and residents alike to stylish-yet-casual local restaurants.

To experience it for yourself, take one of of Tradewind’s regularly scheduled shuttles or charter flights and make a reservation at one of these must-try island eateries.

Larsen’s Fish Market

Larsen's Fish Market, Photo: Betsey Larsen

Larsen's Fish Market, Photo: Betsey Larsen

Just steps from the fishing docks in the little village of Menemsha, Larsen’s Fish Market exudes a modest but charming ambiance with its makeshift lobster trap tables and sweeping sea views. But on the menu, you won’t just find raw, fresh-off-the-boat cuts of fish. This market-meets-restaurant serves succulent lobster and stuffed scallops cooked to perfection, and you have to try the shellfish straight from the raw bar. Make sure to bring your own beverage.

Don’t Miss: Littleneck and cherrystone clams

Red Cat Kitchen

On your way through Oak Bluffs, look for the “Ken ‘n’ Beck” sign to find Red Cat Kitchen, an intimate, artistic restaurant with an ever-evolving menu. Chef-owner Ben Deforest’s soulful cuisine has recently included elegant presentations of Atlantic halibut with lobster-black-eyed-pea succotash, grilled barrel-cut grass-fed NY strip steak with Red Cat bordelaise, and a serious vegetarian showdown – all featuring ingredients sourced on the island.

Don’t Miss: Nightly offerings

Back Door Donuts

The secret is officially out on Back Door Donuts, the nighttime pop-up shop located at the actual back door of M.V. Gourmet Café & Bakery. From mid-April to mid-October, the Oak Bluffs bakery serves house-made pastries and coffee by day and hot, fresh donuts (along with a few other must-try sugary offerings) by night. Standing in line is always a social experience — it seems like the whole island comes out for bite — but once you receive your butternut crunch, coconut, or maple bacon donut, you won’t regret your late-night craving.

Don’t Miss: Apple fritters

Little House Café

Little House Café, Photo: Shannon Rynd-Ray

Little House Café, Photo: Shannon Rynd-Ray

The cozy little restaurant with the bold menu is Little House Café, located in Vineyard Haven. From a curried mango chicken salad sandwich to roasted butternut squash with red quinoa pilaf, the menu abounds with innovative dishes that are often vegetarian and gluten-free. On Thursday nights, head to Little House for their infamous tacos like the shrimp taco with mango salsa, beer battered avocado, and creamy cilantro lime sauce.

Don’t Miss: Fish tacos

The Newes From America Pub

At the base of The Kelly House in Edgartown, The Newes Pub harbors an abundance of colonial character in its authentic rough-hewn beams, ballast brick walls, and warm hearth. While the menu features classic American and British pub food, it all comes with some local flavor, so try their take on fish and chips, lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, and ribs with root beer barbecue sauce. (Speaking of, there is a micro-brewed root beer as well as a great selection of New England microbrews on tap.)

Don’t Miss: Fish and chips

Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company

Chowder may be a winter staple, but a visit to the island during any season just wouldn’t be complete without dinner at Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company. The cozy Oak Bluffs bar and restaurant serves delectable offerings such as grilled local swordfish, braised short rib ravioli, and blistered Padrón peppers. But the headliner has always been the award-winning chowder, which is made from scratch daily and absolutely packed with clams. (It’s also gluten free.)

Don’t Miss: Martha’s Vineyard Clam Chowder

Atria

Photo: Atria

Photo: Atria

Local ingredients and global inspiration define the savory cuisine at Atria, an elegant dining experience reopening for the season on May 7 in downtown Edgartown. Reflecting the seasonality of local New England ingredients, the menu changes nightly with offerings like crispy wok-fired lobster – and in the stylish basement Brick Cellar Bar, an array of gourmet burgers await. Make sure to order a bottle from the unique wine list, which Beverage Director Sam Decker says is inspired by his fascination with the stories behind each wine.

Don’t Miss: Pay Day burger

Scottish Bakehouse

Scottish Bakehouse, Photo: Jocelyn Filley

Scottish Bakehouse, Photo: Jocelyn Filley

You can still find Scottish shortbread on the menu, but the Scottish Bakehouse has come a long way since opening in 1961. Today, the focus is on health and local ingredients, many of which are grown onsite at the Bakehouse Farm. The West Tisbury bakery serves gluten-free breads along with quinoa burgers, coconut tofu, Cuban pork, and a famous breakfast sandwich that you can eat outside while taking in sweeping views of the farm.

Don’t Miss: Egg sandwich

The Right Fork Diner

Set in Edgartown alongside Katama Airfield, The Right Fork provides the perfect vantage point to watch classic biplanes take flight. Dine on the patio or step into the classic diner’s bright and airy dining room for traditional diner fare in Martha’s Vineyard style. The menu changes regularly, but you can always expect incredible breakfast dishes along with lobster rolls, grilled peach salad, and other creative entrées. The restaurant opens for the season on May 19.

Don’t Miss: The Aviator

 

*Featured Image: Atria