Dining Local on Martha's Vineyard - Popular Seafood Restaurants
The seafood industry on Martha’s Vineyard has been booming for decades and currently in 2018, showcases some incredible local fishermen, oystermen, and overall just incredible islanders that wake up earlier than any of us to get that fresh catch! Below we’ve shared the top five things you should do on island to experience all its degrees of seafood love - whether it’s shopping at a seafood market, going on an oyster tour, or just taste testing as many chowders as possible, we’ve got you covered!
The island has its fair share of fish and seafood markets, all owned by local island families that have been in the fishing industry for years. If you’re renting a summer home or Airbnb and have a kitchen to cook meals in, your firsts stop should be one of the following fish markets for supplies: Edgartown Seafood, The Net Result, Larsen’s Fish Market, or John’s Fish Market. Whether you’re looking for the freshest catch, along with ingredients to complement your recipes, these markets are their to supply you with all your seafood cooking needs. Don’t know how to cook a specific species? Ask the person behind the counter - they’ve probably cooked everything in the case hundreds of times over!
The great thing about vacationing on the Vineyard is that if you don’t want to cook, you can always eat out and have an incredible meal, no matter your budget. There are dozens of seafood focused restaurants, very much so dock to table but below we’ve shared a couple favorites and our recommendations on what to order and where:
- The Seafood Shanty: known for its massive lobster roll, the Seafood Shanty in Edgartown has a great view of the water;
- Nancy’s: before you head upstairs to order a fried seafood plate, make sure to grab one of Donovan’s famous Dirty Bananas;
- FISH: New to Vineyard Haven's Main Street in 2021, this West Coast inspired taqueria is sure to satisfy any seafood craving offering raw bar bites, poke bowls, and of course fish tacos.
- Coop De Ville: sitting right on the Oak Bluffs harbor, it’s the place to dine on Tuesdays when they host their Lobster Fest - steamed lobster, drawn butter, and corn for under $20;
- The Square Rigger: if you’re still craving lobster, the Square Rigger in Edgartown is an island tradition - their grilled stuffed lobsters are simply the best;
- 19 Raw: a favorite in the Edgartown dining scene, it’s the perfect bar for a cocktail and a dozen fresh oysters!
If you love oysters, an oyster farm tour with Cottage City Oysters is a must while on island. They take you out to the Vineyard Sound (300 feet from shore) to visit the Cottage City Oyster Farm. Their solar powered work raft becomes the stopping point, where they pull up a cage full of market oysters and show you how we cull and put you to work culling your own. It's an experience like no other!
Typically to enjoy a clambake on the beach, you’re probably attending a private event or have hired a company to put one together for you or your friends, which is such a fun experience! Check out Bill Smith's Famous Clambakes, a beloved clambake caterer for over 60 years.
Clam chowder is a section on all its own - and you’ll taste some award winning clam chowders on Martha’s Vineyard no matter where you go. Some of the best restaurants with incredible chowders include: The Wharf Pub in Edgartown (multiple time winner of the MV Chowder Fest) and Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company (rated best chowder in New England by Yankee Magazine).
As you can see, there are more ways than one to enjoy fresh seafood and fish on Martha’s vineyard, so we hope you get to check a few of them off on your seafood lover’s bucket list!