It wasn't long ago that "fancy" food in these parts began and ended with classic French. Now "fancy," when it comes to food, is almost out of style, and French food is hard to find. Although one of this year's "bests" is Italian and one is Mexican, most occupy that catchall category of New American, with influences from all over the world. Several aren't even fancy at all, just memorable.
- Osteria La Civetta (Falmouth; tel. 508/540-1616): It hasn't taken long for locals to realize that what's cooking at the little osteria on Main Street is something very special and authentic. This is the kind of place where the owners, who are from Bologna, send the chefs to Italy in the off season to learn new skills. From the handmade pasta to the specialty desserts, this is a must-try.
- The Regatta of Cotuit (Cotuit; tel. 508/428-5715): What most distinguishes the Regatta from its competition is the sensational service so rare at local establishments. The Regatta has a quintessential "Old Cape Cod" setting -- the building was once a stagecoach inn, and the decor is formal Federal style. Food here is consistently excellent, with fresh ingredients, generous portions, and creative preparations.
- 28 Atlantic (Chatham; tel. 508/430-3000): This superb restaurant at the Wequassett Resort and Golf Club offers the most elegant dining in the region. Floor-to-ceiling plate-glass windows give you a panoramic view of Pleasant Bay. The menu is loaded with delicacies from around the world. In this graceful setting, professional waiters will see to your comfort and thorough satisfaction.
- Bramble Inn and Restaurant (Brewster; tel. 508/896-7644): An elegant entry in the Lower Cape dining scene, the Bramble Inn attracts those who don't mind a rather steeply priced, four-course, fixed-price dinner. The five intimate dining rooms are decorated with antique china and fresh flowers. Chef Ruth Manchester is a local favorite, recognized for her extraordinary, evolving cuisine.
- Devon's (Provincetown; tel. 508/487-4773): The namesake of Devon's is a multitalented restaurateur with a great attitude. That positive vibe permeates every part of this small fine-dining restaurant, a former fishing shack on Provincetown's far East End. Serving New American cuisine with an emphasis on local provender, this is one of Provincetown's most romantic options, but its teensiness means you do need a reservation.
- Ross' Grill (Provincetown; tel. 508/487-8878): Restaurants come and go from this swank seaside town, but Ross' Grill on the second floor of the Whaler's Wharf on Commercial Street looks to be a keeper. Large windows afford a view of the harbor as diners tuck into crispy Tuscan cod and seafood risotto. With top-shelf service and an intimate atmosphere, this is first class all the way.
- Galley Beach (Nantucket; tel. 508/228-9641): This exquisite beachfront restaurant at the Cliffside Beach Club is the place to go if you want to feel like you are in a spread of Travel + Leisure magazine. Delicious food, too!
- Straight Wharf (Nantucket; tel. 508/228-4499): Talented chef/owners have made this the fine-dining restaurant on Nantucket. Make your reservation for 8pm so you can sit on the outside deck and watch the sun set over the harbor. Whether you opt for one of the specialty seafood dishes (wild striped bass with gazpacho) or choose a land-based entree (filet of Kobe beef), you will not be disappointed.
- Atria (Edgartown; tel. 508/627-5850): This fine-dining venue on Upper Main Street gets rave reviews for its gourmet cuisine and high-caliber service. The menu, featuring produce and meats from local farmers and the daily catch from local fishermen, takes its influences from around the country and around the world.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.