In Cavendish

Cavendish offers limited opportunities for creative dining, though it's well stocked with places offering hamburgers, fried clams, and the like. Both restaurants listed require an easy, 10- to 15-minute drive via country roads from Cavendish, but they're worth it.

North & South Rustico to Brackley Beach

This is PEI's best dining region. For fine dining, in addition to the two upscale selections listed, you should also consider sampling the fare from the resort dining rooms at Shaw's Hotel and at Dalvay by the Sea. Both are excellent.

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As I've just said, there's certainly plenty to eat in this area, but there's also a great local restaurant in Margate, the Shipwright's Café, about 24km (15 miles) due west of North Rustico on Route 6. Its menu falls somewhere between the refined gourmet fare of The Dunes and the fried-up grub of a Jo-Joe's -- and sometimes that middle ground is what you want to eat.

PEI's Seasonal Lobster Suppers

The north shore of Prince Edward Island is home to the regionally famous "lobster supper," a genre that probably wasn't invented here but has possibly been taken to new heights. They're a must-do excursion if you're craving local crustaceans.

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The suppers took root years ago as informal pot-luck gatherings in local church basements; parishioners would bring covered hot dishes, while the church would provide lobster. The church netted a few dollars from these get-togethers, plus some serious bonding time in the name of the cause. But then a funny thing happened. Outsiders (including travel writers like me) began discovering these good deals and showing up out of the blue. As the fame of the dinners spread, several churches and copycats began formalizing and even advertising these dinners. Today, they're practically a cottage industry -- a big one.

Expect good food, but don't expect intimacy. These suppers have become somewhat crowded and impersonal dining experiences -- Fisherman's Wharf can accommodate up to 500 diners at one time alone -- especially if you have the misfortune to pull up just as tour buses are unloading.

Still, you're here to eat, and eat you will. Lobster is always the main event, though you can usually order roast beef, ham, steak (you know, surf-and-turf) or other alternatives as well. Your entree might be accompanied by access to an all-you-can-eat buffet sporting a huge selection of rolls, salads, chowder, mussels, desserts, and other dishes. Or, in some cases, you order a set four-to-six-course prix fixe that might take in chowder, bread, mussels, salad, and dessert along the road to and from your lobster. Figure on spending C$25 to C$60 total per person for a big feed here, depending both on how big a lobster you order and the side options available.

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St. Ann's Church Lobster Suppers (tel. 902/621-0635) remains a nonprofit entity, just as it was in 1963 when it claims it created the first lobster supper on PEI. Housed in a modern church hall in the small town of St. Ann, just off Route 224 between routes 6 and 13, St. Ann's has a full liquor license and the home-cooked food is served at your table (unusually, you don't walk buffet lines here). Dinners are cooked here from mid-June through late September Monday through Saturday from 4 to 8:30pm daily except Sunday (as befits a church organization). Credit cards are accepted.

Fisherman's Wharf Lobster Suppers (tel. 877/289-1010 or 902/963-2669) in North Rustico boasts an 18m (60-ft.) salad bar to go with its lobster; it's open daily from noon to 9pm, mid-May to mid-October (shorter hours in May and June). It offers a children's menu.

And near the PEI Preserve Company in New Glasgow is the barnlike New Glasgow Lobster Suppers (tel. 902/964-2870). Meals here include unlimited mussels and chowder, so they're a bit pricier; try a piece of lemon meringue pie afterward. It's located on Route 258 (just off Rte. 13), and is open daily from June through mid-October, 4 to 8:30pm. This eatery also offers roast beef suppers and a good kids' menu.

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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.