While the Boston's Hidden Restaurants site focuses mainly on dining spots in Boston and the surrounding suburbs, occasionally we feature a place a bit further away. Generally, however, we only feature restaurants outside of the Boston area if they are especially unique--and perhaps even a bit more "hidden" than most of the others spots on the site. And the eatery featured in this review--the Flying Fish Cafe in Wellfleet on the outer part of Cape Cod--certainly makes the grade, as it is a truly memorable spot whose obscure location makes it very, very easy to overlook.
Wellfleet is one of the few communities on the Cape whose town center is not located on a main road, making the community a bit of a hidden gem of its own. The "downtown" area is charming, with art galleries, restaurants, and beautiful old homes on a narrow main street that more or less peters out as it heads west toward Cape Cod Bay. While most of the dining spots and shops are concentrated on the main street, and to a lesser extent, on the road that hugs the water just to the south, there happens to be a restaurant (the aforementioned Flying Fish Cafe) that resides on a quiet, tree-shaded side street a short distance northwest of the town center. Because of its out-of-the-way location, the eatery tends to be more of a place where locals (and renters of summer homes) congregate, making it much less crowded than some of the classic--and touristy--seafood joints along Route 6 less than a mile to the east.
The Flying Fish Cafe is located in what is really more of a house than a commercial building, which makes sense considering that nearly the entire stretch of Briar Lane--from Route 6 to Main Street--is residential. The restaurant has a shady outdoor patio in the front yard, a brightly-lit cafe area by the front entrance, and a comfortable dining area (which includes a tiny bar) in the back. The interior of the Flying Fish Cafe has a bit of an artsy feel with its directional lighting on the ceiling and local artwork hanging on the walls. Candles on the tables add a romantic touch, and the hardwood floors give the room a homey feel.
Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the Flying Fish Cafe has a slightly different vibe depending what time of day you go. In the morning, the restaurant is more of a real cafe, with a variety of baked goods as well as pancakes, French toast, and eggs. Lunchtime is a good time for a quick bite, with the menu featuring all kinds of salads and sandwiches (including a Caesar salad, antipasto, a Cubano, and a hummus wrap). And at dinner, the Flying Fish Cafe becomes more of a Mediterranean restaurant, with a Caprese salad, pan-roasted mussels, pasta carbonara, spaghetti and meatballs, clams with kale and linguica, eggplant parmesan, shrimp with capers and parsley, and pizza. A vegetarian version of the antipasto is absolutely wonderful, with a rich hummus and a smooth artichoke dip sharing the plate with soft mozzarella cheese, roasted red peppers, oil-cured olives, roasted garlic, and crunchy Italian bread. A highlight among the pasta dishes is the pasta florentine, which includes a beautifully colored tomato cream sauce and tender spinach over penne. And the pizza is of the flatbread variety, with both red and white options (in the latter category, the Mediterranean pizza is tough to beat, with a delicious mixture of toppings, including artichokes, garlic, tomatoes, spinach, and feta cheese). Desserts include a flourless chocolate mousse cake, key lime pie, and more, with one occasional special being a chocolate bread pudding. The restaurant also features a full bar, with beer, wine, and cocktails available.
If the Flying Fish Cafe were located in Boston proper (or anywhere inside Route 128, for that matter), this writer would probably be there every week. But its relatively long distance from Boston only makes it more appealing in a way, as it is a mellow, friendly dining spot that seems a perfect fit for part of a road trip to this particularly beautiful part of Cape Cod.
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