The Beach Times

The Top 5 Clam Shacks in Barnstable
Posted by Kinlin Grover | Monday, June 24, 2019


clam shack

Any vacation on Cape Cod must include at least one visit to a local clam shack. After all, these shacks are a significant part of summers on the Cape, and you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you don’t check them out during your stay.

Of course, since there are so many clam shacks on Cape Cod, choosing which ones to eat at can be challenging. Barnstable, the only actual city on the Cape, is particularly full of these shacks, with many of them sitting right along the ocean. For that reason, we’ve put together a list of the top five clam shacks to try in Barnstable this summer.

 

1) Osterville Fish

You’ll find two Osterville Fish locations in Barnstable, one in Osterville and one in Barnstable Village. The original Osterville Fish Market sits just off Route 28, while the newer storefront, Osterville Fish, Too, is steps from Millway Marina on Barnstable Harbor.

Osterville Fish Market allows you to purchase seafood to cook at home, and also has a take-out menu. Osterville Fish, Too offers patio dining, in addition to its take out menu and fish market. The menus at both locations feature everything you could ever want from a clam shack, including lobster rolls, clam boils, broiled seafood plates, crab cakes, soups, and salads. The Barnstable Harbor location also has burgers, hot dogs, and chicken dishes.

 

2) Baxter's Boathouse

As you'll soon see, Hyannis Inner Harbor is full of clam shacks, and if your Cape Cod vacation rental is in this area, you'll never run out of places to try. The first location to check out is Baxter's, which is two separate entities: Baxter's Boathouse Club, a 21+ establishment, and Baxter's Fish 'n' Chips, offering family-friendly dining. Baxter's is right on the water and has a dock, so you can even take your boat right to the restaurant for a meal and drinks.

The menu is the same at both versions of Baxter's, although the family-friendly side has a kids' menu, as well. On the menu, you'll find local favorites like stuffed quahog, New England Clam Chowder, seafood plates, steamed clams, lobster rolls, and swordfish dishes. There are also steaks, hamburgers, and chicken entrees available.

 

3) Spanky's Clam Shack and Seaside Saloon

A second option on Hyannis Inner Harbor is Spanky's Clam Shack and Seaside Saloon, a venue enjoying a prime location on Ocean Street and a patio area overlooking the water. Spanky's shares a building with Pirate Adventures Hyannis and is close to the Hy-Line Ferry Docks, so if you want to grab a bit before heading onto the water, this is the place to do it.

The appetizers at Spanky's are always a draw, including the oysters, scallops, baked oysters, crab cakes, and stuffed quahog. At lunchtime, select from a diverse menu that includes the fried clam roll, lobster roll, and fried scallop roll. You can also get amazing clam chowder, choose from a variety of lobster feasts, go with Spanky's Clambake, or try the restaurant's pasta dishes. Of course, if you're not into seafood, steak, chicken, and salad are also available.

 

4) The Black Cat Harbor Shack

A final option on the Inner Harbor is The Black Cat, which is actually three restaurants in one. First, there's The Black Cat Tavern, a casual, family-friendly option with pub-style decor. There is also a lounge where you'll find live music four nights per week in the summer. Next door is The Black Cat Harbor Shack, which is basically a take-out window, but you can grab a drink and eat on the patio, as well. Finally, you'll find the Shack Out Back Raw Bar behind the Harbor Shack. This venue has a covered patio and full bar, and also offers live music in the summer. Keep in mind that these restaurants are across the street from the Inner Harbor, but still very scenic.

All three restaurants serve a selection of fried seafood, salads, appetizers, and sandwiches, including their famous lobster salad roll. You can also choose from the raw bar and entree menus at Shack Out Back and The Black Cat Tavern.

 

5) Wimpy's Seafood Cafe & Market

Wimpy’s sits on Main Street in downtown Osterville, so it’s a little away from the waterfront, but it still serves fresh seafood in a laidback, diner-style atmosphere, making it well worth a visit. Wimpy's dates back to 1938 and is both a restaurant and marketplace so you can order a meal to enjoy on-site or grab some seafood to take back to your Cape Cod vacation rental with you. There is often live entertainment on weekends at Wimpy's, as well.

The menu at Wimpy's is a little different from others on this list because it has dinners like meatloaf, chicken parmesan, and turkey, but there is also a great deal of seafood available, starting with Wimpy's Famous Quahog Chowder. You'll also find a raw bar, fried seafood meals, and, as is Cape Cod tradition, a lobster roll on the menu.

 

Check Out a Clam Shack on This Vacation

As you can see, there is no shortage of clam shacks in Barnstable, and as you start exploring the city, you’re sure to come across many great restaurants to sample. Make sure you get out to at least one of the city’s top shacks on your upcoming vacation because you can’t beat the authentic Cape Cod vibe and fresh seafood that each of them provides.



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