Date Night: Romantic Dining in Orleans

From the 2017 edition of Truly Orleans

After a day in the sun, a night on the town is waiting in Orleans, one of the Cape’s premier dining destinations.

Some couples think about trading sunshine for candlelight. Or live music and a crowded dance floor. Maybe just a quiet booth in the corner. No matter the style, Orleans can help set the mood for togetherness.

Tonight’s Special: Romance

In the romantic atmosphere category, put Captain Linnell House (linnell.com), built in 1840 by Captain Ebeneezer Linnell for his bride, Rebecca Crosby, and set within walking distance of Skaket Beach. Today this stately mansion is an ode to elegance, with several intimate dining areas and a gourmet menu complemented by an extensive wine list and signature cocktails. Small wonder this is a favorite for weddings and other events (see our wedding story on page XX).

Also on the way to Skaket Beach and loved for its cozy, romantic ambience, Beacon Room (beaconroom.com) offers indoor and outdoor dining areas where guests enjoy a varied menu of seafood, pasta, beef and poultry, and creative appetizers.

Delicious specialties and the romance of waterfront dining meet at the Orleans Waterfront Inn Restaurant (orleansinn.com), where three dining areas – including a seasonal waterfront deck – overlook pristine Town Cove. Here, guests linger over everything from New York sirloin to herb-roasted local cod and wild mushroom ravioli.

Nearby, the Double Dragon Inn (doubledragonorleans.com) also offers a panoramic waterfront view with its authentic Chinese/Polynesian fare. A highlight of the menu at this family-owned venue are creative cocktails – including Mai Tais and Love Potions – served in distinctive glasses.

Set in the heart of downtown Orleans, Mahoney’s Atlantic (mahoneysatlantic.com) occupies what was once a 19th-century dry goods and candy store, lending a sense of history and charm as guests savor New England fare within a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere that also recalls a Boston club. The lounge gets going at 4 p.m. with dinner at 5, while special events include a lively St. Patty’s Day with a traditional Irish menu and live music.

Northern Italy is where the cuisine takes you at the elegant Nauset Beach Club (nausetbeachclub.com), set two miles from the Atlantic in East Orleans and offering bistro-style dining featuring fresh fish and produce in season, along with natural grass-fed New England meats. Local artwork, Italian wicker chairs and cutlery, exquisite china, fine Italian wines and light jazz playing in the background are the perfect accompaniment to a table for two.

More Italian favorites are waiting at Montano’s (montanos.com) in Truro, where the pasta is made in-house and cooked to order. Traditional favorites include chicken parmigiana and fettuccine Alfredo along with regional dishes like wild boar ragu, a Tuscan specialty.

If your travels take you to Provincetown, Cape Cod Bay is the romantic backdrop to dining at Fanizzi’s (fanizzisrestaurant.com), offering everything from Cape seafood classics to fresh salads and elegant international entrees.

Dinner and a movie in one spot? It happens at the Chatham Orpheum Theater (chathamorpheum.org), whose onsite Orpheum Café serves appetizers, soups, salads and sandwiches as well as beer, wine and specialty cocktails. Food and drink are permitted in the two theaters.

Down at the Pub

In the Orleans Village Center is Land Ho! (land-ho.com), owned by the local Murphy family and a traditional hangout for local and summer residents. A chalkboard spells out the daily specials while the menu includes a full array of fish and shellfish specialties along with savory dishes from the grill, including steak tips and knockwurst.

An Orleans watering hole since 1972, the Yardarm (the-yardarm.com) on Route 28 has a neighborhood vibe that makes everyone feel welcome. In addition to a busy bar where folks are hoisting pints and socializing, a homey dining room serves up everyone’s favorite – “chowdah” – along with all kinds of local faves.

Live music on the weekends makes the Lost Dog Pub (lostdogpubs.com) a great choice for date night, though any night of the week is great for couples who find themselves there. In fact, it’s ideal for those who want to share… food, that is, including oysters from the raw bar or one of the pub’s famed pizzas. Meanwhile, tavern favorites like wings, burgers and Philly cheese steak always hit the spot. Full dinners are on the menu as well, along with late-night munchies and what are touted as the “coldest beers in Orleans.”

First established in 1848, The Barley Neck Inn (barleyneck.com) is a popular town staple on the way to Nauset Beach that beautifully bridges the worlds of fine-dining and pub-style relaxation. Their beautifully appointed dining room and award-winning wine list make the BNI a great spot for couples; while their locally-sourced craft beer list and rotating schedule of live, local bands keeps the pub filled with friends and neighbors all year long.

The Night is Young

While its original purpose is hardly romantic – it was once the town lockup – the Jailhouse Tavern (jailhousetavern.com) welcomes couples to a night of fine dining complemented by an extensive wine list, specialty spirits and rotating craft and imported beer selections. In fact, if beer is the beverage of choice, the tavern’s adjacent Hog Island Beer Co. (hogislandbeerco.com) – Outermost Brewery on Cape Cod – serves up craft beers ales and stouts, with live music in season. A huge, landscaped lawn invites sharing beers under the stars.

Come for the bowling, stay for the food. At the Orleans Bowling Center and Big Dogs Barbecue (orleansbowlingcenter.com), you’ll enjoy a night of candlepin bowling, a full bar with 16 beers on tap, 55-inch high-def TVs, and arcade games, not to mention savory ribs, pulled pork, fried chicken, briskets and sandwiches served on alley trays to be enjoyed while you play.

Cape Codders know it’s really summer when the Wellfleet Beachcomber (thebeachcomber.com) opens on Memorial Day weekend. This quintessentially summer spot is located right on the beach and parties into the night with live music, cool cocktails and fantastic food.

Finally, you know that image of a couple sharing a shake with two straws? That could be you and your sweetie at the Hot Chocolate Sparrow (hotchocolatesparrow.com), which stays open late during the summer and, in fact, has witnessed a number of marriage proposals over the years. The popular coffee and chocolate bar also serves ice cream and a variety of lattes and smoothies.

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