Good Taste: Favorite foods of Martha’s Vineyard

Good Taste: Favorite foods of Martha’s Vineyard

Bring food from anywhere to watch the amazing Menemsha sunsets. — File photo by Ralph Stewart

It’s undeniably August, which has its downsides, including traffic, road rage, and a general lack of common courtesy, but it also means the Island is in full swing with almost uncountable places to eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and everything in between.

One of my summer favorites is sushi at Faith’s Seafood Shack at the Gay Head Cliffs. By the time the sushi rolls and local oysters arrive, I’m not even frustrated with the tour buses anymore.

Nothing says “day off” in the summer like an evening drink on the harbor in Oak Bluffs whether on the upstairs deck at Nancy’s, or some wings and fried lobster tails at the Coop or at the bar at Fishbones, watching the Hy-Line come and go, with a bowl of lobster mac and cheese and fresh fish tacos.

I think the salad bar at Morning Glory Farm in Edgartown is the best on the Island. For the base, they use their own greens and produce, such as peppers, tomatoes, and onions. There are always a few prepared selections such as tuna mac salad, pickled beets, and freekah. The dressings are always changing and are so delicious, I sometimes build my salad around them. Last week there was a maple balsamic vinaigrette and creamy tahini. Morning Glory’s corn is starting to come. You won’t miss the heaps of it in the middle of the store, just don’t start shucking before you buy. Larsen’s in Menemsha is my favorite no-fuss dinner. Lobsters, steamers, freshly shucked oysters, Louie Larsen’s famous stuffed quahogs, lobster dip — the list goes on. I like to bring a bottle of wine and sit out back watching the fishermen process the day’s catch.

I asked some friends and some strangers, some Islanders and some visitors, to tell me where gastronomical memories are being made this summer.

Ed and Lois Lewis spend as much of the summer that life will allow in Edgartown. Deciding where to dine out is easy for them. “We rotate between the same four places,” says Mr. Lewis, “Atria, Détente, State Road, and l’etoile.” Mr. Lewis thinks the burgers in the Brick Cellar at Atria are the best on the Island, and the chilled gazpacho and lobster slider special sounds like the ultimate summer dish.

Jim Nelson is the editor-in-chief of GQ magazine. He has been spotted dining around the Island this summer. When he’s here, Mr. Nelson doesn’t miss a breakfast at State Road. “I go for dinner, too, but breakfast is their strong suit,” he says.

It’s a summer of firsts for Island writer Alexandra Bullen who has been busy getting to know her three-month-old daughter, Evie, and introducing her to her first Vineyard summer. “Among the Flowers is perfect for eating with a sleeping baby,” says the new mom. “There’s plenty of room for stroller parking, quick, baby-friendly service and easy-to-eat menu options like smoothies and lobster rolls.” Be sure to check out Among the Flowers’s summer dinner menu as well.

Kathy Bega is the founder of the Martha’s Vineyard Yoga Festival and an Island yoga instructor. When I asked her about dining out, she laughed and gave the common Islander response. “I never go out in the summer,” but she recanted and admitted to loving a meal at The Lookout. “I’ve never had a bad one there,” she says. “And they have Stella on tap.”

When Todd Christy of Chilmark isn’t roasting, brewing, or delivering coffee for his Chilmark Coffee Company, he loves the grilled chicken sandwich (with extra mayo) from Josh Aronie’s Saltwater Café, French fries at The Bite, 7A’s breakfast sandwich, which he swears he would eat daily if only someone would deliver it to him, the chocolate peanut butter bar from Chilmark Chocolates and soft serve at The Galley.

For one MVY radio DJ, the ArtCliff truck is a lifesaver, or at least a hunger-satiate-er. Jess Phaneuf works late and frequents the truck for a late-night dinner and when she’s not working, Park Corner Bistro is a favorite for it’s laid back vibe and good cocktails.

Beth Kramer, director at the West Tisbury Library, is married to a chef, and that makes dining out difficult. (Some chefs prefer to stay out of restaurants when they aren’t required to be there.) But she does get out occasionally, and she loves the rice and bean burrito at La Choza, the French lentil salad at Little House Cafe, and a good soy cappuccino from State Road. She shares her appreciation for the Little House with children’s librarian Nelia Decker, who loves the fish tacos there. Ms. Decker is admittedly biased because her son is the bartender but she swears the Quiet American martini at Hooked is incredible, and she can’t resist the garlic truffle fries at Hooked’s sister restaurant, Atria.

This isn’t even close to a comprehensive list of places and things you have to eat on the Vineyard. We didn’t get into pizza at Giordano’s, dinner on the patio at Sweet Life, homemade candy and ice cream at Ben and Bill’s, fried chicken at Pirate Jack’s, mango lassis at Mermaid Dairy, Katama Bay Oysters, Island blueberries, lemonade bought from a kid on the side of the road, Thai food in Oak Bluffs, and soon, food at The Fair!

With so many choices available on the Island, I hope it inspired you to eat something delicious today.