Love at First Bite

Eating your way through Falmouth isn’t a tough task, nor is it an undesirable one– especially when you can feast on some small plates that may very well wind up being the most memorable part of your meal. Here’s to nine of Falmouth’s staple restaurants and their tasty appetizer dishes that guarantee your first bite will taste just as good as your last… maybe even better!

By Jacquelyn Mysliwiec • photography by luke simpson


C is for charming, contemporary and creative—all of which describe the ambience, food and flavors found at C Salt, nestled along Davis Straits in Falmouth. Chef and owner Jonathan Philips is regularly seen behind the kitchen line inside his quaint restaurant, which boasts a bit of a relaxed, rustic-meets-upscale-urban vibe. The brick oven behind the small bar is a clear giveaway of a customer favorite—gourmet flatbreads. But it’s the variety of small plates inspired by Asian and French influences that truly stand out. Philips says his diverse menu reflects his training at Johnson & Wales College of Culinary Arts as well as his time spent working at revered restaurants Tosca and Square Café, both located in Hingham. Among his top fusion apps are the pan-seared diver scallops sautéed in a thyme yuzu (a citrus fruit from Asia) brown butter with hen-of-the-woods mushrooms and baby arugula, and served with a micro green garnish. The C’s say it all, plus one “D” for delicious.

75 Davis Straits • 774-763-2954 •

Quicks Hole Tavern 

No matter if you’re dining on the upper or lower level of this two-story tavern diagonal from the Woods Hole Steamship Authority, you’re sure to get a good taste of land and seaside fare mixed with the comfort of savory and sweet tavern flavors. We’re talking about bites that make your taste buds do a little dance, such as their famous pig’s candy. A best seller on the menu since their opening, this small plate consists of thick, juicy slices of fruit-smoked pork belly coated in a maple syrup and brown sugar glaze that come served atop an apple and guava puree. In the chillier months, they take it one step further and use the extra sugar glaze to make a special bourbon cocktail. Cheers to that!

29 Railroad Ave., Woods Hole • 508-495-0048 •

Pickle Jar Kitchen 

This farm-to-table breakfast and lunch hot spot has created some serious buzz around town for its fresh, garden- and pickle-inspired menu offerings, as well as its cozy interior decorated with vintage, up-cycled materials. If you’ve already dipped your hands into their pickle jars and tasted some of the house-made briny treats, including the owners’ (Kevin and Elisabeth Lay and Benjamin and Cassandra Gallant) signature Kirby sour dills, then feast your eyes and appetite on a more modern take on the classic dill. An order of their homemade garlic and dill pickle chips is a home run if you’re looking for that salty and spicy fried fix, especially with their secret-recipe tellicherry ranch dipping sauce, which packs its own flavorful punch.

170 Main St. • 508-540-6760 •

Captain Kidd

“Sitting on the dock of the bay…” That’s exactly what you’ll enjoy doing at Captain Kidd Restaurant and Bar. Hugging Eel Pond Harbor in the heart of Woods Hole, Captain Kidd has attracted quite a crowd for their gourmet, stocked-to-the-brim raw bar showing off the day’s fresh catch. A chalkboard lists the raw specials each day, which always include an assortment of local oysters, shrimp, crab legs, lobsters and little-neck clams caught straight from the waters of Sippewissett, Washburn Island, Buzzards Bay, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. The best part—you don’t have to worry about missing out on all the good stuff if you’re part of the later crowd. This iced-down treasure chest of ocean treats is restocked to its fullest throughout the day.

77 Water St., Woods Hole • 508-548-8563 •


When you’re the locals’ favorite spot for authentic Mexican in an eclectic upscale eatery in a seaside town, there’s no choice but to keep adding to the “local.” At least that’s what owner Jamie Surprenant had in mind in his efforts to offer customers a variety of fresh and local finds featured in a non-traditional Cape Cod way. The lobster taquitos speak well to this sought-after style. Using locally caught lobster, the chef lightly fries the fresh tail, knuckles and claw meat in a flour tortilla, then complements the creation with a chipotle aioli drizzle whose bite is offset by dabs of guacamole and sour cream.  And if these cooling accompaniments aren’t enough to stifle the spicy fire, there’s nothing like the fresh lime juice and tequila in a tasty house margarita to fix it!

188 Main St. • 508-388-7631 •

The Glass Onion 

Named after the famous Beatles song, The Glass Onion is defined by its classic and cozy atmosphere. Dining inside an old colonial establishment that boasts beautiful coffered ceilings, Shaker-style wooden booths and tables dressed in white linen, you will enjoy comfort foods inspired by the region’s four distinct seasons. Owner Josh Christian works with the chef to regularly adapt the menu to feature seasonal local produce and regionally caught seafood. One appetizer, however, is so popular year round that diners might protest if it were removed from the menu—the lobster strudel. The savory pastry made of phyllo dough, stuffed with fresh lobster meat and mascarpone cheese is baked and finished with a lobster butter sauce. It’s a dish so divine, rich and melt-in-your-mouth good, you would think it was made for a king.

37 N. Main St. • 508-540-3730 • 

Quahog Republic

At this local dive bar, you’ll find not only your standard pub chat, but also some serious local quahog tales—that are backed up by some of the offerings listed on the menu. The eatery was opened by two local shellfishermen—Cape native Erik Bevans and washashore Tom Hughes—who met while digging quahogs in Popponesset. The pair developed a great friendship as well as an idea to open a small, eclectic seaside bar that would represent what they love to do—relax and enjoy the stories and company of other locals while having a taste of their fresh ocean finds. And what could be more signature to the Quahog Republic than a stuffed quahog? A giant quahog shell comes packed with a mixture of fresh quahog meat and linguiça that’s baked to a slightly crisp, golden brown perfection, and served with a side of drawn butter and lemon. Complement it with a cup of quahog chowder and you’ll satisfy any sinful seafood craving.

97 Spring Bars Rd. • 508-540-4111 • 


After opening Celestino’s Café in the heart of Chatham in 2012, chef and owner Juan Celestino Paredes decided to return to his hometown of Falmouth and bring his beloved restaurant with him. Choosing a cozy space on North Falmouth Highway, Paredes has lured in passersby with a menu filled with modern American and Mediterranean flavors. Celestino’s restaurant is similar to its Lower Cape sister restaurant, which has since closed, but with a few twists. A sucker for bone-in meats, Paredes offers one of his favorite dishes—a lamb lollipop appetizer that delivers more than just a delicacy. After hand-trimming the lamb chops and seasoning them with an aromatic Moroccan rub, Paredes grills the lollipops to a perfect medium-rare. They come accompanied with a roasted red pepper piquant sauce. The culinary magic doesn’t stop there, though. With Paredes working as part of a dynamic duo with his son, Juan Jr. (who learned to cook from his father), customers can expect plenty of inventive creations popping up on the menu this year.

444 North Falmouth Hwy. #5 • 508-392-9741 •

La Cucina Sul Mare 

Savoring a hearty Italian meal is no challenge at this Little Italy-style family-owned restaurant and kitchen by the sea (which translates to La Cucina Sul Mare in Italian). Chances are you won’t be able to stop yourself from indulging in a dish done the traditional Italian way—with lots of garlicky goodness. Chef and owner Mark Cilfone doesn’t mess around when it comes to big, bold flavor and presentation, serving some of his fresh seafood straight from the pan. Their signature mussels appetizer is no exception. A heaping pile of these briny bivalves, drenched in a simple yet flavorful white wine, garlic and herb sauce, is served sizzling in a sauté pan hot off the stove. It’s an app big enough to share with the whole table—and maybe the next table over, too! Just as warm and comforting as the food they serve is the couple behind the whole operation. Since opening their Main Street eatery in 2002, Mark and wife, Cynthia, have welcomed regulars and newcomers into the restaurant as if they were their own family.

237 Main St. • 508-548-5600 •


Comments are closed.