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The best Falmouth restaurants where you can eat like a local

Falmouth is charming, slow-paced, and laid back with an outstanding natural setting. It’s the perfect place to dine at one of the best Falmouth restaurants or spend a day at the beach.

The historic village’s tree-lined streets and picturesque commercial district are encircled by lovely homes with architectural features inspired by the colonial era and the early years of American independence.

We stayed in the restored 1861 home of a whaling captain now the Captain Lawrence Inn, a 7-bedroom vacation rental. The location was perfect for sampling the best Falmouth restaurants, which tend to be clustered in the historic downtown area known as the Falmouth village.

In this post, we’ll take you on a culinary tour of Falmouth, including the restaurants we personally sampled. Falmouth is often overlooked on a trip to Cape Cod, but it’s one of the easier places to get to in the busy season and features some of the Cape’s best restaurants.

We hope you’ll read along with us, but in case you want to skip ahead, we provided navigation links in the Table of Contents below.

shoreline Falmouth on Cape Cod
The Falmouth shoreline on Cape Cod is beautiful in any season. Image by Teresa Lamsam in December 2021.

How we ranked the restaurants

I usually travel with a multigenerational, diverse crew of friends and family members. Within our group, we have people with tastes ranging from downhome to sophisticated. So, on a trip, our restaurant selections have to run the gamut of options, including hole-in-the-wall locales to Michelin star restaurants. 

Do we read the restaurant reviews first?

Yes, but we don’t always let those reviews dissuade us from going. If a place is popular with locals, we check it out even if the reviews are less than stellar.

How do we pick the restaurants?

Because we’re usually in a group, we have to sample a lot of restaurants. We all have different tastes and want different eating-out experiences. I put a lot of work into pre-planning my trips and that includes creating a list of restaurants along with notes on everything from signature dishes to tips from online reviews.

One thing we all agree on is that we want to avoid restaurant chains – mostly. On the road, we will make a McDonald’s drive through for breakfast.

The quality of service is probably my No. 1 requirement when looking for or reviewing a restaurant. Great service somehow makes average food taste better!

I mentioned above that I typically travel in a multigenerational, diverse group. From the time we walk into the restaurant until the time we leave, I’m observing everything going on around us.

The grandparents in our group are in their 80s. Only one is an adventurous eater and they both have hearing difficulties. I’m very attuned to how they are treated by the servers, which can come down to how well trained the service staff is in dealing with a wide range of people, including the elderly. 

We take them everywhere. Just because it may be a restaurant frequented by young professionals doesn’t deter us from enriching the lives of the grandparents with a variety of restaurant types.

At a minimum, I’m looking for an experience characterized by mutual respect, if not friendliness. When that is not the case, you won’t see the restaurant reviewed here. I won’t blast the restaurant but rather I’ll stay silent. 

In part because everyone can have a bad day, and I’m about lifting up local businesses, not tearing them down.    

There’s never an excuse for pretentious behavior – from the staff or customers!

Downtown Falmouth restaurants

We visited Falmouth the weekend before Christmas. The seafood places along the coast were closed for the season. Even so, we had more restaurants to sample that was possible in a 3-day stay.

We found Falmouth to have an unusually high number of quality of restaurants compared to other similar sized towns. This is just one of the reasons Falmouth makes for a good off-season destination.

For our list of the best Falmouth restaurants, we focused on the downtown historic village.

Eggs benedict at Country Fare Restaurant
Eggs benedict at Country Fare
Eggs and Sausage at Country Fare Restaurant
Best sausage links ever, according to my dad, Joe

Country Fare Restaurant

319 Main St, Falmouth, MA
Breakfast & Lunch

We love to explore new towns and eat in the local diners. It’s a great way to gain insight into how people live and pick up tips that only the locals will know – not to mention the food that tastes like grandma made it!

In historic downtown Falmouth, that place is the Country Fare Restaurant serving up quintessential Americana fare. It also happens to be one of the best Falmouth restaurants. 

Country Fare has been serving homemade goodness seven days a week for breakfast and lunch for more than 20 years. Breakfast is served all day, and lunch service starts at 11 a.m. and ends at 2 p.m., except on Sundays they close at 1 p.m.

In the mornings, the aroma of fresh coffee beans, freshly baked goods, and sausage and eggs fill the air as you walk into the packed diner resounding with the clattering of dishes and locals enjoying their morning chitchats.  

Our group of five quietly slipped in to be seated, careful not to disturb the homespun ambiance. We’re there to soak up the local vibe and gain a tip or two about the area. 

If you’re looking for one of the best Falmouth restaurants where the locals eat, try Country Fare for breakfast or lunch.

What we liked about Country Fare restaurant

  • Baked goods, including the muffins and pancakes.
  • Although the servers weren’t up for chatting with us (they were busy), they were pleasant. 
  • Mimosas for breakfast!
  • Our grandpa, who is a self-proclaimed expert on breakfast foods, says the link sausages are the best he’s ever had. 
  • Fast service. We didn’t wait long for our food. 

Highlights from the menu

  • Crabcake eggs Benedict
  • Portuguese breakfast sandwich
  • Mimosas in many flavors
  • Apple strudel French toast
  • Omelets and pancakes
  • Northender sub sandwich
  • Monte Cristo

Liam Maguire’s Irish Pub

273 Main Street
Lunch, Dinner, Late Night

Liam Macguire's Irish Pub in Falmouth
Liam Macguire’s Irish Pub in Falmouth, Massachusetts, is tops among the best Falmouth restaurants.

Honestly, we were more interested in having fun than we were in the food. But as luck of the Irish would have it, Liam’s serves up good food and fun in equal measures. 

We planned for a late dinner so that we could enjoy live music with our beers and pub food.

They specialize in traditional and contemporary Irish cuisine as well as draft and craft beers.

In 1994, the Maguires bought the site for their pub that had been home to some of Falmouth’s most popular restaurants for more than a century. The most well-known was the Townhouse Restaurant run by Herb and Phyllis Riley for more than 50 years. It was a Falmouth institution by the time the Maguires opened their Irish pub.

After more than 20 years in business, Liam Maguire’s Irish Pub has become the spot for comforting food, drinks, and community fun. Liam is known by most frequent visitors and locals alike as one of the best Falmouth restaurants.

What we liked about Liam Maguire’s Irish Pub

  • Live music
  • Lively, interactive crowd
  • Servers were friendly and attentive
  • Brews
  • Irish comfort food 

 Highlights from the menu

  • Irish egg rolls
  • Steak on a Stone
  • Beef & Guinness Stew
  • Shepherd’s pie
  • Fish & chips
  • Dublin burger

We vote for Liam Maguire’s Irish Pub as one of the best Falmouth restaurants for fun and community.

A sampling of the fun music at Liam Macguire’s Irish Pub in Falmouth, MA. Just one of the reasons we found it to be one of the best Falmouth restaurants.

Estia

117 Main St
Lunch and Dinner

Estia one of the best Falmouth restaurants
Estia Greek restaurant – one of the best Falmouth restaurants for a sophisticated but casual atomosphere.

Whereas Country Fare and Liam’s have a fun, community vibe, the upscale contemporary surroundings at Estia set the mood for sophisticated comfort. 

The sleek interior design is a clue to the modern vibe of Estia’s presentation of Greek food. Rather than the traditional food and laid-back atmosphere of a taverna, Estia offers meticulous attention to detail from the decor to the table settings to the food.

Estia was our first stop when we arrived in Falmouth on a late afternoon in December. We were one of the first to arrive for an early dinner. I chose it because the modern Greek menu intrigued me, not to mention my whole family loves Greek food. 

The service was better than average, but we did arrive for an early dinner and were one of the few parties in the restaurant. The pace soon picked up but our server remained attentive and friendly. 

Although we didn’t order it, the most talked about menu item is the grilled octopus. People seem to love it.

We’re listing Estia as one of the best Falmouth restaurants for modern, sophisticated lunches and dinners.

Highlights from the menu

  • Coal oven pizza
  • Lamb lollipops
  • Fig ravioli

Related: If you love the sea but you’re stuck in a landlocked state, try pineapple wine for a virtual tropical escape.

Añejo Mexican Bistro

188 Main St.
Brunch, Lunch, and Dinner

I’m not usually attracted to loud and crowded, but for Añejo Mexican Bistro I’m making an exception. Its over-the-top welcoming, fun vibe nearly pulls you in from the quaint Falmouth sidewalk. 

Añejo is anything but quaint but everything important in a restaurant. The place is nearly pulsing with a hospitable rhythm that greets you at the door and never leaves your side. 

How can our server be so incredibly attentive and happy but so incredibly busy?

The artsy, dramatic interior design is the perfect backdrop to showcase delicious Mexican food that sometimes presents with a Cape Cod flair. Try the Langosta Taquitos with local lobster or the Quahogs Rellenos.

Añejo is not only one of the best Falmouth restaurants but it is one of our favorites as a family.

What we liked about Añejo Mexican Bistro

  • What’s not to like! We liked everything!
  • We grew up eating Mexican food in Texas and California. We loved finding that same authenticity of flavors in New England. 
  • Servers are exceptional. 
  • The ambiance and design style were our favorite among other Falmouth restaurants.

Highlights from the menu

  • Chipotle Stung Lobster Bisque
  • Mexican street food
  • Pescado Encornflecado
  • Pork Carnitas Adobo
  • Margaritas, Tequila (flights) and Mezcal

The Quarterdeck

164 Main Street
Lunch and Dinner

The Quarterdeck restaurant in Falmouth, MA
The Quarterdeck, one of the most established in our list of best Falmouth restaurants.

A few buildings down from Añejo’s is a landmark eatery and one of the best Falmouth restaurants. With its rich history and delicious eats, The Quarterdeck in Falmouth, Massachusetts, is a must-see for any visitor to the area.

It originally began as The Little New Yorker and then changed hands in 1967 before being named after the quarterdeck on a boat.

The salvaged wood interior gives you a feeling that you’re below decks on an old ship. Some of the wood dates back to the 1600s.

Grandpa Joseph, one of the elders in our group, travels New England looking for the best seafood dishes. He claims that the Quarterdeck serves the best fish and chips around.

What we liked about The Quarterdeck

  • Historical ambiance
  • Local hangout
  • Friendly service

Highlights from the menu

  • Fresh shucked oysters
  • Stuffed Quahog
  • Crab cakes
  • Seafood pot pie
  • Lobster salad sandwich
  • Grilled reuben

Related: Collecting travel souvenirs gives us a mental boost

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We used this list of tips to find the best Falmouth restaurants.

Other Falmouth downtown restaurants

Although it felt like we ate our way through the historic Falmouth Village in only a few days, our trip wasn’t long enough to hit every restaurant on our list. Here’s where we plan to eat next time as we expand our list of the best Falmouth restaurants!

Doggz & Hoggz

Open year round, this BBQ restaurant is a quick stop for some of the best hotdogs and BBQ sandwiches. They offer delivery for online orders and a quick pickup for orders paid in advance.

Locals consider Doggz & Hoggz one of the best Falmouth restaurants.

Menu highlights

  • Cape Cod Dog – features homemade cranberry apple relish
  • Poor Man’s Surf & Turf – two hot dogs and a stuffed quahog
  • Pulled Pork sandwich – comes on a Portuguese round roll
  • Hoggz Burrito – pulled pork
  • Feast for Four – served with 2 sides, cornbread and 4 meats
  • BBQ platters – chicken, pork, ribs, brisket, beef

The Glass Onion

If we could see behind the scenes at The Glass Onion, we’d no doubt begin to understand the incredible attention to detail that goes into the food, service, and ambiance. 

The restaurant is a dream come true for owners Josh and Tally Christian, who 12 years ago opened the doors to this special place.
Many diners say they would give it “6 out of 5 stars” if they could. 

Menu highlights

  • Lobster Strudel
  • Seafood Risotto (Lobster, Wild White Shrimp, Spinach Risotto, Tarragon Beurre Blanc)
  • Pan Seared Long Island Duck Breast Fingerling Potatoes, Haricot Vert, Cranberry Port Jus

Learn more about their story in this article by Edible Cape Cod.

Devour Artisan Eatery

Devour was high on my list because they make every effort to accommodate dietary restrictions, including the food allergies I suffer from. They offer vegan, vegetarian, and Gluten free items on the menu.

But, if you’re like our Grandpa Joe, and you prefer a more traditional breakfast, you will find something here as well. Joe planned on ordering The Betty fried chicken sandwich for lunch. 

Others in our party already had their choices made in advance. Sarah had her eye on the Mother Clucker – Crispy Korean BBQ chicken – and Layton was going for The Divine (Falafel, hummus, mixed greens, tomato, cucumber, red onion, lemon-pickled cabbage and tahini served on a grilled lavash wrap).

If you prefer breakfast, which is served from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., you can choose from pancakes, loaded home fries, a breakfast sandwich, or my favorite choice – Loaded Toast (toasted sprouted wheat topped with avocado, arugula, heirloom cherry tomatoes and a poached egg).

Be sure to check the website for any changes in menu items. 

15 tips for finding a good restaurant when traveling

We primarily look for the same things you do. In our reader polls, we found 15 of the most common tips for finding the best restaurants in any area.

1) Go local

Eating at local diners and restaurants is the No. 1 tip in our poll of travelers. Use online reviews to find the local hangouts or ask your AirBnB host to give you some suggestions in advance. Once you arrive, ask shop owners and servers at restaurants. They can tell you where they like to eat!

We all have our favorite magazines, newspapers, and TV shows. Many of the people we polled love watching Food Network’s Diners Drive Ins And Dives. They plan trips around the restaurants featured on Guy Fieri’s show.

I like to use regional magazines and newspapers to find the latest reviews and openings for my area – New England. I devour every issue of Yankee magazine. Our family relies on the magazine, Weekends with Yankee TV show, and NewEngland.com to plan our outings.

I turned to all of these when looking for the best Falmouth restaurants. Next, I looked at online reviews.

3) Online reviews

Yelp is a favorite among our friends and readers along with TripAdvisor and Google reviews. One person suggested narrowing your search by looking for specific foods or restaurant types, such as Steakhouses.

4) Avoid tourist traps

Generally, restaurants around big tourist attractions are geared toward tourists, not locals. But with the convenience comes a price tag. Touristy restaurants are typically more expensive. They aren’t usually known for great food either.

5) Look for regional specialties

If you’re in Maine, eat lobster. Tex-Mex in Texas. BBQ in Kansas City. Find out what the area is known for and sample as much of it as you can! I still remember the first time I tried clam chowder in Boston, steak in Omaha, and Pad Thai in Bangkok.

6) Eat fancy for lunch to save money

Nice restaurants, the kind with white tablecloths, often serve lunch. The menu is modified and the portions are smaller, but you’ll still sample the ambience, not to mention chef-inspired dishes.

7) Make reservations in advance

We’ve found advance reservations to be important in off season as well as in high season. True, some wildly popular restaurants don’t accept reservations. However, I often map out in advance some of the must-eat places and find out if reservations are recommended – a step that has saved us a lot of time.

8) Book a culinary walking tour

We highly recommend booking a local guide for all of your destinations. Whether it is a culinary, arts, or sightseeing tour, your local guide experience is likely to be the highlight of the trip. 

Our favorite way to book a culinary tour is through AirBnB or through a travel expert, like Hillary at Zen Luxury Travel

A culinary tour will help you uncover hidden gems or sample Mezcal and tacos in Austin with a certified Master Mezcalier.

9) Follow travel food bloggers

First of all, if you have a favorite food blogger, leave the link in the comment section at the end of this article. We’re always looking for new resources. 

I find travel and food bloggers particularly helpful in getting to know a new area in advance of my trip. I like to learn from their mistakes as well as successes.

One of our favorite no-nonsense travel and food bloggers are Steve and Ann of the Postcard Jar. You can 100% trust their advice. They are in it for the love of travel and other people.

10) Research the wine list in advance

One other thing I do is to research the wine menu in advance to identify regional wines or less common wines. Popular BTG (by-the-glass) wines have the highest markups.

11) Plan a restaurant crawl

Have you ever participated in a progressive dinner party? Our No. 11 Tip is somewhat related. 

If you’re visiting a place with lots of great restaurants clustered together – as is the case with the best Falmouth restaurants – share one or two dishes at each place. We like to eat appetizers at one restaurant, the main course at another, and dessert at the third. 

This method may not work as well during rush hours or busy seasons.

12) Visit off season

That brings us to the off season or shoulder seasons – when we like to travel. I believe off season travel is even more important during and after the pandemic. Restaurants are struggling to survive – even ones that have been in business for decades. 

One of the ways we get to know a new place is to visit during the off season. Depending on the locale, at least half or more of the restaurants and shops stay open. It gives us enough of a sampling to know if we’d be interested in returning during high season.

13) Look for lines and busy parking lots

When I was growing up, my family went on a lot of long road trips. My dad picked places to eat based on busy parking lots. We didn’t dare eat somewhere that only had a car or two parked during prime eating hours. 

Long lines also give you a clue. Although, we tend to take note and return at a less busy time.

14) Go easy with chain restaurants

If you’re not an adventurous eater, you may prefer to stick with your tried and true chain restaurants. I’m like that with the Cracker Barrel restaurant. On road trips, I always want to stop at one to eat, shop, and rest!

However, don’t go overboard with your favorites. Sample the local flavors and support local businesses!

15) Research menus in advance

I no longer print out the menus in advance because for one, they are constantly changing, and two, it wastes paper. Instead, I save a pdf version to the cloud or I don’t bother if the menu is easily available online. 

But I do determine in advance the places I want to eat, and I carefully review the menus. I don’t want to miss a signature dish like the ones we found at the best restaurants in Falmouth!

Final thoughts on the best Falmouth restaurants

Whether you are visiting in season or off season, the best Falmouth restaurants have something to offer everyone. 

We visited in off season before the Christmas holiday, but we had no difficulty finding a whole line up of fabulous restaurants favored by the locals. 

We’re always willing to add to our list, so let us know if you have a suggestion in the comments below.

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