· Nantucket Bake Shop: We've already talked about the awesomeness of their 'Sconset Sweets, but you've gotta hit this tiny place early in the morning (before 10am, says the staff) to catch the oh-so-numnum donuts. Grab a pie (or two) for later.
· The Soda Fountain at Nantucket Pharmacy: This is about as casual as you can get, just plopping down on a stool for a coffee, and we loved it. The rear of the place is a general store and its central location means it's super convenient at any time of the day. Stop back for a milkshake.
· Crosswinds: Yes, lunch at the airport!!! Crosswinds is at ACK--Nantucket Memorial Airport, before security so everyone can come and enjoy watching the Cape Air prop planes buzz into the sky. The space is large, the menu is large and the aviation-themed cocktails are large. The only thing not so large? Their awesome outside deck right on the tarmac. Ask for a table there specially.
· Walker's: Easy and cheap sandwiches right by the ferry wharf. Quick service and tasty. We suppose their business mostly comes from people looking for snacks to take onboard the ferry.
· Nantucket Gourmet: Head to the rear of this kitchenwares shop to find their semi-secret salad and sandwich bar. It's takeout-only, and you can choose all ingredients for your half-sandwich, full sandwich (fulls are $10), panini or salad.
· 12 Degrees East: Open year-round with 50 craft beers on the menu and a casual, sit-down atmosphere. We ordered the local flounder entree and discovered a Shandy on the drinks menu that's not yet available outside Cape Cod, yet we've craved it since; it's called "Curious Traveler." Perfect, huh?
· The Brotherhood of Thieves: On the first floor of a historical building, with ceilings so low and lighting so dark you'll think it's a tavern from the 1800s. And that's exactly the idea. Go for the lobster bisque ($9.75 with good chunks) or juicy burgers (from $10) with a cold glass of Cisco Brewers' Grey Lady. Perfect place for meeting up with friends, chilling at the bar or eating alone (as we did and felt totally comfortable).
· Easy Street Cantina: Has the cheapest lobster roll we found on the island at $9, and that's about the max price here. It's a counter restaurant, meaning you order, pay and then sit and eat or take it to-go. We came late in the night since most traditional restaurant close early-ish
DRINKS & DESSERT
· Club Car: It seems like everyone ends up at the Club Car at some point, and you definitely should. It's close quarters, but what can you expect from a vintage rail car transformed into one long bar? Come after dinner to catch their talented piano player (who takes requests!) and go for a Cisco brew if your budget is tight. No cover!
· The Juice Bar: There's a joke on the island that, when kids ask for spending money from their parents to go for ice cream, they ask for $20. Treats are not cheap on Nantucket, and this goes for fresh juices as well. Come here once or twice, but be sure to work a cone of the "green monster" ice cream in there; it's a mix of mint and chocolate chip cookie dough.
· Cisco Brewers: You can get everything liquid herebeers, cocktails, winesexcept for food. Cisco's brewery grounds are BYOF (Bring Your Own Food), so we say hit Nantucket Gourmet in town for a sandwich and pop a squat at one of the picnic tables on the Cisco patio for an entire evening. Tasting flights are only $10, and you get to keep the glass.
IF YOU'RE FEELING FANCY
· Oran Mor Bistro: They promise "seasonal fare with Nantucket delicacies," and with a menu featuring sauteed Nantucket fluke and BBQ-spiced soft shell crab, we'd say they deliver. Their location is just a quick walk north of the Whaling Museum, and we'd recommend it for dinner after hitting said museum, so your evening conversation topic can be spermaceti oils. Fun!
· TOPPER'S at The Wauwinet Inn: This is the only restaurant on this list that's definitely outside of Nantucket Town proper, but a free shuttle from the visitor center in town will have you out to this fancy-schmance place with its own alfresco deck and yard. The lobster rolls are over $20, but the giant cupcake and sorbet desserts are only $5.
**Other affordable places recommended to us by locals, but we ran out of time to visit ourselves: Town, Captain Tobey's Chowder House, The Downyflake Donuts, Queequeg's, Bartlett's Farm Market and Stubby's.