Live music frequently fills the air at The Island Merchant, evoking the freewheeling vacation lifestyle that inspired the menu of Cape Cod Magazine’s Best Chef of 2011. On the menu, tangy fruits play foil to spicy meats: the jerk-chicken skewers laze aside a mango-pineapple coulis, and mango-papaya relish accents the potato-chip-crusted tuna steak. The seaside feel of the eats suits the space. Terra-cotta-colored tiles bedeck the backsplash behind the restaurant’s bar, where overhead woven fans mimic an island breeze or a giant with asthma. The restaurant’s tables surround the bamboo-fronted bar, which glows beneath low, golden lighting.
Tommy Doyle's menu whacks hunger on its horned head with a delicious shillelagh of Irish-influenced pub grub. Starters include colcannon cakes ($6.99)—the traditional Irish appetizer made from hand-crafted potatoes, cabbage, and scallions—and the famine-fighting potato skins ($6.99). Cow-consumers will have no qualms with Tommy Doyle's array of burgers such as the bacon-and-cheese-crowned Hill 16 ($9.99) and the Kitchen Sink ($10.99), topped with mushrooms, jalapenos, onion, cheese, and a fried egg. Wayward Leopold Blooms missing the cuisine of fair Erin can opt for traditional Irish dishes such as a shepherd's pie ($11.99) and corned beef and cabbage ($10.99), or discover how seafood tastes on this side of the Atlantic with Tommy Doyle's most popular dish, the fish 'n' chips ($12.49). In honor of the Coyote Grill, the restaurant that preceded Tommy Doyle's at its Kendall Square location, Tommy Doyle's also serves fajitas in chicken ($11.99), steak ($12.99), and veggie ($10.99) variations. If your NASA training requires that you eat all your food for the day by mid-afternoon, stop by Tommy Doyle's for its weekend brunch.
For the last 30 years, Alberto's Ristorante has honed its Northern Italian specialities to produce a menu of classic pastas, seafood, and meats. Everything is made in-house, from the parpardelle pasta and new england clam chowder to the tiramisu. Inside, Alberto's brightly lit space features linen-clad tables, fireplaces, and a nice cozy lounge which rest all the fixings for classic and specialty cocktails. Outside, an awning covers patio seating, where patrons can dig into beef short ribs or lamb osso buco with a tasty accompaniment of fresh air.
Inside emBargo, a martini and tapas bar located in downtown Hyannis, servers arrive at lamplit tables with trays of hot and cold small plates, oysters on half shells, and seafood sliders. Each order of tapas resembles a work of art: applewood bacon and arugula add color to a plate of pan-seared scallops, and delicate drizzles of pomegranate molasses sauce spell out the word "Art!" on the grilled lamb so there's no mistaking what you're seeing. After dining on marinated artichokes wrapped in Serrano ham, diners can sip one of 20 signature martinis while listening to live entertainment, including jazz on Saturday nights and after-hours karaoke on Wednesdays.