Adrian Scenic or culinary, the outlook at Adrian's is panoramic. Perched atop a bluff, the restaurant owns a sweeping view of Cape Cod Bay; according to locals, come summer, its covered terrace is the place to catch a breeze and watch the sunset.
Chef-owner Adrian Cyr's menu spans much of Italy, from Venice via sogliole in sapore - tangy panfried sole mixed with raisins, pignoli, caramelized onions, and vinegar - to Rome with zuppa di farro e ceci, in which a simple tomato-herb broth derives depth from nutty grains and buttery chickpeas. And with a bowl of cacciucco - a shellfish stew made ultra-hearty with chicken and sausage - followed by the rum-soaked, chocolate-filled semifreddo known as zuccotto, you could be dining al fresco in Florence.
While the restaurant's interior is less magical than it is cheerful, with sunny yellow walls, bright ceramic accents, and a pot of rosemary on every table, it could make an ideal setting for a casual getting-to-know-you brunch date - Adrian's also dishes up great morning fare, such as omelettes spilling with Brie, accompanied by a lightly spiced pile of home fries.
Outer Reach Hotel, 535 Rte. 6, North Truro. 508-487-4360. Open mid-May to Columbus Day. As of June 15: breakfast Mon.-Sun. 8 a.m.-noon and dinner Mon.-Sun. 5:30-10 p.m.
Cape Sea Grille Meanwhile, the menu, emphasizing shellfish and choice produce, is a study in indulgences. Oysters, coated in herbed cornmeal and soaked in buttermilk, arrive golden and crispy, yet cooled by an avocado-smooth version of green goddess dressing; a pancetta-tinged reduction of saffron and Calvados, the French apple brandy, makes pan-seared lobster all the richer; fiddleheads, chanterelles, and chive oil form an earthy trio for plump sea scallops. And dessert here is a must, the messier the sexier. The pineapple "carpaccio," for one, is spread out on the plate in translucent slices, bathed in coconut milk, sprinkled with toasted coconut, and topped with a coconut tuile and a scoop of fresh lime sorbet.
31 Sea St., Harwich Port. 508-432-4745. Open April 1 to Nov. 15. Dinner Mon.-Sun. 5-10 p.m.
Front Street Front Street is a P-town institution. The fact that it's on Commercial Street is the least of its quirks. Another, given the abundance of scenery around, is its small, windowless, basement-level locale. But therein lies Front Street's cozy charm. Owner Donna Aliperti's tastes are nothing if not eclectic: wicker-basket lampshades, cut-glass partitions, a textural mix-`n'-match of wood and brick, wrought iron, and brown velvet.
There are two menus: one is contemporary Continental and changes weekly (grilled baby lamb chops with Parmesan-fennel gratin is a fine example), while the other lists Italian house specialties. It's an eccentric blend of a red-sauce repertoire that passes for retro - chicken marasla and scampi - and twists on tradition: Pasta Donini combines fettuccinesque noodles with coins of herbed sausage, cannellini, and wilted escarole to earthy yet buttery effect; zuppa di pesce reinvents itself nightly to accommodate the daily catch; ribollita gets fresh as a salad of baby spinach, smoked pancetta, and caramelized onion.
So if you've come for the mood, you'll stay for the food -and vice-versa; lively and even noisy as the scene at Front Street can be, its booths and tables for two form shelters in which to cuddle at length over a whopping slice of toffee pie.
Reserve a room at the gracious yet low-key Elliott House, only minutes away; the rooms are exquisite, and slices of the moistest Dutch-apple coffee cake this side of Julia await you in the morning.
230 Commercial St., Provincetown. 508-487-9715. Open daily (except Tues.) 6-10:30 p.m.
The Red Inn Tucked deep into Provincetown's residential West End, the just-opened Red Inn provides handsome sanctuary from the commerce of, well, Commercial Street. Proprietors Sean Burke, David Silva, Rick Holland, and Philip Mossy have given the place a homey yet chic look, complete with French doors, glossy wood floors, auburn leather furniture, and, brick-red trim. The dining room is likewise elegantly simple - after all, the unimpeded view of the shoreline lying just a few paces beyond its windows is decoration enough (though the modest chandelier and fireplace do lend a certain warmth).
Refinement pertains to the neo-haute menu as well as to the decor. Filet mignon, rack of lamb, and lobster endure, as do buerre blancs and demiglaces; but now they're herb-crusted, citrus-infused, whiskey-laced. Oysters, reputed mood-enhancers, marry with jalapeno and basil in a refreshing approach to Oysters Rockefeller; bacon-wrapped and deep-fried, they wake up a Caesar salad. And the surprising addition of lobster meat to artichoke fondue lends the dish a delicacy meant to be shared, along with the sea view.
15 Commercial St., Provincetown. 508-487-7334. Open until New Year's Day. Dinner Mon.-Sun. 5:30-10:30 p.m. Brunch Sat.-Sun. 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Twenty-Eight Atlantic Looking for the perfect place to propose? With its high ceilings, cracked-glass chandeliers, picture windows onto Pleasant Bay, and sumptuous decor in shades of sand, mist, and shell, this newly renovated restaurant is, as you would expect at the swank Wequassett Inn, posh and polished. But what you may not expect, as it's practically unheard of these days, is excellent service based on the old-fashioned notion that fine dining is an event, and the diner an honored guest. To that end, everyone from restaurant manager Lassaad Riahi to the busboys are keenly yet discreetly attentive. Chef Bill Brodsky has created what is not so much a menu as a heightened sensual experience. (See Alison Arnett review on page 4 of today's Calendar). Every dish contains an element of surprise: be it a striking presentation (individually plated oysters), an intriguing aroma (anise liqueur in a shellfish broth), or a bold melding of flavors and textures (salmon with plum and fennel and goat cheese and brown butter). Afterward, you can repair to Thoreau's Bar. It's as dark and snug as the dining room is light and open. In shades of brown and maroon, with a flagstone fireplace, overstuffed chairs, and a book-size drink menu, it resembles a private library; but don't worry, no one will shush you if you pop the question.
Wequassett Inn Resort And Golf Club, 173 Orleans Road (Route 28), Pleasant Bay, Chatham. 800-225-7125/508-432-5400. Open daily mid-April to late November. Breakfast 7-11 a.m.; lunch 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m; dinner 6-10 p.m.
L'Uva's No matter how busy it gets, L'Uva's the kind of place you feel you have to yourself. Occupying a 19-century two-story building known as Sidehall Cottage, the bistro preserves the aura of a private residence with its relatively small and self-contained dining rooms, each aglow in a striking pale-sunset hue. The coziest of these is actually the bar, tucked away in a slope-ceilinged back room upstairs that must have been a bedroom once; you'll notice that couples seem to gravitate toward the close, softly lit quarters, inviting intimate conversation. Even the red-brick patio at L'Uva, though visible from the street, is set back far enough on the property to seem sheltered, especially as it's bordered by greenery strung with lights for agarden-soiree atmosphere. The menu, meanwhile, is itself divided into several sections, each speaking a different Romance language. (Chef Christopher Covelli, who co-owns L'Uva with Peter Garza, possesses an Italian pedigree, classical French training, and a second home in Spain.) A supple duck a l'orange shines among the French entrees in all its retro glamour; Covelli's signature pasta stands out from the Italian selection for its robust inclusion of both sweet and spicy sausage sauteed in white wine with rosemary - and offset by the uncommon addition of fresh grapes. Spanish and "American haute" options present themselves as well. But generally speaking, it's better to err on the side of simplicity when ordering at L'Uva, as with the still warm, chocolate-topped pate a choux in their pool of good old creme anglais. If it's sophistication you're after, make one of several grappas or premium tequilas your nightcap.
133 Bradford St., Provincetown. 508-487-2010. April-December. Daily (as of June 16). 6 p.m.-1 a.m.
Vining's Bistro As you enter the bland minimall in which Vining's Bistro is located, you may be peering around nervously for some sign that a romantic meal really is within reach. In fact you'll receive two, literally, before you reach the entrance: one a pointed apology to parents for the bistro's inability to accommodate small children, the other a reminder to patrons to turn off their cell phones. In short, Vining's promises the peace and quiet conducive to intimacy, which is complemented by the menu's characteristic blend of luxury and comfort.
Chef Myles Huntington has a way with small indulgences, transforming everyday favorites like tacos into lobster-filled, spinach-threaded bundles topped with dollops of lime creme fraiche; ravioli are hand-sewn pillows of mascarpone plumped with asparagus and laced with pungent ricotta salata, pignoli, and basil oil. Mousse, too, shines with a squirt of lemon and a drizzle of sun-dried blueberry sauce.
The bistro's interior undergoes similar transformation: In the daylight hours it looks like any neighborhood cafe - nice enough but nondescript, except for the incongruous presence of a couple of giant teddy bears -and by sundown it has taken on a dusky glow that suffuses the window-side tables for two.
595 Main St., Chatham. 508-945-5033. Open April 1 to Jan. 1. Daily 5:30-10 p.m.