Right off the dock, the Barnacle Cafe (1 Wharf Rd., 207/594-7995, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. mid-May–Oct., $4–6) is a mandatory first stop for espresso drinks, wraps, sandwiches, and legendary clam chowder. It has a few tables inside and on the porch.
You can’t get much saltier than Fish House Fish (Fish Beach, 207/594-9151, www.fishbeachmonhegan.com , lunch and dinner, $7–13), a lobster-in-the-rough eatery that serves unadulterated fresh fish, lobster, and freshly made chowder at a collection of picnic tables by the beach.
The most popular restaurant on the island, perhaps, is the Monhegan House Dining Room (1 Main St., 207/594-7983, www.monheganhouse.com , $13–22), which serves gourmet New England comfort food like poached haddock with lemon butter and braised lamb shank with fennel and barley. The dining room overlooks a meadow with a view of the circling beam of the lighthouse above.
A bit fancier, dinner at the Island Inn Cafe (on the harbor, 207/596-0371, www.islandinnmonhegan.com , breakfast from 7 a.m., lunch, and dinner from 6 p.m., $14–26) includes a stunning view of the whaleback silhouette of Manana Island, the next rock over. Seafood runs heavy on the menu here, including standout lobster bisque and fettuccine with steamed scallops. The café also packs trail lunches to go.
Note that none of the island’s restaurants serves alcohol—you can buy your own at North End Market (Village Center, 207/594-5546, 9 a.m.–5 p.m., June–Sept.; winter hours vary) and bring it with you to your meal.