"Widely touted as the best restaurant on Cape Cod" Condé Nast Travel & Leisure World's Best Awards
Since 2001, a renovated 1830s barn in the Cape Cod town of Orleans has been the stage where Erez Pinhas has conceived and presented some of the most inventive cuisine in New England —a remarkably long run for a small, chef-owned establishment. Along the way, ABBA has built a devoted clientele—locals and summer folk who return every year.
It's the kind of place treasured by people who love restaurants: a deeply personal dining venue where patrons know the proprietors are at home—because they are often circulating on the floor. An early Boston Globe review described ABBA as the place "where the chefs go to dine." The locally sourced, ever-changing, pan-Mediterranean menu is an expression of Israeli-born chef Erez: confident, assured, informed by his own heritage, experience, and training. And the casually elegant spaces reflect the taste of co-owner and manager Christina Bratberg in every well-wrought detail.
After traveling and tasting the world, in 1997 Erez and Christina brought their family to live in Orleans, where she had spent summers as a child. To build a reputation and clientele for the top-end restaurant they dreamed of, they first opened "ABBA to Go," serving artisanal pizza, falafel, and other simple but expertly prepared fare from their home on West Road, next door to the current restaurant.
In 2001, ABBA was launched and immediately became a destination for diners who loved Erez's creative interpretations of native seafood and fresh produce. "I wanted a place to express and share my passion for food, my ideas about flavors from my childhood and those encountered on my travels," he says. The restaurant has consistently won praise from diners and the food press including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Yankee, and Travel & Leisure magazine, and garners top scores from Zagat.
Sustaining such high standards year after year is a challenge. Erez and Christina keep ABBA fresh by traveling in the off-season (returning often to Israel, now a major food destination). Their roster of local suppliers is always growing, as is the role of their own garden in supplying the kitchen. In 2018, they embarked on a major renovation to update the look and feel of the space, and ultimately to enclose the popular terrace.
"Wonderful atmosphere for a romantic dinner"
The main room at ABBA is artfully designed to give guests a sense of comfort and privacy, with alcoves, banquettes cushioned in aubergine velvet, warm wood tabletops, and soft candlelight. Floors are wide pine planks; walls have beadboard detail and work by Cape artists. "I want guests to feel they're embarking on a special night out, a journey," says Christina. "All the details, including the food, work together to create a sensual atmosphere."
"I especially love sitting up at the bar"
One of the Cape's great conversation spots. At the tiled bar, you can order a full meal or just enjoy drinks made with top-shelf ingredients — before or after dinner. Thoughtful touches include hanging hooks and charging stations.
"The terrace was delightful"
Outdoor dining with all the comforts. Diners are sheltered by canvas and screens, with heaters warming the space as needed in spring and fall. Wood-topped tables and chairs covered in the same jewel-toned velvet sit on a stone floor; flower baskets decorate the surrounding fence.