Best of the Shore 2024

by Matt Cosentino, Bill Donahue, Peter Proko, Madeleine Maccar, Carly Murray and Chelsea Valcourt | Jul 25, 2024
Best of the Shore 2024
If you’re like us, you’ve been clamoring to get back down to your favorite Shore town to smell the salt air, dip your toes in the sand and make more lasting memories with family and friends. To help get you ready for the summer ahead, we once again traveled from Long Beach Island down to Cape May in search of the best places to eat and drink along the coast. From causal spots to grab a quick bite to polished white tablecloth restaurants that ooze elegance, the Shore has it all. 

AVALON


ICE CREAM at Avalon Freeze
No matter if you’re grabbing a chocolate chip cookie cone stuffed with your favorite flavor and cloaked in jimmies or opting instead for one of the addictive Freezers blended with candy pieces, chances are you’ll be hanging in line quite a bit this summer.

MORNING WAKEUP at Avalon Coffee
There are few better places to start your day off on the right foot than at this coffee shop where you can grab a piping hot handcrafted cup of coffee, super solid breakfast sandwiches and an assortment of dynamite pastries.

SANDWICHES at Isabel’s Bakery and Café

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With over 20 sandwich offerings on its menu, Isabel’s has a little something to satisfy everyone’s craving. We are quite fond of the prosciutto and goat cheese with arugula and fig jam on a baguette as well as the grilled chicken with avocado, brie and bacon.

PIZZA at Via Mare
This Southern Italian mainstay cranks out some stellar dishes, but it also makes some of the best pizza you’ll find at the Shore. Available for takeout only, so plan accordingly, the thin, crispy pies are made with stellar ingredients and come topped with an array of options.

FAMILY-FRIENDLY DINING at Concord Café
With a thoughtful mix of burgers, sandwiches, pizza and popular entrées like fried flounder and chicken parm, Concord Café’s menu is sure please even the most discerning eater in your brood.

SEAFOOD at Oceanside Seafood
Whether you’re dining in or taking out, this popular seafood spot will have you hook, line and sinker. The steamed mussels, calamari and fish tacos are all worthy starters while the whiskey maple salmon house specialty is another crowd favorite.

For Dinner

Café Loren
A restaurant that has stood the test of time and seemingly only gets better each year, Café Loren is a staple in the Shore’s fine dining scene. Fresh, high-quality ingredients set the stage for a plethora of dynamic dishes that showcase deft technique and skill.

Il Posto
Inventive takes on Italian favorites are a calling card at this popular eatery. The tender grilled octopus makes for a wonderful starter before you dive into a plate of pan-fried gnocchi with brown butter, mushrooms and truffle oil or the memorable veal piccata.

The Diving Horse
Everything from the inviting atmosphere to the stellar service to the seasonally-rotating menu, this restaurant has long been a dining destination for serious gourmands. The dishes are elevated-yet-approachable and scream summer on a plate.

Polpo
An Albanian chef cranking out some of the best Italian cuisine you’ve ever tasted? That’s exactly what you’ll find at Polpo where longtime chef Bujar Daku is responsible for creating magnificent plates of risotto, pasta, seafood and other fan favorites.

By the Bar

During happy hour at the Rock n’ Chair, the good times roll on every day from 4 to 6 p.m. as live music fills the air. On Fridays, patrons can also test their trivia knowledge with a round of Quizzo. With multiple bar areas and an expansive menu, The Whitebrier is another popular hangout whether you’re just stepping off the sand or stepping out for the night. The Princeton is an Avalon institution that attracts crowds of all ages that dance the night away to live entertainment in one of the venue’s three night club areas. The Windrift offers a bevy of signature cocktails, multiple bar areas and picturesque views of the ocean thanks to its prime beachfront location.

 

CAPE MAY


Coffee at Coffee Tyme
With two locations, you’re never far from a great cup o’ joe. We’re partial to the Red Eye’s perfect balance of espresso and coffee, but try the macchiato or cappuccino if you’re treating yourself.

Lobster Roll at The Ugly Mug
There’s tons to love about this local mainstay, but its lobster rolls top that very long list. From the succulent meat to the creamy mayo to the pillowy soft bun, it’s no wonder these are hailed as the cape’s best lobster rolls.

Charcuterie at Willow Creek Winery & Farm
An international array of meat and cheeses elevate the choose-your-own-adventure boards you’ll find at this verdantly picturesque slice of heaven. Pair your selections with a flight of wine glasses for one truly indulgent gustatory experience.

Breakfast at Blue Pig Tavern
Tucked away in historic Congress Hall, the Blue Pig is well-versed in feeding locals and tourists alike—and its breakfasts showcase that experience. The French toast stuffed with fruity compotes and mascarpones are always a sweet way to start the day.

Bagels at Bagel Time Café
Whether you opt for a bagel slathered in one of Bagel Time’s nearly 20 homemade sweet or savory spreads or dig into a delectable breakfast sandwich, you’ll understand how the average New Jerseyan can easily consume 82 bagels a year.

Ice Cream at Peace Pie
Ice cream sandwiches are an art here, where signature shortbread cookies, premium ice cream, and homemade pie fillings and toppings yield tons of tasty combinations. The classic Chocolate Mint and berry excellent Jersey Devil are two of our favorites. 

Waterfront Dining at Harry’s Ocean Bar & Grille
You can’t beat the combination of an award-winning menu and rooftop view. Take in the ocean’s vast majesty between mouthwatering bites of fresh local seafood, like the beer-battered fish and chips or seared scallops over parmesan risotto.

 

For Dinner

410 Bank Street
If you’ve never dined on upscale French-Caribbean cuisine inside a Victorian-era building, then it’s time to treat your taste buds and find out why even The New York Times loves it here. Make sure to try the Cajun Shellfish Gumbo File!

Andrea Trattoria Italiana
A cape favorite for family-run, chef-owned fine dining straight from Naples. Any combination of the three-course options makes for a delicious experience, but we’re especially fond of starting things off with the carpaccio di polpo’s thinly sliced octopus with lemon and capers.

Black Duck on Sunset
Don’t let the cool, casual exterior of this classic clapboard fool you: The Asian-influenced American fare here is gourmet comfort food. The honey duck is always a favorite, but the lobster bisque is some of the cape’s best.

Ebbitt Room
This lushly appointed destination for masterfully made seaside cocktails and cuisine, nestled in the similarly luxurious Virginia Hotel, seamlessly blends posh elegance and an innovative menu. No matter what you dine on, the onsite sommelier can pair it with the perfect wine complement.

Maison Bleue Bistro
Fans rave about this French BYOB and its balance of generous portions and thoughtful presentation. Whether your tastes err toward the land or the sea, everything from the Baked South Bay Salt Oysters?with gruyere to the steak tartare to the crème brûlée?is a winner.

Peter Shields Inn
A perfect date-night spot, this romantic, award-winning Americana establishment with a “smart casual” dress code checks all the marks: Great service, great views and, of course, great food. Go with the halibut for your main course and thank us later.

Primal
With oceanfront views and a cozy atmosphere, this upscale steak-and-seafood restaurant is sure to please. Diners are especially wild about the ribeye steaks and the tender lobster tails, and heartily suggest leaving room for dessert.

Tisha’s Fine Dining
Local foodies love Tisha’s so much that they even rave about the salad dressing. The elevated, innovative approach to classic dishes has guests hooked, whether they’re working their way through the menu or ordering the seafood risotto yet again.  

Washington Inn & Wine Bar
Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or dropping in for a mid-week dinner, you’ll be treated to a memorable meal and impeccable service. Diners especially love the crab cakes, short ribs and oysters. Bonus: Free valet parking!

 

By the Bar

With brunch cocktails, signature drinks and seasonal specials, there’s never a wrong time to belly up to the bar at Lucky Bones Back Water Grille. Head to Congress Hall’s Brown Room for live music and colder cocktails in a uniquely chic cocktail lounge. Cold Spring Brewery offers a more casual atmosphere befitting its historic surroundings, and has tons of brews on tap. And everyone’s favorite surfer bar Rusty Nail is the watering hole seasonal guests and residents return to for summertime sipping and nights by the roaring fire pit. 

 

LBI


Pizza at La Riva
It’s common knowledge that the tri-state area has the best pizza—and at La Riva, you can indulge in perfected classics like margherita or pepperoni pizza rosso, or try something new to amaze your taste buds like clam or corn pizza bianco

Ice Cream at Skipper Dipper
No day at the beach is complete without a cold treat to beat the heat. From hard dip and soft-serve, to floats, cakes, ice cream-cookie sandwiches, sundaes and more, the combinations are endless with the wide selection of flavors and toppings. 

Breakfast Sandwiches at Bagels and Beyond
Breakfast sandwiches make the perfect meal any time of the day, but often the options are standard. At Bagels and Beyond, picky and creative eaters alike can rejoice at the options of toppings, replacements and extras.

Takeout Lunch at Pearl Street Market
When you’re looking for fresh and exquisite food on-the-go, Pearl Street Market offers both takeout and pre-prepared foods like sandwiches and bakery treats alongside handheld meals guaranteed to appeal to any member of your party.

Appetizers at Bird and Betty’s
For innovative ways to enjoy your seafood small plates by the shore, try this trendy spot that offers shrimp toast adorned with sesame, lime and chili; octopus and hummus; or different options of oysters like fried with deviled eggs and spicy mayo.

Seafood at Viking Fresh Off the Hook
This restaurant encapsulates “beach vibes” to a T: in atmosphere, in aesthetic and in taste. The menu covers any seafood craving imaginable, with family-style meals like platters and pastas or lighter options like sandwiches, tacos and salads.

 

For Dinner

The Gables
This historic inn and dining experience is centrally located and contains a romantic ambiance. With its beautiful garden and sparkling fixtures, it’s no wonder why couples choose it to be their wedding venue. Whether celebrating an event or opting for an elegant dinner with loved ones, you’re sure to be mesmerized by the food and the experience.

Raimondo’s
Traditional Italian cuisine is always a crowd pleaser, and Raimondo’s prides itself in exemplary fine dining. With a versatile selection of classics made from gourmet ingredients, you’ll be left thinking about the meal long after the experience.

Salt Kitchen & Bar
Connected to Hotel LBI, Salt Kitchen & Bar serves modern American cuisine in an upscale venue, accompanied by a rooftop bar. Their locally sourced ingredients highlight the best of the region, from both land and sea.

The Arlington
This location harmonizes rustic and elegant styles to showcase local small farmers and fishermen with a unique menu that features American cuisine with a cultural flair. Every choice is bursting with flavor due to their creative garnishes like lemon aioli, coconut curry, house-made chipotle ranch, Korean barbecue and more. 

 

By the Bar

Adjacent to the beach is Daddy O, a chic locale with happy hour on weekdays, and the option to enjoy your drink in a tiki or pineapple cup to complete the island fantasy. The intimate Black Whale Bar & Fish House, attended by Taylor Swift last August, specializes in crafted cocktails with fresh ingredients and nine beers on tap, complemented by the local artwork on display. Terrace Tavern hosts events and entertainment with its spread-out area to synchronize ongoing excitement with drinking and dining. Another choice for open-area festivities alongside a full bar is Nardi’s Tavern, with live music on Fridays and Saturdays. 

 

OCEAN CITY


Pizza at Express Pizza & Subs
One of the hardest parts of ordering a pizza is agreeing on toppings and Express Pizza sure doesn’t make it easy. With toppings ranginging from Mike’s Hot Honey and jalapeños to pepperoni cups and vegetables, there’s plenty of combinations to try.

Breakfast at Jon & Patty’s
Start your day with a tasty breakfast from Jon & Patty’s  traditional menu or relish in the tastes of their rotating specials menu. Tie your meal together with one of their dozens of inventive coffee options served hot in a beautiful mug or iced.

Tacos at Taqueria Rendon
Tacos might not be a traditional Boardwalk food, but one bite of a fish taco from Taqueria Rendon will make it a regular craving. From carne asada and chorizo tacos to mouth-watering birria tacos, a meal here is sure to satisfy.

Doughnuts at Oves Restaurant
Simple. That’s the name of the game at Oves Restaurant. Their doughnuts—available plain, cinnamon sugar, powdered, honey-glazed or with vanilla or chocolate icing—don’t need fancy gimmicks to be tantalizingly good.

Coffee at Ocean City Coffee Company
With plenty of flavors to choose from, both decaf and regular, there’s sure to be something to strike your fancy at Ocean City Coffee Company. Buy bags to-go, ground or whole bean, or visit their coffee bar for an energizing drink as you go about your day. Be sure to grab a bag of the Heath Bar Crunch, you won’t regret it.

Fries at Curly’s Fries
Offering sweet potato, spiral and fresh-cut fries, Curly’s has become a beloved Ocean City stop. Whether you dip in ketchup or vinegar, this is a great spot to satisfy those midday cravings.

Sweet Treat at Famous Cookie Creamery
The love-child of two iconic Reading Terminal Market businesses—The Famous 4th Street Cookie Company and Bassetts Ice Cream—Famous Cookie Creamery brings customizable ice cream sandwiches to the Shore. That means never again will you have to decide between a delectable cookie or a refreshing ice cream treat.

Fruit Bowls at Bungalow Bowls
Looking for a healthier alternative that still provides that Shore getaway feel? Bungalow Bowls offers a wide range of delicious smoothie bowls starting with an acai, coconut, green, pitaya or “ocean” base, each offering different health benefits from anti-aging to low calorie.

 

For Dinner

Island Grill Seafood & Steakhouse
Fresh, delicious menu items like maple pecan salmon and a flounder reuben are what make Island Grill so unique. Be sure to leave room for one of their decadent desserts like the raspberry white chocolate cheese brûlée or a slice of their homemade Key lime pie.

The Crab Trap
Just over the bridge in Somers Point, The Crab Trap offers visitors a chance to taste a wide range of fresh seafood from oysters, mussels, and shrimp to crab, lobster, and scallops. Their combination platters allow diners to combine entrees with a wide range of other meats, salads and soups, so you’ll never leave feeling hungry.

Buona Vita Restaurant
Proving authentic Italian food prepared with the best ingredients has been Buona Vita’s goal since the beginning. Their Tuscan decor and fine dining atmosphere make this the perfect place to unwind after a long day by the Shore. Enjoy a dish of risotto primavera or linguine pescatore and finish it off with one of their homemade desserts.

 

By The Bar

Ocean City is a dry town, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a vibrant bar scene just over its bridge in Somers Point. For a bit of class, enjoy a large menu of crafted cocktails and spirits at Queen Jayne’s Lounge & Royal Drinkery. Looking for a bite to eat with your drinks? Look no further than Josie Kelly’s Public House where you can enjoy a comfort meal alongside a cold beer or craft cocktail. For a tropical feel and the chance to sip with your toes in the sand, head over to The Point, Somers Point’s only tiki bar. If views are your priority, grab a drink by the marina at The Doc’s Place or after-dinner drinks at Crabby Jack’s Bayside Bar.

 

SEA ISLE CITY


Breakfast at Steak Out
The tasty options, friendly staff and willingness to accommodate dietary preferences make this munchie manor a must-visit. Diners especially love the Big MOFO offerings that satisfy hearty appetites with heaping sides and generous portions of waffles, hot cakes or French toast.

Ice Cream at Scoops
After serving SIC for almost 30 years, this local favorite still finds new ways to beat the heat with frozen treats. In addition to offering more than 40 hand-dipped and 30 soft-serve flavors, Scoops now offers brownie bowls and Mocha Frozen Scoopachinos, too.

Sandwiches at Mrs. Brizzle’s Buns
Fresh, quality ingredients piled sky-high makes this foodie destination the island’s go-to sandwich stop. Fans advise splitting the “ginormous” portions with a friend, but one bite of the Belly Buster will convince you otherwise.

Seafood at Mike’s Seafood
Come for the crab cakes but stay for the atmosphere! And while you’re here, you’ve got to try Mike’s Famous Steamed Clams drenched in some homemade butter garlic white wine sauce, which will keep you coming back for more.

Burgers at Hank Sauce
These creatively comforting burgers are more than vessels for Hank’s acclaimed hot sauces. You’ll definitely want to sink your teeth into The Road House burger’s seasoned, juicy Angus beef generously topped with pulled pork, sautéed shallots, pepper jack cheese and more.

Tacos at Casa Taco Bayfront Taqueria
You can’t get any fresher than noshing on fish tacos while overlooking the water. Loyal fans also say you can’t go wrong with the braised beef, veggie or beer-battered octopus Drunken Pulpo tacos. And don’t forget the Mexican street corn!

Pizza at Berardi Brothers
Digging into these pies makes you feel like part of the family in no time. The Nonna Pie is among their most popular, with its satisfyingly crispy crust, homemade tomato sauce and fresh basil all harmonizing in one guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

 

For Dinner

La Fontana Coast
This BYOB is where you can enjoy Italian food with a Mediterranean seaside-villa vibe befitting its locale a block from the beach. The whole authentically classic menu is a winner, but we’re especially fond of the bacon-wrapped scallops and can’t-miss chicken parm.

A Modo Mio
For Italian fare with Old World flair, this restaurant’s got what hits the spot. The eponymous Pasta a Modo Mio boasts perfectly prepared pappardelle in their renowned short rib ragú, though the mushroom ravioli, lobster ravioli special and seafood options all have impassioned fans, too.

Anthony’s
Rounding out the trifecta of in-demand Italian dining destinations is this establishment that just expanded into a roomier south-end location. Expertly made concoctions from the full-service bar are perfectly paired with favorites like the crab cakes, veal parmigiana and baked clams.

 

By the Bar

The Oar Pub House is a waterfront watering hole with a deck bar that’s perfect for sipping summertime libations. For a high-energy nightclub, Kix has multiple bars, a dance floor and patio, plus lots of frozen drinks. The Ocean Drive, a classic Jersey Shore bar, is a similarly rollicking spot offering its own delicious takes on classic cocktails. Henri’s Bar has a giant drink menu with something for everyone, from wine to muddled mixed drinks to mocktails. If an upscale Irish pub is your jam, you can’t miss the authenticity—and variety—you’ll find at O’Donnells Pour House.

 

WILDWOOD


Pizza at Dolce Italia
For pizza that just looks mouthwatering to flavor that exceeds expectations, head to Dolce Italia where there is no shortage of toppings and styles. This classic, casual authentic Italian dining spot is a must-try. 

Burgers at Alumni Grill
Culinary creativity is evidenced by Alumni Grill’s take on All-American favorites like cheesesteaks and fried appetizers with “Detention Spice.” Still, the burgers remain at the top-of-the class with both traditional and non-traditional options like a Buffalo bleu cheese burger and even a black bean patty.

Apple Fritters at Britton’s Gourmet Bakery
Enter the fairy-tale-reminiscent Britton’s Gourmet Bakery and treat yourself to their famous apple fritters that were complimented by Ronald and Nancy Reagan through a letter in 1982. Today, there is still a huge crowd eager to try the fritters that are historically acclaimed. 

Sandwiches at Jellyfish Cafe
This beach neighborhood staple is the perfect destination for specialty sandwiches, like the Chicken Carmella, made with chicken cutlet, spinach, mushrooms and mozzarella accompanied by marinara. Or if you’re more in the mood for seafood, try the fried shrimp hoagie.

Appetizers at Dogtooth Bar and Grill
A late-night hangout open all week with drink specials, a dog-friendly outdoor patio and a DJ, Dogtooth Bar and Grill’s appetizers are the perfect pairing. From Kobe sliders and spicy calamari to stuffed eggplant and nachos grande, you’re sure to want to try it all.

Lunch at Copper Dog
This sleek location named after the owners’ dog is the perfect place to bring your own dog for an atmospheric patio lunch in the heart of Wildwood. In addition to their 600-bottle wine collection, they host live music to accompany their menu filled with a bit of everything. 

 

For Dinner

Trio
A casual fine-dining restaurant, Trio promises a “chef-driven approach,” leading to a diverse range of cultures, flavor and options. Made from locally sourced and fresh ingredients, we love the rotating menu that highlights the best in-season dishes.

Santorini
The bright blue exterior and island-aesthetic entice a person to enter Santorini, and their Mediterranean dishes ensure that they will keep coming back. From the must-have tzatziki to start, to hearty main courses like lobster risotto or gnocchi rose, it’s difficult—but still necessary—to save room for dessert.

Swine Bar
Open-air dining with amazing views of the ocean while dining on sweet chili rubbed salmon sounds like paradise, but that’s just standard at Swine Bar. Even their salads and starters are next-level, like their Hudson Valley foie gras with apple compote and blueberry gastrique, or beet salad with whipped goat cheese and candied pecans. 

Venezia
A short walk from the Boardwalk is a restaurant with classic Italian food and a classy ambiance. Whether opting for rolled eggplant with ricotta, walnuts, spinach, cinnamon powder, mozzarella and marinara, or classic fettuccine alfredo topped with chicken and asparagus, there are plenty of enticing options to enjoy.

 

By the Bar

North End American Grill is inspired by Southern California with the atmosphere to match: outdoor dining, happy hour by the beach and live music. For more of a hometown feel, family-owned Owen’s Pub offers twists on classic favorite cocktails along with a range of wines, drafts and seltzers. For an immersive beach bar experience, Star Beach Bar allows you to actually sit with your toes in the sand while enjoying live music and a summer cocktail like the “Oasis of Peace Pom-Pineapple.” The Inlet also provides up-front ocean side views, with a drink menu consisting of any craving imaginable.

 

MARGATE/VENTNOR


Pizza at Jace’s Place
Pizza might have been invented by the Italians, but the pies here allow patrons to sample cuisine from around the world, as they offer Greek, Mexican, Hawaiian and Mediterranean varieties. In the mood for something more traditional? You can’t go wrong with the famous Grandma Pizza, featuring San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, basil, extra virgin olive oil and grated cheese.

Breakfast at Agnes Café
If you’re waking up early to stake some prime real estate on the beach, you might as well start the day off right by grabbing an omelet special, a sweet treat like blueberry cheesecake stuffed French toast or a homemade muffin at this café that’s been specializing in breakfast and lunch for more than a decade.

Baked Goods at No. 7311
This delightful bakery owned by longtime friends and Absecon Island natives Kim Richmond and Cookie Till offers the classics—think chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies or banana cream and pecan pies—along with their own creative concoctions. Other cookie varieties include olive oil wine and salted chocolate rye, and unique pie options range from brownie to savory spinach.

Sushi at Rainbow
Whether you’re an experienced connoisseur or a sushi beginner looking to get adventurous on vacation, the expansive menu here has something suited to everyone’s tastes, and beautiful presentation to match the flavors. When in doubt, the signature Rainbow Roll will not leave you disappointed.

Lunch at Water Dog Smoke House
Founder Steve Marchel, who was raised in Margate, has also lived in New England and New York City, which explains why he returned to the area with an eclectic menu focused on house-smoked and roasted fish and meats. The enticing selection of sandwiches includes the lobster roll, BBQ meatloaf and pulled pork, just to name a few of our favorites.

Sandwiches at Florida Cold Cuts
Longtime proprietors Vern and Marion Sutley sold to a new ownership group a few years ago, but this Ventnor mainstay has remained a popular spot to grab cold hoagies for lunch on the beach or something hot for dinner. Try one of the many house-made specialties, such as chicken salad, turkey, roast beef, roast pork, sausage or meatballs, served on an Atlantic City roll.

Ice Cream at Custard’s Last Stand
While ice cream is a satisfying treat no matter where you are, there’s something about enjoying a soft serve in a waffle cone or a hand-dipped sundae under the sun at the Shore that is next level. For more than two decades, Custard’s Last Stand has been offering a wide variety of flavors and toppings, and they also have custom ice cream cakes for those summer birthdays.

 

For Dinner

Stella
Not every meal at the Shore should be laid-back and casual. For more of a fine dining experience, head to Stella, where chef Nicholas LoBianco’s entrée selections are anything but typical. We recommend the Ciopinno over Spaghetti Squash, a hearty stew featuring fresh fish, mussels, clams and shrimp.

Saltwater
Homemade ricotta gnocchi and square pizza pies may be the stars of the show at this Italian restaurant celebrating five years in business this summer, but no matter what you order, it’s clear that chef/owner David Salvo puts a lot of passion and attention to detail into everything he sends out of his kitchen.

Steve & Cookie’s By The Bay
With the freshest ingredients sourced locally from the likes of Reed’s Farm—owned by the same team as the restaurant—it’s easy to see why Steve & Cookie’s has been a hit for going on three decades. The menu stays true to the classics it’s known for while always evolving to give patrons a new option to try.

Tomatoes
Perfect for large groups of friends with differing tastes, Tomatoes boasts a menu with everything from sushi and seafood to pasta, filet mignon, burgers and Long Island duckling. Throw in a lively bar scene and beautiful views of sunsets over the bay, and it’s easy to see why it draws a crowd all summer long.

Aroma
High-quality food in a classy setting is what guests can expect time and time again at Aroma, which came on the scene in Ventnor five years ago and continues to impress with dishes like Tagliatelle Bolognese and Lobster Ravioli.

 

By the Bar

A visit to the beach is perfectly capped off with a stop at Ventura’s Greenhouse, where you can sip on daiquiris at the beach bar or on the deck overlooking the ocean. With live music and/or a DJ throughout the week, Maynard’s Café is the premier spot to hit the dance floor. You don’t have to be a fan of Boardwalk Empire to stop by Nucky’s Kitchen & Speakeasy, which harkens back to the Prohibition era with its downstairs lounge. For a more modern atmosphere, head to Johnny’s Café, celebrating its 20th anniversary this summer.

 

STONE HARBOR


BAR BITES at The Watering Hull
A can’t-miss lineup of tacos, sandwiches and burgers await at The Watering Hull on 96th Street. The restaurant also turns out shareable small plates guaranteed to please, including a few Caribbean-inspired surprises. Three words: Bahamian conch fritters.

BREAKFAST at Yvette’s Café
Whether you prefer a healthy start (house-made granola) or a hearty one (lobster omelet with Hollandaise), Yvette’s Café does breakfast right. One of our favorites has to be the stuffed French toast with brie and berries. Yvette’s also serves up a fine cup of coffee by way of an amped-up espresso bar.

CRAB CAKES at Back Bay Seafood
Back Bay Seafood doles out some of the best crab cakes in South Jersey. Get them boiled or fried (or uncooked for take-home prep), or stacked on a sandwich with coleslaw and fries. More good news: Back Bay’s seafood roster goes much deeper than crab cakes.

CREPES at Crespella Gourmet Creperie
Sweet and savory options abound at Crespella Gourmet Creperie, a stone-cold stunner on 96th Street. Starting a day with a clear view of the sunrise, 75 degrees with a light breeze coming off the water, and Crespella’s banana-and-Nutella crepe stuffed with cream cheese … life just doesn’t get any better.

ICE CREAM at Springer’s
If you have a favorite ice cream flavor, you’ll find it at Springer’s. If you don’t yet have a favorite, you’ll find it at Springer’s. This hot spot dishes out a solid 50(!) flavors, so if you can’t find something you like here, you probably don’t like ice cream.

PANINIS at Café Noir
Café Noir makes each of its paninis with toasted ciabatta and ample amounts of pizzazz. Whether you prefer pastrami, prosciutto or pepperoni, or one of the meatless options (mixed berries with feta, or the caprese with fresh mozzarella, basil and tomato), this stalwart makes a big impression.

PIZZA BY THE SLICE at Seven Mile Pies
Head over to Seven Mile Pies for a slice or two (or three), but be prepared for some tough decisions. You could spend all summer working your way through the exhaustive lineup of specialty pies—the General Tso’s, the Mango Habanero Chicken, the Broccoli Cheddar Bacon, etc.

 

For Dinner

BORGHI’S BY THE BAY
At Borghi’s By the Bay, the bayside view is divine, but the seafood-heavy dinner menu is even better. Signature entrées include the lobster ravioli, the pan-seared salmon and the sautéed filet tips. Borghi’s also does breakfast, by the way.

JAY’S ON THIRD
Billed as “contemporary cool,” the seasonal BYOB known as Jay’s on Third offers a wide-ranging menu influenced by styles of cuisine both near (New England) and far (Japan and Thailand). Each dish is beautifully plated, akin to an edible work of art.

RISTORANTE LUCIANO
You can taste the passion for traditional Italian cuisine at 3rd Avenue’s Ristorante Luciano. We hear great things about the stuffed flounder and the homemade spaghetti with crabmeat, but we’re gaga over the caper-and-olive-rich penne puttanesca.

SPIAGGETTA
Spiaggetta’s menu abounds with Italian classics, from the simple to the sublime. This BYOB promises fresh ingredients, simple preparations and bold flavors, with each dish inspired by the chef’s love of Roman cuisine.

 

By the Bar

Aptly named Buckets Margarita Bar & Cantina has perfected the art of the margarita—try signature iterations such as the blackberry basil and the cucumber mint—though its list of libations includes plenty of other festive cocktails of the mixed and frozen varieties. Not only does Fred’s Tavern pour a proper pint, but it’s also a destination for live entertainment and takeaway libations from the attached liquor store. You gotta love the collegial vibes at Stone Harbor Bar & Grill, perfect for catching a Phils game, sharing drinks with friends or striking up a conversation with the stranger sitting in the chair beside you. Few views compare to the one overlooking the bay at the Water Star Grille, located at the Reeds at Shelter Haven. It’s perfect for sharing a pomegranate spritz or a glass of pinot grigio as the sun sinks below the western horizon.

 


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Published and copyrighted in South Jersey Magazine, Volume 21, Issue 2 (May2024)

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Author: Matt Cosentino, Bill Donahue, Peter Proko, Madeleine Maccar, Carly Murray and Chelsea Valcourt

Archives


Who’s Who in Health Care

Southern Charm

Timeless

Hitting Her Stride

Top Dentists 2024

Making Moves

Living in the Moment

Despite record All-Star haul, still too early to rank this Phillies team

Best of the Best 2024

7-on-7 Football Grows in Popularity

IP Protection in an AI World

Into the Big Leagues

Should Joel Embiid be competing in the Olympics?

The Real Deal

Millville’s Droz Proves a Worthy No. 1 Candidate


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