Coastal New Jersey beckons with seaside eateries that taste of summer.
Coastal New Jersey beckons with eateries that taste of summer.
HOOKED UP SEAFOOD
With its strawberry-red roof adorned with a cutout of a giant crab and sign advertising, “We kill it, we grill it,” this seasonal seafood market/no-frills restaurant isn’t exactly aiming for obscurity, but the place still feels like a delightfully under-the-radar discovery. A dry-erase board lists the day’s catch plus sides, like sugar-bomb corn on the cob, sautéed summer squash or garlicky Caesar salad, all served on paper plates. 1044 W Rio Grande Ave., Wildwood, N.J., 609.522.2722, hookedupseafood.com
Any sense of time or place fades as you wander from the parking lot of the Tropicana in Atlantic City, into the Quarter, the hotel’s Cubanthemed entertainment complex. When you round a bend into this Jose Garces restaurant, there’s no mistaking where you are. An uninterrupted row of floor-to-ceiling windows frames the dining room revealing ocean views. On the menu, find hits from Chifa, the Peruvian restaurant Garces closed in Philly years ago—like pandebono, cheesy Colombian yucca-flour rolls, served with sticky, hot-and-sweet guava butter. 2831 Boardwalk, Atlantic City, N.J., 609.340.4050, olonrestaurant.com
THE DIVING HORSE
The blue bloods of Seven Mile Island, the barrier atoll that comprises Avalon and Stone Harbor, turn out in print-and-pastel droves to this lovely beachy-chic bistro with an outdoor patio and citified seafood menu. Here, the kitchen sends out dishes that revolve around Jersey’s finest: corn, scallops, peaches, tomatoes, oysters and clams. 2109 Dune Drive, Avalon, N.J., 609.368.5000, thedivinghorseavalon.com
At this BYOB, chef Michael Brennan and his father, Thomas Brennan, a casino food-and-beverage veteran, fill the menu with fine-dining ambition. Dishes change from week to week and involve ingredients like roasted hare and salsify foam. 6525 Ventnor Ave., Ventnor City, N.J., 609.541.4633, no website