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I grew up here. A few to start:

Restaurant Nicholas

David Burke's Fromagerie

The Raven and the Peach

What's Your Beef

Moonstruck

Salt Creek Grille

Front St. Trattoria

Brothers' Pizza in Red Bank

Pete and Elda's in Neptune (worth the trip)

Sunset Grille in Asbury Park (an old surf hut on a lake across from the beach). Go for breakfast.

The Dubliner (Red Bank)

For the NJ Factor: Barnacle Bills, Hook, Line and Sinker, The Clam Hut, Moby's in Atlantic Highlands for soft shell crab sandwiches, steamed little necks, and a view.

The Seagull's Nest at Sandy Hook State Park, particularly on Wednesday night sailboat racing. You can see the ocean, the NY skyline, and they bay on the other side. The food is not good; this is just for a drink and the view.

McCloone's Rum Runner when rumor has it that Bruce Springsteen wants to play in town.

And there's this, for what it's worth. Hope it helps.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html...8B63&sec=travel

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Atlantic City

The White House at Mississippi and Arctic, either the special with hot peppers or their Cheesesteak which several years ago the Philadelphia Inquirer noted was better than ANY cheesesteak in Philadelphia. This placed catered Elizabeth Taylor when she made Cleopatra, served the Beatles on their first American tour in '64 and annually caters Jerry Lewis IN VEGAS for his telethon.

They also claim to have invented the sub sandwich. And, a number of years ago, the New York Times said they had the best bread of any sandwich in America.

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Atlantic City

The White House at Mississippi and Arctic, either the special with hot peppers or their Cheesesteak which several years ago the Philadelphia Inquirer noted was better than ANY cheesesteak in Philadelphia. This placed catered Elizabeth Taylor when she made Cleopatra, served the Beatles on their first American tour in '64 and annually caters Jerry Lewis IN VEGAS for his telethon.

They also claim to have invented the sub sandwich. And, a number of years ago, the New York Times said they had the best bread of any sandwich in America.

I just ate at The White House this past Friday for lunch and as always there was a line well out the door. I got the large special and it was fantastic, but must have been two feet long. It was about three meals worth of food
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Atlantic City

I was in AC this weekend and although I didn't have any food worth writing about, a friend tipped me off to a beer bar in the ground level of the Tropicana. Place is called Firewater, and despite the crowd being predominantly Miller-swilling, the 50 taps made me happy. The prices were astoundingly low, to boot....$25 for a Deus Brut, a beer that normally retails for that much, so the markup must be next to nothing.

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Atlantic Highlands

Gianna's in Atlantic Highlands, NJ is a terrific Italian/Seafood BYOB. Chef John Mandica and his wife run the restaurant-he cooks, she bakes. I enjoyed shrimp and soul over penne pasta in a light lemon sauce. The seafood was lightly breaded. Mr. MV enjoyed their namesake chicken dish- pollo Gianna- a light entree of chicken stuffed with proscuitto, spinach, peppers and fontina cheese, with a gorgonzola cream sauce blink.gif . I think the sauteed zucchini side made it somewhat healthy, or at least it assuaged the glutunous guilt! Our table shared apps of calamari-half traditionally breaded and fried, the other half was marinated in balsamic prior to preparation. Another app was a traditional broccoli rabe with sausage meatballs and canneloni beans. It came in a light chicken sauce with lots of garlic.
We enjoyed a dense choclate cheesecake, and a light "Italian" cheesecake (made with ricotta) for dessert.
I was one thin wafter mint away from exploding, but it was worth it!
Oh...the bread, the bread. You just can't get bread like that around here. Warm with a slightly charred crust on the outside, the bread was nicely chewy inside.
If you're in the Northern Jersey shore region (Sandy Hook), grab a couple bottles of wine and enjoy this warm gem of a cozy, hands-on, family-run byob restaurant.

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Long Branch

Mr. MV, I, and my in-laws went to Sirena this weekend. When the general rule (it seems) is that food in inversely proportional to the view, Sirena seems to buck that trend. Sirena sits beachfront in Long Branch NJ, a small seaside town which has undergone a gentrifying makeover with hotels, boutiques and restaurants which resemble a Town Center setting.
The restaurant serves up robustly-flavored dishes such as the mussels we ordered as an appetizer. Cozze al Diavolo was a bowl of plump mussels in a broth of spicy sauce that was sopped up with a good crusty bread. Suppli al Telefono consisted of 3 large rice croquettes with a simple but flavorful tomato sauce for dipping. The Polpo was grilled and served in a salad including arugula, olives, potatoes and mint, yet managed to be insipid.
My main was Veal Saltimbocca which came with real mashed potatoes and sat in a sauce that emphasized Marsala perhaps a bit too much, and while enjoyable, I found it lacking any flavor of sage. Mr. MV ordered a stuffed pork chop which was cooked to medium/med. well and was tender and moist. The stuffed interior oozed Fontina cheese, spinach, proscuitto and mushrooms. The chop came with Polenta.
Mr. MV and I shared a lemon tart for dessert. The highlight of this dessert was the fresh berries and whipped cream that topped a stale, brittle base that contained too little lemon filling. On the other hand, my in-laws loved their Tartufo.
The prices are very reasonable for such a stunning setting, so I'd recommend Sirena and go back, despite some rough-around-the-edges service (a less than courteous server, long, long wait to take our dessert order, mains came as soon as our app plates were cleared) which appeared to be tag team in nature. Sometimes that works, other times not. The right hand has to know what the left hand is doing, you know what I mean?

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Gianna's in Atlantic Highlands, NJ is a terrific Italian/Seafood BYOB. Chef John Mandica and his wife run the restaurant-he cooks, she bakes. I enjoyed shrimp and soul over penne pasta in a light lemon sauce. The seafood was lightly breaded. Mr. MV enjoyed their namesake chicken dish- pollo Gianna- a light entree of chicken stuffed with proscuitto, spinach, peppers and fontina cheese, with a gorgonzola cream sauce :) . I think the sauteed zucchini side made it somewhat healthy, or at least it assuaged the glutunous guilt! Our table shared apps of calamari-half traditionally breaded and fried, the other half was marinated in balsamic prior to preparation. Another app was a traditional broccoli rabe with sausage meatballs and canneloni beans. It came in a light chicken sauce with lots of garlic.

We enjoyed a dense choclate cheesecake, and a light "Italian" cheesecake (made with ricotta) for dessert.

I was one thin wafter mint away from exploding, but it was worth it!

Oh...the bread, the bread. You just can't get bread like that around here. Warm with a slightly charred crust on the outside, the bread was nicely chewy inside.

If you're in the Northern Jersey shore region (Sandy Hook), grab a couple bottles of wine and enjoy this warm gem of a cozy, hands-on, family-run byob restaurant.

Closed :D

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Cape May

While I'm at it here, let me briefly recap a dinner that Mr. MV and I enjoyed in June at The Ebbitt Room, in the Virginia Hotel, Cape May, NJ.
It was rather fortunate that the maid dropped off a schedule of evening's events for the Cape Resorts Group, which included a notice that The Ebbitt Room was offering a bi-weekly Farm to Table dinner; 3 courses for $45 (the farm that the Chef works closely with is Beach Plum Farm).
We scrapped our dinner plans and made tracks for the Virginia Hotel.
To begin, diners can linger in the lounge areas or enjoy a cocktail on the porch while people-watching on Jackson St.
I started with:
Blue Crab Salad 15
Endives, Apple, Fennel, Watercress, Avocado, Radishes, Orange Segments, Green Goddess Vinaigrette
(this course was a beautiful palate of Beach Plum Farm produce topped with a generous amount of sweet, sweet lump crab)
For my main, I had:
Pan Roasted Australian Barramundi 33
Meyer lemon Scented Sunchoke Puree, Fava Beans, English Peas, Pancetta, Roasted Mushrooms, Green Garlic Tomato Compote
(the fish was cooked perfectly)
For dessert:
Mango Panna Cotta with fresh berries and La Colombe coffee

Mr. MV enoyed a fresh pasta dish for his first course, a bone-in pork chop that you could cut with a fork for his second, and I believe the panna cotta for dessert.

This was an excellent meal, and what a deal! If you enjoy a kitchen that works lovingly with local ingredients, I'd recommend this restaurant, and in particular, the Farm to Table dinner Mondays & Thursdays.

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Cape May


While I'm at it here, let me briefly recap a dinner that Mr. MV and I enjoyed in June at The Ebbitt Room, in the Virginia Hotel, Cape May, NJ.
It was rather fortunate that the maid dropped off a schedule of evening's events for the Cape Resorts Group, which included a notice that The Ebbitt Room was offering a bi-weekly Farm to Table dinner; 3 courses for $45 (the farm that the Chef works closely with is Beach Plum Farm).
We scrapped our dinner plans and made tracks for the Virginia Hotel.
To begin, diners can linger in the lounge areas or enjoy a cocktail on the porch while people-watching on Jackson St.
I started with:
Blue Crab Salad 15
Endives, Apple, Fennel, Watercress, Avocado, Radishes, Orange Segments, Green Goddess Vinaigrette
(this course was a beautiful palate of Beach Plum Farm produce topped with a generous amount of sweet, sweet lump crab)
For my main, I had:
Pan Roasted Australian Barramundi 33
Meyer lemon Scented Sunchoke Puree, Fava Beans, English Peas, Pancetta, Roasted Mushrooms, Green Garlic Tomato Compote
(the fish was cooked perfectly)
For dessert:
Mango Panna Cotta with fresh berries and La Colombe coffee

Mr. MV enoyed a fresh pasta dish for his first course, a bone-in pork chop that you could cut with a fork for his second, and I believe the panna cotta for dessert.

This was an excellent meal, and what a deal! If you enjoy a kitchen that works lovingly with local ingredients, I'd recommend this restaurant, and in particular, the Farm to Table dinner Mondays & Thursdays.

I don't want to be a bitch here -- oh yeah, I guess I do -- but doesn't "farm-to-table" imply a particularly local-heavy bounty (since pretty much all food comes from a farm to a table, so entitling your menu "farm-to-table" suggests a connection a little more intimate than you might make at the local singles bar produce wholesaler?) Apple, avocado, oranges, Meyer lemons, Australian Barramundi, peas, pancetta, mango -- the guy's not even trying hard.

Not, as I suppose I've pointed out, that that I think that the locavore thing is usually anything more than an ad slogan, but this is particularly egregious.

I respect any meal that Monovano approves of wink.gif but...
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Cape May


I don't want to be a bitch here -- oh yeah, I guess I do -- but doesn't "farm-to-table" imply a particularly local-heavy bounty (since pretty much all food comes from a farm to a table, so entitling your menu "farm-to-table" suggests a connection a little more intimate than you might make at the local singles bar produce wholesaler?) Apple, avocado, oranges, Meyer lemons, Australian Barramundi, peas, pancetta, mango -- the guy's not even trying hard.

Not, as I suppose I've pointed out, that that I think that the locavore thing is usually anything more than an ad slogan, but this is particularly egregious.

I respect any meal that Monovano approves of wink.gif but...

Oh Waitman, you may be a bitch, but you're my bitch and liven my days with your posts!!
You're right, as you read the menu. I have to say (if my post did not truly indicate this) that only the first course reflected the FTT aspect of the meal. And The Ebbitt Room was transparent about this. I was expecting a menu with more local content throughout the meal, but I have to be honest, I was happy with what we got, as the whole concept is new to Cape May (and I've been going and eating there for...years...decades...oh shit, I'm old).
The fact is that West Cape May is chock full of local farms and farm stands, but you have to seek them out. I've never seen an emphasis on restaurants actually showcasing the bounty that is on that island. Perhaps some restaurants do, but you wouldn't know it. It's a tourist town, and I admire those chefs who put "local" out there, when, I suspect, most itinerant customers don't give a crap.
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Cape May

I just returned from a weekend in Cape May, NJ and wanted to mention a great seafood place. It's called the Sea Shanty and is located at 711 Beach Ave (between Stockton and Guerney). It's a small, no frills place with a few tables inside and a few more outside with food served on paper plates with plastic utensils. But what it lacks in decor, it more than makes up for in quality and attention to detail. The fish sandwich is a large portion of haddock, breaded with seasoned panko breadcrumbs, fried, and served with lettuce, tomato, and tartar sauce on thick-cut bread that has been buttered and grilled. Delicious. The lobster roll was also very generous and flavorful, with large chunks of lobster meat. Scallops and clams were also very good, but I suggest you ask the chef/owner what's fresh and let him steer you in the right direction. It may not be fancy, but it's good food prepared well with quality ingredients and very satisfying. They will be open daily through September and on weekends during the off season.

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Atlantic City

http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/473826?tag=search_results;results_list is a post of mine from three years ago about Atlantic City's Chef Vola's. Since I wrote this we have returned four times including last night. It continues as the best Italian American restaurant in American and, as the fourth time last night, worth the two hundred mile drive just for dinner. Creme brulee cream pie, saltimbocca, veal parmigiana on the bone...

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Cape May

Mr. MV and I spent a hot but lovely long weekend in Cape May. We had dinner at Gecko and the Washington Inn (twice). I've copied and pasted my reviews from Trip Advisor:

The Washington Inn
My husband and I dined at the Washington Inn late July. I had made reservations about 2 weeks prior and was very excited to go. I was happy to see that they dropped the formal jacket attire, and now you can go business casual or classy beach style.
The dinner started off on a bad foot, but things quickly recovered. I was very disappointed to be seated at perhaps the worst 2 top in the place. We were next to a trellis wall, basically in a busy hallway that was between rooms. It annoyed me because we had made reservations and were not walk=ins. Were we walk-ins, I would have taken what we got, as the place was quite busy.
After both my husband and I looked around to see if there were any open tables we could be moved to, a server came over and seemed to notice that we were not happy (and I take it that happens a lot at that table) and said she had a great table in the corner of another room-- very quiet and private. Hooray!!
The manager/owner? came to our table and swiftly moved us, which got the night off to a far, far better start.
On to the food... we started with a glass of prosecco which was light, crisp and lovely in a fluted glass.
I had the signature lobster bisque that was perfectly creamy with deep shell stock flavor and generous pieces of lobster. You know how bisques often congeal and turn gloppy as they cool? This one did not! It stayed velvety to the last drop, which I sopped up with bread from the well-executed bread basket. And kudos to Washington Inn for serving perfect temperature butter with chunky salt on top. Well done.
My husband had what I consider the best dish of the night-- cavatelli with braised lamb, rabe and asiago. The gravy was intense and the serving generous. I could see tucking into a big bowl of this in the winter, but it worked perfectly as a starter on a hot summer day.
I had the lamb rib chops with sauce Robert. Four large herb and bread crumb crusted pieces done perfect medium rare.
My husband had the pork chop which was just a tad over medium (as ordered) but still juicy. The pork was glazed with a cherry sauce and came with cheddar polenta.
We shared the blueberry tart with lemon vanilla ice cream for dessert. The ice cream was the highlight.
The Washington Inn recovered so well for us that we went the next night for a late, light dinner in the wine bar! I had the cavatelli with lamb and my husband had the duck cassole. The cassole with chorizo was just beyond. The sauce was amazing. Perfectly executed. Strangely, the cavatelli dish was heavy on red pepper flakes, which I didn't mind as I love spice, but it was noticeably different from the night before.
We'll definitely return, probably to the wine bar, where the small plates really shine.

Visited July 2011

Gecko
My husband and I dine at Gecko each time we visit Cape May. Our favorite starter is the Mussels Vera Cruz-- a generous pile of PEI mussels with tomatoes, capers, olives and onions in a savory broth that you want to eat like soup! In fact, we ate our mussels right out of the shell so we could slurp the broth with each bite!
Dinner comes with these lovely little corn bread muffins and pepper jelly. It's hard to resist chowing them all down as soon as they hit the table.
I've had the Chiles Rellenos Camarones many times, but opted to try the rib special this time. I'm glad I did. A generous portion of deeply-smokey ribs were tender and juicy. Perfect chili sauce on top. The ribs came with German potato salad and a red cabbage slaw.
My husband had the Pork Pasole that came with flour tortillas (and not the kind you get at the supermarket!). He loved it.
Did I mention the salad that comes with each entree? It's called a small salad, but it's a healthy serving of baby greens with red onions, roasted corn and tomatoes, perfectly dressed with their own vinaigrette.
We never have room for dessert (but they've got a terrific selection from a German pastry chef, Suzi)! In fact, I took away leftovers which we enjoyed for lunch another day.
I can also recommend the Manchamanteles, Duck en Mole Verde and the Burritos.
This is authentic cuisine that is well executed. The service is always friendly and leisurely- paced. Bring a bottle of wine or some beer, sit back, sip and enjoy the night (or day!). This is one relaxing and delicious dining experience.

Visited July 2011

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Cape May

How could I forget to report on Hot Dog Tommy's?
This is literally a hole in the wall place that focuses on 2 things; hot dogs and mashed potatoes (the Potato Tornado, a potato parfait with loads of fixings to choose from). What goes through the mind when thinking about what to serve at your restaurant? What will put it on the map and draw business?
Mashed potatoes, in summer?
Yes.
Tommy is an affable fellow who dons a hot dog chapeau and lightens the mood with his jokes and helpful manner; it can be a bit of a wait, some 20-30 people long at times. But, the food is good, cheap and right across from the beach.
Mr. MV and I enjoyed a Rueben hot dog and a chili, cheese and mashed potato hot dog. The former ordered with a half pork/beef smaller dog, and the latter with a black angus beef Berks dog (excellent, beyond the mixed dog). We also cooled down with slushies, that come in sizes small, large and "smiddle" cool.gif

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Cape May


http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/473826?tag=search_results;results_list is a post of mine from three years ago about Atlantic City's Chef Vola's. Since I wrote this we have returned four times including last night. It continues as the best Italian American restaurant in American and, as the fourth time last night, worth the two hundred mile drive just for dinner. Creme brulee cream pie, saltimbocca, veal parmigiana on the bone...

Chef Vola's recently won a Beard Award as an American "classic."
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Cape May

I'm trying to find a place for dinner in Cape May this weekend for my friend's bachelorette party, but she is a vegetarian. Does anyone have any suggestions for decent restaurants that have some vegetarian options?

We are a party of 8, but I think that will not be as much of a sticking point as the dietary restriction. Thanks!

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Cape May


I think Godmother's would work with plenty of non-meat options.

Monavano - have you tried Tisha's in Cape May? My wife and I have been a few times over ten years and it remains our 'high end' choice in that area. It has a touristy location in the walking mall but doesn't play to the lowest common demoninator. (IMHO)

Any recommendations around Ocean City / Atlantic City / Somer's Point during Christmas week? We have our list of faves but are always looking to add to it.
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Cape May


Monavano - have you tried Tisha's in Cape May? My wife and I have been a few times over ten years and it remains our 'high end' choice in that area. It has a touristy location in the walking mall but doesn't play to the lowest common demoninator. (IMHO)

Any recommendations around Ocean City / Atlantic City / Somer's Point during Christmas week? We have our list of faves but are always looking to add to it.

We haven't but I'll keep it on the short list for next time. We did Washington St. Inn for our high end dinner and enjoyed it a lot. Tisha's made the move to the mall at the right time with the convention center construction, so good for them.
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Cape May


Thanks, Monavano. Italian does seem to be my best bet. Between this and La Piazza Cucina, any ideas which is better?

I have not been to Piazza Cucina but I've heard good things about Panico's in West Cape May, although some complaints of it being loud (it's an old church).
The selections are a bit restricted this time of year, but you should find something enjoyable.
Enjoy!
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Cape May


We haven't but I'll keep it on the short list for next time. We did Washington St. Inn for our high end dinner and enjoyed it a lot. Tisha's made the move to the mall at the right time with the convention center construction, so good for them.

Yeah, good for them but not for us. The old room (as you know) was kind of on a pier over the sand and right above the breaking waves. My wife and i were only dating when we went years ago. As the sun set a storm rolled in - the room had floor-to-(high)-ceiling windows that not covered in drapes and were mostly open, so we had quite a lightning show over the water. A big band orchestra was playing next door and we could hear them softly. Combine all that with good food and service and it was a great experience. I wonder if there's any hope they move back; I imagine probably not.
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Ocean City

Headed to Ocean City, NJ for a few days, courtesy of a friend who rented a house facing the beach (I'm so excited!) Will have my 3 year old with me - just wondering if there is anything I shouldn't miss or must avoid? I know it's a pretty quiet town but I hope to eat at least one decent slice of pizza . . .

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Asbury Park

Lady KN and I had a pleasant and quick visit to Asbury Park - she is a Springsteen fan and checked this visit off of her bucket list. We settled in for dinner at Cubacan on the Boardwalk -- only a few businesses are back in action after hurricane Sandy, and quite a bit of rebuilding needs to be done -- but Cubacan, despite its four feet of water, reopened in February. We dined happily off the appetizer and sides menu, and I enjoyed a righteous Cubano sandwich with a side of Cuban potato salad. Lady KN enjoyed the mussels and we both declared this restaurant worthy of a return visit.

http://www.cubacan.net/

The surprise of the trip was an otherwise inconspicuous sports bar called MJ's on Rt 38 on the edge of Asbury Park. I expected very little and came away impressed. A starter of spicy shrimp was really amazing, and I could have devoured a loaf of crusty bread sopping up the tomato-based spicy sauce. I followed that with another Cubano, which was equally as good as the one at Cubacan, and the crispy fries were just right. Lady Kibbee had a nice mussels starter and a Cobb Salad for her main. It was a really good salad -- just about everything you would want in a salad. This was a surprisingly good meal end-to-end.

http://mjsrestaurant.com/

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Hammonton (South Jersey)

I would make the serious argument that this is the single best diner for breakfast in the entire state of New Jersey: http://www.silvercoindiner.com/ Relatively close to the NJ Turnpike and the AC Expressway. Specifically, a Spanish omelot made with shredded cheese, good ham and home made salsa (!), outstanding crusty home fries, thick, luciously rich chocolate cake and, at 11:00 in the morning on a weekday, a half dozen NJ state troopers having breakfast. Not a single one was slender, either. Implication is that with half of the state to invest their calories in, they chose the Silver Coin.

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I would make the serious argument that this is the single best diner for breakfast in the entire state of New Jersey: http://www.silvercoindiner.com/ Relatively close to the NJ Turnpike and the AC Expressway. Specifically, a Spanish omelot made with shredded cheese, good ham and home made salsa (!), outstanding crusty home fries, thick, luciously rich chocolate cake and, at 11:00 in the morning on a weekday, a half dozen NJ state troopers having breakfast. Not a single one was slender, either. Implication is that with half of the state to invest their calories in, they chose the Silver Coin.

Its about 25 miles from the NJ Turnpike, but right off the AC Expressway.

If we are going to use staties for deciding where to eat I think we would have a rather interesting Top 100 list. ;)

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Hammonton

I would make the serious argument that this is the single best diner for breakfast in the entire state of New Jersey: http://www.silvercoindiner.com/ Relatively close to the NJ Turnpike and the AC Expressway. Specifically, a Spanish omelot made with shredded cheese, good ham and home made salsa (!), outstanding crusty home fries, thick, luciously rich chocolate cake and, at 11:00 in the morning on a weekday, a half dozen NJ state troopers having breakfast. Not a single one was slender, either. Implication is that with half of the state to invest their calories in, they chose the Silver Coin.

When I was a wee lad we would stop here for breakfast before going fishing off Absecon Island. This was over 20 years ago, but I do remember the Spanish omelet being good and the scrapple was good too. In fact, this was probably the place where I first had scrapple. Someone always got cream chip beef on toast (not me). I have many fond memories of many bleary eyed breakfasts at 6am.

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Ocean City

Headed to Ocean City, NJ for a few days, courtesy of a friend who rented a house facing the beach (I'm so excited!) Will have my 3 year old with me - just wondering if there is anything I shouldn't miss or must avoid? I know it's a pretty quiet town but I hope to eat at least one decent slice of pizza . . .

Well, I'm about 8 months late on this - my apologies. Manco and Manco (formerly Mack and Manco) gets my vote for best pizza in OC. They pump the sauce through a tube and onto the crust. OK, so it wouldn't stand up to some gourmet offerings out there. It is simply beach pizza - always consistent and fresh.

Of course, I've had many other pizzas in OC and I don't recall any that were really bad - such a thing would be run out of town. Hope you enjoyed your stay - being right on the beach is OC in August is pretty close to heaven I'd say.

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There's an adage I repeat often, but is only peripherally related to this thread....the best French food in the world is in France, the best Chinese food in the world is in China, and the best Italian food in the world is in New Jersey.

I think you mean Italian-American. Not much resembles the excellent food found in Italy.

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Ocean City

Well, I'm about 8 months late on this - my apologies. Manco and Manco (formerly Mack and Manco) gets my vote for best pizza in OC. They pump the sauce through a tube and onto the crust. OK, so it wouldn't stand up to some gourmet offerings out there. It is simply beach pizza - always consistent and fresh.

Of course, I've had many other pizzas in OC and I don't recall any that were really bad - such a thing would be run out of town. Hope you enjoyed your stay - being right on the beach is OC in August is pretty close to heaven I'd say.

There is a wood fired place called Piccini on 13th and West that is pretty good and provides a good option to the shore pie.

And Voltaco's for subs, not their hot dishes, is a plus.

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Ocean City

There is a wood fired place called Piccini on 13th and West that is pretty good and provides a good option to the shore pie.

And Voltaco's for subs, not their hot dishes, is a plus.

+1 for Voltaco's. Like with pizza, most any subs place on the Jersey shore will beat most any subs place 'round here. Voltaco's is the best of the best in OC. I don't know Piccini; I'll try it. Oddly though, I'm not sure wood fired pizza will do it for me when a thin-crust giant slice of oily pizza is the standard bearer at the shore. Yes, it will be better. But I wonder if it will feel like I've brought a chesterfield couch onto the sand vs. the normal beach chair.

Eh...its pizza. And in 10 minutes, it'll go from plate to tummy. Less thinking, more eating :)

Is there a thread on OC, NJ already? I'd swear I had a conversation about OC restaurants, how the dry laws impact them and such. Was that here? We go in the summer and the off season - the great news is there are few if any chains in the area - the bad news is the dry laws put (to some degree) a limit on how fine a fine dining establishment one can reasonable operate in a mostly seasonal environment.

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Ocean City

Is there a thread on OC, NJ already? I'd swear I had a conversation about OC restaurants, how the dry laws impact them and such. Was that here? We go in the summer and the off season - the great news is there are few if any chains in the area - the bad news is the dry laws put (to some degree) a limit on how fine a fine dining establishment one can reasonable operate in a mostly seasonal environment.

Ocean City, NJ

Someday there will be a thread merge of these and several others.

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And this is one way that some restaurants in Ocean City are getting around the lack of BYOB. I need to try it and the other places out to see if the food is any good.

Subject: Captain Bob's Invitational only Dinner Party

captain%20bobs%20title.gif

We would like to invite you to our Private Dinner Party which is being held on the following dates:

Thursday June 26 Friday June 27 & Sunday June 29

Our parties are $25 per person and we serve a set menu. The dinner will include an appetizer, soup or salad, an entree, and a dessert. Seating is limited. You must respond to this e-mail with your name, phone number, and number of people attending. The menu for this party will arrive via e-mail in a few days.

Thank you for choosing Captain Bob's!

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Maybe the "private party" aspect avoids ABC laws.  Seems like a large loophole if true.

Yes, or maybe it is a way to compensate for vs. get around.  Dunno.

Margate

Went to Sophia of Margate last night and had an enjoyable meal.  Their specialty is Greek seafood and the interior is pretty intense - with stucco walls, arches, wrought iron railings and chandeliers.

The Saganaki appetizer ("flaming cheese" as my kids call it) had a lot of lemon added and was refreshing in that regard - it didn't get too heavy the way a pan fille with cheese can.

My wife's "Pasta Aphrodite" ($29) included crabmeat and fresh mozzarella over capallini in a wine sauce - like the cheese, it had a lot of lemon in it but not too much - it was light and nice.  My Ahi Tuna ($28) was delicious though the soy and wasabi sides seemed to not match too well - I preferred whatever sauce was a part of the plating.

Service was excellent. Overall, we really enjoyed it and would return.   The prices are maybe a bit high for what I'd expect at home---but I wasn't at home.  And I wasn't disappointed.

In searching for their website on Google, I found the Yelp site for Sophia and clicked on it.  I usually don't do that.  I found Sophia had a 2.5/5 star rating.   OK - so I read the reviews and basically saw some with bad food/bad service/too expensive...

Then I see that about 30 reviews had been "filtered" and so I looked at those.  Most were 5 stars and they averaged probably 4.5/5 overall.

Now - every restaurant can have bad nights, especially in seasonal areas.  But my take-away from what I saw was that Sophia didn't pay money to Yelp.

Do I know that as fact?  Nope.  But it works for me and I trust more, having looked at Yelp, that my good experience wasn't a fluke.

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How does this get around the lack of BYOB?   Not doubting you, just not understanding.

  

Maybe the "private party" aspect avoids ABC laws.  Seems like a large loophole if true.

Yup, loophole. It is "invitation" only and done in a separate room. Kind of like a house dinner party where you pay for the food. :)

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Cape May

I was late finding this thread before the long-term RM and I dashed away for a long weekend at Cape May with some friends who are happy table mates. It appears that this thread has become quiet, so I'll throw a couple of spring-2016 pieces of kindling on the coals and see if it springs back to life. Overview first and then individual entries so that things can be tidy. 

We stayed at Queen Victoria Bed and Breakfast, which is hosted by Doug and Anna Marie. As the date stamp indicates, this was the early season, but the property was active. Part of this was, no doubt, because of the annual Exit Zero jazz festival that coincided with our visit (we didn't attend anything, but it appeared to be impressive). Our innkeepers were very much in evidence, helpful, knowledgable, affable, and pleasant. Our accommodations (with own bath) were good and we didn't hear anyone complain. 

Breakfast was buffet+family style. They accommodated dietary restrictions readily. The breakfasts were abundant with multiple options and good, if not sensational. 

For dinners (in calendar order), we went to (a) Merion Inn, (b) Louisa's, (c) Washington Inn, and (d) Peter Shields Inn. I'll drop a quick entry about each as I get a chance, but here's the executive summary: Their menus are varied and inventive and, though there was some variation, the execution on the dishes I ate produced layers of clearly-separated-but-complementary flavors. We routinely had good to very pleasant service. Each of them is worth a second and perhaps third meal.

NB: Thanks to our innkeepers, we paid attention to establishments' rules regarding (a) cash only payments and (b) bringing one's own wine (or other alcohol). Check ahead.  Doug and Anna Marie provided a cheatsheet for many establishments in Cape May.

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Millville

If for some reason you find yourself passing through the Vineland/Millville area, I should point out that Groupe SEB runs their North American distribution operation out of a nondescript industrial park on the south side of Millville, including a "small" (read: not too small) factory outlet store in the first building inside their gate.  The store is open to the public, but only operates Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

Map location: 2121 Eden Rd, Millville

SEB is the French conglomerate that owns Airbake, Krups, Mirro, Regal, Rowenta, T-Fal, Wearever...and All-Clad.  For what it's worth, I was also told that the items that go on sale at All-Clad's periodic seconds sale at the Canonsburg factory are first selected from the inventory in Millville, and that the better pieces tend to stay there too.  All I can say is that the selection was vastly better than what I've seen at the William-Sonoma outlet, and that there were a fair number of marked down first-quality items as well.  The deepest discounts were three tables of items marked 70% off.  I ended up picking up a couple of half-priced appliances and a few additions to our household All-Clad hoard.

Arc International also has their big US glass factory and distribution center in the same part of town, but not apparently a factory store.  Pity.

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Cape May

Over this last beautiful weekend, I escaped responsibility to read lots of books and walked around Cape May.

Exit Zero: Usually, I love this place. This weekend the food servings seemed smaller than usual and my curry soup was so salty and thick, it was almost inedible (and I love salt). Pro Tip: They now have a liquor license and their whites by the glass are not that good (pinot gris and sauvignon blanc)

Black Duck: I love this place and it delivered on Saturday night. For the first time the table ordered the pupu platter and while I liked and enjoyed the appetizers, I loved the salads/veggie slaw stuff that was under the actual appetizers. At $32, it's a high price to pay for apps but then again, they BYOB so maybe it's okay in the end. I also think my wonderful delicious scallops were $32. On other nights I've enjoyed duck and lamb dishes, especially if they are on special. 

Shamone: $35 tasting and BYOB? Yes, thank you. Run by the guy who runs George's (yummy breakfast, big fresh salads...everything's good), this is a weird little place. I love the tasting menu but of the 15 courses, 14 were quite small. Twice I have been and they've dealt with my food allergies without complaint which is impressive for a tasting menu.  

Blue Pig: No. Don't go eat at Congress Hall. Just don't. 

George's: Love for breakfast and lunch. Pro Tip: Get there at odd times like 11am for lunch or 2pm. It's tiny and busy.

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Avalon - Stone Harbor

I need some help. Lady KN scooped up a residence in Avalon for a week in August this year, and I'm more interested in the food options. Any reasonably close and not-to-be-missed meals ranging from subs/hoagies to full-on sit-down meals are welcomed. Recent information is appreciated. We'll be spending most of our time in Avalon and Stone Harbor.

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2 hours ago, Kibbee Nayee said:

Avalon - Stone Harbor

I need some help. Lady KN scooped up a residence in Avalon for a week in August this year, and I'm more interested in the food options. Any reasonably close and not-to-be-missed meals ranging from subs/hoagies to full-on sit-down meals are welcomed. Recent information is appreciated. We'll be spending most of our time in Avalon and Stone Harbor.

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I haven't been to this area in nearly fifty years, but Cafe Loren is at least a BYOB, and has been in Avalon since 1978 - stock up on the good bottles at home, and tote them with you. 

Note: If they opened in 1978, then someone's either poor at arithmetic, or they haven't updated this part of their website in nine years.

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10 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

I haven't been to this area in nearly fifty years, but Cafe Loren is at least a BYOB, and has been in Avalon since 1978 - stock up on the good bottles at home, and tote them with you. 

Note: If they opened in 1978, then someone's either poor at arithmetic, or they haven't updated this part of their website in nine years.

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Thanks Don. I forgot to mention that any suggestions will be rewarded with a review here (in August).

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Ok, here goes....after going here every Summer for the past 20 years....feedback welcomed, I will try to save you some heartache, and $.  Parking in Stone Harbor is metered, but Avalon has free parking.  Take a few rolls of quarters with you so you do not get a ticket.  25 MPH speed limit is strictly enforced in both towns.

Stone Harbor

Yvettes Cafe - the original owner passed several years ago, however the guys who purchased it improved service and kept the eclectic menu intact.  Lunch is busy, place is small, but always clean and very good.  Get your subs here. $$

Fred's Tavern - atmosphere is bar all the way.  Decent kids menu and food is fresh, reasonably priced for what you get.  Service is beach typical.  Since this is adjacent to their liquor store and they sell both wine and liquor, remember this is a seasonal area and their wines do not always age well in the off-season.  Stock up and home and bring your own beverages, save yourselves the disappointment. $

Watering Hull - opened last Summer and is upstairs in the promenade of downtown.  Seems to be a new local's hangout, but food and drinks are good - service is fine. $$

Stone Harbor Pizza - beers on tap and nice pies.  Expect a long wait time for food once ordered, as their kitchen is small. $

Spiaggetta - the best Italian food at the shore.  Atmosphere is ok, dress can be casual, they are maybe the only place with parking out back, which is really nice.  Service always on, and specials great.  Owner is there every night and treats you like an old friend. $$

Donna's Place - off the beaten path outside of town, but their wraps, bagels, donuts and sandwiches are very good.  They are reasonably priced and being one who hates to wait in line for 20 minutes for bfast, you don't have to here.  Everything is made to order.  Fresh seafood store next door if you want to cook at home.  The place has been there since 1979 and the owner is sincere and appreciative of the business. $

Reed's at Shelter Haven - new within the past few years, they did it right.  Nice hotel, and excellent restaurant(s), from breakfast/brunch/lunch and dinner.  Place is dressier than I care to be at the beach - if I cannot wear nice flip-flops (yea, I know a contradiction, but when I am at the beach, I dress like I am at the beach), I tend to go someplace else. If you eat outside, the seagulls will get you - they are very smart.  $$$$

Avalon 

The Diving Horse - new place, high-end but comfortable.  Specials were fine, a little pricey.  Since it is new, many people flock here nightly. $$$$

Kudos - new name for an old restaurant (and new owners) several years ago - location is downtown Avalon, but often missed for breakfast which is good, reasonable and service always fine.  Open for lunch and dinner as well.  Have specials, decent salads, burgers etc. $$

Tortilla Flats - if you are looking for Mexican food at the beach, choices are limited.  This place is ok. $

 

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