Must-Try

10 Hottest Restaurants on the Jersey Shore

By Danya Henninger | May 8, 2015 By Danya Henninger  |  May 8, 2015

Planning to get away? You don’t have to leave fine dining behind. Great restaurants are no longer a city-only asset, as evidenced by these 10 hot new eateries along the Jersey Shore. Here’s where to enjoy ocean breezes, interesting food, craft beer and creative cocktails, all at the same time.

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  • Cross & Orange

    The winter arrival of this elegantly rustic tapas house was a sure sign of Asbury Park’s continuing revival. ElBulli alum Sam Byrne is in the kitchen, putting out a menu that ranges from precisely arranged small plates like tuna tartare to giant steaks (including a 31-day dry-aged NY Strip), and the full bar offers city-style cocktails at beach-appropriate price points.

    508 Cookman Ave., Asbury Park, NJ; 732-361-5502

  • Valentina's Trattoria Italiana

    Stop on your way to Atlantic City or make a slight detour once you’re there to get your teeth on true Neapolitan pizza and authentic Italian cuisine. Longtime Girasole chef and Naples native Rosaria Conti has gone out on her own with this eye-catching Northfield BYO serving a huge menu of housemade pasta, entrees and panini to go with the brick-oven pies.

    200 Tilton Rd., Northfield, NJ; 609-380-2466

  • SAX at The Reeds

    Refined tasting menus are rarely found by the water, but that all changes this summer when chef Tim Hamill launches a nine-week pop-up at Stone Harbor’s Reeds hotel. Each course in the $79 tasting will feature multiple plates with premium bites, optionally paired with selections from the restaurant’s extensive wine cellar. (Note: SAX PRIX launches June 29; the restaurant will be closed for renovations for a short period beforehand.)

    9601 Third Ave., Stone Harbor, NJ; 609-961-3010

  • Wingcraft Kitchen & Beer Bar

    Turn your Monopoly-tainted memories of Baltic Avenue upside down with a visit to this gastropub newcomer in the Tanger Outlets shopping district. Your break from Boardwalk breezes will be buffeted by comforting bites like crab guacamole and Pat LaFrieda burgers, along with pours from 14 taps or creative cocktails like The BLT (that would be bourbon, lemon and tonic).

    2010 Baltic Ave., Atlantic City, NJ; 609-541-2799

  • Birravino

    Eat! Drink! Italy! TV host Vic Rallo recently launched this Italian trattoria that lives up to its name — the drink list features both beer (house-brewed and crafts from around Italy and the U.S.) and wine (two dozen Italians by both glass and bottle). Soak up the sips with pizza, panini, salumi and other antipasti, then dig into large plates of old-world-style pasta, seafood and meat.

    183 Riverside Ave., Red Bank, NJ; 732-842-5990

  • Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill

    This spring, the irascible British superstar chef opened his second East Coast restaurant, a copycat of his popular tavern in Caesars Palace Las Vegas. The AC Caesars outpost takes over the spot between the lobby and the gaming floor with a list of casino-priced pub fare (think fish ‘n’ chips, sliders, chopped salad) and a selection of 30 beers on tap. 

    2100 Pacific Ave., Atlantic City, NJ; 609-343-2600

  • Poached Pear Bistro

    Scott Giordano took the fine-dining expertise he picked up as executive chef at various Monmouth County restaurants and transplanted it to his first solo venture. The family-friendly seaside BYO offers a contemporary American menu, which features the namesake fruit in everything from pizza (with walnuts, radicchio and Gorgonzola) to salad (goat cheese, hazelenuts, arugula) to caramel panna cotta with an almond tuile.

    816 Arnold Ave., Point Pleasant Beach, NJ; 732-701-1700

  • Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten

    If they have great food and even better brew, beer gardens don’t need warm weather to be great, something the operators of this Austrian/Hungarian beer hall must have known when they launched the sibling to Hoboken’s Pilsener Haus & Biergarten at the end of January. Summer just makes picnic-table pretzels, wursts and steins that much better — especially when enjoyed on the open-air roof deck.

    527 Lake Ave., Asbury Park, NJ; 732-997-8767

  • Yozu Sushi

    For an area that’s right next to the ocean, the Jersey Shore has surprisingly little sushi, but this newcomer at the southern tip is filling the gap. Taking advantage of local favorite Gecko’s move to West Cape May, the BYO offers diners a show in the form of colorful raw-fish displays or hibachi performances featuring everything from lobster to filet mignon cooked on teppanyaki grills.

    3845 Bayshore Rd., Cape May, NJ; 609-898-8888

  • Martorano's 

    The outsize personality of self-made restaurateur Steve Martorano has found a home at Harrah’s, where his down-home, American-Italian food is served with a dose of unapologetic Philly attitude (it hasn’t waned even though he’s been running restaurants in Florida for decades). After hours, the music shifts from Sinatra to hip-hop and disco and the dining room turns into a dance club.

    777 Harrah’s Blvd., Atlantic City, NJ; 609-441-500

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