Jose Garces Is Back in Town
Jose Garces’s new restaurants in the Tropicana make the Revel snafu feel like ancient history. Olón has ocean views, an outdoor deck and a bright interior — all surprising for a casino eatery. The seafood here (grilled, raw, however it comes) is choice. His other spot, Okatshe, is just the opposite: You’ll duck through a secret door in a tiny Japanese candy shop and enter a dark, sprawling space styled like a buzzy Tokyo intersection. The large menu has sushi, ramen, standard izakaya fare (yakitori and fried things), and a bar list deep with sake and Japanese beers. (Both at the Tropicana, 2831 Boardwalk, 609-340-4000.)
The Ethnic on Arctic Ave.
A.C.’s got a crop of top-notch Vietnamese spots, but the friendly service and honest cooking — don’t miss the curry chicken soup — at Little Saigon (2801 Arctic Avenue, 609-347-9119) make this one a standout. A few blocks away: El Chalán (2641 Arctic Avenue, 609-345-8464), a Peruvian hole-in-the-wall that’s ideal for large groups. Juicy pollo a la brasa, fresh ceviche and a basket of empanadas make for great post-beach eats. And for tacos, hit up Pancho’s (2303 Arctic Avenue, 609-344-2062), where tortillas and masa cakes are hand-formed to order — an absolute game changer on the Shore’s Mexican scene.
The Classics Are Unflappable
After 70 years, White House Subs (2301 Arctic Avenue, 609-345-1564) has seen the city’s highest ups and downs, but nothing can shake its machine-like ability to put out some of the best sandwiches in the state. Dock’s Oyster House (2405 Atlantic Avenue, 609-345-0092) recently renovated the bar, but it’s still one of the most elegant spots for old-school thrills like broiled oysters and steaks to match your $1,000 ’13 Grand Cru. And make sure you cap long nights at Tony’s Baltimore Grill (2800 Atlantic Avenue, 609-345-5766), because 24-hours bars are a dying art, and the spaghetti and pizza are tasty around the clock.
Published as “Bet On the Food” in the July 2017 issue of Philadelphia magazine.