Where To Eat At The Jersey Shore

Spending Memorial Day down the shore? We've got all your dining needs covered.

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Each year as the weather warms up and the schools let out, we begin our annual migration down the shore. And in case you’re not from around here, “down the shore” is synonymous with heading to the Jersey beaches.

Every summer weekend, Philly seems to become a ghost town as residents make the drive and take refuge in their beachfront homes. The freezing, murky water and running from the beach tag police are beloved traditions we’ve come to expect each year.

And now, the most highly anticipated weekend of the year is coming up and it’s time to load up on sunscreen, dust off our beach chairs and prepare to wait in bumper-to-bumper traffic to kick off the summer season.

Though most people may be looking forward to the greasy, oversized boardwalk pizza slice and those crispy, crinkly boardwalk fries, we’re pretty sure that some of you out there will be looking for something a little bit better. So from fancy meals to excellent local sandwich joints, we’ve got all of your down-the-shore dining needs covered for this Memorial Day Weekend and beyond.

Avalon

Cafe Loren – 23rd and Dune Drive

This small, intimate cafe is more on the fancier side for the Jersey shore, but perfect for a date night getaway. The indulgent, rich dishes will justify the prices, especially since the restaurant is BYOB, saving you a few bucks.

The Diving Horse – 2109 Dune Drive

A local favorite from the owners of a Philly favorite–Pub & Kitchen. The Diving Horse takes reservations, but you can also try your luck by just grabbing one of their outdoor first-come-first-serve communal picnic tables, which seat ten and are situated under strung lights and surrounded by shrubs and flowers. As a matter of fact, we just reported on the seasonal opening dates for the Diving Horse a couple weeks ago–along with details on their new chef and menu.

Wildwood

The Crab and Seafood Shack – 4520 Park Boulevard

If you’re looking for that local fresh seafood joint, head over to Crab and Seafood Shack for lobster rolls and broiled flounder. The family-owned restaurant even offers take-out, for those who want to spend a relaxing night in.

Surfside West Diner – 5308 New Jersey Avenue

Start your day bright and early with a classic diner breakfast, plus a little twist, like a simple waffle than topped with chipped beef. This diner is a Wildwood staple, with the same family serving up breakfast and lunch since the 1950’s.

Cape May 

The Blue Rose Inn – 653 Washington Street

In the center of the quaint, picturesque Cape May town, The Blue Rose Inn is a family-owned bed and breakfast with a BYO fine dining restaurant open for dinner and brunch. The Victorian-style house is a formal option for those looking to escape the casual Jersey shore dining scene.

Peter Shield’s Inn & Restaurant – 1301 Beach Avenue

The restaurant at Peter Shield’s Inn is another BYO fine dining restaurant with beautiful views overlooking the beach. If the weather is nice, grab a table on their front porch for a quiet and intimate dinner.

The Pier House – 1317 Beach Avenue

This beachfront restaurant serves up Mediterranean-inspired breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as offering an extensive cocktail and wine list–which is a nice change from the normal BYO beach restaurants. A part of the La Mer Beachfront Inn, The Pier House is still open for breakfast and dinner every weekend, even during the off-season.

Ocean City

Sandwich Bar – 3255 Asbury Avenue

By Sunday of your extended weekend, you might be getting a little homesick for Philly food (I mean, who wouldn’t?). Look no further than the Sandwich Bar in Ocean City. From roast pork sandwiches with sautéed broccoli rabe and sharp provolone to chicken cutlet hoagies with long hots, a little piece of Philly comes along for the trip.

OC Surf Cafe – 715 E 8th Street

This breakfast and lunch cafe is perfect to grab a quick bite of indulgent comfort food. From fresh clam chowder to mahi-mahi tacos, OC Surf Cafe is a summer food oasis.

Voltaco – 957 West Avenue

Voltaco’s offers hoagies perfect for bringing to the beach (as long as you’re not one of those people who feed the seagulls) and pizza perfect for grabbing right after the beach. After all, the shore is about easy, relaxing days and low-maintenance eating.

Sea Isle

Mike’s Seafood – 4222 Park Road

Come here for crab legs, fries, crab legs and crab legs, in that order.

Marie’s Lobster House – 4304 Park Road

And then come here for everything you don’t get at Mike’s (or when the lines at Mike’s are too long)–which is easy considering it’s right down the street.

Strathmere

Twisties Tavern – 236 Bayview Drive

Unfortunately, there’s not really a place in any of the shore towns where you can dependably live out that 80’s summer movie fantasy of dropping in on some divey hole-in-the-wall, befriending an alcoholic boat captain, then using his expertise (and a cast of wacky locals) to beat those snooty yuppies in the summer regatta. Oh, wait. Yes there is. And that place is called Twisties. While we can’t guarantee Summer Rental-style hijinks, if anything like that was ever going to happen, we’d bet it would start at Twisties.