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Visitors to Atlantic City will find an enormous variety of dining options to suit any taste or budget.

With Atlantic City's wide range of differing restaurants and vast array of watering holes eating and drinking should be the least of your worries during your visit.

 
 
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Where to Eat and Drink in Atlantic City

Choices for everyone in exciting Atlantic City
 

A view of the bar at Angelo's Fairmount Tavern, one of the many charming old style Atlantic City eating and drinking spots worthy of a visit.

Part three of a series on Atlantic City, NJ, see also

1.  All about visiting Atlantic City, NJ
2.  Where to stay in Atlantic City
3.  Where to eat and drink in Atlantic City

4What to see and do in and around Atlantic City

 

 

Whatever your preferred style of dining, Atlantic City's many restaurants are sure to offer something that will appeal. From outstanding seafood restaurants to famous sub shops, you will not go hungry during your visit.

And if you're looking for a drink, don't worry. Atlantic City has more bars and pubs than you could hope to visit.

Where to Eat and Drink in Atlantic City

There is an embarrassment of riches when it comes to places to eat and drink in Atlantic City. We get the feeling that many visitors do not venture out of the casinos when it is time to eat or drink. While it is certainly possible to take care of all your needs in the casinos, each of which offers multiple bars and dining options ranging from buffets through to high-end fine dining, we recommend that you get out and about and explore more of what Atlantic City has to offer.

Places to get a drink

Atlantic City has a large number of bars where one can go for a drink almost any time of the day or night, most of which also serve meals. There is a certain generic quality to many of the Atlantic City bars that makes them all fairly interchangeable, but the places mentioned in the following suggestions are a bit more distinctive.

The Tun Tavern:

We know of one locally based brewery (it is the only one in Atlantic City as far as we know). The Tun Tavern Restaurant and Brewery, at the corner of Baltic Ave and Michigan Ave, features up to eight of its own beer creations as well as cider and fruit-based beers. At the time of writing a new wine bar, which will offer over 30 wines by the glass, is in the process of being added to the brewery.

The Back Bay Ale House:

The Tun Tavern aside, there are a few of other watering holes that deserve a special mention. The first of these is The Back Bay Ale House in Gardner's Basin. Sit out on the 2nd floor deck of this converted rowhouse overlooking the harbor and treat yourself to a "Basin Mason," your favorite cocktail served in a quart size mason jar. They also have a smallish menu of what is generally very nicely prepared food to keep you going while you wait for the nightly sunset toast.

The Flying Cloud Cafe:

Another Gardner's Basin option that you might like to check out is The Flying Cloud Cafe. While more a restaurant than a bar, it is a good place to go and sit out on the deck, enjoy the view and have a drink or two and maybe a light snack. You might like to try one of their specialty drinks, such as the Pama-Rita (pomegranate liqueur with tequila, triple sec and fresh lime).

Angelo's Fairmount Tavern:

One last spot worth mentioning here is Angelo's Fairmount Tavern (2300 Fairmount Ave). This is something of an Atlantic City institution, having been family owned and operated since 1935. Some people rave about the food here, but for Italian food we would rather go to Chef Volas (see below). Instead, we recommend you stop in for a drink at their bar and soak up the atmosphere that way - if it is a week day you might consider having lunch here.

If these spots do not meet your requirements you are probably just as well served choosing a bar on the basis of its proximity or the type of entertainment on offer as anything else. We are sure you will have no trouble finding a nearby bar wherever you may be in the city.

Lunch and Dinner Options

Here are a few of our personal favorites among Atlantic City's many restaurants. This is far from an exhaustive list, but we have tried to emphasize places that offer a sample of the more authentic old-style Atlantic City rather than the numerous tourist traps.

Chef Volas:

If you are lucky enough to get a reservation here, and then manage to find this famously elusive homestyle Italian restaurant, you are in for a treat. The fun begins when you try to make the mandatory reservation. Almost without fail your call will be answered by a machine - leave your name, number and the time and day you want to eat and then hope for a call back (hint: unless you know somebody who knows somebody don't try for a reservation in peak dining hours, try for either early or late).

Next up, finding the place. South Albion is a small street that runs between Texas and California Aves - look for the 3 story white house with the palms on the porch, as the only sign is a small brass plaque on the side of the house that is almost impossible to see after dark. Make sure to bring your own beer or wine as Chef Volas is BYOB only.

Upon entry you will find yourself in a basement dining room where you are quite literally elbow to elbow with other diners. The friendly and efficient wait staff will recite the day's specials from memory, a list that usually extends to about 30 alternatives, and in our experience it is hard to find a disappointing dish. Expect huge portions of incredibly tasty Italian cooking in a sometimes boisterous, cramped atmosphere. You are likely to pay a lot, but you won't regret it. 111 S Albion Pl. Tel (609)345-2022

Dock's Oyster House:

Dock's Oyster House is an Atlantic City institution (having been open since 1897) and arguably the finest restaurant in the city. Open 7 nights a week from 5pm, it is wise to make a reservation a couple of days in advance as the place is almost always crowded.

Before dining you may like to enjoy one of their excellent monthly special martinis in the bar while soaking up the live piano music.

Once at your table, expect to be treated to some of the best steak and seafood offerings you will have experienced, fantastic desserts and an incredible wine list, all served by knowledgeable and personable wait staff in an elegant yet unpretentious setting.

A meal here is not cheap but we are sure you will agree that it is worth every penny. One of the highlights of any trip to Atlantic City. 2405 Atlantic Ave. Tel (609)345-0092

Irish Pub & Inn:

The Irish Pub, located a short way off the boardwalk on St James Place, is open 24 hours a day and offers cheap no frills pub-style food in an atmospheric setting.

The dark wooden walls are covered with photos of early sporting stars - especially boxers - of Irish origin, the jukebox always seems to be on and no matter what time of day you go it seems to be busy with a largely local crowd. We do not consider a trip to Atlantic City complete without at least one late night visit here.

In addition to the Pub there is also a gift shop and rooms are available upstairs (cheap but very basic - in most cases you will find yourself sharing a bathroom). 164 St James Place Tel (609)344-9063

New Melaka Restaurant:

This seemingly unpretentious restaurant offers standard Chinese food, but also some of the best Malay-style Malaysian food you are likely to find.

They actually have two completely separate menus and will most likely assume that you are there for the Chinese, so be sure to ask for the Malaysian menu. While we have yet to have a single disappointing dish, personal favorites include the Sambal, Lamb Rendang, Mango Chicken and the Nasi Lemak.

The food is always fresh and inexpensive and the service is warm and friendly. They also offer fast delivery service to your hotel. We consider the New Melaka to be one of the highlights of any trip to Atlantic City and have even made a special trip or two just to satisfy our craving for good Malaysian food. Open 11.30am - 1am, 7 days. 28 S Tennessee Ave. Tel (609)344-8928

The White House Sub Shop:

The most famous sub shop in South Jersey and with good reason. A small cramped shop that has become something of a shrine to the local culture with its old-school atmosphere, it is well worth a visit as long as you can cope with their no frills menu that offers nothing but subs, sodas and bags of chips.

Frequently there are long lines out the door but don't panic, you generally don't have to wait too long until you slide into one of the booths - and once you do, our tip is to forget about the menu & just order the House Special (huge quantities of high quality meats, cheeses and toppings on the freshest of bread rolls). Be warned, one whole sub is easily enough food for two people.

While inside check out all the photos of a cavalcade of stars who have eaten here. The Beatles, Frank Sinatra and George Clooney are all supposed to be big fans and Bill Cosby is said to have had these subs flown to him in California. We must confess that there have been times when we, too, have imposed on friends returning to New York to bring us a sub or two. Open 10am - 9pm, generally less crowded after 2pm, except during the summer. 2301 Arctic Ave. Tel (609)345-1564

Read more in Parts 1, 2 and 4

Part three of a series on Atlantic City, NJ, see also

1.  All about visiting Atlantic City, NJ
2.  Where to stay in Atlantic City
3.  Where to eat and drink in Atlantic City

4What to see and do in and around Atlantic City

 

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Originally published 26 June 2009, last update 19 Dec 2013

You may freely reproduce or distribute this article for noncommercial purposes as long as you give credit to me as original writer.

 
 
 

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