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Recommended Restaurants in Spring Lake, NJ

Going to stay in Spring Lake, NJ for a pre-V-Day weekend.
We are staying at the Chateau Inn, and would love some reviews, recommendations, or definitely not's for that area. Would love to walk to a few if possible, but also open to driving.

Good clubs/bars in the area would also be great!

Thanks!

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  1. Someone on another thread has spoken highly of a new restaurant called Vivere, in the Grand Victorian Hotel. Currently open weekends only. Unfortunately, no menu info on their website.

    http://www.grandvictorianspringlake.com

    2 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      There are actually no bars or clubs in Spring Lake. In fact, I do not think there are any liquor licenses presently issued.

      Your best bet for nightlife would be to head one town north to Belmar. This time of year, Bar Anticipation is the biggest (and loudest) spot. Other bar options in Belmar are Boathouse, Connoly Station, and 507 Main. Each of the places mentioned has a website with entertainment listings. I'm sure your hotel can help you with local cab companies.

      1. re: RGR

        I had reservations at Vivere and when I showed up....no one was in the building but the door was open. Yelled into the kitchen and then phoned the main number. No answer. Got a call back later saying they had problems with the plumbing, but no one ever called me to cancel my reservation. Needless to say...I am not impressed.

      2. In Spring Lake, try Whispers, Black Trumpet and for good pizza, Spring Lake Pizza. Best food within not far driving distance is Shipwreck Grill in Brielle. There is an Irish Pub on Rt. 71, Wall, which is fun, St. Stephen's Green.

        1. I just love Black Trumpet! BYOB..it is so good!

          I used to go to The Parker House to meet up with friends...I have not been in quite some time, but I always liked the place. That was the summer, I don't know how it is in the winter...here is a link:

          http://www.parkerhousenj.com/phindex.htm

          Have a great time!!

          BTW..SusiwQ is sooooo right about Shipwreck Grill..the food is great! Great bar scene, too!

          5 Replies
          1. re: Angelina

            Well, the range of recs, from Whispers to Bar A. pretty much cover oposite ends of the specturn. Can you be more specific about what you are looking for? Bar A is a great/fun place if you are a 20 something with tolerant hearing. As are many other Belmar B&G's (boathouse, 507 main). But if you are looking for something a bit more upscale (ok, a LOT more upscale), there are many nice places in both Spring Lake and neighboring hoods. Whispers is great. Vivas in Belmar is very good (avoid Matisse at all cost!). Moonstruck in Asury is quite nice. Brandls in Belmar is good, albeit WAY overpriced food.

            1. re: Angelina

              Missed this on my first reponse. Yes, Shipwreck Grill is wonderful. Make a reservation well in advance and stick with the fish.

              1. re: Angelina

                Parker House is seasonal. It won't be open until May.

                1. re: MGZ

                  ooopss..Thanks!!

                  This place won't be open either, but it will in May..I used to LOVE this place!!

                  http://www.ospreynightclub.com/

                  wooo-hoooo

                2. re: Angelina

                  Parker House is a blast, but it is closed in the winter.

                3. THank you all for your help!

                  1. I agree about Vivere Ristorante, Spring Lake, NJ. We just returned from a four day stay at The Breakers and we ate our last two dinners at Vivere. The reason there is no menu on the Grand Victorian web site for Vivere is because the chef prefers to work with only the fresh ingredients she can get that day. I had the most wonderful clams with pasta in a wonderful sauce. The clams were tender and sweet, not gritty or over-cooked. My husband loved his appetizer of Tres Amici (three friends). It was sausage, clams and scallops in a wonderful sauce. We feel it is the best restaurant in Spring Lake. Yes, it's a bit expensive, but no more than The Black Trumpet. Everything at Vivere is deliciously fresh and prepared to perfection. The wait staff is also excellent. To top it off, bone china and exquisite crystal. BYOB. This place is going to take off, so I would definitely make reservations. It's located next door to The Breakers on the bottom floor of The Grand Victorian.

                    1. I would say the Black Trumpet or Whispers for a nice dinner. Skip Vivere...

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: byobfavorites

                        I agree about skipping Vivere. We're not going back anytime soon.

                      2. Island Palm Grille on Third Ave, Spring Lake (the main street in town) is a great place for lunch or dinner, and it's BYOB. There's a liquor store right nearby. They also have Sat. and Sun. Brunch, and I think weekday breakfast. The Chateau serves a light breakfast or you can go to Who's On Third for breakfast. (Same street--Third Avenue).

                        1. For Mexican try Jose's Mexican

                          101 State Route 71
                          Spring Lake, NJ 07762
                          (732) 974-8080

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: Tapas52

                            Jose's has good Mexican food, but it's in Spring Lake Heights, not Spring Lake.

                            1. re: Tapas52

                              Went here for lunch! The chicken Tamale was very good!
                              For two dollars - WOW!
                              Very kind people!

                              1. re: shabbystorm

                                Joe's makes a great "PIZZOLE" soup also...

                                1. re: shabbystorm

                                  Jose's is ok, but we prefer Tacqueria dos Hermanos, a bit north of Jose's and admittedly not in Spring Lake. The green salsa is excellent.

                              2. I realize the OP's visit has come and gone, but since the discussion has been resuscitated I will add mention of a favorite. The Seabreeze Deli on Route 71 in Spring Lake Heights. Obviously, it's not a gourmet restaurant. They do, however, make the best pork roll,egg, and cheese sandwich I know of (sorry Brennan's) - New Jersey's contribution to hangover cures!

                                We are also big fans of their subs.

                                1. Although neither a restaurant nor a bar, the most food geek friendly place in Spring Lake is probably Tom Bailey's Market on Third Avenue. It is the best butcher shop I know of in this part of Monmouth County. Prime, dry-aged beef, Niman ranch pork, Murray's chickens, etc. Also, fresh donuts on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

                                  http://tombaileysmarket.com/

                                  1. I realize this is an old thread, but figured I'd bump it up, seeing as lots of board regulars posted recommendations here — would love to tap into your collective wisdom.

                                    My wife and I are staying in Spring Lake for one night next week for a quick post-holiday-gathering getaway, and I'd love some up-to-date restaurant recommendations for both lunch and dinner. We'll be in town for about a day and a half.

                                    Some context: We both grew up in Jersey but now live in the SF Bay Area and eat out a lot. We're not looking for fine dining necessarily; in fact, a place where we wouldn't feel compelled to get dressed to the nines would be preferable. And we definitely don't want types of food we have better versions of back home.

                                    I'm picturing a cozy, unpretentious spot that serves great (but not necessarily fancy) Italian food or seafood, or maybe steak. Someplace that does a really fresh, simple steamed lobster (are the lobsters good this time of year?) would be awesome, for instance — or killer fried calamari, or a nice chowder. BYOB is nice, but not essential.

                                    From scanning earlier threads on this board, as well as Yelp, here are a few places I've bookmarked as possibilities:

                                    - Black Trumpet (but maybe this is too "fine-dining"?)
                                    - The Shipwreck
                                    - Ray's Cafe
                                    - Klein's
                                    - Mr. Shrimp
                                    - Seabreeze Deli (for a pork roll)
                                    - The Scone Pony (for scones, sweets)

                                    Any strong feelings on whether any of those would be a good match? Other contenders I ought to be considering? Places that are unique to the area?

                                    ETA: Any other dessert spots worth seeking out?

                                    FYI, we're staying at the Spring Lake Inn, so breakfast is covered. Restaurants in Spring Lake proper would be ideal, but I'm willing to drive some (reasonable) distance if there are better eats to be had.

                                    Thanks in advance!

                                    18 Replies
                                    1. re: abstractpoet

                                      "Restaurants in Spring Lake proper would be ideal" for locals too. Nevertheless, there's not much to excite and what's there, like Whispers and Black Trumpet, offer a New American" approach that would've seemed boring in San Francisco back before Bush was reelected.

                                      That being said, I'm gonna throw out a place in Wall, roughly two miles due West from the SL Inn, called Mossuto's. At dinner, they offer their in-house, dry-aged, prime steaks, wood-fired oven pizza, and a smattering of "Jersey-type Italian" plates.* They have a liquor license and the place is quite casual. I've been there several times and my normal unshaven, jeans and tee shirt wearing, self has never felt the least uncomfortable. If you wanna blow off steam, the cab ride should only be about five bucks each way. ( http://shop.mossutosmarket.com

                                      )

                                      I am a fan of the Shipwreck and it's Sister Shipwreck Point. The former will offer you some great seafood options and the latter is the best traditional, steakhouse around. They are both a bit "dressier" than Mossuto's, but it's still Winter at the Jersey Shore. Truth is, the only "dressing to the nines" I ever do to go to either place is iron a collared shirt and wear real shoes. (Here's the Site for the Grille: http://www.shipwreckgrill.com - they have a link to the Point at the bottom of the page).

                                      As to getting a casual lobster for lunch, Point Lobster in Point Pleasant will steam a couple bugs for you if you feel like making a picnic with it. Their lobster bisque is worthy as well. They are, I want to make clear, not a restaurant. Nonetheless, the beach is just up the road and there's also a park close by. Hell, you could just sit on the hood of your car and take 'em down, if you were so inclined. The place, admittedly, is further away from where you're staying than Klien's or Mr. Shrimp, so I wouldn't blame you for saving the trip until you come back some fall weekend.

                                      *There's calamari on the menu, but I've never had it. I will, however, vouch for the clams, the pizzas, and the steak. Actually, rereading this old thread, I realized that I have stopped getting my aged meat for home grilling from Tom Bailey's and have been going to Mossuto's. I get my bread there now, as well.

                                      1. re: MGZ

                                        +1 for Mossuto's and I'll also add that Jersey Shore BBQ in Belmar is terrific--esp the (Texas-style) brisket

                                        1. re: MGZ

                                          Ooh, I'm liking the looks of Mossuto's -- is it a place where I'll want to book a reservation well in advance, or is it slow enough a time of year to not have to worry about that?

                                          If we wind up doing a big steak/Italian dinner, we'll probably want to keep it on the lighter side for lunches, though I've got lobster on my mind now, and the quality of what we get out west just isn't great.

                                          Point Lobster sounds real appealing to me, actually, but I'm thinking that might be a weather-dependent thing? The wife is probably not going to be keen on outdoor dining at this time of year. Mr. Shrimp is still a possibility, especially with the positive mention downthread. Any other ideas? It can be a dive-y place, no worries, but an indoor dining room would probably be ideal. Is there a place where the quality/freshness of the lobster is going to be noticeably better than the others?

                                          Maybe we'll grab steamed lobster for lunch one day and pork rolls the other. Sounds like a good plan for the Jersey Shore, no?

                                          1. re: abstractpoet

                                            Believe me, I wouldn't blame you for skipping Point Lobster - this may not be the trip for it. Besides, Lobster prices are pretty high right now - eight bucks a pound for under two and ten bucks for two to three - at retail. If you're gonna pay those prices, you deserve four walls and chairs, maybe even some cole slaw in a paper cup (As I said, if you come back in the fall some time, post a note, and I'll help you get cheap treats and offer the best picnic spots I can think of at the time).

                                            The sad truth is, the "touristy" nature of the area, the ever-exploding number of folks moving here from the parts of the State where they have those funny accents, and the consequent, ungodly real estate prices, mean that the idea of some glorious hole in the wall where unshowered, unshaven bastards like me "dress up" by donning a greasy baseball cap and drink cheap tequila shots and Ballantine from a can while bitchin' about "catch limits" between bites of blackfish nuggets and dippin' lobster chunks into plastic cups of well-cooled, melted butter, exists only in 'hound fantasies and on a few select back decks. Many may have the former, but few earn the latter.

                                            As to pork roll, however, the news is much, much better. The Seabreeze is certainly the place for the classic PR, Egg, & Cheese on a Hard Roll ('chup optional). My belief, shared by others in the cognoscenti, is that such a treat need to spend at least a few minutes in a foil wrapper to achieve its true potential - almost the exact amount of time it takes to get from the Seabreeze to the Beach where one can watch the incoming surf, the sunrise and the pretty girls.*

                                            However, if you wanna see what can be done with Taylor Ham out of the basic traditions, you may think about the Committed Pig in Manasquan: http://www.thecommittedpig.com/thepig... They use Martin's potato rolls, but offer up variations on Trenton's sole offering to our Nation's culinary wealth that are certainly unlike anything you'll find in the Lower Haight (but, a Pork Roll sandwich at the Toronado while taking down a pint of Pliny would be the perfect East meets West of American 'hound-dom - like getting a still warm Country loaf from Tartine to sop up the juices from Sweet Shrimp while snowed in a couple days before New Year's in Maine

                                            )

                                            *OK. That's kinda a summer thing.

                                            1. re: MGZ

                                              Yeah, I think Seabreeze is definitely going to make it onto the itinerary. Fancy breakfast sandwiches we have plenty of out west; the classic, that's a lot harder to come by. Anything else worth ordering there besides a Jersey Breakfast? Maybe the hot or cold subs?

                                              As for lobster, if we don't wind up having it for a meal, picking up a couple of live ones at the harbor on the way back to my folks' place might be a good option — do 'em up ourselves for dinner.

                                        2. re: abstractpoet

                                          Although I am a long time resident at the Shore, I hadn't tried Mr. Shrimp until recently. I was very pleased. They have steamed lobster. Good, fresh seafood at reasonable prices. BYOB.

                                          1. re: abstractpoet

                                            Been to all of the eateries in and near Spring Lake over the years.

                                            Lunch--Ray's Cafe on Third Ave. is very good. I'm not crazy about their dinners.

                                            Dinner--the Breaker's on Ocean Ave. in Spring Lake is good, casual but neat (think nice sweater, khakis, polo shirt for guys, nice pants and top for women)

                                            Or our favorite--Tulipanos in Belmar on Main Street. Great raviolis, and it's BYOB. Again, casual neat. Jeans are seen here, too, though, so you don't have to change if you're out and about during the day.

                                            1. re: stormie267

                                              What do you like at Ray's? The place seems well regarded, but nothing on the lunch menu, in particular, is jumping out at me...

                                              1. re: abstractpoet

                                                The sandwiches, the service, the prices, and the atmosphere.

                                            2. re: abstractpoet

                                              "I'm picturing a cozy, unpretentious spot that serves great (but not necessarily fancy) Italian food or seafood...or killer fried calamari..." How about THE. BEST. OCTOPUS. you've ever eaten? As in, it's not just MY favorite, but the NY Times rated the place Excellent?

                                              I assure you that Porta in Asbury Park qualifies as unpretentious (but not cozy), and they have fantastic authentic Neopolitan pizzas, wonderful salads (really), and gelato from Capogiro in Philadelphia. Full bar (which is where I prefer to sit to eat and people watch) too. And if you haven't been to AP in many years, drive in down Cookman Avenue--you'll be very pleasantly surprised!

                                              Search this board for more details or look at their website: www.pizzaporta.com

                                              1. re: Curlz

                                                That menu looks awfully appealing to me. I'm not sure we want to go as far as Asbury Park for our one dinner out, but depending on travel routes, maybe we can see if it makes sense to hit it for lunch -- especially if there's other stuff worth seeing/doing in Asbury Park.

                                                Love the sound of some of those sandwiches...

                                                1. re: abstractpoet

                                                  For the record, Asbury is all of about 4 miles north of Spring Lake!
                                                  Asbury is definitely worth a walkabout--both on and off the boardwalk, although probably more OFF this time of year. I believe Mogo's Tacos has just opened a permanent outpost (they have a seasonal stand on the boardwalk) in the "downtown" area; if so, you want a pork one. Just trust me on that!
                                                  Everyone I've ever steered to Porta has been happy--but if you go, you MUST have the octopus. That's my rule, at least... :-)

                                                  1. re: Curlz

                                                    Cool -- maybe we'll swing by AP on the way back up the coast.

                                              2. re: abstractpoet

                                                Pastaio, a really enjoyable experience, byob...I think it's 3rd ave

                                                1. re: rking

                                                  Not too many people around here bother with Pastaio. A lot of different reasons.

                                                2. re: abstractpoet

                                                  I have not tried it, but Cafe Artiste in Spring Lake has been recommended. For dinner they serve a prix fixe of whatever fresh foods the chef/owner has prepared for the day. You can call to see what the menu is. A very small, casual place, I think. Check them out on Facebook.

                                                  1. re: agree

                                                    I like Cafe Artiste's food. Only problem is that the tables are too close together, unless you get the long table. I meet friends for coffee there, and a light meal.

                                                  2. re: abstractpoet

                                                    If you want casual Italian go to Mosutto's for great food and a funky atmosphere. If you desire upscale (but still casual) seafood go to The Shipwreck (bonus here as it has been under renovation for six weeks and should be open again for your trip.)

                                                    You have the Scone Pony pegged for sweets, nothing else even comes close in the area. I personally would skip - Black Trumpet, Kleins, Ray's and Mr. Shrimp, which are all simply just ok.

                                                  3. I love Asbury Park. http://langostalounge.com http://www.pizzaporta.com

                                                    Get a car from Wally's Taxi (local to SL) and they will drive you

                                                    1. A quick report:

                                                      So we went down to Spring Lake the day after Christmas and stopped by the Seabreeze Deli for a pork roll, egg, and cheese. Very simple, very classic, and probably my favorite bite of the trip. Everything about it — the bread, the runny eggs — was just right.

                                                      Dinner was at Mossuto's (thanks to MGZ and others for the rec). I kind of dug the offbeat vibe, from having to walk in through the dimly lit deli/grocery section to get to the restaurant proper. Clams with cannellini beans were good; dry-aged ribeye was HUGE and pretty tasty, though I would've liked a bit more of a crust on the steak. The only disappointment was the shrimp fettuccine dish my wife ordered — the sauce was very lemony but otherwise kind of bland. She probably would have been better off sticking to something with a red sauce. The pizzas we saw coming out to other tables looked good, but we weren't in the mood.

                                                      For anyone curious, breakfast at the Spring Lake Inn was kind of ho-hum — mostly just a generic serve-yourself continental breakfast, and then the hosts whipped up some eggs, Jimmy Dean's sausage links, or French toast on request; nothing special about any of it.

                                                      Before leaving town, we picked up a bunch of scones (and some clotted cream) from the Scone Pony. These were a big hit at the party we brought them to — they held up well even a day later. Flaky, buttery, fine-crumbed. I'd be a regular if I lived in the area.

                                                      We wound up picking up a couple of lobsters at Point Lobster after all — a bit of sticker shock, as the 2 lb.+ specimens were priced at $9.99 a pound. Anyway, we bought a couple of feisty ones and stowed them away in the cooler. Later that night, my dad cooked them up Cantonese style (ginger, scallions, some egg to soak up the juices), very tasty over rice and garlic noodles.

                                                      Finally, before we left the area, we stopped at the Allenwood General Store for one more pork roll sandwich. Man, this place was packed at around noon on a Friday! The service was kind of crazy as a result (waited around a long time just to find someone with a spare moment to take my money!). Anyway, it's kind of a quirky spot, lots of families sitting down for breakfast amid all the dusty (junky-looking and overpriced) antiques. The pork roll sandwiches here were packed with a lot of meat, but I liked the Seabreeze version a lot better.

                                                      Thanks to all the 'hounds for all of the recs! We'll try to hit up some of the other spots the next time we're in town.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: abstractpoet

                                                        Thanks for reporting back to us. Isn't Allenwood General Store a real fun place. We used to bike on the Bicycle Path from Manasquan to there and have lunch before heading back...

                                                        1. re: abstractpoet

                                                          Thanks for reporting back and providing updates to this thread. Glad you found some good things to taste and got a chance to "put faces to the places" discussed herein. Hopefully, you can return in the Fall for much lower lobster prices (it sounds like Dad's prep might be a fine way to cook three dollar culls).