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First Time to the Jersey Shore: Where to Eat?

Hi There,

I'm heading to the Jersey Shore for the first time and am eager to hear suggestions from locals. I will be headquartered on LBI, and have heard good things about the following places: Sweet Vidalia's, Uncle Will's Pancake House, Bisque. If you have recommendations, I would love to hear about them. We don't like chains or over-the-top places, but warm, intimate places where the locals hang out for good food and good service. Also, even though we'll be on LBI, we also plan to visit some other nice parts of the shore (any recommendations on where to go? we hear asbury park is nice) So, any other restaurants/bakeries you recommend north of LBI are also appreciated.

Thanks so much!

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  1. Well, if you are going to Asbury Park (which may have some decent eateries, but is far from "nice") keep heading north to Atlantic Highlands and head to Flaky Tart, a bakery on Main St. near rt 36. I'd keep going up 36 afterwards and head to Drew's in Keyport for dinner.

    2 Replies
    1. re: seal

      I have to agree with seal-Asbury Park is not "nice". We went to Flaky Tart this morning. Love it...

      1. re: seal

        Just to be clear, there is no "Main Street" in AH - the Flaky Tart is on First Avenue. Would hate for someone to actually miss the carbo-glory that is FT for want of an address :)

      2. Mud City can be hit or miss and at times the lines can be bothersome, but it is worth a stop.

        As for Flaky Tart, check their hours as, like many bakeries, they close early. And, for the record, Keyport is not close, but if you take the GSP it is a fairly quick trip.

        1. There are some excellent restaurants along the Jersey shore to set your sights on and these are my picks:

          Siam Basil - Sea Girt
          Vivas - Belmar
          Bia - Ocean Grove
          Moonstruck - Asbury Park
          Taka - Asbury Park
          Bay Avenue Trattoria - Highlands
          Table - Little silver
          Drew's Bayshore Bistro - Key Port

          Baker Boys - Ocean Grove (bake shop with a lot of goodies)

          Good hunting...

            1. You must eat at Mustache Bill's Diner in Barnegat Light. ALso Maruca's Pizza on the Seaside Boardwalk.

              1. Unfortunately, Asbury Park is really not such a nice place to go. Most of the other suggestions are quite a bit far from LBI, especially in summer traffic.
                The Big Apple Bakery in Manahawkin is very good,plan on getting there early. Brunos on Route 9 in Manahawkin is an excellent Italian deli with great sandwiches, cold cuts, and take out prepared foods. Mud City is constantly packed; though some of the reviews are mixed. Viking Village in Barnegat Light has the freshest fish on the island; you cook it at home. Harvey Cedars Shellfish on the Blvd in HC is very good. We like Kubels in Barnegat Light for the casual atmosphere and burgers. They have great clam chowder, and lots of locals go there. Mustache Bills in BL for breakfast, along with Chicken and the Egg. La Spiaggia for excellent Italian. The Seashell for drinks outside on the beach. Allens Clam Bar on 9S in New Gretna for clams. Ship Bottom Shellfish has good seafood, but it gets very packed.
                For a road trip, I suggest a ride to Spring Lake/Sea Girt/Bay Head. Beautiful homes and scenery. Also, there are lots of nice restaurants in that area. It is about an hour ride north of LBI. Be aware of the heavy traffic on the island, and on the parkway in the summer. Many people have given good references for suggested restaurants, but all are a minimum of an hour and a half from LBI. My family has had a home on the island for 40 years, so I am very familiar with it. To be perfectly truthful, there are many very mediocre restaurants on the island, and very, very few good ones. I know I've missed a few, but I also like the ones you listed.

                4 Replies
                1. re: mschow

                  Thanks mschow! I think I will hit a few of the further out recommendations on the way in and on the way out, but will stick to LBI once we're there. Since you are so familiar with LBI, what do you think about the Holiday Snack Bar? Not worth it? Also, the Sandbox looks cute, but I can't find out much about it. Thanks for the Seashell suggestion. I was wondering where to get a drink that was low-key.

                  1. re: slopetoridge

                    The Holiday Snack Bar is good for nostalgic reasons. The burgers and fries are okay, but most people go there for the pies and cakes. They are usually excellent.

                    The Sandbox I highly recommend. They are open for breakfast and lunch only. It is an outdoor cafe with a cute 'garden vibe'---fountains, stone walls, etc. It is small and there can sometimes be a wait. The pancakes are excellent as are the omelets. They make all kinds of sanwiches for lunch. Everything is fresh and made to order. They only take cash. Hope this helps!

                  2. re: mschow

                    Can not set foot on LBI and not hit Chicken or the Egg. Great diner grub- go with the Goshdarnwich.

                    1. re: mschow

                      first... LBI is not near any of these towns that are being listed. Holiday Snack Bar is a must for lunch...its an institution. As far as all the talk of Asbury Park... it is a great place to check out. Some eccletic shops.. some great restaurants...and a quirky mix of people. The boardwalk is not ready yet.. .but will be amazing when done. Check out taka...moodstruck..bistro...market in the middle..restaurant plan b and others... go to the asburypark chamber of commerce website.

                      1. re: Angelina

                        I was just at Mud City a couple of weeks ago. I've never had a bad meal there.

                      2. For upscale dining, I certainly like Blue on LBI. I''ve read that this is the last season that the current head chef will be there, so I would try to go there.

                        I know I'll probably get flak for this, but I like Panzone's on LBI. It's a local yokel pizza place that been there for years, but the pizza is good (better then the majority of pizza places on the Shore) and the service is friendly.

                        1. If you're walking the boardwalk and see a Kohr's Frozen Custard give it a try !