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NYC hound needs help refining my list of restaurants for LBI next week

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We are renting a house in Beach Haven starting this weekend and I am have spent lots of time on the boards trying to research restaurants in that area. I think I have made a lot of progress but would love some help refining my list and understanding which restaurants are best for when my husband and I have our 1 year old with us versus when we might want to go out on our own. I probably need to pick two restaurants for just us and a handful for where we can take our daughter. Any guidance on picking which ones from the list are best and what restaurants will require a reservation is much appreciated!

Bageleddies in Ship Bottom for bagels
Marvels Bakery in Beach Haven for donuts
The Chicken or the Egg in Beach Haven
Uncle Willie’s in Beach Haven

Lunch or casual dinner with daughter
Black Whale Bar & Fish House in Beach Haven
Howard's Seafood Restaurant in Beach Haven
The Beach House Restaurant in Beach Haven
Harvey Cedars Shellfish Co in Beach Haven
Sweet Vidalia in Beach Haven
Living on the Veg (not sure of location)
Black Eyed Susan's (Harvey Cedars)
Boulevard Clams,
Shipbottom Shellfish
Caneel Bay Caribbean Grill in Harvey Cedars
Blue Water Cafe in Beach Haven

Dinner out with my husband (some of these have received mixed reviews)
Bisque in Beach Haven
The Gables in Beach Haven
Blue in Surf City
The Plantation in Harvey Cedars

Other places:
The Ketch or Tiki Bar at the Sea Shells for drinks
Barry's Do Me A Flavor for ice cream
Beach Haven Fishery for takeout

Howard's Seafood Restaurant
33rd Long Beach Boulevard, Beach Haven, NJ 08008

Beach House Restaurant
13015 Long Beach Blvd, Long Beach Township, NJ 08008

Harvey Cedars Shellfish Co
7904 Long Beach Blvd, Harvey Cedars, NJ 08008

Blue Water Cafe
11205 Long Beach Blvd, Long Beach Township, NJ 08008

Sweet Vidalia
120 N Bay Ave, Beach Haven, NJ 08008

Chicken or the Egg'
207 N Bay Ave, Beach Haven, NJ 08008

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  1. Blue and Sweet Vidalia are closed.

    Bisque has moved to Ship Bottom, but isn't very good.

    Mustache Bills (James Beard award) in Barnegat Light is great for breakfast or lunch with your daughter.

    La Spiaggia in Ship Bottom and L'assiette in Ship Bottom are both excellent for dinner without your daughter.



    1 Reply
    1. re: Bossa_Nova

      Thanks so much - that is very helpful. It's too bad to see Bisque isn't very good, that had some great reviews. I will look at those other two restaurants. I remember seeing La Spiaggia on the board, but wasn't sure I was going to feel like Italian - was looking more for some good seafood restaurants.

      La Spiaggia Restaurant
      357 W 8th St, Ship Bottom, NJ 08008

    2. You have to take your daughter to showtime icecream... lines are long so maybe one day do a later lunch and then head over when it opens. Also- depending on where you are staying, (assuming Beach Haven since most of your restaurants are there) you might want to take a drive towards the other end of the island (harvey ceders but just a bit before) to breakfast at Scojos.

      307 Long Beach Blvd, Surf City, NJ 08008

      1. If you are going to go all the way to the north end of the island for shellfish, I would choose The Lobster Claw over HC Shellfish. I think Lobster Claw is better-prepared food, less noisy, less smelly, less crowded. Plantation is really nothing special - Plate, Yellowfin, and Caneel Bay are much better. Mustache Bill's is definitely worth the drive for breakfast, but either get there early or be prepared to wait. FYI - they have a box of toys under the counter near the back room.

        Lobster Claw
        3 N Long Beach Blvd, Surf City, NJ 08008

        104 24th St, Surf City, NJ 08008

        3 Replies
        1. re: phdfoodie

          Thanks for the tip! I was decidedly mixed on Plantation, so I think I will choose others over that. With our 1 year old getting up with the sun, early breakfasts are usually pretty easy for us (at times in NYC we're out looking for breakfast before the restaurants are open). Hadn't heard of Lobster Claw - but all around sounds like a better option.

          Lobster Claw
          3 N Long Beach Blvd, Surf City, NJ 08008

          1. re: phdfoodie

            That's a 15 mile drive for breakfast if they're staying in Beach Haven - @30mph. Just putting things in perspective for acsm. The deal with LBI, is that the Island is packed, and whatever place you decide on dining - either casual (shorts/bathing suit) or a bit upscale, there's always way too much in the way of competition for a decent dining slot, everything's packed, and I've been underwhelmed whenever we've eaten out. My brother has a home there, and I find the days that we grill our own fish, seafood, or cook inside to be far more preferable than anything on the Island. Unfortunately you're at the very southern end of the Island. My suggestion for great seafood? Make a reservation at the Atlantic Grill up in Seaside Park (Exit 82) and enjoy a terrific seafood meal - nothing on LBI compares to it. But that's a 10 minute ride to Brant, another 10 to get to the GSP, another 20 to Ex 82 and then 10 minutes to the restaurant. Going there during the week, say a Thursday nite will cut that trip by a 1/3 - so in essence it's just a bit more than a half hour trip for a meal that you may have to travel to just on the island. Diff is that the Atlantic will be a fine remembrance of what should be a great week for you and your young family.


            1. re: JustJake

              +1 for Atlantic Grill. Excellent food and beachfront view seating available. May be a bit far for somebody vacationing in LBI though if they desire less than 15 min drives to dinner. Still, Atlantic Grill may be the best restaurant on the Jersey Shore outside of Atlantic City

          2. By the way, I love the Gables. Haven't been there in a long time. Hope they put a bit more 'light' in the place. Food was excellent- wonderfully prepared and had a wow factor. Byob as well.

            1. I would love to add my two cents- I have been spending my weekends on LBI for five summers now. Since you are staying in Beach Haven, some of the restaurants that you mentioned are a bit of a schlep. I also completely agree with you that generally I do not like to eat Italian down the shore.
              I would definitely recommend The Chicken or the Egg or Uncle Willies for breakfast. Both have great, reasonably priced options. Marvels is totally overrated- try Ferrara's bakery for donuts or the new Shore Good donuts (Ship Bottom)... both are amazing.

              The Black Whale is a great place to take your daughter and the crab cakes there are awesome. I totally disagree with the Lobster Claw rec- last time I was there everything was overcooked and tasteless. The Beach House is overpriced. Ship Bottom Shellfish is also great but it is the same owner/ practically the same menu as the Black Whale ... only difference is the liquor license. The Black Whale is closer to you.

              I used to love Caneel Bay until they charged me $14 to swap out my starch for sauteed spinach.

              Blue Water Cafe has a great lobster roll and cobb salad- I also love their outdoor eating area.

              For a more upscale night Yellowfin is the way to go. Best food I have had on the island, hands down. Daddy O is also fun.

              Lobster Claw
              3 N Long Beach Blvd, Surf City, NJ 08008

              Beach House Restaurant
              13015 Long Beach Blvd, Long Beach Township, NJ 08008

              Blue Water Cafe
              11205 Long Beach Blvd, Long Beach Township, NJ 08008

              Chicken or the Egg'
              207 N Bay Ave, Beach Haven, NJ 08008

              104 24th St, Surf City, NJ 08008

              1. I love Bageleddie's for breakfast. They are a little pricey ($1 a bagel), but the bagels are excellent. I just went there last weekend. Cash only. Also, if the Sandbox Cafe in Ship Bottom is open, they are excellent for both breakfast and lunch. It is an outside cafe, though, so watch the weather. They also only take cash, at least last time I was there. Captain John's in Ship Bottom is reliable for breakfast/lunch as well, and usually they have little to no wait---a plus if you are dining with a 1 year old. The Gazebo in Beach Haven is also worth a try for lunch. Lovely view and good service. The Boathouse in Beach haven is excellent for dinner. Have fun!

                Captain Johns Restaurant
                1915 Long Beach Blvd, Ship Bottom, NJ 08008