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Eating *on the way* to Atlantic City from NNJ?

Friends are headed to AC next weekend and asked me for suggestions on where to stop for dinner on their way down the Parkway. Frankly, I'm stumped! I suggested the Skylark Diner but that's too far north--they'll be ready to eat somewhere further down the shore. Porta in Asbury Park isn't a quick on/off the Parkway, so I'm turning to you 'hounds...any suggestions? Doesn't have to be fancy, but not a chain, please! Of course, I said I'd have snacks in the car and head straight to White House Subs (in AC) but they're going to hit that for lunch while they're in town.

Thanks in advance for your ideas!

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  1. I have not been to Porta...so I do not know how far it is off the GSP....but I don't think it's a chore to get on or off to get to Jimmy's Italian Restaurant in Asbury. I recommend the Veal Chop or Stuffed Sole Oreganato.

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/643405

    1. You might want to consider Il Giardino Sul Mare in Forked River. It's off of Route 9 and fairly close to the Forked River Exit on the GSP. See http://www.ilgiardinorestaurant.com

      1. XINA, or Serenity Cafe are on rt 37 right off the GSP exit 82 in
        Toms River...

        http://www.xinarestaurant.com/

        http://www.theserenitycafe.com/

        1. Tapas52 offered some nice ideas, but at exit 82 you are about 50 minutes away from AC. I would not stop, just keep going to AC where you would have way more options.

          1. The easiest and best option would in my opinion be Lu Cas on Rt. 27 in Edison. Right off the parkway, easy peasy to find. But you've said Skylark is too far north so I guess that would hold true for Lu Cas as well.

            As Fourunder said, Jimmy's in Asbury Park is an EXCELLENT choice, however it is 10/15 mins off the pakway with one semi-circle to contend with. Porta is another 5-10 minutes further from Jimmy's and much more difficult to find. While I have been to both and highly recommend both, I think the fact the parking lots are ALWAYS packed, speaks for itself!!

            I'm not familiar with the exit 82 options offered but there is a "new hip" place called Aqua Blue, about a 5-10 minute shot off the parkway up 36 just before the big bridge going into Seaside. I've head a lot of good things about it, and again it's easy to get to.

            Other than that there really isn't anything that direct off the parkway. Good Luck!!

            11 Replies
            1. re: jrvedivici

              Although it's closer to the Turnpike than the Parkway, if someone were getting off at Edison I'd recommend Harold's New York Deli. Lu Cas is okay for the nabe, but not the experience Harold's would be.

              http://www.haroldsfamousdeli.com/

              1. re: jrvedivici

                I think the fact the parking lots are ALWAYS packed, speaks for itself!!

                You're bad.....

                1. re: fourunder

                  Didn't know Porta had a parking lot.

                  1. re: equal_Mark

                    I wouldn't know, as I have never been....nor seen or read anything about them other than a few comments on this site.

                    1. re: equal_Mark

                      They in fact don't =M you are correct! The comment was a bit of an inside joke between Four, Curlz and myself.

                      Way to be on point =M, junior has to get up pretty early in the morning to get one by you!

                      1. re: jrvedivici

                        Errrrrrrr......Jimmy's does in fact have their own Valet Serviced Lot.

                        1. re: fourunder

                          Yes they do, and I pity the fool who decides to save the coupla bucks and park themselves.

                          There and the guarded lot across the street from Peter Lugers are two places you are foolish for not using the on site parking.

                          1. re: jrvedivici

                            I recall an incident at the old location of LuNello on Union Boulevard. A customer was too cheap to park his one day old 750 with the Valet.....when he finished dining, he asked the Valet to hold an umbrella for his wife to cross the street where his car was parked..the Valet refused and ten seconds later.... a guy plowed right into the back of his car....The guy was crushed...just like his car.

                            1. re: jrvedivici

                              I've mentioned this before...while I only get to Jimmy's once or twice a year now....I have been dining there for probably three decades at least. Every time I do get there the Valet remembers me and greets me by name. He never hands me a ticket for the car and when I'm finished with my meal and exiting the building.....my car is always waiting for me while others are waiting in line to have their cars brought to them. I don't know how he does it.

                              1. re: fourunder

                                Once he knows you that's how it goes. Mind you these aren't the new "valet" services you find with young uniformed attendants, I'm sure there have been more than one patron who questioned if he actually worked there.

                                Also for those who have never been, their valet tickets are just a deck of poker cards. You pull up they give you a two of clubs, king of hearts, seven of spades ok you get it now.

                    2. re: jrvedivici

                      I've heard nothing but bad things about Aqua Blu.

                      The Office Lounge is literally 10 seconds off Exit 82 and has great sandwiches, burgers, and sushi. We go there often for lunch.

                    3. Thanks for these! Fwiw, I'm one of Porta's #1 fans, but I know the reality of getting to AP isn't fast...I'll share these other ideas + any more that come through. Thanks again!

                      1. On Rt 37 in Toms River, JUST east of the Parkway, there's a restaurant called "The Office."

                        Not part of the Office chain. Good, reliable food, sometimes exceptional. Very good beer selection, including some craft beers on tap.

                        Typically an older crowd, but lots of seating at the bar and in two dining rooms.

                        1. If they are not too picky, it is simple to get onto route 36 and head over by the Monmouth Mall. There is a decent diner across from the mall, BFBP in the mall lot, and my favorite fast food in the mall food court, Chic-fil-a.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: seal

                            Seal..............Seal? You feeling ok? Did you just recommend mall food court? I would have bet my bottom dollar, you have NEVER eaten in a mall food court!

                            (at the minimum I thought you would have given them directions from the mall to Far East only about 5 mins and 1 additional turn)

                            1. re: jrvedivici

                              Lmao! I almost suggested that, or even that thai place almost across rt 35 from it, but thought the easiest thing was preferable to the "chowiest".

                              And, for the record, I really do love chic-fil-a.

                              1. re: seal

                                If it were for breakfast, I's suggest the Roadside Diner.

                          2. I agree with Tapas' recommendations in TR though I would add Siam Spice just a little farther afield. Not being a fan of the Office Lounge I couldn't join in the earlier posters' recommendation.

                            1. Thanks for all of your suggestions! I finally caught up with my friends and...surprise--they ended up at the Skylark (because, HELLLOOOO? It was a good halfway point, as I had told them!) in Edison.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Curlz

                                I had a good burger and a nice lobster mac n cheese at Skylark recently. Solid choice.