Birthday in Asbury
I will be celebrating my birthday with my twin brother. Must haves! We love to try things and share?
Other must haves.
We will be staying at the Berkley!
My favorite spots in Asbury:
Porta. PORTA. DO NOT MISS PORTA!!! Got that? :-)
Go for lunch on Saturday when you can get the octopus. They also do brunch on Sundays for sure (I think on Sat too, but check). Depending on your age, you two might enjoy the scene after around 9pm, or you might run for the hills (as I do). The place turns in to a huge dance club.
Taka has wonderful sushi and Japanese-inspired dishes + a great, lively vibe. Make a res for dinner.
Snack at Mogo's Tacos on the boardwalk if it's still open. Get coffee from Asbury Park Roastery in convention hall. Take pics in front of (or in) the Stone Pony.
If you don't want to do everything in Asbury proper, The Scone Pony in Spring Lake (a few miles south) is worth the ride for a breakfast scone (or 3 to take home)...they're not open all day iirc, though, so check first.
Mazzuto's in Wall is an excellent lunch choice (Italian)
Curlz, it's funny. The minute I saw this thread in the list, I knew to expect that you'd have the Porta pom-poms out. Let's be fair to the OP though, and permit some managed expectations. Porta is a wood-fired oven, pizza place, located in a converted truck garage with a sullied past, that absolutely makes a terrific pie and offers octopus (which is pretty uncommon around here). It's not a place I'd recommend for any sort of special celebration dinner, more like a fun lunch. As discussed in another thread:
"My guess is that if you like food enough to have begun participating on this forum, you will enjoy the plates served at Porta. When you go, keep in mind, that it is a wood-fired pizza place that puts out several dishes better than one might expect had they merely stumbled upon it. Also, it's in an old garage building, with what might be called "unusual seating" and, like many spots in AP, "discriminatory service".* A thread that you may have seen: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/832796
"Otherwise, I apologize for not having been gracious enough to note that it's always great to have another 'hound sittin' on the porch, swappin' stories about where to find the best bones buried in the yard, and barkin' 'bout what they see fit. Thing is, Porta, like any other spot in your Thirty Mile perimeter, will have it's fans, it's detractors, and everyone in between. That's the fun part and the work sometimes - as you start to note who else likes what, you may get a better sense of how that relates to you and yours.**
"*I realized, after the second time I suggested Porta to friends whose general look and demeanor would've been better suited to Stella Marina, that I should've been more detailed in explaining Porta to their Rumson-coddled brains. You know, something like, "Wear black and act like you don't care. . . . Oh, and stick with House wines and Tall Boy cans if you eat at the Bar."
"**That being said, after I had reviewed this thread this morning, I realized a few things.
"First, Stella Marina in AP is a good spot for "modern" Italian-American fare and a great view.
"Second, Jimmy's in AP is a really good spot for "traditional" Italian-American fare and a great spot to overhear people using "words" like "Mannygot", "Gobbaghoul", and "Gavatel" when they take a break from singing the wrong lyrics to the Sinatra or Martin songs in the air."
For more: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9193...
Well, of COURSE I'm going to have my pompoms out for Porta! Taka, too.
I understand some of what you're saying MGZ, but here's the thing...when people (myself included) post that they're looking for spot in a specific geographic area, MY feeling is that if I've written more extensively about it that they'll find that info by searching further on the board. I just don't feel the need to repost details about dishes or atmosphere because...wait for it...THEY have a computer too! They can Google the restaurants, look at menus and photos, see what others have said, and see if they think it's what they're looking for.
As far as AP goes, I make the trek from NNJ (takes me an hour+) to have the octopus at Porta or to meet friends for dinner at Taka. Regularly. *I* don't think Stella Marina or Langosta or most of the other places down there are worth the prices they charge, nor do I care for the vibes there, but that's probably because for me, beach = casual. *I* love the vibe + the love and care that goes into the food at Porta. And trust me--I don't fit the stereotypical AP persona--no tattoos, never in all black, I'm a straight woman, and I don't drink the house wines or beer--but I sit at the bar almost every time. And I can honestly say I've never felt shunned by their staff, either! So YMMV, but that's mine--and they certainly don't know who I am, so that's not the reason.
I do have to say this, though--I don't think the building's "sullied past" means a damn thing. Does the history of the buildings that house all of the restaurants you dine in really matter to you? Porta is what it is now, and could have been built from nothing with that industrial vibe! Personally, I'm happy to see AP trying to get better after decades of decay and I'm happy to support the places I like in those towns.
/rant. At least we agree about the octopus. :-)
The search engine on this Site is, and has basically always been, a laughingstock. I knew what I was looking for and still had trouble finding a couple of the threads I provided links to. Consequently, over the years, I have found there to be little downside to helping steer folks. Besides, sometimes, it's a good way to extract more information from others who have already posted. . . .
As to the "sullied" past, I concede that it has nothing to do with the quality of the food, I just note that for sport. Truth is, I've yet to meet a person who has a history with AP who doesn't include "Didn't that used to be [fill in the blank]?" when discussing Porta.
By the way, I don't think anyone had mentioned Taka before and is a good suggestion for the OP. I'd even add Fish as a pretty cool spot for Sunday Brunch - very nice space.
Fair enough re: the Search on here, MGZ--I guess I'm too inquisitive to let it stop me, though. :-) And I agree that it's lovely to steer people when time allows, too.
From my initial post on this thread:
"Taka has wonderful sushi and Japanese-inspired dishes + a great, lively vibe. Make a res for dinner." <grin>
Absolutely, don't miss Porta for the pizza.
For Italian meal , Lorenzo's in nearby Allenhurst and Stella Marina on the Boardwalk in Asbury.
I also like the Dauphin Grills right in your hotel.
For Breakfast, The Buttered Biscuit in nearby Bradley Beach.
Agree about Frank's and Jimmy's, both classics, both still offering fare that predates the nouveau AP. Nevertheless, it's worth pointing out to the OP that neither is all that close to the Boardwalk and the latter will certainly require a car. More on Jimmy's: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/885343 and http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/643405
On the subject of classics, I'd also add Nagle's as a breakfast spot. It's not too long a walk south on the Boardwalk through the Casino into Ocean Grove. Other thoughts on Breakfast in AP: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/914121
To the OP, I'd add that the ethnic "scene" in Asbury is not a big one. There's a mediocre Cuban place on the Boardwalk and some decent taqueria's on Main Street. See, e.g., http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/843830
There's a coupla good spots for drinks. Langosta Lounge has a great tequila list. Watermark is getting better at the "cocktail couture" it strives for. The bar at Ivan & Andy's usually has some decent specials and a fantastic burger. Bond Street is like that too.
Birthday weekend results! Thank you everyone for the tips!
Lunch Porta - pizza
Brickwall - oysters
Fish - shrimp and grits
Stella Marina - chicken parm and a buratta salad
Dauphine grill - pork belly sliders
Breakfast on Saturday langoustina lounge
Lunch Jimmy's pizza ans linguine and clam sauce