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Restaurant for a birthday near Asbury Park

I've never been to Asbury Park and wanted to check it out for my birthday. Are there any good restaurants that are in a safe area? I'd be going out with 3 of my friends and we are all mid twenties for reference. I am also open to neighboring towns close to ocean ave like Belmar, Spring Lake etc..

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  1. Whispers in Spring Lake
    La Dolce Vita in Belmar
    Porta in Asbury Park (casual but great)
    Shipwreck Grille in Brielle

    2 Replies
    1. re: SusieQQ

      based on atmosphere and food.. do you prefer La Dolce Vita or Porta?

      1. re: shap89

        Porta!

        But, this is not your normal restaurant.. atmosphere is a.big garage type building with shared picnic tables...limited menu. If you go, you must try the pizza...

        La Dolce Vita has a much larger menu.and a standard dining room.

    2. PORTA. Without a doubt! Just know that around 9pm it turns into a dance club. If thst's not your thing go earlier and eat--good is fantastic!

      1. You should go to either....A) Stella Marina B) Pascal and Sabine C) Watermark or D) Dauphin Grill. If you go to the Watermark on this Saturday coming up you can watch Lynyrd Skynyrd for free at the Stone Pony.

        3 Replies
        1. re: coldbeer

          Dauphin Grill has been closed down for a while now. it was my favorite!

          1. re: SusieQQ

            Well I'll be darned. Is the bar still open?

          2. re: coldbeer

            Watermark charges a cover that they donate for the folks that watch the bands at the pony, so it's not technically free

            1. Jimmy’s Italian Restaurant
              1405 Asbury Ave
              Asbury Park, NJ 07712

              http://www.yelp.com/biz/jimmys-italia...

              Our go to lunch on the way from Long Island to Atlantic City.
              Old Style Italian. Well made and tasty. How many people?
              They have a couple of rooms in the back.

              1 Reply
              1. re: phantomdoc

                + 1,000 for Jimmy's.

                Although I love Jimmy's the ambiance for a group of mid 20' year old's would be that of their grandmothers house with the clear plastic furniture covers.

                Valet parking a MUST for "safety" issues. Not a good part of town to park around the block to save a couple of bucks.

              2. Like others have said...you should specify a little more what you're looking for in terms of price/ambiance/etc. There's a lot of good options in Asbury.

                2 Replies
                1. re: joonjoon

                  a lot of great suggestions I appreciate it! So another couple is coming down from manhattan friday night. They are staying with us and then we are going to AC saturday. Because it'll probably be an expensive weekend as it is, I'm trying to keep dinner friday night reasonable but I also wanted to take them to the shore for a nice atmosphere.

                  When I say reasonable I mean some entrees in the low to mid twenties price wise. As it will probably be a late dinner and from what I've gathered, Porta doesn't take reservations, that is probably out but I'd definitely love to check it out in the future.

                  1. re: shap89

                    With that price range and the need for reservations I suggest that you take a look at La Dolce Vita. It is on Ocean Ave. in Belmar. I think it would suit your criteria.

                    Another place rarely mentioned is McGuillicuddy's in Loch Arbour. It has a nice outdoor patio overlooking a small part of Deal Lake and I really like the food.

                2. Because I am of the camp that thinks Porta serves some of the best octopus I've ever eaten (& I'm a huge fan of tentacles), I have to give them a +1. Now to throw some other options out there...Seagrass in Ocean Grove has always been consistent, it's a BYOB, & it's within your price range.
                  http://www.seagrassnj.com/menus/dinne...
                  Taka is also a BYOB in Asbury and is Japanese/Asian fusion. http://www.allmenus.com/nj/asbury-par...
                  While I've never been there myself, I've heard good reviews abt the restaurant in the Tides Hotel. http://www.hoteltides.com/content/res...
                  And I don't want to discount La Dolce Vita. It is good...I just gravitate more towards seafood than I do pasta/meat.
                  Be sure to let us know where you wind up going!

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: doggiedoc

                    I was just looking at Taka's menu. The menu listed Sake, Wines, and Beer. Did it get a liquor license recently perhaps?

                    www.takaapnj.com

                    1. re: yCf

                      Oops! My bad! You're correct! They applied for the liquor license previously held by Synaxis last fall...totally spaced on that one. Sorry about that!

                      1. re: yCf

                        +1 for Taka--but make a res ASAP

                        1. re: Curlz

                          Really that weird looking place in Pier Village? Hmmm

                            1. re: Curlz

                              Isn't it some kind of Hawaiian looking place? Totem poles and such? Lol am I thinking of the wrong place? If facing Pier Villiage with back to ocean it's on the right side?

                              1. re: jrvedivici

                                I'm thinking that's a TIKI bar of some sort. Taka is a Japanese and sushi restaurant in Asbury Park.

                                    1. re: bgut1

                                      Hahaha yes that's it bgut! Thank you! Now you can see why I was stunned thinking they got a liquor license. I've never stepped in the place wouldn't have guessed it was a burrito place. Thanks!

                      2. re: doggiedoc

                        I did a review of Hotel Tides Restaurant on June 1. It was a huge disappointment.

                      3. +1 for either Porta or Pascal and Sabine.