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Cape May

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Sure, you can get the usual fish shack fare in Cape May, but there is also a surprising number of gourmet restaurants (everything from French and Italian to Japanese and Thai), and some delightful ocean-front eating.

Top Restaurants in Cape May

Cabanas Beach Bar and Grill

Ocean views and homemade soups, burgers, and filling sandwiches like the crunchy jerk chicken breast that is served with a heaping pile of grilled red onions and pineapple on a Kaiser roll keep Cabanas hopping year-round. Live entertainment (typically local blues and reggae musicians) most weekends brings out a young crowd.

429 Beach Ave., NJ, 609-884-4800, www.cabanasonthebeach.com
Tags: budget | american | views

Dellas 5 & 10

This authentic soda fountain counter has been serving egg creams and sandwiches since 1947. The store surrounding it sells everything from sunscreen to paperbacks, but locals come for the ice cream (choose from almost 20 toppings!) and grilled cheese.

501-503 Washington St., NJ, 609-884-4568, www.dellas5and10.com
Tags: family | budget | american

Ebbitt Room

The outstanding, creatively-prepared seafood at the Ebbitt Room should not be missed. Try the black sea bass with foie gras or the potato-crusted Chatham cod with curry creamed spinach. Palms arch above the intimate dining room, giving it a turn-of the-last-century feel – appropriate in this small 1870s-era hotel. Afterwards, have a drink in the fireplace lounge or on the veranda.

Virginia Hotel, 25 Jackson St., NJ, 609-884-5700, www.virginiahotel.com
Tags: seafood | expensive | editor pick | smart splurge

Henry’s on the Beach

This is the place to get classic breaded oyster, clam or shrimp baskets while looking out over the water. Bring your own beer, though, since they don’t have a liquor license. Or come by in the morning for a cheap breakfast – if you’re lucky you’ll see dolphins looping through the waves.

702 Beach Ave., NJ, 609-884-8826, www.henrysonthebeach.com
Tags: budget | seafood | american

Lobster House

The Lobster House, a local favorite, offers fresh seafood at reasonable prices. While you’re waiting for a table (and odds are, you’ll wait – they don’t take reservations) order a cocktail from the bar located on a docked boat outside. Dining rooms overlook the Cape May harbor.

Cape May Harbor, Fisherman's Wharf, NJ, 609-884-8296, www.thelobsterhouse.com
Tags: moderate | seafood | editor pick | great value | local favorite

The Blue Pig Tavern

Down home American food is served on the patio or inside a cozy, wooden-floored dining room at this tavern in the Congress Hall hotel. Tasty dinner fare includes standard, yet well executed, dishes like Steak Diane (tender filet mignon topped with a savory cream sauce) and crab cakes. Be sure to try one of their delicious smoothies for breakfast.

Congress Hall, 251 Beach Ave., NJ, 609-884-8422, www.congresshall.com/content/bluepigtavern.html
Tags: moderate | american | editor pick | great value

The Magnolia Room

You’ll be reminded you are south of the Mason-Dixon line at this 60-year-old bastion of traditional Southern cooking where corn pudding, fried chicken, and homemade rolls are staples on the menu. Prix-fixe breakfast ($10) and prix-fixe dinner ($34, four courses) only.

Chalfonte Hotel, 301 Howard St., NJ, 609-884-8409, www.chalfonte.com/magnoliaroom.html
Tags: moderate | comfort food | southern

Union Park Dining Room

Creative cuisine and personalized service make the Union Park Dining Room a favorite of travelers. Entrees are often surprising – a recent menu included elk tenderloin with sweet potato gnocchi – though there are also favorites like rack of lamb. In the summer, sit on the wraparound porch, one of the more romantic places in Cape May to enjoy a bottle of (BYOB) wine.

727 Beach Ave., NJ, 609-884-8811, www.unionparkdiningroom.com
Tags: expensive | american

Washington Inn

Elegant French-American fare and a deep wine cellar are the hallmarks of the Washington Inn. The limited menu is seasonal and expertly prepared (think fresh scallops with fingerling potatoes and New York strip steak with grilled red onions and shiitake mushrooms); locals, though, say they go for the intimate atmosphere and attentive service. For a romantic evening, ask to be seated in the dining room; the enclosed patio is louder.

801 Washington St., NJ, 609-884-5697, www.washingtoninn.com
Tags: expensive | local favorite | french

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