Cape May is known as a "foodies" mecca, with some of the best fine-dining restaurants in the entire state. But even if you aren't a gourmand, there are plenty of places to indulge your taste buds. The following are some of our favorites.
The largest and most popular restaurant in town, the Lobster House delivers the freshest seafood around at moderate prices. Open daily for lunch and dinner, the restaurant does not take reservations, but you can ask at the front desk about Angel Priority Seating. Can be loud and touristy but the service is fast and efficient. In summer enjoy the outside Raw Deck or enjoy cocktails on the Schooner America. All major credit cards accepted. Off-street parking. 609-884-8296.
Located at Schellinger's Landing across from the Lobster House, Lucky Bones is a favorite with visitors and locals alike. The menu offers everything from burgers and brick oven pizza to meat and seafood entress.$16 daily specials and a $20 wine list makes Lucky Bones perfect for the budget-conscious diner. Moderately priced with a full bar. Off-street parking. 609-884-2663.
A favorite with locals and visitors alike for 30 years, The Pilot House Cape May restaurant offers something for everyone, from scrumptious appetizers to mouth watering entrees including crab cakes and veal specialties and their award winning “gourmet burgers. Full bar with Happy Hour. Located on the Washington Street Mall. Moderately priced with early bird specials Monday - Thursday. Children's menu available. 609-884-3449..
Cape May's only Oriental Restaurant, this family owned and operated restaurant offers a wide menu of traditional Chinese, Japanese, and Thai cuisines, with a special daily "fusion menu." Located in the Victorian Village Plaza across from the mall, the Cape Orient offers free parking and take out service. All major credit cards and BYOB. 609-898-0088.
Located in historic Congress Hall, The Blue Pig Tavern's signature American fare includes everything from burgers and macaroni & cheese to jumbo lump crab cakes and filet mignon. The simple, nostalgic menu is simple and fresh and uses local seafood and produce in creative, accessible ways. Blue Plate Specials are available daily. Moderately priced. Full bar. 609-884-8422.
Located just around the corner from the Angel in the La Mer Motel, the Pier House offers a wide selection of meat and seafood with a Greek influence. Full bar. Moderately expensive. 898-0300.
The Virginia Hotel's acclaimed restaurant is known for its gourmet dining and culinary diversity and offers a comprehensive wine list, fresh seafood and American and international specialties. All major credit cards. Dress is nice casual and valet parking is available. Reservations are highly recommended. Very expensive. 609-884-5700. Online reservations available.
For years, the Batter has been a favorite with locals and visitors alike and with good reason. An eclectic menu in a charming and friendly setting make this restaurant a sure thing. Open daily for lunch and dinner. The porch is the place to sit for some of the best people-watching in town. Moderately priced. The Batter now has a liquor license and full bar. 609-884-5970. Online reservations available.
An alternative to the Lobster House, the Blue Claw also specializes in fresh seafood. But here the atmosphere is much more intimate and upscale, and the cuisine is definitely gourmet. Dinner is served nightly and there are some dress requirements in the formal dining room. George Karavan plays piano in the lounge. Located about a mile out of town on the road to Wildwood Crest. Ask at the front desk for directions. All major credit cards are accepted, parking is available and reservations are required. Very expensive. 609-884-5878.
The only restaurant in Cape May to receive four stars from the AC Press, Union Park is housed in the Macomber Hotel. Executive Chef John Schatz has created an outstanding menu featuring the freshest and finest ingredients. All major credit cards are accepted. Moderately expensive. Union Park does not have a liquor license but you are welcome to bring your own. 609-884-8811. On line reservations are available through Open Table.
Expertly prepared continental-style cuisine, an attentive staff and distinctive setting all combine to make your dining experience a memorable event. The wine cellar contains over 8,000 bottled wines, making their wine list the most extensive in all of South Jersey. Open for dinner, all major credit cards are accepted, proper dress is required and off-street and valet parking is available. Reservations are definitely required. Moderately expensive. 609-884-5697. Online reservations available.
Excellent, moderately-priced Italian food in a friendly and relaxed setting are featured at Cucina Rosa. Menu items include their house specialty Chicken Portofino and Tenderloin Tuscany. Bring your own wine or beer. Non-smoking throughout. Located right on the Washington Street Mall, so finding on-street parking can sometimes be a problem in season. All major credit cards, casual dress. 609-898-9800.
The atmosphere and food are advertised as "casual, cool", with fresh seafood from local waters, char-grilled steaks and an extensive appetizer selection. Casual dress, all major credit cards, some off-street parking available, along with handicap access. The Black Duck does not have a liquor license, but you are welcome to bring your own wine or beer. Early bird specials from 5:00 - 5:30 at $19.95. 609-898-0100.
Serving food and spirits since 1855, Watson's Merion Inn is one of the oldest restaurants in town. Fresh seafood and sizzling steaks, along with a full service bar, make The Merion Inn popular with tourists and locals alike. Entertainment by jazz pianist George Mesterhazy nightly from 5:30 pm with a Jazz Trio on Thursdays at 8:30 pm. A real plus is on-site parking. Casual dress, credit cards, reservations. Moderately expensive. 609-884-8363. Online reservations available.
Another restaurant from the Millers, owners of Frescos & 410 Bank Street. Specializing in southwestern cuisine in a relaxed casual atmosphere, Geckos is located just around the corner from the Washington Street Mall, Because of its location parking can be a problem. BYOB. Moderately priced. 609-898-7750.
Enjoy fine Northern Italian and contemporary American cuisine in a lovely Euro-style dining room located right on the Washington Street Mall. The menu features fresh local seafood, pasta, steak, poultry, and veal prepared in an innovative manner. The lunch menu has something for everyone -- great sandwiches on house-baked breads, pastas, salads, gourmet pizza and, of course, fresh seafood. Outside patio dining and Early Bird specials are available. BYOB, credit cards, casual dress. Moderately expensive. Parking can be a problem because of its location. 609-884-6661.
Oyster Bay bills itself as Cape May's only Steak House and features a selection of sizzling steaks, prime rib, charbroiled seafood, whole lobster, crab cakes and surf & turf combos. The big news is Oyster Bay now has a full liquor license and bar. Located just across from the Acme on Lafayette Street, Oyster Bay has off-street parking. Dress is casual and most major credit cards are accepted. Moderately expensive. 609-884-2111.
Hidden away on Jackson Street, just off the mall, this storefront eatery is one of Cape May's best kept secrets. The eclectic Caribbean/Pacific influenced menu changes daily and is written on a chalkboard in the rear of the restaurant. Desserts are home-made. The dining room seats less than two dozen and tables are set very close together, so it's almost impossible not to meet your fellow diners and enjoy some spirited conversation. Reservations are required and only held 5 minutes, so don't be late. Louisa's does not accept credit cards and does not have a liquor license, so bring cash and your own wine or beer. Because of its location parking can be a real problem. Moderately priced. 609-884-5882.
Located in the famous Inn of Cape May, Aleathea's offers porch dining just across from the beach. Enjoy ocean breezes, as you sample their menu that includes everything from homemade Meatloaf to Chilean Sea Bass and Lobster Penne. Off-street and valet parking is available and all major credit cards are accepted. Expensive; dress is nice casual. Aleathea's has a full bar. Reservations.609-884-5555 or 1-800-582-5933
Dine by candlelight in a restored 1880 Victorian cottage at what the NY times calls, the best Italian restaurant in Southern New Jersey. "This award-winning restaurant specializes in Northern and Regional Italian cuisine with signature menu items that include Saltimbocco Classico and Osso Buco alla Frescos," raves the NY Times. All major credit cards are accepted and off-street parking is provided nearby. Frescos does not have a liquor license, but you are welcome to bring your own. Dress is casual and the atmosphere is friendly. Reservation are definitely required. Be aware that Frescos does not offer a waiting area and because of their popularity there is sometimes a long wait even with reservations after 8 pm. Expensive. 609-884-0366.
410 Bank offers diners award-winning New Orleans-style French Caribbean cuisine. Fish steaks, seafood, prime steak and veal dishes are grilled over an open fire with 410's famous specialty sauces. Menu items include Chilean Sea Bass Creole, Blackened Prime Rib and Mesquite Grilled Lobster Tail. Dine in either their Tropical Garden or secluded veranda. Reservations are a definite must, BYOB, casual dress and all major credit cards. Nearby off-street parking is also provided. Like its sister restaurant, Frescos, 410 does not offer a waiting area for dinner and later diners may have quite a wait to be seated. Very expensive. 609-884-2127.
Godmother's bills itself as Cape May's Original Italian restaurant and features classic Italian cuisine in a friendly and casual atmosphere. The pasta is homemade and early bird specials are offered nightly. Godmother's accepts all major credit cards and guests are welcome to bring their own beer or wine. On-street parking is available nearby and reservations are accepted. 609-884-4543.
Sorry we couldn't get to all the restaurants in town, but space prevents us from mentioning some of our other favorites. All menus are available in the parlor and we try to keep them updated. Many restaurants in town are BYOB, all are non-smoking and a few have rather minor dress codes. Anyone at the front desk will be happy to answer your questions, make reservations and give directions. Happy eating!