When you think about Atlantic City, what comes to mind? The casinos? The beach? The retro boardwalk? But what about Atlantic City restaurants? Thanks to its reputation as a bustling tourism destination, Atlantic City has tons of excellent restaurants to attract foodies, from mom-and-pop sandwich shops that have been there for generations to old-school Italian joints that have kept generations of high-rollers full and happy. If you’re planning to hit the famous boardwalk anytime soon, check out our roundup of the best restaurants in Atlantic City, so you know where to go once the hunger pangs hit.
Atlantic City has a large Italian American population, as do its neighbors, Philadelphia and South Jersey, so it’s perhaps no surprise that there are a number of great Italian restaurants here. Many are located in the Ducktown neighborhood (also often referred to as Atlantic City’s Little Italy), but a handful of outliers dot the seashore and casino areas too. Picking favorites is hard, but nonetheless, read on for our top choices for the best Italian restaurants in Atlantic City.
Chef Vola’s. If you want to experience Atlantic City the way Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. did, then head to this Ducktown favorite, which has been open since 1921. Just make sure you have a reservation, as tables have been known to book up weeks in advance. The bone-in veal parmigiana and banana cream pie are worth the trouble, we swear.
Carmine’s Italian Restaurant. Located in the Tropicana casino, this spot is known for its hearty, family-style portions of classic Italian favorites like manicotti, chicken parm, and penne with bolognese. Expect leftovers and lots of them.
Cafe 2825. Another spot where you’ll want to secure your table weeks in advance, Cafe 2825 is old-school through and through, from the caesar salads prepared tableside, to the Sunday gravy that will transport you back to your grandma’s kitchen.
In Atlantic City, you’re never more than a stone’s throw from the famous boardwalk, but sometimes you just can’t bear to leave the shore, even to eat. For those times, we threw together this list of our favorite Atlantic City boardwalk restaurants:
The Continental. Some love The Continental for its mid-century space-age decor. Others love it for its modern takes on classic comfort food (french onion soup dumplings, anyone?). And others love it for its stunning views of the Atlantic shoreline. But nearly everyone agrees it’s one of the best restaurants in Atlantic City, even if they can’t agree on why.
Buddakan. Fans of the SoHo location of this modern Asian spot will find the same refined takes on classic Chinese dishes, including the ever-popular tea-smoked ribs. Despite its location, the restaurant doesn’t offer much of a shore view. But the sleek and stylish dining room offers plenty to delight the eyes, including a ceiling of sparkling stars.
Bungalow Beach. If a tropical cocktail and a comfy chaise lounge sound right up your alley, you can’t do better than Bungalow Beach, as least where atmosphere is concerned. After soaking up some sun and chowing down on steak tacos or ahi tuna, take your cocktail to the pool, where you can also take advantage of the hookah service.
We could be diplomatic and present you with a list of great sandwich shops in Atlantic City. But you’re going to wind up at the iconic Ducktown deli anyway, so why beat around the bush?
The deli first opened as a tailor shop, but customers came more for the homemade sandwiches that the owner’s wife made in her kitchen than they did for alterations, so in 1946, the family went into the sub sandwich business full-time. Since then, they’ve attracted legions of fans that include Oprah, Joe Dimaggio, and The Beatles, who scarfed down some White House subs after a concert in 1972.
The fan favorite, hands-down, is the classic Italian sub, which comes loaded with ham, mortadella, salami, provolone, and stuffed fresh Italian bread from local bakery Formica’s. If you’re planning a trip, you’ll want to come hungry: the regular sub sandwiches here measure two feet in length!
With its robust Italian American population, as well as its proximity to pizza hot spots like New York City and Philadelphia, you can bet there are some great pizza restaurants in Atlantic City. But make no mistake: the pizza places here still have a flavor all their own. Read on for a few of our top pizza picks.
Tony Boloney’s. In a town that’s famous for being old-school, Tony Boloney’s serves slices that are decidedly new-school, including its most famous creation, the Taco Pizza, which is literally a collection of tacos (18–24 tacos, to be exact-ish) served atop a pizza. (Don’t worry, there’s guac on it too).
Zorro’s Pizza. The New York–style pies are excellent here, but those in the know know that Zorro’s best creation is its square-cut Sicilian–style pizza, made using a secret-recipe sauce from the owner’s grandmother. If, by some miracle, you have room for dessert, the Nutella pizza rarely disappoints either.
Jersey Shore Pizza & Grill. Sometimes, when you’re cruising down the boardwalk, only a basic, portable, foldable slice will do. Luckily, Jersey Shore Pizza is there to deliver exactly that: large, floppy, New York–style slices with topping choices that range from plain cheese to buffalo chicken.
This is another category where there can be only one clear winner. Dock’s has been the premiere spot for fresh seafood in Atlantic City since it opened its doors all the way back in 1897, making it not just one of the best restaurants in Atlantic City, but one of the oldest too. Expect classic seafood dishes like clams casino, pecan-crusted salmon, and lobsters by the pound, plus a few surprises, including the goblet of fresh, golf ball-sized oyster crackers than accompanies each meal.