The Best Restaurants in Atlantic City
Settled in 1783, Atlantic City has a year-round population of 41,000. It is 60 miles from Philadelphia, 125 from NYC and 175 from Washington, DC. The world’s first boardwalk and salt water taffy are still there. It is also the originator of the rolling chairs as well as the Monopoly board’s street names (Atlantic, Pacific, Baltic, etc). The historic Boardwalk Hall, the former home of The Miss America Pageant, has been renovated into a 13,000 seat arena for boxing, the circus, concerts etc. The Atlantic 10 basketball tournament was once held there.
Atlantic City casinos and boardwalk
There are 12 casinos in Atlantic City. Three are located in the Marina area: The Borgata adjacent to Atlantic City’s first boutique hotel, The Water Club. Harrah's, the tallest building in Atlantic City, boasting a “tropical paradise pool area” with 6 Jacuzzis and 12 private cabanas beneath a 90 foot glass dome, all in view of the hotel lobby. And Golden Nugget (formerly Trump Marina). The downtown hotel/casinos are: Bally’s, Resorts, Trump Taj Mahal, Caesars (and its Pier Shops) and the largest casino hotel, the Tropicana with over 2,200 rooms. Also on the Boardwalk are The Atlantic Club (formerly the Atlantic City Hilton), Showboat and Trump Plaza casino hotels, and the newest addition, Revel, with its Cabanas area bordering 3 private pools.
Until recently, Atlantic City was the only place that allowed gambling in the entire Northeast. But even with several new casino destinations within driving distance, there were 29 million visitors to Atlantic City in 2010. This article is written for those who do not spend all their time gambling. I visited, had a meal, or spoke to every restaurant mentioned. Several were suggestions from the Atlantic City Convention & Visitors Authority. I also read several reviews and spoke to hotel concierges.
Harrah's Resort Atlantic City
Best Rum Bar: Cuba Libre in The Quarter at the Tropicana Resort has 100 rums, and Thursday night “Late Night Latin Happy Hour” from 11PM-1AM. There is dancing, singing, conga lines and a Latin floor show. Upstairs at Cuba Libre is the open-air Missile Bar with a real (fake) Russian missile & the declassified history of the 13 Days in October (really 14 days) dealing with the Russian/Cuba/USA missile crisis. If you find David McGee the Director of Sales & Marketing for the Philadelphia based (soon to open in Orlando) operations ask him to tell you the hysterical story of moving the missile from Florida to Atlantic City (right after 9/11).
Best Vodka Selection: Red Square, next door to Cuba Libre with 169 vodkas & voted best Martini Bar by Casino Player Magazine.
Best Cigar/Wine Selection: A Time For Wine is next door to both restaurants in The Quarter at the Tropicana. Great cigar selection & 100 value wines under $25.
The Quarter is reminiscent of the original Tropicana Casino and Hotel in Havana, Cuba during the mid and late 1950’s.
The Borgata Tropicana Casino & Resort
Best Casino Restaurants:
Borgata- Most of the restaurants at the Borgata have a Wine Spectator Best of Award of Excellence.
Bobby Flay Steak has 512 different wines.
Old Homestead steakhouse from the old Meatpacking District in NYC, has 567 wines.
SEABLUE from chef Michael Mina, with 361 wines.
Wolfgang Puck American Grille has 285 wines.
The Palm at The Quarter is a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence winner with 165 wines and 13 by the glass.
Carmine's serves southern Italian favorites "family style" via NYC, with over 100 wines.
The Atlantic Club-
Patsy's Trattoria straight from Manhattan with authentic Neopolitan Italian cuisine, has 162 wines.
Dos Caminos serves stylish Mexican cuisine and over 100 selections of 100% blue agave tequilas.
Sammy D's, a coffee shop on steroids, open 24 hours.
Gallagher's Steak House, with the aged NY Strip Sirloin that made them famous in Manhattan.
Trump Taj Mahal-
Il Mulino, from the owners of the acclaimed Italian restaurant in the West Village of NYC.
Chart House for fresh seafood with waterfront views.
Vic & Anthony's, an award-winning steakhouse from Houston, Texas.
Revel- (Opened in May 2012)
American Cut by Forgione is a classic steakhouse redefined by Michelin-starred Iron Chef Marc Forgione.
Azure by Allegretti, cuisine from the French and Italian Rivieras from Michelin-starred Chef Alain Allegretti.
Mia is an Italian/Mediterranean restaurant from the creators of Le Bec-Fin and Brasserie Perrier, offers a nice selection of Italian reds and high-rolling French Bordeaux Premier Crus.
Morton's The Steakhouse is a Wine Spectator "Award of Excellence" winner with over 200 wines.
Atlantic Grill for fresh seafood, by the same group from the perennial restaurant on New York's Upper East Side.
Across from Caesars, The Pier Shops is a four story shopping (80) and dining (7) paradise, which opened in 2006:
Buddakan features modern Asian cuisine beautifully served in magnificent surroundings.
The boardwalk at night
Best Non-Casino Restaurants:
Ram’s Head Inn in Gallaway with five acres of gardens located 8 miles from Atlantic City. It is the same ownership as The Manor in West Orange. Best of Award of Excellence from the Wine Spectator with 970 wines, 100 Half bottles and 30 wines by the glass. Friday from 3-6PM is Happy Hour with over 30 wines sold at $1 per ounce.
Knife & Fork Inn has a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence and is located in the Boardwalk area with a 10,000 bottle wine cellar and 20 wines by the glass. It is ninety-three years old and was purchased by Frank Dougherty in 2005.
The Dougherty family opened Atlantic City's oldest restaurant in 1897, Dock's Oyster House, within walking distance from the Boardwalk, for seafood and steaks. Also a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence list with 425 wines.
Angeloni’s II Restaurant in the Boardwalk area, featuring Italian/American cuisine with 250 wines.
Ruth's Chris Steakhouse with 240 wines, at the Atlantic City Outlet Center, Tanger Outlets The Walk.
Last but not least, the local favorite Imperial Inn stays open late for authentic Chinese food at 3124 Atlantic Ave.
Now you can see that there are other things to do in Atlantic City besides gamble.
Before you go, visit:
Atlantic City Tourist Board – (800) AC-VISIT
Comments or questions welcome, please e-mail to: Ron@TheFiftyBest.com