Summer is in full swing at the Jersey Shore, which means taking advantage of the beautiful weather and longer days to get out and dine, enjoy live music, and lazy evening strolls on the boardwalk. As a Jersey Shore native, my idea of the perfect summer is to enjoy a wide variety of restaurants, from casual to fine dining, so I’m offering a little variety in this list to spice up your summer at the shore.

Asbury Park


{2010 Baltic Ave, Atlantic City; 609.541.2799}

With over 40 revolving beer taps, award-winning wings and burgers, killer appetizers, and entrees, Wingcraft should be on your list of stops when visiting Atlantic City. Conveniently located within walking distance of the convention center and the shopping mall, it’s the perfect spot to pop in for lunch, dinner, cocktail, or a quick bite whenever you’ve got the craving.


The Promenade

{600 Ocean Ave., Avon-by-the-Sea; 732.505.7770}

Elegant dining can be found on the boardwalk. It’s true. This beautiful BYOB with breathtaking views of the ocean is owned by the Moloney family who also owns Amelia’s by the Sea in Spring Lake. Indoor and outdoor dining is available. The restaurant serves breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner.


B2 Bistro + Bar Bayville

{125 Bayview Ave, Bayville 732.269.3000}

B2 brings “rustic and sophisticated vibes” to the Jersey Shore’s Barnegat Bay. Enjoy breathtaking views of the bay from their spacious decks. If you are a boater, you’re in luck. The restaurant offers 12 docking slips and numerous mooring lines, with a boat taxi to take you back and forth to the dock. As with their other locations, guests can enjoy expertly crafted cocktails, and delicious food, including wood-fired pizza, sushi, creative specials, and more. They also have an inground swimming pool if you’re in the mood for a dip. Live bands perform Wednesday through Sunday all summer long! This is one of 5 B2 Bistro + Bar locations in New Jersey.


Delaware Avenue Oyster House

{13211 Long Beach Blvd, Beach Haven Terrace; 609.492.3352}

If you look at the reviews, you’ll see a typical comment from guests: “Best food on the Island.” I’m going to second that notion. This restaurant/bar seats only 45 and does not take reservations. Do yourself a favor and get to Beach Haven before or after the summer to enjoy the freshest seafood and creative dishes like their famous Crab Fried Rice and award-winner Jersey Clam Chowder. While you’re there, don’t miss trying one or two of their signature cocktails and a few local craft beers on tap. Right next door is their sister restaurant, The Terrace Tavern, which also offers a brand-new outdoor dining area in the back, so even during the busiest of seasons, you should be able to secure some seats and a fantastic meal.


Blu Grotto

{200 Port Au Peck Ave, Oceanport; 732.571.7900}

Blu Grotto is two restaurants in one during the summer. Upstairs enjoy fine Italian dining in either their gorgeous glassed-in conservatory dining room or on their spacious deck. Downstairs, dine on casual fare like pizza, sushi, and burgers while taking in live bands hosted every Thursday-Sunday all summer in their gorgeous beer garden. If you visit upstairs, be sure to sample some of their seasonal specials. If Branzino is on the menu, do yourself a favor and order it. No matter how it’s prepared, it is always excellent.


Donovan’s Reef

{Donovan’s Reef, 1171 Ocean Ave N, Sea Bright; 732.530.1833}

I spent many a summer afternoon sipping beer and taking in the local bands of the day in my twenties at Donovan’s. After being demolished during Superstorm Sandy, the restaurant underwent complete renovations and is now a beautiful spot for beachfront dining. Donovan’s Reef was voted one of the top 21 best beach bars in the US by Thrillist. To no surprise, this beachfront bar with water access and served cocktails in the sand is a hit for guests of all ages. Donovan’s has live performers five days a week, making it easy to join in on any of the fun this beach bar has to offer!


Amelia’s by the Sea

{1505 Ocean Ave N, Spring Lake; 732.769.5700}

Amelia’s by the Sea offers fine dining across from the Atlantic Ocean in lovely Spring Lake. The restaurant offers lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. During the off-season months, they are a BYOB, but during the summer, they offer a complete cocktail selection. The menu ranges from old-school Italian to contemporary continental cuisine, and even sushi. Don’t skip dessert! Their desserts are worth every calorie. Put Amelia’s on your list for a special night out at the Jersey Shore in the on or off-season.


THE GOAT by David Burke

{1411 NJ-36, Union Beach; 732.264.5222}

Chef David Burke is catching a wave. This is his seventh restaurant in New Jersey and third in Monmouth County. The Hazlet native’s new concept, THE GOAT, is a casual, Italian/American bistro with original goat-themed artwork. The menu centers around an eye-catching wood-burning oven that will be used for several dishes, including gourmet pizzas, roast chicken, vegetables, or whatever sparks Chef Burke’s imagination. The menu also includes burgers, pizza, house-made pasta, seafood, Chef Burke’s signature, U.S. patented Pink Himalayan salt dry-aged prime steaks, and decadent desserts. The restaurant also has an extensive list of locally distilled spirits and craft beer, and premium wine list.

Deborah Smith

Deborah Smith is the founder of, established in 2007, and the author of The Jersey Shore Cookbook, Fresh Summer Flavors from the Boardwalk and Beyond (Quirkbooks). She also owns Foxtrot Media in Point Pleasant Beach, a full-service public relations and restaurant marketing agency.