Even with the rise and fall (and rise again) of Atlantic City, there’s never been a shortage of great restaurants on and off the Boardwalk. The city’s casinos have certainly helped make it a place for celebrity chefs like Bobby Flay and Gordon Ramsay to open upscale restaurants, but many eateries still boast traditional charm. And thanks to Atlantic City’s recent revival, there’s never been a better time to explore them.
Here are our 15 top picks for the best restaurants in Atlantic City, in alphabetical order.
The newest culinary addition at the Borgota, Angeline is the first fully Italian restaurant from Michael Symon, an Iron Chef and James Beard Award winner, and cohost of The Chew, ABC’s Daytime Emmy-winning cooking show. The modern restaurant was named after Symon’s mother, Angeline, and its signature dish, lasagna, is made from her recipe. From housemade pastas and arancini, to the sentimental favorite chicken parm, Angeline’s menu hits all corners of soulful Italian cuisine, with an impressive wine list to boot.
The Borgata, 1 Borgata Way; 609-317-1000
At celebrity chef Bobby Flay’s high-end steakhouse, located at the Borgata, the menu follows the pricey steakhouse tradition. Everything is à la carte, with an array of proteins that includes ribeye, hanger steak, filet mignon and New York strip steaks. This is no place for vegans, but lovers of fish and shellfish needn’t shy away—there’s lobster, tuna steak, shrimp scampi and more. The wine list includes over 600 bottles, and is curated by wine director Sabrina Schatz.
The Borgata, 1 Borgata Way; 609-317-1000
Despite being open since 1986, this cozy Italian restaurant still remains a relative secret. The small 52-seat restaurant boasts old-school charm, with excellent renditions of Italian favorites like eggplant rollatini, stuffed artichokes, veal chop parmigiana and nine housemade pasta variations. Most notable are the tableside experiences, such as the one involving burrata, where owner Joe Lautato makes fresh mozzarella straight from the curd, which is then sliced warm and plated family style. Other tableside experiences include cacio e pepe prepared in a hollowed wheel of Pecorino cheese. The wine list includes bottles from Italy and California.
2825 Atlantic Avenue; 609-344-6913
This family-owned Italian restaurant has been an Atlantic City staple since 1921, and even appeared on Boardwalk Empire. Dining in the basement at Chef Vola’s is an intimate, cash-only experience complete with a secret side door. The menu is unpretentious, with homestyle Italian classics like bone-in veal Parmesan and shrimp fettucini. Reservations recommended. BYO.
111 South Albion Place; 609-345-2022
Housed in the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, this modern, upscale seafood restaurant offers sweeping seaside views and fresh local catches. Opened last year, it features one of the Shore’s best raw bar menus, with steamed or chilled king crab, blue crab and Maine lobster; chilled shrimp; raw oysters and clams; and tableside caviar service. Popular menu options include New England clam chowder, a 2-pound Maine lobster cooked over a wood-fired grill, and four shellfish pots. With more than 2,700 bottles on the wine list, you have plenty of pairing options.
1000 Boardwalk; 609-449-1000
Opened in 1897, Dock’s Oyster House has been sustained by four generations of the Dougherty family through world wars, the Great Depression, and the declines and rebirths of Atlantic City. Dock’s closed in 2015 for a multimillion-dollar renovation and expansion. What didn’t change with the 2016 reopening was the family’s commitment to fresh seafood. Behind the bar, chilled lobsters, oysters, clams and shrimp sparkle on ice below the chalkboard list of daily offerings. Oyster enthusiasts can count on about a dozen rotating selections that include Cape May Salts, Brigantine Salts, plump Chesapeake Bay oysters from Maryland, briny Wellfleets from Cape Cod, and Bluepoints and Barren Island oysters from New York State. You also can get littleneck or top neck clams on the half shell. During happy hour (4-6 pm, daily), select oysters are just $1 each.
2405 Atlantic Avenue; 609-345-0092
When owner Gino Iovino opened Girasole in 1992 just a block from the Boardwalk, he decidedly chose to offer an experience unlike the ones tourists get in the showy, crowded casinos nearby. Once inside, reminders abound that girasole is Italian for sunflower. The dining room is decorated in deep blues and sunny golds. The family-owned restaurant is known for its classic Italian renditions: housemade hot and Italian sausage with broccoli rabe and cannellini beans; calamari baked in tomato sauce; carpaccios made from filet mignon and yellowfin tuna; and more than a dozen pastas, some made in-house.
3108 Pacific Avenue; 609-345-5554
At Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill at Caesars Palace, the celebrity chef has put together a true British pub experience. Think Scotch eggs, fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, beef Wellington, bangers and mash and more than 25 beers on tap.
2100 Pacific Avenue; 609-343-2600
Check out our other town dining guides:
The 18 Best Restaurants in Asbury Park
The 12 Best Restaurants in Princeton
The 22 Best Restaurants in Cape May
Over the years, this modern-day speakeasy has evolved into one of the most exciting restaurants in Atlantic City. Executive chef Kevin Cronin consistently delivers elevated dishes, such as foie gras pierogi, steak tartare, Scottish salmon with ramen, and kobe beef burgers. Beyond food, Iron Room customers can order from a brown-liquor library unmatched in the region. A second Iron Room is scheduled to open in September on Tennessee Avenue.
648 North Albany Avenue; 609-348-6400
Chef Michael Schulson is at the helm of Izakaya at the Borgata, inspired by the traditional pubs of Japan. Before opening the restaurant, Schulson spent time exploring the world of izakayas. Some serve sushi, tempura, stews and noodles. Some specialize in robatayaki, a small-plates cuisine of skewered grilled meats, fish and vegetables. In Atlantic City, Schulson offers a taste of everything—tuna tataki, miso-glazed foie gras, edamame dumplings, sushi and sashimi, and Kinki chicken wings that are some of the best you will ever eat—crispy, juicy, spicy and more. Izakaya also offers an extensive premium sake list.
The Borgata, 1 Borgata Way; 609-317-1000
One of the oldest restaurants in Atlantic City, the venerable Knife & Fork Inn first opened in 1912 as a private club, and then—as the story goes—in 1927 on the eve of Prohibition, it became an exclusive dining room. Today, the upscale eatery features steaks, chops and seafood, classic steakhouse sides, and an extensive wine list.
3600 Atlantic Avenue; 609-344-1133
Located inside Harrah’s Resort, Martorano’s comes from restaurateur and Philadelphia native Steve Martorano. The menu includes Italian favorites like meatballs, rigatoni and eggplant stacks, as well as a South Philly-style cheesesteak.
777 Harrah’s Boulevard; 609-441-5000
Opened in the Tropicana in 2017 by the Philadelphia-based Jose Garces, Okatsche offers a playful, modern take on a traditional Japanese izakaya. The restaurant specializes in small plates, yakitori, ramen, sushi and sashimi. The bar serves a selection of Japanese whiskeys, sakes and beers.
Tropicana, 2831 Boardwalk; 609-340-4053
Opened at the same time as Okatsche, Olón is Garces’ vibrant Latin seafood restaurant that offers dramatic views of the ocean. Pan-South American flavors anchor the menu—including excellent ceviches and tiraditos, empanadas and anticuchos (marinated skewers).
Tropicana, 2831 Boardwalk; 609-340-4050
Located next to the famous White House Sub Shop, Pancho’s is an unpretentious stop for excellent Mexican eats. Fabiola Sanchez, who is Colombian, opened Pancho’s in 2006 “as a typical Mexican taqueria to serve Mexicans and Latinos who work at the casinos,” says her son, Joshua Cruz.. Together, they do all the cooking “in front of our customers,” he says. Even the tortillas are cooked to order. The results are sublime: terrific tacos topped with tender chunks of brisket, or al pastor pork brightened with pineapple; and enchiladas in a mudslide of mole poblano heady with cinnamon and clove. BYO.
2303 Arctic Avenue, 609-344-2062