UPDATED MAY 16, 2016
Mr. C’s Beach Bistro
View: Mr. C’s beachfront location gave it an unsurpassed panorama, but left it helpless in Sandy. The building had to be demolished. Now, Mr. C’s is back at home in its stellar place on the beach, with gorgeous views and a great atmosphere.
Food: Fresh dishes from land and sea.
View: In the post-Sandy reconstruction, the patio was enlarged, so more people can savor the fine ocean, beach and boardwalk view, which is less panoramic from inside, despite floor-to-ceiling windows.
Drink: Tropical cocktails are a specialty. 1000 Ocean Ave, 732-455-3275.
McLoone’s Asbury Grille
View: From the outdoor tables, the eye scans ocean, beach, boardwalk and Convention Hall. Indoors, you’ll want a window table. Upstairs, in the circular Supper Club, the view is good.
Food: Seafood, raw bar, salads, steak and burgers.
Drink: Full bar, about 28 wines by the glass. 1200 Ocean Ave, 732-774-1400.
View: Saltwater or fresh? Look ahead to the ocean or slightly behind you to slender Wesley Lake, named for John Wesley, founder of Methodism.
Food: Antipasti, pizza, pasta, Italian meat and fish entrées.
Drink: Full bar, 25 wines by the glass, bottles at all price points, many Italian. 800 Ocean Ave, 732-775-7776.
View: From the open-air, roofed deck or the big-windowed interior lounge, both on the second floor of the First Avenue Pavilion, you feel you command ocean, beach and boardwalk.
Food: Sophisticated, seasonal finger foods.
Drink: House-made infusions, wine, craft beers. NJM readers have consistently voted Watermark the top spot in Central Jersey for imaginative, well-crafted cocktails. 800 Ocean Ave, 732-455-3447.
Chelsea (Chelsea Hotel)
View: Gaze at ocean, beach and Boardwalk, depending on table position. The wispy white curtains are open most of the time.
Food: Formerly a steakhouse called Chelsea Prime, the restaurant has been revamped in decor and menu, now more eclectic and New American.
Drink: Full bar, wine list. 111 S Chelsea Ave, 800-548-3030.
The Continental (Playground Pier at Caesars)
View: With the pier stretching over the beach you get an eyeful of Atlantic.
Food: “Global tapas,” from Korean pork tacos to Mexican shrimp pizza.
Drink: Seven sweet martinis, signature and traditional cocktails, craft and imported beers. 1 Atlantic Ocean, 609-674-8300.
View: If you can snare a spot on the 30-seat patio two stories above the Boardwalk, the view of ocean, beach and Boardwalk is awesome. Not quite as good from the dining room.
Food: Sushi, locally caught seafood.
Drink: Full bar, wine list. 2831 Boardwalk, 800-345-8767.
Vagabond Kitchen & Tap House
View: From the ground-level dining room, you take in Lakes Bay, across Wellington Avenue.
Food: Wings, nachos, sliders, burgers, Belgian fries.
Drink: Full bar, 12 craft beers on tap. 672 N Trenton Ave, 609-350-6721.
On the Deck
View: From the second-story deck or small dining room, you survey Atlantic Highlands Marina, Gateway National Park, Raritan Bay—and, on a clear day, Manhattan the way it might have looked to Henry Hudson in 1609. (Oh, just ignore the buildings. Not hard to do with a drink in your hand.)
Food: Salads, sandwiches, grilled seafood, chicken, steak.
Drink: Full bar. 10 Simon Lake Dr, 732- 872-1424.
9th Ave Pier
View: You get 360 degrees of Belmar Marina and the Shark River, because the restaurant (a tent without sides) sits on a pier that juts into the river. They have boat slips and welcome boaters coming in for a good meal from the water. Brides like to have their pictures taken here at sunset. Live bands.
Food: Salads, sandwiches.
Drink: Beer, beachy concoctions. 905 Rt 35, 732-749-3800.
View: The placid Manasquan River spreads out just beyond the marina. Manasquan River Water Taxi shuttles patrons between this and five other spots in Brielle and Point Pleasant.
Food: Seafood, salads, pasta, sandwiches.
Drink: Full bar, limited wine list. 622 Green Ave, 732-528-6665.
View: The upstairs deck or dock-level dining room position you to gaze at the Manasquan River.
Food: Raw bar, seafood, salads, pizza, prime rib.
Drink: Full bar. 1 Ocean Ave, 732-528-7000.
View: The Manasquan River and docks can be seen from the upstairs dining room, downstairs bar or small deck.
Food: Seafood, salads, burgers, steak, pizza.
Drink: Full bar. 201 Union Lane, 732-528-7750.
Laguna Grill & Rum Bar
View: The team that bought Laguna Grill a year ago added picture windows post-Sandy to improve the view of the ocean and beach.
Food: Raw bar, seafood entrées.
Drink: Full bar, custom daiquiris. 1400 Ocean Ave, 609-266-7731.
The Schooner American
View: Take in cozy Cape May Harbor from the unusual perch of the 130-foot Grand Banks schooner, moored since 1965 beside the venerable Lobster House restaurant, through which you enter.
Food: Raw bar, seafood salads, burgers at lunch; finger foods later.
Drink: Frozen daiquiris, coladas and margaritas in fruit flavors. 906 Schellengers Landing Rd, 609-884-8296.
View: The outdoor deck serves up Sandy Hook Bay.
Food: Raw bar, salads, seafood, burgers.
Drink: Full bar. 3 Cornwall St, 732-872-9764.
View: Sandy Hook Bay is the draw from dock bar, outdoor deck or dining room.
Food: Seafood, salad, burgers.
Drink: Full bar, limited wine list. 56 Shrewsbury Ave, 732-872-2266.
View: Ocean, beach and boardwalk are at your feet—literally, since the outdoor tables are actually on the boardwalk. The dining room view is almost as good, thanks to tall, floor-to-ceiling windows. After dark, watch the moon glimmer over the water from the posh rooftop nightclub.
Food: A taste of the sunny Cote d’Azur; one of NJM’s Top 25 restaurants in the state.
Drink: Full bar, large wine list. 23 Ocean Ave, 732-759-2900.
McLoone’s Pier House
View: Ocean and beach are yours from the upstairs dining room. The big windows open in good weather.
Food: Raw bar, sushi, salads, seafood, pastas, steaks.
Drink: Full bar, wine. 1 Ocean Ave, 732-923-1006.
View: Ocean and beach are mere steps from the patio. Dining room glass doors fold back to expand the view and let in the sea breeze.
Food: Raw bar, fresh fish many ways, pasta, lobsters up to five pounds.
Drink: Full bar; the wine list has won Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence eight years in a row. 100 Ocean Ave, 732-870-1200.
View: The tall-windowed dining room, bar and boardwalk tables put you in the ocean-beach-boardwalk catbird seat.
Food: Italian, including pizza, pastas, chicken scarpariello, veal chop, lamb shank.
Drink: Full bar, wines at all price points. 27 Ocean Ave, 732-222-1119.
The Dutchman’s Brauhaus
View: Jutting into Manahawkin Bay, the open-air dock—called the Quelle, German for the source of a spring—feels like you’re on a boat. Nice views from indoors if you’re near a window.
Food: Founded by the Schmid family in 1952, the Brauhaus serves traditional German dishes like sauerbraten and wiener schnitzel as well as familiar Shore fare like crab dip and clams casino.
Drink: Full bar, German wines and draft beers. 2500 E Bay Ave, 609-494-6910.