Quick Bite

The Sea Isle Spot Where Crab Is King

Carmen's Seafood Restaurant is a longtime Fish Alley favorite.


A casual bayside seafood market and restaurant located in Sea Isle’s Fish Alley, with wooden picnic tables, charming nautical decor and hanging planters.

The scoop

The Contis, one of the Italian families that helped make the docks and shanties of Fish Alley famous, opened a small fish house after immigrating to Jersey in 1943. First-generation Carmen Conti (the restaurant’s namesake) and his wife opened a seafood market in 1970. The restaurant, opened in 1981, is known for its “Carmen has crabs” T-shirts, which many guests wear when dining there.

The menu

Start with an order of Carmen’s steamers, then feast on the specialty: Alaskan king, snow, Dungeness, soft, blue claw and stone crabs. Equally good are the fried Jersey scallops (above), served with fries; clams casino; u-peel shrimp; whole lobster; and fresh-caught fish. If you don’t feel like eating seafood, choose from a variety of house-made soups, sandwiches, salads, chicken, steak and pasta dishes.

Related—Cardinal Provisions: Inventive Dishes in a Charming Atmosphere

Heads up

Carmen’s is open seven days a week only in the summer. Call ahead for the fall and spring schedules. The restaurant is closed during the winter.

What are Quick Bites? Short takes on casual, affordable dining.

Restaurant Details

  • Cuisine Type:
    American - Seafood
  • Price Range:
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