The Best Non-Casino Restaurants In The Atlantic City, NJ Area
Earlier this year, we did a comprehensive review of both the best casino and non-casino restaurants in the Atlantic City area.
It’s a next to a mission impossible effort because the Atlantic City area is blessed with so many fine restauranteurs.
Nonetheless, just in time for your Christmas and New Year’s consideration and planning, here is our list of the best non-casino restaurants in the Atlantic City area.
NOTE: Later in this article, we give you a link to our list of the best Atlantic City casino restaurants.
1. THE KNIFE & FORK INN - ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY
At the corner of Albany and Pacific Avenues in Atlantic City, New Jersey, sits the iconic Knife & Fork Inn, a legendary restaurant, which was established in 1912.
A literal "Who’s Who" of Hollywood stars and dignitaries from all walks of life have dined there over the past 110 years.
It has earned our # 1 ranking as the best Atlantic City area (non-casino) restaurant.
Peter Caporilli says that there is no more authentic Atlantic City dining experience than ordering the Lobster Thermidor, while seated on the old front porch, now the bar area at the Knife & Fork Inn.
Jim Huntzinger in the kitchen is Atlantic City culinary royalty, according to Caporilli.
2. STEVE & COOKIES - MARGATE CITY, NEW JERSEY
Owner Cookie Till’s attention to every detail is exceptional. Cookie even bakes all of the desserts and owns and operates a separate bakery, also located in Margate named VENTNO.R - 7311
Don’t miss Cookie’s blueberry pie in the restaurant and whenever the Blue Light is lit out front of her bakery.
Cookie Till is a 2022 James Beard Awards winner.
Caporilli says, if Chef Kevin Kelly cooks it, he wants to eat it. Easily the best bar service and Jersey-fresh menu (especially in season).
Cookie's presence in the dining room guarantees that all of your favorites, like Caporilli’s, and the Veal Chop Milanese, will be prepared and served to perfection.
3. CHEF VOLA’S - ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY
Peter and Sara Caporilli did very little takeaway dining during COVID-19, but they did order from Chef Vola's a whole lot.
Why? They missed it. They missed the wonderful aromas of garlic and tomatoes loaded with fresh-made Italian seasoning, poured over some al dente pasta with Chicken Parmigiana.
They also missed the Banana Cream Pie, as well as Louise and Louie. The COVID-19 pandemic is over and life at Chef Vola's is good, again.
4. Café 2825 - ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY
Established in 1986, every item on the menu has a story.
A wonderful story of where it came from, why it's on the menu and why you should order it.
Ask for anything with anchovies, every crepe they are serving on any given night, and, “if you want to put your Italian grandmother to shame, order the Tripe a la Romana,” said Caporilli.
5. WATER DOG - VENTNOR, NEW JERSEY
Owner Steve Marchel and his group have implemented one of the most unique dine-in and take-out establishments in Greater Atlantic City history.
The quality of the products is at the highest level and the variety is exceptional.
Do yourself a favor and please try the Lobster Roll, which is my favorite. It is comprised of the contents of an entire lobster and served on the perfect Hudson Bakery Brioche torpedo roll.
Capirilli says, that sometimes he thinks about how less enjoyable Sundays would be without Water Dog.
“It is a mystery to me how they are able to smoke meats, fish, and poultry and allow each to preserve their individual, distinctive flavor but they do,” said Caporilli.
If you love turkey, for example, you will love Water Dog smoked turkey even more.
They previously had a second Water Dog restaurant in Bally’s Atlantic City Hotel & Casino, which has since closed.
6. SOFIA - MARGATE CITY, NEW JERSEY
Sofia is the most physically beautiful restaurant Downbeach, but, according to Caporilli, it’s the artistry on the plate that makes this a family favorite.
The Caporilli’s love revisiting the sunny Mediterranean, with classics such as Tigania sausage and Whole Branzino Latholemono. Sofia, Angela, and Dr. Tom are consummate hosts.
7. ANGELONI’S II RESTAURANT & LOUNGE - ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY
Owner Alan Angeloni is a legendary Atlantic City restauranteur for the past four decades. He is well known and respected for the high quality and uniqueness of all of his offerings.
Ask any Atlantic City Casino President and they’ll tell you that Alan has the finest and most elaborate wine list in all of Atlantic City.
Over the years, there have been times when Alan has had more than $ 1 million worth of wine on hand. The selection is extraordinary and unprecedented in Atlantic City history.
In addition to having one of the most interesting wine lists with some exceptional values, Angeloni's II does the one thing that all local, street corner Italian restaurants should do; they make all your favorites and they are all delicious.
Caporilli asks that you please order the long-hots. They may not be on the menu … but they have them.
If the question ever comes up, "Where can I get some great Italian seafood?" this son of Ischia will tell you I go to see Alan Angeloni for his Clams Posillipo,” said Caporilli.
8. CORDAVARI’S - BRIGANTINE BEACH, NEW JERSEY
“Is the list getting too Italian for you? Tough. This is a fine dining list, not a Netflix, takeout, and chill list,” says Caporilli.
If you can get a table (and we suggest that you go now before the summer season is upon us), please go see this amazing little place that serves dish after dish of the best pasta in New Jersey, handmade daily.
The Caporilli’s always get the Pasta Giacomo not only because they love Giacomo, but because hot pepper and meatballs belong diced up over thin spaghetti.
The fresh seafood and meats done with Italian sauces are unlike anything you are probably eating at home.
“Unless you are a Cordovari or close friend,” said Caporilli.
9. ATHENIAN GARDEN - GALLOWAY TOWNSHIP, NEW JERSEY
Remaining close to the Mediterranean, any list that leaves off Nick Psounos' grilled branzino would be incomplete, according to Caporilli.
”I love that I can bring my own wine to pair with all the Greek dishes loaded with oregano, olive oil, tzatziki, Brizola, Lavraki, and Rita Caporilli’s favorite, the Chicken Oreganata.”
”Mediterranean food is supposed to be heart-healthy and I've eaten here so many times that I will probably live to be 100,” said Caporilli.
RHYTHM & SPIRITS - ATLANTIC CITY, NEW JERSEY
Peter Caporilli offers this incredible review for Rhythm & Spirits, located on Tennessee Avenue in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Chef Kevin Cronin is a true man of culture and we are blessed that he didn't take his enormous skills and operate on joints or review movies professionally (these are just hobbies) but instead creates culinary masterpieces in the kitchen.
I am a particular aficionado of anything earthy, and Chef Kevin finds a way to introduce truffles, slow roast meats to mouthwatering perfection, and turn simple seasonings like salt and pepper into flavor-popping gastronomic reminders of the good Earth we inhabit, said Caporilli.
DISCLAIMER: We know that those who did not make our Top 10 list will be disappointed. We also submit that our list is subjective and that fair arguments can be made for countless other Atlantic City area restaurants that are not presently on our list.
NOTE: Read about Peter Caporilli’s background in food & beverage. This is why we trust Peter and partnered with him on these two major projects (the best casino and non-casino restaurants).
PETER CAPORILLI FOOD & BEVERAGE BACKGROUND
National Officer Chaine des Rôtisseurs, the world's oldest and largest gastronomic society based in Paris:
Rank: Chambellan Provincial Honoraire.
Positions held: National Wine & Spirits Editor
National Membership Committee Co-Chair.
International Bronze Award for Meritorious Service to la Chaine (one of three recipients ever in the United States).
Commencement Speaker and Honorary Award Recipient.
Atlantic Cape Community College Academy of Culinary Arts.
Peter has also served numerous times as a competitive culinary judge and has published numerous articles on various food and beverage topics.
SOURCE: Peter Caporilli.
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