The 20 Best Restaurants In Cape May 2024 - Jersey Shore - The Infatuation (2024)

City-dwellers have been heading to the sandy shores of Cape May to escape sweaty urban summers for well over 200 years. With its ornate Victorian homes and beachfront promenade, the historic seaside town at the southern tip of New Jersey still exudes a charming nostalgia. These days, dining options are as varied as the flavors of salt water taffy you’ll find at the vintage candy shops on Washington Street. From taquerias and al fresco farm dinners to a boatload of standout spots serving fresh local seafood, read on for our favorite places to eat and drink in Cape May.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Emily Schindler

The Lobster House

American

Cape May

$$$$

Perfect For:

Impressing Out of TownersOutdoor/Patio Situation

If the Jersey Shore had its own themed infinity gauntlet, fresh seafood would surely be one of the stones, and The Lobster House’s logo may be on it. Featuring dockside seating and some of the best seafood in the area, this should be your first stop after surviving the Garden State Parkway. It has a fish market, takeout shop, raw bar, and restaurant all under the same roof, so you can satisfy any craving you have—from feasting on shrimp by the water to taking home the catch of the day to grill up at your rental.

photo credit: David A. Lee

Lucky Bones Beach Grille

Seafood

Cape May

$$$$Perfect For:Casual DinnersEating At The Bar

Lucky Bones has great marina views and is an easy walk from the beach. Beyond that, the bar food, like fried oysters and bacon-cheese fries, local beers, and freshly caught fish and shellfish, make this place perfect if you’re in the mood for seafood. Grab a Cape May Double IPA to go with your fish and chips or mussels and linguine.

photo credit: Neal Santos

Exit Zero Filling Station

American

Cape May

$$$$Perfect For:Literally EveryoneSerious Takeout Operation

When the pandemic began, restaurants across the country had to get creative with how they structured their outdoor seating and indoor setup. However, Exit Zero Filling Station didn’t need any help in the imagination department—it’s literally a converted gas station that’s been transformed into one of the most frequented places in Cape May. Open daily, you can get everything here from loaded waffle fries to a wide selection of curries and their sweet-and-spicy pad thai. And just like a trip to your local Sunoco, it’s full service at the pump here, too— just with way better food.

photo credit: Jessica Orlowicz

The Ebbitt Room

American

Cape May

$$$$Perfect For:BirthdaysDate NightsDrinking Great co*cktails

RESERVE A TABLE

POWERED BY

The 20 Best Restaurants In Cape May 2024 - Jersey Shore - The Infatuation (13)

Fact: There is nothing more summery than sipping co*cktails on the porch. And at The Ebbitt Room, located inside the Virginia Hotel in the heart of the Cape May historic district, you can do just that. Featuring Victorian-era-like decor with antique chandeliers throughout and live classical piano playing, this place is truly an out-of-this-time experience. Try the miso-glazed halibut, along with whatever co*cktail makes you feel the most like you’re on vacation. It’s also just a block away from Beach Ave. so you can immediately go from a classy meal to a casual stroll on the sand.

At any given time, there’s a lot going on at Rusty Nail. From the bar inside to the huge sandlot out back to the nightly live music, it’s a lot to take in. But for a casual dinner-and-a-beer situation in Cape May, there aren’t many better places. Start with a plate of barbecue at a table surrounded by Adirondack chairs, and then hang out by the fire pit until the bartender reminds you that all the people you came with left hours ago.

photo credit: Jessica Orlowicz

Beach Plum Farm

American

Cape May

$$$$Perfect For:BreakfastOutdoor/Patio SituationLunch

Beach Plum Farm is known for its dreamy farm-to-table dinners, which center around the fruit, vegetables, herbs, and meats grown and raised on the 62-acre property. These dinners book up early (and are recommended for ages 21+), so plan as far in advance as possible. If you can’t snag a spot, you can still get a taste at the Farm Kitchen, which serves breakfast and lunch daily. Grab a picnic table and order at the window—the menu changes based on what’s available, but definitely get something with fresh eggs, like a breakfast sandwich or frittata. Farm tours are also on offer, but if you have kids in tow, be prepared to answer questions when they inevitably make the connection between the tiny pink piglets and the bacon they just ate.

photo credit: Neal Santos

El Pueblo Taqueria

Mexican

Cape May

$$$$Perfect For:LunchCasual DinnersSerious Takeout Operation

This family-run Mexican restaurant serves some of the area’s best tacos and tortas, from both its original location in a strip mall in North Cape May, and a newer tiny waterfront spot on the promenade. Beyond a quick lunch stop, though, El Pueblo is also a foolproof option for feeding a beach house crowd. Order takeout taco boxes, which come with salsa, housemade chips, and rice and beans. Add a few orders of guacamole, and make a pit stop at Joe Canal’s for everything you need to make frozen margaritas.

photo credit: Neal Santos

Mayer’s Tavern

Seafood

Cape May

$$$$Perfect For:Casual DinnersOutdoor/Patio SituationKids

Restaurant menus in this town tend to be as sprawling as the giant family tents and cabanas that spring up on the beach each morning. But not at Mayer’s Tavern. Each dish on the short menu here has really earned its spot. Start with a bourbon lemonade, then go for a raw bar tower and the tender crab fritters. Or, order whatever’s on special that spotlights local farm produce, and the fried scallops—an homage to the historic tavern’s roots as a salty fishermen's haunt, updated with a tangy citrus vinaigrette slaw and homemade fries. Try for a table on the patio, just across the road from the water, and use the time you didn’t spend combing through a massive menu to take in the peaceful views and listen to the live music they feature several times a week.

photo credit: Neal Santos

Seafood

Cape May

$$$$Perfect For:Outdoor/Patio SituationCasual DinnersKids

The lower-key sister spot to the huge and perpetually packed Two Mile Crab House (about two miles away over the bridge in Wildwood), H&H is our go-to fish market for buying a dozen blue claws or some fresh fish to grill at home. The market also sells family-style seafood bakes with Old Bay-covered shrimp or steamed lobsters, plus to-go tubs of the same ceviche and house-smoked seabass dip they’re slinging at Two Mile. BYOB and stake out one of the picnic tables for a waterfront feast.

photo credit: Neal Santos

Westside Market

Deli

Cape May

$$$$Perfect For:BreakfastLunchSerious Takeout Operation

Next time you’re making plans for a day at the beach, tell everyone you’ll pick up lunch at Westside Market. Not only will you look like a hero, returning from the old-school specialty market with a bag full of foil-wrapped Italian hoagies and house-roasted beef sandwiches, but you can also treat yourself to breakfast while you’re there. Order an egg sandwich, like the Broadway with pork roll, or the Jolly Roger with chopped ribeye.

photo credit: Mad Batter

The 20 Best Restaurants In Cape May 2024 - Jersey Shore - The Infatuation (32)

The Mad Batter

American

Cape May

$$$$Perfect For:BreakfastLunchCasual Dinners

Award-winning crab cakes are everywhere at the Shore. And while we’re not claiming the Mad Batter’s are the absolute best (we haven’t tasted them all yet!), we do know the baseball-sized cakes, served on squishy brioche buns alongside piles of perfect fries, make for an ideal beach meal. Visit the all-day bistro inside the Carroll Villa Hotel for lunch, when you can also order oatmeal pancakes, thick-sliced orange and almond french toast, and a Chesapeake Bay benedict in the same meal. The menu is vast, with good vegan and gluten-free options, too.

photo credit: Neal Santos

Washington Inn

American

Cape May

$$$$Perfect For:Date NightsClassic Establishment

RESERVE A TABLE

POWERED BY

The 20 Best Restaurants In Cape May 2024 - Jersey Shore - The Infatuation (36)

To experience classic Cape May dining, head to Washington Inn. Make a reservation to sit in the dining room or on the pretty screened-in porch, and order the baked escargot, an herby, buttery, gruyere-crusted number served with crostini. Another option: head into the dimly-lit bar, with its floral wallpaper and stained glass windows, and take one of the handful of tables and bar stools available for walk-ins. Order dinner from the bar menu, or just pop in for a slice of cheesecake and an espresso martini. (If you must have the escargot, don’t worry: they serve the full restaurant menu in the bar, too.)

photo credit: Neal Santos

The 20 Best Restaurants In Cape May 2024 - Jersey Shore - The Infatuation (37)

C-View Inn

Bar

Cape May

$$$$Perfect For:Eating At The BarCasual DinnersClassic Establishment

The oldest tavern in Cape May is also the perfect rainy day destination, and not just because the lack of windows will make you forget the existence of weather. It’s the kind of place where you don’t need to see a menu. Climb onto a stool at the long wooden bar, order a Cape May IPA and the excellent wings—which come in a range of sauce options, from mild to garlic honey hot and Thai chili—and wait out the rain while you soak up some local flavor. Stop by on a Wednesday for Wing Night, when they’re 75 cents each.

photo credit: Neal Santos

Tisha’s

American

Cape May

$$$$Perfect For:Date NightsClassic EstablishmentOutdoor/Patio Situation

RESERVE A TABLE

POWERED BY

The 20 Best Restaurants In Cape May 2024 - Jersey Shore - The Infatuation (42)

Spend at least one night of your stay strolling the Washington Street outdoor mall, popping into art galleries and boutiques selling pricey jewelry and handmade soaps. When you do, plan for dinner at Tisha’s. A Cape May mainstay for more than three decades, this restaurant still hits with consistent favorites like the creamy lobster bisque and the seafood risotto with a heap of scallops. Save room for a visit to Fudge Kitchen afterwards, just a short walk down Washington.

photo credit: Emily Schindler

American

Cape May

$$$$Perfect For:Date NightsClassic EstablishmentOutdoor/Patio Situation

RESERVE A TABLE

POWERED BY

The 20 Best Restaurants In Cape May 2024 - Jersey Shore - The Infatuation (45)

Peter Shields Inn is one of Cape May’s iconic dining destinations. It’s popular both for its menu of elaborate classics made with local produce and for its location: a stately Georgian revival a stone’s throw from the dunes. Ask for a table on the open-air front porch, under a black and white striped awning, and wait out the sunset with freshly-shucked local oysters and grilled lobsters. The restaurant is BYOB, but if you forget a bottle you can still pair the oysters with a glass of sauvignon blanc—they sell a small selection from the nearby Cape May Winery.

photo credit: Neal Santos

Maison Bleue

French

Cape May

$$$$Perfect For:Date NightsSpecial OccasionsLunch

RESERVE A TABLE

POWERED BY

The 20 Best Restaurants In Cape May 2024 - Jersey Shore - The Infatuation (49)

The French bistro inside The Hugh bed & breakfast takes full advantage of the region’s fresh seafood in classics like moules frites, swimming in a Riesling-butter sauce under a nest of fries, and bouillabaisse, anchored with local fish and scallops. If you’re tapped out on seafood, though, there are plenty of other options, including farm-raised duck a l’orange. Book a table inside the candlelit dining room to celebrate a special occasion. It’s BYOB, so don’t forget a bottle of champagne.

photo credit: Neal Santos

Cheese Shop Cape May Creamery

Cheese

Cape May

$$$$Perfect For:LunchQuick Eats

Beyond the typical wedges of Vermont cheddar and Wisconsin gouda you can pick up at this gourmet cheese shop on the Washington Street Mall, you’ll also find plenty of ready-made snacks and meals. There’s a grab-and-go case of sandwiches made on rolls from Formica's bakery in Atlantic City, plus olives, spreads, personal-sized charcuterie boards, and various other provisions that make for an excellent beach lunch. They’ll also whip you up a custom cheese and charcuterie board, if you want to host a beach Happy Hour that’s both effortless and extremely popular.

photo credit: Neal Santos

Chez Michel

Bakery/Cafe

Cape May

$$$$Perfect For:BreakfastLunchQuick Eats

In a sea of beach bakeries, Chez Michel stands out for its perfect, buttery croissants. They also make heavenly lemon tarts, macarons, and savory treats like kale and feta quiche. The bakery’s location is a little removed from the downtown hustle, but that doesn’t deter the crowds—try to get there before 9am (even earlier on the weekends) to avoid predictably long lines. And if you’re celebrating a birthday, or just the fact that you have a week off work, come here for a custom sheet cake. They don’t take phone orders, so place your order via email at least a few days in advance.

photo credit: Emily Schindler

The 20 Best Restaurants In Cape May 2024 - Jersey Shore - The Infatuation (56)

George’s Place

Greek

Cape May

$$$$Perfect For:BreakfastKidsOutdoor/Patio Situation

If Nancy Meyers opened a Greek diner, it would look like George’s Place. The setting—tasteful whitewashed walls and exposed brick inside, plus a pergola-shaded outdoor patio strung with fairy lights—makes the classiest casual backdrop for a breakfast of tiramisu waffles or a perfectly fluffy Greek omelet. French toast is topped with bananas sautéed in brown butter and brown sugar, just the way a Meyers main character would do it. While there are several George’s locations in the area (all owned by the same restaurant group), this particular one is a local favorite—it’s open year round, and also serves lunch and dinner.

Nino’s Family Restaurant

Italian

Cape May

$$$$Perfect For:Casual DinnersKidsClassic Establishment

Nino’s is everything you want in an Italian restaurant at the beach: red-gravy-doused entrees and sides of spaghetti, served to a soundtrack of Sinatra. The early bird menu starts at 3pm, which means you can get a trio of parm (chicken, eggplant, and ravioli) for the same price as a few cones of soft serve at the boardwalk. Don’t wear white and don’t skip the complimentary starter: a garlic-infused tomato dip served with slices of seeded bread.

The 20 Best Restaurants In Cape May 2024 - Jersey Shore - The Infatuation (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Ray Christiansen

Last Updated:

Views: 5635

Rating: 4.9 / 5 (69 voted)

Reviews: 92% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Ray Christiansen

Birthday: 1998-05-04

Address: Apt. 814 34339 Sauer Islands, Hirtheville, GA 02446-8771

Phone: +337636892828

Job: Lead Hospitality Designer

Hobby: Urban exploration, Tai chi, Lockpicking, Fashion, Gunsmithing, Pottery, Geocaching

Introduction: My name is Ray Christiansen, I am a fair, good, cute, gentle, vast, glamorous, excited person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.