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Cuisine by the Sea

Dining Destinations at the Jersey Shore

By Laurie Pellichero | Cover image from

It’s summertime, and escapes to the Jersey Shore offer sun, sand, and a plethora of delicious dining opportunities. Here’s a sampling of waterside restaurants just an hour or so away…

Charlie’s of Bay Head

72 Bridge Avenue, Bay Head

Set on Twilight Lake in Bay Head, Charlie’s features waterside dining and contemporary American cuisine in a upscale setting. It offers both indoor and outdoor dining areas, along with a spacious bar that’s a great place to meet friends. Lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch are served, and specialties include appetizers of Jumbo Crab Deviled Eggs, Roasted Octopus, Warm Whipped Feta, Spicy Tuna Tartare, and Salmon Poke along with East and West Coast Oysters and Chilled Seafood Tower.

A variety of salads, pizza, pastas, and burgers are on the menu, as well as entrees such as Grilled Filet Mignon with roasted shiitake mushrooms, whole grain mustard-leek cream, and crispy potato matchsticks; Pan Roasted Halibut with lemon risotto and roasted tomato-basil beurre blanc; Petite Grilled New Zealand Lamb Rack with Israeli couscous, roasted vegetables, and sundried tomato pesto; and Pan Seared Tuna with fingerling potatoes, Calabrian Chile piquillo chimichurri, and roasted grape tomatoes.

Cocktails, craft beer, and wine lists are offered, as well as house made desserts. The Great Room and Wine Room are available for private events.

Charlie’s of Bay Head is open for lunch Monday and Wednesday-Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Sunday brunch is served from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dinner is Monday and Wednesday 5 to 11 p.m., Tuesday 4 to 11 p.m., Thursday-Saturday 5 to 11:30 p.m., and Sunday 4:30 to 11 p.m. Reservations are recommended.

Chef Mike’s ABG

10 24th, Central Avenue, Seaside Park

Located oceanside in South Seaside Park right before the entrance to Island Beach State Park, Chef Mike’s Atlantic Bar and Grill specializes in seafood and upscale American cuisine. The restaurant is owned and operated by Mike Jurusz, a Brick native and one of the area’s most renowned chefs. For more than 35 years, Jurusz has been devoted to creating dishes that both “thrill and fill.”

Appetizers include Steamed Clams with garlic basil butter and crostini; Grilled Octopus with butter beans, charred radicchio, chimichurri sauce, crispy chickpeas, marinated tomatoes, and lemon oil; Spicy Tuna Tartare with avocado, kewpie mayo, cucumbers, scallions, sriracha, and flatbread; and house-made peppery Bar Bacon. The Hot Sampler with fried calamari, chicken dumplings, mini crab cakes, shrimp tempura, and assorted dipping sauces is great to share.

The menu also features entrees such as Pan Seared Local Sea Scallops with spring pea risotto, crispy pork belly, and crushed pistachios; Miso Glazed Salmon and Lobster with jasmine rice, baby bok choy, and crispy scallions; Peppered Filet Mignon Medallions with lump crab, blue cheese cream sauce, butter mashed potatoes, and spinach; and Grilled 14 oz. Prime Pork Chop with roasted onions and peppers, Italian sausage, crispy potatoes, and white wine garlic butter.

Daily specials are offered, and the full bar with high top tables has ocean views.

Chef Mike’s ABG is open Wednesday and Thursday 5 to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 5 to 10 p.m., and Sunday 4 to 9 p.m. Reservations are recommended.

Marina Grille

905 Route 35 South, Belmar

Overlooking the Belmar Marina, Marina Grille is known for its amazing views, expansive waterfront patio, and casual American cuisine. It also features a Tiki Bar, Deck Bar, an outdoor area with fire pits, and an indoor bar with multiple TVs for viewing sports events.

Open for lunch and dinner, favorites include the Raw Bar with fresh oysters, local clams, and shrimp and crab cocktails; Corn Fritters; Citrus Calamari; Tuna Nachos; Buffalo Wings; Lobster Bisque; and Spicy Garlic Shrimp.

Main dishes include Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes with crispy bacon, lemon aioli, heirloom tomato, pickled red onion, and Old Bay potato chips; Linguine with White Clam Sauce; Spicy Rigatoni Vodka; Tuna Tower with ahi tuna, mango, avocado, crab, coconut ginger rice, sriracha, and eel sauce; and Grilled Salmon with smoked shallot cream, slow-roasted tomatoes, grilled shallots, and charred scallions.

A variety of brick oven pizzas are offered such as Cracked Egg with mozzarella, parmesan, prosciutto, spinach, fried egg, and cracked pepper; Spicy Chicken with San Marzano tomatoes, fried chicken cutlet, fresh mozzarella, pickled cherry peppers, wild arugula, and balsamic reduction; and New Haven Clam Pizza with chopped clams, Calabrian chili, fresh parsley, extra virgin olive oil, and lemon.

Marina Grille is open Sunday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 12 a.m. and Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. Reservations are not accepted.

Beacon 70

99 Route 70, Brick Township

Established in 2017, Beacon 70 is a full service restaurant, sports bar, and marina with waterside views of the Metedeconk River. Its diverse menu includes brick oven artisan pizzas, handcrafted burgers, raw bar, wings, seafood, steaks, and more.

Features in the casual setting include a suspended 18-foot video wall, 60 HD screens, stadium surround sound, two full bars, a waterfront folding glass wall, a 10-foot see-through glass fireplace, and a 19th century industrial modern steampunk design. It is situated on the site of the historic Beacon Manor Hotel, and was built using reclaimed wood from the hotel.

Lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch are offered, featuring a rotating section of dishes that showcase seasonal ingredients. Daily, Early Bird, Happy Hour, and Tuesday Burger Night specials are featured, and live music is offered on select nights.

Beacon 70 is open Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Reservations are accepted for parties of 8 or more.

The Shrimp Box/Outside the Box Patio Bar

75 Inlet Drive, Point Pleasant Beach

“We overlook nothing but the harbor” is the motto at The Shrimp Box. The restaurant that began as a small takeout seafood stand in the 1940s has grown over the years to become a family-owned Jersey Shore institution with a 300-foot harborside outdoor patio, fresh local seafood, creative cocktails, a relaxed atmosphere, great views, and a devoted following.

Appetizers include Crispy Honey-Lime Shrimp, Cilantro Seared Scallops, Blackened Tuna Bites, Pretzel Crusted Calamari, and Shishito Peppers. Sandwiches and wraps such as Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, Buffalo Chicken, Grilled Shrimp and Bacon, and Fish Tacos are favorites.

A variety of soups and salads are offered, along with entrees such as Golden Fried Wild Caught Shrimp, Flounder Milanese, Surf and Turf, Linguini with White Clam Sauce, Pan Seared Scallops, Grilled Mediterranean Chicken, Pan Seared Three Pepper Tuna, and Lobster Pasta.

The restaurant and patio are open seven days a week from 12 to 9:30 p.m., 10 p.m. on Saturday. Reservations are accepted.

The Wharfside Seafood & Patio Bar

101 Channel Drive, Point Pleasant Beach

Dedicated to fresh local seafood, The Wharfside Seafood & Patio Bar has been a Jersey Shore destination since it was founded by Jack Baker in 1963. The restaurant partners with Point Pleasant Beach purveyors to serve the best seasonal catch year-round. There is an upstairs dining room with sweeping views of the Manasquan Inlet, and the Patio Bar is waterside on a huge deck with more casual fare and local live music.

The restaurant offers a relaxed dining experience and classic fare such as its Raw Bar with Blue Point Oysters, Local Clams, Jumbo Shrimp, and Seafood Tower with whole lobster, snow crabs, shrimp, oysters, and clams. Appetizers include Calamari, Mussels, Steak Skewers, Char-Grilled Octopus, and Ahi Tuna Nachos.

A variety of salads, sandwiches, and pizzas are on the menu, along with entrees including Grilled Mahi-Mahi with cashew, peppers, and pineapple fried rice; Crab-Stuffed Shrimp with Cajun hollandaise, sliced banana peppers, warm cheddar biscuit, and roasted potatoes; Local Lobster with Old Bay fries and coleslaw; and Filet Mignon with port wine demi-glace, whipped potatoes, herb compound butter, and vegetable mélange.

The Wharfside Seafood & Patio Bar is open Sunday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 12 a.m. Reservations are not accepted.

Rooney’s Oceanfront Restaurant

100 Ocean Avenue North, Long Branch

Established in 1995, Rooney’s Oceanfront Restaurant in Long Branch specializes in carefully crafted cuisine in a unique setting featuring a dining room with full windows and a bi-level outdoor deck that brings diners even closer to the Atlantic Ocean. The menus change continuously to offer diners a different experience at each visit.

With the Fish Board, available at both lunch and dinner, diners can choose a fish from selections like Fresh Catch, Atlantic Salmon, Branzino, and Yellowfin Tuna; their preferred preparation; a sauce on the side such as sweet chili and garlic, lemon butter, or tomato vinaigrette; and two sides including Mashed Gouda Cauliflower, Parmesan Polenta Cake, and Crispy Brussels Sprouts.

Starters include Whole Baked Artichoke, Spanish Mussels, Char-Grilled Oysters, Not Your Grandma’s Meatballs, and Tuna Bruschetta. For lunch, diners can choose items such as Lobster Mac-a-Rooney, Blackened Fish Tacos, Shrimp Salad Sliders, and Chicken Caprese Wrap.

Rooney’s Crab Cakes with cornflake crust, grilled asparagus, fingerling potato, and red pepper aioli; Rooney’s Combo with seafood stuffed flounder, scallops, shrimp, citrus herb butter, and wild rice blend; and Chairman’s Reserve Skirt Steak with Parmesan truffle fries and chimichurri sauce have been recent selections on the dinner menu.

Rooney’s features two full bars, one inside with ocean views and one outside open during the warmer months. The restaurant also hosts private parties for up to 60 guests.

Rooney’s Oceanfront Restaurant is open Sunday through Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations are accepted.


Menus and hours are subject to change. Check websites for updates.

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