It’s easy to talk about all the challenges that came out of a year of lockdowns and the pandemic but there were some good things that resulted from it too. Outdoor dining in Atlantic City was one of them. Prior to COVID-19 your outdoor dining options existed but nowhere near like they do now. But because of the pandemic business owners were forced to get creative in order to stay in business and they did an awesome job of creating new spaces and expanding existing decks and patios.
Here’s a list of our favorite outdoor dining options in and beyond Atlantic City. Some are new spaces while others are old darlings.
Best Waterfront Restaurants with Outside Seating in Atlantic City
What would outdoor dining at the Jersey Shore be without awesome water views? Here’s three of out favorote outdoor dining places for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Back Bay Ale House
With almost 20 years as part of the outdoor dining scene in Atlantic City, Back Bay is a locals’ favorite not only because of their tempting seafood specials but also for the view. Located in Gardners’ Basin, their terrace offers a breathtaking view of the casinos and the bridge to Brigantine. The “Ale House” part in their name is there for a reason, they offer an impressive selection of beers that could cleanse your palate in between food courses while you’re enjoying the sunset view. Cheers! (800 N New Hampshire Ave, Atlantic City, NJ 08401)
Sirens is a relatively new place on Atlantic City’s restaurant map but it will quickly win your heart. Located on Kaamerman’s marina, the garden offers a breathtaking view to Golden Nugget’s casino and Marina and Brigantine’s Jetty beach. You can use a jet ski or boat to get there, and there’s a floating gas station to do a quick refill in the meantime. They have a small but thoughtfully selected menu, with an accent on burgers and salads, they use an outdoor charcoal grill, and their signature cocktails are something you shouldn’t think twice about. If you need to swap the casino view for some more privacy, there’s a separate garden in the shadow of an old growth tree. It’s quite romantic. No wonder it’s already a favorite spot for wedding celebrations. Another huge plus – it’s dog friendly, and there are some game options too – cornhole and a huge Jenga that will make your night even better. Last but not least, there’s also live music entertainment almost every night, either 5 or 6 pm. (447 Carson Ave, Atlantic City, NJ 08401)
Gilchrist at Gardners Basin
One word – pancakes! Their breakfast and lunch menus offer way more than that but oh boy, the pancakes!! With more than 50 years in business and four locations both on and off the island, Gilchrist at Gardners Basin most certainly deserves its spot in the best outdoor dining location selection in Atlantic City. Serving breakfast from 6:30 AM, its Gardner Basin terrace view makes you fall in love from the first sight, accompanied by hashtag #yummyformytummy. Gilchrist is a classic and a must-do. (804 N Rhode Island Ave, Atlantic City, NJ 08401)
Best Outdoor Dining Along the Atlantic City Boardwalk
Sure, there’s always awesome pizza, fries and other grab-and-go faves on the boardwalk but here are our top outdoor dining spaces along the Boards in Atlantic City.
If you’re wandering along the Boardwalk, chances are high you will come across this charming little terrace that’s always crowded. Biergarten is more than one of the best outdoor dining options in Atlantic City, it’s a year-round Oktoberfest that will not disappoint.
Germany, unlike France and the Mediterranean countries like Italy, Greece, and Spain is not famous for its cuisine. What they are famous for are good soccer (UEFA EURO 2020 is happening now!) and good beer. The Biergarten menu is short but on point, including a nice fusion of authentic Bavarian foods like pretzels, rosti, wursts, kielbasa, and kraut, accompanied by some bar food classics like wings and sandwiches that would pair perfectly with their extensive beer list. Plus there’s a raw bar too! But be careful – once entering the world of authentic german pilsners, you might never want to go back to the standard American brews. (2701 Boardwalk | Atlantic City, NJ, 08401)
Harry's Oyster Bar
Harry’s Oyster Bar is a place where traditions, good food, and a great atmosphere melt together, making it an Atlantic City staple and landmark. Opened in 2011 by the owners of Dock’s Oyster House, with the concept of a sports bar offering prime seafood and raw bar, along with top-notch cocktails and bar food. It quickly became a popular location and an established name on Atlantic City’s restaurant map. Its terrace faces the Boardwalk so you can enjoy good food paired with a nice ocean view! That’s why we couldn’t miss it in our selection of the best outdoor dining spots in Atlantic City. You can enjoy a wide selection of oysters, fresh seafood specialties – tacos, pasta, and chowders customers swear by! Located in the Courtyard of the Historic Dennis Hotel, the charming outdoor area would complement your meals in perfect harmony. (Park Place & the Boardwalk, Atlantic City, NJ 08402)
Best Outside Dining in Town
Step off the boardwalk and away from the casinos, you will find some terrific outdoor dining space as well as diverse menu options. Whether you are in the mood for pub fare or global eats, Atlantic City has a spot for you. Here are some top choices.
Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall
The outdoor space at Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall located on the up-and-coming Orange Loop includes an enclosed beer garden with a family friendly vibe. The Beer Hall serves awesome burgers and tasty appetizers. USA Today has called Tennessee Avenue Beer Hall the 6th best beer bar in the country.
For the kids, young and old, there is a giant Jenga game and life size Connect Four. Grab some bean bags and try your hand at Cornhole. The space also includes an outdoor stage for live music. After dark, expect a more adult crowd. (133 S Tennessee Ave, Atlantic City, NJ 08401)
There are plenty of reasons to love Los Amigos. First, let’s start with their prime location – located in an old, multicolored charming building from 1884, just a block away from Tanger outlets. They will become your go-to place when you’re in the mood for some good mexican food, before or after a shopping spree. The terrace faces away from Atlantic Avenue, so you can expect a quiet and private atmosphere to enjoy your food in. The menu offers a wide variety of Mexican and Spanish specialties, along with some vegan and gluten-free options. Bartenders surely know how to make top-notch cocktails, plus, there’s happy hour every Monday, and Wednesday through Friday from 3 pm to 6 pm. (1926 Atlantic Ave., Atlantic City, NJ 08401)
And if you are looking for something a bit romantic try Setaara. This place hit it out of the park with its outdoor space. Setaara is an Afghan and French restaurant that opened in 2019 and was really gaining traction in Atlantic City prior to COVID. Setaara offers a French menu and Afghan selections as well as vegetarian options. All their food is certified halal. Setaara offers excellent food and the atmosphere will transport you to other parts of the world.
During the pandemic, they built a multi-story courtyard with a mosaic fountain as its centerpiece. They source Turkish lights and other decor pieces from around the globe. While Setaara is suited for a romantic dinner it is also a place where friends can gather. It is BYOB so don’t forget the wine. If you are not doing vino, try one of their fresh squeezed pomegranate juices. (2322 Arctic Avenue, Atlantic City, NJ 08401)
Best Outdoor Dining Beyond AC
If you are willing to drive a few miles to the surrounding communities, you can find some amazing places to eat outdoors and some local favorites.
Vagabond Kitchen and Taphouse
One awesome new outdoor dining space that came about during COVID includes Vagabond Kitchen and Tap House’s addition of their Mile Stretch Beer Garden. You can expect award-winning burgers and creative food worthy of being featured on the Food Networks Diners, Drive-ins and Dives with Guy Fieri. The outdoor space is lively and welcoming with a backyard sports bar vibe. (672 N Trenton Ave, Atlantic City, NJ 08401)
Steve & Cookies by the bay.
Featured on Food Network, Steve & Cookies by the bay is an established name in the restaurant business on the Shore, and there are plenty of reasons for that. Starting with the farm to fork concept, using local farms (no wonder, because the owners of the restaurant are part of the new ownership of Reeds Organic farm) makes the taste of their food creations extraordinarily good. To say their menu is gourmet would be an understatement, and they’ve paid extreme attention to the details. Add a bay view to the sensational food experience, and voila! The formula to success is now revealed! And, please note there’s a formal dress code to correspond to the five-stars restaurant experience you will receive. Set your expectations high, there’s no way you will be disappointed. (9700 Amherst Avenue, Margate, NJ 08402)
JW’s Restaurant sits just a few miles outside Atlantic City in nearby Absecon. While perhaps not well known to those in the greater Atlantic County, it is getting quite a reputation among the locals.
Once primarily a breakfast and lunch joint catering to locals and boaters heading out from the marina and Faunce Landing, JWs now offers a full diner menu including cajun favorites like fritters, etouffee, gumbo, as well as comfort-food faves such as crab and mac and chicken and waffles. All with their own twist. Every weekend they have a special’s menu and they now have entertainment Thursday evening from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm. and Sunday’s from 2 pm to 6 pm during their weekly BBQ Fest
JW’s is a come-as-you-are restaurant, meaning if you are in the middle of a project and want to drop everything and go, no one will judge you. Everyone is just so down to earth and treats you like old friends.
There is limited indoor dining and outdoors are picnic tables with large umbrellas set alongside the marsh. JW’s is BYOB, so bring your favorite vino or beer and enjoy the food, friendly service, and good music! And hopefully a sunset. (139 E Faunce Landing Rd, Absecon)
Laguna is one of Brigantine’s hidden gems! There’s no way to discuss the best outdoor dining places near Atlantic City, without this beachfront terrace with palms, good food and live music. This place is crowded, especially over the weekends, and no wonder – people can’t get enough of this laid back beachy atmosphere, and the good music vibes pair great with their food and drink options too. If you have to wait 20 minutes for a table, you will be glad you did. Menu is carefully selected, with an accent on seafood (local clam specialties available), pizza, salads and sandwiches. Plenty of cornhole games available for some extra fun, and the live music selection is the final twist of the Laguna experience! Local musicians, DJ sets, guest musicians, weekends are also a key factor for an unforgettable beach dining experience near Atlantic city. (1400 Ocean Ave, Brigantine, NJ 08203)
No matter what your tastebuds crave, Atlantic City offers awesome food and outdoor spaces. You’ll find places that transport you, amazing vistas, and fun summer vibes.
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