The 17 Best Restaurants in Asbury Park, New Jersey

After you’ve checked out the beach and scoped the boardwalk, here’s how to eat like a Boss.

Even with all of the great destinations to check out along The Jersey Shore (btw here’s your summer road trip food itinerary), there’s a reason why Asbury Park remains a crowd favorite.

Along with our top 6 Reasons to Drive there, it holds its reputation as a pantheon of important American music cities (visitors can still catch a good show on the boardwalk or at the iconic Stone Pony, where Bruce Springsteen—aka The Boss—got his start); an oasis for gorgeous beaches; and a place with one of the best dining scenes on the Shore, if not the whole state.

The impressive food offerings here go way beyond boardwalk staples like fried Oreos and sausage & pepper sandwiches, with multiple legit pizzerias, an authentic Ethiopian eatery, and a gourmet deli with stacked sandwiches. With plenty of upcoming summer beach getaways to look forward to, here are the 17 best restaurants in Asbury Park to explore.

R Bar

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This spot channels New Orleans with multiple spaces including an upscale dining room, a casual outdoor patio for cocktails, and a glass-enclosed bar with live music and charcuterie boards. Located inside the old Cascada space off the main drags of Cookman and the boardwalk, R Bar feels more like a spot for locals than tourists, which is exactly what the owners were hoping for. Menu items include the Cacio e Pepe Deviled Eggs, Blue Crab Beignets, seafood Gumbo, Shrimp Po Boy, and three cuts of steak. Drinks involve a Bourbon Slushy and A La Louisiane, made with rye, herbal liqueur, and anise liqueur.

Available for Reservations

Local favorite chef James Avery, who also owns the Bonney Read on this list, opened this British-style pub in 2021 inside a historic building where President Woodrow Wilson once held a summer office. There are four different rooms, including a pub where soccer and other sports play on TVs, classy dining room, charming tea room, and the Vault, which is perfect for a cocktail. Diners will find solid renditions of classics like the Fish and Chips, Scotch Egg, and Traditional Shepherd’s Pie—and they can wash it all down with cocktails like a Pimm’s Cup, Lavender Gin Fizz, or a healthy pour of Guinness. Come morning, patrons can return for the Full English Breakfast, Grass-Fed Steak & Eggs, and Corned Beef Hash to fight their hangovers.

Available for Reservations

This new fast-casual Korean spot had previous locations in West Caldwell, Palisades Park, and Fair Lawn, which have all closed. But in March, owner Leslie Newport opened her first sit down iteration on Main Street in Asbury Park, complete with an expanded menu offering items like sizzling Hot Stone Bowls with crispy rice and a variety of proteins; Seafood Boils with Lobster, Snow Crab, and Crawfish; Cupbop; and Chicken, Pork, and Fish Katsu.

Long Branch’s loss is Asbury Park’s gain when this Dominican/Ethiopian eatery moved here in 2018. How did owner chef Adanesh Ashghedom come to cook these two very different cuisines? While Ethiopian is her native cuisine, she made Dominican food while in Long Branch so she decided to serve both at this new iteration. Consequently, you’ll see dishes like Empanadas and Mofongo rubbing shoulders with Ye Siga Tibs (beef sautéed with onions, peppers, garlic and tomatoes) served with housemade injera; Gomen (collard greens stewed with onion, ginger, garlic and tomato); and Mesir Wot (split lentils simmered with onions, garlic, ginger and berbere spice). Trust us, it works.

There are two types of Italian restaurants in New Jersey: casual pizza joints with formica booths and pitchers of beer, and then slightly fancy spots with white-tablecloth dining rooms. Brando’s, whose owner Steven Botta hails from Brooklyn, falls into the second category, and that’s not a bad thing. This is the type of Italian restaurant you go to when you want a heavy, comforting meal of Meatball Insalata, Gnocchi “Three Way” in basil pesto creamy Alfredo sauce, and six different veal varieties like Veal Chop Milanese or Stuffed Veal Chop. Pair everything with some vino from their extensive wine list.

Available for Reservations

Seafood lovers, this is your spot. Ogle the raw bar, slurp up New England Clam Chowder, and just try to resist the siren call of the Fisherman’s Fry that includes shrimp, calamari, kale blossoms, and chile peppers. Clams Casino, Whole Maine Lobster Rolls, Crab Cakes… the gang’s all here. And don’t despair if you’re not into fish, the signature Bonney Burger here is top-notch and there’s also the Dry-Rubbed Spare Ribs and a New York Strip Steak on the menu. Along with frozen drinks like the Frose or Milagro Frozen Margarita, choose from beer, wine, rum flights, and custom cocktails like the Black Sails (rum, molasses bitters, cola).

Available for Reservations

A daytime staple in Asbury Park, Cardinal Provisions offers a variety of brunch strongholds, from Chicken & Waffles and Avocado Toast, to the Breakfast Burritos and Cacio e Pepe scrambled eggs. Breakfast is available all day here, and there are also several vegan items on the menu, like a fried Tofu Deluxe sandwich and three vegan bowls. Add on the Birria Disco Fries topped with a sunny side up egg because you deserve it, and weekend specials include the Short Rib Benny and Strawberry Rhubarb French Toast.

Franks Deli & Restaurant
Frank’s Deli | peem5ter/Flickr

Sometimes, classic is best. And when it comes to deli sandwiches in New Jersey, Frank’s is an icon that has stood the test of time for more than 60 years. Consider fasting the day you go to Frank’s so you can have a fighting chance at finishing the overstuffed club sandwiches they’re known for. And if you go for breakfast, expect to see a whole lot of pork roll on the menu.

Set in a Victorian house overlooking the lake that divides Asbury Park and Ocean Grove, the 27-year-old Moonstruck is both upscale (white tablecloths and servers in ties) and casual (this is the Jersey Shore, after all). The multi-story space with wraparound porches is split into separate dining areas and lounges, so you can partake in the full Mediterranean menu of pasta, seafood, and grilled meats, or just stop in for wine and the live piano music often playing downstairs.

While you probably wouldn’t associate the Jersey Shore with French food, some fine Parisian-style fare can be found at this Asbury brasserie by the same owners as Porta. The sleek spot is a go-to for brunch, but also offers excellent dinner and late-night options. Expect typical French bistro dishes like Escargot, French Onion Soup, Moule Frites, and Steak Tartare, plus caviar options and several burgers like the Mr. Smith Burger topped with raclette and caramelized onions.

You won’t find a bevy of taco trucks along Asbury Park’s beaches, but you will find Pop’s Garage, which is as close to the Mexican beach lifestyle as you’ll get here. The boardwalk restaurant looks out onto the beach and is the perfect place to take a break from the sand and sun. The $4 tacos are a steal, but if you’re really hungry, go for the overstuffed burritos in Carne Asada, Pollo, Pescado, and more. And, they’re open for breakfast until noon, with dishes like the Jersey Boy that’s a pork roll and fried egg sandwich (this is New Jersey after all) and the Breakfast Burrito with scrambled eggs.

Porta

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This bustling Neapolitan pizzeria-slash-beer garden with a large outdoor patio slings wood-fired pizzas with crisp and blistery crusts that are topped with house-made mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes, and meaty add-ons like meatballs, hot soppressata, and sweet Italian sausage. You can also order salumi, salads, pastas, seafood, and craft cocktails and at brunch you’ll find the Cannoli French Toast and a dish called Eggs in Purgatory served with ricotta salata. On weekends, dance parties are a common sight.

Reyla

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In 2018, the team behind popular Mexican spot Barrio Costero opened this Middle Eastern eatery and it was an immediate hit. Start with a slew of the small, shareable plates like the Turkish Hummus; grilled Artichoke hearts with white asparagus; and Green Falafel with spicy baba ganoush, before moving onto the Street Food menu with Bao Buns and a Lamb Burger. Larger plates include the Octopus with lavender syrup and Chicken with couscous dumplings. For desserts, the Mousse comes with macerated berries and banana bread.

The Asbury is the hippest hotel in town so naturally it also has one of the best rooftops with their nightlife spot, Salvation. Head over at sunset for killer views, as well as bubbly, beer, wine, and craft cocktails like the Jalapeño Margarita or Asbury No. 1 with tequila and watermelon juice. While the ambience and drinks are more the focus here, if you need a snack there’s three options: the Fromage + Charcuterie board; Pizza Selection with cheese, pepperoni, buffalo chicken, pesto, and spicy; and Hummus + Pita.

This self-described “gourmet deli'' is known to the Instagram food world for its stacked (and highly filtered) creations. Aside from viral specialties like the Philly Cheesesteak-inspired Ol’ Steak Sang-Gweech or General Tso-homage The General sandwiched between sticky rice buns, order an In-N-Out-inspired burger called the Down-N-Out. If tamer deli-style sandwiches are your thing, they have those as well along with different salad options. Check their IG for any daily specials.

Some of the best pizza on the East Coast can be found in Asbury Park. Talula’s isn’t part of the old guard of Italian-American pizzerias in New Jersey (for that, go to Vic’s in nearby Bradley Beach or Pete & Elda’s in Neptune City); instead, this modern, industrial space offers lightly charred sourdough pizzas topped with, for example, fresh mozzarella, house-made fennel pork sausage, and in-house pickled cherry peppers. You’ll also find seasonal salads, toasts and sandwiches, homemade desserts, and natural Italian wines. Vegans are well taken care of here as well, thanks to made-in-house vegan mozzarella and cashew-almond ricotta.

Available for Reservations

Toast

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This upscale diner is the second location of the Montclair favorite and it caters to the hangry, slightly hungover crowd that often abound in Asbury Park on weekend mornings. The specialty here is pancakes, available in Buttermilk, Red Velvet, Carrot Cake, and more (though the Challah French Toast is a wise choice if you have a sweet tooth). The rest of the menu skews towards typical Americana fare—build-your-own burgers, a slew of signature sandwiches, and plenty of egg dishes of omelettes, scrambles, and or the Irish Eggs Benedict with corned beef hash.

Devorah Lev-Tov lives in Brooklyn but travels the world, from Israel to India to Italy and across North America. She writes for Travel + Leisure, Afar, Condé Nast Traveler, The New York Times, Saveur, Taste, Eating Well, Eater, Edible Brooklyn, and more.

Elaheh Nozari is the Former Senior Cities Editor at Thrillist. Before that, she sold beach badges on the Jersey Shore. Now she just goes to the beach.