Seafood Fresh off the Boat
A day of inhaling the bracing salf air is bound to stir up a craving for seafood. Here's where to find some of the best at the Jersey Shore and Delaware beaches.
Cape May County
Fish caught from the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic is thoughtfully spiced and sauced at this tiny Cape May gem that’s been a dining destination for 37 years.
$24-$28. 104 Jackson St., Cape May, (609) 884-5882, www.louisascapemay.com.
Fins Bar and Grille
One look at the fish tank and other maritime décor, and you know you’re in the right place for fresh seafood. Favorites include the fish tacos, seafood chowder, and lobster Cobb salad with avocado, apple smoked bacon, and charred corn.
$25-$32. 142 Decatur St., Cape May, (609) 884-3449, www.finscapemay.com
The Lobster House
Much of the seafood on the menu is delivered right to the restaurant’s dock by a commercial fishing fleet. You can watch the fishermen work as you dine. If you’re a locavore, order the Cape May Salts oysters, the scallops, and the New Jersey clams prepared in a variety of ways. For drinks, apps, and lunch outdoors, ask for a seat on the permanently docked Schooner America.
$19.25-$48.50. 906 Schellengers Landing Road, Fisherman’s Wharf, Cape May, (609) 884-8296, www.thelobsterhouse.com
The Merion Inn
The Merion Inn has been in operation since 1885, and its well-prepared seafood classics never go out of style. Highlights include the Maryland crab cakes, the crab or lobster imperial, and the stuffed flounder.
$36-$49. 106 Decatur St., Cape May, (609) 884-8363, www.merioninn.com
One Fish, Two Fish
Upscale accents define menu standouts like the Atlantic salmon with coriander-citrus-ginger beurre blanc, and local scallops with lemon vinaigrette and sweet-corn risotto.
$25-$36. 5209 Pacific Ave., Wildwood, (609) 522-5223, onefishtwofishrestaurant.net
Oyster Bay Restaurant & Bar
If you like your seafood spicy, don’t miss the Bang Bang Shrimp. Other specialties include a well-executed old-school Coquilles St. Jaques and a hearty seafood potpie
$24-$45. 615 Lafayette St., Cape May, (609) 884, 2111, www.oysterbayrestaurant.com
Whether you prefer your seafood raw, prepared simply, or creatively embellished (think ahi tuna steak in spicy Penang curry), this restaurant in the Cape May Ocean Club Hotel has what you’re craving. For a true taste of the Shore, try the four-course ($55) or the five-course ($70) chef’s tasting menus. Go all out and opt for the wine paring too.
($70/$95). $26-$32. 1035 Beach Ave., Cape May (609) 884-7000, www.capemayoceanclubhotel.com
Tisha’s Fine Dining
The risottos are creamy and crammed with seafood. And the jambalaya is worthy of the Big Easy.
$26-$36. 322 Washington Street Mall, Cape May, (609) 884-9119, www.tishasfinedining.com
Lewes and Rehoboth Beach
Big Fish Grill
Be sure to order a Pot ‘O Mussels in your choice of sauce – spicy diablo, garlic wine, Dijon cream, andouille sausage, and saffron or Thai curry and coconut. The hand-cut fries are well worth the extra two bucks.
$18.95-$38.95. 20298 Coastal Hwy., Rehoboth Beach, (302) 227-FISH, www.bigfishgrill.com
Henlopen City Oyster House
The raw bar here is extensive, with oysters from all over the northeast and Washington State, including a delectable Kumatmotos. Order a sampler, and get one ($18) or two ($36) of each. For a heaping helping of clams, scallops, fish, mussels, and shrimp you can’t go wrong with the bouillabaisse.
$26-$38. 50 Wilmington Ave., Rehoboth Beach, (302) 260-9193, www.hcoysterhouse.com
Fork + Flask at Nage
Small plates like the oysters Asiago, clams and prosciutto or cod croquettes are perfect for sharing at this popular bungalow-style dining spot. Don’t forget to include a side of the delectable fries – straight up or topped with pecorino and roasted garlic or buffalo and “Moody Blue.”
$10-$28. 19730 Coastal Hwy., Route 1 South, Rehoboth Beach, (302) 226-2037, www.forkandflask.com
Matt’s Fish Camp
Starters include a killer New England clam chowder with bacon, corn, and sherry cream, and crab dip with pimento and sharp cheddar. Then go for the popcorn scallops (bet you can’t eat just one), the lobster roll or the Crab Louie sandwich.
$18-$28. 34401 Tenley Court, Lewes, (302) 644-2267, www.mattsfishcamplewes.com
Salt Air Restaurant & Bar
The crab-deviled eggs make you feel like you’re at a picnic on the beach. And the crunchy, corn-flake-encrusted crustaceans – served with coleslaw, fries, and corn bread – make it easy to figure out why the menu calls its shrimp fry “famous.”
$26-$31. 50 Wilmington Ave., Rehoboth Beach, (302) 227-3744, www.saltairrestaurant.com
You choose the cooking style and the sauce – from a simple lemon butter beurre blanc to a festive tropical fruit salsa. If you’re a sushi fan, try the North & South, made with house-cured pastrami salmon, fried Mahi and avocado. And don’t miss the lobster mac with three cheeses, bacon, and tomato jam
$12-$27. 107 Savannah Road, Lewes, (302) 645-4657, www.striperbites.com
The Surfing Crab
Go with the crabs any which way you like them – just plain steamed by the half or whole dozen, in an imperial dip, or as an Eastern Shore cake. If you can’t get enough, take the All You Can Eat option that comes with fries, coleslaw, and hush puppies. Be sure to order a side of puppies with whatever you choose.
$15.95-$38.95, 16723 Coastal Hwy., Lewes, Del., (302) 644-4448, www.thesurfingcrab.com