Cape May Restaurants (From Best Seafood to Most Romantic)
and everything in between
Looking for the Best Cape May Seafood Restaurant? Or A Cape may Restaurant on the Water? For these and many More In-the-know Tips, Read on...
Updated: April 2023
Cape May is no stranger to great restaurants - Cape May was even dubbed the 'restaurant capital of New Jersey', by the New York Times.
Whether you are looking for the freshest seafood, best Italian, most romantic, gluten-free or vegetarian options or a place on the water with an ocean view, Cape May has a ton of great options that are sure to please, even the discerning foodie.
CLICK on the thumbnail that speaks to you (or scroll down and read the entire list)
Best Seafood Restaurants in Cape May, New Jersey Shore
Fisherman's Wharf in Cape May Harbor, AKA the Docks at the Lobster House, receives about 11 million pounds of seafood every year - making it the second busiest seaport on the East Coast, for off-loading seafood (the first being Bedford, Massachusetts). It's no wonder that Cape May is known for the freshest, locally sourced seafood in New Jersey. Whether you're looking for a no-frills, laid back vibe, on the water or something more upscale, Cape May has you covered.
Here are some of Cape May's Best Seafood Restaurants:
THE LOBSTER HOUSE is a Cape May tradition, having been around since the early 1950's. Popular with tourists and locals alike, the Lobster House offers 4 different dining options (plus a secret one), so you can choose the restaurant based on what type of vibe you are looking for:
The Main Dining Room(s) - Features 5 different inside dining rooms, overlooking Cape May Harbor. Their 5 main dining rooms are the 'most' formal of all their dining options. By 'most' formal, I simply mean you will be seated by a host, tables are clothed, there are designated waitresses/waiters and you can order a 2-4 course meal. During peak times, expect a 45 minute to 1.5 hour wait. Attentive Staff | Extensive Menu | Possible long wait times | Known for their fresh baked Bread | Open Year Round
The Raw Bar - Casual dining in a rustic, seaside boathouse. Table seating, as well as at the bar. The Raw Bar features raw clams and oysters 'local Cape May Salts', their famous Crab Soup, hard shell crabs, lobster, burgers, sandwiches, and salads. Try the local 'Stone' Crab Claws | Wine/Beer/Soft Drinks only | Very Casual | Best bet if you want to get seated right away | Open May thru October
Schooner American - It's a casual restaurant/bar on a 130 ft. Grand Banks sailing vessel. Enjoy cocktails and light fare on board. Fanatic views of the harbor | Wine, spirits & bottles beer | Relaxed vibe, always a friendly crowd at the bar | Table Seating as well | Live music in season | Open May thru October
Take Out Shop - Offers a full menu of take-out specialties from soups, salads and sandwiches to fried and boiled seafood platters. Most casual of all options | Order at window and wait for your # to be called | Take-out or sit and dine on the dockside tables (first come basis) | Open Year Round, 11 a.m. til 7 p.m. during the winter months and til 9 p.m. in season
BONUS: The Coffee Shop (a little secret only the locals know about, it's not even mentioned on the official Lobster House website as a dining option). So when others are waiting up to 2 hours for a table in the main dining room, the locals just stroll into the coffee shop, take a seat at the counter and order. Serves breakfast, Lunch & Dinner | You can order an alcoholic drink and your server will bring it to you at the counter | Filled with local fisherman, just off the boat in the A.M.| While there is an official 'Coffee House' menu, you can still get the main dining room menu, if you ask | Open Year Round. Are you asking yourself, where do the locals eat in Cape May? Don't miss our Cape May's local's Guide
TISHA'S FINE DINING - Quaint restaurant serving 'New American' dishes in downtown Cape May. While not specifically touted as a seafood restaurant, the majority of their menu is geared towards seafood and pasta dishes, so I am including it in this section. Don't miss the Little Neck Clams with Andouille Sausage or the Red Curry Mussels as an App and the Grilled Thai Salmon or the 'Lobster Rachel' with Lobster, Mushrooms & Spinach in a Pink Sauce over homemade Black Fettuccine as your main entree - Tisha's food is superb! Open Daily 'Mostly' Year Round (they close January 2nd until mid February) | BYOB | Outdoor Seating in-Season
OYSTER BAY RESTAURANT & BAR - Known for their culinary combinations of seafood and steak. Oyster Bay has a more formal dining room, as well as more casual seating in the bar area (the full menu, as well as the bar menu is available in the bar area) Surf & Turf, Seafood Risotto, Crab Cakes and their Seafood Pot Pie are just a few of their Specialties | Duck, Short Rib, Pasta and Steak options | The Bar Tables fill up fast - no reservations in the bar area | Reservations can be made in main dining room | Open Seasonally.
LOUISA'S CAFE- What an adorable little spot. You have probably passed this place multiple times and never realized what a neighborhood gem this spot it. Established in 1980 as one of the first fish/farm-to-table restaurants in Cape May. Serving locally caught fish and locally grown, seasonal produce. Their menu is written on a giant chalk board and changes daily depending what's in season. Open seasonally from mid April until October | BYOB | This is a very quaint spot, so reservations are a must!
H&H SEAFOOD - Located at 956A Ocean Drive in Cape May, H&H Seafood was established in 2006 as an outlet for their commercial boat operation, H&H Fisheries, to unload fresh-caught product and sell to the public. They started with live crabs and local lobsters and have recently added more locally-caught fish and shellfish. This is local seafood, served up in a no-frills environment. Your not here for a fancy dinner or for the cocktails (they don't serve alcohol) or to have sweet nothings whispered in your ear, your here for the freshest, locally caught crabs, mussels, clams, shrimp, scallops and lobster. And folks, don't get angry if they're sold out of an item, it's all locally sourced, so when the run out, they run out - until they can go out and catch some more. Offers dock-side dining, on picnic tables | Seating on first come, first serve basis | All-you-can-eat crabs | Open May thru Mid-October
Most Romantic Restaurants in Cape May NJ
Cape May is no stranger to amazing restaurants, from great seafood spots to incredible Mediterranean cuisine, there is a spot for every taste and budget. When it comes to romantic spots, Cape May has plenty of those as well.
Here is our list of Most Romantic Restaurants in Cape May:
PETER SHIELDS - Voted time and time again, the 'Most Romantic' Peter Shields has five beautiful dining rooms and in the warmer months, guests can choose to dine outside on the veranda, overlooking the ocean. Peter Shields menu is very creative and offers items such as Duck Confit & Wild Mushroom Risotto, 40 Day Dry Aged Bone in NY Strip Steak, Local Day Boat Scallops, Maple Glazed Pork Belly and Chefs daily Crudo selection, just to name a few. The restaurant offers several Prix Fixe menu's: $40 Early Dinner Prix Fixe, available Sun thru Thurs, Apr. thru Dec., 5-6:00 PM (not offered holiday weekends) | $33 Winter Prix Fixe, available Thursday & Sunday, January thru March (except Valentines and Presidents Week) | Offers Cape May Vineyards Wines, as well, guests can BYOB | Open Year Round.
THE WASHINGTON INN - Built in 1840, as a Plantation House, the Washington Inn features five unique dining rooms, from summer patio dining to a romantic, fireside tables. | Known for their Crab Cakes | Cozy and romantic 8-10 seat bar offering signature cocktails and a light fare bar menu | Open Year Round
UNION PARK - Large, spacious dining rooms with fireplaces add to it's romantic appeal. Offering classic American favorites such as poached lobster tails, boneless short rib, Filet Mignon, lamb Chops | View Union Park's menu | BYOB | Open Seasonally, April 1st thru November. Union Park is currently offering a Prix Fixe, 3-Course meal for $79/per person.
Cape May restaurants [Fit for Foodies]
Do you yearn for Foie Gras Torchon? Does sous-vide Berkshire Pork Belly make your mouth water? Are you looking for an extensive list of 2013 Cabernet's from Napa?
If so, then here are few of Cape May's restaurants 'fit for foodies':
THE EBBITT ROOM - Exceptional food with a menu that changes seasonally. Many of the items on the menu are locally sourced from their Beach Plum Farm, as well as the coastal regions of New Jersey | Loving their 14 oz. Creekstone Ribeye, as well as their selection of cheese and charcuterie boards | Wine Spectator 2017 Award of Excellence | Offers an extensive wine list | quaint 10 seat bar | Open Year Round
PETER SHIELDS - While also winning a vote for 'Most Romantic', Peter Shields also has one of the most creative menus in Cape May. A few of my favorite items are the seared Foie Gras with grilled Brioche, hazelnuts, apple & pear Mostarda, the Duck Confit & wild mushroom risotto with shaved black winter truffles and the crispy duck breast with fig compote. Offers Cape May Vineyards Wines, as well, guests can BYOB | Open Year Round
UNION PARK - Making yet another one of our lists, Union Park is a great spot to check out for the freshest, local seasonal ingredients. offering classic American favorites such as poached lobster tails, boneless short rib, Filet Mignon, lamb Chops | BYOB or purchase a bottle of local Cape May wine | Open Seasonally, April 1st thru October. Union Park is currently offering a Prix Fixe, 3-Course meal for $79/per person. Diners can include an additional course of Foie Gras or Oysters on the half shell for an additional cost.
410 BANK STREET - A winding slate path, overhanging vines and tropical foliage lead to the historic 1840 Carriage house where 410 Bank Street Restaurant resides. Slow spinning ceiling fans stir the aromas of French-New Orleans accented cooking and trawler-to-table seafood and steaks grilling over mesquite. While only open seasonally, 410 Bank Street is not to be missed on your next visit to Cape May. Reservations are a must (and you must reserve several weeks in advance). BYOB | Open late April til October
BEACH PLUM FARM to TABLE DINNER SERIES - Immerse yourself in the beauty and farm fresh flavors of Beach Plum Farm’s Farm-to-Table Dinner Series. These dinners are a celebration of Beach Plum Farm’s seasonal harvest, featuring their farm raised meats, organic produce, and garden herbs. Dine under the stars, or in a festive hoop house, depending on the weather. BYOB | Reservations are a MUST! | This is not just dinner, it is an experience you will not soon forget.
Interested in seeing the Top 7 List of Things to Do for Food and Wine Lovers? Don't Miss Our Cape May Food and Wine Enthusiast Itinerary
Cape May Restaurants/Bed & Breakfasts Offering Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, Vegan...
As dietary restrictions, such as gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan etc. become more mainstream, so are the number of Cape May Restaurants and Bed & Breakfast's that cater to those needs. Guests with gluten allergies or those requiring meatless, dairy-free or no animal products have a much easier time these days finding places where they can actually eat.
Also, while almost all restaurants in Cape May will be able to accommodate most dietary requests (assuming you call first to confirm), the list below are the places in Cape May that will offer the most choices, for the said dietary restriction.
Regarding restaurants in Cape May that offer gluten-free menu items: Please keep in mind that while these establishments do offer gluten-free choices, the kitchens that these items are prepared in are not designated gluten-free facilities and therefore, cross-contamination can occur. It is always best to call first and let them know the severity of your allergy to see if this is the right place for you.
LUCKY BONES - Has an entire menu dedicated to those with a gluten allergy - basically everything on their regular menu shows up on the gluten-free menu, minus the gluten. They specialize in gluten-free wood-fired pizza and I can say first hand that it is as good as their 'regular' pizza version. They also have a gluten-free crab cake that is fantastic. For the vegetarians, the Rocket Salad or the Roasted Beet & Goat Cheese salads are amazing, as well as any of their wood-fired pizzas (with or without gluten) and the Black Bean Soup (also Vegan) | Kid's Gluten-Free Menu | Full Bar | Casual Dining | Open Year Round
THE WASHINGTON INN - Looking for a more upscale evening out to dinner, minus the gluten? If so, the Washington Inn fits the bill. Each of the Gluten-Free items on their menu are clearly marked and account for about half of all their entree selections - doing away with the need to ask your server about what items you can eat, always a plus! | Open Year Round
BELLA VIDA on BROADWAY - This is the place that has it all! A great menu for Vegans, Vegetarians and those with gluten allergies. | Casual Dining | Open Year Round | Bella Vida's Menu
THE MAD BATTER - If you are looking for a fun, casual dining experience, then don't miss this place - they nailed it when it comes to special dietary restrictions. They have an entire section dedicated tp Vegan and Vegetarian - you will love their Vegan White Bean Ravioli, Tuscan Fettuccine, Vegan Nachos, Vegan Loaded Fries, Hummus & Pita, Vegetable Panini, Specialty Salads and Assorted Pizzas etc. | Full Bar | Serves Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner | Open Year Round
VINTAGE @ The Physick Estate - WOW, what a great addition to Kara's Group of restaurants. Their menus changes daily/weekly depending on what is fresh and in season. Very knowledgeable staff about allergies. Almost everything on the menu is GF or can be made GF. Try their GF cheesecake waffle - its amazing!! | Casual Outdoor Dining for Brunch and Dinner (they have a heated tent for colder nights | Vintage Website | BYOB
Looking for accommodations in Cape May that are happy of accommodate guests who are gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan or dairy-free...
...THE MASON COTTAGE BED & BREAKFAST INN - With its Columbia Avenue address, the Mason Cottage Bed and Breakfast Inn is well placed for exploring one of New Jersey's most exclusive and historic towns. The downtown location allows guests the opportunity to park their car and forget it - designer boutiques, intimate restaurants/bars, tours/activities and the beach are just a few blocks away. With advanced notice, the Mason Cottage is happy to accommodate guests that are gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian or dairy-free | 2 Course, Seated Breakfast included | Open Year Round | Visit the Mason Cottage Cape May B&B Homepage.
Italian Restaurants in Cape May
Who doesn't love a good Italian restaurant - fresh homemade pasta, locally sourced seafood specialties and Sunday 'Gravy'! Whats not to like about that!
Next time you are in Cape May, check out these fantastic Italian Dining Choices.
TISHA'S FINE DINING - This place has outstanding food and while not an 'official' Italian restaurant, per se, they have several pasta dishes on their menu, so I am going to include them. Don't miss the Short Rib Bolonese with homemade Papperdelle or the 'Lobster Rachel' with Lobster, Mushrooms & Spinach in a Pink Sauce over homemade Black Fettuccine, both are delicious! Open Daily 'Mostly' Year Round (they close January 2nd until mid February) | BYOB | Outdoor Seating in-Season
ICCARA ITALIAN BISTRO - Owner/Chef Vincenzo Sanzone grew up in a small town in Sicily called Iccara, hence the name. Traditional Italian & seafood specialties | BYOB | Open 4:30 - 10:00 PM Seasonally | Just relocated in 2023 to the Washington Commons near the Acme. Ask about their Early Bird Special 4:00 - 5:30 PM, $30 for Salad/Entrée/Dessert.
SAPORE ITALIANO - Italian restaurant in West Cape May offering a large selection of fine Italian pasta, veal, chicken and seafood specialties. BYOB | Open Year Round
VIGGIANO'S ON SUNSET - Owners Mark and Lisa Viggiano wanted to pursue their dream of opening a restaurant that would introduce friends and guests to Viggiano hospitality and authentic Italian cuisine, in a family-style dining atmosphere. Open Year Round (Closed Monday & Tuesday) | BYOB
On The Water - Cape May Restaurants & Bars on the Water & Ocean Views
Sitting by the water while having a drink and dinner is such a quintessential summertime experience, that I had to make it it's own category. From rooftop hangouts overlooking the ocean to a casual restaurant/bar on a 130 ft. Grand Banks sailing vessel, Cape May has some of the coolest spots on the water!
Here's our list of Cape May Restaurants & Bars on the water that are worth checking out.
SCHOONER AMERICAN - Hop aboard this 130 ft. Grand Banks sailing vessel (one of the Lobster House's many restaurants) for casual fare and drinks. Overlooking Cape May Harbor, this is THE place to take in the beauty of summertime in Cape May. Boaters are welcome to tie up along the docks and come on aboard. Wine, spirits & bottles beer | Serving snacks, lunch & dinner at the bar, table seating as well | Relaxed vibe, always a friendly crowd at the bar | Live music in season | Open May thru October | Also check out...
LOBSTER HOUSE'S, TAKE OUT SHOP - Offers a full menu of take-out specialties from soups, salads and sandwiches to fried and boiled seafood platters. Very casual | Order at window and wait for your # to be called | Take-out or sit and dine on the dockside tables (first come basis) | Open Year Round, 11 a.m. til 7 p.m. during the winter months and til 9 p.m. in season
HARRY'S OCEAN BAR & GRILL - Casual restaurant and rooftop bar on the water and was recently named by Philadelphia Magazine one of the 'Best Places to Drink Outside'. Try their signature Lobster BLT or Bacon Bloody Mary | Live music in season, Sunday thru Thursday | Fantastic Ocean Views | Serving Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Daily Memorial Day thru September
TACO CABALLITO TEQUILERIA - Laid back beach bar, serving casual Mexican food, i.e. nachos, specialty tacos, wings & salads All the windows facing the ocean open up, so even though the restaurant is inside, you feel like you are sitting outdoors | Live bands | Open Year Round
PETER SHIELDS - This place seems to have it all! It made our list 3 times - it's romantic, fit for foodies and it made our list for 'on the water'. If you are looking for an upscale restaurant with magnificent views of the Atlantic, Peter Shields is the place in Cape May for you! They have outdoor seating, on their veranda, in-season. Offers Cape May Vineyards Wines, as well, guests can BYOB | Open Year Round
BEACH CREEK OYSTER BAR & GRILLE - OK, this spot isn't in Cape May (it's in Wildwood, the next town over), so you will have to drive or take a cab to get there. However, it is worth mentioning, as it sits directly on the water and has one of the nicest outdoor decks/bars in the area, plus their food is really great! Great views of the Marina and inter-coastal waterways | Live music nightly - they get some of the best bands in the area | Outdoor seating | Friendly staff and bartenders | Boaters are welcome to tie up along the docks and come on up | Dinner Only, 4 - 10 PM | Open Memorial Day thru mid-October | Visit Beach Creeks Website
HARPOON'S ON THE BAY - Restaurant/Bar located in North Cape May, overlooking the Delaware Bay | Serving casual food | Key West Vibe | THE BEST SUNSETS!! | Open mid-April thru October
Cape May happy Hour Specials
[Saved the Best for Last]
Happy Hour Specials in Cape May Guide
If you know of an establishment that should be included and isn't OR if you see a special that is not accurate, please let me know and I will update it - thanks for your help!
HARRY'S OCEAN BAR & GRILLE - Thursday thru Sunday | Thursday happy hour all day | Friday thru Sunday, 3 PM to 6 PM. Open Daily Memorial Day thru September
MAD BATTER - Daily 3 - 6 PM: 1/2 Price Drinks (excluding top shelf) | Open Thursday thru Sunday, off-season and Daily, in-season
FINS BAR & GRILLE - Monday thru Friday, 3 - 6 PM and Sundays, 11:30 AM - 6 PM: $2 Domestic Bottles | $2 Miller Lite, Coors Light & Yuengling Drafts | $5 House Wines, Fins Margaritas & Crushes | $5 - $8 Bar Appetizers
THE WASHINGTON INN - Daily, 5 - 6 PM: $1 Oyster Bay Oysters | Fridays 5 for $5: $4 Small Plates & $5 Wines | Open January thru March, Saturdays Only (open additional evenings for Valentines and President's Weekend) | April thru May 12th/October Thru December, Fridays & Saturdays Only | March 13th thru September, Open Daily.
LUCKY BONES - Monday thru Fridays, 4 - 6 PM: $1 off imports and top shelf | 1/2 off domestic beer bottles, drafts & well drinks | Open Daily
CARNEY'S - Daily 4 to 6 PM: 25% Off all Food and Beverage