Earlier this year I wrote a post about BYOBs in Cape May—BYOBs in Cape May Part I. Frankly, there are just too many great ones in Cape May to list in a single post. I struggled with how to divide them, and it was not an easy task. This list includes some of the smaller and in some instances less pricey of the bunch.
Kara Restaurant Group
The first three below are all from the Kara Restaurant group but have their own flavor and flair. Brine is the only one of them where credit cards are accepted.—so plan accordingly. Reservations can be made on OpenTable for all.
George’s on the corner of Beach Avenue and Perry as well as a second location on Ocean Avenue (at the end of Washington Commons) are definitely institutions in town. The original one on Beach Ave was even featured on Diners, Drive-ins & Dives with Guy Fieri! They serve breakfast and lunch all week and add a dinner service Friday-Sunday. The portions are large and satisfying and many items have a Greek flair. I adore the Tiramisu Waffle for breakfast and the chicken gyro for lunch.
Shamone on Beach is on Beach Avenue and serves a fun and exciting tapas menu that changes frequently in the evening and an unlimited brunch (you read the right) Wednesday through Monday. There is one seating for tapas at night at 7:00 with the exception of Saturday when they add a 5:00 matinee just for fun. Both are pre fixe. The tapas is 15 small courses of the chef’s choice with items like scallop crudo and chorizo deviled eggs. Brunch (again unlimited) has wonderful options as well, such as blueberry and lemon ricotta pancakes and PYT (pretty, yummy tots).
Brine is located at the marina as you come into town and is the newest offering in 2023 from Kara. It is also the only one of the three with outdoor dining. There Is both a brunch and dinner services with a small but unique menu. You will find items like a smoked salmon & whitefish board or pancake tacos for brunch and lamb T-bone or swordfish kalamaki for dinner. Despite being new there are already several rave reviews.
One French and Three Italian
Maison Bleue Bistro on Mansion Street (conveniently located by Collier’s liquor store) is new as of 2023. This lovely and cozy restaurant shared the same owners as Jardin covered in my Part I post. The menu is small and decidedly French, but in and inviting not stuffy way. There is a standard menu and Prix Fixe option and don’t forget to check out the specials. There is a nice mix of sea and land with traditional dishes such as coq au vin, Steak frites and duck l’orange. Reservations can be made via TableAgent.
Sapore Italiano on Broadway is often described as a hidden gem and has both indoor and al fresco dining. The menu is classic Italian as the name implies and with sumptuous homemade pasta dishes. The pasta dishes are a mix of true classics and well as many inventive, surprising offerings. But it’s not all pasta, there is also a wide variety of carne, pesce and risotto dishes as well. And the desserts… save room for sure! Reservations can be made via OpenTable.
Iccara o Italian Bistro on Ocean Avenue (moved in 2023) has its roots in Sicily where the owner, Vincenzo Sanzone grew up. They offer a regular, prix fixe early bird, and children’s menu that will make it hard for you to choose. From fresh seafood to hearty pasta dishes (many are gluten free by request), you will feel transported to the Mediterranean. I personally am a sucker for a good cacio e pepe—so simple, yet so sublime! It is not wonder that people rave! Reservations can be made via OpenTable.
Viggiano’s on Sunset is also a wonderfully classic Italian restaurant with indoor and patio seating. The menu features two portion sizes for entrees (Piccolo – for one and Grande – for two or if you are already planning for great leftovers). There are also Chef’s creations per day such as Seafood Fra Diablo on Fridays. Most of the items are familiar classics like chicken cacciatore and lasagna, but there are a few surprises such as sauteed veal and shrimp. Oh and don’t forget to get the garlic bread with cheese, you can thank me later. Reservations can be made via Tock.
A few around the Mall
Louisa’s Café on Jackson Street just off Washington Mall in the perky yellow and blue building is one of those places that is a perennial favorite for so many. The local and fresh menu is small and primarily seafood, but each item is extremely well executed. All entrees are served with brown rice and their famous cabbage salad. The desserts are exceptionally yummy and worth the calories! Please note they do not have a children’s menu so plan accordingly. Reservation for indoor and the patio can be made by calling the restaurant.
Freda’s Café & Deli on Ocean Street just off the mall is one that I actually have not tried (yet) and I almost didn’t include it. They do not have a website —just Facebook and it was challenging to curate much information about it. However, as I read review after review from Google, Trip Advisor, Yelp and more that absolutely raved I had to. Apparently, the crab cakes are out of this world, as is the lamb. I would love to hear any thoughts in the comment section. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant and are highly recommended as it is quite small with only a few additional tables outside.
Cape May Fish Market on Washington Street has a focus on seafood, but also offers so much more. Most of the entrees are seafood and are simply and classicly prepared. There is also a selection of rolls from the quintessential lobster to a bacon scallop roll. Also on the menu is a variety of sandwiches and burgers that are more land than sea. There is almost always a line waiting for tables and they do not take reservations.
Following is a handy map to show each location!
My goal with all my posts is to inspire you to try something new and I hope that at least one or two of these will make on your list in the future. Although they are are all BYOBs in Cape May, some of them do offer a limited selection of local wine, so it is best to call ahead and inquire. It is also worth mentioning that some may only accept cash, so plan accordingly. New restaurants seem to pop up in Cape May every year. I can’t wait to see what and where the next one will be. If I missed any that you feel strongly about, please let me know in the comments. The beauty of blog posts is that they can always be edited.
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