We scoured the coast—and filled our paper plates—to find the New Jersey seaside dives with the tastiest dishes.

By Coastal Living
June 01, 2011
Spike’s Fish Market and Restaurant, Point Pleasant Beach

What to order: a meaty lobster roll or lobster melt. Bring your beverage of choice, or opt for your favorite soft drink for sale.

The view: Best from the parking lot; the water is out back.

What you’ll shell out: $10–$23, $37 for a 2-pound-lobster dinner.

Check it out: 415 Broadway; 732/295-9400

Illustrator Matt Caserta

Klein’s Waterside Cafe, Belmar
What to expect: Sit on the patio overlooking the Shark River and enjoy steamed lobsters, the clambake, or the shrimp or flounder Français.
Check it out: 708 River Road; 732/681-1177 or kleinsfish.com

Oyster Creek Inn Restaurant & Boat Bar, Leeds Point
What to expect: At the end of the road on Great Bay. Delicious snapper (snapping turtle) soup, broiled scallops, broiled shrimp, and applesauce.
Check it out: 41 North Oyster Creek Road; 609/652-8565 or oystercreekinnnj.com

Allen’s Clam Bar, New Gretna
What to expect: Good, inexpensive fried seafood. No frills, no alcohol (bring your own), no credit cards.
Check it out: 5650 Route 9; 609/296-4106

Harpoon Henry’s Seafood Restaurant, North Cape May
What to expect: When the frozen-drink menu dwarfs the food menu, you get a pretty good idea that people have fun here. We recommend the clam chowder and the glorious sunsets over Delaware Bay.
Check it out: 91 Beach Drive; 609/886-5529 or harpoonhenrys.net

Red’s Lobster Pot Restaurant, Point Pleasant Beach
What to expect: Fresh lobster and other seafood, nothing fried. BYO beer and wine.
Check it out: 57 Inlet Drive; 732/295-6622 or redslobsterpot.com

Spike’s Fish Market Restaurant, Point Pleasant Beach
What to expect: Nothing fried and everything fresh; it’s a seafood market as well as a restaurant.
Check it out: 415 Broadway; 732/295-9400