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