Where to Eat, Drink, and Cure Your Hangover on a Weekend Getaway to Atlantic City
Fork in the Road thinks you should get out of town this summer, even if it's only for a day. In this Summer Fridays series, we're covering the best spots to eat in popular daytrip locations. See more Summer Fridays ideas in our archives.
All photos by Adam Robb
The dining scene in Atlantic City has seen its fortunes rise the past few years, so don't go braving an Academy bus out the Port Authority and down the Garden State two hours to splurge your winnings on satellites of Bill's Bar & Burger, Dos Caminos, and American Cut. Use your weekend instead to explore the guiltiest local pleasures of the Garden State's Sin City by seeking out salt water-brushed pizza crusts on the edge of the Atlantic, then binging on late night Philly eats (nachos from Jose Garces, Tony Luke's cheesesteaks) after dancing at Revel and Borgata. And before you go, let Stephen Starr and Geoffrey Zakarian cure your hangover that started sundown at Margaritaville and ended confetti-down amidst a bevy of rock and roll burlesquers.
Tell any cabbie your casino of choice, and he may get you there before the meter maxes out at $13, but name any off-boardwalk culinary landmark and you'll be grateful the fare can't climb any higher. Some of AC's most iconic dining institutions, like Tony Boloney's (300 Oriental Avenue; 609-344-8669) and the White House Sub Shop (2301 Arctic Avenue; 609- 345-1564) are known even to elude the locals. Lucky for you, both are only steps from two of the city's biggest tourist draws.
Only a block from Revel, in the shadow of the Absecon Lighthouse, you'll find Tony Boloney's owner Mike Hauke's award-winning pizza house, where 33 red and white pies -- like the Pancho Franco's, made with grilled chicken, cheddar, avocado, and jalapeño -- garnered praise from Guy Fieri and Live With Kelly and Michael. Whitehouse, a 68-year-old corner sandwich shack, sits merely two blocks from the Ducktown thoroughfare of Tanger Outlets, and come lunchtime, you'll find a line out the door. Claim an orange vinyl stool at the lunch counter and soak in the nostalgia, oil, and vinegar of a house special packed with a tightly pressed salami, ham, provolone, and capicola.
Getting a tan at a strip club isn't so easy in Manhattan, but since you're down the shore for the novelty, head to Scores (1000 Boardwalk; 855-500-7267), set here atop the Trump Taj Mahal -- it puts its New York sister joint to shame from the top down. At 36,000 square feet, this newcomer is now the flagship, and its canopied roof deck offers $6 drinks more premium than any penny slot 'tails plus bowls of double-smoked bacon popcorn all day and night. Consume unparallelled views of the ocean and the fairly benign moves of go-go dancers no more indecently exposed than the girls on the beach. What goes on indoors is an added fee and another story.
Head back down those steps and you'll be face to face with the fact it's five o'clock somewhere. Margaritaville took over the facade of Resorts Casino last summer, but you can avoid it: On the beach opposite stands Landshark Bar & Grill (1133 Boardwalk; 609-431-4120), which, as of this summer, has expanded out onto the shore. Embracing the cheesiness and then eat some cheese -- opt for breaded cheddar curd with blueberry ketchup. Or walk out Landshark's back door and sip with your feet in the sand. Choose from among three dozen shots and cocktails that blend frat party staples like Firefly and Fireball, the latter of which you'll find chilled on tap.
Steakhouses are plentiful in this town: Revel is home to Marc Forgione's American Cut, Borgata's got Old Homestead, and outlets of The Palm, Gallagher's, Morton's, and Ruth's Chris lurk at every turn. But refinement and sirloin melt together at Robert's Steakhouse (1000 Boardwalk; 609-428-6505) in a way you won't experience back on Eleventh Avenue, where Frank Bruni once finished his bone-in strip with a mouthful of schnapps and Reddi-wip. Robert's at the Trump Taj Mahal feels less like a gentleman's club and more like a club for gentlemen, where beyond a fireplace-lit lounge, you can sink into a plush banquette and cut into the blood red slabs of six-week-dry-aged rib eyes and gold label Kobe.