Point Pleasant Beach has forever been a fun, family oriented town for both residents and visitors alike. It features a boardwalk and amusements, fishing boats, clean beaches and the Ocean County side of the Manasquan Inlet. In past decades the borough has always had a handful of good to mediocre places to eat, but in recent years it has become somewhat of a new dining haven. This is due to the remaining classic eateries that avoided the tourist trap image and to the addition of new culinary talent. In no way does it emanate a trendy urban renaissance like Red Bank or Asbury Park — it is simply a great shore town that keeps improving each year.
Classic Point Pleasant Beach
The Off Shore, Frankie’s, Europa South and the Ark are those classics that seem to have been part of the scene for as long as I can remember. Some, like Europa, still show the wear from the patrons of decades past. They all offer great food and attract both local and visiting crowds all year long. I particularly enjoy the Off Shore as it has the atmosphere of what a shore bar and grill was like in my younger days; a rectangular bar where everyone feels welcome.
Hit the Deck
If grabbing an open air seat to watch boats, birds and people is what you seek, you have several choices. The Wharfside Patio, with its large bar and food shack is one of my favorite hangouts. Try the fish and
chips with malt vinegar and enjoy the live music and daily beer specials. The Shrimp Box will serve you a soft shelled crab sandwich that pairs perfectly with a cold Landshark or Mai Tai. Reds Lobster Pot has a New England vibe and is as enjoyable on a cloudy day with a bowl of chowder as it is on a sunny afternoon, post beach. Then there is the Firefly Oceanside at the White Sands with an ocean front deck where you can watch the Thursday night fireworks from Jenkinson’s with a bottle of your own wine or beer and a plate of Piranha Ribs. For our recent review of Firefly Oceanside 10-05-2015 read here
The Wharf Area
Point Beach, as it is often referred to, is also home to a large commercial fishing fleet that brings in catches of everything from swordfish to squid. Diners can enjoy a casual lunch or dinner of Jersey Fresh seafood right alongside the boats at three market eateries — Shore Fresh Seafood, Point Lobster Company and Spikes. Across the street from the fishing fleet is the Broadway Bar and Grill which opens at 7 AM in the morning and stays open until 2AM the following day. There you may catch a gripe from a commercial fisherman complaining about the captain over a cold beer in the early morning hours. Serving a wide variety of pub grub they have a lively lunch and dinner along with nightlife featuring live music, and great drink specials.
Right alongside of the party boats on Broadway Ave is the best kept secret of the area called the Food Shack. This little place is packed every morning with locals and fisherman, year round. You would never guess by looking at this little shack that it receives consistent five star reviews online from diners.
What Makes a Best Restaurant?
What are considered the best restaurants in Point Pleasant Beach? If you were famished, and are now devouring a Coal House pizza, at that moment you are in one of them. So is the place that served that pork roll, egg and cheese sandwich to quell your hangover this morning. It is really your opinion that counts to you, no matter what anyone else thinks. There are many places to eat in Point Pleasant Beach that are far beyond notability, but there are seven that are standouts which have made this list of the best restaurants in Point Pleasant Beach. This list was compiled, not on my opinion alone, but through researching review sites and the respected opinions of many, based on quality, consistency, creativity, service, ambiance and more. They are listed in alphabetical order, not reflecting any ranking.
The Seven Best Restaurants in Point Pleasant Beach
709 – Located at 709 Arnold Avenue, 709 features an eclectic new American menu with choices ranging from sushi to pork chops to pizza. The appetizers are actually a little quirky with names like “warm goat in a coat.” The restaurant has had a few recent changes but has really pulled it together with a new menu and the watchful eye of Chef Roy. The 709 atmosphere is classy urban chic with a lively bar scene. It is one of the most outstanding designs in the area, even featuring wall mounted bubble art. It is a great place for a martini and finger food at the bar or a comfortable meal in the dining room or outside on the patio.
Daniel’s Bistro – Always rated highly in any review, this bistro with a French flair serves classic haute cuisine selections, such as Hudson Valley Duck Breast with Foie Gras and Pan Seared Day Boat Halibut. There is a diverse selection of menu choices to suit even the most discriminating palate. Daniels Bistro is located at 115 Broadway Ave not far from the boardwalk and is a BYOB.
Read our recent review of Daniels Bistro.
The Poached Pear – Located at 816 Arnold Ave. This American bistro knocked it out of the park from the day it opened with Chef Scott Giordano, formerly of Whispers, at the helm. I was lucky enough to have dined there with a party of seven last year and was very impressed with the service and the food. Since that time they have expanded into the space next door. I sampled several dishes off the menu which were all remarkable, especially the Potato Encrusted Halibut.
Prime 13 – Steaks, chops and seafood in the style of a New York steakhouse. The a la carte menu is also in the style of a NY steakhouse but the BYOB will help to keep the price down. If you are craving a steak, lobster tail or both this is your place. Located at 710 Arnold Avenue.
River Market – Some may consider CIA grads, John and Lee Malcolm, the husband and wife owners, as the new kids on the block. They may be new on the block but they are hardly new kids.
The couple has blessed Point Pleasant Beach with their new location after relocating from Toms River after a successful eight year run. Their west coast cooking style adds a refreshing note to the PPB culinary scene. The menu is seasonal and changes frequently to add an element of surprise to an already creative mix. My recent visit to this new location was a very memorable experience. The menu will speak for itself. This BYOB is located at 522 Bay Ave. one half block off Arnold Ave. They serve lunch, Sunday brunch and dinner. There is plenty of parking plenty of parking which is a big plus. Read my recent review here.
Shipwreck Point – This is a classic steakhouse that is considered by many the best in the Jersey Shore region. The location is at 20 Inlet Dr. along the Manasquan Inlet. Shipwreck Point is opened for dinner only. The restaurant menu has an excellent raw bar selection and features prime aged steaks prepared a variety of ways and top quality seafood along with other choices. The ambiance is romantic with a stone fireplace. In the steakhouse tradition it is an a la carte menu. There is a full liquor bar. There is free valet parking on Friday and Saturday night contrary to what you might hear. Use the meter money you save to tip the valet.
Spano’s – Mulberry Street meets the Jersey Shore. This Italian Restaurant serves excellent regional Italian dishes, prepared fresh to order with very generous portions. The quantity of the dishes does not diminish the quality. That is why you can expect to wait for a table here even in the dead of winter or at three in the afternoon on a Sunday. Spano’s only takes reservations for parties of 7 or more. I have dined here several times and always look forward to returning to try something new off the menu. Parking can be difficult on peak season weekends. It is a BYOB which makes it an even greater value. Try anything on the menu. It is all good
For a recent review of Spano’s Restaurant from 9-28-2015 click here
There are many more great places to eat in Point Pleasant Beach and it was difficult to narrow it down to seven. One is Arugula from Brick that just opened their second location recently in the White Sands, serving excellent Italian cuisine. Another great choice for lunch or dinner is Marlins Café, located on RT 35 on the border of Bay Head. Marlin’s features an extensive lunch and dinner menu and serves liquor. For those who prefer not to leave the Boardwalk there is Jakes Crab House and the newly opened Martell’s Lobster House who feature fresh seafood and cocktails on the boards.
For visitors and locals alike the choices for eating and dining abound in Point Pleasant Beach. Whether it’s a casual lunch on the deck, a fine dining experience in the evening or a lobster roll where the lobster boats dock, it is all here waiting in Point Beach.
In the News: Spectacular New Landmark Restaurant being built in Bay Head will have panoramic Water Views
A Newcomer – Amendment 21
Amendment 21 is named for the repeal of prohibition and is also an amendment to Europa South located behind a doorway on Arnold Ave in the same building. It is a craft brew pub with a unique pub style menu including po’ boys and a burger made with smoked pork belly. It is a great place to watch a game having 5 flat screens. Read more here