Surf (and Turf) City

A.C. has upped its fine dining game with world-class options in trendy seaside setting

Philadelphia has a well-earned rep as a food destination. The mix of cultures and cuisines makes it a wonderland capable of satisfying any foodie’s dreams. However, just about an hour east is another food destination that is often overlooked − Atlantic City. I know AC may not be the glitz and glamor spot it used to be, but if you’re looking for great food, it’s got plenty to offer.

Spots like Carmine’s or Knife and Fork Inn have been praised for years, but recently more restaurants with great reputations have set up shop in AC, such as the world-famous NOBU, an upscale Japanese fusion restaurant co-founded by Robert DeNiro and Japanese-born chef Nobu Matsuhisa that is frequently visited by celebrities in New York and LA. The new outpost in Caesars Hotel and Casino overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and offers striking views thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows.

NOBU’s menu includes an array of nigiri, sashimi and sushi offerings as well as several of Chef Nobu’s signature dishes, like Yellowtail Jalapeno, Toro Tartare with Caviar, Rock Shrimp Tempura with Creamy Spicy sauce, and of course the Black Cod with Miso. (Pro tip: Keep an eye out for seasonal specials featuring fish from New Jersey waters, like Big Eye tuna in September, fluke in the summer and local Tilefish or Amadai in the spring.)

The drink menu at NOBU is equally adventurous, featuring a long list of top-shelf sake, whiskey and wine, along with signature cocktails like the Lychee & elderflower Martini (a mix of Haku Vodka, Lychee & St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur) and the Smokin’ Aces (Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur, Agave Lemon & Cantaloupe).

Another great dining experience new to Caesars is Hell’s Kitchen. Like Gordon Ramsay’s long-running TV show, the restaurant is themed with pitchforks and an open-concept red and blue kitchen so diners can see their food being made, with each kitchen specializing in different courses. What makes the restaurant even more exciting for fans of the show is that the winner of season 21 (which wraps Feb 9th on Fox & Hulu) will become the new head chef of Hell’s Kitchen Atlantic City, an incredible career opportunity that comes with a quarter of a million dollar salary.

I recently scored a reservation to the restaurant and got to experience some of Chef Ramsay’s most well-known dishes for myself. As we entered, the hostess asked if we were fans of the show and assured us that the victorious chef would not be taking over until a winner is officially announced (ever-careful not to spoil the surprise for the TV fans).

For our dinner, we started with appetizers of the wagyu meatballs with polenta croutons and the pan-seared scallops with bacon and pickled granny smith apples, which are a staple on the show’s dinner service. While I don’t eat seafood, I couldn’t resist trying the dish.

For our entrees, we ordered the famous beef wellington and a 6oz filet mignon. As if the food couldn’t get any better, dessert stole the show with a sticky toffee pudding paired with dulce de leche ice cream and caramel sauce, which the server explained was Gordon’s mother’s recipe.

We couldn’t resist the specialty cocktails either and both ordered Notes from Gordon, a gin drink mixed with green tea, almond liqueur lemongrass, peach, lemon, and an accompanying note from Gordon with one of his lovely insults written on it.

The restaurant featured a fixed-price menu option which allowed you to pick from a limited list of menu items and receive a wine pairing with each of the three courses. If you’re unsure what to get, or are set on Chef Ramsay’s most famous specialties like the scallops and beef wellington, this is a great choice.

There are so many Philadelphia restaurants within steps from my door, and many more I want to try. But if you’re looking for a change of scenery or a memorable night down by the ocean, give Atlantic City a quick visit for some amazing culinary experiences — with Valentine’s Day coming up, here’s a perfect excuse for a getaway. 💝🥂

Image credit: Caesar’s Atlantic City Facebook

FEATURED IN THIS POST: 

Carmine’s: The Original NYC Family-Style Italian Restaurant
3600 Atlantic Ave – (609) 344-1133
Menu & Reservations:  carminesnyc.com/locations/Atlantic-city

Knife & Fork Inn
2801 Pacific Ave – (609) 572-9300
Menu & Reservations:  knifeandforkinn.com

NOBU Atlantic City
2100 Pacific Ave – (609) 317-2115
Menu & Reservations:  nobuestaurants.com

Hell’s Kitchen at Caesar’s
2100 Pacific Ave – (609) 317-2110
Menu & Reservations:  gordonramsayrestaurants.com

COMMENTS WELCOME! Have you been to any of these places? I’d love to know what your favorite drinks and dishes are (and which could use some work). Always open to your tips and recommendations for great local dining! Please chime in below, or catch up with me on Instagram, @gingersliketoeat. Read up on Atlantic City’s latest development boom as detailed this summer in NJ Monthly magazine.

About Eleni Finkelstein 21 Articles
Eleni Finkelstein (aka @gingersliketoeat on Instagram) is a South Jersey and Philadelphia-based food blogger and journalist. She loves traveling, trying new foods, and cheering on Philly sports teams. You can check out her book, "Eat Like a Local: South Jersey" on Amazon.

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