Southern Ocean County is a fantastic place to visit. Pristine beaches, alluring attractions, great shopping, and of course, fantastic restaurants. People might think Manhattan is the place to go for an excellent dining experience, but the city’s overpriced cuisine doesn’t compare to the Jersey experience.
Want to find the perfect place to eat at the shore but don’t know how to start looking? How do you determine what is and is not a great restaurant? Here’s what we look for:
1) Their Specialty
Tastes vary, so there is no right answer here except what you prefer. If you are looking for a restaurant in our area, you’ll be able to choose from Italian, German, Indian, Mexican, traditional American fare, and many others – and of course the shore’s specialty, seafood. Get a sense for what your chosen establishment specializes in and you’ll be well on your way to choosing the best.
2) Their Location
Under normal circumstance, you’d drive anywhere for a great meal. That makes sense. After all, what does it matter where you are as long as you’re getting a great dining experience? But in the case of seeking out good fare at the Jersey Shore, obviously location matters. Are you somewhere where you’ll see the summer sun? Can you smell the salt air? Will you be lucky enough to have waters views while you eat? All of these are important part of the shore dining experience, so look for places in attractive locations when seeking out a a great new spot near Manahawkin or Forked River.
3) Their Atmosphere
Atmosphere is one of the most important parts of the dining experience. The type of atmosphere you prefer can vary, of course. There is no right answer here, either. You might want a refined, elegant experience. You might prefer lively and upbeat and fun. You might like casual and homey and friendly. What is important is that you have a good understanding of the kind of atmosphere you’re looking for, and that you look for a spot that suits your needs.
4) Their Prices
They say you can’t put a price on a good experience in Forked River or beyond, but that just isn’t true. In today’s economy, prices matter. What constitutes “expensive” is subjective, of course, so only you can be the judge of what is or is not too much. The important thing is to find an establishment that makes you feel as if your money was well spent. Did you walk away satisfied? Did you have an enjoyable night? Did you like the food? Would you return? If the answer to most or all of those questions was yes, the price was probably right.
5) Their Food
You might think it weird that we list this one last, but that’s only because finding the best restaurant in Barnegat, Manahawkin or other Southern Ocean County communities is about much more than just their food. Without a great atmosphere, good service, a great location and more, great food is only half the experience. That said, you DO want great food, so when all is said and done you’ve got to take this into consideration, too.
Good luck in your hunt!