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Belmar Beachcomber Blog


Tasting The Town: Highlights Of The Belmar Restaurant Tour

The 14th annual Belmar Dine & Discover Tour on March 6, 2022, featured 34 diverse dining destinations throughout downtown Belmar, along Ocean Avenue, and on Route 71.

Our tasting adventure started in downtown Belmar at Chef Chris Brandl's namesake BYOB restaurant, Brandl, which is located in Pyanoe Plaza near the bagel Shop and the bookstore. Brandl‘s chef creation for the food tour was short rib and French onion pot stickers.

Next stops: Anchor Tavern, a Chef's International establishment, for chicken salad bites, and then over to Belmar’s locally known "restaurant row," a lineup of six dining spots along the western side of the Belmar Mall building. The delicious diversity of flavors in restaurant row included fajita tacos and spicy macaroni and cheese at 10th Avenue Burrito Company; crispy chicken nuggets at Hoagitos; spicy crab rolls and sweet potato rolls at Kotta Sushi; and homemade meatballs in sauce at Sonny’s Grille. Our last stop in restaurant row was Mr. Greek Mediterranean Cuisine, which showcased several popular menu items, including spinach-feta bites with tzatziki, gyro bites, and hummus with pita chips.

A pour of Swash Belgian white beer followed at Beach Haus Brewery before we headed to the new Jack's By The Tracks for a generous offering that included corned beef Reuben sandwiches, loaded potato soup, loaded chicken fingers, Tracks fries, and assorted flatbreads. Next door, Federici's On 10th served baby arugula salad with lemon-oil dressing and fried shrimp in spicy marinara sauce. Back on Main Street, we enjoyed vanilla scones and chai tea lattes at Sweet Tease Tea Room; slices of plain and white pizza at Federico’s; and assorted churrasco (flame-grilled meats and sausages) at Flames Brazilian Steakhouse.

Stay Gold Café greeted visitors with bites of signature tuna salad (white albacore tuna mixed with dried cranberries and diced apples), chickpea salad (chickpeas, hot sauce, celery, and onion); and cold-brew coffee.

Local watering hole Boathouse Bar & Grill served chicken wings with coconut-chili sauce and pulled pork tacos with salsa verdé and chipotle sour cream sauce. Nearby, Berg’s Smoked Meat & Poutine introduced visitors to a French-Canadian dish known as poutine (French fries and cheese curds smothered with brown gravy – a Québecian take on New Jersey’s beloved disco fries). The poutine was accompanied by smoked pastrami sandwich bites, served open-faced on rye bread with a smear of mustard.

Along the waterfront, we warmed up with small bowls of lobster bisque and Manhattan clam chowder at Klein’s Seafood Restaurant and Waterfront Café. That was followed by stops at the popular Marina Grille, which served Baja tacos (shrimp and spicy fresh chilis with ceviche sauce), and at Ragin' Cajun, a hidden gem of a restaurant on Route 35, across from the mini golf course at the Belmar Marina. Ragin’ Cajun served small plates of blackened chicken bites and crawfish mac and cheese, a nod to the recent Mardi Gras. RELATED: Outdoor Dining With A Water View In Belmar Moving on to the Ocean Avenue restaurants, our visit to La Dolce Vita Italian Seafood Grill included small bowls of Billy’s seafood risotto, one of our favorite entrees, along with servings of gnocchi in pistachio-fennel cream sauce. The popular Playa Bowls offered small portions of four superfruit bowl bases (açaí berry, coconut, green, and pitaya) and a sampling of juices. Inside Playa Bowls, we stopped for a caffeine fix at Coffee Surf Co., where the barista was pouring complimentary cups of 100 percent Columbian coffee, cold brew, and specialty coffee drinks. Next door, Coney Waffle served hand-scooped ice cream in their signature waffle boat, or in a sugar or wafer cone.

Both of Belmar’s Mexican restaurants joined in the food tour’s festivities. The impressive spread at Cielito Lindo included pork pastor, Mexican-style steak, beef quesadillas, chicken mole, fresh guacamole and chips, and pork carnitas. Similarly, El ReyMexican Restaurant, which opened March 6, delighted diners with chicken fajitas, shrimp cocktail on crackers, pork pastor, and spicy shrimp with lime.

RELATED: 7 Must-Try Mexican Restaurants For our sweet tooth, a visit to Main Street Donuts satisfied with doughnut bites in various flavors (Salted Caramel, Fruity Pebbles, Yankee Doodle, and Cookies and Cream). On 10th Avenue, Sweet! confection shop served bites of vanilla cake with chocolate or vanilla buttercream icing, as well as chocolate and vanilla cupcakes.

The newly opened Coney Waffle Cakery on Main Street treated visitors to fudge samples (Oreo, raspberry, mint, peanut butter, and chocolate-peanut butter), along with bites of giant chocolate-chip cookies.

Our last leg of the 2022 Belmar Restaurant Tour concluded with a stop at Mr. Shrimp Seafood Restaurant on Route 71. Owner Vincent Petruzziello always goes all out for this event, and he did not disappoint this year. Visitors nibbled on chilled shrimp cocktail, fresh tuna bruschetta, and Mr. Shrimp’s signature crab dip with bread sticks.

In all, we made it to 29 of the 34 participating Belmar restaurants. Unfortunately, we ran out of time to stop by Bar Anticipation, Joe’s Surf Shack, Mike’s Giant Sus, Nourished by Nature, and Corner Bagelry, but we appreciate the generous and delicious hospitality of all the places that we did get to visit.


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Story and photos © copyright by Christine Cardellino, owner of and publisher of the award-winning Belmar Beachcomber Blog, a travel and tourism guide for the Belmar region of the Jersey Shore. Do not copy any content (including images) without our permission. All rights reserved.


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