Updated: Click here for information on the 2018 Belmar Restaurant Tour. Tickets on sale now. Twenty-degree temperatures didn’t deter the hungry crowds from enjoying the 9th annual Belmar Restaurant Tour on Sunday, March 12. We have participated in this event every year since it started. It’s a fun way to spend a late-winter, post-NFL Sunday afternoon, sampling small bites and chef’s creations at Belmar’s diverse array of casual, pub-style, and fine-dining eateries.
Our first stop on the tour is always La Dolce Vita Italian Seafood Grill on Ocean Avenue, which this year served homemade butternut squash gnocchi with tender braised pork. Next door, La Terrazza Cucina Rustica & Bar was serving its signature pizza.
From there, we made our way to Klein’s Fish Market and Waterside Cafe, which provided a warm welcome in its enclosed, heated outdoor bar with live music and hot Manhattan or New England clam chowder.
Our path then led us downtown and to Pyanoe Plaza for several stops. We visited 10th Avenue Burrito Co. (shredded chicken or beef soft tacos), Beach Haus Brewery (flight of light and dark beer samples), Brandl (mini beef wellingtons), Federici’s on 10th (penne with vodka sauce), Jack’s Tavern, Simply Southern (crab and corn chowder), Stay Gold Café (chicken or tuna salad with a side of romaine, walnut and cranberry salad), and Twisted Tapas (corned beef bites).
We were excited to see Hoagitos taking part in the tour for the first time this year and scoring big with its delicious serving of Cajun-fried chicken thigh sandwiches. Jersey Shore BBQ’s friendly hospitality and award-winning chicken wings in mild, medium and hot (honey-jalapeno, yum!) made for another delightful stop as we rounded third base on the tour.
Our tradition is to end the tour with two final stops: Mr. Shrimp Seafood Restaurant and Market and Turnstile Coffee. The owners of Mr. Shrimp always go the extra mile to provide a memorable restaurant tour experience, and we enjoyed this year’s small bites of sliced pepper tuna with wasabi slaw and king crab and lobster risotto. At Turnstile, a currant-oat scone accompanied by a hot cup of craft-roasted specialty coffee provided the perfect ending to a fun — and filling! — day.
Regrettably, we missed a few of our usual stops this year, because we forgot to spring forward Saturday night and got a slightly late start. (Note for next year!) I did make sure to grab current menus and business cards from the restaurants we visited to update our stash in the kitchen drawer, where we also keep printed copies of the Belmar Dining Guide for our vacation rental guests.
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