When looking for an authentic Italian restaurant, you generally want to go somewhere that tastes like homestyle cooking mom used to make.
At Angelo’s Fairmount Tavern, you get all the ambience of a homestyle Italian restaurant. Tons of pictures adorn the walls in the smaller, separated rooms filled with tables, making it commonplace and appropriate to eat next to a Rocky Marciano poster.
An eatery that Frank Sinatra once frequented, Angelo’s has been around since 1935, and it shows in the decor and layout. Tables are nicked, bathrooms are tiny and ceilings are low.
The restaurant has a slightly rustic vibe, as it pairs $20 to $30 entrees with paper napkins and placemats and plastic drinking mugs.
Despite its age, the restaurant makes updates where it needs to and keeps a cozy atmosphere.
There are plenty of dining areas to accommodate guests, with separated walls that keep your dining experience quiet. Then there is a full bar that welcomes everyone waiting for a table and shiny wood finishes that make you feel like you’re eating at a family member’s house.
But what’s really important is the food.
Browsing the specials menu at Angelo’s, a diner may balk at the $32 lobster ravioli. But, the server says that’s the specialty at Angelo’s, and perhaps that’s why it costs more than some of the more meager meals.
You can still get cheese ravioli or cheese manicotti for just $12.25, which is pretty inexpensive.
But then, there are dishes that wow you. The linguine and crab ($20.75), served with choice of scampi, Fra Diavolo or marinara sauces, comes with some of the biggest lumps of crabmeat you’ll find anywhere in the city. Portions are definitely on the generous side at Angelo’s.
What We Liked: Angelo’s has some tasty appetizers to choose from that you may not expect a typical Italian restaurant to have. Perhaps this is where the “tavern” part of the name comes in handy. Fried green beans ($6.75) come with a fluffy horseradish sauce for dipping. But make sure you have a drink handy, because these green beans are spicy. The crushed red pepper is visible throughout the breading that covers the vegetable and gives it quite the kick.
Shrimp Jammers ($7.25) were another surprise on the Italian menu. Stuffed with Monterey Jack cheese, breaded and deep-fried, the dish was a perfect setup and left plenty of room for the entree. The shrimp had a chewy texture, but paired well with the cheese, which let the jammers melt in your mouth.
It’s just as important to judge a restaurant by its bread, and Angelo’s does well here, too. The assorted breads are light and pair well with the olive oil that comes on your table.
One area where Angelo’s goes above and beyond is on its dessert menu. There are more than 15 options, plus Italian ice creams and coffee drinks to choose from.
Take the cannoli ($4.25), where the ricotta cheese and crust is fresh and decadent and is a sweet ending to your meal.
What We Didn’t Like: The eggplant Florentine ($16). The eggplant comes sliced and breaded in three to four layers at the bottom, with a heaping pile of spinach on top, then covered in a melted layer of provolone. Spinach took up the bulk of the height of the dish and could have come a little lighter, but the breading of the eggplant was tastefully seasoned and made it worth digging through the spinach to try. A side of linguini came cooked perfectly al dente and rounded out the dish.
What It Cost Us: After two sodas, two appetizers, two entrees and a dessert, the final bill came to $64.20, plus tip.
Insiders Tip: Free parking is available in two lots behind the restaurant, which is just one quick turn off the Atlantic City Expressway, so getting there is no hassle and you’re even left within walking distance of The Walk outlets to burn off all those calories you just ate.
The Bottom Line: Overall, Angelo’s is a must-try when it comes to Atlantic City’s landmark restaurants. With a history lasting more than 70 years - and plenty of historical photos on the walls – Angelo’s has perfected its menu and continues to have a line out the door for dinner, particularly on weekends and throughout the summer.