When you come to Atlantic City, casinos aren’t the only places you can find great meals. Eat where the locals eat. Here’s an insiders guide to six landmark Atlantic City restaurants that have withstood the test of time for a reason: they are great.
At the top of the list is the White House Sub Shop, which has been around for more than 65 years. This is not just your ordinary sub shop. This is a place where celebrities such as Bill Cosby, Frank Sinatra, The Beatles, Joe Dimaggio and even Oprah went to feast on some amazing subs served on fresh, locally baked Atlantic City rolls. The regular Italian is what they are known for, but they also make some killer meatball subs and cheesesteaks, too. There’s two locations – the original on Arctic Avenue – and the relatively new location inside Trump Taj Mahal Casino. Subs are all under 10 bucks.
This is a real insiders tip: Chef Vola is a tiny 60-seat gourmet restaurant that has been in the basement of 11 S. Albian Avenue since 1921, serving everyone from Billy Crystal to Mickey Mantle to Derek Jeter and Mr. T! How secret is Chef Vola? For starters, the restaurant's phone number isn't listed, and on busy nights, unless you have some pull or are an established customer, there's a good chance you won't get in. But if you do, you'll be glad you did. The veal rules - especially the chop and the broiled veal sausage with pepper, mushrooms and onions - or try the linguini with white clam sauce. Save room for homemade desserts such as hot apple ricotta cheesecake and the very chilled banana cream pie. Take someone here and impress them. The intimate setting and exclusive aura makes you seem like you're someone special or in a scene from "The Godfather." Plan to spend about $100 for two people.
If it’s pizza you crave, have an inexpensive, unique pizza experience at Tony’s Baltimore Grill near the Tropicana. This Atlantic City institution has been serving thin-crust pizza in town since the 1920s, moving to its downtown location on Atlantic Avenue in the 1960s. Walk in and the place looks just like it did back then with its red leather banquettes, wood paneling, table jukeboxes and old-school charm. The most expensive thing on the menu – the seafood special – is about 12 bucks, and a plain pizza is around $8. Draft beers are super cheap – about 2 bucks – and the Baltimore Grill also has a great red gravy and meatballs.
Another former Sinatra hangout – Angelo’s Fairmount Tavern in the Ducktown section – has been around since 1935, offering traditional Italian food to the masses. While the place has undergone some additions and renovations, it still feels like a time warp to the mid-1900s when you walk in the doors with all of the old wood. The food is the main attraction with signature dishes including clams casino, linguini and crab, steak pizzaiola and pastas. And the prices are right, with most entrees under $20.
Finally, the Dougherty family has two institutions: the Knife and Fork Inn and Dock’s Oyster House. Both are amazing places offering great seafood and steaks, with the Knife and Fork offering more modern interpretations on classics and Dock’s going the more traditional route. Both pricey restaurants offer great service and awesome food. The Knife and Fork has been around since 1912 and Dock's has been around longer – since 1897. Their longevity screams success.