Ocean City’s boardwalk is three miles worth of rides (if you’re into that kind of thing), chip sticks from Curly’s Fries (if you’re into that kind of thing), and a generous sprinkling of Kohr’s Brothers custard—ice cream windows that serve sweet stuff that tastes smoother than your Southern cousin’s accent. It’s a perfect place to spend the day with anyone and everyone in your family, but sometimes it’s hard to know exactly which restaurants to go to in order to please everyone.
To rank the foods of Ocean City, I considered taste, atmosphere of restaurants (if applicable), and most importantly, who they would please—your mom who only has an appetite for classics, or your brother who wants to try something new every meal of every day. So here you have it, the best of Ocean City, New Jersey, boardwalk staples and trendy eats ranked with your family members in mind.
15. Blueberry and strawberry topped French toast at Kessel’s Korner
If you’re looking for something simple, buttery, and sweet, French toast at Kessel’s is the way to go. My family has always enjoyed this place, and we split this french toast among us. The butter melts over the cinnamon-y fluffy bread, and the berries keep it fresh and flavorful. Kessel’s also serves lunch, dinner and ice cream with an old-fashioned diner vibe.
14. Tiramusu crêpes at Opa! Gyros and Crepes
A thin crepe folded with strawberries and topped with coffee custard, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar. It’s worth every calorie.
13. Tropical bowl at Yoasis
Another one of my favorite breakfasts (or lunches). Frozen açaí pulp is blended with tropical fruits and topped with coconut, banana, granola, and mango. You will never need ice cream again. (For the record: just because you won’t need it, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have it.)
12. Cheese or Venetian slice at Manco and Manco
My family is stubborn when it comes to Manco and Manco pizza. Nothing beats it. I am a Tony P’s fan myself, but I think what wins them over is the salty and crunchy yet fluffy cheese and crust combination. I prefer the Venetian—garlicky white pizza topped with thinly sliced tomatoes—but I’ll happily indulge in a plain slice with them too.
11. Chocolate dipped mint and chocolate twist at Kohr’s
You didn’t think I would do a ranking of boardwalk eats without Kohr’s, did you? Kohrs Bros has locations all around the boardwalk. Anything dipped in chocolate is obviously going to be the best, and the light, refreshing mint goes perfectly with the crisp and rich chocolaty coating. Also try the orange sherbet or strawberry dipped in chocolate. My family even goes in October for the seasonal fall flavors: cinnamon and pumpkin. It is worth the trip and crisp walk on the boardwalk, I promise.
10. Strawberry parfait with monster cookie and peanut butter pie ice cream at Hobby Horse
This was a last minute order because they didn’t have caramel apple chip ingredients nor the sticky bun ice cream that I initially wanted. But the combo resulted in a fruity, creamy, chocolatey PB and J that made me so unbelievably happy.
9. All fruit parfait at Bashful Banana
It’s the healthy version of my ice cream parfait, featuring what look and taste like layers of sorbet, but are in fact made completely out of fruit. Frozen bananas are blended with raspberries, then blueberries, then strawberries to make this light, sweet dessert. But as good as it is, you might want to share yours, it’s a lot of fruit.
Although you could definitely save money and whip your own nana, if you’re in Ocean City, why not treat yourself? For something smaller (the parfait is 16 oz), try the pretzel whip which has peanut butter drizzle, all fruit fudge sauce (it’s real and it tastes like chocolate), and pretzels.
8. Tony P’s Special at Tony P’s House of Pie
If a food has “special” and the restaurant name in the title, you know it’s gonna be good. This is not your classic bullseye pie that you can find at other places on the boardwalk. It is topped with white cheddar cheese, barbecue chipotle sauce, horseradish sauce, jalapeños, mushrooms, onions, chives, and bacon. The sweet and slightly spicy BBQ sauce goes perfectly with the creamy and tart horseradish, while the bacon provides a salty crunch. The veggies make it healthy(-ish?) and add an earthy fresh flavor.
My family thinks I’m crazy for wanting to order this, and always settles for a plain pie (which is delicious too). But if you go, throw your inhibitions to the curb and try the special.
7. The Honey Donut at Brown’s
This place is a classic. Run down to the very end of the boardwalk (seriously you’re gonna want to get moving before eating these), and treat yourself to the most melt-in-your-mouth donuts in OCNJ. They offer powdered, cinnamon, vanilla glazed, chocolate glazed, plain, and honey, and you cannot go wrong with any of the flavors (except maybe plain).
My family members all have their own favorites, but mine has to be honey. If you like baklava, that is the donut for you. The honey sinks into the crispy fried coating and the inside melts in your mouth. Another morsel of important information: they have the best blueberry pancakes.
6. Cinna Yum and eggs benedict at Yianni’s
This one speaks for itself: cinnamon swirl bread topped with fresh strawberries, blueberries, and cream cheese frosting. The best thing to do is to split that and a perfectly executed eggs benedict with someone.
5. Bistro frittata at Jon and Patty’s Coffee Bar and Bistro
I ordered the frittata with squash and peppers and cheddar cheese. It was the fluffiest frittata I’ve ever had, and it was served warm with great bread. This place can satisfy even the pickiest family. My sister loved her chocolate chip pancakes; my dad was a fan of his huge bacon and cheese omelet, and my mom and brother had some really fresh avocado toast with mozz, tomato, onion, and fried egg.
4. Chicken cacciatore at Piccini
I ordered the pictured escarole and white bean pasta which was absolutely delicious, but my enitre family agreed that the best meal was my brother’s chicken cacciatore. There was so much depth to the flavor.
3. Falafel pita at Opa!
I went back to Opa! after I had that heavenly caffeinated crêpe and finally ordered something (arguably) more substantial. The falafel was so so flavorful and whatever you do, you have to get the tzaziki sauce: so creamy, and just the right amount of tangy. With the crunch of the tomato and lettuce alongside the fluffy pita, this well-seasoned falafel earns its place as the third best eat in OCNJ.
2. Anything at OC Surf Cafe
Anything you order here will send you surfiing on waves of bliss. Cheesy, I know, but wait until you try the Tony the Tiger French Toast that’s crusted with Frosted Flakes, or the feta, roasted red pepper, and egg on a wheat wrap, or french toast stuffed with sausage, egg, and cheese, or a pristine breakfast burrito (pictured above), or pancakes that you could sleep on they are so soft and fluffy.
Yes, you need to come here. Not only is it delicious, but it’s decked out in cute surfer decor that will make you feel like you’re at (a hipper version of your) home.
1. Bear claw at Dot’s Pastry Shop
First of all, Dot’s cinnamon buns are perfection: sticky, buttery and just the right level of sweetness. Their donuts are not heavy and the glaze adds texture to the crispy, fluffy dough. The bear claw has to take the cake (err…claw?) though. It is just flaky enough to be fluffy, with a thin layer of creamy icing and cinnamon goodness in the center.