Inside Atlantic City’s newest, hottest restaurants, entertainment, and attractions our insider knows the ideal venues for maximum fun in “America’s Playground.” This time, we focus on the city’s most recent additions.
Fall Into AC
Atlantic City Casinos celebrating anniversaries this year means extra promotions and related fun food and libations. It’s been 45 years since the late television impresario Merv Griffin opened Resorts as Atlantic City’s first legal gambling house. Borgata is marking its 20th year, while for Ocean, its five years since purchasing and rebranding Revel. Resorts and Ocean’s anniversary-themed bars (Lounge 78 and The Birthday Bar, respectively), sparkle with festive decorations and perks. In fall, football and Halloween dominate, with venues and sportsbooks all getting in on the action via specials, parties, and seasonal eats. Check websites for specifics.
Take a spin on the lobby’s all-new Carousel Bar, New Jersey’s only 360-degree revolving bar, while sipping craft cocktails evoking Carmel Corn, Cotton Candy, and funnel cake. On the Atlantic City boardwalk level, The Yard, a large indoor/outdoor beer garden, music/event space, and gastropub opened last year, replacing Harry’s restaurant and instantly becoming a lively hotspot. Sixth-floor dining now includes the Casino Café and Grille, serving breakfast and lunch, including the photogenic Stuffed and Stacked French Toast, a loaf of lusciousness that serves 10-12.
Wolfgang Puck’s and Bobby Flay Steak have departed. The American Bar & Grille now occupies Puck’s space, while B Prime Steakhouse opened last year in Flay’s location. The subterranean 24-hour Food Hall Eatery now offers fast casual options and communal seating, along with a daiquiri bar. Visit the Borgata at Atlantic City.
“One-of-a-kind new experiences” were announced in Atlantic City early September, when the California-themed Sandpiper Coastal Grill in the former Roberts Steakhouse space temporarily closed. The venue’s High Limit Slot area and adjacent Plum VIP Lounge in the Hard Rock will be renovated, enhanced, and expanded for a late Fall debut. The Fresh Harvest Buffet upstairs has added a seafood buffet on Thursdays.
Harrah’s, Tropicana, and Caesar’s are all undergoing upgrades under owner Caesar’s International. Part of Caesar’s Centurion Tower will soon become a Nobu hotel, joining namesake Chef Nobu Matsuhisa’s new location of his acclaimed Japanese restaurant, here sporting ocean views. Sixteen-time Michelin-starred Chef Gordon Ramsay’s British-themed Pub & Grill was recently joined by the high-concept Hell’s Kitchen eatery mimicking Ramsay’s television series, with an open kitchen as the focal point. THE HOOK by Spiegelworld, opened in Atlantic City in July, is an adults-only entertainment and dining venue with locations in Las Vegas and Reno. Enter through the restored boardwalk façade of the 1929 Warner Theater, dine at Superfrico, an “interactive Italian-American-Psychedelic” restaurant, and visit the Horse Dive Bar, named for the old Steel Pier novelty act. Live performances feature comedy, aerialists, and burlesque. Reservations required.
June saw the grand opening of New York’s popular Dos Caminos restaurant in a colorfully redesigned casino space where The Grotto once reigned. In the Golden Nugget, Atlantic City, this upscale Mexican restaurant uses Oaxacan Sea Salt harvested by hand from the Pacific Ocean and serves award-winning Margaritas.
Hailing from Reno, La Strada at the Atlantic City shore opened in May in the former Martorano space, featuring contemporary Italian cuisine, and homemade pastas and mozzarella. Two Food Network stars also opened fast casual spots here last year at Harrah’s. Iron Chef Bobby Flay cut the ribbon on his Bobby’s Burgers personally, while Guy Fieri’s Chicken Guy! is AC’s latest Mayor of Flavortown entry.
Purchased by Philadelphia developer Bart Blatstein shortly after gambling ceased here in 2014, Showboat in Atlantic City has been completely reimagined. The casino floor now houses the 60,000 square-foot Lucky Snake Arcade featuring a high-performance Raceway, virtual reality, mini-golf, myriad arcade games, bars, events, and music.
At The Row shops, new retailer Bottled is holding regular tastings. Patrons love the Enomatic wine dispensers, spirits, and gifts. Seinfeld’s “Soup Nazi” actor Larry Thomas appeared at this summer’s opening of The Soup Spot, located next to Hawaiian-themed Makai and a new Starbucks. New York’s Serendipity3 is now whipping up its legendary Frozen Hot Chocolate in the former Café 500, also serving brunch, dinner, and late-night fare.
Harry “Dock” Dougherty opened the city’s legendary Dock’s Oyster House in 1897. Acquiring the nearby historic Knife & Fork in 2005, the Dougherty Family has been synonymous with Atlantic City fine dining. In 2021, they took over Gallagher’s Steak House, now Dougherty’s Steakhouse & Raw Bar. Resorts is also home to New Jersey’s only Margaritaville complex with a main restaurant plus the Landshark Bar & Grill on the beach. Toast its founder, the late, great tropical troubadour, Jimmy Buffett.
Tropicana opened the newest dining options this year. Ossu Japanese Tavern now occupies Iron Chef Jose’ Garces’ former Okatshe. Garces’ adjacent restaurant Olon reopened as Il Verdi, serving refined Italian with a raw bar and ocean views. Irish bar RiRa’ is now Wild Honey Smokehouse and Tavern. Enjoy “twisted farm food and cocktails with a Midwest flair” at Hash House a Go-Go, located in the former Fiesta Buffet/Seaside Café. The Purple Zebra daiquiri bar joins the ground floor Marketplace, where Casa Taco & Tequila Bar serves an eye-popping array of its namesake spirit. In The Quarter, Gin Rickey’s hosts sing-alongs and dueling pianos in the former Farmers’ Almanac space. Opened in September, The Royce Social Hall in the former Providence Night Club is a “beer hall and adult rec room” filled with games, entertainment, VIP lounges, and a proprietary 44-ounce Cowboy Hat Cocktail the whole table can share.