Cafe 2825

Cafe 2825 is another of Atlantic City’s little gems. It is a small, family run restaurant serving some of the finest Italian food around. It stands on Atlantic Avenue, just in the shadow of the Tropicana, with a beautiful stained wood front with a black awning that has the name on it. It is very unassuming, which is one of its lures.

The menu is presented in the traditional Italian dining fashion of separating the pasta dish from the meat, or Primi y Secondi. Cafe 2825’s Northern Italian roots are evident in the amount of fungi in the menu as well as the octopus and tripe dishes. Homemade pasta is a specialty.

Complimenting the fine dining cuisine is the family feel of the restaurant.  Chances are you will get a visit from the owner, who is friendly and seems to genuinely care about your entire experience. Add in a nice wine list and you have a great meal.

Call for Reservations.

http://www.cafe2825.com

Chef Vola’s

This mysterious “it” restaurant in Atlantic City lives up to all of the hype, none of which is self created. In fact, Chef Vola’s shuns the limelight.  Before the internet age, when any piece of information is available at a moments notice, Chef Vola’s didn’t publish their phone number anywhere, and they are proud of it.

The restaruant itself is very small inside. Intimate. So intimate in fact that it feels completly natural to strike up a conversation with the parties seated around you.  Want to know what the person to the left of you is eating that looks so good? Just ask. At Chef Vola it is completely expected.  On one of my visits, I saw two couples who were seated next to each other strike up a conversation during the appetizers and by the time one table was leaving they gave each other hugs and exchanged phone numbers.

If you don’t know exactly where it is, you will probably never find it.  Chef Vola’s occupies the basement of a non-descript house on a small side street.  There is no sign on the house to hint at the spectacular dining taking place just inside the door. Once seated, the friendly staff invites you to make yourself at home and then they promptly recite the specials menu from memory.  There are usually somewhere around 15-20 special on any given night.  Any thing you order will be fantastic. Just be sure to save room for some of their famous cakes and pies. The desert list is nearly as long as the specials list, and even more decadent. The food is pricy, but is is a BYOB which brings the total for a gourmet meal a bit lower.  Bring yourself an outstanding Italian Red such as an Amarone or Brunello to really add an exclamation point to what will surely be one of the most memorable meals of your life.

Dominico’s

Domenico’s restaurant in Ventnor.

This corner BYOB is a real find.  A couple of miles downbeach of AC, Dominico’s is an intimate restaurant with no more than 20 tables. The chef is there nightly and makes his rounds around the restaurant, something that is truly appreciated by the customers.  The food is incredible, starting with the long list of specials that changes frequently.  Arancini and Osso Bucco are two standout items from the menu, but I have never been disappointed with a meal at Domenico’s. The fact that it is a BYOB only increases the appeal. It means that the food must really stand on its own and it does. It also means you can spend $30 on a really good bottle of wine that would cost $90 at a restaurant with a liquor liscense.