Atlantic City has done a lot to reinvent itself in recent years. Their casinos are once again a major draw, as are its famous beaches, boardwalk, and many amazing restaurants.
In fact, in the nicest way possible, it seems like Atlantic City is doing its best to follow Las Vegas’ blueprint for becoming a destination not only for gambling but also general tourism. With that said, Atlantic City is not exactly like Las Vegas. It doesn’t have quite the same reputation for “Las Vegas style” food: bigger, fancier, but still gourmet.
But Atlantic City will get there and it will get there soon.
In the meantime, like we said, there are plenty of great places to eat a meal or get a snack in AC. Among the food items for you to find and love are amazing fried foods.
Sure, it may seem strange to highlight fried foods, but cooking something in fat just makes it taste better. Plus, people go to Atlantic City for vacation and when you’re on vacation, all those extra calories don’t count, right?
That’s why I want to help you learn a little more about Atlantic City for the next time you visit.
One of the things that makes a trip to Atlantic City unique is that they offer some really great reasons to stay inside (casinos) and one very big draw that gets people outside: the ocean.
Though a lot of visitors to AC have no problem staying inside the casino and gambling all day, I can’t resist the smell of salt air and no matter what I do inside, I’m going to hit the beach at some point.
Boardwalk Grill doesn’t look like much from the outside, but like so many unassuming places, it serves terrific beach eats including funnel cakes.
Their funnel cakes are great by themselves and also make pretty righteous dippers for some of Boardwalk Grill’s soft serve.
Also, as a bonus, they serve another fried delicacy: egg rolls, which are good if you need a little savory with your sweet.
Keeping things in the boardwalk, the next fried dish we’re going to look at is fried Oreos. At some level, putting fried Oreos on the list may sound a little strange because they’ve been out for a while and may lack a certain spectacle these days.
However, just because they’ve been out for a while shouldn’t detract from the fact that they’re awesome. Plus, even though they are not new, it’s not like they’re exactly common (or even simple to make.)
That’s why we suggest when you’re walking along the boardwalk in Atlantic City, you pick up a fried Oreo or ten from a number of vendors. You can also stop by Joe Rock Café and grab a platter of them absolutely covered in powdered in sugar.
Your teeth may not love you, but your taste buds will.
Not all of the fried foods I recommend are going to be found on the boardwalk, but I also know a good thing when I see it and I see fried Twinkies.
Sundae’s Ice Cream is the place I choose for fried Twinkies (along with fried Oreos and funnel cakes if I’m too lazy to go to the other places on this list.) I like them because I find the whole concept of the fried Twinkie to be gourment perfection because the cake should shrivel up, get tough and dry out.
That’s not the case though. The fried Twinkies are warm and gooey and the perfect sweet treat to accompany some of Sundae’s sundaes.
Atlantic City has a history of serving creative, flavorful, classic, and generally amazing Italian food. This applies to its bakeries, which offer a number of different styles of cannoli. Sadly, we don’t have a Magic vs Mike’s vs Bova cannoli situation like we do in Boston, but there are plenty of good cannolis to go around.
Is the cannoli really a fried food? I say so because they shell is deep fried and filled with delicious cream.
Sound like something you want? Check out Formica’s Bakery & Café for the cannoli of your dreams.
Chicken and Waffles
It’s hard to imagine putting together a list of places to eat in Atlantic City and not even mention Kelsey’s, a soul food restaurant at the top of every foodie list in the area. Fortunately, they serve some amazing southern fried chicken and waffles so they can make this list, too.
Located a little away from the ocean and the casinos, Kelsey’s is more than worth the drive and so are their chicken and waffles. Get them served with chicken wings and extra syrup. It’s totally worth it.
At some level, I could have just put “Pic-A-Lilli” on this list and called it a day. Pic-A-Lilli serves all kinds of things fried and tossed in buffalo sauce. This includes wings, strips, scallops, and something they call “buffalo rolls.”
Buffalo rolls are buffalo chicken cheesesteaks in a wonton wrap, which sounds like something a mad culinary genius would create to make the world a little happier.
Like I said, they do so much more than just buffalo rolls, so don’t be afraid to bring a big appetite and order big there.
If you want great buffalo wings, you can always go to Pic-A-Lilli or find one of another bunch of places to serve them.
I recommend Wing It where you can get one hundred wings for next to nothing and Wingcraft for their many gourmet wing styles.
You can’t go wrong at Wingcraft, but the pick of the litter is the truffle honey sauce or the Alabama white. Neither of them are traditional wing sauces, but that is kind of what makes them so good. Order them with a side of fries or cornbread fritters (both fried) and savor every bite.
Of course, with the ocean right there, the argument is always that you should order fresh fish prepared as lightly as possible.
Then again, the counter argument is that fried food is amazing. Thus, we submit fried oysters as something you absolutely have to try when you head to Atlantic City. For my money, that means going to Harry’s Oyster Bar & Seafood.
Harry’s is known for serving delicious seafood of all kinds, so if you want to enjoy the bounty of the sea, it’s a good place to eat. If you want fried oysters, well they find the best quality product, fry it up and make it delicious.
Given how good seafood can be when fried, we’re going stay in the water and suggest that you head to Kelsey’s sister restaurant, Kelsey & Kim’s for fish and chips.
Just like Kelsey’s does really good Southern and Soul food Kelsey & Kim’s also has a great Southern and Soul menu. This includes a fried fish that has everyone talking about how good it is. Served with a traditional side of fries, the fried fish is a satisfying way to get your fried food.
However, it’s a shame to go to a place known for food like Kelsey & Kim’s and not branch out a little bit. To that end, don’t forget to order coleslaw or collard greens to go with your fried fish. I’m not saying don’t order the fries by any means, I am saying order a side of greens to go with your fish and fries.
You won’t be sorry except for when you start to crave this combo.
Yes, you don’t need to fly all the way to Atlantic City if you want to enjoy fried cheese. You can find fried cheese curds in a lot of places.
However, let me first suggest there’s not a bad time or place to eat cheese curds and, more importantly, you’ll find the cheese curds in a lot of Atlantic City eateries are just really, really good. Amongst the great places you can go for fried cheese in Atlantic City, I recommend heading to Landshark Bar & Grill Atlantic City.
I have a soft place in my heart for Jimmy Buffet-related joints, but I also think they do a great job of serving up delicious food and their white cheese cards are no exception.
No one is going to claim that if you go the places on this list that you’re going to feel healthy and your heart will thank.
Then again, that’s not the point.
This list isn’t about places that keep your arteries soft. It’s about keeping your taste buds happy as you enjoy a full slate of very tasty things dipped in batter or flour and deep fried to golden perfection.
Whether your preferred fried item is sweet like Oreos, funnel cakes or cannolis or you want something savory like a fried cheesesteak, the restaurants of Atlantic City will have something for you.