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The Foodie’s Guide to Fine Dining in Cape May NJ

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Cape May NJ has one of the best food scenes at the Jersey Shore. Now I’m not belittling huge pizza slices (I’m the biggest boardwalk pizza fan ever) or soft-served ice cream, I promise, but if you want to overindulge on a good meal, then Cape May is definitely your place.

However, Cape May has so many wonderful restaurant that sometimes it’s hard to make a concrete decision on where to eat. I know I’m guilty of never deciding where and what to eat until the very last minute.

I wanted to add this post to my website, because … well, who doesn’t love to hear about food? I definitely hope that I help you pick the best fine dining options for you and your family. Cape May’s food scene is so near and dear to my heart, after all. I’ve lost track on the amount of good memories that I’ve had here.

fine dining in cape may nj at peter shields
Who could say “no” to this tuna tartare at Peter Shields?

Fine Dining in Cape May NJ

Fine dining in Cape May is a unique experience given that most of the restaurants are inside beautiful historic Victorian homes. Very different from the stereotypical NJ beach town. You’ll feel elegant.

In this guide, I am going to talk about some of my favorite places for a high class dinner in Cape May. Honestly, I don’t think you can go wrong with any of them, but they are all a little bit different.

Before I get into different places to eat, I want to talk a little more about the actual experience of eating well in Cape May NJ.

fine dining in cape may nj includes unique octopus dishes

What I Love About Fine Dining in Cape May NJ

So why should you even spend your money on fine dining in Cape May NJ?

First and foremost, many fine dining restaurants support local farms and food suppliers. I’m huge on keeping money circulating within the local economy rather than gigantic global corporations. Will you spend a little more than you would if you cooked at your rental the entire week? Sure (more on that later). But if you can afford it, you’re not only savoring an exquisite meal, but you’re supporting jobs in Cape May county.

Fine dining in Cape May NJ is also versatile. Whether you’re doing a romantic getaway or a fun Cape May girls weekend, you will definitely find a restaurant that suits your needs, because soooo many of them exist. Cape May thrives on tourism. The food scene reflects this reality.

And who can say “no” to the experience of being served well prepared and much loved food? Not me!

cocktails are delicious in cape may
Not the Cheapest Drink in Cape May.

What Should I Budget for Fine Dining in Cape May

Eh, the downside is obviously that fine dining in Cape May NJ is expensive. I know I’m saying nothing new and earth-shattering here, but still. And unfortunately, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, many restaurants eliminated their Happy Hours and Early Bird specials.

For two people, you want to budget at least $200 for food and drinks. Ouch, right? My advice is to see fine dining in Cape May as a special treat, and try not to stress too much about what you’re spending per item. Unless you’re dining out every night and have massive credit card debt looming over your head, there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to a lovely meal on vacation.

Now, if you’re on a strict budget or paying for a family, then I suggest doing your research in advance. Some restaurants may have Happy Hour for limited hours in the middle of the week (not prime Saturday hours). A lot of Cape May establishments are also BYOB, so you can save on alcohol costs if you wisely choose your restaurant.

Be smart and savvy, but at the same time, don’t feel guilty about treating yourself.

fine dining in cape may nj has some great interior design
Welcome to Beautiful Provence.

Fine Dining in Cape May NJ: My Favorite Restaurants

In this guide, I’ve listed a couple of great restaurants that you ought to consider for your vacation to Cape May. Keep in mind that some of these restaurants may have limited hours in shoulder season and might be closed entirely in Cape May in winter. You will need to check opening times on your own, as these change every single year.

Furthermore, I haven’t eaten at all the great restaurants in Cape May. Not by a long shot. I’m hoping to continually add to this list, but am also willing to take suggestions from you guys!

Let’s get started!

delicious dessert at 410 bank street
Fine Dining in Cape May NJ includes Dessert!

410 Bank Street Restaurant

410 Bank Street has been a Cape May establishment since 1984 and offers upscale Creole-Caribbean cuisine. Whatever you do don’t miss out on their bread pudding. Yum. This charming restaurant has been considered a New Jersey Choice restaurant for several years in a row. And if you’re looking to save some money? You’re in luck because 410 is a BYOB!

peter shields is one of the nicest places to eat in cape may

Peter Shields Inn & Restaurant

Peter Shields Inn is one of those restaurants that I have a soft spot for considering I’ve celebrated many important birthdays here. Peter Shields is unique because it supports local wineries by featuring their products on the menu, but you’re also more than welcome to bring your own wine with you at no additional cost. At Peter Shields, you will want to dress smartly. The restaurant is located inside a luxury property, and you don’t want to look like you’ve just rocked up from the beach. Personally, I love their scallops.

fine dining in cape may nj includes cape may courthouse

Provence (in Cape May Court House)

Provence is located a little outside Cape May City in Cape May Court House. I promise you, though, that the drive is worth it, especially if you’re like me and absolutely love French cuisine. The restaurant’s website says that their property evokes the feeling of a French chateau and as someone who has visited Versailles, I definitely love their aesthetic! At Provence, you will enjoy a tasting menu with plenty of unique options, but make sure you have at least two hours set aside to savor your meal. You will not rush here.

  • You can find Provence on 2 N. Main Street in Cape May Court House.
you will eat a lot of fresh seafood in cape may
Gorgeous Salmon Dish.

The Black Duck on Sunset

Another wonderful option outside of Cape May City is The Black Duck on Sunset. This Asian-American restaurant is set in an open and airy home with ceiling fans that feels cool even at the height of the summer. Definitely come here for the crab cakes — which is one of their specialities. And if you’re looking to save some money, the good news is that this is another BYOB! Needless to say, the Black Duck on Sunset is a great spot to end a day trip in West Cape May.

go to the ebbitt room for a cape may girlfriends weekend
It’s Time for Happy Hour!

The Ebbitt Room

The Ebbitt Room is a Cape May classic particularly at Christmas time when the bar is scrumptiously decorated for the holidays. The Ebbitt Room’s strong farm-to-table philosophy means that most of the product is sourced directly from Beach Plum Farm, right in West Cape May! You can’t get any fresher than that! At The Ebbitt Room, don’t miss the deviled eggs, which routinely change on the menu. You will be delighted and surprised.

cape may has lots of fantastic desserts
Please Visit Cape May for this Sundae.

The Washington Inn

Last but not least is The Washington Inn which was my introduction to fine dining in Cape May NJ. I absolutely love this restaurants historic building which was first constructed in 1846. Now the Washington Inn is one of the most popular fine dining establishments in all of Cape May! As of this posting, The Washington Inn still hosts Happy Hour at their bar. If you don’t want to spend money on a full dinner, be sure to check out Happy Hour for some cocktails and appetizers!

plenty of safe hotels to stay in in cape may nj

Do you have any other suggestions for fine dining in Cape May NJ? I’m always eager to try new food and places! Definitely reach out and let me know. 

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