Nestled among the Jersey Shore, Atlantic Highlands provides breathtaking views of Sandy Hook Bay and the Manhattan skyline. The highest point on the eastern seaboard south of Maine, Atlantic Highlands is also home to dozens of restaurants and activities that are perfect for any appetite, any time of the year.
At just over 1.2 square miles and 2.5 miles of shoreline, it’s easy to walk and explore – no car needed. Most everything is on or connected to 1st Avenue, where you’ll find bakeries, coffee shops, wine bars, breweries and restaurants along with unique boutiques, a classic movie theater, and a marina that will bring you straight to the city. This Victorian town also features countless homes that have been lovingly restored, a pleasure to look at before or after that delicious meal.
As locals, we love to turn the spotlight on local businesses, but also local towns that are bringing it on the home front. Atlantic Highlands’ restaurants and businesses deserve the spotlight, turning this town from a hidden Jersey Shore gem to one that everyone is talking about.
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Where to Eat In Atlantic Highlands
Reminiscent of a posh wine bar in Manhattan, The Wine Bar is located within a second floor, beautiful 4,000 square foot loft space featuring plenty of comfortable seating. Cozy up in one of the soft lounge sofas for Happy Hour and enjoy over 120 labels and 24 wines, small plates, and live piano music or take your sweetheart to the dining room for a romantic evening out. When the weather is warm, the sea breeze flows through the airy French doors open – the perfect pairing with that glass of Merlot from Sonoma that you’ve been meaning to try. 40 1st Avenue, Atlantic Highlands 732-291-1377 www.ahwinebar.com
Located on 1st Avenue, you’ll know Harborside Grill by its expansive outdoor covered dining area. Known for steak and seafood in a warm and cozy steakhouse setting, there’s plenty to choose from whether you’re in the mood for an Italian classic like Penne Ala Vodka or a 10oz New York Sirloin. On Thursday nights, join “Down to the Felt” for a free poker tournament and drink specials – the perfect opportunity to perfect your poker face. 40 1st Avenue, Atlantic Highlands 732-291-0066 http://www.ahwinebar.com/restaurant/index.php
No, they may not be able to waltz right into their store, but The Vintage Cake is well worth looking into, especially if you have any sort of occasion coming up that requires a dessert. Owners and Pastry Chefs, Gina Roselle Broschart and Nancy Lee are well known for creating one-of-a-kind desserts that not only look like a million bucks, but taste like it too. From competing on The Rachel Ray Show to baking up cakes for every type of event from weddings to birthdays, they’re well versed in making your dessert fantasies come true. If you’re smart, check out their upcoming workshops and you’ll get a chance to learn from some of New Jersey’s best! 171 1st Avenue, Atlantic Highlands 732-872-2253 www.thevintagecake.com
Hop in the car and take the 3-minute drive over to Navesink Fishery. This unassuming restaurant located in a strip mall (never underestimate the strip mall!), is a hidden gem in itself. One part fish market, one part restaurant, you’ll always find fresh caught fish, prepared simply and perfectly – all you have to do is BYOB. 1004 NJ-36, Atlantic Highlands 732-291-8017 http://navesinkfishery.com/
Chef Ron Marino has always had a passion for cooking, especially food that makes you feel like you’re enjoying an exceptional Sunday meal at home. Christine’s brings that love to life, with white tablecloths, brick walls, a warm atmosphere, and menu flavors that will keep you coming back for more. 42 1st Avenue, Atlantic Highlands 732-872-4790 https://www.christinesitaliandining.com/
Copper Canyon has brought Southwestern cuisine and drinks to Atlantic Highlands for over a decade. Head Chef and Owner, Michael Krikorian gives diners the full Southwest experience with his delicious crab cakes and a liquor cabinet full of over 150 tequilas (just don’t try them all at once!) 51 1st Avenue, Atlantic Highlands 732-291-8444 https://www.thecoppercanyon.com/
When Renee Dorski opened JUS Organic, her goal was to create a community space, including a unique corner full of toys devoted to the kiddos (there’s even a Kid’s Corner menu), that offered satisfying and delicious food. Stop in for a fresh juice or smoothie or stay a while and enjoy expertly crafted Bowls and Toasts. 135 1st Avenue, Atlantic Highlands 848-254-4686 https://www.jusorganic.com/
Not to be missed, Kunya Siam Thai Restaurant brings the complex flavors and dishes to Atlantic Highlands that will impress both Thai aficionados and newbies alike. Bring your own bottle of wine or beer and enjoy dishes like Siam Duck, Pad Kra Prow Chicken, and Basil Beef all without getting on a plane. 99 1st Ave, Atlantic Highlands 732-291-2397 http://www.kunyasiam.com/
Located right on the water, this breakfast and lunch spot is a favorite for those getting on and off the Seastreak Ferry. Sissy’s at the Harbor has all of your favorites from Banana Pancakes straight off the griddle to omelets and breakfast sandwiches. 8 Simon Lake Drive, Atlantic Highlands 732-291-221Just like its name says, On the Deck is quite literally… on the deck of the marina. Eat, drink, be merry – this is the place to take it all in with the locals, while enjoying the sunsets. 10 Simon Lake Drive, Atlantic Highlands 732-872-1424 https://www.onthedeckrestaurant.com/
Taking over the unofficial title as the neighborhood bakeshop, The Flaky Tart has plenty of artisan pastries and desserts in their case on any given day. Owners (and 2015 James Beard Award Semifinalists) Laura Martelli and Matthew Rosenzweig not only make the area a sweeter place, but they also offer some savory items too if you’re planning on taking your meal outside. 145 1st Ave, Atlantic Highlands 732-291-2555 https://www.theflakytart.com/
Combine the vintage décor of Zoe’s Vintage Kitchen with its enticing menu of home-style breakfasts, cheeseburgers, and more and you’ll quickly realize why there’s a wait out the door. We promise, it’s well worth it. 77 Center Ave, Atlantic Highlands 732-708-9637
A fun place to congregate with friends or even solo, Gaslight Brewery is a welcome addition to the Atlantic Highlands scene, offering unique bar food and plenty of beers (there’s always eight on tap including some of Gaslight’s very own). Check out their U-Brew store too! 33 1st Avenue, Atlantic Highlands 732-291-8333 https://www.gaslightbrewery.net/
Is there ever not a time to try a donut? We don’t think so. At Ridiculous Donuts, you can take in their creative combination donuts that bring together everything from your favorite cereal as a kid to a classic cookie. 183-D 1st Avenue, Atlantic Highlands 732-864-4969 https://ridiculousdonuts.com/
Known for being the home to plenty of special events, The Shore Casino is also open for a la carte dining on Saturday evenings. Located right on the water, you’ll enjoy breathtaking views of picturesque Sandy Hook Bay and New York Harbor. 1 Simon Lake Drive, Atlantic Highlands 732-291-4300 http://www.theshorecasino.com/welcome.html
Stop into Philly’s Famous Cheesesteaks to see just how good the Jersey Shore can make a sandwich made famous in Philly. We will say it here and stand by it – it’s on par, if not better, than the original. 1 West Avenue, Atlantic Highlands 732-291-1400 https://www.facebook.com/PhillysFamousCheesesteaks/
Where to Drink, Play, and Stay in Atlantic Highlands
We can’t put together a guide to Atlantic Highlands without mentioning some of the places you should definitely visit in-between meals. If you’re heading out in the morning, stop by 1st Cup Coffee (1270, 96 1st Avenue, Atlantic Highlands 732-291-2000) for a classic cup of joe or espresso. If it’s closer to happy hour, take a walk over to the converted brick building now known as Carton Brewing (6 E Washington Avenue, Atlantic Highlands 732-654-2337) where their upstairs bar and lounge serves up some of the Jersey Shore’s finest beers.
While strolling along 1st Avenue, there are plenty of boutiques to step into including Bungalow Road (78 1st Avenue, Atlantic Highlands 732-291-2541) where you’ll find plenty of shore items. Sea Ginny’s Beach Jewelry (77 Center Avenue, Atlantic Highlands 732-306-9993) offers one-of-a-kind handmade jewelry featuring items straight off the shore, while Renaissance Emporium (81 1st Avenue, Atlantic Highlands 732-291-9101) is a haven for antique hunters.
Have a few hours to spare? Take in a movie at Atlantic Cinemas (82 1st Avenue, Atlantic Highlands 732-291-0148) or plan to see a play at First Avenue Playhouse (123 1st Ave, Atlantic Highlands 732-291-7552). For those looking to bring a little Zen to their day, be sure to take a class at Selfless Love Yoga Studio (171 1st Avenue, Atlantic Highlands 732-204-2013), with owner and yogi, Lindsay Gunn. Afterwards, stop by the historic Strauss Mansion Museum (27 Prospect Circle, Atlantic Highlands 732-291-1861), known as “The Towers,” an 1893 Queen Ann style home that has been lovingly restored.
No visit to Atlantic Highlands is complete without a stop at Mount Mitchell Scenic Overlook (460 Ocean Blvd., Atlantic Highlands 732-872-0336) where you’ll find yourself on the highest natural elevation (266 feet) on the Atlantic seaboard with stunning views of the Sandy Hook Bay, Raritan Bay, and the NYC skyline. If the weather and timing are right, take a cruise to Manhattan on the SeaStreak Ferry or hop aboard one of the local charters.
With so much to do and see, it’s easy to turn your day trip into an overnight stay, especially with the help of Blue Bay Inn (51 1st Avenue, Atlantic Highlands 732-708-9600). Located right in downtown Atlantic Highlands, there are 27 elegant rooms including Two Bedroom Suites and Executive Suites that can complete your perfect little getaway.