5 Restaurants Worth Going Off-Boardwalk For in Atlantic City

1. Gilchrist - Breakfast and lunch outdoor waterfront dining
804 N. Rhode Island Ave. (next to the Aquarium), (609) 345-8278, open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. everyday
Craving a traditional, hearty breakfast, but can't find anything low-key and delicious on the boardwalk or in your hotel? I had this exact problem this week—at the Showboat, the only breakfast option on weekday mornings in the off season is dodgy breakfast sandwiches from the, um, Earl of Sandwich by the bus depot. I'd heard all about local spot Gilchrist, on the other side of town, near the aquarium, so one sunny morning, I took a $10 cab ride for some $6 blueberry pancakes—and wow, I'd do it everyday if I could.

Situated on the water, guests have the option of dining indoors or outside (they have heat lamps for cooler mornings). The service is efficient and friendly and it's a great morning respite from the hustle and bustle of the boardwalk. Here's my breakfast view—not bad, eh?

Don't miss the thin-and-slightly-crispy-around-the-edges blueberry pancakes and the fresh and fluffy omelettes at Gilchrist. If you have kids, take 'em to hang with the sea creatures afterwards at the Atlantic City Aquarium next door (open at 10 a.m. every day).

2. White House Sub Shop - Now with two locations!
2301 Arctic Ave. (about a seven-minute walk from Caesar's), (609) 345-8599, open Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday through Sunday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. - or in the Trump Taj Majal

The original White House Sub Shop on Arctic Avenue has been there since 1946—and is definitely worth a visit for its tantalizing super-stuffed sandwiches—but if you're staying in a hotel on the Boardwalk or don't want to tear yourself away from the gaming floor for too long, White House has recently opened an outpost in the Trump Taj Mahal (upstairs, past the Starbucks).

If you're picking up a White House Sub for lunch (or breakfast, or dinner, or, heck, all three) here are three we love: the White House Famous Italian sub ($7.50 for half—above—yes, that whole thing is half a sub, the "whole sub" is, like, two feet long), the veggie supreme (a hot sub), and the cheese steak sub—which we hear rivals some of the best in Philadelphia!

3. Angelo's Fairmount Tavern - Old School Italian in an environment that'll make you feel right at home
2300 Fairmount Ave. (two blocks from White House Subs), (609) 344-2439, open for lunch every day 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., dinner service Monday through Friday from 5 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays from 4:30 p.m.

Angelo's Fairmount Tavern is a longtime Atlantic City establishment that serves up delicious Italian classics—between us we had the amazing (and generously portioned) lobster ravioli, manicotti, and shrimp-and-spinach pasta.

Here's Caitlin M. photographing her giant meatball at Angelo's:

The service is friendly, entrees are priced around $20 to $30, and the wine list is reasonable. But the real reason we love Angelo's is for its laid-back atmosphere. The restaurant is divided into a series of rooms, each decorated in different motifs—there's a room filled with baseball paintings, a room of family portraits, and a front room filled with photos of Frank Sinatra and paintings of cats playing chess. It's a great homey place just a short walk from the lights of the boardwalk when you feel like a nice sit-down meal without all the flash and drama of the casino scene.

4. Kelsey's - Sit-down Soul Food with live entertainment
1545 Pacific Ave., (609) 344-2200, open Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Sundasy 4 p.m. to 12 a.m., Fridays and Saturdays 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.

After about 36 hours in Atlantic City, it started to seem like every dining option around fell into one of these four categories: Italian red sauce, generic pan-Asian, steak, or seafood. If you're in the mood for something different—maybe, soul food, perhaps?—head on over to Kelsey's, one of Atlantic City's newest fine dining restaurants. Run by the same folks who own the two-location Kelsey & Kim's, this is the couple's first sit-down white-tablecloth place.  Must-tries: The crab cakes and the "Bang Bang Shrimp."

5. Chef Vola's - Jay-Z and Beyonce are regulars at this in-home restaurant
111 S. Albion Pl., (609) 345-2022, reservations only - no walk-ins

This time around, we heard about Chef Vola's too late to score a table during our visit, but we loved what we learned and can't wait to come back next time we're in the area. Here's what we know: Chef Vola's is a home restaurant that serves some of the best Italian food around—the joint scores a Zagat 26/30 for food—and Jay-Z always makes sure to stop in when he's in Atlantic City. The family-run business has an epic menu—and even though there's a phone number listed for reservations (no walk-ins!), we were told it's really hard (if not impossible) to score a time slot without knowing someone who knows someone. We'd recommend trying to get your hotel concierge to help you out with this one. It's definitely on our list.

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