By Kathy YL Chan
People go to Atlantic City for a few reasons: the casinos, the boardwalk, and the shows. But until recently, finding a decent meal was not high on their list. With this summer’s much anticipated opening of the Revel Resort, which in turn meant an influx of celeb-chefs, AC’s food scene has taken a turn for the better.
There are six fine dining restaurants at the iconic Borgata Hotel, and Fornelletto is one of the best. Chef Stephen Kalt serves Southern Italian fare like fresh pastas and veal dishes, as well as impeccable seasonal vegetable dishes like squash blossoms paired with anchovies and burrata, and a shaved fennel and kale salad with warm Marcona almonds. Stop for dinner in the cozy, rustic dining room, or drop by the bar for a glass of wine and cheese from their fresh burrata bar.
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Don’t Miss: House pastas are a must. Think pillowy potato gnocchis with figs and brown butter, and the ravioli with fresh artichokes and peas. For dessert, order the dark chocolate budino with a heart of Nutella.
Also located in the Borgata, SeaBlue is Michael Mina’s only east coast restaurant (he’s got others in San Francisco and Las Vegas). SeaBlue is divided between a formal dining room and a spacious lounge and bar. Expect to find the light, flavorful seafood dishes that Mina is known for, like Peeky-Toe crab fritters, grilled octopus with artichoke, and a menu of sustainable fish cooked on a wood-burning grill. Notable, too, is Mina’s gluten-free menu on offer at SeaBlue with dishes like ahi tuna tartare, marinated scallops, and American kobe beef with caramelized onions.
Don’t Miss: Try Mina’s Maine lobster pot pie, packed with fresh veggies, lobster, and a brandy-laced lobster bisque. Or go big with his SeaBlue Tasting Menu.
Central Michel Richard
Any fans of Michel Richard’s DC flagship will love his Atlantic City location; vice versa, anyone who eats at Central Michel Richard in AC will surely book a trip to the capitol soon after. You’ll find his signature "faux gras" alongside warm gougères and his famous lobster burger. With an extensive wine list, this restaurant in the recently opened Revel Resort is sleek and modern. And if you’re really looking to splash out, book a seat at the chef’s counter.
Don’t Miss: Order the appetizers designed for sharing, "faux gras" and gougères, with a warm Alsatian bacon and onion tart.
Azure by Allegretti
Beautiful and well-lit, much unlike the windowless casinos, Azure offers views of the Atlantic ocean as well as Mediterranean cuisine. Chef Alain Allegretti, owner of La Promenade des Anglais and a former student of of Alain Ducasse’s at Le Louis XV in Monte Carlo, serves up classic French fare like garlicky Provençale fish soup and whole roasted fish with a range of familiar sauces like beurre blanc.
Don’t Miss: Save room for the classic dark chocolate fondant.
Runners-Up: Also at Revel, we like the Spanish tapas at Amada. The resort is also home to one of only a few east coast locations of the California-favorite Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. And if you’re looking for something comfy, cozy, and classic, head about 8 miles from the Boardwalk to find the Ram’s Head Inn.
Photo Credits: Fornelletto: Courtesy of Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa; Central Michel Richard: Courtesy of Central Michel Richard; Azure by Allegretti: Courtesy of Azure by Allegretti; SeaBlue: Courtesy of Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa