If you’re looking for a delicious Thanksgiving meal, this list is for you. From fresh-caught seafood to traditional dishes with a twist, these restaurants along the Jersey Shore in New Jersey are a must-visit whether you’re visiting or not in the mood to cook this Thanksgiving. Insider tip – expect to ask for seconds and wear stretchy pants (especially at #5)!
Drifthouse by David Burke
Located in Sea Bright, Drifthouse by David Burke offers an open and airy casual cabana-style dining experience paired with incredible views of the Atlantic. Dine inside or out on the umbrella-covered patio and indulge in traditional Thanksgiving fare, such as roasted turkey, stuffing and charred Brussels sprouts. The pre-fixe, three-course menu also includes candied sweet potatoes and cranberry orange compote. Beyond the classics, mouthwatering seafood options are available, like pretzel-crusted crab cakes and scallops with octopus over parmesan risotto. Rather eat at home? Order the Grab ‘N Gobble meal to go (just be sure to order in advance).
The Rum Runner
Prepare to feast at nautical-themed The Rum Runner, where the Thanksgiving Day buffet serves a mix of classic favorites and fresh-caught seafood. Nestled on the dock in Sea Bright, this waterside restaurant is the textbook definition of food with a view. Load up your plate with clams, oysters and shrimp at the Ray Bar, or get cheesy and customize an ooey-gooey bowl of noodles at the Mac ‘N Cheese Bar. Of course, you can’t pass up on tradition with dishes like oven-roasted turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes. Vegetarians aren’t left out of the festivities with salads, artisan breads and a savory butternut squash ravioli with agave cream sauce and sweet peas.
Another local favorite by celebrated chef David Burke, Rumson’s Red Horse is just a short stroll from the Navesink River and Barley Point Island. Located in a charming Victorian-style building with vivid red shutters, this rustic yet upscale eatery serves Thanksgiving dinner in style. The holiday prix fixe menu is a choose-your-own-adventure: select from signature appetizers like octopus carpaccio and tuna tartare, feast on roasted turkey with all the trimmings, or sample the fresh seaside flavors of ginger sesame salmon and crispy prawns and scallops. The patented salt-age beef is a must-try, and don’t miss the festive Tom the Turkey Sundae, made with rich vanilla gelato, giblet caramel, cranberries, and fresh whipped cream.
McLoone’s Pier House
In Pier Village, McLoone’s Pier House serves a decadent Thanksgiving buffet in an upscale, nautically themed setting right on the beach. Watch the waves through the floor-to-ceiling windows in the dining hall as you enjoy fresh-caught seafood delights like crab cakes with remoulade, carved-to-order turkey and roast beef, and gourmet takes on Thanksgiving sides like bacon and balsamic brussels sprouts. Is Turkey not your thing? Try the maple-glazed salmon with spicy mango salsa. You’ll find a spread of pies and pastries like pumpkin, apple, and pecan for dessert.
Salt Creek Grille
Reservations fill up fast at the Salt Creek Grille, which promises a traditional feast of seasonal favorites paired with gorgeous views of the Navesink River. Chow down on turkey, sausage cornbread stuffing and brown sugar maple yams. Or, skip the classics and enjoy the stuffed jumbo shrimp, coffee-encrusted New York Strip, and apple butter pork chop. After dinner, enjoy a sunset stroll on the dock.
Bonus Spot: Avenue Le Club
Thanksgiving with a French twist is served at Avenue Le Club, a beachfront eatery with a French Riviera-esque flair. Offering a three-course Parisian-inspired menu, this Long Branch spot mixes things up with appetizers like escargot and foie gras terrine. Sit outside and enjoy an ocean breeze as you dine on traditional favs like turkey and stuffing, or if you’re feeling adventurous, sample the Scottish seared salmon or vegan roast. Of course, no Thanksgiving is complete without dessert. Indulge in pumpkin cheesecake, pecan pie or decadent crème brulee.