Thanksgiving Top 10

There are a lot of things to be thankful for this time of year– food, a roof over our heads, loved ones, food, health, happiness and did I mention FOOD?! In honor of Thanksgiving, I decided to put together a list of 10 AH-mazing restaurants in the area that I am thankful for. (There are probably a lot more than this, so this will be a tough one!)

1) CHEF VOLA’S. How in the world would I not begin with Chef Vola’s??? There is nothing greater than being stuffed to the max from an incredible meal with some of the best food around. After 10+ years of visiting one of my favorite restaurants, I have my order down to a science and could probably give the waiter a run for his money while he or she recites the specials. The house salad is a must here. Something so simple, yet so perfect. I have come to love the Chicken Parm, Veal Parm, Veal Milanese (on or off the bone), Sea Bass, Salmon and Filet Mignon. My mouth is officially watering. I ALWAYS get a side of angel hair pasta with either the marinara or the vodka blush sauce (if I’m feeling frisky). Of course, when I’m trying to be good, the salad, entree and pasta are more than enough to share for a girl’s night out! For dessert, you can’t go wrong. My new favorite is the Butterscotch Ricotta Pie served warm. Again, I repeat, served warm. Ridiculous!! But let’s not forget, there’s also Peanut Butter Pie and Banana Cream Pie that do NOT disappoint. Shout out to the wonderful Esposito family whom I love to pieces.

Dana Rating (on a scale of 1 to 10): 9.5 hearts

2) MIYAKO. Sushi is my favorite food, hands down. I am beyond thankful for Miyako, Henry, and their half-price sushi nights. On a side note, this restaurant is across the street from my office so it makes life that much better. Brian and I dined there just last night. You can usually find us there at least 2 or 3x a week. If you are lucky enough, they will have pickled noodles waiting for you when you sit down. I love to throw some soy sauce on mine. Delish! Last night, we started with an edamame, a whitefish tempura app (not on the menu, just ask them to make it!) and ginger salads (always with extra ginger sauce!). For sushi, my go-to roll is a salmon/avocado roll with brown rice and mango on top. I <3 mango. Especialllyyy on sushi rolls. I also always order salmon sashimi. Call me crazy, but I love it. I have met very few people in life who are also sashimi fans. Brian always sticks with a Godzilla roll and an Eagle roll, with spicy mayo on the side. Also, two of my favorites! And just as a cherry on top, they bring you pineapple at the end with the check.

Dana Rating (on a scale of 1 to 10): 8.0 hearts

3) TOMATOES. Tomato, Tomatoe. The options, specials and events at Tomatoes are endless. I love their happy hour!! One of the best. How can you also not love their half-price sushi nights with some of the finest DJ’s. There is nothing like having a few too many glasses of wine and ending up on that dance floor. Don’t lie, we’ve all been there. Recently this summer, Brian and I were at a happy hour with friends and sat at the back bar that hardly anyone knows exists. We had one of our best meals that night with endless apps and deliciousness. Brian still cannot stop raving about the ribs…and he’s picky about his ribs!!! I also love their Cinco De Mayo and Halloween parties. Always a great time.

Dana Rating (on a scale of 1 to 10): 8.0 hearts (It was 7.5 until I had their Butcher’s Burger last week… wow!)

4) STEVE AND COOKIE’S. Love. Love. Love. I help chair the annual Margate Business Association Wine Tasting with my mom, Paula, and Cookie, so I know first-hand how wonderful a lady Cookie is. I am fortunate to get to work with such great people like her. There is nothing like a Steve and Cookie’s meal. In my opinion, it’s all about the experience there. There’s an abundance of fine wine and great food. What more can you ask for?  I’ve had many a great nights sitting in the Oyster Bar with one of the awesome bartenders, enjoying amazing appetizers and drinks. My favorites include the house salad (again, simple but one of the best!), the burrata (I definitely miss the old version of this, but I’ve come to like the new one), the ugly tomato salad (or whatever it’s called), the eggplant rollentini, the crispy sushi tuna roll, the suppli, the lobster mac ‘n cheese and the soups!! I can’t really say I’ve had that many dinner entree’s here because I am always so excited about the starters!

Dana Rating (on a scale of 1 to 10): 8.5 hearts

5) LIANG’S IMPERIAL EAST. You can’t help but love the only Chinese restaurant in town. This place just makes me laugh. I love chinese food and I love that they now deliver! And when I say deliver, I mean by the time you hang-up and set the table, your food will be at your doorstep. Whenever my dad orders his house fried rice here, he always asks them to “make it as hot as your girlfriend!” AKA extra spicy. They do a great job. I love the crab rangoon, chinese pancakes, lettuce wraps, wonton soup, spring rolls, and those amazing chips that they give you to start with duck sauce. I live for sesame chicken, but I have come to order the healthier version of steamed chicken and broccoli with sesame seed sauce on the side. I just recently discovered they also offer brown rice here with the entree. I never even thought to get it and I love it so much more! Don’t forget to open your fortune cookie, I say it’s bad luck if you don’t!

Dana Rating (on a scale of 1 to 10): 7.0 hearts

6) TONY BALONEY’S. O-M-G. How else do you describe the greatest pizza and sub joint to come to this area since sliced bread? They definitely won best cheesesteak on this side of the USA with Guy Fieri for a reason. I have to admit I’ve had about two of these in the last two weeks and they keep getting better and better. I feel like the slices of tomato on top of the “cheese steak ole'”are just heaven on top of heaven. I’m all for options and no one gives you more than Tony Baloney’s. This is so creative that you can’t help but love this place. Again, I also know Mike and he could not be a more down-to-earth, nicer guy who deserves all of this wonderful success. Did you know they deliver to Margate or Longport? Did you know you can order your food online? Yes and yes, and it’s every bit of AH-mazing. But before you call for delivery, remember there is a charge. (It is always well worth it though!)

Dana Rating (on a scale of 1 to 10): 8.0 hearts

7) SACK O’ SUBS. This has become a weekend ritual in our house. Especially during football season. This will come as a surprise to most of you but besides a tuna sub, my favorite thing on the menu at Sack O’s is actually their eggplant parm and pasta entree. SO GOOD! I’m a sucker for eggplant parm and they do it right! Get the cheesesteak, tuna sub, cap salami and cheese or chicken salad. They also have excellent turkey.

Dana Rating (on a scale of 1 to 10): 8.0 hearts

8) LISA’S MARKET. Ahhhh, so delicious. Probably my favorite pizza on the island, there is nothing like a Lisa’s Market Margarita Pie served right out of the oven. (We did a pizza taste-test for my dad’s birthday and it was the consensus favorite!) I also love their soups (on the chalkboard each night with the specials) and their Crunchy Asian Chicken salad. Even someone who doesn’t love salads will love this. So AH-mazing! Another good find, has to be their cookies. Something I would never think to get, turned out to be one of my favorites. GO FOR IT!

Dana Rating (on a scale of 1 to 10): 8.0 hearts

9) FORNALETTO (BORGATA). Don’t get the name wrong, like most people I know do (such as the friends I mentioned in the last post!). This place is one-of-a-kind, there is nothing like this in the area. There’s something about walking downstairs into a wine cellar-like environment to enjoy one of the best meals you are going to find in South Jersey. Let me just start by saying that we dined here (coincidentally again with the above-mentioned friends) for Atlantic City restaurant week last year. That was definitely a top 10 meal of all-time in our books. The word incredible is an understatement here. Do not go there without ordering from the Burrata bar. Seriously. Ask for Pat as your server and ask for his recommendation for the Burrata bar. All I remember is an orgasmic plate of cheese, eggplant, tomatoes and who knows what else. I think I forgot about the rest of the meal, but I’m sure it was amazing, too.

Dana Rating (on a scale of 1 to 10): 9.0 hearts

10) Duhhhhhhh….ROBERT’S PLACE!! Who would think that this bar would have some of the best food around? Well I know this for a fact, but a lot of you don’t! And I’m not talking bar food. I mean full, amazing, incredible, delectable entrees.  The specials change daily and one of my all-time favorites is the mahi-mahi. I was never a fan of this fish until I tried it here. I don’t remember what made me order it (must have been some health kick I was on) but I have been hooked ever since! I order it with steamed veggies, rice and slices of lemon. Mmmmmmmmm. SO GOOD! I also love Robert’s for the ever changing special list. I love that I can walk in any day of the week and find something that I love on their board. Everything is just THAT good. Do I have to tell you how freaking delicious the filet mignon sandwich was that I had? I get giddy just thinking about it. Oh yea, it was that good. You must, must, must try the Chicken Rosa. Now that’s what I’m talking about! Delicious penne pasta in an amazing blush sauce with bite-sized pieces of chicken, sauteed spinach and a side of garlic bread. SO delicious! They have also just added new items to their winter menu including fried pickles and calamari— both AH-mazing. Give the bartender Joe a “What’s Up” from the Hiltner’s when you go!

Dana Rating (on a scale of 1 to 10): 9.75 hearts (You can’t beat those prices!)

Well, those are the first top 10 I could think of. I know there are plenty more, so please do not take offense if you’re favorite restaurant is not listed. Feel free to comment below and I will give you my opinion or recommendations!

I love Thanksgiving and I can’t wait to cook all day, watch football and enjoy the time spent with my family. GO EAGLES!


Links to Hot-spots mentioned in this post:

Chef Volas:



Steve and Cookies:


Tony Baloney’s:

Sack O’ Subs:

Lisa’s Market:


Robert’s Place:

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