A number of restaurants around town offer dinners for about $19 or under and we're not just talking buffets and Boardwalk pizza joints. Across the city and year round, you can enjoy an exceptional dinner at some of city's best dining spots - featuring everything from authentic Italian, Mexican and Vietnamese to steak, sushi and some of the best burgers we've ever tried.
Here are 19 Atlantic City dinners for under or around $19:
Angelo's Fairmount Tavern: A favorite spot for Italian among locals and visitors for decades, Angelo's features numerous dishes below $19, including gluten-free options, but you can't go wrong with the house-baked lasagna - five layers of beef, cheese, and pasta smothered in homemade tomato sauce for $15. angelosfairmounttavern.com
Café Roma at Caesars: Café Roma serves up breakfast all day, including the stuffed French toast ($14/$15) smothered with caramel sauce and loaded with sweet apple cream cheese. Other breakfast treats, hot and cold sandwiches, along with a variety of pasta items and burgers are also priced under $19. caesarsac.com
Dos Caminos at Harrah's Resort: Folks rave about this Mexican restaurant with a waterfront view, known for its signature guacamole menu ($14-$16), ribeye steak-filled Asada tacos ($19), and house specials such as the Quesadilla Del Mercado ($17.50) - grilled market vegetables layered with crisp whole wheat tortillas, queso menonita and roasted tomato-arbol salsa. harrahsresort.com
Gallagher's Burger Bar at Resorts: An excellent place to hang before a show, and located across from its big brother - Gallagher's fine dining restaurant - this burger bar features several burgers and sandwiches under $19 including the Italian Burger ($16), ground beef mixed with onions and parsley and topped with grilled prosciutto, fresh mozzarella and tomato bruschetta. resortsac.com
Guy Fieri's Chophouse at Bally's: The Food Network star's foray into AC's bustling dining scene features Guy's signature dishes - including Jersey Shore Clams Casino, Cape May Fried Flounder, a slew of steak options, and three "Bad Boy Steak Burgers," each under $19. Try the Bacon Mac 'N Cheese Burger ($17), a New York City Burger Bash winner: a wood-grilled, 8 oz. aged sirloin burger with Guy's mac 'n cheese, cheddar cheese and crispy onions. ballysac.com
Harry's Oyster House at Bally's: One of three AC restaurants operated by the Dougherty family (along with the two historic spots Dock's Oyster House and the Knife & Fork), Harry's is the least expensive of the bunch, but the food is equally stellar. Walk right in off the Boardwalk or via Bally's and order the sensational Maine lobster roll ($18.50) or the Chicken Milanese ($17), one of Harry's specialties. harrysoysterbar.com
The Iron Room: The acclaimed restaurant behind the Atlantic City Bottle Company has a menu that changes daily (focusing on small plates and always including creative takes on local seafood, game meats and hand-made pastas), but the menu's one permanent resident is the "Flat Iron Burger" ($15), a monster of a burger topped with thick bacon, and served with hand-cut fries. Add Gruyere, cheddar or goat cheese ($16) or try it with Truffle Tremor or Humboldt Fog ($17). acbottlecompany.com
Izakaya at Borgata: Celeb chef Michael Schulson's hip modern Japanese pub offers an assortment of specialty sushi and rolls under $19, including the Yellowtail Tataki ($18) - with nori, mango and spicy Yuzu aioli - and the Crispy Lobster roll ($19) loaded with avocado, tomato, spicy mayo and jalapeno. Plus don't miss Izakaya Mondays; enjoy the same great dishes and cocktails at a lucky price of $7. theborgata.com
Kelsey & Kim's Southern Cafe: One of three Atlantic City-area restaurants operated by local couple Kelsey and Kim Jackson, this cozy café offers crazy good Southern food in a living-room setting with a menu boasting classy comfort food. Crunchy fried chicken, liver and onions, creamy mac and cheese, fried whiting, crab cakes, short ribs, candied yams and more soul-food yumminess, with certain entrees (eat in or take out) around $19, await. Kelseysac.com
Little Saigon: This gem of a Vietnamese restaurant has been acclaimed by the New York Times for its outstanding food, especially the filling varieties of pho. Operated by chef Lien Pham since 1991, Little Saigon, on Arctic Avenue (call 609-347-9119 as there is no web site), features fresh ingredients in all menu items. Many entrees are well under $19.
Margaritaville at Resorts: Although you can certainly get a mouthwatering cheeseburger in this Jimmy Buffet-themed paradise just off the Boardwalk, many other entrees at Margaritaville are under $19. We can't get enough of the Beach Tacos ($16.99), marinated Carne Asada steak or simmered Chicken Tinga, topped with queso fresco and served with black beans, rice, key lime crema, guacamole and pico de gallo. Pass the salt shaker, please! margaritavilleatlanticcity.com
The Melting Pot: Located in the center of town at the sprawling Tanger Outlets shopping district, this fondue restaurant offers Andouille Sausage ($17.95) and Spinach and Artichoke Ravioli ($14.95) entrees - each served with seasonal veggies and signature dipping sauces - among its tasty menu offerings. Leave room for dessert! Meltingpot.com<http://www.meltingpot.com/atlantic-city/welcome>/atlanticcity
Mexico: On the outskirts of the city, Mexico serves authentic Mexican fare from the Oaxaca region, with most dinners under $19. For just $7.50 you can sink your teeth into one of the best sandwiches in the world - the Torta Oaxaquena, a messy (but totally worth it) roll stuffed with chicken dipped in mole sauce, with avocado, Mexican cheese and jalapeno peppers. Scrumptious. Mexicorestaurantbar.com<http://www.mexicorestaurantbar.com/>
Michael Patrick's at the Golden Nugget: Michael Patrick's is like a European café and its Vegan Napoleon fits right in with the casino's casual yet cool vibe. The baked entree comes with marinated grilled seasonal vegetables and Portobello mushrooms layered with polenta and served with sautéed spinach and a rice bean infusion, finished with balsamic honey glaze ($12.99). goldennugget.com
Plate American Café at the Trump Taj Mahal: One of the Boardwalk's best-kept secrets, this bar/restaurant - which offers several popular items in the range of $18-$20 per entrée, including meat loaf, bistro chicken and macadamia nut-crusted tilapia, has a daily steak special that features a New York sirloin served with baked potato and vegetables for just $19.95. trumptaj.com
Ri-Ra Irish Pub & Restaurant at the Quarter at Tropicana: Offering modern versions of classic Irish pub fare, Ri-Ra is one of many inexpensive and fun options inside the Quarter - a shopping, dining and entertainment complex with a Havana theme at the Trop that is celebrating its 10th anniversary. Fish & Chips ($15), House Brined Corned Beef ($15) and Jameson Glazed Steak served with roasted potatoes and garlicky green beans are just a few of the choices to accompany your Guinness. rira.com
Seaside Café at Tropicana: A menu of tasty comfort food and classic bites is the hallmark of this spacious eatery, but it's the offering of brick-oven pizza that lures hungry diners to this late-night hotspot. Pies come in 10- and 14-inch rounds ($10.50 and $13.75 respectively) and are perfectly baked in the custom-made hearth visible in the open kitchen. tropicana.net<http://www.tropicana.net>
Souzai Sushi & Sake at the Pier at Caesars: With stunning views of the ocean, beach and Boardwalk, Souzai, located on the third level of the Pier at Caesars, is a popular spot for sushi, sake and happy-hour lovers. Along with an exceptional selection of sushi and sashimi, save room for something from the Big Plate menu such as the Shrimp Tempura ($18) -five shrimp over Wakame Salad and rice with eel sauce. Caesarsac.com
Tony Boloney's: One of the most raved about eateries in all of Atlantic City, Tony Boloney's is an experience everyone must try - at least twice. Awards and accolades have come from far and wide for this corner pizza shop's "indigenous pizza, subs and grub," featuring more than 40 different types of gigantic, out-of-this-world subs, sandwiches and wraps (all around the $10 range) and more than 40 varieties of pizza (all around $15 per pie). Tikka masala pizza sound good? How about the "Let My People Go" sub made with slow roasted and braised Jewish brisket with charoset and Havarti on an AC sub roll. The menu alone is an experience unto itself. tonyboloneys.com
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