Asbury Park, NJ 07712
- Cost: $$$
- Alcohol: Full Bar
- Parking: Street, Metered
- Take Out: Yes
December 3, 2011
For Italian food or pizza with an ocean view, head to Stella Marina in Asbury Park. At the southern end of the boardwalk (across from the old Carousel House), Stella Marina is an upscale restaurant and bar on two floors, with outdoor seating when the weather is good.
I only had lunch here, so I can’t speak for the entrees, but the antipasti and pizza I tried is worth a visit. The rest of the menu is probably just as good, given the positive web reviews I’ve seen. The Polpetti – tiny meatballs with provolone cheese served with tomato gravy on an iron skillet – are lightly seasoned; a nice antipasti choice. Other small plates include meats, cheeses, marinated vegetables and fish dishes, like Scampi Arrabiata and Cozze (beer poached mussels). Pasta, meat and fish main courses fill out the menu.
The pizzas here are individual, thin-crust, bar pies. The crust isn’t strong enough to pass the fold test, but has a nice flavor. Toppings are fresh and interesting. Fig (dry figs, caramelized onion, goat cheese) tempted me. I couldn’t resist the Atomica, however, topped with what I grew up calling hot Italian frying peppers. Stella Marina calls them “Calabrian chilies.” Whatever you call them, they’re an awesome pizza topping that’s spicy, but not overpowering.
I will definitely return to try more of Stella Marina’s food, or just for another Atomica.