Many moons ago when I was a budding filmmaker, well, film student, I used to live in the crumbling and oh-so-entertaining Greystone Hotel on the Upper West Side. The Greystone shares its space with Carmine’s, a popular Italian restaurant that attracts celebs, locals and tourists alike. So every day, after school, I would come home to sumptuous smelling sauces and the heavenly notes of fresh focaccia, wafting through the building. Although I only dined at Carmine’s once, it left an impression on me as a good value, even by New York City standards.
Mac and I decided to go on a mini trip to Atlantic City and Cape May to celebrate my birthday (I’m 32…again!). Anyone who’s traveled to the Jersey Shore knows that vegan options are next to nil (although this is quickly changing). As it turns out, my new favorite hotel in AC, Tropicana, has Carmine’s right inside its mall called “The Quarter.”
Before we made reservations, Mac did some research online and found that Carmine’s has a vegan menu (technically, it’s part of its allergy-free menu). The options were surprisingly solid covering all courses. WE WIN! (my chant for anytime an omni restaurant welcomes us vegans)
Upon walking into Carmine’s Atlantic City it evoked the look of the original. That classic 50s décor, with dark wood floors and walls, high ceilings and soft lighting, replicates the Upper West Side location in Manhattan and lends a welcoming atmosphere. From the moment, we arrived the staff treated us with class. Carmine’s staff is top notch.
Right away, Mac informed the hostess that we were vegan and would need the allergy-free menu. Quickly, she came back with them for us. Shortly thereafter, our waitress, Laura, greeted us.and answered all of our questions related to what was vegan. If she didn’t know, she checked with the chef and fellow staff members. She couldn’t have been nicer.
We can’t say enough great things about Laura. She made sure every single thing we ordered was vegan, even the complimentary bread and oil. In fact, a fellow co-worker of hers checked in on us about their balsamic salad dressing and confirmed its ingredients being vegan and highly recommended we try it, which we did!
Carmine’s is a family-style restaurant. Everything you order, except drinks, will serve at least 4 people. Being that it was just 2 of us dining, we left with a hefty amount of leftovers for the next evening. Here’s the rundown of what we ate:
Drinks: Mac had a Raspberry “Arnie” Palmer, which was light and tangy and I opted for a hard cider
Appetizer: We opted for the “special” salad of the day that was a mesclun salad with fennel, apples, pears and walnuts with a savory balsamic vinaigrette on the side
Entree: Rigatoni Broccoli Red – A massive dish of rigatoni and sauteed broccoli in a flavorful marinara and a good amount of garlic
We had ZERO room for dessert. Sadly, the only option is fresh fruit. Carmine’s needs to get a vegan pastry chef on board. We would have made some room for vegan tartufo or tiramisu! Alas, we were so full that I couldn’t even drink espresso, which I love.
Mac and I love seeing restaurant chains expand their options to accommodate vegans. They know what’s up and recognize it’s not a fleeting trend. Carmine’s offers its vegan options at all of its restaurants, including their newest one in Las Vegas at the Forum Shops at Caesars! However, if you’re heading down the Jersey Shore to the Atlantic City, stop by Carmine’s for good and filling meal. Ask for Laura who will give you excellent service!
Carmine’s Atlantic City
Located in Tropicana Casino & Resort
2801 Pacific Ave
Atlantic City, NJ 08401