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The Diving Horse
The Diving Horse

The Diving Horse Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.thedivinghorseavalon.com
  • Phone: (609) 368-5000
  • Hours of Operation: Daily
    5:00pm - 10:00pm
  • Payment Options: Cash Only
  • Cuisine: Contemporary American
  • Executive Chef: Palmer Marinelli
  • Dress Code: Business Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: BYO Liquor, Chef's Table, Farm to Table, Gluten-free Menu, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome

Getting there

  • Cross Street: 21st & Dune Drive
  • Parking: Street Parking
A word from The Diving Horse

The Diving Horse is an upscale byob located in Avalon, New Jersey. The menu created by Chef Palmer Marinelli focuses on the availability of local purveyors in the Mid-Atlantic region throughout the summer. The Diving Horse now its fifth season has earned praised from guests and critics alike for its farm-driven menu, friendly service and beautiful setting. The restaurant also features outdoor seating at three large communal tables that are reserved for walk-ins. Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Ambiance
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Service
  • Diners' Choice WinnerFit for Foodies
Diner Reviews
  • "The entire experience was special. Food was exceptional and service outstanding. The staff at Diving Horse should be commended for their attention to detail, right down to the flowers, polished utensils and shining glassware."
    Dined on 6/27/2014
  • "As usual, my dinner at Diving Horse was delicious. I have never had a bad meal there!"
    Dined on 7/7/2014
  • "The Diving Horse is awesome. The service is stellar and the food is tremendous. The best of the shore hands down."
    Dined on 7/3/2014
  • "Decor and ambiance were fantastic but food was extremely overpriced. Service was good to start, but as soon as we ordered and weren't a high ticket table it went downhill. We never received bread, had to ask for water refills, etc. I'm glad I tried it but will not return."
    Dined on 7/1/2014
  • "For three years now my husband and I have made the trip form Ocean City to the Diving Horse in Avalon. Form the flowers at the front to the amazing service and food, it has never disappointed us once. Must order the Scallops and kit kat if you go."
    Dined on 6/28/2014
  • "We didn't have a bad meal here. It's just that if this is the best Avalon can offer, Avalon sorely needs some new restaurants. There is virtually no atmosphere. It was freezing cold. The entries are extremely overpriced at $30-plus, even by Philadelphia Center-city standards. The wait staff was friendly but not spectacular. The dinner wasn't unpleasant but it was also not memorable so I won't be back."
    Dined on 6/24/2014
  • "Still the best restaurant at the shore. The best thing I can say, is that I have been there twice this season and made two more reservations for later in the summer."
    Dined on 6/22/2014
  • "Very pricey given the inconsistent quality. Duck dish arrived cold and undercooked. Sent back and returned lukewarm and still red rather than pink. Steak special very overpriced at $57."
    Dined on 6/21/2014
  • "My wife and I celebrated our anniversary there(24th) and it was the finest meal either of us had enjoyed in a very long time. The service was right there and the servings were just the right size, and the food was superb! Very cosy atmosphere, we sat inside but outside dining was available and the gardens were beautiful!"
    Dined on 6/16/2014
  • "This restaurant has become our favorite during our annual trips to the Jersey shore and it never fails to live up to our high expectations. I give five stars only very occasionally, and while the Diving Horse falls a bit short on that score, it's really a very very good restaurant. And save room for the Kit Kat dessert, as it is exceptional!"
    Dined on 6/12/2014
  • "Ambiance is comfortable. Surprisingly for a shore restaurant, the staff was very good early in June. All of our food was excellent, although the portion of the black sea bass was quite small - disappointing given its $42 ala carte price. The short rib of beef was tender and flavorful, a strip steak was seared to perfection. The lack of espresso caused us to go elsewhere for coffee and dessert but we still ended up spending $75 a head here - surprising for a BYO. Expect Manhattan level food here; bring some nice wine and be prepared to spend."
    Dined on 6/10/2014
  • "The Diving Horse is a charming BYOB restaurant with a lovely garden. The servers are young and very pleasant. The menu, however, is extremely limited. Seafood offerings were fluke, swordfish, and fried soft shells as the only special. I typically do not order chicken breast, but I did not have much of a choice. The chicken was good, but very small for $29.99. It was served with two fingerling potatoes and three asparagus spears. My husband ordered the duck, which also was good, but served with no sides. Sides were extra. We asked for bread after noticing bread on other tables, only to be notified that at 7:30 they were out of bread. Not acceptable for an upscale restaurant. The total bill for two people was $100 and we were still hungry."
    Dined on 6/5/2014
  • "We were surprised by the almost full house on a Thursday night pre-season. The food was beautifully prepared, and the portion sizes are generous enough, but leave you with room to try some sides or desserts without feeling stuffed. We loved the oysters for an appetizer, and the coconut ginger broth served with the mussels was amazing. Duck breast and Jersey fluke were both tasty entrees, with sides of perfect fries with vinegar aioli, and fried Brussels sprouts that made a believer of my sprout-averse husband. Lemon tart dessert was bright and light, with crumbled meringue cookies for a crunch on top, rather than the expected soft meringue. The homemade Kit Kat (you heard me) was decadent and should always be on the menu!"
    Dined on 6/4/2014
  • "Simple dishes, creatively done. Scallops are first rate. Service is the right amount of attentive. "
    Dined on 6/1/2014
  • "There were four of us for dinner over Memorial Day weekend and each of us LOVED each and every course we ordered! The tomato strawberry whipped mozzarella salad was the best tomato salad I have ever had! Fantastic evening!"
    Dined on 5/24/2014
  • "The Diving Horse is a great place to enjoy an upscale meal in Avalon. The prices are a little higher than you might want to pay at the shore but worth it. The seating is comfortable. The menu is abbreviated but the selections and specials are very good. Every year, while on vacation, we dine here at least once. Make your reservation well in advance to get the time you want."
    Dined on 6/1/2013
  • "Delicious food superbly served by friendly professional staff."
    Dined on 9/12/2013
  • "I've been to Diving Horse twice, and have walked a way with the same impression both times.. OVER-RATED... The service was poor, one of the meals was sent back being stone cold. The other meals were good. But not up to the hype."
    Dined on 9/14/2013
  • "If you are looking for some of the best cuisine on the Jersey Shore....look no farther! As a restaurant consultant and operator for over 30 years I have had my share of experiences and the Diving Horse remains as one of the best. Thank you to the staff for our always memorable dining experience★★★★★"
    Dined on 9/14/2013
  • "The seating is very close - too close for comfort. It got very loud to the point of shouting across the table. The experience was not pleasant."
    Dined on 9/3/2013
  • "This was our second visit to Diving Horse and it was once again a great experience. Food was delicious and creative (although not as creative as our 1st visit last year - seems as if they are trying harder to appeal to the conservative Avalon clientel). Wonderful cominations of flavors. We had a very pleasant and efficient server who also works in Phila at the other restaurants. Prices are high but worth it given the outstanding food. All in all a fantastic experience. We just wish they were open a bit longer in the shoulder season. We hate the crowds in the summer."
    Dined on 9/6/2013
  • "Delicious food in a cool restaurant. Their signage is just a black horse that is diving - no words to announce "Diving Horse". Nice ambience. Service wonderful. Expensive, but that is Cape May. BYOB and a good liquor store is just a block away. We will be back! (Well in 2014 when they open up again. They are closed for the winter)"
    Dined on 9/6/2013
  • "We dined here with our 3 young daughters. They were welcomed in an incredibly pleasant manner and accommodations with the menu were made accordingly. The scallops were huge and cooked perfectly. My husband's short rib dish was delicious as was the fresh tomato and farmers cheese salad he ordered as an app. The atmosphere and decor are farmhouse chic. My only complaint was the cost. Byob tend to be pricier for food but you save on the alcohol so not surprised by my 38$ scallops. The chicken tenders and fries which were fresh and fantastic were a whopping 34$. They treated the kids wonderfully so we overlooked it. Can't wait til next summer to go again - once with kids and another night with just the hubby:)!"
    Dined on 8/27/2013
  • "Amazing- one of the nicest meals I've had in a long time. Perfect- not precious or pretentious. The scallops were the best! Can't wait until next year."
    Dined on 9/4/2013
  • "If you're looking for a BYOB at the shore I would suggest The Diving Horse. It's in a good location. Very nice seating. Indoors has large window to give you the feel of being outside and the outside itself is very nice and secluded from the sidewalk. The food and services are excellent. I recommend their specials."
    Dined on 8/29/2013
  • "Great place. Our dinner was outstanding. The restaurant is quite nice, but very expensive. Not a good place for kids; despite being very kid friendly, there is no kids menu and the only options are in the high $30 range (even mid $40's) for chicken/beef kids entree. No alcohol; but dinner for 6 still averaged around $60 per person including tip. I would go back again, definitely. The wait staff is excellent."
    Dined on 8/29/2013
  • "We always enjoy the service and food at The Diving Horse. And they have modified the interior walls a bit to cut down on the noise levels and their effort really paid off as we all enjoyed our evening so much better. The food is always good and our waitress was friendly and provided excellent service."
    Dined on 8/27/2013
  • "I am a year round resident of Avalon and had not found the time to visit the Diving Horse, which has the reputation of being one of the best and in some circles, the best in area. It was a pleasant experience. Service was excellent. However the food was quite average. We were prepared for the small expensive portions, but surprised that the execution was disappointing; both in flavor and presentation. The wedge salad with crab was good, but needed more dressing The pork chop was dry and a bit tough, but most surprising was that the BBQ sauce appeared to be and tasted bottled. I don't know what is worse - bottled sauce or creating a scratch sauce that tasted bottled. Sadly, won't be back."
    Dined on 8/25/2013
  • "They had no ice tea on a warm summer night.. Strange. I personally do not think the music is necessary outside but overall it is great and surprising at the shore. Terrific food."
    Dined on 8/25/2013
  • "We enjoyed a wonderful dinner at The Diving Horse this past Sunday evening! It is one of our favorite spots, and the food is consistently excellent. Sometime the noise level can get overwhelming, but is at a festive level most of the time! This past time, I particularly noticed the prices climbing into the very expensive range. For being a BYOB, the total bill was surprisingly higher than anticipated, which was our own fault. We will continue to frequent The Diving Horse, but will think twice when our party size goes over 2 (and we are paying for it!)."
    Dined on 8/25/2013
  • "The food was delicious and the portions were just the right size. The prices were higher than we are accustomed to, but the quality probably was worth the difference."
    Dined on 8/19/2013
  • "Honestly...one of our favorite spots anywhere! We do not get to eat out very often b/c of needing to spend our $$ more wisely.... b/c of our 3 busy kids! But a night at the Diving Horse is always worth it for us to spend some $$ on US and not the kids. It is a treasured night of the year for us as we seem to be on vacation in Avalon each summer right around our Anniversary. If you haven't been yet....GO!!! And if you have been... you understand what I am talking about."
    Dined on 8/1/2013
  • "First time there and will go back. Went with a table of 4, everyone enjoyed their meals and appetizers and the service was impeccable. We look forward to our next visit, it could not have been any better."
    Dined on 8/16/2013
  • "Food was delicious and beautifully prepared. Would have liked portions to be a bit larger."
    Dined on 8/13/2013
  • "This venue really needs to address their noise level, first of all. We were also somewhat disappointed with the food. Half of our tables entrees were oversalted--not enough to send back, but not pleasant either. At the end of our dinner the manager/owner asked and we told her about the saltiness of the food--but there was no offer of say a dessert for the table or any accommodations. Our server was very nice, but had no idea who got what entree. Since they are really at the top of the price range for this area, I just expected more."
    Dined on 8/11/2013
  • "We were immediately seated at our reserved time in the boisterous yet intimate interior dining room. Our apps were awesome (crab wedge and fried oysters), but the wait time was a bit excessive since the house was not totally full. Our server was excellent: friendly, professional, and knowledgeable of all specials and ingredients. The entrées were perfectly cooked but on the smaller side (scallops and fluke). Time again was a bit of an issue, however. The dessert suggested by our server (house-made kit kat) was super with a slight peanut butter touch and raspberries. We would go back and will recommend Diving Horse to friends and family. The food and atmosphere definitely make the wait well worth it."
    Dined on 8/8/2013
  • "I went with a friend for dinner. We had the oysters which were served with a delicious vinaigrette and a salad that was also served with a nice dressing. Our entrees were fabulous. The cod was like no other cod I had ever tasted. It was moist tender and delicious! The scallops were also lovely. Our dessert was peach crumble. The flavors were subtle and not too sweet. Our server was friendly and attentive on a busy summer night. The only draw back was the noise level which made it a bit difficult to hear without leaning over the table. I would definitely go again. It had the best food I've had in the area."
    Dined on 8/8/2013
  • "Our server did an outstanding job. He was helpful and knowledgeable and made what was already an enjoyable dinner better."
    Dined on 8/4/2013
  • "I rarely complain about prices when dining out, but I'm just not sure I could justify the cost of returning to this restaurant. Don't get me wrong, the food was good... just not THAT good. I suppose that's the price you pay for dining in one of the "nicer" shore towns in South Jersey."
    Dined on 6/10/2013
  • "We chose the Diving Horse to celebrate our long overdue vacation in Avalon. The serving staff was helpful & attentive. The restaurant was quiet up arrival but it quickly filled. The room was never overly noisy, but there is not much privacy as the tables are set close together. Although the food is pricey and the portions not large, everyone was very pleased with their meal (appetizers, main course and dessert). The BYOB helps reduce the cost somewhat. The food was very fresh, artfully presented and of high quality. The sauces and combinations of textures were amazing. Even my son, the picky eater, raved about his lamb dish. Our favorites were the Crab wedge, the Barnegat Light Scallops and the KitKat dessert. Definitely would return."
    Dined on 7/18/2013