Frescos Seafood Trattoria


By Dane Feldman

Photo by Dane Feldman.

I took a weekend trip to Cape May, New Jersey for the first time in almost 10 years. I remembered having dined at a few great places, but neither my parents nor I had been to Frescos before. 

The food:
My parents and I were served a basket of warm bread on the house with a side of fresh tomato dipping sauce. It is my personal experience that there aren’t enough restaurants that serve warm bread, so already Fresco’s was off to a strong start.

For appetizers, we enjoyed the bruschetta of the day, which included cooked tuna and onions. We ordered two salads (field greens, Bosc pear slices, gorgonzola cheese, honey-glazed walnuts, and charred Vidalia onion vinaigrette) for the table, which provided a generous serving for each of us. 

My mother ordered the swordfish in a lemon butter sauce, which came with rice and roasted seasonal vegetables. My father ordered one of the pasta specials: squid ink lasagna with ricotta, Maryland crab meat, and a spicy marinara sauce with calamari. I had grilled salmon encrusted with lemon and herb served with sweet corn risotto and grilled asparagus. 

The food was fantastic and I would have been happy eating any of the three main courses we ordered. I thought the sweet corn risotto and the squid ink lasagna were particularly outstanding in flavor, but the flavor pairings as a whole were spot on. My only regret is that we ordered the tuna bruschetta and had I known the tuna would have been cooked, I would have ordered the other tuna appetizer (tuna tartare with avocado on some kind of house-made bread/cracker). 

The drinks:
Frescos is BYOB, but it’s worth noting that we didn’t have to ask for a bucket of ice for our wine. Most places will do that for their patrons, but often need reminding.

The service/ambience:
Our waitress was patient, kind, and helpful as well as cheery and fairly informative. We arrived at 6:55 for a 7:00 reservation and were told it would be a 5-10 minute wait without an apology, which I found a bit strange. We were seated right at 7:00, though, so I can’t say it was annoying, just weird.

The restaurant itself is inside of a beautifully renovated historic house, like many of the buildings in Cape May and West Cape May. Frescos has a screened in porch and a generous indoor seating area split into multiple sections. The lighting was a bit too dark and the acoustics were actually pretty terrible. It was quite loud, which made it slightly difficult to keep up a conversation. Yet the food alone is well-worth the dimly lit loud rooms, and I would absolutely return to Frescos for more.