Cape May, NJ 08204609.884.5882
On the way out of Louisa's, I picked up their business card; it's the perfect metaphor for this petite restaurant in Cape May! The card is fluorescent pink with a simple pen-and-ink sketch of a sailboat and the pertinent information about the eatery (location, phone - nothing else).
Louisa's succeeds because it has a comfortable, slightly funky vibe and offers beautifully fresh food, simply prepared & presented. No trendiness, no pretension. In fact, the sides (brown rice & refreshing, homemade coleslaw) have remained the same for as long as I can remember and the decor is the essentially the same, as well. The naïf style art on the walls is echoed on the business card. Together, it makes for a unique and pleasant atmosphere. Still, the emphasis here is on the food, glorious food!
The restaurant is small - it reminds me of a European cafe - yet the servers move about with practiced ease. Our server knew the menu well, and in detail, and was efficient in a friendly, casual manner.
Our reservation was for 6:15 and the table was waiting for us when we arrived. As we perused the blackboard for the evening's offerings - emphasis on seafood & fresh veggies - some items were already being erased! We began to panic...oh, no...not the desserts!
Two of our party selected a salad of Iceberg lettuce with onion slices and beet cubes in a vinaigrette, my husband had plum tomatoes with mozzarella, and I had a carrot & tomato gazpacho garnished with small cubes of fresh, raw vegetables. All choices where tasty, refreshing, summery starters.
For entrees, grilled salmon was tender with a slight smokiness from the grill and two sauces on the side because my sister couldn't decide on just one! Fresh flounder was accompanied with cucumber-dill sauce, my four mini crab cakes included a generous helping of homemade tarter, and the fourth selection was swordfish with fresh fruit salsa. All had ample portions of the aforementioned sides, too. Everyone was delighted with their selections - bright colors, fresh flavors, beautifully prepared!
We were able to save room for dessert:) Among us, we enjoyed Panne Cotta with fresh strawberry sauce, warm peach cobbler, and the two "chocoholics" choose dark chocolate pie with apricot-peach sauce and rich semi-sweet chocolate tart. Delicious! All desserts included a cloud of softly whipped cream.
The night we were there, starters were just under $7, entrees hovered around $20, and desserts were about $6. Not inexpensive, but comparable to many Cape May restaurants in price. If budget is an issue, you could forego appetizer or dessert...but who would want to?
Louisa's is BYO. Cash only. Children are welcome until 7PM only and there is no dedicated child's menu. Not handicapped accessible due to tight quarters and steps.
Allow about an hour from the Scarborough Inn to reach the restaurant via the Garden State Parkway; we will be happy to assist with directions. Parking is always an issue in Cape May. If possible, park in the public lot on Jackson Street (visit the kiosk to pay for the space) and walk about a block to the restaurant. Conveniently, you will pass Collier's Liquor Store where you can purchase a bottle of wine to accompany your meal. Bon appétit!