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Amanda Restaurant Ocean View

Play Big, Eat Better at Ocean Casino Resort

Published: February 2023

Once upon a time, the term “casino food” generally meant one of two things: rows of cafeteria-grade dishes kept warm under heat lamps, or celebratory sirloins served up to giddy high rollers in casino-adjacent steak houses. 

These days, truly top-notch casinos have traded in the traditional for the high end. Welcome to the world of haute casino cuisine, where the gaming floor gives way to world-class restaurants. Here you’ll find celebrity chefs crafting boundary-pushing menus that set nationwide culinary trends. 

What’s that about “winner, winner, chicken dinner?”

At Ocean Casino Resort, we’ve always known that modern casino clientele want their gaming served with a hearty side of delicious dining options. When we opened our doors, we tapped Chef Jose Garces to titillate taste buds all up and down the Atlantic City boardwalk. 

Want to learn more about Chef Garces and his unique take on Spanish and Latin-American cooking? Let’s turn the spotlight his way.

From the Third Coast to the Atlantic Coast: The Rise of Chef Garces

Born in Chicago to Ecuadorian parents, Chef Garces discovered his passion for food as a young child. His earliest education came from his grandmother, who tutored him in the art of Latin American cooking at home. Later, he studied at the Kendall College of Culinary Arts in Chicago before cutting his professional teeth in renowned kitchens in the Windy City, the Big Apple, and the City of Brotherly Love. 

After multiple successes, Chef Garces set his sights on expanding his burgeoning empire. He published his first cookbook, Latin Evolution, in 2008 before vaulting to international fame thanks to a winning appearance on the competition reality show, The Next Iron Chef, in 2009. 

That same year, he was named “Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic” by the prestigious James Beard Awards. No wonder we wanted him on Team Ocean.

In the following years, Chef Garces published a second cookbook while continuing to delight diners with his exciting, eclectic, and unexpected twists on Central American cuisine in cities all over the US.  Of course, there’s one place where you can get the best taste of the Garces style: Atlantic City. 

Tapas-Style Eats with Beachside Views

Chef Garces opened his first restaurant, Amada, in 2005. In 2018, he opened a second Amada location in Atlantic City at Ocean Casino Resort, bringing traditional Spanish cuisine to the Boardwalk, tapas-style. 

Amada is Chef Garces’s masterpiece, a decadent and delicious celebration of the Andalusian spirit in an upscale atmosphere that combines the fine dining elegance with rustic touches that nod to the provincially-inspired menu.

When it comes to the dishes you’ll find at Amada, Chef Garces deals a winning hand. The casino food menu rotates regularly and features authentic Andalusian favorites with east coast polish, like:

  • Charcuterie with Spanish meats and cheeses
  • Seaside delicacies like crab-stuffed peppers, lobster, and steamed clams
  • Wagyu strip and bone-in porterhouse steaks 

Top it all off with arresting views of the Atlantic Ocean, an impeccably curated wine list, and a mouthwatering dessert menu, and it’s easy to see why Amada stands out even among ocean casino restaurants. It’s also why the readers of USA Today named it the Best Casino Restaurant of 2022—have we not mentioned that yet? 

Distrito: Where Mexico City Meets Atlantic City

You don’t have to spring for Amada-style opulence to get a taste of Chef Garces’s incomparable style. For a casual bite between blackjack hands, turn to Distrito, Chef’s paean to Mexico City. 

Distrito brings authentic Mexican cuisine, like street tacos and nachos, to the world of Atlantic City restaurants. Hit up the taco truck to score snacks, whet your whistle with an impressive cocktail selection (tequila, anyone?), and kick back on relaxed, picnic table seating for the complete Distrito experience. 

That’s right, you can find anything you’re craving from restaurants at casinos… as long as it’s Ocean Casino Resort.

Foodies Win Big at Ocean Casino Resort 

When you crave a casino experience that puts you within steps of a plethora of top-tier dining options, check out Ocean Casino Resort.

From the culinary brilliance of Chef Garces’s Amada and Distrito to Atlantic City’s favorite spots for brunch, steaks, seafood, and more, Ocean Casino Resort restaurants are upping the ante when it comes to casino food. 

Where gamers win big and foodies win even bigger—book your room today.

Chef Garces. About Jose.

​​​​​​​Food Network. Jose Garces Bio.

Ocean AC. Awards & Recognitions. 


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