Fare: New American - open-fire steak house
Price: Expensive - Very Expensive
Food Quality: Well-executed, creative menu of dry-aged steak and daily specials
Service: Professional, knowledgeable, friendly, and attentive without being intrusive.
Ambiance/Decor: Casual, attractive, chic vibe with scenic beach/ocean views.
Overall Rating: 3 1/2 stars --- One of the top restaurants in Cape May
Note: Four-star Rating System from 1/2 star = poor to 4 stars = Best in Class
Noise Level: Moderate - High
Recommended For: Diners who enjoy a high end, well-executed creative menu in an attractive, casual beach front setting.
Not Recommended For: Budget conscious diners who enjoy a traditional menu in a family casual dining setting; or diners looking for "Old World" fine dining amenities with a bar service.
Recommended dishes: When available, The Tomahawk steak; The Dry aged ribeye with garlic peppercorn sauce, and a side of Parmesan risotto; and The Ivory King Salmon with Chermoula, and Red Cabbage Agrodolce
Liquor: BYOB --- They will arrange to have wine delivered to your table from the nearby Sunset Liquor store
Primal by Mia is one of the top restaurants in Cape May.
Opened in the summer of 2021, Primal By Mia stands above many other Caper May high-end restaurants as having the best dry-aged steaks south of Atlantic City, with the added distinction as being the only high-end restaurant in Cape May located on the beach. All seats have a beach/ocean view.
Owned and operated by Executive Chef and co-owner Mia Chiarella and co-owner and fiancé Joe Schulte.
Mia Chiarella has a storied past where she began her culinary development initially when she bused tables at her grandparents' Wildwood restaurant, named Chiarella's, where her father was the chef. Later, after the closing of Chiarella’s, she began working in the kitchen with her father when he opened Gia, in Wildwood Crest. Gia's achieved a reputation as a go to spot for Italian cuisine in the Wildwood area. Mia Chiarella and Joe Schulte also owned and operated Prawn, a takeout dinner seafood market, which has since closed in 2022
Mia Chiarella has made a mark on nationwide TV appearing on two network shows: ABC’s “The Taste” with Anthony Bourdain, and on the Food Network’s “Kitchen Casino.”
Chef Chiarella oversees the kitchen that serves up a well-executed, high-end creative menu using quality ingredients. While the limited menu features dry aged wagyu and tomahawk steaks, the daily specials are not to be missed, and often includes creative preparations of seafood, pork, veal, and pasta-based selections.
Although, sides are ala carte and charged extra, the menu includes a complimentary salad, sumptuous home-made dessert, and a tasty serving of a warm home-baked, mini-loaf of bread. The complimentary dessert is the only option for dessert.
While the menu, rarely offers Italian dishes, Chef Chiarella has not discarded her Italian roots, as there will often be creative dishes with subtle Italian undertones.
The Ambiance and decor have a casual, attractive, chic vibe. The 99 seat L-shaped has unobstructed scenic views of the beach. Stacks of wood at the entrance and a display of steaks set the tone as you enter. There is an open kitchen the right of the entrance with a wood fired hearth. The interior features hand burnt tables, moss wall murals, with a coral reef theme covers the back wall facing the ocean. The walls are covered with copper rusted tones. Tables located below windows lead to the BYOB --- alcohol-free drink bar where seating is first-come, first-serve. The back main dining room offers views of the beach and ocean.
The casually dressed wait staff are professional, knowledgeable, friendly and attentive without being intrusive.
They charge a 3.5% credit card processing fee.
Primal By Mia has seasonal hours, during the summer, open 5 days/week for dinner from Wednesday - Sunday!
(Updated: May 2023)
New Jersey Leisure Guide strives to provide analytic restaurant reviews.
The methodology used is research, analysis driven --- as opposed to that of a single restaurant critic or a social media platform, viewer comment posting board.