1. Hot Rod's Hot Dogs, Glen Gardner
New Jersey has a multitude of top-notch hot dog spots like Rutt's Hutt, Jimmy Buff's, Hot Dog Johnny's and WindMill Hot Dogs, but you may not yet be familiar with Hot Rod's. An Only In New Jersey reader recommendation, this casual eatery is decked out in racing memorabilia and has some of the best chili dogs around.
2. Jim's Lunch, Millville
While Jim's Lunch is no secret to South Jersey residents, non-locals need to know that it's worth a drive. The burgers and special sauce are legendary. It has been a family business for nearly a century, has a celeb following (Mike Trout of the Anaheim Angels) and is only open seasonally (closed summers).
3. Lucy's, North Brunswick
Serving up spectacular Mexican food with a selection of international cuisine, Lucy's offers some incredible empanadas. You'll love the crispy, flaky goodness and other flavorful dishes on the menu. They're far from fancy, but the food speaks for itself.
4. 15 Fox Place, Jersey City
This restaurant is hard to find in the most literal sense. It's easy to drive by this homefront, not realizing what lies inside - one of the best Italian restaurants in New Jersey. Billed as an exclusive dining club, you'll need a reservation to get in.
5. The Roadside Diner, Wall
One of the oldest diners in New Jersey, this Jersey Shore staple has been in the same spot since the 1940s. It will bring you back to a simpler time with authentic vintage decor and oldies playing on the radio.
6. Walpack Inn, Wallpack Center
Considering its remote location, this restaurant has quite the fan following. You won't find another business for miles, but you will find a rustic setting and fantastic mountain views. Visit on Fridays for the Prime Rib Special and stay the weekend at the cabin just steps away.
7. Lucille's Country Cooking, Barnegat
This charming eatery serves up some of the best breakfast in the Garden State. The blueberry pancakes are a popular pick, with portion sizes sure to leave you feeling satisfied. Reviewers also rave about the homemade pies and cozy atmosphere. Anthony Bourdain has dined here and Joe Piscopo was a regular in the '80s.
8. Minado, Little Ferry
You may not expect one of the best sushi spots in New Jersey to be attached to a budget motel, but this buffet definitely scores top marks. Open for lunch and dinner daily, prices are reasonable and kids get special deals. You'll find a sizable selection of sushi along with options including bbq ribs, crab cakes, shrimp tempura, beef patties and pork loin. There is also a location in Morris Plains.
9. Jersey Girl, Wildwood
I love the Doo Wop Diner in Wildwood, but there are some pretty amazing eateries off the boardwalk. You'll find this gem a few blocks back on Atlantic Avenue. Jersey Girl Drinks & Dining is a hip seafood spot with a full bar and fantastic early bird special; they've also got great happy hour and daily deals. Enjoy patio dining in the warm weather. And no, it's not a biker bar. While welcoming of everyone, this exterior shot was taken during biker weekend.
10. Seagraves Steak & Submarine, Elsinboro
You'll find no social media presence, not even a sign on the building, but this South Jersey spot serves some of the best subs in the state. Some even claim that the cheesesteaks here blow Philadelphia's out of the water... Why not try one and decide for yourself?
11. Daily Treat, Ridgewood
Ridgewood is a dining hot spot with restaurants like Latour and La Lanterna (both excellent), but the Daily Treat is worth a trip, too. Family owned and open since 1963, this casual eatery serves a spectacular breakfast - all day long. The no-frills neighborhood staple offers an eclectic American menu and friendly service.
12. Sammy's Ye Olde Cider Mill, Mendham
A reader favorite, this steakhouse in a former speakeasy may not look like much but the food is fantastic. Enjoy the dry-aged steak and perhaps a round of bumper pool in this third-generation family restaurant. Visit on Tuesdays for half price wine (select bottles) and be sure to try the shrimp scampi.
13. Hole In The Wall Bagels, New Brunswick
Popular among the Rutgers crowd, this tiny bagel spot offers a sizable variety of options. Reviewers (who note that they've probably walked past a million times without noticing this grab and go eatery) recommend the whole wheat bagel and Taylor Ham/Pork Roll sandwich. The pastrami sandwich is pictured.
14. Chef Volas, Atlantic City
Once a Jersey Shore secret, you still won't find a sign in front of this cash only basement hideaway. The old school Italian eatery does not advertise and doesn't even provide a phone number or address on their website. Still, word of mouth travels and anyone can get a reservation here with enough notice.