New Jersey has hundreds of beautiful restaurants worth dining in, expertly designed and decorated to draw guests in. A fancy exterior isn’t everything, though. Our state also has a multitude of places that don’t look like much, but have incredible food. The following restaurants serve as a reminder not to judge a book by its cover:
1. Thisilldous Eatery, Belvidere
Though it would be easy enough to walk by this restaurant, I wouldn't. Reviewers say it's worth driving for their amazing breakfasts, noting the spectacular French toast. They also serve lunch and have a fantastic homemade BBQ sauce.
2. Sazon Latino, Boonton
It may not be the fanciest place around, but Sazon Latino serves up generous portions and was recently ranked as having some of the best empanadas in New Jersey. Yelp users seem to agree - it maintains a 5 star rating after over 140 reviews.
3. Macho Nacho, Morristown
Tucked away in a strip mall, you'll find some of the best Central American cuisine around. Reviewers recommend that you come hungry, and you won't leave disappointed. There are nearly two dozen burrito options available, including breakfast burritos and vegetarian options.
4. White Manna, Hackensack
This tiny restaurant is almost always packed. The menu doesn't offer much, but the sliders are some of the best in the state. Full of flavor, they're prepared fresh, right before your eyes.
5. Rocky's Pasties, Wharton
Another small spot with 5 star reviews, you definitely don't want to miss the pasties. What is a pastie? A self-contained Cornish-style sandwich, similar to an empanada. If you have one here, you'll probably want another.
6. Four Seasons Thai, Piscataway
This nondescript spot offers flavorful thai food that keeps bringing guests back again and again. The pad see ew (pictured) comes highly recommended. Be sure to bring cash, cards are not accepted.
7. Kim's Sushi, West Orange
The food is amazing, and the staff is friendly and generous. Everyone is treated like an honored guest, and complimentary sides are often doled out, according to reviewers. If you're a sushi fan, you should definitely check this restaurant out.
8. ME Casa, Jersey City
Though it may not look like much on the outside, the inside is quite charming and the food is bursting with flavor. This Puerto Rican spot also offers friendly service and the option to BYOB.
9. North of the Border, Red Bank
Authentic and affordable, this Mexican eatery can get crowded. I'd recommend a standout dish, but every dish here stands out.
10. Taqueria El Mariachi, Trenton
Though reviewers note that the area is sketchy (as some parts of Trenton are), if you're in the area, give the salsa a try. Portions are sizable and servers are attentive.
11. White House Subs, Atlantic City
The Arctic Avenue location is a spot many of us know and love. The subs are famous, and while the place can get packed, there is plenty of unique memorabilia on the walls to enjoy while you wait.
12. La Cita, Cherry Hill
People LOVE the nachos here. The guacamole and tequila ice cream are other favorites. If you're looking for a unique, flavorful dessert, don't miss it.
13. The Clam Bar, Somers Point
Crowds flock to this bayside spot, and it's no surprise why. The seafood is amazing and it's located right on the water.
14. Nimit Palace, Voorhees
There isn't much to see here, but there is plenty to taste. The food is fresh and flavorful, the service is friendly, and the lunch special is an amazing value. You'll find spectacular South Indian cuisine, including a variety of vegetarian options.
15. Maria's Luncheonette, Atlantic City
One of the best breakfast spots in Atlantic City, it's an easy walk from the beach and can get crowded, with good reason. Try the pancake egg sandwich if you're looking for something different, though you can't go wrong with the French toast.
16. Crabby's, Mays Landing
Nothing on the menu disappoints, but the crabs are meaty and flavorful. Try the crab sampler and enjoy some of the best crab in Jersey.
17. Milly's, Vineland
You'll find a mix of Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Salvadorian cuisine at this local favorite. The food is so good, many customers are willing to drive for miles. Definitely sip on some horchata with your meal.
18. PJ's Place, Seaside Heights
You'll find a mix of food on the menu, but the seafood stands out. If you're not a fish fan, the burgers and Italian dishes are also mouthwatering. Away from the hustle and bustle of the boardwalk, crowds still make their way to this delicious joint.
Please note that this isn’t a ranking, each restaurant is unique and wonderful. The list features North Jersey restaurants first and South Jersey restaurants after, with Central Jersey spots mixed in. What other underrated spots would you add to this list?