The entire state of New Jersey is a culinary gem. Our diversity lends itself to some of the most varied cuisine in the country, along with innovative menus and loads of talent. We offer everything from fine dining to fantastic holes-in-the-wall, and I highly recommend you visit them all! Okay… I know that’s not possible, so I compiled a list of must-try restaurants in New Jersey:
20 Restaurants You Have To Visit In New Jersey Before You Die.
Once you’ve dined your way through the most delicious bucket list known to (wo)mankind, you’re going to want some more. After you finally stop feeling full, you absolutely have to try the following 20 dishes. Some are strange, other spectacular, but each is an experience in itself. Please note that this list is in no particular order, every dish is incredible and can’t be missed.
1. Lobster Asparagus Salad at Caffe Aldo Lamberti, Cherry Hill
The delicious dishes here are a feast for both the eyes and the mouth! Try the lobster asparagus salad paired with a selection from the restaurant's award-winning wine list.
2. Dutch Baby at Original Pancake House, Edgewater/West Caldwell/Whippany
The Dutch Baby is an oven baked, German-style pancake. It is coated in powdered sugar and often filled with fruit. While this is a chain, you won't want to miss this dish.
3. Old World Brooklyn Pie at Piccolo Trattoria, Pennington
You really can't go wrong with anything on the menu, but the Brooklyn pie is one of the more popular picks. It is a square thin crust pizza with Piccolo’s secret plum tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil and a hint of parmigiano cheese. Other incredible dishes include the penne vodka pizza and gnocchi.
4. Baldouni Burger at Jackson Hole, Englewood
The burgers here are a mouthful! The selection is spectacular, so if you don't know where to start, try the Baldouni Burger with fried onions, cheese & sauteed mushrooms.
5. The Four Horsemen Of The Aporkalypse at Dark Side Of The Moo, Jersey City
You'll find some of the most unique burgers in the world here, along with a selection of exotic meats. The Four Horseman Burger (not pictured) is topped with pickles, onions, lettuce, tomato, moo special sauce, bacon, bacon jam, pulled pork, pork roll, pepperjack cheese, chipotle mayo, jalepenos and BBQ sauce. WOW! This Jersey City spot also has a food truck that travels throughout the state.
6. Maple Glazed Pork Chops at Victoria Diner, Branchville
This diner has a very inventive menu along with fantastic reviews on Yelp. The maple glazed pork chops are a must-try dish, topped with walnuts, raisins and Fuji apples.
7. Sopressata Sandwich at Hoagitos, Asbury Park
The small sandwiches here are all big on flavor. The rotating specials are always amazing, but for a delicious dish you can rely on being available, try the Sopressata Sandwich. On the regular menu, it features sopressata, brie, arugula, and citrus vinaigrette. Open seasonally, starting in early May.
8. Pescado Frito Taco at Villalobos, Montclair
Beer battered Atlantic Cod, serrano, cabbage slaw, and grilled lime crema. Honestly, every taco at this trendy spot is incredible. If you're not a fish fan, try the carnitas taco with cola braised berkshire pork belly, roasted corn, queso cotija and chipotle morita.
9. Lobster Mac and Cheese at Steve and Cookies by the Bay, Margate City
An all-around excellent spot, the lobster mac and cheese here is a reader favorite. You can find lobster mac and cheese elsewhere, but Steve & Cookies does it best.
10. The Fat Jovi at Jersey Pizza Co., Wood-Ridge
Fat sandwiches are a Jersey favorite. One of the best can be found at Jersey Pizza Co. The Fat Jovi (not pictured) is stuffed with cheesesteak, chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, fries, bacon, and gravy.
11. Blueberry Hotcakes at Gilchrist Restaurant, Atlantic City/Margate City/Egg Harbor City
This restaurant is a breakfast favorite and, while there are many delicious dishes to choose from, the blueberry pancakes are to die for!
12. The Burgernut at The Committed Pig, Manasquan/Morristown
You have to try this burger/donut hybrid at least once, simply because it's so strange - some swear by it. The Jersey Shore Burger is another favorite, with melted bleu cheese, avocado and buffalo sauce.
13. BBQ Ribs at Jack's Goal Line Stand, Long Branch
This sports bar has some of the best ribs in the state; loaded with flavor, they'll melt in your mouth.
14. Stuffed French Toast at Grateful Bites, Flemington
Fluffy raisin bread dipped in house-made batter, pan fried, and layered with cream cheese and apple cranberry chutney. Besides indulging in a delectable dish, you'll be doing good - Grateful Bites is operated by a non-profit, Ability2Work, which supports employment of the differently-abled.
15. Soft Shell Crab Po' Boy at Hat City Kitchen, Orange
New Orleans, or New Jersey? This Cajun/Creole spot supports the local community and serves up truly delicious southern food. Stop by for brunch and enjoy live music or come for dinner and down the delectable soft shell crab po' boy sandwiches.
16. Udon Mac & Cheese at The Iron Room, Atlantic City
This modern speakeasy serves up an inventive menu with flavorful dishes you'll never forget; a favorite is the udon mac & cheese. The smashed avocado toast is also spectacular.
17. Double Italian Hot Dog at Tommy's Italian Sausage & Hot Dogs, Elizabeth
The Italian Hot Dog is a New Jersey classic, and Tommy's Italian Sausage & Hot Dogs does it best. The potatoes are amazing, and diners travel from all over just to get a bite.
18. Soft Shell Crab Roll at Sagami Japanese Restaurant, Collingswood
Enjoy the freshest sushi and authentic Japanese cuisine. In business for over 30 years, Sagami is definitely doing something right - that something may have to do with the soft shell crab roll.
19. Crab & Guacamole "Martini" at Blue Point Grill, Princeton
A favorite on Yelp, reviewers have called this dish "refreshing," "superb," "sublime," "excellent," and "amazing." You definitely don't want to miss this delectable appetizer.
20. Bald Eagle Wings at The Jug Handle Inn, Cinnaminson
If you like spicy, it doesn't get much hotter than the habenero Bald Eagle Wings at The Jug Handle Inn. If you prefer a more mild flavor, you're still in luck - the wings here are award-winning and come slathered in a wide variety of sauces.
Is your mouth watering yet? Mine certainly is. From the very best dishes to the most unique, trying any of these items will certainly be unforgettable. Did you see something you think you’d love, or that you already adore? What other dishes would you add to this diverse dining list?