New Jersey is home to hundreds, if not thousands, of incredible restaurants. From casual to upscale, there’s a perfect spot for everyone. Over the years, I’ve covered hidden gems, local icons, and everything in between. Each eatery has a special place in my heart and I highly recommend all of the spots I’ve highlighted in the past. You can discover a few by clicking
here (our 2018 picks), here (the most beautiful restaurants in New Jersey), and here (local favorites). Of course, I’m all about bringing you delicious new dining spots to enjoy, so here are a few greats that you may not know about yet. They’re listed below in no particular order.
1. The Black Horse Tavern & Pub - 1 W. Main Street, Mendham
This gorgeous spot is one of the oldest restaurants in New Jersey. Open for more than 200 years, it was once a stagecoach house. Now, it operates as an upscale American eatery with a casual pub attached. They specialize in comfort food and you'll find whatever you're craving here. The menu includes everything from avocado toast to fried calamari, and chicken quesadillas to prime rib paninis. There's also a sizable drink selection!
2. Zeppoli - 618 Collings Avenue, Collingswood
This intimate BYOB spot specializes in Sicilian cuisine. The menu is divided into three categories - salads, pastas, and entrees. Order from each for a Sicilian-style meal. Everything is delicious but one thing you definitely don't want to miss is dessert. The zeppolis are the star of the show, and if you'd like a beverage to go with, try the Sicilian orange-blossom lemonade.
3. The Barrel House - 173 Spring Street, Newton
This newer addition to the Newton dining scene offers a beautiful brick and wood interior. The bar area is striking, as is the ceiling, but you don't go to a restaurant for the atmosphere alone. Of course, the food here is fantastic. Start with the Barrel Chopped Salad, and be sure to build your own burger (or go for the Barrel Burger, with bacon, bourbon caramelized onions, and aged cheddar on a brioche bun). When we say the burgers are sublime, we're not exaggerating one bit!
4. MunCie - 528 Harding Highway, Buena
MunCie is one of South Jersey's newest gathering places. While you can get a good meal here (short rib, crab cakes), this spot is more about casual eats like burgers (vegan options available)and pizza (try the cheese steak pie). They've also got a fantastic, budget friendly brunch, and 32 flavorful beers on tap. Visit on Thursday nights for trivia - prizes for first and second place!
5. Mattar's Bistro - 151 Ridge Road, Allamuchy
Mattar's bistro has been making dining dreams come true since 1984. They serve up modern American cuisine with a strong emphasis on fresh and local ingredients. The menu is sizable, including small plates (Black Angus Beef Sliders, Tomato Basil Bruschetta), appetizers (Free Range Chicken Wings, Lobster Corn Dogs), soups, salads, sandwiches, seafood, sushi, pizza, pasta, and plenty more. Check out the delectable dessert menu to finish your meal. They also offer wine, beer, and a heated patio.
6. Fishin' Pier Grille - 32 Boardwalks, Avalon
This lovely little seasonal spot on the Avalon Pier is a perfect summer breakfast destination. A local favorite for nearly 30 years, they've got incredible French toast, fluffy pancakes, overstuffed omelettes, and more. The family-owned eatery recently opened outposts in Stone Harbor and Sea Isle City - check them out when the weather gets warm.
7. MEAL - 433 Kingsland Street, Nutley
MEAL is a modern American eatery with an innovative menu. Start with their gourmet mac n' cheese (black forest ham, pea, gruyere, smoked mozzarella) and be sure to try some steak. All the beef is USDA Certified Black Angus brand, the finest available. For brunch, go for the steak and eggs, atop a crispy potato cake (pictured). They've also got delicious drinks and desserts.
8. Piggyback Bar - 200 Hudson Street, Jersey City
This spirited spot offers southeast Asian-inspired bar bites, scenic New York City views, some spectacular street art, and a happening happy hour. Try the Korean Honey Butter or Sriracha Buffalo Wings. Then, cool things down with a frozen Thai Chili margarita. This is a perfect happy hour destination.
9. Smoke BBQ - 34 West Merchant Street, Audobon
Smoke BBQ has some of the best barbecue in the state. The meat is flavorful and tender and the sauces are spectacular. The USDA prime brisket is a perennial favorite but you absolutely have to try the pork belly tacos with mango salsa and spicy slaw (pictured). Though this spot is new to the South Jersey dining scene (opened in October 2017), we can see it becoming a staple.
10. Ramen Nagomi - 49 Bayard Street, New Brunswick
According to their website, Nagomi is a Japanese character that means comfort and harmony. Visitors rave about the warm, welcoming staff, so we're certain they live up to their namesake. Service aside, the food is spectacular. The burnt garlic tonkotsu ramen is a favorite, and there are a variety of vegetarian options available. The pork floss bao is a fantastic starter, and be sure to finish your meal with the black sesame creme brulee.
11. Tacos el Tio - 6400 Black Horse Pike, Egg Harbor Township
If you've already been to all the incredible eateries Atlantic City has to offer, or are simply looking for something a bit different (and delicious!), head just outside of town to Tacos el Tio. Visitors are delighted by their colorful interior and authentic cuisine. You'll find a wide range of tacos (fish, chicken, shrimp, steak, spicy sausage, and more) in addition to empanadas, quesadillas, fajitas, and flavorful margaritas.
12. El Cid - 205 Paramus Road, Paramus
El Cid is a Spanish-style steakhouse with stupendous seafood. If you like spicy, go for the garlic shrimp diablo. If you prefer savory, try the paella. The portions are sizable but if you still have room for dessert, try the flan!
Have you been to any of these restaurants? What’s your favorite eatery in New Jersey? Share with me in the comments – I always love to discover good food, and I’m particularly interested in unique spots. Happy dining!