New Jersey is made for foodies. Our cities offer a diverse range of ethnic cuisines, with some of the most authentic restaurants in the country. Newark is the place to be for
Portuguese and Union City does Cuban cuisine best. Looking for Korean? Head to Fort Lee. We’ve also got smaller cities and towns known for their dining scenes…think Hoboken, Montclair, Haddonfield, Princeton, Cape May, Asbury Park Red Bank, Morristown and New Brunswick. And then, we’ve got hidden gems that haven’t been in the spotlight much, just yet. I’ve featured four towns each from North, Central and South Jersey – read on to discover one near you!
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
Centrally located in the Garden State and easily accessible from several highways, Somerville is a shopping and dining hub. You can enjoy dishes from around the world here at local favorites like Seoulville (Korean), Yokohama (Sushi), Cafe Picasso (Italian), Verve (French-American) and Martino's (Cuban). For an amazing breakfast, head to Hansel 'N Griddle. For a sweet treat, visit The Dessert Plate, serving up baked goods made from scratch. Looking for a little fun after your meal? Stop at YESTERcades, a retro arcade.
This laid back beach town is king when it comes to casual eats. It offers a sweet selection of bakeries and cafes, along with a nice mix of restaurants. For a frozen treat, check out Sundae Best Homemade Ice Cream; for baked goods, Kohler's and Mallon's can't be beat. The sticky buns at Mallon's are to live for! For more of a meal, dine at Avalon Barbecue Co., Diving Horse, Whitebrier Restaurant or Princeton Bar & Grill. Be aware that most of these restaurants are seasonal, so check to see if they're open before you visit.
While Hackettstown doesn't necessarily have an abundance of dining options, it has some really good ones. Stella G's is a popular spot for breakfast and lunch that celebrates the flavors of the season, Pandan Room is a Pan-Asian eatery serving up Thai and Indonesian cuisine and Marley's Gotham Grill has great wings. The town is also home to a new restaurant with rave reviews - James on Main (wood-fired American eats). If you're a fan of craft beer, head to Czig Meister or Man Skirt Brewing.
4. Bordentown City
This little city has a lot going on. You'll find great events like Historic Haunted Walking Tours (10/27-10/29) and a wonderful dining scene. Huang's Garden is a favorite for Chinese and Chez Alice is a fantastic bakery and cafe. The Vault serves up wood-fired pizza in a former bank building and Oliver A Bistro offers creative cuisine and some of the best burgers (try the Triple "S" or Bacon Jam Burger). HOB Tavern is a popular pub and you'll want to check out Under The Moon for American, Italian and Spanish cuisine in an eclectic space. While in town, stop at Randy Now's Man Cave for unique goods and gifts.
This historic little town offers a little bit of everything. Restaurante Colosio is a marvelous Mexican eatery, Botto's Italian Line serves up Italian cuisine and Great Wall's got mouthwatering Chinese food. Swedesboro is also home to The Red Hen, voted best burger, short rib sandwich, steak house, bar, cocktail AND most romantic by SJ Magazine. Tavro Thirteen is another award-winning steakhouse and you'll definitely want to stop at the Sweetsboro Pastry Shoppe.
Rutherford is one of the larger towns on this list but the Bergen County Borough isn't yet well-known as a foodie destination. However, it's home to one of the most exquisite eateries in Northern New Jersey (Cafe Matisse) and a plethora of other incredible dining options. I couldn't even begin to talk about them all but here are a few top-rated picks: Paisano's (Italian), Matera's On Park (Italian), Greek Town Gyros (Greek), Yamada Sushi (Japanese) and Boom Boom Chicken (Fried Chicken/Sides). The Rutherford Pancake House lets you customize the pancake of your dreams with a mix of batters (vegan/buttermilk/sweet potato/multi-grain/gluten-free) and a variety of sweet and savory toppings. For dessert, head to Ice Cream Charlies.
While nearby New Brunswick may have more eateries, Metuchen offers several unique options. Hailey's Pub & Harpcade is a favorite - it offers Irish and American pub grub, a full bar and a retro arcade. Other restaurants worth checking out include Buon Appetito, Mariachi Mexican and Mangia Toscano. Craving coffee? Head to Brewed Awakening. If it's dessert you desire, don't miss 2 Chicks With Chocolate. They offer one-of-a-kind activities including chocolate painting and chocolate pizza making.
8. Mount Holly
You may be familiar with Mount Holly as the home of the haunted Burlington County Prison Museum, but did you know it had quite the dining scene? It's got a great new Greek Restaurant (Sirtaky) and The Local, which serves up everything from Pork Ramen to Cajun Shrimp. Downtown Pizza is a BYOB spot with a full Italian menu and The Robin's Nest serves up French-American fare. Nelly's Express is a favorite for pizza, Mexican and almost anything else you're craving. For dessert, head to Macarons de Anneliese. Care for a drink? You'll find the popular Village Idiot Brewery here.
Sussex is a small town with just a handful of restaurants but one is quite unique. Head to Airport Diner to watch planes take off while you eat. There's also the nearby Airport Pub, perfect for an affordable evening out - tacos are just $1 on Tuesdays and you can score free weenies on Wednesdays along with half price wings. Annabel Pizza and Lorenzo's Pizzeria will satisfy your pie (and Italian) cravings and Sussex Inn has history and casual eats. For authentic Mexican cuisine, head to Taco of the Town.
Belmar is best-known for being the inspiration behind Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band. Pictured is the intersection of 10th Avenue and E Street. It also is home to D'jais Oceanview Bar - a happy hour hit. For absolutely insane desserts, don't miss Coney Waffle. Other eateries to try include The Corner Bagelry, Twisted Tapas and Federici's on 10th. Hooked Cafe is a family-run seafood diner that will keep you coming back for more and Kaya's Kitchen is the spot to go for Vegetarian and Vegan fare. For dessert, visit Sweet! or JB Couture Cupcakes.
Flemington may be more of a shopping destination (The Shoppes At Flemington, Liberty Village Outlet Marketplace) but it's also got great restaurants. 55 Main is a BYOB Bistro serving up modern American cuisine and Matt's Red Rooster Grill offers a charming atmosphere and the freshest ingredients. Head to Coccos Cafe for quick bites and Garden State Salad for salads and smoothies. For an afternoon overflowing with charm, enjoy tea at Teaberry's Victorian Tea Room.
12. Sea Isle City
Sea Isle City is a seafood lover's dream. You've got Mike's Seafood, Maria's Seafood, Carmen's Seafood and The Lobster Loft, for starters. Basilico's is a primo pick for pizza and Italian and Shoobie's offers American fare with a retro flair. Mrs. Brizzle's Buns has the best cinnamon buns, bagels and deli sandwiches and City Burger is a can't miss for comfort food. For dessert, head to Crepes and Shakes or Yum Yums Ice Cream.
These towns are far from the only options when it comes to dining in New Jersey – almost every town has an eatery worth traveling for. For other dining destinations with a variety of restaurants, check out
Long Valley, Clinton, Stone Harbor, Princeton and Sea Bright. What’s your favorite foodie town in New Jersey?