New Jersey is a foodie haven. Numerous national magazines have sung our state’s culinary praises and it’s not hard to see why. We’ve got a diverse mix of excellent eateries ranging from casual to upscale, and cuisines from all over the world. Below, you’ll find 15 restaurants that define our state in some way, and all are worth a visit. They’re listed in no particular order.
1. Circus Drive-In - 1861 Rt. 35, Wall
A shore area staple since 1954, this classic drive-in offers great prices and a popular soft shell crab sandwich. Open seasonally, they have cruise nights in the summer.
2. Chef Volas - 111 S Albion Place, Atlantic City
This legendary Atlantic City Italian eatery is BYOB and cash only. Opened in 1921, it was a secret for years - you had to be "in the know" to go. The secret's out - try the veal parmigiana and banana cream pie.
3. 15 Fox Place - 15 Fox Place, Jersey City
This unassuming homefront holds within it one of the finest Italian restaurants in the state. Reservations are essential and there is no menu; you're served multiple courses through the night, at a fixed price. The exclusive dining club has snagged rave reviews for its fantastic food and seemingly endless dinner - come hungry, and be sure to BYOB.
4. Chatterbox Drive-In - 1 State Route 15, Augusta
Another retro drive-in, this one is open year-round. A family favorite with a car theme, don't miss the top-rated angus burgers, deep-fried hot dogs or mouthwatering lobster rolls.
5. Haven - 2 Main Street, Edgewater
Only in New Jersey can you enjoy a waterfront restaurant with stunning Hudson River and NYC skyline views. It's absolutely magical in the evening! While there are plenty of restaurants to choose from, this newer eatery has already garnered numerous awards - like being one of NJ.com's top 20 places for outdoor dining. Don't miss the lobster bisque.
6. The Lobster House - 906 Schellengers Landing Road, Cape May
Seafood on the shore is quintessential New Jersey, and The Lobster House in Cape May has to be one of our most iconic waterfront eateries. This isn't just a restaurant, it's a culinary experience. One of the most unique features has got to be the opportunity to drink and dine on a docked schooner. There's also a seasonal raw bar and full-service fish market. Try the shrimp salad sandwich for a budget friendly bite.
7. Country Pancake House - 140 East Ridgewood Avenue, Ridgewood
New Jersey is home to numerous pancake houses, many of which are absolutely fantastic. Country Pancake House stands out with its endless options. Choose from over 100 different pancake varieties, 20 types of French Toast and 50 versions of Belgian Waffles - and that's only just the beginning. Besides being a breakfast paradise, they serve lunch, dinner and fresh fruit and veggie juices.
8. Benny Tudino's - 622 Washington Street, Hoboken
Pizza is practically a New Jersey delicacy and Benny Tudino's is home to the largest slice in the state. Not only is a pie big in size, it's big in flavor. Definitely head here to quench your massive pizza craving.
9. Destination Dogs - 101 Paterson Street, New Brunswick
New Jersey has been called the center of the hot dog universe - and for good reason... 4 New Jersey hot dog joints ranked in the Daily Meal's 75 best in the US. Rutt's Hutt and Jimmy Buff's are among our state's most iconic, but Destination Dogs should definitely be one of your next dining destinations. Enjoy dozens of different hot dogs, inspired by cities around the world.
10. White Manna - 358 River Street, Hackensack
These mouthwatering sliders are made right before your eyes. The menu is tiny, but everyone comes for the burgers. YUM! Dine here and then compare with White Mana in Jersey City.
11. Kitchen Consigliere Cafe - 700 Haddon Avenue, Collingswood
Mobster turned chef opens a successful restaurant? That's got to be New Jersey! Come for the novelty, but stay for the food. The entire menu is magnificent, but you'll definitely want to try a signature veal dish.
12. Meadows Diner - 101 S Black Horse Pike, Blackwood
This is New Jersey, so you know that a diner had to make the list. Meadows Diner can definitely draw crowds, offers friendly service and has fantastic scrapple.
13. White House Sub Shop - 2301 Arctic Avenue, Atlantic City
This cash only sub shop has been in business for years - who hasn't eaten here? It's seen its share of celebs and is an absolute must visit in Atlantic City. Try the White House Special.
14. JBJ Soul Kitchen - 207 Monmouth Street, Red Bank
This community kitchen serves all patrons, regardless of their ability to pay. Those in-need can volunteer in exchange for their meal. It's a non-profit restaurant owned by Jersey boy Jon Bon Jovi himself.
15. A Toute Heure - 232 Centennial Avenue, Cranford
Being the Garden State, a fresh, locally sourced farm to table restaurant had to make the list. Based on Yelp Reviews, this is one of the top ranked in the state. Grilled cheese is a specialty.
What other restaurants do you think “define” New Jersey dining? Let me know in the comments. For more mouthwatering New Jersey restaurants, check out these