There’s a lot to love about New Jersey, but two of my favorite things are our beaches and our dining scene. You’ll find a very diverse selection of restaurants offering everything from vegan dishes to Venezuelan desserts; the options are almost endless. Here are a few local favorites that are worth a visit.
1. Kitchen 87 - 87 Washington Street, Mount Holly
A friend told me about this restaurant and I was instantly in love. They've won several Best of Burlington County awards for everything from their burgers to their brunch. The casual eatery offers comfort food classics at great prices and the Huevos Rancheros cannot be missed.
2. The Shrimp Box - 75 Inlet Drive, Point Pleasant Beach
This restaurant's motto is, "We overlook nothing... but the harbor." That couldn't be more true - the service, food, and views are amazing. They've got the freshest seafood, much of it right from the fishing boats you'll see docked outside. One Only In New Jersey reader says he travels 1,000 miles at least 2-3 times a year to eat here.
3. White House Sub Shop, 2301 Arctic Avenue, Atlantic City
Classic Atlantic City at its finest, this sub shop has been in business since 1946. Though the no-frills sandwich shop doesn't offer the glitz and glamour of other AC establishments, the subs are legendary. The cash only eatery is home to unique memorabilia including Frank Sinatra's towel and you'll fall in love with the White House Special.
4. Harold's New York Deli - 3050 Woodbridge Avenue, Edison
Besides the novelty of having the "World's Largest Pickle Bar," this spectacular deli is known for its epic portions. I'm talking pancakes the size of pizza pies, triple-decker sandwiches and cakes up to 2-feet high! You have to experience this spot at least once in your life, just to say you did. They're most famous for their cheesecakes and corned beef - yum!
5. 15 Fox Place - 15 Fox Place, Jersey City
This unassuming homefront holds within it one of the finest Italian restaurants in the state. Admission is by reservation only and there is no menu; you're served multiple courses through the night, at a fixed price. The exclusive dining club has snagged some serious press and rave reviews for its fantastic food and seemingly endless dinner - come hungry. Eat outside on the picturesque patio when the weather gets warm.
6. Charlotte's Web - 39 W Clinton Street, Dover
The very last building on a dead end street, Charlotte's Web serves Italian-American cuisine in a welcoming environment. The family-owned business is a local favorite. They serve up spectacular Italian fare along with a mouthwatering pub menu.
7. Long Valley Pub & Brewery - 1 Fairmount Road, Long Valley
This hip restaurant and brewery is housed in a 200-year-old stone farmhouse. Enjoy outdoor dining and delicious food in a laid-back atmosphere. While you're here, check out the other amazing restaurants in Restaurant Village, an 8-acre dining complex at the foot of scenic Schooley's Mountain.
8. Destination Dogs - 101 Paterson Street, New Brunswick
Destination Dogs is definitely a must-visit dining destination. They serve up gourmet hot dogs inspired by domestic and international cuisines. Local flavors include the Boston Red Hots, topped with baked beans and cole slaw and the Trenton Thunder, a deep fried all beef hot dog topped with pork roll, scrambled egg, cheese sauce, tomato and pepper jelly. Global flavors include the Guten Dog (bratwurst topped with sauerkraut, sautéed onions and spicy brown mustard) and the Chivas Royale (a deep fried hot dog topped with cheese sauce, strip bacon, salsa verde, sour cream and scallions.) They've also got a full bar with beer from around the globe and a variety of homemade sodas.
9. Donkey's Place - 1223 Haddon Avenue, Camden - 11 Tomlinson Mill Road, Medford
This cheesesteak sandwich was recently voted the best in America, beating out every restaurant in Philadelphia. Anthony Bourdain has even been here.
10. McDonagh's Pub - 2 West Front Street, Keyport
This lively Irish pub offers a welcoming atmosphere and weekly events like karaoke and trivia nights. Their Bloody Mary is anything but basic (it's finished with a strip of bacon and a gherkin pickle) and they've got an epic 14 oz. Bavarian pretzel that is an absolute must-try. The Jersey Burger (with pork roll, of course) and corned beef eggrolls are also favorites. Visit for the outstanding atmosphere and $5 happy hour specials.
11. Ivy Inn - 268 Terrace Avenue, Hasbrouck Heights
This cozy eatery scores top marks in terms of ambiance, being voted one of the most romantic restaurants in Bergen County. It's also a great value - the early dinner special is just $15.99 and includes soup or salad, an entree and dessert.
12. The Lamp Post Inn - 1601 County Road 565,
I first discovered this (not so) little gem after snowboarding at Mountain Creek a few years back. A friend from the area recommended it and I wasn't disappointed. The staff was friendly and welcoming and the food was delicious. They've won a reader's choice award from the New Jersey Herald and offer some of the best calamari and penne vodka around.
What’s your favorite New Jersey restaurant? There are so many to love! Share with us in the comments below. For more of my favorites, check out this
2017 New Jersey Dining Bucket List.