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Looking for Greek Food and Falafels in Central/North NJ?

Does anyone know of any Greek restaurants anywhere in central or north NJ? This type of cuisine seems to be sorely lacking and we're missing it a lot lately.

Also, where on earth can you get a decent falafel? Another food items we can't seem to find for our lives nearby. We lived in NYC for so many years and there were so many places to chow down on these. Nary a one in site - or certainly none worth eating.

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  1. ALthough it is not completely Greek, we enjoys Bobo's 33 in the Atlantic Highlands.

    Another great place we like (it is Turkish, but so similar in cuisine) is 7 Hills of Istanbul in Highland Park.

    It's Greek to me is ok not GREAT...a few locations..Holmdel, Hoboken, Long Branch, and I know there are more up North.

    They all have websites if you want to google and look up their menus. I agree, we need more GREEK food! Yumm yumm..

    Sorry, I cannot help you with the falfel. :)

    1. Blah! All of them are way too far - at least 20 miles, a long way to go for mediocre Greek food. Yes, we do need more choices for this type of food!

      3 Replies
      1. re: sivyaleah

        How about Beyti Kabab in Union City? I don't know if that is any closer. The place is Turkish and really delicious!

        1. re: sivyaleah

          7 Hills of Istanbul really is excellent. As you may know from reading my posts on the Manhattan board, I'm a huge fan of Turkish Kitchen, and I think 7 Hills is just about as good -- and, for me, that's saying a lot!! So, when a craving for Turkish cuisine hits us and we are not in NYC, we gladly make the 25-minute drive to 7 Hills.

          http://www.7hillsofistanbul.com

          When it comes to falafel, there's Jerusalem Pizza and Falafel, also in Highland Park. But I can't tell you how good the falafel is because I've never tried it. The place is kosher and observant, i.e., closed on Saturday.

          Of course, that doesn't help you with the Greek problem. There was a discussion about It's Greek to Me on the Avenue thread, at which time I made it clear that, because the food at the Hazlet location was utterly horrible, I have no use for this chain.

          Checking the NJ Zagat, there are Greek restaurants listed in Cherry Hill, Galloway Twp., and Atlantic City, which, I am presuming, are not close to you (or me either). Also listed is a small spot called Mazi, in Bradley Beach, which has some Greek dishes on a Mediterranean menu. This could be worth trying since, when I Googled, I found info that indicated they offer a $25 3-course Greek dinner on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

          1. re: RGR

            Forget Mazi, it closed and is now an Italian restaurant. it is very good.

        2. Well, now we're getting a bit closer - 7 Hills is only 16 miles away - that isn't too bad.

          And I'll tell you, I wouldn't care how good any restaurant in Hazlet is - I grew up there - I have an allergy to the town.

          Thanks for the tip of 7 Hills tho, I'm definately going to keep that one in mind - we are in that neck of the woods on occassion. We're looking for anything Mediterranean at this point - all of it is lacking in the area.

          1. Again, not Greek, but Lebanese.

            HEADQUARTERS on Georges Road in North Brunswick (can't get much more Central Jersey than that) is a casual storefront restaurant that has excellent falafel, which are included in an even better mezze plate with stuffed grape leaves, hummous, baba ganoujh, and tabouli. Also a good fatoosh salad and other more substantial stuff on the menu. The baba ganoujh is my favorite - nice blend of tangy and smoky.

            Also, just down (up?) the road (make a left leaving the restaurant, walk a couple blocks and cross the road) from HEADQUARTERS is THE PHOENECIAN BAKERY, a grocery with all kinds of middle eastern goodies, including excellent pita that was their original claim to fame.

            1. Oh yeah, the best annual Greek Festival food I've come across is at St George's Greek Orthodox church on River Road in Piscataway.

              http://www.helleniccomserve.com/grkfe...

              You just missed this year's in May, but put it on your calendar to look for it next May.

              1 Reply
              1. A Little taste of Athens is located at 51 Main St in Woodbridge and opened up a few short months ago. The family name of the owners is Theologis. The atmosphere inside is very relaxing. Deep blues walls with white trim, a stone floor and paintings of Greece adorn the walls. I'm hardly an expert on Greek food but what I had was well prepaired. I remember a lemon type of soup, I had a gyro which was very good. They have stuffed grape leaves (all of this is off the top of my head). They also have a dessert case filled with what I'm assuming are Greek pastries. Maybe 5-10 different kinds. I tried a giant shredded wheat looking thing that seemed soaked in a sweet syrup. I'm sure they could use the buisness as it seems no one really knows about them.

                3 Replies
                1. re: jrd303

                  Thanks for that one - Woodbridge is only a few miles away. Can't wait to try that one out. If it's any good I imagine it will become a regular haunt.

                  1. re: jrd303

                    Lunch a couple of weeks ago was fine...Not really into Greek food, but the mixed platter was good...Lamb Gyro,Falafel and very tasty grape leaves..Parking at lunch was tough...Enjoy if you go....

                    1. re: jrd303

                      FYI..this so called "Taste of Athens" has now closed. Probabaly in August if I remember correctly. We tried it once. A HUGE dissappointmnet, so no one is missing anything if you did not get ti try it!

                    2. I agree that 'Greek to Me' in Holmdel is mediocre. I have to eat there occasionally with my work crowd. I find the soups are OK and the salads are tolerable. All of the typical Greek menu items that I've tried -- souvlaki, spinach pie, greek pastries, etc, are disappointing.

                      The St Kisimis Greek festival in Holmdel has very good food and amazing pastries. It's in early June and worth marking the calendar. http://www.kimisis.com/

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: val ann c

                        The St Kisimis Greek festival in Holmdel is underway. I have not been yet this year, but I try not to miss it. Nice food, all homemade by the parish ladies. The pastries were really good!! This is a small festival.
                        Web site has a discount admission coupon. http://www.kimisis.com/

                        1. re: val ann c

                          Thanks for the heads up, val! For the past few years, we haven't been around when this festival has been held. This weekend we will be, so maybe we'll head over there.

                          1. re: RGR

                            RGR, I hope you like it. Be sure to try some pastries. Just FYI, there is not enough parking on the church grounds. Most people have to park at the nearby Catholic church. They have shuttle buses to the festival.

                            1. re: val ann c

                              Val,

                              We did go to the festival. We decided to make it our brunch, so we arrived just after it opened today (Sunday) at about 12:15. Plenty of room in the parking lot since turnout at that point was very light. There was virtually nobody at the tables under the huge tent, and just a few of the open tables were occupied. But, of course, it was early.

                              We chose a moussaka platter and a spinach pie platter. Each came with a small Greek salad. The moussaka and spinach pie were excellent, but the salad was mediocre. We sampled three pastries: baklava, ravani, and galaktoboureko. All were seriously delicious!

                              If we're around next year, we'll be back! :-)

                      2. In a few months Highland Park will have its own Greek restaurant--not many towns in Jersey can claim both Greek and Turkish food. The New Athens grocery store owners have expanded and are building a cafe that looks as if it will have nice outdoor dining. If the food they serve is as good as the spanakopeda and baklava they sell in the store we are all in for a treat.

                        1. As others have said, Highland Park is the place to go: Great Turkish: Seven Hills; Greek Coming to town with a really nice loking facility in construction.

                          My personal favorite for a great falafel is at Shushan Grill. This is a Kosher meat restaurant in the center of town between 3d and 4th aves.

                          At one time Jerusalem Pizza made a good falafel. Perhaps with some capital investment and refocusing on their product they could regain that title. Alas, with their perception of a captive kosher market, there has been no incentive for years.

                          Some folks also like two places on Easton Ave in New Brunswick: Evelyns and a scond whose name escapes me. I prefer a well made Israeli style falafel so these are not for me. As I mentioned, Shushan Grill is the current favorite.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Marcharlan

                            Does anyone know if this place talked about last summer - Greek in Highland Park - is open yet? If so what is it called? We were sorely missing great Med food after having an amazing meal last April in DC called Zatinaya - we were so relieved to find 7 Hills of Istanbul last weekend - AMAZING!

                            1. re: claytonsmum

                              The Greek restaurant, Pithari Taverna, has been open for a while. We've been there once. I thought the food was good, but not nearly as excellent as Ethos, in NYC. Pithari has been discussed on this board, so you might want to do a search for other opinions.

                              http://www.pitharitaverna.com

                              Btw, while I wouldn't describe the food at 7 Hills as amazing (I tend to reserve that kind of hyperbole for a much higher level of cuisine), it is well-prepared and very tasty. I also think the atmospherics are very pleasant, much more so than at Pithari which, though the taverna-style decor is nice, has rather cramped seating.

                          2. Try Effe's in New Brunswick, it Turkish, but have great stuff!

                            1. In the "falafel" and "North Jersey" categories, I'd suggest Ibby's Falafel in downtown Jersey City.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: piccola

                                I agree, Ibby's in Jersey City is the place.

                              2. If anyone is going to A Little Taste of Athens in Woodbridge I would give a call first. It's been closed the last few times I went by.

                                1. I really hope you are NOT talking about the place in Woodbridge on Main St.

                                  That place is horrible. I think I would get better Greek food from Taco Bell then there.

                                  :(

                                  1. I think the best places to find authentic and delicious falafel is right on Main Street in Paterson, NJ. All Arab stores.....authentic falafel. Look for any on the same street as El Nouri's "arabic grocery store" Saaha!

                                    1. Just had a great falafel at a hole-in-the-wall my favorite kind of place in Raritan. It is the town right next to sommerville nj. The place is called Bosphorus Grill. Turkish based food I guess . Everything is very fresh and shish kabob is better the betyi kabob. A real find. Byo. Right off of 202 near Uneeda appliance. ( near Randazzo bakery). In a very small strip shopping center.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: lovetotalkfood

                                        Thanks for the heads up. I have driven past that mall hundreds of times and never gone in. Now I have a reason to!

                                      2. We found a very small place in Raritan, currently has about 8 tables called Bosphorus Grill. They have simply the best Turkish food we have ever had. We have been to all the restaurants in this post, however, the chef at Bosphorus Grill have them all beat. We have now ordered almost every item on the menu and have not found anything that was short of great tasting. Very fresh, cooked perfectly. They appear to be a family run style place and they are extremely hospitable. They are on Thompson Street in Raritan right next to 202 North (there was an Allstate office right next door). We think you ought to make them your next stop

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: loveofeating

                                          I am so excited to hear about this place! We are going to try it very soon. Thank you for posting this.

                                          1. re: flourgirl

                                            In Teaneck, NJ there is Vasili’s Taverna 365 Queen Anne Road
                                            Teaneck, NJ

                                            The food is excellent

                                        2. Ibby's Falafel on Grove Street in Jersey City has excellent falafel, and everything else they make!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. Evan's Restaurant in Matawan, NJ serves excellent Greek food from gyros to falafel to spinach pies yet also offers you typical diner food. It is a small restaurant, but all the food is excellent and homemade. I've been eating years and years, and never have I eaten a bad meal!

                                            1. Seven Hills of Istanbul closed...awhile back.

                                              Its replacement, a Middle Eastern restaurant named Zaina, is now also gone. Apparently the newest tenant will be an Italian restaurant.

                                              And, as to the place in New Brunswick mentioned by curtinaa, the name of the establishment is EFES, not Effe's. It is named for the city of Efes, in Turkey, which was previously named Ephesus during the Greek era. Its name has nothing to do with a woman named Effe, as curtinaa apparently surmises!
                                              Anyway--Efes has good food, even if the ambiance is seriously lacking.

                                              1. I had a delicious lunch at Taverna Ouzo in Monroe not too long ago. Have not been to dinner there yet, but I wouldn't hesitate. Best Greek food I've had in a long time.....

                                                -----
                                                Taverna Ouzo
                                                146 Applegarth Rd, Monroe Township, NJ 08831

                                                1. After eating Mamouns (on Macdougal St ) for 15 years, it's very hard to find a Falafel that comes close as good as Mamouns. It's the gold standard for me.

                                                  Since this thread started, Mamouns has opened a location in Hoboken, NJ and very soon a location in New Brunswick, NJ I so excited for the New Brunswick Location, I'll be there on opening day.

                                                  http://mamouns.com/locations