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Good cheap eats around Ikea in Elizabeth, NJ

Going from Staten Island to Elizabeth, NJ, to shop at Ikea tomorrow. Are there any good cheap eats around Ikea?

I usually don't make it to Jersey, so I was hoping to try out some Indian food. Are there any places closer than Chowpatty, etc? (I don't know NJ geography very well...)

If not, I'm open to any good cheap eats. Thank you!

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  1. You won't find anything cheaper than the 20 "Meatballs with Lingonberry Sauce" that you can get at the Ikea cafeteria for 5.00!

    1. Cheap is good, but not the most important factor. I want GOOD food around $10-$15 for a meal (small appetites).

      Plus, I'm vegetarian--hence, hoping for Indian food. Although my boyfriend eats meat, so we want to go somewhere where both/just veg are available.

      Thank you for the input, nonetheless!

      1. If you go south on Route 1 & 9 for perhaps 8 miles or so, in the Avenel section of Woodbridge Twp. there is "1-9 Seafood Restaurant", a genuinely authentic Chinese restaurant situated in a former diner.

        While they specialize in seafood, they do have various tofu/vegetable dishes on the menu.
        I think that there are also some meat dishes for your carnivore boyfriend, but since I only eat fish, I am not totally sure of this.

        If you are used to REAL Chinese food, I recommend this place highly. On the other hand, if your idea of Chinese food is Shrimp in Lobster Sauce or Egg Foo Young, you should probably skip it. If you go, you may even be the only non-Asian people in the place, so that should give you an idea of the authenticity.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Ted in Central NJ

          My experience if you take route 1/9 from the Big E to Woodbridge you're looking at 30-40 minutes.

          1. re: jfood

            Yes, it is possible for the trip to take that long, but at least it is a little closer than Chowpatty, and I think that the food at "1-9" is worth a 30 minute excursion.

              1. re: jfood

                It is one of the plethora of Indian restaurants on Oak Tree Road in Iselin and Edison. The OP wanted something closer than Chowpatty, so I recommended "1-9" which is a bit closer to Elizabeth.

                1. re: Ted in Central NJ

                  Oops, sorry Ted, never heard of Chowpatty. I thought it was a Chowhound poster's name.

        2. Forgettaboutit. You have Spiritos in Elizabeth. It will be an Italian meal to remember.

          Do a search on the board and you will see rave after rave after rave.

          2 Replies
          1. re: jfood

            100% Spirito'!!! The ravioli is homemade and all the cutlets are very tasty. Not much to look at as far as decor (think 1970) but the foos is very good!

            1. re: Angelina

              Since you are seeking vegetarian, you can of course order them without the cutlets. Please go to Spritio's and report back! One of my all time favorite meals, the ravioli and cutlet. Haven't been there in many years. Ask for the sauce on the side. The ravioli are so good and tblsp may be all you need.

          2. I was going to suggest either Tommy's Italian Hot Dogs, or Jerry's Famous Frankfurters, located practically right next to each other right off Elizabeth Ave. on 2nd Ave. A few blocks from Spiritos. But after being reminded of Spiritos by jfood and Angelina, I would suggest going there. In addition to the ravioli and cutlets, the pizza is great also.

            1. Oak Hill Road in Edison is the place for Indian food as I recall, to get there from Elizabeth take the Garden State Parkway to Metropark, the Indian places are about a mile from there (do a Google map). I've been to one of them recently, you basically drive up a hill from Metropark to a light, turn left on Oak Hill Road, and go maybe 1/3 mile... there's a shopping mall there (where there used to be a drive in movie theater where I was a kid) and a good Indian place in the rear of the parking lot on the right. An Indian friend in NJ took me there last year.

              2 Replies
              1. re: steinpilz

                Ikea is NOWHERE close to GSP. You'd have to take NJT to Exit 11 for the connection. Not convenient

                1. re: jfood

                  Sorry, I haven't lived in NJ for around 30 years - though I do visit occasionally.

              2. Thanks for all the advice!

                We're still thinking of Chowpatty, just b/c my bf craves Indian food!

                1. Just wanted to check back in with you: after paying the horrendous $9 toll for Verrazano, we decided not to wander too far afield on the NJ Turnpike with all its tolls. So we went to Lakruwana on Staten Island, since that was on the way home.

                  We stopped in around 7pm; the restaurant was empty. The decor was beautiful: lots of bamboo and natural fibers on the walls, the door, the placemats, the silverware-holder. Reproductions of what I assume is Sri Lankan murals adorn the wall. Very, very charming.

                  My dining partner asked for a spicy laprisie (sp?): basically, lamb, veg, and rice cooked in a banana leaf wrapper. I got the veg medley: 5 different curries, each in a separate ramekin, surrounding a squat cylinder of rice. I remembered smoked eggplant, something yellow and bitter/sour, amazingly delicious and smoky lentils, plus two other things I forgot.

                  The presentation was beautiful, but where was the flavor? Plus, my partner's dish was NOT spicy at all. The food was good, but no bursts of flavor such as that I remember from New Asha. Compared to New Asha, it was less greasy, more appetizingly presented, did not cause heartburn and the restaurant has more ambiance.

                  1. I also second eating at Ikea...cheap, GOOD, food...great salmon...fresh salads, full meals-- for veggie to meat lovers. Of course, the ambiance is thoroughly modern cafeteria :).


                    1. Ikea's canteen has another wonderful bonus for those of us besotted with aviation. You face out onto the twp main runways at Newark, 4/22. Depending on the wind direction, you either watch the sleigh ride of interesting planes on their short finals.

                      Great fun for a closet plane spotter!

                      The Swedish meatballs aren't bad either, although the fries are to be avoided.

                      - Sean

                      1. Although they say it's in Elizabeth, Ikea is in "no man's land". There is a kind of hidden mall nearby but I doubt there's good food there. I used to go to Elizabeth pretty often inthe 80's,and the whole downtown area was still in the 50's/60's which was cool for great shakes,burgers and diner food. I'm going next week and will try to eat at Spirito's. I'm from S.I. and eating the pukish Sri Lankan food there has put me off of it. Long enuf to forget though so I'll try Lukruwana soon 5 blocks from me. Must be more Elizabethian foodies; please weigh in !

                        1. I just hit the salad bar at Ruby Tuesday by Jersey Gardens.

                          1. Check out Valencia on Monroe Avenue in Elizabeth. Lively Portuguese joint with awesome food. Cook your own juicy hunk of filet mignon with garlic butter on a hot stone right at your table. With those home made potato chips on the side and fresh broccoli. Yum! The cafe side is cheaper and more casual and has a bar. Or spruce it up and sit on the restaurant side. This place and Spiritos are the Kings of good eats in Elizabeth. No question.