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Top NJ Restaurants?

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I'm a new hound (well, longtime foodie. just new to the board) and I'm moving back to NJ after a long hiatus. Are there any lists floating around of the top restaurants in the state?

Not that I'm a slave to lists and rankings, but I find that they are a useful starting point to see a) what's out there and b) who is doing the reviewing.

Thanks in advance, hounds.

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  1. what area specifically are you moving to? NJ is a big state so narrowing it down to a specific area would be helpful!

    1. Well, the simple answer to your question is 'yes'. Finding such lists, however, can be a problem as the search function on the boards leaves a lot to be desired. The CH folks are working on this and we're all hoping the improvements will be here shortly.

      To get you started, here's a thread that might prove useful. It's fairly recent so that's a plus - http://www.chowhound.com/topics/384328

      BTW, to monitor all NJ you will have to check both this board and the Mid-Atlantic one. The Tristate Region board includes north Jersey while the Mid-Atlantic board includes central and south Jersey. The terms, north, central and south are somewhat flexible!

      1 Reply
      1. re: ambrose

        I don't agree that those geographical terms are "flexible." In most cases, there isn't much doubt about which cities/towns are in the northern or southern part of the state. Most of the problems that arise are related to people's ideas as to which towns are located in the central region. But even so, there is often a consensus.

      2. I am consistently pleased with Lorena's in Maplewood. It is small and difficult to get a reservation at the last minute, but the food is well thought out, layered flavors, and nicely presented. It's price point (most entrees under $30) is equal to or less than other so-so restaurants. It is BYOB.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Scrambled

          BYOB seems relatively common in NJ from my experience (limited). It was explalined to me that alcohol licenses were limited/ difficult/very expensive to obtain from the state authority and so many of the casual or not so casual restaurants choose to go BYOB both for their own and the customer's advantage. It is an arrangement that appeals to me even though I seldom find it available here in NY's capital district.

        2. One of my favorite Italian restaurants in NJ is Trattoria Fresco on Bloomfield Ave in West Caldwell. They have amazing food! I have never had anything there that I cannot say that I liked. The menu changes seasonally and its a BYOB. They make a great lasagna, and they also do great fish dishes. One of my favorite things on the menu are their "tuscan fries" worth every calorie!!

          1. There is a great place in the Trenton area called Lorenzo's it is located across from the train station and has awsome aged steaks it is a little pricey but you get what you pay for and life's to short to eat bad steak!

            1. Jersey is a big state. Where are you moving to? Also, were you looking for high-brow or low-brow restaurants?

              Origin is a great place for Thai in Morristown. Roots steakhouse in Summit is great but there is usually a week or more wait for a reservation. Hunt Club Grill in the Summit Hotel is also great as is Taste of Asia II (Malaysian) in Chatam. I haven't been to Lorena's in Maplewood but it is always mentioned by someone (and highly regarded) whenever the chowhounds are discussing Jersey food. I like Arthur's Landing in Weehawken because the food is lovely and it has the best view in New Jersey (I promise). The Chart House in Weehawken also has good views and has nice seafood. I haven't been to the Terace at the Hilton Hotel in Short Hills, but I know that it is a 4 star restaurant and I have heard that the brunch is excellent.

              One of the best things about New Jersey is that it has a lot of great ethnic food. There is great middle-eastern food on Main Street in Patterson and amazing Indian food on Oak Tree Road in Edison. There is a whole neighborhood in Newark that specializes in Brazilian and Portuguese (Ferry Street), along with Mexican places in New Brunswick, the Chinese in south Edison and Highland Park, Polish in Linden, etc..

              2 Replies
              1. re: ohromujici

                The 4-star restaurant at the Hilton in Short Hills is not the Terrace Room. It was the more formal restaurant, The Dining Room, and I use the past tense because it closed a few months ago.

                I'm a huge fan of Lorena's. It is top-notch -- one of the best in the state!

                http://www.restaurantlorena.com

                1. re: RGR

                  Lorena's is consistently excellent. I can't vouch for the consistency of Culin Ariane in Montclair, since I just dined there for the first time a few weeks ago, but it was certainly excellent. The cuisine is american+continental+asian (e.g., tuna sashimi app., terrific mustard-crusted rack of lamb entree, etc.), service is attentive, ambience is casual (think bistro-cafe - not the cost, though, which is reasonable for the quality, but high). It's another one of NJ's fine BYO's. We also like Fascino in Montclair for contemporary Italian, and Cafe Panache in Ramsey for French/Continental.

              2. had a very delicious lunch with attentive but not intrusive service at the copeland in the westin governor morris hotel in morristown a few weeks ago.

                http://www.copelandrestaurant.com

                1. I love the Frog and Peach in New Brunswick.

                  I also heard in the last year or so that the (my advance apologies for what's going to be a cryptic description) restaurant in the old hotel on Main Street in Chester re-opened. I haven't been in ages, and not since it re-opened, but it was always one of my favorite restaurants when I lived in the area. Delightfully old fashioned ambiance and honestly good food, simply prepared.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: ballulah

                    I love the Highlawn Pavilion, F&P in NB, Nova Terra, Il Castello in Woodbridge, and Lobster House in CM.

                    1. re: ballulah

                      I think you mean Publick House. It stinks now. Over salted, highly priced food. Boo.

                      1. re: njeggy1

                        I'm very sorry to hear that! I loved that place.

                    2. Le Petite Chateau offers the best French in New Jersey and until we get back to Ducasse, the best in the NY area.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mistercreosote

                        In Bernardsville, on Claremont? Wow, that place is still around?

                      2. New Jersey Monthly did an article of the best or top 25 restaurants in the state in August. A google search isn't turning anything up for me, but maybe you'll have better luck.

                        A few that I remember were on there:

                        Cafe Matisse, Rutherford
                        Blu, Montclair
                        Osteria Giotta, Montclair
                        Fascino's, Montclair
                        Scalleni Fidelli, Chatam
                        The Frog and The Peach, New Brunswick
                        Arthur's Landing, Weehawken
                        Amanda's, Hoboken
                        Cucharamama, Hoboken

                        Blu is one of New Jersey's newer restaurants, and is fantastic.(Make sure you check out Amanti Vino around the corner for wine before you go) And also I'm a big fan of Cafe Panache in Ramsey, even though it wasn't on the list.

                        1. From my daily eating adventures. Some restaurants and some quick bites.
                          NJ Food You Must Try!

                          Joe Leone's Point Pleasant NJ - Eggplant Pie
                          Kyoto Englishtown NJ - Sashimi
                          Kyoto Atlantic Highlands NJ - Sushi Winter Roll
                          Olives Princeton NJ - Rocky Road Brownie
                          Blue Rooster Bakery & Cafe Cranbury NJ - Goat Cheese Galette
                          David Bradley Chocolate Manalapan NJ - Zany Nuggets
                          Moghul Restaurant - Hot Fresh Fluffy Buttery Naan
                          Ming Edison NJ - Vegetarian Hakka Noodles
                          Tung Hsing House Spotswood NJ - Chicken and Broccoli
                          Krispy Pizza Old Bridge NJ - Grandma Pizza
                          Carmen's Bakery Union NJ - Best Bread!
                          Hong Fu Highland Park NJ - Soup Dumplings
                          Perlins Vegetarian Cherry Hill NJ - Mushroom Bourekas
                          Yumi Sea Bright NJ - Cheesecake Tempura
                          Surf Taco Point Pleasant NJ - Surf Taco
                          Saigon II Lincroft NJ - Vietnamese Egg Rolls
                          Ling Ling Riverwalk Chinese Basking Ridge NJ - Pancake Wrapped Shrimp
                          Organic Tofu House Ridgewood NJ - Seafood Pancake
                          Bluewater Seafood Grill East Brunswick NJ- Roasted Potatoes
                          Flaky Tart Atlantic Highlands NJ - Macaroni and Cheese and Macaroons
                          Veggie Heaven Upper Montclair NJ - Vege Roast Pork
                          Flirt Sushi Lounge Allendale NJ - Spicy Tuna Tortilla
                          Mendokers Bakery Jamesburg NJ - Cinnamon Sugar Strawberry Paczki
                          Big Ed's Old Bridge NJ - Baby Back All You Can Eat Ribs
                          Rosa's Bakery Shrewsbury NJ - Ice Cream Cannoli
                          Pop Shop Collingswood NJ - Pretzel Grilled Cheese Sandwich
                          Antonio's Mozzarella Factory Springfield NJ -
                          Fried Eggplant Mozzarella Red Peppers and Pesto
                          Greek Store Kenilworth NJ - Pastitito and Mousaka
                          The Petite Cafe Nutley NJ - Try one of the 100 Stuffed Cupcakes (Pure Genius - Food Art)
                          Cafe de Thai Matawan NJ - Mango with Sticky Rice
                          Donna Toscana Chocolates Cranford NJ - Olive Oil and Salt Truffle
                          Panico's New Brunswick NJ - Gnocchi
                          Panera Bread - Breakfast Egg Souffle
                          Lucy's Ravioli Kitchen Princeton NJ - Roller
                          Saladworks Marlboro NJ - Cold Fresh Salads
                          Harold's Deli Edison NJ - Pastrami Sandwich
                          Dixie Picnic Ocean City NJ - Upcake
                          Delicious Orchards Colts Neck NJ - Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
                          Wemrock Orchards Freehold NJ - Peach Pie and Apple Cider Donuts
                          Fuji Dayton NJ - Yummy Yummy Sushi Roll
                          Mastoris Diner Bordentown NJ - Cheese Bread
                          Harvest Moon New Brunswick NJ - Puddin Bites (Oh My)
                          Ristorante da Benito Union NJ - Pasta e Fagioli Soup
                          Abbate Bakery Matawan NJ - Pignoli Cookie
                          Fred and Murray Freehold NJ - Hush Puppy (Hot Dog Potato Knish Deep Fried In An Egg Roll Wrapper )

                          Life is short! Eat Well - Stay Happy - Live Long!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: shabbystorm

                            What an awesometastic list!!!!!

                            Any list that includes Joe Leone's is a list I like. :o) Anyhow, I'd like to add Hinck's Turkey Farm in Manasquan as a great Jersey Spot. They do turkey and all the trimmings, and they to everything right... and make a KILLER sandwich, to boot. One of my faves is the Thanksgiving Day (of course), which includes your turkey, stuffing, gravy, and ubiquitous-but-delicious cranberry sauce all on a hard roll. Their Mac and Cheese is also a MUST try.

                            Also try Jose's in Spring Lake Heights (fantastic Mexican... the real deal!).

                            -----
                            Hinck's Turkey Farm
                            1414 Atlantic Ave, Manasquan, NJ 08736