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Favorite resturant in Highlands/Atlantic Highlands?

My husband and I have become Neil's in Highland's junkies! I am usually not a big fish eater, but I can't get enough of thier fish dishes.

What does everyone else like in the area?

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  1. Have yet to try Neil's, but my current favorites are Bay Ave. Trattoria & copper Canyon. I still haven't tried Navesink Fishery, also want to try the Mexican Restaurant on Bay Ave. I believe it's called Chilango's (although not sure) but I have heard Raves about it lately.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Herm

      I like the Inlet Cafe, next to WindandSea. Small, comfortable and food is tasty. Not 5 star but NJ Ledger always gives + reviews.

    2. I've heard good things about Doris and Ed's. I have not been there, but please opine if anyone has.

      17 Replies
      1. re: angelo04

        I have always considered Doris & Ed's to be extremely over-rated. We first went there years ago, and I was not impressed. Thinking that maybe I was missing something, we gave it a few more tries spanning a number of years before giving up and taking it off our list. My view in a nutshell: nothing special food at ridiculously high prices.

        1. re: RGR

          I'm with you, RGR, and consider Doris & Ed's consistently overrated. Your experience there is a mirror of my own, having eaten there many years ago and giving it another try years later. The place seems tired to me with its stuffy atmosphere, and tatty, windows and mirrors smudged. Its reputation seems to linger from days long ago when it was the only Swell place in the area and the prices are meant to impress.

          1. re: Deb Van D

            I'm willing to give a nod to the Chef & Owner for their support of important local causes and culinary generosity. Doris & Ed's has a loyal following for many reasons..beyond menu.

            A few years ago we won a prize: 4-course at D&E. I can't say that every bite was a absolute winner but we were treated very well and the simple white walls and small tables didn't bother us at all.

            1. re: HillJ

              It wasn't service problems (I never recall any) or the ambiance (I have nothing against plain) that turned my husband and me off. It was the simple fact that, in our view, the quality level of the food was never worth the very high cost. Now, if we won a prize of a free dinner for two there, since the food is not horrible, I think we could somehow manage to stand going there again. Just not on our dime!

              1. re: RGR

                I see nothing wrong with offering another D&E experience to the thread, RGR.

                Dh & I enjoyed that meal well enough and yes, a free dinner may have its own perspective....altho not guaranteed deliciousness...however, we had been to D&E before and after that particular meal and enjoyed dinner as paying customers.

                Highlands/Atl Highlands has so many restaurants in its small 'village' - for dh & me it will always be about having FUN first and a well prepared meal second.

                Plus the water taxi is a blast!


                1. re: HillJ

                  HillJ, We all bring our own dining perspectives to the board, and I completely agree with you that all are welcome. In fact, in many respects, the disagreements make for more interesting discussion than the agreements.

                  1. re: RGR

                    Touche! and, while I think of it...thank you for posting the new Matawan restaurants opening in town it's a terrific cheat sheet.

                    Care to tackle the new digs sprouting in Asbury Park!

                    1. re: HillJ

                      While a discussion of the Asbury Park restaurant scene would be useful, it probably deserves its own thread. In any event, I believe there is a Taste of Asbury Park event going on this Sat., April 14, in case you're interested.

                      1. re: jsfein

                        thanks jsfein..AP probably does deserve its own thread...anyone attending the Taste of...who can report back?

                      2. re: HillJ

                        It may surprise you to hear that it's been about 30 years since we've dined at a restaurant in Asbury Park. And, then, there was only one place that we went to with a bit of regularity; that was the Italian restaurant Posillipo. In the days of our youth, it was what constituted "upscale" NJ dining for us and our friends. (That and the Old Orchard Inn, now called the Old Orchard Manor, in Eatontown.) As the expression goes, "We've come a long way, baby!"

                        My husband has fond memories of the Opera Night he spent at Posillipo with the husband of one of my friends. During the evening, they managed to polish off two bottles of wine. How they drove home without getting themselves killed remains a mystery to me!

                        Posillipo is still there. I've occasionally thought about checking it out again to see what we would think of the food now.


                        P.S. Diaz is a Latin American restaurant in Asbury Park. We tried it once when it was located in Avon and thought the food was tasty. It's family-owned, and the husband and wife take turns cooking. It's a BYO. You might want to give it a try.

                        1. re: RGR

                          Thank you for the recommendations!

                          1. re: RGR

                            Unless they've changed things recently, Diaz is only open for dinner Wed thru Friday. When they moved to Asbury, lunch became the focus...

                          2. re: HillJ

                            Hey and rgr , where is this matawan list you speak of? I live in Old Bridge so I am interested as you 2 seem knowledgable. As a side note, I've been to Paulines on 34 in Matawan. Food is great, better than your typical red sauce joint. Ambiance is OK to good not great. Food more than makes up for it, especially when Pauline comes out and debriefs you on the menu.

              2. re: angelo04

                Doris and Ed's is one of the few restaurant's where I always clean my plate. We've only ordered from the Shore Today menu, as opposed to the Shore Yesterday, which is what seems to keep the more mature crowd coming. I too thought at first that it may be too stuffy, but I've discovered that it's what you bring to it...if that's what you expect, that may be what you find. After a friendly conversation about oysters and the great Northwest, the manager/seafood buyer actually wrote down my recommendations on places to dine in Portland. I used to consider it a special-occasion place but lately the prices of so many local places, for example, Le Fandy, Brandl, are on par. Sheesh, even Basil T's prices range from $23-37 (actual entrees, not pasta dishes), whereas Doris & Ed's range from $24-38, more if you want to dive into Kobe beef territory. Plus, they KNOW how to make a drink and have a lovely selection of oysters always.

                1. re: fershore

                  We ordered from the Shore Today menu the last time we were there but the food, while more interesting than the yester-years offerings, still didn't impress us enough to want to go back.

                  P.S. For superb cuisine, I will even put up with stuffy. lol

                2. re: angelo04

                  I have always enjoyed the food,presentation, and service here.The place really doesn't have too much competition,The one BIG thing I always gripe about is that they serve crap espresso at the end of it.if you are going to invest $$$ in an espresso machine at least train a barista / servers of how to prepare coffee and serve a decent grind ( Illy / Kimbo? )The dining room is a little dated / sedate but is nice and bright from the natural light of the big Bay view windows.

                3. Doris & Ed's rocks - I actually went to their dinner at the James Beard House several years ago. They have a great selection of fresh oysters (pricey, but worth it).

                  3 Replies
                    1. re: newfie29

                      What did you find so Rockin' about D&E's ... I was soo disappointed ... about the food. Service was great, but that don't make up for the food.

                      1. Although I've only been there twice, I really enjoyed both of my meals at Bobo's 33. During the warmer months, after a pitcher of sangria at the Inlet Cafe, everything tastes great.

                        1. Harborside Grill is good for lunches and things like that.
                          Memphis Pigout some here seem to think is really good. I'll pass on judgement.
                          The Fishery place? (the name escapes me) next to the A&P going up the hill always has good food.
                          I like the Indigo Moon.

                          1. I'm a big Copper Canyon fan - always have a good time there and the waitstaff is very friendly and always provides good service. Julia's -- went there a couple of months ago - - and the meal wasn't very memorable - -i can't even tell you what I ordered!! I love one thing at Bahr's -- their Lobster Bisque in a bread bowl. Everything else I think is over-priced. Not a big fan of Windandsea or Doris and Eds. So - basically, it's Copper Canyon for me :) Tell me more about Neil's. It sounds like you love it. I will have to check it out.

                            1 Reply
                            1. I really like the sushi at the little place on Rt 36 south - in the CVS shopping center.
                              Kyoto Sushi. (732) 708-1088. 2389 State Route 36, Atlantic Highlands

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: val ann c

                                I agree, Kyoto Sushi has terrific sushi. It's clean, the staff is extremely friendly, and the prices reasonable.
                                As for Bay Ave Trattoria, I had an unfortunate order of steamed clams with sausage but other things I've tried were good.

                              2. Wow what great answers!!
                                I totally agree with Inlet Cafe, Harborside, Julia's and Copper Canyon. I agree with the not so great comments about D&E....great service, but I wasn't bowled over with the food for the price.
                                I hear that Orleans isn't coming back! I really liked the food and the jazz!
                                I live within walking distance of the Navesink Fishery, but I've never been there....thanks for the recommendation!

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Jen_in_NJ

                                  Last week I had a great meal at Bay Avenue Trattoria -- clams, salad with goat cheese in puff pastry, Scottish salmon, and sorbet with fresh fruit. Wish I could have stayed there long enough to get hungry again and eat more!

                                  1. re: Jen_in_NJ

                                    Weird I am within walking distance too. I guess I should add that I have eaten at The Fishery a few times and have never been disappointed. It's not fancy but good. BYOB too.

                                  2. I also do not see what the big deal is with Doris and Ed's. Honestly, for the prices they charge on plates and drinks, I was expecting more. I had a sea bass dish which was very bland and flavorless. Only my opinion. I won't ever go back, anyway.

                                    I like Bobo's for appetizers. I had a couple of good meals at Indigo Moon, not great, but good. Does anyone remember that Cuban restaurant that was there about 5 years ago by Doris and Ed's? UMMMM...I really like that place. Too bad it did not last. I also think the other place that was in there went out of business as well. (The same owner as TEAK in Red Bank....the name is not coming to me.)

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: Angelina

                                      The Cuban place was called Havana, the Teak owned place was Rice.

                                      1. re: Herm

                                        Does anyone know how long Havana Tropical Grill has been open, and if it is connected to the old Havana restaurant at that location years ago?

                                      2. re: Angelina

                                        We had dinner once at Havana. We decided to give it a try because it sounded as though the cuisine would be different -- more interesting -- from the run-of-the-mill. To be honest, I have no recollection whatsoever of what we ate there, which means it was not memorable in any way. However, I do remember the ambiance being very nice and appropriately tropical.

                                        1. re: Angelina

                                          On way to D&E last Thursday (8/2), passed Havana, it appears that it has re-opened, there was a clam festival going on as well so parking was at a premium and didn't stop to look at menu.

                                          Appear to be in the minority here but enjoy D&E very much. Food, service & atmosphere. When up in that area also like WindandSea.

                                          1. re: PJS

                                            Welcome, and thanks for the feedback. Alas, I'm not a fan of WindandSea either, but I'll be interested if something opens again in the Havana/Rice space. No, I wouldn't have attempted to stop there with the clam festival going on either.

                                        2. I really, really think Bella's in Atlantic Highlands is the best place in the area. The fish is super fresh and they have a nice variety on the menu. I know it is blasphemous to say in Atlantic Highlands, but I think their steak au poivre can take the steak at Copper Canyon's any day. I haven't really loved Indigo Moon, but I am considering another trip there just to be sure.

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: atlhighlandsfoodie

                                            atlhighalnsfoodie - Welcome to the board. While you have a right to your opinion, I beg to disagree. In fact I believe the opposite to be true. While I truly enjoyed Indigo Moon and Copper Canyon, I HATED Bella's. My review is somewhere around here.

                                            1. re: bgut1

                                              i just read that indigo moon is closing.

                                              1. re: karins

                                                No kidding! I am very sorry to hear that. Always a pleasure to eat there, but alas, I guess we didn't do so often enough.

                                                1. re: karins

                                                  What? When? How? Any details karins?

                                                    1. re: tom porc

                                                      After my last few attempts to do this failed spectacularly, I am hesitant to even suggest this but ...

                                                      How about a chowhound "last meal" at Indigo Moon? They have a 6 course tasting menu we could all have and I'm sure we could even tailor it to our tastes.

                                                      There, I said it, now let the notion die in peace ;o)

                                            2. Chilangos on Bay ave.................great AUTHENTIC mexican food..............impressive tequila selection and outstanding service...........................

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: bobk

                                                We went to Chilango's last weekend before a movie in AH. I really loved it. The service was great-both the waitress and the manager. The food was good as was the coffee. The salsa was so-so-fresh but not enough kick for me but everything else was really good. Great margarita for a great price-in fact the whole menu is really reasonable compared to a lot of places around here. We moved up here this winter from DC and have been suffering the restaurant dept after DC especially in the Latin food genre. (The only thing missing in DC food is good Italian and pizza-of course here, it's practically all that exisits!)So, we have gone from one extreme to the other but with the help of you all posting on here, we are slowly finding our way.

                                                1. re: heathergt

                                                  off the subject but, i'm looking for a restaurant that has an excellent steak. I've been to manhattan steakhouse and would love to know if anyone has another suggestion. It doesn't have to be a "traditional" steakhouse. I'm just craving a really good rib eye here in monmouth county! can anyone help, date night is tomorrow!!

                                              2. I second the opinion on BAY AVE TRATTORIA owned by Joe and Maggie. You may remember Joe and Maggie's of Long Branch for many years a mainstay. Same people so bottom line is just go there - you will not be dissapointed...

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: bjsimmons

                                                  Here's another vote for Joe and Maggie's!

                                                  1. re: bjsimmons

                                                    I find Joe's food way too "over-layered"...It is one ingrediant on top of another on top of another and tehn lets stick a sprig of something in it...yuck

                                                  2. I know this post is old, but too bad the place that is now where Neil's was basically....sucks big time! yuck!! I would'nt send a stray cat in that place.

                                                    1. I love Bellas and Copper Canyon both. Doris and Ed's are fantastic, find a better lobster bisque in our area I dare you. Beyond that they have some of the best wine prices and that gets major points in my book. Even more they allow you to BYO on sundays. This alone severely reduces the cost of going out.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: chris the wine guy

                                                        Have been eating at Bella's on First Ave. in Atlantic Highlands recently - It is great. We've made our way through the menu and haven't had a bad meal yet. Specials are really great too. I'm so glad to have a good place in town in addition to Copper Canyon. We also had dinner at the new Thai place in Atlantic Highlands - I think it's called Royal Thai (replaced the Mexican place on corner of First and Mount). The Pad Thai was excellent. On par with any I've had in NYC. It's BYOB. I also love Doris & Ed's. It's old school Jersey Shore.