HOME > Chowhound > Mid-Atlantic >


Princeton, NJ and Surrounding Areas

I'm taking a girl out to dinner and am looking for recommendation on good Italian restaurants in Princeton or other towns near by. Thanks.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. The best Princeton restaurants are Lahiere's and Ferry House (though they're not Italian). Lahiere's is cozy and elegant for a date.

    La Mezzaluna is supposed to be a great Italian restaurant and looks appropriate (casual yet cozy) for a date. Mediterra is good, but the ambience is less private so I wouldn't necessarily recommend it. Sotto 128 is a new one to look into...

    Approximately 20 minutes south of Princeton is the Chambersburg section of Trenton (the Little Italy of Trenton) for great Italian food. Amici Milano is great. Diamond's is also great but I don't know if it has relocated.

    Approximately 30 minutes north of Princeton along 206 leads you to Somerville where there are several great restaurants as well. La Scala, Il Pomodoro, La Cucina, etc.

    1. Although the Forrestal Village setting isn't romantic, the Tre Piani restaurant is, and the food is above average, if not spectacular. Check their website for the menu- trepiani.com

      1. While I'm fairly familiar with the Princeton dining scene, I tend not to frequent the Italian restaurants there. No good reason for this, except that the Princeton area offers so many other cuisines that I prefer to try them.

        I can heartily recommend La Scala in Somerville and I have heard that La Catena, which is on Route 22E in Bridgewater, is also good. My favorite Italian restaurant, however, is da Fillipo's in Somerville. It's not the ideal place for a romantic evening but it's a wonderful little restaurant with excellent food and service. Do not be put off by the surrounding neighborhood. Once inside, you'll feel as if you're in a little cucina in Italy (Sicily to be exact). This is the real deal!


        1. My husband and I love Carlucci's on Princeton and Hightstown Road in West Windsor (not far from Princeton). If you are looking for something really fancy (read: expensive) try Al Dente in Edison.

          1. If you really want to try real Italian home cooking go to Tattoni's in the Chambersburg section of Trenton. The best chicken cacciatore anywhere. Crab sauce to die for. Reasonably priced and a unique place.

            1. Glad I happened on this post; I missed it originally. IMHO La Mezzaluna was not good - as a matter of fact my husband and i joked that it seemed like a front for another business (!) I have been to Mediterra, but prefer their littler Teresa's nearby - I think the food is better there. I am looking forward to some of the recos below. One last thought is to try Blue Bottle cafe just north of Princeton. They always have a pasta dish on the menu - and the food there is very good.

              2 Replies
              1. re: rgfoodie

                Really? That is funny about La Mezzaluna! Teresa's is always good, I agree, but I wouldn't say it is a good date spot. It is more of a lunchtime café to me. Where is Blue Bottle Café? Is that the transient spot a bit North of Tiger's Tale that is constantly changing hands?

                1. re: gottasay

                  Blue Bottle is in Hopewell and it is outstanding. Absolutely worth the drive from Princeton. Reservations are needed; save room for dessert.

              2. Princeton is not the best place for Italian food. La Mezzaluna changed hands about 4 years ago and has not been good since. Diamonds has closed and is located in Ortley Beach now. As for Chambersburg the only place left is Amici Milano. Tattonis sold also. There is a great little Italian Restaurant just South of Princeton in Lawrenceville. It is my favorite and I even hate to tell to many people. All Homemade Italian Food, and specials that I haven't seen on Italian menus in years. BYOB It's very small and cozy, get there early.

                5 Replies
                1. re: sylvia4158

                  I've heard that Diamonds also relocated to West Trenton or Titusville, known as "Diamonds Riverside". They had a website but I don't see it now. What about Lorenzo's? Isn't that the place for great aged steak?

                  1. re: gottasay

                    As I understand it, the Zuchetti brothers of the original Diamonds, didn't do well with their partners in Diamonds Riverside. They split a couple of years ago and have the Ortley Beach place.
                    I recently heard that "Riverside" had been sold.

                    1. re: BCjr

                      I passed by the old Diamond's Riverside in Ewing (on Route 29) the other day and it had a different name. I can't remember it offhand but it's definitely NOT Diamonds anymore. Can't say I'm sorry to see it go...my husband used to wax nostalgic about the old Diamonds in Trenton so we went to the one in Ewing when we lived down the road. Very disappointing. I have heard that the location in Robbinsville (??) was much better.

                      1. re: SarahEats

                        Robbinsville closed already.
                        It is now "Fernando's Grille"...another one lines up for restaurant death.

                  2. re: sylvia4158

                    In Chambersburg, what about Marsilio's on Roebling? I've had some of the best veal dishes here over the years. Where is Enzo's

                  3. Sorry I forgot to tell you the name of the Restaurant in Lawrenceville, It's Called Enzo's
                    it's kept a secret. I don't see many posts about it. Worth a try.

                    1. I agree with Lahiere's and Ferry House being the best. Also the restaurant in Rocky Hill is to die for as well as Catherine Lombardi's in New Brunswick.

                      I would have suggested the Annex in Princeton but they are lamentably gone. I haven't been to the new Italian restaurant that went in there, but I heard they are good but very expensive.

                      1. Yes, Enzo's is a GREAT choice for a romantic evening, very small and cozy, great food, great decor!

                        1. my wife and I have tried Mediterra and Teresa Cafe for italian in Princeton. Certainly good. If pasta is your mood that evening go to Teresa's. Enjoy, report back and let the board know.