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Ria Mar in South River

My parents who live in the Central Jersey OFF (Old F**** Farms, e.g., Concordia) love this place. It is very low-key, not dressy, a neighborhood kind of place. It is Portuguese seafood and fish. The quality is good. My problem is that most of the preps are fried, and I don't eat fried food. Especially not fried fish. Other than driving all the way up to the Ironbound (which they won't do anymore), is there someplace anyone can recommend that has high quality fish/seafood and perhaps more modern, lighter preps alongside the traditional fried and/or gloppy sauce kind of thing? I've read enough about Doris & Ed's to think that while the menu certainly qualifies (I checked the website), it is overpriced and the food is good but not great (I guess that's part of being overpriced). Also, I tend not to like the kitschy lobster-trap-and-plastic-swordfish hanging on the wall kind of place, but what matters most is the food, so I can overlook decor if the food is really good. Think w/in a 35-40 mile radius of Exit 8A.

Thanks!

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  1. El Bodegon in Rahway. No comparison! The food, service, and atmosphere are much better than Ria Mar.

    1. have they tried Portuguese Fisherman down the road?

      I can't stomach Ria Mar anymore, Maybe because I live close and it's my family of non-foodies defacto place to ALWAYS go...

      3 Replies
      1. re: RPMcMurphy

        Portugese Fisherman used to be great, but went way downhill the last few times we were there, which was a few years ago. Has it improved since then? I used to love that place...

        1. re: njchowgal

          I go back and forth every year with my new "go to" place in town....between the two of them. Better than most, but not as good as the best I guess is a good way to describe both restaurants.

      2. Decent seafood at Shrimp King in Robbinsville on Rte 130 , northbound lane just south of where 33 branches off . Not fancy by any means but reliable .

        1. If you are willing to travel to Princeton, Blue Point Grill is the best for fresh fish. Also in the Marketfair Mall which is closer to Concordia is Big Fish--more of a chain type but fairly reliable fish. I would skip Shrimp King.

          1. Just order the Green (verde) mariscada. Its a big pot full of different seafood and lobster in a salty green delicious sauce served with a big plate of yellow rice. Ymmmm Ymmm Ymmm

            7 Replies
            1. re: FoodDude2

              After many many years at Ria De Mar (in the 80's free peel your own shrimp at the bar, 90's free pel your own fava beans.), we too used to go back and forth between Ria and Fisherman. My Uncle who lives in SR took us to Costa Verde on Rt 9 S in Sayreville; now we all congregate there. All said, we still had mom's funeral luncheon at Ria. She loved it there.
              I really like Ria's bacalao.

              1. re: Passadumkeg

                Deja vu - Passadumkeg. The wife and I spent the eighties and early nineties bouncing between the Fisherman and Ria in SR and Costa in Sayerville which were all very good. There was also a place in Highland Park on Rt 27, but can't recall the name, that was very good as well. They were my favorite for spanish potatoes and also the best porkchops.

                  1. re: MoxieBoy

                    Yes - we loved it as well. Complete with waiters in black suite, white shirt and black tie. Don't see that anymore...

                  2. re: JerzeyShore

                    There is one more Portugeuse place in lower Sayreville on Main St, next to an Italian Deli, roughly catty cornered from the Day Glo Bakery, can't remember it's name, but w/in walking distance of mom's. Good steaks & seafood. I wore my Reynaldo Brazilian soccer jersey and got a free pitcher of sangria from the bar maid.

                      1. re: FoodDude2

                        No, on what we called lower Main St., I ahven't been since Oct., perhaps it is gone.