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Feb 8, 2008 10:43 AM

Average Price Italian or American in Mon/Ocean

Looking for an averaged price italian or american food place in monmouth or ocean county. Don't want fancy food or really a fancy place...but the food is good. Looking for a place I haven't tried, would like to keep the price below $100 for two including dessert and appie. We are not drinkers.

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  1. Which Italian restaurants have you been to? That will help us to suggest places you have not tried.

    10 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      I'm embarrassed to say, not very many as dh does not like Italian when we go out so this list is very very very very short:(. I've been to Lucento's, Briosos, The Pasta House (no longer there) and a few others not worth mentioning. Please don't hold this against me. :(

      1. re: shesallthat

        Why be embarrassed? I'm not crazy about Chinese, so we rarely go out for that, which means I'm not as well-versed as other Hounds are in that category.

        With regard to Italian restaurants in the general vicinity of our house, regulars on this board know that I avoid most of them, usually after trying them once, because they are barely mediocre. We haven't been to Lucento's in ages, and we stopped going to Brioso's a few years ago because we were disgusted with the management's response to a problem with the food we were served.

        The only Italian restaurant in the area I really like is SamVera, on 520, in Marlboro. It's pretty much traditional fare, but solidly prepared and very tasty. The decor is attractive, and the overall ambiance is quite pleasant. Depending on exactly what you order, you should be able to meet your budget.

        1. re: RGR

          RGR - is Sam Vera very casual...can we walk in with jeans and do you need reservations?

          1. re: shesallthat

            Jeans are perfectly fine.

            Since we tend to go there in the middle of the week and early, when it's not too busy, we generally don't reserve and have never run into a problem. However, later in the evening could be different, and certainly if you are planning to go on a Friday evening and especially on a Saturday evening, you should definitely make a reservation. They are closed on Monday.

            1. re: RGR

              RGR - how about Spargos? There is next to nothing about that place here if there is I can't find it. Or who has the best fresh pasta OR any "american" not burger you recommend. I'm happy with shepherd's pie, chicken pot pie or a good prime rib. I go to you because you know everything. Thanks again!

              1. re: shesallthat


                I'm honored by your compliment. :-) But the truth is, I hardly know *everything*! lol And to prove it, I can't offer you any suggestions for restaurants that have an American-style menu that includes the dishes you mention. It's not that I have anything against *plain* food as we certainly enjoy bbq (our favorite in the area is Big Ed's), and we occasionally go to steakhouses though only in NYC. But when we go out, it's most often for French, New American, and eclectic.

                When it comes to fresh pasta, the restaurants we go to that have it are in NYC.

                With regard to Spargo's, the cuisine is New American with a bit of a fusion twist. Our experiences there date back quite a few years. We really wanted to like it, so we tried it a couple of times. While the food was not bad, and there were one or two dishes that were better than average, overall, it just didn't do enough for us. However, it's entirely possible you might like it. The menu is on their website.


                1. re: RGR

                  St. Stephens Green in Spring Lake Heights (though not "American") does a very good job with both Chicken Pot Pie and Shepherds Pie (if you don't mind that they use beef not lamb).

                  1. re: MGZ

                    Shesallthat, Have you tried Big Ed's? Certainly casual and very good ribs. Other casual places in my area are Barnacle Bills, What's Your Beef, Zachary's, Sitting Duck, and Main Street. Italian would be Angelica's (BYO), Tavolo (Long Branch) and Mike & Nellie's.
                    I'm guessing you're in the Jackson area so these places would be a trip for you.

                    1. re: tom porc

                      We wound up going to Spargos which was very close to home and overall we enjoyed it. We shared a Cesar salad, which to me even though it had a good flavor was a bit was almost as if the cheese sopped any hint of dressing...I had the pappdrelle with mushrooms which I loved and dh had duck-I would go back and try other things. We had tried What's your Beef and although the prime rib was probably the best I've ever had, I didn't like the whole set up of waiting at the window, etc. We tried Big Ed's many years ago and prefer Memphis Pig Out...does anyone know if "Eleanor" is still alive. She was over 100 when I spoke to her last and such a lovely woman.

      2. re: RGR

        Try San Remo on 520 (Newman Springs Rd) in Red Bank / Shrewsbury. It's just west of the tracks, by the bowling alley. Looks like an old house. Very nice decor inside. Food is excellent. And if you get the older gentleman as your waiter, you'll have a blast.

      3. The original comment has been removed
        1. I've had really good food at Villa Vittoria (in Brick) and Il Giardino (in Forked River), which I think are owned by the same people and are moderately priced. If you want super-casual, family-style, no-frills, there's also Shady Rest on Route 9 in Bayville. The stuffed eggplant parm is yummy, and the pizzas are spectacular.

          1. Try Tardi's in Point Pleasant. Excellent food, moderately priced.