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Jun 5, 2008 12:27 PM

5 Nights in Ocean County ( Manchester and Toms River )

I am coming to town from Los Angeles with my 10 year old son Friday the 13th of June ( are we doomed already?) for 5 nights. Looking for ChowHoundish places for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Love Italian, Pizza, Bagels all the comfort foods of my childhood. ( Grew up in Staten Island ). My parents are in their late 70's and dont get out much anymore. They live in a development call Renaissance in Manchester. Any of your favorite places would be appreciated. Would you know of a good wine shop too? Thanks in advance.. and if you ever need a tip in L.A. I would surely return the favor.

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  1. Town & Country Diner on 660 Route 37 W breakfast/lunch/dinner
    El Familiar rt 166 stella towne plaza excellent latin colombian /mexican
    I'l Giardinello Italian 1232 Route 166
    Cafe Italia rt 37 Italian 2414 Route 37
    HaNa 927 rt 166 Japanese Hibatchi/Sushi
    Bistro 44 44 Washington St # 2C
    Marucas Tomato Pies killer pizza on the southern end board walk in Seaside of rt 37

    1. El Familiar (Rt. 166) & Mexico Lindo ( Burnt Tavern Rd.) for great authentic Mexican although you live on the West Coast so that may be hard to beat!
      Old Corner Deli in Island Heights has great Lunch & Dinner specials. Chef Greg I believe is opening up a supper club in downtown Toms River.....
      Nobi in Toms River and Shogun also in Toms River (off of Bey Lea Avenue) for Sushi
      If you want to go north a little bit to Point Pleasant Beach there is great seafood at Spikes.

      4 Replies
      1. re: stack_c

        All of stack c's suggestions are excellent. I must also concur with Tapas52 with regard to Bistro 44 as it is the best restaurant in these parts. As far as Italian food I would try Villa Amalfi before Cafe Italia (Marucas however is a great suggestion for pizza). For wine I would try either Monahans on 37 in Toms River or Sawyers on Rt 9 in Beachwood. My only addition to the above list is Atlantic Bar and Grill in Seaside Park for good food and a beautiful ocean view.

        stack c - Chef Greg did in fact open the Downtown Dinner Club to the general public about a month back. While I've yet to dine there, I understand it to be quite good.

        1. re: bgut1

          bgut1, where is the Downtown Dinner Club? Can you tell me what it is all about?

          1. re: Babs16

            Hello Babs. The Downtown Dinner Club is located at 216 Main Street in the back part of the building where the old Downtown Restaurant used to be.

            Here is a recent thread on the restaurant:

            and the restaurants website (with menu) :

            1. re: bgut1

              Bgut1, great to hear that it is finally open! big fan of Chef Greg....I'll have to get down there....

      2. I can also recommend Villa Amalfi on Route 166 (good pick, bgut!). They do the classic dishes very well, and throw in enough little wrinkles that it doesn't become boring. The waitstaff is pretty attentive and friendly. They make a very good osso buco.

        I haven't gone yet, but I've heard good things about Shut Up And Eat on Rt 37 for breakfast. It's supposed to be like having your mom serve you breakfast, and the waitstaff is dressed in pajamas. Kitchiness aside, the good things I've heard have to do with the food, and the prices are reasonable.

        For pizza, I like Capone's in the downtown TR area. I find their pizza to be a notch above the typical fare you find in pizza joints.

        1. Skip the sushi and mexican food here; the LA offerings are generally much better. But if you must have a fix, then go to Nobi (1338 Hooper Ave, Toms River) and Mexico Lindo (1135 Burnt Tavern Rd, Brick), respectively, both within 20 minutes of Manchester. Do get some pizza. Do get some classic Italian: I've had several good meals at Villa Vittoria, about 15 minutes from Manchester (2700 Old Hooper Ave, Brick; Visit the Mulberry Street Italian Food Center (474 Brick Blvd, Brick) to pick up some fresh-daily italian bread, store-made specialities, italian cookies, and imported sharp provolone. Bistro 44 gets good grades and is probably the closest I've seen to fine dining in the area (note: it is BYOB) and is about 25 minutes from Manchester. I've been there only once and need to get back. A little farther (about an hour from Manchester) is the Oyster Creek Inn (41 N. Oyster Creek Rd, Leeds Point), where you can have lobster, crabs, oysters on the half shell, and more right on the water. It's very casual, but avoid the traffic and the wait for a seat on the weekend. You can find more about it on this board and here: I've found that most liquor stores in the area have nearly all the same selection of wines. The exception is Wine World (1930 Rt 88 East, Brick), about 20 minutes from Manchester, with a smaller but more interesting inventory.

          2 Replies
          1. re: njfreqflyer

            Thank you to everyone whom had replied.. I really appreciate it, l now have a starting list to work from. Per chance are there any wortwhile Bagels to be sought ?

            1. re: Foodandwine

              I can't vouch for any bagel place in Toms River or Manchester. If you want to take a little drive, I can certainly recommend JT's Bagel Hut in Forked River just off the GSP at Exit 74. Excellent bagels with a nice variety of choices.

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