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Aug 4, 2008 06:27 PM

Best "Casual" ITALIAN in Toms River please.......

Can someone point me in the right direction to having a decent meal at a good casual Italian restaurant in the Toms River area..........since moving here I've had nothing but less enjoyable dinners at a few different places so far without naming them here...ranging from just ok to horrible. So far I've had uncooked pasta, tasteless stewed tomato watery sauces, terrible service, .........I know there are some expensive so called fine dining places like Villa Amalfi, Villa Vittoria, etc etc but I am just looking for a good every day type place with some good red sauce dishes, etc ... Any suggestions are appreciated....thank you.

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  1. Lenny's in Lavalette. They've been there for over 20 years and have only gotten better each year. Everything---from their pasta dishes to their pizza to their seafood specials---is delicious. And yes, it's worth the drive.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Anne

      Anne yes Lenny's pizza is super & now as per your suggestions will try dinner there asap also....but as a local we try to stay away from the shore until the B.E.N.N.I.E.S. go home after labor day weekend.....its just too crowded there at this time, parking etc etc ...


      1. re: Tapas52

        Yes, I understand---although I haven't heard them called B.E.N.N.I.E.S. in years LOL! Try going Tuesday through Thursday. The crowds aren't as bad. Besides, once you have the rolled eggplant (with the proscuitto) you'll forget any inconvenience. Lenny's will be our first stop when we get out there 11 days from now. Can't wait! By the way, here's a link to their menu:

        1. re: Anne

          hi Anne,

          I just checked out Lenny's Pizza website.
          Very Nice.

          One thing bothers me. not with only this website but most Pizza Places.
          Why is it that Veal, whether it be Parmigiano, Marsala, Pizziaola, Francese, Picatta is only $17.00. ?
          Then you have Chicken dishes served the same styles as the veal for $16.00 ..

          There has been discussion many times on these boards about this practice.

          We all Know the Veal is in most cases is at least 5 times more expensive than chicken breast. This is a modest number(5 Times).

          average chicken cutlet= $1.50 per pound
          average Veal for scallopine $8 to $ 15 per pound(depends on which cut these places purchase)

          Here comes tha age old discussion.
          How can these places possibly charge only $17 for VEAL?
          and yet get $16 for Chicken?

          I am afraid that some pizza restaurants think it is OK to serve some sort of Pork Loin in place of that ever so covetted Veal.

          I am not saying that Lenny's does this( I hope and think not), I just happened to see their menu ( website ) on this forum,
          I have never been to Lenny's and I am sure it is Excellent.

          Just think about all the places that charge the same price for a product that actually costs at least 5 times more.. How is this feasible or practical???

          I am afraid to tell you all that Yes, unfortunatly when you order veal in many a Pizza Parlor, you are in FACT eating PORK LOIN that costs a whopping $1.99 per pound........
          There is nothing wrong in my mind about Pork Parmigiano, in fact I really enjoy it.....
          But please Restaurant owners who practice this dreadful business, Come clean......Youy Know Who You ARE>>>>>

          Thank you.


          1. re: vealstew42

            Can't say I've ever noticed this as I'm not a big fan of veal. However, my brother LOVES veal and ALWAYS orders veal parmigiano whenever he is in an Italian restaurant. He's always been extremely pleased with the veal parm. he's gotten at Lenny's. And my brother is the type that wouldn't think twice about complaining---LOUDLY in a crowded restaurant---if he thought they were pulling a fast one on him.

    2. Lisa and I share your pain. I hate to sound like a broken record, but I'll mention the same place I mentioned for pizza in the TR area: Capone's on Washington Street. Give them a try. 17 Washington St. 732.473.1777.

      Hope this helps.


      3 Replies
      1. re: johnandlisa

        John we actually went to Capones one night but to our dismay it was closed.....must have been too late.......its is on our list for sure also. Its all about the sauce for us.

        1. re: Tapas52

          Capones is a good solid choice for casual Italian. They make great Ravioli's there and have a good vodka sauce as well. Should be right up your alley.

          I also here On Top of Spaghetti is good in Seaside Heights but I have never been there.

          1. re: TedyB

            On Top of Spaghetti in Seaside is good solid italian food. In the winter some of the meals were less than stellar, but recently the food has been above par as far as "shore italian food". The staff there is what makes us keep on going back.

      2. Try the Hot Tomato on Fishcer. I have not been there in a year or so but always have had a very good casual Italian dinner there.

        2 Replies
        1. re: AC Captain

          Last time I was at RIVOLIS on Fisher Blvd......I saw Hot Tomato.....Ive heard good things about them but have yet to try it.....maybe soon ....


          1. re: Tapas52

            We felt like some Pizza for lunch today thought since I haven't tried Capones in TR yet I'd try it on good recommendations for lunch....disappointed it was closed for some ended up in Palumbos in the Office Lounge shopping center.....that was a bigger disappointment Ho hum dried out pizza with no taste Argggg! Looks like I'll have to hit Lenny's in Lavellette or Marucas in Seaside but the crowds now & parking is atrocious....but closer in town there aint much...or is there? As far as Dinner regarding the topic title I'll be hitting these places soon also on your recommendations Thanx....

            BTW what about Atillios pizza across from the Old Time Tavern?

        2. I've had great pizza and some good red-sauce dishes (esp. stuffed eggplant) at Shady Rest in Bayville, just south of Toms River on Route 9.

          6 Replies
          1. re: katydid13

            Katy thanx thats not to far from us ....we'll check it out. address?

            1. re: Tapas52

              I know it's on Route 9 but don't know the exact number. I'm sure it's listed. I think the full name is something like Shady Rest Pizza Parlor.

              1. re: katydid13

                Shady Rest Restaurant
                796 Us Highway 9
                Bayville, NJ 08721

                1. re: Tapas52

                  Yes, Shady Rest does have good pizza. We recently tried them because we had heard about their pizza. Worth the trip.


                  1. re: johnandlisa

                    Shady's great!
                    Best eggplant parm I know of.

                    1. re: AC Captain

                      Thanx Shady Rest is on our list.....we also hit Capones In Toms River Yesterday & enjoyed the Brick oven pizza we'll be back for dinner....

          2. Hi Tapas (and others!) --

            Any updates on results from the quest for a decent meal of Italian food last summer? I'm soon going to be shopping for a caterer (Italian food dinner of seafood, chicken/veal, and pasta entrees) and wondering which places I should put on my short-list.


            2 Replies
            1. re: njfreqflyer

              I have used Jacques Caterers in Hazlet and was not dissapointed by any means. I ordered rolled eggplant parm., beef bourguignon, penne in vodka sauce just to name a few things. All 60 of the my guests raved about the food.

              You can also hire a waitress or bartender through them. They will bring everything that you will need for your party.


              Joe Leones in PT. Pleasant is also a place to look into.

              1. re: njfreqflyer


                Thanks for your pointers in the topic for DDC! You seem to be an active member here and I read some of your posts, and figure that our tastes can be quite similar. If you are looking at catering in Toms River, you may want to check out Toscano. Got their link attached here for you.


                We have tried their food, they are quite tasty! The side dishes are wonderful! They have a sauce called Sunday Gravy and it just tastes like the sauce that my husband's grandmother(Italian old timer...everything is made from scratch!)