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Sep 12, 2008 06:59 PM

Italian in Middlesex/Union County

o.k. Don't shoot me, but I have family here from Ireland and England and since they are all staying in this area, they all want really good Italian food. Now, we all know how I feel about this matter in this area, as well as mine in Monmouth County...but PLEASE help!!! I know Italian really sucks probably in most of these areas, but I need serious help!! I am way too critical to pick a place. (They think I am a food snob. I just don't want to go to a place and have chicken parm.)...catch my drift??

Money does not matter since A.) The English are on the pound and B.) Ireland is on the Euro. Basically, they are loaded. (hee hee!!!)

Anyway, my only thought is that place in Kenilworth on the Blvd. before Le skips me, but it used to be Cafe Repetti.

If it is in Monmouth Co., it can't be too far south. ( I am in Millstone.)

There would be about 20 - 30 of us.

(We also would like to celebrate an Uncle's 70th Birthday, so a nice pizzaria's please!!! Thanks all!!)



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  1. Why not Luchento's right in your town of Millstone on Rt. 33? I have not been ther in a long time but it use to be very good a few years back. Has it gone down hill?

    One of my favorites in the 90's was Brioso on Rt. 9 N. in Marlboro at the Willow Point Plaza. It is the sister restaurant of Brioso's in the New Dorp section of Staten Island.
    These people understand Italtian food.

    And then there is Pauline's on Rt. 34 in Matawan, which is still rated very good. I have not been there in a few years but when I did go the food was delicious. Pauline will treat you well and her home made gnocchi is out of this world.

    Just my thoughts...

    2 Replies
    1. re: JerzeyShore

      I've never thought Luchento's food was anything better than so-so.

      Regarding Brioso, we used to go there occasionally, but after being treated poorly by the staff with respect to a problem we had with our food, we stopped going there several years ago. And Angelina has stated on more than one occasion that she abhors the place.

      1. re: JerzeyShore

        Lucento's was recently sold, and we went with a group a week ago and I thought it still was bad. The huge bowl of salad is gone, now it's a dinner plate for people to share, and the bread used to be sooo good..forget it! They switched companies so now the bread taste like the hot dog buns I buy from Sam's Club.

        Brioso, as RGR mentioned, I would not go there if the meal was free. Too many things to mention why I dislike this place so much!

        I have been meaning to try Pauline's since Angelo gave the place a glowing review!

        Thanks JerezetShore for your recs!!

      2. Hi Angelina
        Wow, didn't think anyone else was from the sticks here in Millstone :)) From your post I'm not sure if you want a restaurant in that area or would like one closer to you.
        A favorite of ours in the Middlesex-Somerset area is Girasole in Bound Brook just off Rt 287. Food and service is consistent and very good plus two attractive rooms. We have been many times but not in the past year.

        Another place that can be very good but also has its down moments is Villa Barone in Robbinsville just off of Rt 130 and a few miles from Allentown. Much closer to you in Millstone. It can be noisy and frenetic on weekends. The food is usually very good with an occasional sloppy execution.

        Both Girasole and Villa Barone are BYO.

        1 Reply
        1. re: tom246

          tom, Girasole sounds pretty good. I have never been, but it is an idea!

          Villa Barone would be too far for some of my family to drive to, but it is close to me, so maybe I will go with my husband and try!!


        2. If you're willing to go to as far as Kenilworth, then just down the road in Union is Ristorante da Benito (Kenilworth Blvd to Galloping Hill Rd, at the "five points" intersection). It's been a couple of years since I've been there, and it is pricey, but I always had excellent meals there. I believe they had a side room that would work well for a large group.

          1 Reply
          1. re: njfreqflyer

            DaBenito is great, too!! I liked this place when I went!

          2. Hey, Angelina,

            How about SamVera? We've always found the food to be well-prepared and delicious though to be honest, we haven't been there in a long time, so it's possible things could have changed. If there has been criticism since they opened, it's been mostly about the prices, which some feel are too high, i.e., NYC level. Obviously, this would not be an issue for your visitors. Also, with 20-30 in your party, seems to me you need a private room, and SamVera has that.


            1 Reply
            1. re: RGR

              Hey RGR! Sam Vera we have not been back for some time, but we definately want to go. The problem is, no one wants to drive so far "south". I know this is not south for me or you, but we have people who don't want to ..for some over the Edison or Driscoll Bridge. According to them, that is WAY SOUTH! ha ha...

              Thanks for your post!