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Top restaurants in Colts Neck/Freehold area?

I am new to the area and have only tried a handful of places so far. What are some of your favorites in specifically Colts Neck, Freehold Borough, and Freehold Township? I noticed I usually navigate towards Freehold from Colts Neck. I would like to find more places in these areas specifically that I can frequent often. I'd also like to hear any opinions on the places I've been to so far. Try to pick your one favorite or favorite of each cuisine.

I've tried & worth mentioning:
Huddy's.....good hangout spot for a cold beer.
Federicis in the Freehold Borough...the best pizza so far.
Bayou Cafe in the Freehold Borough...awesome...(I left my review on the Bayou Cafe thread)
PF Changs at the mall there...very good...just like every other PF Changs I have ever been to.
Cheesecake Factory...the same deal.
Park Ave Seafood? Not sure if that's the name...Freehold...it was decent for me.

Thanks for your suggestions!

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  1. Ibby's on Main St. in the borough is really good.

    http://www.ibbysfalafel.com/

    I LOVE their shwarma...so good!

    Marmara on Rt. 9 in Manalapan has great Turkish.

    http://www.marmararestaurant.com/

    I do not know anything good in Colts Neck.

    I know RGR likes for Italian, Sam Vera on 520 in Marlboro. I have not been there in a few years.

    1. Hey, stuffed_belly,

      Welcome!

      I do agree with Angelina about Marmara and, yes, SamVera is our favorite in the area for Italian. It's traditional fare, but no pizza.

      http://www.samverarestaurant.com

      I can't share her enthusiasm about Ibby's, at least, where the falafel is concerned. Though I'd read only raves, I found it disappointing. I wasn't impressed by the eggplant salad or the baklava either. I haven't tried the shwarma.

      Re: the places you list.

      Huddy's - I've only been there once for lunch. I thought the food was bad. I don't drink.

      Federici's - Good choice locally for thin-crust pizza.

      Bayou Cafe - We've had dinner there once. We chose the Cajun-style dishes and liked them well enough (though not as much as we like them at Drew's) to go back. Next time, we intend to try the Jamaican jerk chicken. We have high hopes for it since Bayou's chef/owner is Jamaican.

      Park Avenue Seafood - We've been there once. I wrote a review. You can read it on this thread (Scroll down.): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/557679

      I've not been to either P.F. Chang's or the Cheesecake Factory because I tend to avoid chains.

      If you like Mexican food, you should try El Meson, in Freehold Borough. While there are those who are not fans, we are happy with the food there. We mainly go there when the weather is warm because we like dining on their very pleasant patio.

      For excellent Thai food, there's Manow Asian Bistro, in Lincroft. (It's 10 minutes from Colts Neck . From Route 34, take Phalanx Road to Route 520/Newman Springs Rd., and make a right. Just a little past the first light, Manow is in a littel building on the right.

      )

      http://www.manowasian.com

      Note: We do occasionally have Chowhound get-togethers. I hope you will consider joining us for the next one. :-)

      3 Replies
      1. re: RGR

        Sorry, but I hardley thought the Thai food at Manow was good. It was lackluster to say the least. Big disappointment. Have not found any Thai in the area, that does NOT water down the spice...even when you ask them NOT to.

        1. re: CatLadyJan

          catladyjan..
          go to Pad Thai in Highland Park. Certainly not as good as you'd get in Thailand or So. California. But it is always excellent and they definately know how to use spice - just make sure when you are ordering to let them know that you like the 'heat'. otherwise they may lighten it up a bit.

          1. re: eatinman

            I absolutely love Pad Thai. And I like it hot, but I find their "medium" level heat to be plenty hot for me. If you go, you have to try the sausage fried rice with pinapple and tomato. I've eaten at the Thai places voted "best" in Queens, Las Vegas, L.A., and elsewhere and I have never had a better plate of thai fried rice.

      2. Hi Stuffed Belly,

        Welcome to the area. Christie's on Rt 9 S in Howell is a great Italian seafood restaurant, best I've had in years and worth the trip. I like Federici's for pizza but had been frequenting Angelo's on Rt 9, just south of the Freehold border. Mulligan's, Rt 547 in Farmingdale, has the best bar food around. The best no-nonsense breakfast place, hands down, is Sweet Lew's in downtown Freehold. Next door, the Metropolitan Cafe has a nice martini bar and good upscale food. I've got to agree with RGR and give the nod to El Meson for the best Mexican, very fresh and tasty. There's also a good Thai place, Bamboo Leaf, next door to Christie's in Howell. Might be a little farther for you than Lincroft though. Bon appetit!

        6 Replies
        1. re: Mr. Hemp

          Hello and Welcome,

          In the exact Freehold/Colts Neck area the must-eat places are few and far between. I like Ibby's a lot, especially for their vegetarian combo sandwich. I've been to Bayou Cafe once and liked their food, but know that they err on the side of too mild rather than too spicy, so if you like it hot like me, then ask the chef to kick it up. Federici's and their estranged sister place, Frankie Fed's are both very good for pizza and parm and also have a great house salad dressing. Truth be told, the only foodie destination in either town is Delicious Orchards (apple crumb cake, pies, apple cider donuts, fruit - but skip their prepared foods).

          A little further afield (north on rt. 34 to Matawan) is excellent chinese food at WestLake (everything, especially the seafood) and Shanghai Bun (mostly for the house-made noodles and pork pancake). East on 537 you can get to Kanji for very good and inventive sushi and Japanese food.

          Our best delivery options are pizza from Frankie Fed's and falafel, etc. from Ibby's. El Meson and Park Ave. Seafood are passable, as are a few other local options, but all the best choices are somewhere in the 30 minute drive range.

          1. re: seal

            Angelina...I am not sure if I have ever had a Falafel...I have seen them but I never did it...I always found something different on the menu...I don't know why..I will try it out though sometime. Turkish...another one I haven't really delved in to yet...I am actually looking forward to this one! Thank you.

            RGR...Sam Vera is definitely one I am looking forward to trying! I do love Italian food! It's tough to find a place that makes a really nice Italian meal. I had gone to That's Amore on rt 9 on one of my trips up here. I can't remember what exactly I had there it was so long ago but I thought they were really very good too. Good enough to remember that I definitely want to go back. I saw El Meson next to the Bayou...I am looking forward to the warmer weather...it looks like the patio is probably alot of fun..is it a BYO? Also, just as a point of reference...I was trying to be nice about Huddy's...lol...I tried to pull out it's one redeeming factor...cold beer. Thanks for the info though!

            Hemp...I have a very good friend of mine that lives in Howell...somewhere over there by Woolly's Fish market...strickland rd I think...I have actually tried all of your places except for Sweet Lews for breakfast. I can say that I like your taste with the exception of Mulligans which I was just not impressed with. I just didn't like when I made the trip up and wound up at an avarage hole in the wall. Yes the Apps were good...and again...the beer was cold...I could do that anywhere though. Maybe it's just because it was earlier in the day and there wasn't enough going on yet. Although I love breakfast..I'm not really the kind of guy that goes out to breakfast...lol...cobwebs until lunch usually. lol Thanks.
            Seal...Delicious Orchards...hmmm...never had anything better than their apple pie! I am already a delicious orchard fan! I don't know if I ever had a Falafel but it'll be worth trying. Kanji sounds very good! II have heard mention of Frankie Feds a couple times but I have to say....I was told by someone I usually trust that it wasn't worth it...and that the dinner stuck with them through the night if you know what I mean...let me know...what's safe/good there I will have to try it out for myself. Thanks.

            Thanks to everyone so far...I now have to try to figure out a way to afford all these dinners! LOL I am very excited to see how it all turns out. I will keep you posted.

            1. re: stuffed_belly

              Hey stuffed belly!! Welcome!!! RGR is so right on with the Mexican at El Meson. Funny about falafel. My husband insisted I had it before, because I thought I never did, but I did have it. I can only eat about 2 little ones they make, but so good!

              If you ever drive up on 34 North, definately go for pizza, chicken parm, (It is a pizzaria, FYI) go to Denino's.

              http://www.deninospizzaplace.com/

              Oh my!!!!! I just love their pies! Thin crust and great! No too far from downtown Freehold. Maybe a drive, but don't you have to drive everywhere to get a decent meal around by us?? haa haa!!

              Well, again, welcome and enjoy!

              1. re: stuffed_belly

                Hey, stuffed_belly,

                We had dinner at That's Amore once, and once was quite enough for us. The main course plates were so huge, they barely fit on the table. Unfortunately, what was on those plates was, imo, mediocre at best. To me, That's Amore is just one more of the totally forgettable Italians that dot this area's landscape.

                El Meson is a BYO.

                1. re: RGR

                  So I went to Ibby's yesterday...I was really excited to try it out...I found out though...it's really just not for me.

                  I tried the chicken shwarma, chicken kabob falafel and the birds nest dessert thing. The best of them was the kabob.

                  RGR- About That's Amore...I do remember the portions being large! Ha ha ha! I will say that I was already a few sheets in the wind by the time we got there and then we proceeded to share a couple nice bottles of wine. Maybe my memory is better than the experience..I will still have to go back to find out though.

                  Next on my list I think is going to be El Meson....I keep reading good things from you guys and seeing other good reviews online. I have to admit though...having not tried it yet...I don't know if I'll make it past the Bayou doors HA ha ha ha. I will get there though.

                  Sam Vera is second on the list. I love a good Italian place.

            2. re: Mr. Hemp

              Hey Hemp,

              I actually really enjoy Christie's. I agree it is usually a very good experience.
              Mulligans...not a big fan.

            3. stuffed belly,
              If you're living in Colts Neck, I would expect you to navigate towards the East. As many or should I say most of the residents there do..
              and there are a lot of good choices going towards the Shore in Red Bank, Asbury Park, etc. - as you can see from the postings on CH.

              2 Replies
              1. re: eatinman

                Agree ... head east to the shore. Thats what we did when we lived in Freehold.

                1. re: eatinman

                  I am trying to be a little more diversified. lol.

                  I am a convenience shopper....the Freehold Mall is a really good option for me...I just don't like to eat there very much & if I do I go to that little deli/salad place in the foodcourt.

                  As I said...I have expanded....
                  I finally tried Drew's a couple weeks ago as a result of many raves on CL & the fact that my "favorite" cajun place, Bayou, has seriously slipped in quality & service. I'm hoping it's temporary and they recover but the future now looks dim after the last month or so. I have to say that I was extremely pleased about Drew's and can see why people are always raving. I am glad I did try it because honestly I wasn't going to for awhile. In a contest...Drew wins.

                2. Valentinos, Rt 9 northbound, Freehold Township just north of the BMW dealership. Although I see in other posts the jury is still out we have been three times with 3 different couples and everyone has been more than satisfied.

                  http://www.valentinosfreehold.com/ind...

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: RobertinRedBank

                    Against my better judgement I tried Koo again last week, after all, things can change. Not so here. The thai food was just as bad as I remember. Who messes up a simple green papaya salad??? The sushi was ok tho.

                    1. re: seal

                      I disagree. I've been there a half dozen or so times, most recently last week, and have never been disappointed.

                  2. Cafe Colore on rt. 9 was a good byob, if its still there. Metropolitan Cafe has a really good sampler and sweet and sour shrimp and calamari, and the best sangria. Sogno was good but overpriced. Christophers? by delicious orchards is good for lunch. I hate that bagel place in Perkins plaza. Try Frankie Feds on 33, byob, bring some cash for tip, Jerzey Freeze is a safe bet with kids, good luck!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: metalrat

                      metalrat,

                      Yes, Cafe Colore is still there. We haven't eaten there in ages.

                      After Christopher's Cafe was sold, I called to get some information. The guy on the phone turned out to be the new chef/owner. Boy! Did he have an off-putting attitude! Immediately lost me as a potential customer. (Note: We'd had dinner there many times under the original ownership.)

                      1. re: RGR

                        You're not missing anything at Christophers. Last time we were there we did not know it was sold, but it soon became evident something was amiss. My Santa Fe Salad was missing the corn, tomato and black bean salsa. Everything, even the iced tea, seemed a bit off...