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Very Good to Great Shore Restaurants that are BYO's

from Keyport to and including Ocean County
Not looking for any particular style of cooking or price range - just interested in what everyone feels are the best restaurants at the shore.
Can you tell me your favs? Please include price range!

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  1. My list looks like this, YMMV.

    Drews Bayshore Bistro, Keyport

    Belford Bistro, Belford (going tonight

    Bay Avenue Trattoria, Highlands

    Boom Burgers, Belmar

    Island Palm Grill, Spring Lake (Have not been in about a year

    Bistro 44, Toms River

    Thats my very good to great list. There are also many "good" restaurants from Keyport to Ocean County.
    Enjoy wherever you go!

    7 Replies
    1. re: tom246

      I agree completely with tom246's selections and would only add Dish in Red Bank to that list.

      1. re: bgut1

        We went to Dish tonight and had an exceptional dinner with my wife having the Rosemary chicken and myself the talapia and shrimp both sharing a citrus salad and PEI mussels but no room for dessert. She enjoyed it so much that we are going back again next week for her birthday dinner and one of their special desserts.
        Thanks bgut1 for mentioning Dish in this thread - great recommendation.

        1. re: JerzeyShore

          Your welcome Jerzey. Make sure to save room for the chocolate bread pudding next time.

      2. re: tom246

        I would add Trinity in Keyport to this fine list.
        Only a few doors from Drew's Bayshore Bistro.

        Sample menu for selection & price

        1. re: HillJ

          HillJ, Trinity is a great choice but the criteria from eatinman was BYO.

          1. re: tom246

            True tom246, but I still thought it was worth mentioning given the Keyport location. I know myself "plans" can change with information. Trinity is a wonderful place, nice price point and cocktails can be enjoyed elsewhere.


        2. re: tom246

          100% agree on Boom.

          If willing to make the road inland a bit, I add El Meson.
          People love Drew's, I don't, but everyone else raves so it will surely be on this list.

        3. Bella Sogno in Bradley Beach and Eurasian Eatery in Red Bank are two of my favorites.

          1. The best fish and chips and other fried (I mean really great) seafood platters can be had a Stewarts of Kearneys in Point Pleasant Beach. Don't go here worrying about calories, just fresh fish and incredible cole slaw.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Ellen

              Just ate at Niko's Trapezi on Ocean ave in Long Branch and would def add this place to the list. Liquor store nearby in case you forget to bring you own.

            2. must add Kanji in Tinton Falls (sushi,japanese) to the mix here, since it's arguably the best sushi from Keyport to Ocean County (again, I said, arguably)... if you don't know the place, Kanji is MUCH more than sushi, thus the reason I added it to the list... Kazu, Fuji, Sawa, Asahi -- all good, too... but I think Kanji falls into the good-to-great category more than any of the others

              1. I'd add Taka in Asbury Park

                1 Reply
                1. re: OGguy

                  was about to add that but couldn't remember if Taka was BYO or not... thanks for the reminder

                2. Thanks for all your replies on BYO restaurants! We've dined at many of the resto's that you all have listed, one of our fav's is Drew's.
                  one restaurant I would add to this list is the Bistro in Red Bank.
                  and one we don't care for is Dish in Red Bank
                  Thanks again!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: eatinman

                    Hands down favorite Matisse in Belmar, ocean views and your own bottle of wine ...this place still rocks, and the original chef is back cooking...I am just not that big a fan of BYOB...or I would be there all the time,

                    great place for a romantic meal but I am past that stage of life...oh the dating years they were fun ..and expensive...now its out with the kids and i need a stiff drink

                    1. re: Freeholdtwsp88


                      What exactly did you have at Matisse? I walk the boards and noticed last Monday that the menu had changed(finally) I did not see my favorite app on it though, the shrimp in radish and some sauce.

                  2. Thanks to tom246, we stopped in Island Palm in Spring Lake last night for a quick bite. A salad, an app, and an entrée set us back $49. The entree was quite tasty – housemade lobster ravioli with a sauce featuring crabmeat. I don’t know if the restaurant is great, but I plan on going back to see. A much appreciated tip!

                    In the OC, I think that Labrador Lounge is worth a mention. I confess that we have never (and I doubt ever will) dined there during the summer season, but we have had a few very good dinners there. It’s undoubtedly better than any other BYO south of the Manasquan River.

                    Finally, as an honorable mention – Mi Mexico in Point Pleasant. No it’s not fine dining, but any self-respecting ‘hound owes it to themselves to grab a six-pack and sit down to several plates of tacos. Just order them two at a time until either your stomach or your beer gives out!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: MGZ

                      MGZ, glad you liked Island Palm. I would not call any of my choices "great" as in the very best possible but IMO were much better than other comparable BYO's.
                      We hope to get back there soon. We have friends in Brick that love Mexican but they never mention Mi Mexico. Will suggest we go there six-packs in hand :)

                    2. Here's three more not listed on this post: AMA in Atlantic HIghlands- It's new serving amazing FRESH Italian, Yumi in Sea Bright for amazing sushi, and Casa Solar for Latin fusion in Belmar!!

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: sockster

                        Giannas Ciao Bella Navesink Fishery

                        1. re: livingloving

                          No offense, and to each their own, but mediocre at best!

                        2. re: sockster

                          We went to Aligado in Hazlet the other nite and the sushi and sashimi were excellent. Great service as well. We'll be back.

                          Got to try Kanji in Tinto Falls since so many people seem to love it.

                          1. re: scrappyone

                            Try the Sandy Hook roll at Yumi in Sea Bright....yummy and AMAZING!

                        3. Went to Bay Ave Trotteria last night...Soft Shell Crabs..to die and go to heaven..served with Spare Ribs on the side....Still one of the best restaurants around!!

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: sockster

                            Soft Shell Crabs and Spare Ribs, is this a great country or what :)
                            Add a portion of Mrs Micchelli's Mac & Cheese and I'm in paradise.

                            1. re: tom246

                              Now you're talking my language....not bad, right??!!!! Have you tried Ama in Atlantic?

                              1. re: sockster

                                Not yet but it is on my list of "to try" places. Looks like the Bayshore area, Keyport to Highlands, now have an assortment of nice dining destinations.

                                1. re: tom246

                                  Took my good city friends and foodies to Ama this past Friday night...Again, Chef Pat continues to amaze. His crab cake with truffles.........heaven on earth!!

                          2. Manow in Lincroft is great, and Siam Garden in Red Bank. Manow is really good, and is about an entree less expensive than Siam, but they both are really goo Thai food. Bradley Beach and Ocean Grove are really nice places, especially the boardwalk dinner walk off after!

                            1. I seem to like Sockster's dining choices - must try the crabcake with truffles at Ama's - have been there over a dozen times and never saw the dish! Will report back.