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Jun 22, 2009 11:27 PM

Being relocated from SF bay area to Hoboken- help a fellow hound out?

I'm not trying to replace my Bay area favorites, but need need some help to fill the hole in my heart/ stomach. Places I'll miss: Berkeley Bowl, Cheese Board, Trader Joe's, many local farmer's markets, Tokyo Fish Market, Lunardi's Grocery, Monterey Market, fresh tamales and tortillas, Semifreddo Bakery, 99 Ranch supermarket, just to name a few. I know there is a whole new world to be discovered- any pointers to make this easier for me?

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  1. Well I don't know much about Hoboken specifically, but you will be a short PATH ride from Manhattan and there are some wonderful possibilities in the city.
    FIrst off I can tell you this: Mexican food of the quality you are accustomed to in the Bay Area is very hard to find here in the NY Metro area.
    WIll you have a car? If so, there is a Trader Joe's in Edgewater, NJ which is north of Hoboken (I think). There is also Fairway Markets. Kind of like a NY instituion and they just opened one in Paramus which is also in NJ but I am not really sure how far from Hoboken.
    As for cheese: we don't have anything EXACTLY like The Cheeseboard here, but for good quality cheeses and a knowledgable staff, you can try Fairway; but my favorite cheese shop is Ideal Cheese on the UES in Manhattan.
    As for a farmer's market: again, I am not familiar withe the Hoboken area enough to know if there are any markets there and what the quality would be, but the Greenmarket in Union Square in Manhattan is pretty awesome.
    Good luck with your move....and good luck with eating your way through the NY area....there is A LOT to eat here!

    Union Square Greenmarket
    Broadway and E 17th St, New York, NY 10003

    Ideal Cheese Shop
    942 1st Ave, New York, NY 10022

    Fairway Market
    34 E Ridgewood Ave, Paramus, NJ 07652

    Trader Joe's
    725 River Road, Edgewater, NJ

    1. There is a Trader Joes in Edgewater, as the other commenter mentioned, that is within fairly easy driving distance of Hoboken. There is also a Whole Foods near the Trader Joes. In Hoboken, there is a Garden of Eden on Washington St. that has a decent cheese selection. I haven't found a great place to buy fish in Hoboken. If you find a place to buy fresh tortillas, I'd be interested. There are a couple of decent Mexican restaurants in town: Charritos (two locations on Washington) and Baja (14th St), but they're probably not going to live up to SF comparisons. In terms of Hoboken specialties, I'd recommend the brick-oven pizza at Grimaldis.

      3 Replies
      1. re: onate

        This is interesting, because both commenters have touched on something I'm aware of....I'm not likely to find certain things in the NY area that I'm used to (Mexican, for example). However, I know there is seriously good food to be had, so what are some other things to be looking for? Caribbean and Indian seems to be coming up when I search the area threads. Any other "don't miss" categories?

        1. re: WCchopper

          hoboken doesn't have much which is unique to the city. i think the mozz @biancamano (and even vito's) is better than virtually anywhere in nyc.

          things which hoboken has which are better than san francisco:
          pizza (ppl love or hate benny's, but you can find much better in nyc). i'm not a fan of patsy's (nyc), but someone who is says grimaldi's (somehow related?) is far inferior.
          bagels (hoboken bagels = far better than anything outside tristate area, but nyc has much better ones).

          it doesn't have much in terms of the "cutting edge" food places you'd expect for a young town, nor great italian places for an old italian town.

          marie's for bread? carlo's bakery? thai, indian = nothing special (indian better in jersey city). mexican = huge disappointment if you're coming from the west coast (east la = tex-mex that's ok if you're not comparing it to anything that's real mexican. better with alcohol). arthur's steaks = great for person who wants quantity, not for a foodie.

          there is one place that opened a couple years ago on bloomfield/10th, i think? w is now getting mentions about their steak place, zylo. there's a good cuban place, zafra...

          rita's water ice = chain, but quite good stuff. have the gelato (not really one, but instead, soft serve vanilla ice cream mixed with italian ice).

          1. re: bob gaj

            Patsy's much better than Grimaldis? Hmm, I'll assume you're talking about the original Patsy's in East Harlem and not the chain that now bears that name and has multiple locations around the city. The stuff at the chain is definitely not better than Grimaldis - but I've never had it at the East Harlem location. Obviously best pizza in NYC is a very contentious question, but Grimaldi's (the Brooklyn location) is regularly among the top 5 or so names mentioned in any discussion of the topic - and they have the block-long lines to prove it. The Hoboken location is much less crowded and little-mentioned, but with the same ownership, and (I assume) a similar product (I'm not crazy enough about pizza to make the pilgrimage to Brooklyn and wait in line for an hour or more to find out).

            But basically, I agree that Hoboken has lots of pretty good and reasonably affordable restaurants, but not too many world-beaters. It's a pretty small town, so that should be expected. (If you like Cuban, btw, I'd recommend La Isla (on Washington) over Zafra.)

      2. No worries, WC-you're not going to starve living in Hoboken/NYC/environs! But don't expect to find Bay-area replicas. Nothing beats the Berkeley Bowl around here, except the Union Square Greenmarket, but it's still not the Bowl! My brother went from Hoboken to SF and then the east Bay, and the Bowl was my must-go-to on every visit out there (and the Grand Ave/Lake Merritt farmer's market, for that matter)! He's now back here where he can happily find good (real) pizza, but still misses the Mexican food from out there.

        Living in Hoboken, you'll have ridiculously easy access via mass transit to NYC, Jersey City, and Newark. Let us know if you'll have a car, as that opens up many other options. In Hoboken, definitely hit La Isla (1st and Washington St), Vito's for sandwiches and great mozz, Cucharamama and Zafra (Maricel Presilla is the chef/owner and a James Beard award winner, iirc)...and you'll have to decide which pizza you like. In NYC, I have to recommend Keste on Bleeker Street for REAL Neopolitan pizza.

        In Newark, I suspect you'll find a fish market in the Ironbound section, which is chock full of Portuguese/Spanish/Brazilian folks. From Penn Station, just walk down Ferry Street; maybe others can provide names, but I'll ask a friend at work who goes there for his fish purchases. If you search Ironbound on this board you'll find lots of restaurant suggestions too.

        North Bergen/Union City is full of Latin restaurants, butchers, and other assorted markets. Trader Joe's and a big Whole Foods are in Edgewater, which is in fact north of Hoboken-right on the Hudson. Edgewater has a huge Asian population, and there's an enormous market called Mitsuwa that's well worth a visit.

        Jersey City, as someone else mentioned, has a section called Little India (Jersey Ave, iirc)...but I'm also a fan of India on the Hudson in Hoboken (13th-ish and Wash. St).

        1. As for farmers markets, Hoboken has the tiniest farmers market I've ever seen. 3-4 farmers, a natural bakery and a pickle man. Tuesdays from 3:30 - 7, from the end of June until some time in October on Washington Street and Neward, in front of the CVS. I understand this year there is another one uptown a bit. For a bit of Hoboken info you might want to check out

          1 Reply
          1. re: corgimom

            In light of the small scale of the farmer's market, do you know if there is a good CSA that might be an alternative? And I really look forward to finding out more about the "pickle man"!