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Restaurants in Monroe, New Jersey

love2cookmb Sep 18, 2009 12:56 PM

Hi. My parents just moved to a community in Monroe, New Jersey and are looking for some restaurant recommendations. Italian, Chinese, Pizza (although we did like Bella Naploli's), sushi, basically everything. Any information on the area (best supermarkets, etc) would be great too. I appreciate the help!

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    yCf RE: love2cookmb Sep 21, 2009 12:46 PM

    I live near Monroe. I recommend Lobster Shanty in the southern part of monroe off route 33.

    I think the Stop and Shop on Perrinville Road has to be the best supermarket in the town.

    2 Replies
    1. re: yCf
      JUST A TASTE RE: yCf Jan 13, 2011 09:35 AM

      Lobster shanty has been replaced, which is a good thing, for another bar/grill type. The parking lot is alway crowded, but haven't tried the place yet. There are two pizza restaurants I recommend. The first one is in Bocca's not sure about spelling. On route 537 in Freehold, next to the Raintree shopping center. Crispy crust, very good flavor. The next one is Solla Bella in Jackson. I'm from Brooklyn, can't compare, but very good. Enjoy.

      1. re: JUST A TASTE
        JSTERL RE: JUST A TASTE Jun 24, 2011 01:02 PM

        The restaurant you are referring to on Rt 537 is called BACOS. It is worthwhile to drive from Monroe or any adjoining towns for GREAT PIZZA. Their salads are wonderful, as it most of the dishes they servce. They usually have about 20 varieties of Pizza. It is wonderful! And they are the nicest people. Nothing fancy but very clean and amiable. Best choice! In the same shopping center with Mazhu and La Piazza (more upscale). Very comfortable. Good choice!

        La Piazza
        150 7th St, Clifton, NJ 07011

    2. k
      KeithH RE: love2cookmb Sep 21, 2009 12:57 PM

      I am also from the Monroe area and I would have recommended Cranbery's Gourmet Shoppe for great sandwiches, but it burned down recently. It was probably very close to where your parents moved.....Sadly, I usually travel out of town in all directions to find what I would call a really good restaurant. Most of the stuff in Monroe is simple pizza/chinese, none of which is anything better than average, so I dont think you could go wrong with the nearest place to where your parents live.

      1. c
        Check17 RE: love2cookmb Sep 22, 2009 01:14 AM

        There's a very nice bakery in nearby Jamesburg called Mendokers. http://www.mendokersbakery.com Good cakes and bread, especially the kaiser rolls and onion rye. Hope your parents enjoy the area.

        1. l
          love2cookmb RE: love2cookmb Sep 22, 2009 06:32 AM

          We pass the Lobster Shanty all the time. I'm going to see if they have a menu. We went to Shoprite which I believe is in cranberry. It was very big which I liked. I'll mention the stop and shop. I was hoping there would be a close trader joe's since they didn't have one in SI where they lived before but I think the nearest one is in Princeton.

          I will also check out the Gourmet Shoppe and the bakery! Thanks everyone for your help! Keep them coming if you can!

          5 Replies
          1. re: love2cookmb
            care11 RE: love2cookmb Sep 22, 2009 09:41 AM

            I have never eaten here but drive past it often and have heard good things...the name of the the place is ...Europa at Monroe, it's on Applegarth Road.

            Here is a link to their site. http://www.europanj.com/

            1. re: care11
              ambrose RE: care11 Sep 22, 2009 10:43 AM

              A couple of months ago there was a note on Zagat saying that this restaurant was closed until further notice. Does anyone have additional information?

              1. re: ambrose
                care11 RE: ambrose Sep 22, 2009 11:05 AM

                Hmm? You're right, their phone # is not working. Between this place and Cranberry's burning down...Monroe is hurting in the "eating establishment options" department.

                1. re: ambrose
                  Angelina RE: ambrose Sep 22, 2009 11:11 AM

                  I drive past it all the time. There is a "FOR RENT" sign on the lawn outside. I noticed for the past year, the business has been slowly declining. Some nights I would drive by, on a Thurs. or Friday around 7ish and there were maybe 8 cars in the lot. So I would definately say they are out of business.

              2. re: love2cookmb
                RGR RE: love2cookmb Sep 23, 2009 10:14 AM

                Many years ago, when my husband and I were much younger, we would occasionally go to the Hightstown Lobster Shanty for the "early bird" dinner. The food was decent and inexpensive. Most of the clientele were of retirement age, and we would kid each other that some day, those folks would be us. We stopped going there a long time ago.

                Well, "some day" has arrived, and we are those people. lol However, our palates have also matured, and I'm not sure we'd like the food now. Every once in a while, we pass by, and I comment to my husband that it might be interesting to try it again.

                Menus, including the early bird, are on the website, but no prices! Grrr...


              3. l
                love2cookmb RE: love2cookmb Sep 22, 2009 12:26 PM

                There's a place called Luchento's but I believe it's under new management or it is being redone. I wonder if it's any good.

                9 Replies
                1. re: love2cookmb
                  Nursemegg RE: love2cookmb Sep 22, 2009 01:40 PM

                  Europa is definately closed. The owner is now the manager at the Lakeside Tavern in Hightstown.

                  1. re: Nursemegg
                    Angelina RE: Nursemegg Sep 22, 2009 02:21 PM

                    Thanks, Nursemegg! He was a nice guy! What happened?? Never mind, dumb question..let me just put on CNBC.

                    1. re: Angelina
                      GetMeOutHere RE: Angelina Feb 3, 2011 06:10 AM

                      Jose, the nice guy who used to run Europa is now managing Salute Restaurant - 306 Gatzmer Avenue Jamesburg, NJ 08831 . I have not tried it yet, but am looking forward to it.

                      1. re: GetMeOutHere
                        MarlboroMan RE: GetMeOutHere Jun 26, 2011 11:07 AM

                        Strangely enough, the website/URL for Salute Restaurant is:


                  2. re: love2cookmb
                    Angelina RE: love2cookmb Sep 22, 2009 02:20 PM

                    That place has not been good in ages, sadly. It is closed. New owners took over the lease, but closed for remodeling (so they say). They would give you a HUGE family style salad and great bread, and a ridiculous BIG HE-MAN style plate that would feed a family of 6! Then you get charged $ 30 - $ 45 per entree. I never really cared for the place. I really thought the old owners were very nice people, but not my cup of tea.

                    (Luchento's I am writing about.)

                    1. re: Angelina
                      love2cookmb RE: Angelina Sep 23, 2009 07:54 AM

                      Angelina that sounds like a lot of money. For that price I rather go to Maggiano's. You'd think that with all these 55+ communities going up everywhere that there would be more restaurants opening. Not everyone that age wants to go to a diner every day.

                      1. re: love2cookmb
                        Angelina RE: love2cookmb Sep 23, 2009 08:18 AM

                        Carlucci's in West WIndsor is pretty decent. Nothing that will knock your socks off, but my parents live near by there and like the place. BYOB. They do have some nice specials. It is close to Monroe, you can take that highway 133 to 571 and it is in the same shopping plaza as Mccaffery's Supermarket.



                        1. re: Angelina
                          lauren75 RE: Angelina Sep 24, 2009 05:54 AM

                          I live in the area and sadly there isn't much. Maria's is good for Mexican...no fancy ambiance, just good authentic food. http://www.mariasofmonroe.com/
                          It may actually be in Jamesburg.

                      2. re: Angelina
                        JessKidden RE: Angelina Sep 24, 2009 07:46 AM

                        There was a "Lucento's Renovation Update" thread going at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/605729 - the latest, after another few weeks of little to no activity, is that even more dumpsters are back and seems to be a lot of lumber stacked behind the building, as well. "Re-opening Summer 2009" on the sign was a bit optimistic apparently.

                        As for "$ 30 - $ 45 per entree" that's certainly not what I recall from occasional visits over the past 5 years or so (under both ownerships) - and their website http://www.luchentos.com/menus_dinner... backs that up. My "standard" - a huge (usually took home half for lunch the next day) serving of Linguini with White Clam Sauce is listed at $17.99. Even the more expensive steaks come in well under $45. Throw in the fact that it was a BYOB (so, a great and moderately priced beer selection since it was coming out of my own "dedicated beer fridge") and it was a relatively inexpensive restaurant in my opinion.

                    2. j
                      JMIO928 RE: love2cookmb Jan 13, 2011 10:30 AM

                      Monroe is tough, I grew up there, and from my experience, most people drive to other towns to get anything other than takeout. Bella Italia on Spotswood-Englishtown Road is a rare exception that people actually drive TO Monroe for. It's not a restaurant, but one of the best pork stores in the area by far!

                      1. r
                        Rick7 RE: love2cookmb Jan 14, 2011 06:09 AM

                        Definitely look into Mendoklers bakery in Jamesburg.Probally the best bakery in the state.The sourdough and corn rye are to die for,sourdough was only available on weekends.Also in the BURG De Brizzies (sp) pizza is very good,it's right down the hill from the bakery end of the road rt corner.I don't know if Garvey's tavern is still around ,but they always had good family fair at a good price.Murphy's on rt 33 is also a good choice

                        1. Duppie RE: love2cookmb Jun 27, 2011 03:20 PM

                          I went from chain restaurant Mecca {East Brunswick and Route 18} to "Oh my God..not another red sauce/pizza joint ! {Monroe} and the best I've got going for me is easy access to the Turnpike and Manhattan. I understand the dynamics of the Township and it's residents but how much medicore pizza and greasy Chinese can you possibly eat?

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: Duppie
                            eatinman RE: Duppie Jan 11, 2012 07:56 AM

                            East Brunswick = restaurant Mecca

                            Wow you must be speaking of a different East Brunswick than the one in New Jersey, as EB has maybe one passable restaurant

                            and Monroe is worse.........

                            Wow I feel for you Duppie - if it was me I'd move to another town and if in NJ it would be somewhere way north of you - possibly Montclair - where your statement of restaurant Mecca would hold true


                            1. re: eatinman
                              Duppie RE: eatinman Jan 11, 2012 08:05 AM

                              "chain restaurant Mecca". You missed the "Chain" and I would love to know what the passable restaurant is.Sunny palace for dim sum,Brothers for a basic slice,Makkoli for utility sushi is about all that comes to mind.

                              1. re: Duppie
                                MarlboroMan RE: Duppie Jan 11, 2012 08:37 AM

                                Hopefully this place will be good... are they open yet? No phone number listed...


                                1. re: MarlboroMan
                                  Duppie RE: MarlboroMan Jan 11, 2012 01:25 PM

                                  Not yet....It's been in various stages of construction,opening soon,now hiring for about a year now. East Brunswick is a nightmare to deal with when it comes to specs,inspections and CO's especially for food service, and they wonder why there's thousands of sq/ft of vacant commercial space along the RT 18 corridor and an eroded tax base.

                                  1. re: Duppie
                                    MarlboroMan RE: Duppie Jan 13, 2012 10:55 AM

                                    Well, I dumped off a van full of stuff at Goodwill yesterday, and passed by.. there is a phone number on the door - 732-353-6641, and the "Open" sign in the window was lit. I did not stop in.

                                    Also, next to Caliente, there is a sign for "Bollywood Tadka" which is a new Indian restaurant, replacing whatever was there before (I think it was a Russian restaurant), but it didn't look anywhere near ready to open for business. Just the sign.

                                    So, so far, in that plaza, we have or will have Caliente (Latin cuisine), Makkoli (Seafood & sushi buffet), Bollywood (Indian), and the Korean Place.

                                    1. re: MarlboroMan
                                      Duppie RE: MarlboroMan Jan 13, 2012 11:19 AM

                                      I passed there to pick up some cigars and to Phil Am for some Pan de Sal about 2 weeks ago and the place was shut tight. I don't get too enthused with Indian joints outside of Indian enclaves,the fare is inevitably prepared and seasoned to the clientele plus even though East Brunswick has a growing south Asian population, they shop and dine in Edison and Plainsboro,
                                      So which one of us is taking one for the team?

                                      1. re: MarlboroMan
                                        MarlboroMan RE: MarlboroMan Mar 22, 2012 11:26 AM

                                        I was there again today. Dumped off another van load of stuff at Goodwill. Saw "Bollywood Tadka" was open. AND they had a lunch buffet. And it was only $7.95. And it was lunchtime. And I was hungry.

                                        I remarked to the manager that it was some of the best Indian food I've ever had. I particularly liked one of the dishes, "Shahi Korma".. tasted like it had a coconut base, and there were strips of fresh ginger in it. I thought the Tandoori chicken was a little mild in flavor, but good. I also really liked the "pakora masala" - though I'm not sure I'm getting the name right, but it DID have pakora in the name.. it was pakoras in a thick sauce. I grabbed a menu. Prices are fairly reasonable, I think. Website is www.bollywoodtadkanj.com but is of course under construction. Telephone is 732-238-2352.

                                        Caliente (Latin place) was open, but there is Russian lettering underneath the Caliente name on the sign, so I'm not sure what's up with that. Fusion? :)

                            2. j
                              Just Visiting RE: love2cookmb Jan 29, 2012 07:05 PM

                              With five communities of approximately 1,000 homes each, all filled with alter kockers who have to eat by 5 p.m. (the OILY BOID) and who eschew anything resembling flavor or texture, food around the OFF (Old Farts Farms) is lacking, to say the least. You have to drive a little ways from Monroe before you find good food.

                              My mother and I went to Fresco's on Ryder Lane today. I think it is East Brunswick. It is about 20 minutes from Monroe. It is in a small strip shopping center with Lox, Stock, and Deli (once good, but not lately). We had a great lunch. The place was nearly empty, but I understand that it is packed at dinnertime. I had a red snapper in a potato crust on a bed of braised leeks. It was fantastic. My mother had a paella that was really good, although the lobster was very slightly overcooked. The service was perfect. I really enjoyed this lunch - even the coffee was good. I am looking forward to going back.

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