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Dinner in Princeton?

  • m

LA Chowie in Princeton for a lecture on Saturday looking for a rec for dinner that night w/a dear friend. Looking for charm, somewhere we can linger and drink some good wine. Would prefer not Asian, Mexican, sushi. A local friend says Princeton isn't a wonderful restuarant town - can that be true?

Am headed back toward Yardley after dinner so anywhere Princeton to Yardley is fine. Money not an issue but I'll be in jeans and a nice jacket so nowhere stuffy, please. Thanks so much.

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  1. You might want to post this on the Mid-Atlantic board as well (assuming you haven't already done so). Princeton is in that "no-man's land" -- not really a Philly 'burb, and too far south in NJ to qualify for the Tri-state board. Most of the central NJ questions are posted to the Mid-Atlantic board. NJ really does need its own board.

    1. You might check at Ratz in Hamilton Twp. to see if it is located on your route... Food is excellent!

      3 Replies
      1. re: xtian

        Thanks to you both. You're right - I didn't know where to post! I'll check out Ratz.

        1. re: xtian

          Rat's is at the Grounds for Sculpture where apparently we're going to lunch in the afternoon so good call. Funny name for a restaurant. I hope it's short for something!

          1. re: mocro

            Rat's is named after the character of "Rat" in the Wind in the Willows. Not anything to worry about:) They have a new chef, and the steak he served up recently at a tasting event was excellent.

        2. You might want to give The Yardley Inn a try. It's good, not excellent, but consistent. Very nice atmosphere and very pretty inside. It's right along the Delaware, so it you get there early enough, you'll have a nice view before going in.


          1 Reply
          1. re: mschow

            I went to The Yardley Inn when I was in town in May and I'm happy to have a local Chowie endorse it. It was charming as you say and we had a very nice meal - I had some delicious scallops. They had a good deal on wine if I recall - can't remember exactly what - I believe a discount on bottles before a certain hour. Thanks for reminding me about this place. Now if you can only have the rain hold off!

          2. You should definitely give the Blue Bottle Cafe in Hopewell a try. It is BYO, so make sure to stop at a liquor store first. Great food and great atmosphere. I'm sure if you do a search of Chowhound, you'll see lots of great reviews. Good luck!

            1. Just another vote for The Blue Bottle. New menu has just started, I'm sure it will be terrific.

              1. I would give a thumbs down to BOTH Yardley Inn and Rats. Rats is to foo-foo for me. Nothing in the menu I would want to eat, AND mega Dollars for what you get. Yardley Inn is about a 10 minute drive from my home. I used to go years ago. Then they got this NYC chef who re-did the whole menu and tanked the place. They still have not recovered the business. Or the menu.

                My favorite review of Princeton Dinning is found here - from a former P-ton prof who has moved on to Wisconson.


                If you must eat in the P-ton area try Tre Piani:


                In town the best bet is La MezzaLuna - also a BYOB


                Or try Mehek for good Indian food.

                4 Replies
                1. re: jerseybill52

                  La MezzaLuna huh? The menu looks good but its just not crowded enough regularly for me to have tried it. I will give it a go though, as I love Italian food.

                  1. re: metfan630

                    Why would you want crowded? Like noise? The go later on a fri or Sat.

                    I like to eat in peace and quiet.

                  2. re: jerseybill52

                    That NYC chef you are talking about at the Yardley Inn, left about 2 years ago. I like the new chef, Eben Copple. Really nice guy, and really cares about the food. No, it's not the best fine-dining restaurant ever, but it has a nice warm atmosphere and I think the prices are fair. I like the food there. Eben holds a lot of beer and wine pairing dinners (special events), which I have really enjoyed.

                    1. re: jerseybill52

                      Do not go to Tre Piani. I had a horrible experience there not too long ago, which I posted to Chowhound, so feel free to search for it.

                      If you're an LA foodie, as I was until a year ago, you'll be disappointed in the Princeton restaurants. Blue Bottle is a decent option. It's about 10 minutes out of your way as you drive to Yardley, but you could stop in Lambertville and eat at Hamilton's Grill, which is very good. It's a quaint little town along the Delaware River, so it will probably be a pretty place to visit for you because there's nothing like that area in LA, that's for sure.

                    2. Here are two other ideas - both BYOB. They are both in Newtown, PA just off I-95, a few miles south of Yardley.

                      First - Florentino's - good Italian - but get a reservation for a Fri or Sat night.


                      Second - and perhaps better - Rouget. About two blocks away. A good French BYOB - and it's not stuffy - you will fit in perfect in a sport coat and jeans - might even be over dressed. Below is a review from Craig LeBan of the Philly Inky which gives it a good review. Also a few other links




                        1. re: jerseybill52

                          Based on our hunger level and timing, we opted to eat at the casual cafe at the Ground's for Sculpture. I had a delicious butternut squash soup and excellent grilled swiss sandwich on pumpernickel. Toured the grounds (what a jewel of a place!) and then had cocktails at Rat's in that little 'tent' in the bar - on pillows with the beaded curtains closed. Just two girlfriends - but what fun - lots of laughs! We went to a reception in Princeton so after that we wanted a light meal and we shared a composed vegetable salad, a warm goat cheese salad, creme brulee and a nice Russian River Sauvignon Blanc at a casual bistro/bar my girlfriend selected - Main Street in Princeton. It was a lovely evening with a dear friend, but I'll be back and can't wait to try everyone's selections as above that came in after I'd left. Many thanks.

                        2. I'll second La Mezzaluna. Always good food and great service. Try their flambe with the hazelnut gelato! YUM!

                          Blue Bottle is a great recco, and although we haven't been in quite a while, itit's a graet choice! I do love Rat's, but it is pricey. We tend to eat at Kafe Kabul there, which from what I have heard they have renamed or something. I too love the Yardley Inn, and enjoy sitting at the bar having the 3 for $15 apps or a burger. Great place to go on a snowy day. Trepianni has been great every time we have been there too! Also worth checking out is Bistro One 53 down the road a bit in Rocky Hill. Love it! -mJ

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: njfoodies

                            Any new or updated recs. for P-ton?

                            We will be there Nov 5 and 6th, 2010.

                            Anything interesting?

                            Even steak would work for perennially voracious 6'6" 300 lb. teenage football playing non-vegan Chowpuppy!

                            BYO would be helpful for long suffering parents.

                            1. re: sumdumgoy

                              Nothing really new and exiciting. My recs for the area are Bistro One 53 in Rocky Hill, Blue Bottle Cafe in Hopewell, and Vidalia in Lawrenceville.

                              If you absolutely want/have to be in Princeton, I'd recommend La Mezzaluna (Italian)or Blue Point Grill (seafood, etc). For sushi, MoC MoC is worth the trip as well-mJ