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New to the Matawan area

Hi. I'm new to the Matawan area and I was wondering if anyone could recommend some good places to try. I am interested in just about any cuisine, but some sushi, mexican, greek and italian places would be helpful. Thanks-

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  1. for Greek, try Pithari Taverna in Highland Park. about 20 minutes from you. Great food, reasonable prices, byo. if you do a search on Pithari you'll find reviews.

    1. Welcome to the area. Here are some of our local favorites:
      Thai Thai- Thai
      Ponte Vecchio- Italian seafood (not our favorite, but loved by others)
      Bacci- brick oven pizza
      Wasabi- sushi
      All of the above are BYO
      For good Mexican, you will have to travel a bit- perhaps to Freehold or Jamesburg

      7 Replies
      1. re: njchowgal

        Thanks for the info. I have head of Ponte Vecchio, although I haven't tried it yet. I think it's under the same ownership as Fresca's in East Brunswick and I have been there before.
        I heard Wasabi House was a good one. I tried Mahzu and hated it!
        Anyone know anything about the following:
        Bart's Cusine on Main Street
        Aby's for Mexican
        Bistro Amerigo - I read a bunch of posts on this place but they were old
        La Riviera - also read some old posts on this place


        1. re: mmende77

          Aby's is mid-scale reasonably authentic Mexican. I think their mole sauce is great.

          Grecia's and El Pollo Y La Oaxaquena (formerly Julia's) are authentic, cheap Mexican restaurants in the area.

          1. re: eleeper

            Just went to Aby's yesterday and they seem to have changed the recipe for their mole sauce. It is not hotter, but also less rich-tasting. I don't know if this is a fluke or a permanent change.

          2. re: mmende77

            Bistro Amerigo is no more.. it was owned by the same guy that now owns Wasabi House.. in the same location. He sold the liquor license, so it is now BYO. Excellent sushi.. I have had real wasabi there as well.

            1. re: mmende77

              Marlboro Man beat me to the punch on Bistro Amerigo. We tried Bart's many years ago, it was ok, nothing memorable. We like to go to the Pine Tavern on 34 & Cottrell Road in Old Bridge. There's Pete's Fishery at the intersection of 34 & Main St. for seafood. Trinity in Keyport is not far & has good food, but a little on the pricey side.

              1. re: mmende77

                Yes, Ponte Vecchio is under the same ownership as Lou Cas in Edison and Fresco in Milltown. Wasabi House is under the same ownership as the ever-crowded Wasabi House in East Brunswick.

                Wasabi House
                77 Tices Ln Ste C, East Brunswick, NJ 08816

                Ponte Vecchio
                3863 Highway 516, Old Bridge, NJ 08857

                1. re: mmende77

                  Bart's has a unique atmosphere - set inside an 1850s church, very pleasant! Food is well above average and the menu diverse. Also has a nice bar, which we visit every Friday for a light dinner with drinks.

                  Aby's is nice for a storefront Mexican with good food and it's BYOB. Always had enjoyable dinners here.


              2. I don't live in that area so I haven't tried a lot of places, but my favorite joint in that area is Shanghai Bun. Delicious noodle dishes and dumplings!

                3 Replies
                1. re: joonjoon

                  Second for Shanghai Bun. Usually I go with my kids and order a spicy beef noodle soup (for me), the pork and pickled radish soup and a couple orders of soup dumplings. My kids go ga-ga for this food.

                  1. re: bgut1

                    Third (and fourth, from my husband) for Shanghai Bun. We love it! The soup dumplings are actually listed as steamed pork buns (first item). I also love the triple meat pot stick[er]s and the leek dumplings. And a lot of the soups. And noodles. Okay, pretty much everything.

                    West Lake (just down the road) is also pretty good for seafood and authentic Chinese food, if you want a more substantial meal.

                  2. re: joonjoon

                    a second shanghai bun! homemade noodles and great value.

                  3. I see others beat me to the Shanghai Bun soup dumpling rec, as well as West Lake Seafood. I would like to add Denino's Pizza Place to the list. It's on Rt. 34 in the Strathmore Plaza. Wonderful pizza, fried Calamari, and really good Scungilli Marinara. Just a note in the same plaza is Gallo's liquor store, nice wine & beer selection for the BYOB's in the area.

                    Also in Matawan on Main St. across from the train station is the Matawan BBQ. Potugese/Brazillian BBQ with solid grilled chicken & sides. If you happen to need a cake, Abbate Bakery on Main just off of RT. 34 makes a fantastic Cannoli cake!

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: Herm

                      Thanks for all the info. I have tried Denino's and I thought it was great. That's sadly been the only place I have been to since I moved! Ok, so I think i have a pretty good list of places to try:

                      Chinese - Shanghai Bun or West Lake
                      Sushi - Wasabi House
                      Aby's - Mexican (seems to be the only real mexican restaurant in town)
                      Italian - Denino's & Bacci - hey has anyone been to Carlos's for pizza?
                      Brazilian - Matawan BBQ
                      Thai Thai - Thai food

                      Any other suggestions?

                      1. re: mmende77

                        Well, Grecia's and El Pollo y La Oaxaquena are technically in Keyport, I suppose, but then Thai Thai is actually in Old Bridge and considerably farther away.

                        (Thai in Matawan would be Siam Smile.)

                        1. re: eleeper

                          Would you say El Pollo is better than Aby's? I am willing to travel out of town for good food!

                          1. re: mmende77

                            No El Pollo and Grecia's are very different from Aby's. Grecia's and El Pollo are very much working class places--little more than lunch bars. The prices are considerably less, but the food is less sophisticated. You might find a bone in a tamale, which you would never find at Aby's. They were glad to have us, but they rarely get non-immigrants. The food is cheap and probably more authentic than Aby's, but there are no fancy sauces. They do serve tortilla chips while you are waiting for the meal to be delivered. Grecia's has a case of baked goods. We were very positive at Grecia's and tipped well so they gave us an empanada which was quite good. It felt a lot like what you would find in Mexico.

                            1. re: Mark Leeper

                              Aby's sounds interesting. Where is it located?

                              1. re: njchowgal

                                Main Street in downtown Matawan (a few doors east of the Post Office).

                                1. re: eleeper

                                  We've enjoyed dinner and Aby's several times. Simple, no nonsense prepared food. My personal fav is the Espinaca con Queso and for $7.99/dinner entree a real bargain.

                    2. I must say, I'm a big fan of Enzo's pizza on rt. 34. The pizza is excellent and the service is extremely welcoming!

                      Enzo's Pizza
                      448 Main Ave, Wallington, NJ 07057

                      1. I just love the following:

                        PIZZA - Denino's http://www.deninospizzaplace.com/ GREAT thin crust pizza, BYOB, also great chicken parm. The owner, Mike is a real nice guy!

                        FISH - Peter's Fishery http://www.petersfishery.net/index2.html GREAT, super fresh seafood. I sometimes buy from the fish market alone. Jason, the owner, another great guy and very accomodating if you have a preference! BYOB, the atmosphere is alot of elderly people, but I don't care..the fish is so fresh and I have always enjoyed my meals there!!

                        Aby's is ok. I feel they are very pricey for just some dishes loaded with cheese. Maybe it is me, but I have tried it a few times. just not really my preference. I like El Meson in Freehold much better!


                        Peter's Fishery
                        921 State Route 34, Matawan, NJ

                        El Meson
                        44 Monmouth Ave, Freehold, NJ 07728

                        1. If its just to take in the game or simply grab a quick bite and beer - The Court Jester. Hands down the best wings and grilled chicken nachos!

                          Court Jester Restaurant
                          1077A State Highway 34 N, Aberdeen Township, NJ 07728

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: MeLoveGnocchi

                            Anyone every been to Maloney's Pub & Grill? I was going to stop off there to watch some of the yankee game on sat night, but it started raining so I didn't end up going, Just wondering what type of place it is though. Also, the Pine Tavern...any thoughts?

                            1. re: mmende77

                              We go to the Pine Tavern all the time. The food & service are both pretty good. They have dinner specials every night, like Monday is $10 steak night, Tuesday is Lobster Night & Wednesday is $5.95 pasta night. We walked into Maloney's once right after they opened. It looked like they had a family function going on, so we went into the bar area which was pretty crowded. We stood around for about 10 minutes for the bartender to even look our way which never happened, so we just turned around & left.

                              Pine Tavern
                              199 State Highway 34 N, Old Bridge, NJ 08857

                          2. Mahzu to me is fast food sushi - a good place to bring the kids as it's loud with nothing particularly special. Kicky's opened down the road and has much better sushi along with hot items as well, and it's a little more sophisticated. If my wife and I are doing sushi, we prefer Kicky's or Aligado in Hazlet or Yumi in Sea Bright but that's for another post. I agree with the other posts regarding Aby's, Shanghai Bun, Denino's, Bacci or Enzo's. West Lake has a great Sunday Dim Sum menu. Mc Donagh's Pub in Keyport is good as well for bar food. Good Luck.

                            1120 Ocean Ave, Sea Bright, NJ 07760

                            Shanghai Bun Restaurant
                            952 State Route 34 Ste 6, Matawan, NJ 07747

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Randol

                              I like McDongh's pub as well, I also think the little place behind it is fantastic.

                            2. Has anyone given the new Coconut Forest House in Hazlet (Airport Plaza) a try?

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: HillJ

                                Formerly Kuala Lumpur.. I thought so, when I saw "Malaysian Cuisine". Guess I can toss out my Kuala menu now. :)

                                  1. re: HillJ

                                    Kuala Lumpur was not exactly short-lived--it was there for years. But it never seemed all that good.

                                    1. re: eleeper

                                      In the years I've lived in mon cty, that space has been four diff asian restaurants. Sad to say. I'm planning to try Coconut Forest this weekend. Hoping for some delicious Thai.

                                      1. re: HillJ

                                        We went to Coconut Forest yesterday. I though what I got (Bangkok Fish lunch special) was very good, and a huge portion. Mark got Sizzling Stingray on Banana Leaf, which is not what one normally sees around here!

                                        Most of the clientele was Asian when we were there. (Actually, we may have been the only non-Asians there among a half dozen tables or so.)

                                        They have a 10% off everything grand opening special for the month of November.

                                        1. re: eleeper

                                          Thanks for the review of your experience eleeper! I also tried the sizzling stingray and loved it. I hope to get back to Coconut Forest w/friends later this month. The rolls are good too!

                              2. has anyone ever eaten at AMMAVARANTI (spelling may be incorrect), an Indian restaurant in a strip mall on Rt. 34 in Matawan?

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: betsey

                                  Amravathi. It's okay, I guess. Their buffet always seems to be just lukewarm temperature-wise. We prefer Rajpoot on Ernston Road off Route 9.

                                  1. re: eleeper

                                    Couldn't agree more about the buffet. I'd head to Iselin for outstanding Indian.

                                    1. re: HillJ

                                      I agree about Iselin, but Rajpoot is not bad if you don't want to drive that far. The one problem is that they always have pretty much the same stuff. The other choice in the area is Haldi Chowk, but that is *extremely* variable.

                                    2. re: eleeper

                                      Rajpoot is my favorite Indian, and I've sampled Indian restaurants from Beijing to Moscow to Prague to Tokyo. This is Mr. Sing's fifth and only remaining restaurant, and I've been eating his cooking for 26 years. Quiet, comfortable atmosphere and BYOB. Try the Murgh Kampuri and Shahjihani Biryani off the menu. Buffet is okay but not outstanding.


                                  2. D.A. Subs is a long way from fancy dining, but it is a high-quality sub shop. The subs you get there are of a generous size. I usually get a cold cut sub and the meat is generally stacked about three-quarters of an inch thick. That certainly is not true of any of the chain sub places like Subway or Quiznos. It is counter service, with beverages in coolers. The tables and chairs make noises like mortally wounded dinosaurs when you move them.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Mark Leeper

                                      D.A is good, but Mike's in Keyport is where its at!