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Mar 21, 2010 11:20 AM

Recommendations for large group in Monmouth County???

I am looking for recommendations for a fairly large (15-20 people) for dinner on a Saturday night in the southern part of Monmouth County.

While good, tasty, quality food is very important we also want to consider an atmosphere which is not too formal and where our large group would not cause a disturbance to other diners (although we are in our 30s and have good manners, we are gathering for a celebration).

The group is open to all kinds of cuisine- italian, mexican, fish, french, etc. so feel free to be open in your recommendations!

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  1. Portofino's in Tinton Falls - a wonderful little Italian place with a lot of charm. The food is out of this world. I am very spoiled when it comes to Italian food, many of the dishes here are exactly like what I eat in Italy. They have a second floor for large parties. They have pictures you can view on their website .. dress code is generally casual. Post back if you decide to go here and let me know what you think !


    5 Replies
    1. re: amore x0

      thank you for the recommendation!

      1. re: amore x0

        I had forgotten about this place, and talk about a place that flies under the radar. When I was at Fort Monmouth, we frequented here a few times for lunch, and their fresh pasta dishes were awesome! I've had anything from their homeade ravioli, to their chicken and fish dishes, and they've always been good. Good suggestion. -mJ

        1. re: njfoodies

          Not only is the food wonderful but so is the family that runs it. They have such good stories to go with the good food - clearly have a true love for what they do !

          1. re: amore x0

            Has the place changed hands in the last 10 years? We used to frequent it when working at Ft. Monmouth but quit when portions became microscopic. Have not been there since the 90s and live a 10 minute walk from there...

      2. If Manalapan would work geographically for you, I highly recommend Shirin Cafe. Very generous portions of delicious Uzbek cuisine, excellent service, and charming decor. They are used to dealing with large groups, and you don't have to worry about being church mouse quiet. You might want to consider doing a banquet. Info on their website: Note: It's a BYO.

        Photos of our meals at Shirin and of the interior can be viewed here:

        and here:

        Shirin Cafe
        345 U.S. 9 South, Manalapan, NJ 07726

        1. The original comment has been removed
          1. Basil Ts in Red Bank. While the prices are on the high side the food is quite good and the beer is pretty yum. The atmosphere would fit your group perfectly, it seems to me.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Mr. Bingley

              Ponte Vecchio in Old Bridge. I have been there in groups of your size before

              Ponte Vecchio
              3863 Highway 516, Old Bridge, NJ 08857

              1. re: Gold

                While PV may be a good choice, I don't know that it fits the geography that AmityGal is looking for. She cited Southern Monmouth County and not Southern Middlesex County. That's typically the 2nd thing I look at when reading requests here. Cuisine and then location. The Bacari Grill up in Bergen County has an exquisite private room, but I'd hardly recommend it based on the posters' needs/wants here. Just saying.

                As for Portofino, while it has that wonderful room upstairs, the atmosphere definitely leans onto the more formal side for this great restaurant. Letting your hair down and having a good time is a good thing (and you obviously cite your sense of decorum & respect for other diners - a tip of the hat on that one) but I don't know that Portofino fits all of your needs. Does Basil T's have a separate room?

                1. re: JustJake

                  Basils does not have a separate room but they will block off a section of the restaurant and even put up a partition if you desire. They do some good parties there. I have been to several for my family.

                  1. re: JustJake

                    Just out of curiosity....this post is from 2010....where or how did you stumble upon it and decide to respond? I would assume it had to be buried 500+- pages back?

                    1. re: jrvedivici

                      interesting....I have no idea how that happened. My guess is I typed "nj chowhound" on google and it brought me to an old page. LOL

                      Anyway, i'd like to check out that place. Maybe we can get some newer info on it.

                      PS, that ribeye at La Cipollina was tasty!

                      1. re: corvette johnny

                        LMAO....No CJ you responded to JJ (JustJake) who is the one who brought this thread up from 2 years you probably just saw it with new comments and decided to chime in. No harm or foul just wondering how people stumble on such an outdated thread.

                        FYI I don't know Portinfino's prices as it's been a few years but the food is always very good......I just don't care for the dining room.....very low ceilings and tight between tables......but the food is very good.

                        I'm glad you enjoyed the Ribeye......if I'm in Freehold looking for a steak I'll keep it in mind. Have you been over to CC lately? FYI Char should be opened or opening in Red Bank any day now.

                        1. re: jrvedivici

                          yeah I am ready for Char! The ribeye is definitely worth a shot. Its BYOB there too and I don't recommend getting any appetizers....very small. I should write an actual review.

                          I'd say my ribeye was pushing 30 ounces. They changed the sides since the last time I went but still not bad. Its definitely a manly steak!

                          No CC lately. I need to get over there soon but heading to Puerto Rico this weekend so probably not for a while. And yes, I am hitting the pig highway (in case you know what that is)

              2. I have never been to Portofino. The prices seem incredibly low.

                I was just looking at the menu. 15 bucks for a veal dish and 13 for a chicken dish? Is that right?

                2 Replies
                1. re: corvette johnny

                  No, I think those prices are wrong. Based on my recollection -- and I think I would definitely remember if the prices were that low.

                  EDIT: I should have looked at the menu myself! The $15 for a veal dish is on the lunch menu and I have not been for lunch. On the dinner menu, the veal entrees are $24 to $42. Sorry.

                  1. re: drongo

                    Ah I see, thanks for the reply. If it is too good to be true, I suppose it is : )