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Mar 5, 2012 06:28 PM

Visiting Princeton to New Brunswick area

My first post. I'm having a high school reunion in May and would really appreciate anyone's thoughts on good restaurants in the Princeton to New Hope (or New Brunswick?) area. Haven't spent much time in the area since 1978, and last time I went from NYC to visit my mother someone had bulldozed an entire forest and replaced it with a mini-mall. That was probably 1988. Anyway, I'm meeting with several groups of friends and family (need tables for 4, 6 and one for a larger group of around 25-30). Ambiance is not as critical as quality of food. Expense is an issue, as I don't want to spend a fortune and have no idea what the rest of the group can afford. I love ethnic food, but someplace with great American food would suffice.

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  1. Eno Terra and elements are in the Princeton area (probably are more expensive) and have received rave reviews on this site (I have never been to either). For the large group you might want to consider something like Mediterra or Alchemist & Barrister. Teresa's serves decent Italian for a small group. I haven't been in Princeton in a while, so others will more likely have better suggestions.

    If you're willing to go to Hopewell, I cannot recommend the Blue Bottle Cafe enough.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Heatherb

      Alchemist & Barrister - that's a name from the past! But maybe we can try the Blue Bottle Cafe. Thank you so much for the information! Hopewell is not that far.

      1. re: Debbie from Valley Village

        Check out the pricing. My friends and I are on a budget, but we consider it to be quite reasonable for the QUALITY of the food. It's still more than a night out at our favorite Italian joint.

        1. re: Heatherb

          Another consideration is the Peacock Inn in Princeton. They have private rooms which could accommodate your crowd of 35-40 people. Eno Terra, as mentioned above, would be a solid choice. They usually use the second floor for parties. The Blue Bottle may be too small for your group if you want to sit together.

          1. re: BigGeorge

            Good point about the Blue Bottle, BigGeorge - I should have clarified. It would be ideal for the smaller group meals but not the one with 25-30 people. However, I suspect if cost is at all a concern the Peacock Inn will not be a good option, though I've never been. It just gives off a very expensive vibe:)

            1. re: BigGeorge

              I made reservations for the Blue Bottle for six of us - they seem to be very accommodating (although I have to confirm a few days before). I will definitely check out Eno Terra for the large group. I did check out the menu for the Peacock Inn but it's just too expensive - although I was really thrilled that it's still around and revamped it's menu.

              1. re: Debbie from Valley Village

                I have found Eno Terra to be wonderful. Great food, great service and atmosphere, although many tables are very close to others I found the people seated around us to be very nice and actually enjoyed chatting and discussing our meals. Also enjoyed the fact that I was enjoying an upscale dining experience but without the stuffiness. this remains one of my favs in NJ.

                1. re: cjjfoodie

                  I just wanted to let you all know that we ended up getting a table for 8 at the Blue Bottle and it was great. Because it was lunch we all ended up getting salads - not much of a variation there - and I so wanted to try the gnocchi but had that large dinner later in the evening and didn't want to over due it. Great staff and food. I should have tried the gnocchi. We going to dinner (someone else booked it) at Deanna's in Lambertville. I was not impressed with the food at all. The atmosphere was great, good bar, excellent staff, but the pasta was overcooked and the red sauce (I had the seafood) was just bleh and boring. Maybe the crowd (28 people) was too much for them.

                  1. re: Debbie from Valley Village

                    I'm so glad you had a good experience at Blue Bottle! Now that I've moved from the area, I literally dream about that place, lol. And yeah, you TOTALLY should have gotten the gnocchi - it's my best friend's favorite dish there, no matter what the sauce is:)

                    I agree with you on Deanna's. They are great on atmosphere and service, but you can get far better options in any Trenton/Hamilton red-sauce joint.