Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > New Jersey >
Dec 28, 2012 08:28 AM

Itailian BYOB near Woodbridge?

Hi Guys,

Going out of my normal greasy spoon eating habits here. We are meeting some friends for dinner tomorrow night and it looks like the consensus would be Italian. We live off exit 117 and they live in Woodbridge. They seem to have no taste buds, and suggested Magianos in Bridgewater. Seeing as I'd rather eat a soggy Chinese newspaper in the Olive Garden's bathroom.. I'm trying to find an Italian place that would be more suitable.

It doesn't necessarily have to be fancy nor a BYOB, but I think that would be better for everyone. We can eat chicken parm and penne vodka, but my girlfriend would like it to be a little nicer then a greasy pizzeria. We have been to Casa Guisepe on 27 before, and we both thought that was too expensive for what we got.

Anything like that around Woodbridge? How bout like Westfeild or the like? New brunswick even? (They were willing to drive to Bridgewater)

Thanks in advance

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. LouCas in Edison is probably the best bet in my book.

    There is also a great fairly new place I have been too in Metuchen as well. Civilies.

    1. Excellent choice by JR.

      Either steer them to LouCas or beg off citing a stomach virus. I did Maggiano's once at that very BW location - hostage to a small group dynamic.

      4 Replies
      1. re: JustJake

        Growing up in an Italian family, it was the one kind of restaurant my parents never wanted to go to. Like the OP, they didn't feel the independent places gave great value for the money and more often than not they weren't impressed. Despite the vast amount of home cooking they do, they can better tolerate chains like Carrabas and Maggianos over an independent if somebody wants to go out for Italian. There's a Carrabas in East Brunswick that would be about half way between WB and 117 if they have their sights set on a chain.

        1. re: ebchower

          Come on now man!!!!! ;-) Take your parents to LouCas and get back to us - the food is excellent.

          Fwiw, my local Italian will charge around $15 for 3 nice filets of veal ($13 for tender chicken breast) in their francaise/picata/marsala dish, with a nice side of pasta or a salad along with a half loaf of Italian bread. And while we've seen that pricing increase over the last 3 years (when they were even less and even more attractive), I find this to be very acceptable from a value standpoint.

          From a quality slant, local spots such as Illiano's, Scarpettas, Nick's (Wanamassa) far exceeds the Sysco/US Foods delivered frozen stuff that gets delivered to the Carrabas, Maggiano's and OG's of the world. .

          With all due respect, I just can't understand the mindset (of your parents) that they're disappointed by the independents 'lack of value', yet can tolerate these chains. Don't let the decor snooker one into an irrational exuberance - that doesn't make my food any better.


          1. re: JustJake

            First, you would be wrong about the frozen food aspect you mention with chains and Sysco....most food come in cryovac packaging...and actually the typical mom & pop independent is more likely to receive frozen products.

            Second, the prices you list are lower than what the pizzerias charge in Northern New Jersey. Restaurants are closer to $20 for independents....and the chains are closer to $15.

            1. re: fourunder

              Most of the local restaurants down here get their meats from Carl Streit out of Asbury Park. To the best of my knowledge, chicken never gets cryo'ed as it needs to breathe - veal, I'll give you.

              The local places I cited in my post are pizzarias first, but deliver vg Italian entrees. And I'm still scratching my head as to an Italian family wanting a Carraba's or a Maggiano's over a small storefront in a strip mall - $15 or not for that pedestrian cookie cutter Chicken Parm, or Ziti dish. I'm sure you'll agree that given your choice, you're not going to be 'champing at the bit' to go to one of the described chains over a mom n pop shop that's delivering a quality product at about the same price.

      2. If you want to expand your palate from eating chicken parma and veal parma, Due Mari in New Brunswick would be the best place to go. However, it might be more expensive than you want to pay.

        1. Another vote for LouCas in Edison. Excellent Italian food

          2 Replies
          1. re: sunangelmb

            does loucas have another restaurant on route 516 in old bridge?

            1. re: betsey

              Actually I just recently found out that yes they do. It's directly across the street from Old Bridge Town Hall/Police Dept. I have not been there myself however my wife recently ate there with friends and told me about the relationship of the two. LouCas was our first date 19 years ago.

              She also learned there is actually a 3rd location in East Brunswick as well on either Tices or Rouse lane.

          2. Up early and trying to continue my fast for some blood work this morning, --- with posting about food probably the worst thing to do.

            CSJ, you should consider going back to Guisepe, unless you didn't like the restaurant. Why do I say this? As I hadn't heard of CG, I yelped it and then looked at the menu.

            Sterling reviews with their menu being reduced to 1997 prices - looking at it, it would be hard to beat dining at such a positive place amongst diners at that pricing.

            Nevertheless, good luck and oops, as I write this, the deed has already been done.