Home Best of Guides Foodie Bucket List: New Jersey Edition

Foodie Bucket List: New Jersey Edition

by Jordan and Joelle Hernandez
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New Jersey is home to some of the best food in the country. While it can be considered the “Diner Capital of the World,” the restaurant options are truly endless. From fine dining to food trucks, we’ve rounded up the top plates in the state and are sharing them here. Of course, the state is filled with amazing restaurants that are all worth the visit, these are just some of our faves. Check each off the bucket list to show true Jersey Pride.

Bloody Mary Oysters from 16 Prospect Wine + Bar Bistro | 16 Prospect Street, Westfield

16 prospect westfield

(Photo credit: @16prospect)

Oysters are a favorite amongst New Jersians and one restaurant in Westfield serves them in an extra special way. Bloody Mary Oysters combine the salty ocean taste with the acidity of a frozen Bloody Mary mix for a unique combination.

Waakye with Goat Meat from Asante’s Restaurant | 1280 Teaneck Road, Teaneck

Asante’s Restaurant specializes in traditional cuisine from the Ghanian region of Africa. This dish is complete with braised meat covered in a blend of spices and served with traditional sides.

Malfade Cacio e Pepe from Battello | 502 Washington Boulevard, Jersey City

batello jersey city

(Photo credit: @battellojc)

Breathtaking views of NYC and superb food are two things diners will most definitely find at Battello in Jersey City. Among many standout dishes is the Malfade Cacio e Pepe. Loaded with fresh ground black pepper and pecorino romano, it’s a classic that never fails.

Seared Bay Boat Scallops from Common Lot | 27 Main Street, Millburn

common lot Millburn

(Photo credit: Common Lot)

‘Designed to be enjoyed during engaging conversation’ is the motto of Common Lot. The menu is filled with fresh ingredients that do not have to be altered too much so that guests can appreciate flavors. A favorite at Common Lot is the Seared Bay Boat Scallops. This dish is served with celery bacon fondant, smoked bacon, and jus.

Tomato Pie from DeLorenzo’s | 147 Sloan Avenue, Trenton

DeLorenzo’s is a New Jersey capital classic, since its origination in 1938. The Tomato Pie is so closely associated with the area, that it’s often called the Trenton Pie. The pie is a pizza topped with tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. Have it plain or add ‘the works,’ which includes sausage, mushrooms, pepperoni, meatballs, anchovies, green peppers, onion, garlic, and oregano.

Chicken & Waffles from Delta’s Restaurant | 19 Dennis Street, New Brunswick

deltas New Brunswick

(Photo credit: Delta’s Restaurant)

“A celebration of the South,” is what guests can expect at Delta’s Restaurant in New Brunswick. The chicken and waffles are a brunch favorite. Served with a large helping of butter and maple syrup, this dish will satisfy any sweet, salty, crunchy, or fluffy craving.

Read More: The Best Brunch Spots In Hoboken — By Category

Voodoo Shrimp from Drew’s Bayshore Bistro | 25 Church Street, Keyport

Drews bayshore bistro Keyport

(Photo credit: Drew’s Bayshore Bistro)

When the dish beats Bobby Flay, it has to be listed. Led by head chef and owner Andrew Araneo, Drew’s is known for its Southern and Creole flair here in New Jersey. Voodoo Shrimp is his most famous dish. Served on top of jalapeno cornbread, the shrimp is doused in a spicy Worcestershire cream sauce.

Taco Platter at El Tule | 49 N. Main Street, Lambertville

el tule Lambertville

(Photo credit: @eltulelambertville)

El Tule boasts traditional flavors and dishes from both Mexico and Peru. One of the most popular options hails from Mexico and is particularly popular on Tuesdays — the taco platter. The platter comes with a choice of meat on corn tortillas and is served with rice and beans.

Fried Calamari at Ferraro’s Westfield | 14 Elm Street, Westfield

ferarros Westfield

(Photo credit: @ferrarosrestaurant)

Hundreds of restaurants throughout the state serve fried calamari, but none can compare to Ferraro’s Westfield. Fried to a crisp and seasoned to perfection, this seafood appetizer is a crowd-pleaser.

Paella Marinera from Fornos of Spain | 47 Ferry Street, Newark

Fornos of Spain newark

(Photo credit: @fornos_of_spain)

Fornos of Spain has been nestled in the heart of Newark since the early 1980s and is best known for its paella. The Paella Marinera is a combination of seafood and Spanish rice. The fish and crustaceans making an appearance in this dish are lobster, mussels, clams, and scallops all served over sofrito rice.

Pan Fried Pork Dumplings from Hunan Taste | 4 Alvin Place, Montclair

Hunan-taste-montclair

(Photo credit: Hunan Taste)

Hunan Taste is known for its dumplings and bringing a taste of Asia to New Jersey.  The most popular is the pan-fried pork, but other options include spicy chicken, steamed edamame, shrimp, shumai, steamed spinach skin vegetables, and dumplings with hot oil.

Horiatiki from Kostas Grill | 161 E Main Street, Tuckerton

Kostas Grill serves up traditional Greek food right here in New Jersey with an American spin. It’s most known for the Horiatiki—a classic Greek salad including tomato, cucumber, red onion, bell peppers, kalamata olive, feta, and Greek virgin olive oil.

Cuban Sandwich from La Isla | 104 Washington Street, Hoboken

la isla hoboken

(Photo credit: La Isla)

“Where Havana meets Miami in Hoboken,” – that’s the tagline for La Isla in Hoboken. The restaurant has been named to nearly every “best in New Jersey list,” and one dish is mentioned almost every time — the Cuban Sandwich. The pressed sandwich is filled with pulled pork, ham, swiss cheese, pickle, and garlic mayo before being pressed and served warm.

Texas Weiner from Manny’s Texas Weiner Hot Dog | 2580 Springfield Avenue, Vauxhall

mannys texas weiner vauxhall

(Photo credit: Manny’s Texas Weiner Hot Dog)

Despite the name, Texas Weiner hot dogs are a New Jersey original. The beef and pork hotdog combination is served with mustard, onions, and chili.

Almond Coconut Joy French Toast from the Montclair Diner | 613 Valley Road, Montclair

montclair diner

(Photo credit: @montclairdiner)

Breakfast all day is what’s happening at the Montclair Diner. This establishment is celebrated by celebrities and has been featured on national TV programs multiple times. The diner is known best for its French toast and one of the most recent additions, the Almond Joy French Toast, is one for the books. The classic, fluffy toast is topped with coconut flakes and chocolate chips.

Bucatini with Clams at Nicholas Barrel + Roost | 160 Route 35 South, Red Bank

Nicholas Barrel and roost red bank

(Photo credit: @barrelandroost)

Right at the start of the Jersey Shore is Nicholas Barrel & Roost and the kitchen is bringing a taste of the ocean with the Bucatini with Clams. Served with a garlic, white wine sauce and topped with parsley and garlic crumble, this dish is what dreams are made of.

Paradiso Ravioli from Osteria Crescendo | 36 Jefferson Avenue, Westwood

osteria crescendo westwood

(Photo credit: Osteria Crescendo)

Italian classics are a must in the Garden State and Osteria Crescendo does it right. The establishment was named a Diner’s Choice in 2019 by Open Table. The Paradiso Ravioli is made with cheese, olive oil, and Calabria lemons to make a light pasta dish.

Spinach & Feta Pierogis from Pierogi Café | 18 E Prospect Street, Waldwick

pierogi cafe waldwick

(Photo credit: @pierogicafenj)

The Pierogi Café in Waldwick is known for well…pierogies. The menu options of traditional, Polish food are seemingly endless. The most popular is the spinach and feta. The pierogies are made fresh daily and are a staple in the area. Meat, vegetarian, and sweet pierogies are all available. 

Jersey Margherita Pizza from Razza | 275 Grove Street, Jersey City

razza Jersey City

(Photo credit: @razzanj)

Pizza is a New Jersey staple and the team at Razza takes the job as pizza makers very seriously. Led by James Beard Foundation Rising Star Finalist and New Jersey Native Dan Richer, Razza has been the recipient of many awards and accolades. The Jersey Margherita is complete with Jersey Girl mozzarella cheese, crushed New Jersey tomatoes, olive oil, and basil.

Salmao ao Molho de Maracuja from Samba Restaurant | 7 Park Street, Montclair

samba montclair

(Photo credit: Samba Restaurant)

Gluten-free eaters rejoice. Samba Restaurant is one of the only restaurants in the country certified by the Gluten Intolerance Group as a gluten-free restaurant. The Salmao ao Molho de Maracuja is a salmon dish served with passion fruit and seasonal sauteed vegetables.

Grilled Swordfish from Serenade | 6 Roosevelt Avenue, Chatham

serenade chatham

(Photo credit: @restaurant_serenade)

Considered one of “New Jersey’s best, classically trained chefs,” Chef James Laird leads the kitchen at Serenade. A signature dish here is the grilled swordfish. It’s served with butternut squash apple risotto, baby Brussel sprouts, and aged balsamic vinegar.

Stirling Hotel Macaroni & Cheese at Stirling Hotel | 227 Main Avenue, Stirling

stirling hotel

(Photo credit: Stirling Hotel)

When the phrase ‘four cheeses’ starts the menu item description, not much more needs to be said. The ultimate comfort food at this All-American restaurant is a decadent take on a true classic.

Pan-Seared Big Glory Bay Salmon from Steve + Cookies Restaurant + Oyster Bar | 900 Amhearst Avenue, Margate

Steve and cookies margate

(Photo credit: @steveandcookies)

Steve & Cookies Restaurant gives a Jersey Shore feel with tons of seafood options. One of the staples on the menu is the pan-seared Big Glory Bay salmon. The fish is served with roasted brussels sprouts and butternut squash sage mustard cream, crisp sage, and walnuts. Pro Tip: grab a seat by the window for a great view.

Disco Fries from Tick Tock Diner | 281 Allwood Road, Clifton

Tick Tock Diner clifton

(Photo credit: @ticktockdinernj)

A spin on a Canadian dish, poutine, Disco Fries were made popular right here in New Jersey as a go-to late-night snack option. Tick Tock Diner serves up crispy fries loaded with gravy and mozzarella cheese.

Sloppy Joe Sandwich from Town Hall Deli | 74 First Street, South Orange

town hall deli south orange

(Photo credit: @townhalldeli)

While the rest of the country knows a Sloppy Joe sandwich to include ground beef with a tomato-y sauce, New Jersey knows what it’s really made of! At Town Hall Deli, Sloppy Joes contain two meats and Swiss cheese, three slices of rye bread, dry coleslaw, and Russian dressing. Each individual sandwich serves 2-3 people.

See More: Best Spots For A Cosmo In Hoboken + JC To Live Out Your SATC Moment

Shrimp and Crab Cakes from Trio North Wildwood | 700 New Jersey Avenue, North Wildwood

(Photo credit: Trio North Wildwood)

It’s not uncommon to find crab cakes at a restaurant near the shore but, Trio North Wildwood brings shrimp to this party. The cakes are piled high and served on top of a cornichon, capers, and tartar sauce.

Fried Chicken Dinner from Two Fish & Five Loaves | 2264 Route 22 E, Union

Started by Chef Kevin Smallwood, Two Fish & Five Loaves brings Southern comfort soul food here to New Jersey. Nearly everything on the menu tastes like a big hug from Chef Kevin himself, but the Fried Chicken dinner is unmatched. The dinner is served with a choice of two sides and options include the famous macaroni and cheese, collard greens, potato salad, string beans, candied yams, yellow rice, and rice and gravy.

Pork Roll Egg & Cheese from White Rose Diner | 1301 E. Elizabeth Avenue, Linden

white rose diner linden

(Photo credit: @whiterosedinerlinden)

It’s impossible to have a list with food from New Jersey and not include pork roll. Or is it Taylor Ham? Either way, this quintessential breakfast sandwich is a Jersey classic, and White Rose Diner does it right. Melty cheese, salty pork roll, and fluffy eggs make this complete. 

Grilled Swordfish from Zeppoli Restaurant | 618 Collings Avenue, Collingswood

Zeppoli Collingswood

(Photo credit: @zeppolirestaurant)

For a more intimate, upscale option, head to Zeppoli Restaurant in Collingswood. The kitchen is run by James Beard Nominee Joseph Baldino and while everything sounds incredible on the menu, the Grilled Swordfish, or Pesce Spada alla Griglia, is sure to please. The fish is marinated and served with lemon and olive oil. 

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