Home Features Food The Best New Jersey Restaurant Guide 2019

The Best New Jersey Restaurant Guide 2019

Each month, Best of NJ profiles new eateries in the area to help you find your next great meal. Now, as a special end of the year feature, we’re curating our best profiles on one easy to read page. With this in mind, we are proud to present the Best New Jersey Restaurant Guide 2019. These are the places which opened throughout 2019 we think you should know about.

These spots caught our eye because of either their unique menu, interesting backstory, community-driven approach, or eco-friendly practice. For any that opened before 2019, their new/revised menu for the year make them a must-visit. In short, every New Jersey restaurant on this list is worthy of praise in their own, personal way.

Quick Click Guide: Select an NJ Region below to find the best New Jersey Restaurants near you.
| North Jersey | Central Jersey | Jersey Shore | South Jersey |


North Jersey Restaurants


Bistro D’Azur

Restaurant Interior

Address: 14 Academy Street in South Orange
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Signature Dish: Grilled Octopus (Grilled Octopus, chick peas, celery, olives nicoises, bell pepper, pimenton).
Bio: This high-end restaurant pays homage to the culture of Southern France; using fresh, local ingredients from farms around NJ to express the flavors of Cote d’Azur. In other words, they serve classic French dishes with subtle hints of Spain, Northern Africa, and Greece.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Café Chameleon

Seared Scallops from Cafe Chameleon

Address: 60 Main Street in Bloomingdale
Cuisine: New American
Signature Dish: Grilled sea scallops with cabbage and smoked apple.
Bio: Executive Chef and Partner Bryan Gregg is redefining New American cuisine with modern flair. Though dishes change weekly, and with the season, you can always expect fresh produce, meat, and seafood. Of course, the award-winning Café Burger is there to stay.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Chef Yang 46

Sichuan Dish

Address: 1105, US-46 in Clifton
Cuisine: Chinese
Signature Dish: Chongqing Chicken Nuggets with Chili Peppercorn.
Bio: Though this spot has been around for a bit, their new menu is giving guests a reason to return. Chef Yang blends flavor with heat to create dishes that have a real kick to them while also tasting great. In fact, they specialize in a Sichuan menu that fans of spicy food will love.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


The Cookie Connect

Cookir Collage From Cookie Connect

Address: 46 Chestnut St in Ridgewood
Cuisine: Dessert
Signature Dish: The Cookie Cup.
Bio: The Cookie Connect bakes everything fresh daily, such as their standard menu of 12 cookies. After their first shop in Bloomfield, they now serve their tasty delights in Ridgewood; which include Birthday Cake, Apple Pie, Stuffed Peanut Butter, and Cookies ‘N’ Cream.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


De Novo European Pub

View of the George Washington Bridge

Address: 1257 River Road in Edgewater
Cuisine: French and Italian
Signature Dish: Dates with gorgonzola and almonds, wrapped in bacon.
Bio: De Novo blends Italian and French foods to create a unique Mediterranean menu. This includes house-made breads and pastas, small plates, salads, burgers, and late-night bar bites. But what really sets them apart is their decor, and stunning view of the Hudson River.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Faubourg

Interior Seating

Address: 544 Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair
Cuisine: French
Signature Dish: The “Coq Au Vin” (seared and braised Chicken drum and thighs marinated in red wine, plated alongside bacon lardons, roasted mushrooms, and Cipollini onions with Spaetzle on the side).
Bio: This 10,000-square foot spot offers a seasonal, French dinner menu with unique wine pairings and craft cocktails. Faubourg also serves brunch, with dishes ranging from savory to sweet. Meanwhile, the space has been a bank, movie theater, retail shop, and now an eatery.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Felina Restaurant and Bar

Felina Restaurant NJ Italian Food

Address: 54 East Ridgewood Avenue in Ridgewood
Cuisine: Italian
Signature Dish: Brussels sprout pizza (fermented pizza dough with house made creme fraiche, a provolone and mozzarella blend, shaved Brussels sprouts and hot honey. Topped with Meyer lemon slices).
Bio: In another life, Felina was also a bank. In fact, despite all the design work to change it into a charming dinner spot, the bank vault remains. Despite a changing menu, they always make fresh, seasonal, and modern Italian dishes using Old World Italian cooking methods.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Gio’s Gelato

Ice Cream Flavors

Address: 822 Franklin Avenue in Franklin Lakes
Cuisine: Dessert
Signature Dish: The “Cookie Monster” (Blue Cake Batter gelato with Cookies & Cream and Cookie Dough).
Bio: We know that ice cream shops are fairly easy to find around New Jersey. However, it can be tough to find an authentic gelato spot. Which is why Gio’s Gelato, with more than 20 flavors to choose from, stands out from the back. They also have an espresso bar, too.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Lokal

Address: 2nd St in Jersey City
Cuisine: Global
Signature Dish: Mushroom Al Ajillo (maitake, shimeshi, black trumpet and enoki mushrooms with cauliflower and piquillo pepper).
Bio: You don’t have to be from the area to visit Lokal, the newest addition to the Jersey City waterfront. In fact, that’s sort of the point (Jersey City is a town of immigrants). In any case, this upscale eatery and bar boasts dinner, craft cocktails, and stellar views of the NYC skyline.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Mara’s Cafe

Mara's Cafe & Bakery in Denville, NJ Bakery

Address: 25 East Main Street in Denville
Cuisine: Bakery
Signature Dish: Cheesecake for dessert, “egg smashers” for breakfast.
Bio: After being open for more than 30 years, the original Mara’s Cafe shut down in summer 2018. But thanks to one local businesswoman, and frequent patron of the cafe, Mara’s is back and better than ever. Of course, they are still baking the desserts their guests love.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Rockin’ Roots

Rockin' Roots Exterior

Address: 434 Hillsdale Avenue in Hillsdale
Cuisine: Organic, Cafe, Juice Bar
Signature Dish: Fish with ricotta gnocchi, wild mushrooms, baby peas, cauliflower, and pecorino. (Served only at dinner).
Bio: Hillsdale is now home to Rockin’ Roots, a plant-based café, coffee shop, and juice bar. The 16-seat shop offers a calm, cool, and chic vibe while serving handcrafted cold-pressed juices. In addition, you can also order smoothies, acai bowls, coffee, and other light options.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Saltopia

Saltopia Products

Address: 101 Bilby Road in Hackettstown
Cuisine: Farm to table
Signature Dish: The “Dirty Wedding” (white truffles and sea salt).
Bio: Move over, wine tasting; salt tasting is the fun new way to spend a day. With more than 120 sea salts and raw sugars to taste, this unique spot is dinner and an experience. Their farm-to-table dinners feature local foods, plus you can also tour their Himalayan Salt Cave.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Sorriso Kitchen

Sorriso Kitchen

Address: 252 Main Street in Chatham
Cuisine: Breakfast, Italian, and Greek
Signature Dish: Limone Ricotta Pancakes (with a side of house-made sausage).
Bio: Sorriso Kitchen takes service with a smile to a whole new level. Though they serve both breakfast and lunch, their true calling is in how they serve the community; every Monday, Sorriso closes to customers and becomes a ‘classroom’ for young adults with special needs.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Stern and Bow

Stern and Bow

Address: 171 Schraalenburgh Road in Closter
Cuisine: New American
Signature Dish: The oyster bar.
Bio: This casual spot features eclectic, regional dishes as well as seafood specialties. The eatery seats 155 and includes three separate bars; one raw bar, a pizza bar, and last but not least, a full-service liquor bar. The menu is also inspired by the chef’s trips across the globe.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Toasty Gourmet Eatery & Café

Toasty Signature Toast

Address: 262 Center Avenue in Westwood
Cuisine: Breakfast, Cafe, Artisan Toast
Signature Dish: Mahalo toast (ahi tuna on a bed of Thai mango salsa and avocado puree, with soy ginger sauce on brioche).
Bio: Why smear any old butter on your toast when you can order gourmet toast instead? At Toasty, they create “pieces of art” made from unique breads with all sorts of toppings. There is even a custom option to build your own toast by choosing the bread, spread, and topping.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


The Vanguard

The Vanguard

Address: 705 Frank E. Rodgers Boulevard South in Harrison
Cuisine: American
Signature Dish: Braised Short Rib (celery root, butternut squash, spiced tomato, and whipped cauliflower).
Bio: “vanguard” means the foremost part of an advancing army or naval force. With this in mind, The Vanguard is a nod to all those who serve on the home front. In fact, this cocktail lounge, bar, and restaurant is set as an early 1940s factory built for the wartime effort.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Central Jersey Restaurants


Canal House Station

Canal House Chefs

Address: 2 Bridge Street in Milford
Cuisine: Changes Regularly
Signature Dish: The endless pile of buttermilk pancakes (Irish butter, real meal syrup, and crisp bacon).
Bio: Some folks travel from so far as Texas and the west coast to visit The Canal House Station. But, why? Because they’re eager to taste the recipes of Melissa Hamilton and Christopher Hirsheimer. Here, the award-winning duo brings their cookbook recipes to life.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Lotsa Balls

Exterior Sign

Address: 25 New Street in Metuchen
Cuisine: Gourmet Meatballs
Signature Dish: Hot Sausage and Broccolini Meatballs (with homemade Vodka Sauce and Garlic Bread).
Bio: For New Jersey Italians, every family has their own meatball recipe. Though many keep their secret sauces and ingredients in the family, one new restaurant wants to share them with guests. Lotsa Balls serves gourmet meatballs just like the ones Nonna used to make.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Metro Diner

Metro Diner

Address: 269 State Route 18 in East Brunswick
Cuisine: Breakfast, New American
Signature Dish: Fried Chicken & Waffles with Strawberry Butter (half a fried chicken and a Belgian waffle topped with a sweet, strawberry butter and served with their signature sweet and spicy sauce).
Bio: Even out of towners know New Jersey is famous for its diners; so to make a name for yourself as the new diner on the block, you have to stand out. Although new to the Garden State, many across the nation know Metro Diner for its comfort food and large portions.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Salt Seafood & Oyster Bar

Salt Seafood Interior

Address: 103 Church St in New Brunswick
Cuisine: Seafood
Signature Dish: Potato Crusted Wild Halibut (asparagus, shitake mushroom, oven roasted cherry tomato, scallion pesto, and white wine butter sauce).
Bio: Just like the diner scene, New Jersey is also known for its coastal cuisine (also known as seafood). But the further you travel from the Jersey Shore, the harder it is to find fresh fish. However, for those in the New Brunswick area, Salt Seafood & Oyster Bar is a terrific option.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Spoony Sweets

Spoony Sweets Cereal Cafe Exterior Sign in Hamilton

Address: 2222 Highway 33 in Hamilton
Cuisine: Mix and Match Cereal
Signature Dish: Campfire bowl (French Toast Crunch ®, Oreo O’s ®, Marshmallows, Vanilla Drizzle).
Bio: Cereal lovers can now get their fix all day, every day thanks to New Jersey’s first cereal bar. Spoony Sweets appeals to the kid in all of us who would rather be watching Saturday morning cartoons than working; choose two cereals, milk, and toppings and you’re all set.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Subs & Co

Subs & Co. Sandwich Ingredients

Address: 511 Avenel Street in Avenel
Cuisine: Sandwiches, Soups, Salads
Signature Dish: Smokin Buffalo sandwich (with bacon, pepper jack cheese, sliced buffalo chicken, and chipotle aioli).
Bio: Sandwich lovers, rejoice! Though many sandwich shops already exist in NJ, Subs & Co wants to be your new go-to spot. Of course, they serve cold classics like turkey, tuna, and roast beef; as well as hot options and specialty subs they say you won’t find anywhere else.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Turf, Surf, and Earth

Outdoor Logo

Address: 46 East Main Street in Somerville
Cuisine: Global, Plant-based
Signature Dish: Lentil Mushroom Burger (served over flavorful Spanish rice and spinach with Mexican flavor style toppings and added cashew cheese sauce).
Bio: This fast-casual eatery serves plant-based dishes, which evokes the current trend toward eating less red meat. Guests build their own meals by choosing a turf (white meat), surf (seafood), or Earth (plant) option. Then they choose a flavor profile and serving style.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Jersey Shore Restaurants


Amici Gelato & Caffe

Amici Gelato & Caffe Interior

Address: 630 Mattison Ave in Asbury Park
Cuisine: Dessert
Signature Dish: Made-to-order Cannoli.
Bio: The word Amici means “friends” in Italian. With this in mind, Amici Gelato & Caffe wants to be a place where you can bring, and make, friends. Here, you’ll find traditional gelato flavors like hazelnut, tiramisu, and pistachio; as well as modern flavors such as Oreo.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Atlantic House

Atlantic House Bar Area

Address: 67 1st Avenue in Atlantic Highlands
Cuisine: English, American
Signature Dish: Fish and Chips.
Bio: The Atlantic House sources local and organic foods as much as possible. For instance, poultry is hormone and antibiotic-free, all beef is grass fed, and all eggs are cage free. But what really sets them apart is their unique menu, which is an American-European fusion.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Beachwood at the Dunes

Beachwood at the Dunes Breakwaters Event Space

Address: 8609 Landis Ave in Sea Isle City
Cuisine: Coastal (meat and fish)
Signature Dish: Mac & Sea (macaroni pasta, blue cheese and cheddar mornay, lobster, crab, shrimp, caramelized onions and fennel with herbed breadcrumbs).
Bio: Beachwood at the Dunes is a modern beach-chic bar, restaurant, and lounge serving made-from-scratch comfort food. The menu uses fresh, simple ingredients from local sources to create global dishes; with influences from Argentina, Spain, and South America.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Bird and Betty’s

Interior dinner setting

Address: 592 Dock Road in Beach Haven
Cuisine: Modern pub fare
Signature Dish: Clam Pie.
Bio: The Acme Hotel was famously known as a favorite stomping ground of baseball legend Babe Ruth. Now the space belongs to Bird & Betty’s, a fun mix of vintage style and modern innovation. Though the decor evokes the 1960s and ’70s, kids will love hanging out here too.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Iron Whale

Iron Whale Sign

Address: 1200 Ocean Avenue in Asbury Park
Cuisine: Coastal
Signature Dish: Mahi (porcini powder, shiitake mushrooms, corn, and balsamic butter sauce).
Bio: The Iron Whale rests gently along the boardwalk in Asbury Park, featuring a rustic yet contemporary design. Though outdoor ocean-view dining is a strong feature of the space, the indoor dining also has a unique view; there is an open kitchen you can view from the bar.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


La Mondina

Interior Seating Photo of La Mondina Italian Restaurant in Brielle

Address: 110 Union Avenue in Brielle
Cuisine: Rustic Italian
Signature Dish: Sautéed Baby Artichokes (with chick peas, crispy garlic, onion, wilted arugula, lemon, finished with shredded grana Padano cheese).
Bio: La Mondina is an ode to the tireless women of Italian households. In other words, the design and decor evokes a homey feeling thanks to its fireplaces and greenery. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have a menu of Italian dishes that taste just like Sunday dinner in Italy.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Mad Fish Co

Mad Fish Co Outdoor seating

Address: 1001 SW Central Avenue in Seaside Park
Cuisine: Seafood
Signature Dish: Sea scallops (with risotto and basil oil).
Bio: Mad Fish offers a laid-back vibe along with both indoor and outdoor dining options. Though an ultrasound technician by trade, owner Madeleine always wanted to own a restaurant. Now, she serves great “boat-to-table” seafood to the people of Seaside Park.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Olive & Ivy

Photo of Olive & Ivy Interior

Address: 78 NJ-35 in Eatontown
Cuisine: Greek
Signature Dish: Short rib (red wine, aromatic vegetables, fresh thyme, lemon zest, and Yukon gold smashed potato).
Bio: The name “Olive & Ivy” is an homage to the Greek culture this BYOB spot honors. In fact, true to their namesake, the Greek method of cooking with olive oil is part of every dish. They serve both lunch and dinner, as well as homemade Greek dessert such as baklava.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


The Edge

Restaurant Exterior at Sunset

Address: 109 North County Line Road in Jackson
Cuisine: New American
Signature Dish: Pappardelle with Lamb Ragu (served with Root Vegetables, Natural Jus, Parmesan).
Bio: The Edge is a striking 12,000 square foot building which boasts a floating roofline, cascading water wall, and fireplace. There is also a 16-seat stone communal table at the center. In addition to daily dinner service, the spot also serves many drink options at the bar.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Tower Dogs

Tower Dogs interior sign

Address: 800 Ocean Avenue in Asbury Park
Cuisine: Gourmet Hot Dogs
Signature Dish: The “Asbury Dog” (with avocado, cucumber, carrot, tomato, lettuce, red onions, and Tower’s green goddess dressing).
Bio: Instead of basic ketchup and mustard options, why not turn your hot dog into a gourmet dinner item? Of course, that is what the owner of Tower Dogs aims to do. In fact, this spot even makes their own relish and specialty sauces daily to create a signature flavor.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


South Jersey Restaurants


Blueplate

Blue Plate Sign

Address: 47 South Main Street in Mullica Hill
Cuisine: Seasonal Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
Signature Dish: Pappardelle pasta (with beef short rib, local tomatoes, baby carrots, and beets).
Bio: An exterior electrical fire shut Blueplate down after 14 years of service. But now the spot is back with more than just a fresh coat of paint. Though it took over a year to rebuild, much of the staff and menu remains the same; they still serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Denim American Bistro

Denim American Bistro Cherry Hill Restaurant

Address: 116 King’s Highway East in Haddonfield
Cuisine: American
Signature Dish: the “South Philly” Steak Frites (filet mignon tail, cabernet onions, cooper sharp fondue, and hand-cut fries).
Bio: Denim may sound like a strange name for a place to eat, but that’s because… it is. The name comes from seeing Actress Mila Kunis in a denim jumpsuit on the cover of a magazine. Despite the unusual name, this spot serves familiar food in a comfy and casual atmosphere.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Dory’s Mediterranean Grill

Exterior Entrance to Dory's Mediterranean Grill

Address: 560 Stokes Road in Medford
Cuisine: Lebanese
Signature Dish: The Mix It Up Combo (one protein, two veggies, three sauces, and pita).
Bio: Dory’s promises “Lebanese hospitality…with a twist”, but what exactly does that mean? For owners Dory and Christine Chamoun, it means giving guests service as well as a meal they will never forget. It also means serving their unique spin on authentic Lebanese food.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


The Laughing Fox Tavern

Food on Plate

Address: 510 South White Horse Pike in Magnolia
Cuisine: New American
Signature Dish:
Bio: The Laughing Fox Tavern offers a wine bar as well as a stage that hosts live music and events; which is fitting because, as the name implies, this spot is all about fun for the whole family. In fact, with burgers, pizza, wings, and more, you can always find a good time here.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


The Little Hen

The Little Hen Exterior

Address: 220 Kings Highway East in Haddonfield
Cuisine: French
Signature Dish: Seared Duck frites (with a side of hand-cut French fries).
Bio: The Little Hen is a French-inspired BYOB serving food that is simple and down to earth. Though this little corner spot only seats 18, they promise a great meal in good company. During your visit, be sure to try the frog legs and duck frites, as both are fan-favorites.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Oceancrat

Collage of Nautical Decor inside The Boiling Seafood

Address: 1134 Route 73 South in Mount Laurel
Cuisine: Boiling Seafood
Signature Dish: Seafood Bucket (snow crab cluster, mussels, shrimp, corn, and potatoes).
Bio: There aren’t many places in NJ that can say they serve Louisiana Cajun-style seafood. But that’s just what is on the menu at Oceancrat. Of course, the inside of this eatery has the nautical decor to match their menu. The food makes for messy eating, but you won’t mind.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.


Porch and Proper

Porch and Proper Exterior

Address: 619 West Collings Avenue in Collingswood
Cuisine: New American
Signature Dish: the “Diver Scallops” (served with Lobster and Chorizo Crema, Fingerling Potato, Heirloom Carrot, and Parsnip Purée).
Bio: Porch and Proper sits inside a 100-year-old building with historic charm. In addition, their lush outdoor garden provides herbs and flowers that chef Ryan McQuillan uses in many dishes. Meanwhile, they like to describe their menu and service as fine dining done different.
Learn more: Click here to read the full feature.