If you are looking for amazing restaurants in Hunterdon, Mercer, Somerset, Union or Middlesex County, our list can help! We have compiled a full list of the best restaurants in Central NJ so you can dine happily with your family!
As NJ’s only AAA four diamond rated restaurant and boutique hotel, this “Garden State dining legend” is acclaimed for its seasonal, progressive American cuisine and award-winning wine list. Dine on innovative dishes created from the freshest ingredients from the Inn’s garden and the finest local food purveyors and choose from a renowned wine list of over 1,500 selections. Exceptional service in spectacularly designed dining rooms and the library piano bar have helped the Inn earn the hospitality industry’s highest awards. The Inn is a classic restaurant enjoying critical and guest acclaim year after year.
Just Restaurant Old Bridge NJ 732-707-4800 Just Restaurant is a Zagat-rated New American dining destination hidden in the heart of Central New Jersey. Well-received by both diners and critics such as the New York Times, Just presents a selection of artfully prepared culinary creations, an extensive and diverse wine list and a unique specialty cocktail menu. Highly Recommended!
Molino's Italian Kitchen Manalapan NJ 732-972-1180 Molino's Italian Kitchen Pizzeria and Restaurant was opened by Alfonso Molino, a man who had a mission to provide Central New Jersey’s Monmouth County with high quality food. When you dine at Molino’s in Manalapan, NJ, you can expect to find all types of pizza; everything from cheese pizza to the Molino Special. The options are endless!
Ganga Asian Bistro Matawan NJ 732-765-8808 Best Fusion Asian It's all about the Tuna Wasabi Dumplings! They explode in your mouth like nothing else you have ever eaten. This place is by far the best Asian restaurant in Central NJ. A little busy with hustle and bustle and somewhat loud at times, but has a cool modern vibe that will surely impress your date. Best fusion sushi we've ever seen in NJ. Awesome bar. Great friendly staff too. Highly Recommended!
Gennaro's Princeton NJ 609-497-2774 Two words: Pappardelle Bolognese! Made with veal, beef and pork the Old World way. Great Italian dishes all over the menu. Great sauces! A must visit.
Front Street Trattoria Red Bank NJ 732-780-2337 Front Street Trattoria gets added to this list because they have the most original pizza in all of Central NJ. The crust on their pizzas are absolutely amazing. A long time contender in Red Bank that delivers each and every time. BYOB. Highly Recommended!
The Grain House Restaurant at The Olde Mill Inn serves classic American cuisine to its patrons. The restaurant offers a wonderful lunch, dinner and dessert menu with highly popular dishes such as calamari, Famous Grain House Chili, burgers and, of course, steaks and fish. On Saturdays guests can expect to indulge in a beautifully prepared a la carte brunch and a buffet brunch on Sundays.
Tavern on the Lake Hightstown NJ 609-426-9345 The Tavern has some fantastic happy hour specials that will fill you up for only a few bucks. Try some of Chef Claudio’s specials for lunch, or enjoy a delicious dinner with an awesome craft beer to compliment your meal. If you have time during your visit, take an enjoyable stroll along the lake or through historic Hightstown. For more information, see their full page listing.
Whispers Spring Lake NJ 732-974-9755 Whispers is one of best unknown romantic restaurants in all of Monmouth County NJ. Imaginative and delicious American cuisine. One of Central Jersey's best restaurants in the North Shore region.
Joe's Crab Shack Lawrenceville NJ 973-989-1550 Best Family - (For kids) Complete with Singing waitstaff, balloon twisters, outdoor playground and fun Nautical stuff hanging all around. Not to mention the best Dungeness crabs this side of San Francisco! Joe's provides many awesome seafood "in a pot" options as well as a very fun bar. Great for couples looking for a fun date idea and equally great for families with children.
The National Hotel Frenchtown, NJ 908-996-3200 Offering a menu that is inspired by the area’s local flavors and produce, to create traditional American favorites, as well as unique international and exotic dishes, always supporting local and sustainable farmers. Distinct wine choices and exceptional signature drinks, service, entertainment and familiar faces in this comfortable and elegant establishment, will make you come back time and again.
Ristorante Venezia Woodbridge NJ 732-855-8995 Our pick for one of the best Italian spots in Central NJ. Superb food & ambiance. Staff is exceptional and portions are overwhelming. Chef accommodates special requests. Well worth a visit if you can venture into the Woodbridge area. Highly Recommended!
The following restaurants are, in our opinion, the best that Central New Jersey has to offer. It is the definitive dining guide to the garden state. It is perhaps the only guide you will ever need to refer to if you are looking for the best restaurants in Central NJ.
Best Restaurants in Central Jersey
FunNewJersey.com Editorial Picks
Editorial Pick for the "Best upscale restaurant" in Central NJ!
Catherine Lombardi 3 Livingston Ave, New Brunswick, NJ 08901 732-296-9463 Very nice upscale decor and the food is always fresh and inventful. We loved the presentations of all of the dishes. The black meatballs at Catherine Lombardi's are old world and are reminiscent of the real deal that Grandma might make in Italy. There is a very romantic bar as well. Catherine Lombardi's is a great place to hit up if you have tickets to a show at the State Theatre a few doors down.
Editorial Pick for the Best Unknown "New American" Gem in Central NJ!
The Blue Bottle Cafe 101 E. Broad St. Hopewell, NJ 609-333-1710 The Blue Bottle Cafe is truly a on-of-a-kind restaurant. They move the menu with the seasons and always come up with imaginative variations of the Contemporary American fare that they offer. They have a flair for mixing the freshest ingredients and turning out a spectacular product. I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed this restaurant. BYOB
Editorial Pick for the "Best Off-the-beaten-path Italian restaurant" in Central NJ!
Albivi Brick Oven 866 Perrineville Rd. Millstone Twp. NJ 732-446-8211 Albivi's is off the beaten path a little bit in beautiful Millstone Township but you'll love quiet scenery on your ride there! We love that it is tucked away a little bit on a quiet country road. Albivi's served us the best chicken francaise we've ever had, and if your lucky enough in season to catch their stuffed artichokes make sure to order one to go! Magnificent! They have a very nice Italian dinner menu and are famous for their brick oven pizza. Lovely outdoor patio is the place to be in the warmer months. They have live entertainment outside in the summer months on Sunday evenings. BYOB Highly Recommended!
Editorial Pick for the Best "Unknown Italian Gem" in Central NJ!
Tosca Rustic Italian Cafe (No Website) 3333 Rt 9 North, Freehold, NJ 07728 732-462-2233 Tosca is just starting to hit the limelight where people are beginning to hear some buzz about it. From the front it looks like a typical store-front Italian, but once inside you start to get a vibe that you just might like this place, and when you see the menu, you know that Tosca is going for the old school traditional Italian fare. The menu has all the standards that you would expect like spaghetti and meatballs and linguine and clam sauce. When it comes to a simple test of a restaurant, I think we can all agree that their are a few basics to try as a good measuring stick of the quality of a restaurant. One is trying their mother red sauce. Well we tried their pomodoro sauce and the result is......their pomodoro is the best we've ever had. Their bolognese sauce has a touch of cream added to it and is also divine. Tosca Rustic Italian Cafe also makes homemade pastas. Like many restaurants, there are some hit or miss dishes but for the most part, Tosca is well worth a try.
Editorial Pick for the Best Unknown "Romantic atmosphere" in Central NJ!
La Taverna (No Website) 375 Georges Rd, Dayton, NJ 732-274-2200 La Taverna (formally Whitlock TCavern) was originally built by James Whitlock in the 1730's. The five separate dining areas offers really great food in a very cozy atmosphere. Quiet, romantic settings with fireplaces. Very romantic bar is a great place to bring a date to try something new. The chicken parmesan with angel hair was wonderful. Great simple salad too!
Editorial Pick for "Most affordable Sushi" in Central NJ!
Oyako Tso 6 West Main St. Freehold, NJ, 07728 732-866-8819 Where can you go in New Jersey and get 2 pieces of fresh (and we mean super fresh) Sushi for only $2.50? Oyako Tso in Feehold of course! They have special rolls for $6.00, Entrees for under $8.00 and the least expensive Hibachi that we have ever seen. Try the steak fried rice if you want to have the best fried rice you have ever had. So here is the simple lowdown...You go to Oyako Tso with your friend, wife or date, you bring your own Saki and beer and order massive amounts of Sushi, appetizers, soup, salad, rice and fried ice cream for dessert and you walk out with a check under $50. This is where that magic can happen. BTW, the food is 4 stars too! Email us and thank us if this amazing editorial pick worked for you! We want to know what you think.
Best Seafood Restaurants in Central Jersey
Blue Point Grill 258 Nassau St. (Pine St.) Princeton, NJ 609-921-1211 Blue Point Grill sets the standard in providing impeccably fresh seafood and shellfish from around the world. A little pricey but the freshest seafood we've ever tasted!
Pluckeman Inn 359 Route 202 South, Bedminster NJ 908-658-9292 Although not geared just to seafood, this contemporary American restaurant surely brings a top level of seafood, wine and service to the table. Sophisticated yet warm. We have also listed the Pluckeman Inn as one of the best restaurants in Northern NJ as it is on the border of being very close to both Northern and Central NJ.
Best American Cusine in Central New Jersey
Nicholas 160 State Route 35, Red Bank, NJ 732-345-9977 Outstanding combination of presentation, detail oriented service, and exceptional cuisine. Truly one of the best American restaurants in Central NJ
One 53 153 WashingtonStreet, Rocky Hill, NJ 08553 609-921-0153 One 53 serves up some awesome American/Euro Bistro type fare in a relaxed and very comfortable atmosphere. The small bar accommodates very well mostly because of the awesome bartending! Try the famous Rossini Burger if you get a chance. At $35 it comes in a little heavy in price but with the additions of Kobe Beef, seared foie gras, black truffle cheese, mushrooms and truffle mayo, you might forgive the price and you just be surprised at how good it really is. If you are a local New Jerseyan, it is one of those things that you just kind of have to have on your foodie bucket list..
Best Unknown Seafood/Steak in Central New Jersey
KC Prime 4160 Quakerbridge Road, Lawrenceville, NJ 609-275-5418 By far one of the best unknown Steakhouses in all of NJ. Don't miss the awesome seafood appetizer. Their menu features the finest in USDA Choice and Prime beef, as well as the freshest seafood, chicken, pasta around. Well worth a try!
Portuguese Fisherman 11 Jackson St, South River, NJ 08882 732- 238-5188 We picked the Portuguese Fisherman for the best unknown steak because we are pretty sure that most residents or visitors to Central NJ are not hip to what actually goes down here. The best tasting Angus Na Casserola is a gorgeous Black Angus cut of beef that is at least 18 ounces and comes out sizzling and served in and extremely hot clay dish is what goes down here! Best unknown steak in Central New Jersey.
Best Italian Restaurants in Central NJ
Undici 11 W River Rd, Rumson, NJ 07760 732-842-3880 If your looking for a New York Flair without going through the tunnel then Undici's is a fine choice. At the Undici's bar, it's all about the tomatoes and prosciutto. This is top notch feel good food in an awesome feel good atmosphere. Undici's is romantically lit and has a NY vibe and buzz. Undici should definitely be in your top 5 choices for an amazing romantic night out or for a first date idea.
Deanna's Restaurant 54 North Franklin Street, Lambertville, NJ 609-397-8957 Very cozy with a small wine list specializing in homemade pasta. Simple Italian comfort food. Cool bar too! Tuesdays & Wednesday: Locals Night Prix Fixe $20/3 courses. Second Saturday of every month: Live music with Michelle Wiley 6-10pm . Sunday: Live Piano Music 5-8pm.
Best Casual Bar Atmosphere in Central New Jersey
Ria-Mar Restaurant 25 Whitehead Avenue, South River, NJ 732-257-1100 The best Portuguese food you can get without going to Portugal. All recipes were brought over from Portugal over 30 years ago and are made exactly as they shouldbe, from scratch. Great casual atmosphere, extensive wine collection and amazing food!
Crabs Claw Inn 601 Grand Central Avenue, Lavallette NJ 732-793-4447 Amazing selection of the freshest seafood and BBQ on the Jersey Shore! Local bands and singers play 5 days a week! Card games every Monday and karaoke every Wednesday! Restaurant and Bar open 7 days a week! Great atmosphere and amazing food!
Best Unknown restaurant in Central New Jersey
Spargo's Grill 130 Route 33 West, Manalapan, NJ 732-294-9921 Spargo's Grille, an upscale, casual restaurant in Manalapan, New Jersey. Spargo's has quickly become a gem in Monmouth County (for those who know about it) . Chef/owner Tim Murphy refreshes bored palates with his fresh Californian-Caribbean flair. You must try their Bolognese Rigatoni (Rigatoni pasta tossed with a classic meat sauce and finished with fresh ricotta). If you want real classic northern Italian this is the place to go. BYOB.
A little bit about the FunNewJersey.com Restaurant Guide in Central NJ
Remember that a "Best of list" is just an editorial opinion. You should use them for what they should be used for..... A reference of opinion. Of course they are not the "gospel" that is set in stone and does not define every restaurants' reputation and standard. There are always great restaurants that will get bad reviews as there are restaurants that aren't considered as good that will get good reviews. Please enjoy this reference for what it is. A guide of opinion. It is more important to remember that you should simply have fun going out and trying new restaurants in New Jersey. You will surely come up with your own favorites. Restaurants change all the time. Some go downhill and new ones emerge all the time. FunNewJersey.com does all that it can to keep our best restaurants in Central NJ choices updated all the time. Last updated April 2nd 2014.
Just added in April of 2014 is our newest top pick which is Osteria Procaccini in Kingston NJ. This may very well be the best pizza on the planet!
We hope you enjoyed our list of the...
Best places to eat in Central NJ
We want to give you a list of good restaurants which you can explore and choose your favorites. If you're looking for a place to take a date and need NJ restaurants that have a romantic atmosphere, see our picks for the top 10 most romantic restaurants in NJ.