Diner Most-Loved

The Most Popular Restaurants in New Jersey

From Jersey City to the Jersey shore, these are the Garden State’s buzziest spots.

12 min read
10/20/2022
most popular nj

New Jersey may just be the most underrated food state. We’re talking overstuffed sandwiches, super-fresh sushi, epic diners (of course), and every style of pizza you can imagine. Here are New Jersey’s most popular restaurants on Caviar, by region.


Atlantic City


Tacos el Tio

In all of their four spots around New Jersey, Tacos el Tio uses fresh ingredients to make tried-and-true favorites like bright homemade salsas and their namesake creative tacos. We love the juicy carne asada tacos and the mahi mahi, grilled or fried tempura-style, with pickled red onion and chipotle aioli. Pro tip: Throw on a side of yuca fries and a slice of coconut rum-spiked tres leches cake for dessert.

Ginza Japanese Restaurant

Grilled yellowtail with wasabi yuzu sauce. Fluffy shrimp shumai. Crunchy tuna roll. Ginza Japanese Restaurant has these greatest hits and more, from bento boxes for a satisfying lunch to mango mochi ice cream for dessert.

Fuji Sushi & Teriyaki House

Fuji Sushi has everything you’d expect: crispy tempura, fresh sushi rolls, and, of course, a long teriyaki menu (chicken, scallops, vegetable, filet mignon). On a cold night, opt for a bowl of soul-warming tempura udon soup.

Miyako Sushi & Steakhouse

Miyako makes quality Japanese food in Margate City. Opt for the classics, like perfectly fresh sashimi, or try a fancy roll like the Kiss of Fire: spicy salmon and avocado topped with white tuna, jalapeño, and caviar. Banana tempura comes both on a roll — along with shrimp tempura and eel sauce — and on the dessert menu, drizzled with honey and chocolate.

Chef King

Satisfy your Chinese food cravings in a big way at Chef King. The classics are executed perfectly, like General Tso’s Chicken, lo mein, and pan-fried dumplings. We especially love the sticky barbecue spare ribs and the extra garlicky broccoli.

Sal's Coal Fired Pizza

This pizzeria serves up Italian classics with love. Their coal-fired ovens impart plenty of delicious flavor into their red and white pies, made with whatever toppings make you happy. Try the Sal’s with fresh mozzarella, eggplant, artichokes, roasted peppers, chicken, portabella mushrooms, and garlic. Pair it with an antipasto salad — a flavor bomb of ham, salami, capicola, provolone, and hard-boiled egg over greens.


Cape May

Rio Grande Diner & Family Restaurant

This family-owned diner serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner — simple, high-quality food at reasonable prices that’s easy to love. Try their open-faced grilled Reuben, their fried crab cake sandwich, and their Texas-style chili (how to decide?). Whatever you choose, know that Rio Grande’s dessert options are each better than the next: Think flaky homemade baklava and three-layer cannoli cake.

Italian Affair

Matthew and Angela Panzini moved here from Italy — first to New York City, and then to the Jersey shore, where they opened Italian Affair. Their thin crust pizza is gorgeous. They’re also known for their shrimp and scallop scampi, ravioli, and spicy mussels marinara. There’s also a nice kids’ menu (chicken Parm, penne Alfredo) and a cannoli brownie, the mashup you never knew you needed.

China Pavilion Restaurant

China Pavilion’s take on Chinese-American classics (egg foo young, chop suey, moo shoo) is wonderfully fresh and consistently delicious. Their wonton soup has tender, fat dumplings and fragrant broth, and the Szechuan beef’s hot chilis make way to layers of balanced flavors.

Polpo Ristorante

Polpo is Italian for octopus, so it makes good sense that this Venetian restaurant from chef Bujar Daku shines at preparing simple, flavorful seafood. Take their polpo crudo with mixed peppers, fingerling potatoes, and briny olives, brightly dressed with extra-virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon, for example. Follow it up with seafood linguine or a shiitake and porcini risotto studded with earthy truffles.

Avalon Coffee

Avalon Coffee is pretty much your one-stop breakfast (and lunch!) shop. There’s a full coffee menu with cold brew and espresso drinks; pastries (including three takes on a sticky bun); smoothies; fresh bagels; and big ol’ breakfast sandwiches that are endlessly customizable — try the pork roll, scrambled egg, and cheese on well-toasted rye. Stock up on their house-roasted coffee to brew a pot anytime. Lunch is classic deli food: chicken salad, cheese steak hoagies, pastrami club sandwiches. 


Central Jersey

Burger 25

Sometimes touted as the best burgers in New Jersey, Burger 25 starts with quality ingredients to make 25 variations on their burger, including the Frisky Whisky, with onions, provolone cheese, Jack Daniels sauce, crispy onion straws, and bacon on a freshly baked onion roll. The Cod Father is made up of beer-battered cod filets with house-made tartar sauce on a Martin's potato bun. They also make chicken wings (boneless and regular), hand-spun shakes, salads, and freshly made fries that come with garlicky ranch dressing.

Koi Asian Fusion Lounge

At Koi, you’ll find tried-and-true Chinese, Japanese, and Thai dishes, plus some that are purely Koi’s own. Try the Phoenix roast duck buns, the Tuna Dumpling (thinly sliced tuna stuffed with blue crab and seaweed salad), and the mussels stir-fried in spicy black bean sauce.

Yama Sushi

This Manalapan restaurant offers a wide array of Japanese favorites, including seafood tempura, chicken teriyaki, and a volcano roll. Try a steak and shrimp hibachi dinner, grilled perfectly and served with miso soup, ginger green salad, veggies, and noodles … a feast!

Tacoria

When a couple of friends from Rutgers wanted to share their love of Mexican food with their neighborhood, Tacoria was born. Now they’ve expanded throughout New Jersey, but they stay true to their roots of flavorful, high-quality Mexican eats. The evidence is in their carne asada burrito — marinated steak, smoky red salsa, black beans, rice, and crema in a grilled flour tortilla — and in their nachos, in which goodies of all kinds (there’s a full menu, including Nutella dessert ones!) are piled high atop fresh, hand-cut tortilla chips.

Ikko Japanese Steakhouse

Since 2005, this Brick Township Japanese fixture has been serving excellent hibachi and sushi with a menu of specialty rolls like the M16, an inside-out shrimp tempura roll topped with spicy salmon. They also offer poke bowls, lunch specials, and Japanese sodas.

Tommy's Tavern and Tap

Tommy's Tavern and Tap started in Sea Bright and has expanded throughout New Jersey. This popular restaurant, bar, and pizzeria is known for its coal-fired pizza, an impressive range of burgers and sandwiches, and extensive large-plate, poke bowl, and sushi options. It’s like four restaurants in one.

Terrace Bagels & Café

With locations in Brooklyn and Freehold, NJ, bagel lovers flock to Terrace for their stellar hand-rolled bagels and bialys. Waking up to a Jersey Boy — a pork roll, egg, and cheese sandwich — is an unquestionably great way to start the day. They also sell a plethora of wraps, deli sandwiches, and salads.

Chimney Rock Inn

Chimney Rock Inn aims to please: Their menu not only has burgers and thin-crust pizzas, but also plenty of gluten-free and vegan dishes. Their epic thin-crust pizzas are so sought after that they now offer a frozen version, so you can stash some away to satisfy your future pizza cravings at any hour of the day or night.  


Hoboken + Jersey City

Carlo's Bakery

Hoboken’s Carlo's Bakery of Cake Boss fame is a labor of love from Buddy Valastro, a fourth-generation baker born into the business. His 100,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility whips up thousands of wedding cakes, specialty cakes, and Italian pastries. Their Butter Cookie Box makes a wonderful gift, and the Chocolate Fudge Rainbow Cake — six layers of rainbow-colored vanilla cake filled with chocolate fudge frosting and covered with rainbow sprinkles — turns any occasion into a seriously special celebration.

DOMODOMO

DOMODOMO began as NYC’s first hand-roll bar in NYC in 2015, and has now expanded over the Hudson into Jersey City. Sample the menu with a 16-piece hand-roll set, which comes with your choice of four hand rolls, edamame, and crunchy cabbage salad. Add on garlic-bacon fried rice and black sesame panna cotta for dessert.

Robongi

Robongi in Hoboken turns fresh ingredients into sushi and teriyaki you’ll want to order again and again. Favorites include their salmon teriyaki, chicken curry katsu, and the spicy yellowtail sushi roll. Their dinner bento boxes come with teriyaki (chicken, beef, or that popular salmon), rice, shrimp and veggie tempura, and shrimp shumai — satisfying and delicious.

Hunan House

Hunan Province in south-central China is known for its rich, fiery cuisine. Hunan House brings these flavors to Jersey City in the form of beef with garlic sauce, pepper chicken, and Hunan shrimp, plus crab fried rice and Szechuan roast pork.

Shokudo

Shokudo’s ramen, simmered for more than 24 hours, may be the ultimate comfort in a bowl. This Hoboken spot is also known for its yakitori, grilled over flames to lock in moisture and umami flavor. And their spicy pork donburi — shredded barbecued spicy pork over rice with sautéed onions — is the real deal.

Bobwhite Counter

Home to renowned fried chicken and vegan meals in Jersey City — what a combo! — Bobwhite Counter is impossible not to love. For a family feast, opt for a 10-piece mixed bucket of chicken paired with pimento cheese dip, black-eyed peas and collards, and baked mac ’n’ cheese. Finish it off with fudgy brownies.

Thai Nana Restaurant

Thai Nana Restaurant transforms fresh ingredients into classic Thai dishes like basil jasmine fried rice, fragrant green curry, and pad see ew noodles. Don’t sleep on their specialty items, including the crispy pork with Chinese broccoli and the gingery fried cod. 

North Jersey

Millburn Deli

Millburn Deli has been making highly craveable sandwiches since 1946 (forever in restaurant years). Their signature sammies include the Godfadda (ha), a sort of panini-meets-sub stuffed with a chicken cutlet, bacon, fresh mozzarella, and Russian dressing. Their breakfast sandwiches are legendary, and you can create your own masterpiece.

The West Essex Diner

An excellent diner is a thing of beauty, and no one does it better than New Jersey. Brothers Gus, Nick, and George Logothetis expanded their family business by opening the West Essex Diner in 2019, and they serve spot-on versions of diner classics like omelets, triple-decker club sandwiches, tuna melts, and lamb gyro sandwiches. Don’t forget a Bella Nutella milkshake topped with a cloud of whipped cream.

Blossom Asian Bistro

With three locations in New Jersey, Blossom is a standby for sashimi, sushi, and dumplings with addictive sesame peanut sauce. They also serve up Thai favorites like pad thai, Japanese yaki udon, and sweet, smooth Thai iced tea.

Morristown Diner

Sometimes a day just calls for a chicken fingers platter from Morristown Diner with French fries and honey mustard. Or two eggs, Taylor ham, and melty cheese on a roll. Or boneless buffalo wings dipped in creamy blue cheese. Or a slice of chocolate blackout cake. Or … fill in the blank! The Morristown Diner is vast, and they execute all the diner favorites flawlessly.

Summit Greek Grill

This laid-back spot serves Greek and American eats like gyros, burgers, wraps, and smoothies. They make a top-notch Greek salad, with a generous amount of feta and fluffy pita bread. Try their kabobs, portobello mushroom burger, and gyro quesadilla.

The Godfather of Morristown

Brick-oven pizza, clams, and oysters are the star of the show at The Godfather of Morristown. Their little neck clam appetizer is made with onions, peppers, bacon, and bread crumbs, and you’ll want to sop up every last bit of sauce. They also serve a mean calamari, chicken Parm sandwich, and strawberry cannoli dessert pizza (you read that right!).

Golden Dragon

Plump pork dumplings. Fragrant wonton soup. Shrimp lo mein. Beef with broccoli. Golden Dragon makes these Chinese standbys and so many more, all consistent, delicious, and gratifying. (Pro tip: The leftovers are even better.)

Ani Ramen

Ani means big brother. Montclair’s Ani seeks to bring people together like family, and one bowl of their shoyu ramen with classic chicken broth, shoyu tare, pork belly, chives, and black garlic oil will make you understand this goal. They also make great bao buns — try the soft-shell crab or the Japanese Berkshire sausage. And don’t skip the Ani salad with kale, crispy tofu, pickled vegetables, and yuzu sesame dressing.

Miti Miti Latin Street Food

George Constantinou and Farid Ali celebrate their Pan-Latin heritage at South Orange’s Miti Miti Latin Street Food. They make approachable, flavorful, and indisputably tasty food: Think frozen virgin piña coladas, garlicky shrimp empanadas, and braised short rib tacos with jack cheese. Don’t miss their breakfast tacos or their homemade crispy pork chicharron, either.

 

Author

Hannah Howard

Hannah Howard

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