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New Jersey Monthly Magazine
Best Restaurants

Who Are America's Best Chefs? These Folks Asked Chefs. Now the Results are Out.

If you read restaurant reviews, you know what critics think. If you follow Zagat or sites like Yelp, you know what frequent diners think. And you certainly know what you and your friends think. What's missing? To two food-loving friends chatting over cocktails in Charleston, SC, about a year ago, the answer was obvious: Who do chefs think are the best chefs?


BREAKING NEWS: Jerseyans Named to First "Best Chefs America" List

Best Chefs America, a 386-page book published this month, bills itself as the "first-ever industry peer review guide [to] chefs." The 4,650 chefs across the country who made the cut are listed state by state. A quick count shows New Jersey has 196 honorees, ranging from stars like Craig Shelton, Nicholas Harary, Scott Anderson, David Felton, Zod Arifai, Ryan DePersio, Ariane Duarte, Marilyn Schlossbach and Anthony Bucco to many lesser known names.


BREAKING NEWS: NJ's James Beard Award Nominees

The James Beard Foundation today released the list of semi-finalists for this year's awards for chefs and restaurants. Three New Jersey restaurants are among the nominees. All three were named to NJM's list of Top 25 restaurants in the state last August...


BREAKING NEWS: Picnic in Fair Lawn Closes

This just in from Christine Nunn, chef/owner of Picnic in Fair Lawn, one of NJM's Top 25 Restaurants in 2011 and 2012:

It is with a sad heart that I announce that New Year’s Eve was our “Last Supper” at little Picnic. I wish it was not the case, but the economy got the best of Picnic.


Ryland Redux

Veteran restaurateurs Frank and Jeanne Cretella apply their outsize personalities and hands-on style to their biggest challenge yet—reviving the legendary Ryland Inn. more

The Top 25 Restaurants

Long gone are the days when New Jersey, sandwiched between two imposing cities, could only look outward for its best food. Now the top restaurants in the state stand shoulder to shoulder with the finest in the region. more

When Pizza Is the Itinerary

New Jersey, of course, offers much to recommend it. But among the natural wonders and culinary treasures that abound in the Garden State, one item in particular dominated the agenda of a few out-of-town friends who stopped in for a visit this past weekend—pizza.


The Whale's Tale

You have to get there pretty early to beat Fair Lawn’s Peter Panteleakis (a.k.a. Mr. Whale) to the best seafood at the Fulton Fish Market. more

Our Favorite NJ Seafood Restaurants

Seafood is a given on virtually every restaurant menu, but some places pride themselves on providing a broad range of the very freshest catch. Here are some of our favorites, with a few words on what to expect. If none of these float your boat, there’s always sushi. more

Sea Power

For quality and quantity, the ocean is one of the Garden State’s richest gardens. more


Zod Arifai, wizard of Montclair’s Blu and Next Door, revives and reinvents a proud New Brunswick marquee. more

2012 Jersey Choice: The Best of NJ—Food and Drink

We asked our readers to list their favorite places to eat and drink, and they responded. Read on to find out which places our readers feel are the best in the state. more

2012 Jersey Choice: The Best of NJ

From world-class food purveyors to quality retailers to wonderful places to relax and play, New Jersey has it all. Here’s the best of the best, as chosen by our readers. more

Miracle Cure

Letting air and nature do most of the work, Salumeria Biellese in Hackensack produces acclaimed sausages and hams just like in the Old Country. more

Masters of "Mutz"

Fresh, hand-made mozzarella is a treasure, and Jersey does it best. more

Pass the Pasta

Jersey is blessed with many compelling Italian restaurants. Here are 16 of our favorites. more


Exploring and celebrating Jersey's love for Italian food. more

Look Who's Behind the Counter

Chefs take to takeout—to branch out or to find an upside to the downturn. more

28th Annual Readers' and Critics' Choice Poll

Our annual Readers' and Critics' Choice Restaurant Poll takes you all over the state to some of our favorite restaurants. more

Black Eyed Susans Café

On LBI, a couple’s dream blooms along with their black-eyed Susans. more

Code Red

A distinguished food writer visits Jersey’s most famous (and hard to get into) red-sauce restaurant, Chef Vola’s in Atlantic City—recently declared one of America’s Classics—and finds it ideal for people with small bodies and big appetites. more

Top 25 Restaurants 2011

Long gone are the days when New Jersey, sandwiched between two imposing cities, could only look outward for its best food. Now the top restaurants in the state stand shoulder to shoulder with the finest in the region. more

Maritime Parc

By the banks of the Hudson, Maritime Parc now makes Liberty State Park a compelling culinary destination. more


Alright, the atmosphere may be lacking, parties of more than five people are forbidden, the place is small, but as Robin Damstra & Jim Salant explain, Ajihei in Princeton is still worth a visit for its excellent sushi. more

The British Chip Shop

Reviewer Adam Erace finds the fish and chips at the British Chip Shop in Haddonfield to be "even better than those I've had in England." more


Dinner goes swimmingly at Fish, a bank building turned seafood entry in Asbury Park’s restaurant revival. more

Beyond Pizza and Frozen Custard

If you've had enough of the typical Shore fare, and are looking for high-quality cuisine, we've got some tips that will point you to the right exit. more

Boardwalk Empress

The owner of seven restaurants, four in Asbury Park, Marilyn Schlossbach is a canny businesswoman with a passion for surfing—and helping the less fortunate. more

Uncle Vinnie's Clam Bar

The namesake of Uncle Vinnie's Clam Bar in Raritan is long gone. But good fresh seafood, reports Sam Kadko, is very much what you do find at Uncle Vinnie's. more

Light Horse Tavern

Revolutionary War hero Henry “Light Horse Harry” Lee won big in Jersey City. Now the hip watering hole named for him does the same. more

Great Dates

Love is in the air. Here’s where to get romantic in the Garden State. more


Quintessential bistro dishes shine at this traditional French restaurant in Montclair. more


It's not a barbecue, it's a wood burning pizza oven. But great pizza isn't the only thing available at Treno in Westmont, writes Adam Erace. more

Belford Bistro

Stirring the pots harmoniously, a husband-and-wife team gives Monmouth County diners a reason to cheer. more

Best of New Jersey 2011

Here we go again, pounding our chests about the Garden State. We think Jersey offers the best of everything—and we know our readers agree. This year, more of you than ever voted in our poll to identify Jersey’s favorite places for eating, shopping, relaxation and recreation. more

Lovin' Oven

Health-conscious American food is served at this cozy and relaxed restaurant in Frenchtown. more

Maplewood Restaurant Week

Get ready for one of the better Restaurant Weeks in New Jersey—Maplewood Restaurant Week, March 21 to 27. more

The Good Life For Less: Dine and Drink

Prix-fixe menus are your ticket to fine dining at a discount. more

The Bernards Inn

The Bernard's Inn in Bernardsville is more than a century old, but its cuisine is fresh (and local), thanks to executive chef Corey Heyer. more


The arrival of acclaimed chef Thomas Ciszak revives the vibe and stokes the sizzle at an atmospheric boîte on busy Route 4 in Paramus. more

Blue-Collar Burgers

Small, cheap, soft and oniony, the humble original slider survives gloriously in New Jersey. more

The Great Burger Showdown

Ten of the best (and biggest) burgers in New Jersey square off for bragging rights in our first cook-off. more

Bar Cara

The DePersio family of Fascino fame (Montclair) team up again with Bar Cara in Bloomfield. The results, writes Stan Parish, are mixed. more

Fortune Cookies

Despite its unpromising name, Fortune Cookies in Bridgewater is that exciting rarity, a place to sample authentic Chinese cuisine, in this case, Hunan, reports Pat Tanner. more

Continental Cuisine—When the Continent Is Africa

Authentic African restaurants are popping up all over New Jersey. Find out where the closest ones to you are located. more

Luke Palladino

Downsizing from the razzle-dazzle of Atlantic City, chef Luke Palladino opens an intimate BYO to showcase proper Italian food. more


Chef Joe Brown's mom, born in Tennessee, influenced his cooking, as did his several trips to New Orleans. Jill P. Capuzzo reviews the tasty results of that background, Brown's restaurant, Melange @ Haddonfield. more


Adam Erace reviews Fin, the new top-of-the-line seafood restaurant in the Tropicana Casino and Hotel in Atlantic City. more

Hat City Kitchen

While anchoring an arts district, this Orange eatery rejuvenates a fine chef and makes joyous music for mind and mouth. more

Tewksbury Inn

Regulars at the Tewksbury Inn in Oldwick, Bergen County, call it the Tewks. Reviewer Sam Kadko calls it a place for "deftly-prepared food" with "spot-on service." more

Trinity and the Pope

Pat Tanner reviews Trinity And The Pope in Asbury Park, a restaurant where the trinity of Creole cooking (onions, celery, and bell peppers) plays a strong supporting role. The Pope? That's garlic, according to chef/owner Marilyn Schlossbach. more

Boulevard Five72

At Boulevard Five72 in Kenilworth, chef/owner Scott Snyder’s simple approach yields complex results. more

Ho-Ho-Kus Inn and Tavern

The Ho-Ho-Kus Inn and Tavern has gone through many iterations. The latest—featuring a New American-oriented cuisine served in an elegantly restored mansion—beckons diners from all over. more


Bareli's is like a Secaucus power table at lunchtime, reports Warren M. Bobrow in his review. At dinner, the venerable Italian restaurant turns romantic. The food is good any time more


It’s quiet down the Shore now, but not at Anjelica’s, where the year-rounders know the Italian food is always worth turning out for. more

The Lennon-McCartney of Cookbook Authors?

That’s what Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton—creators of the Canal House Cooking volumes—have been called. Here’s why. more

Ready for NJ Restaurant Week?

It's coming, Sept 19-25. For a complete list of discounts and participating restaurants (about 170 so far) visit Several restaurants on NJM's list of Top 25 in the state are participating, namely...


White Heron Grill

What's behind the name change of Dr. John Sprandio's ambitious restaurant in Stone Harbor? Adam Erace tells all. more

Sophie's Bistro

This casual, French restaurant in Somerset offers some winning entrees and delicious salads. more

Peacock Inn

A multimillion dollar renovation brings an eighteenth-century Princeton mansion irresistibly into the present, with food and drink to match. more

Elements Cafe

This American tapas restaurant in Haddon Heights offers a calm and simple ambience and friendly and accommodating service. more


This Modern French restaurant occupies a spare, rustic space in Montclair. more

2010 Readers' and Critics' Restaurant Poll

The results of our 27th Annual Readers’ Choice Restaurant Poll were tabulated by PriceWaterhouseCoopers in Florham Park. more

The Huggable Middleman

Mikey Azzara’s Zone 7 connects chefs hungry for fresh, local produce with small farmers who couldn’t otherwise get it to them. more


Don’t let the luxury cars out front intimidate you. Think of Tony Del Gatto’s Grissini as a little bit of the Italian Riviera perched in Englewood Cliffs. more

A Workshop for the 'Foodpreneur'

Online instruction helps wannabes get their fledgling food brands off the ground. more

Shelf Life

Food entrepreneurs travel a long, hard road from garnering compliments to having their products in stores. more

Gourmet A Go-Go

Upscale food trucks are beginning to branch out from Hoboken and Jersey City to the suburbs and even farm country. The food is delicious and the prices are a steal. more

Apart Together

Highly compatible in business (if no longer in marriage), Chris and Sharon Egan spread happiness to patrons of their popular Irish pubs. more

25 Best Restaurants 2010

For the best Jersey chefs, fresh, local, sustainable, and farm-to-table are not just buzzwords but delicious keys to creativity, style, and value. more

From Hell's Kitchen to His Own Kitchen

Tony Del Gatto’s life is as flavorful as the tomato sauce he still makes at age 72. more

Dream Cuisine Cafe

Dream Cuisine Cafe, a Provencal-influenced French restaurant in Cherry Hill, stands up to its competing big boy restaurateurs. more

A.C. Revamps Its Dining Options

Plenty of new choices, from soul food to Kobe burgers. more

Seabra's Marisqueira

In the Ironbound section of Newark, an ebullient, down-to-earth crowd rolls up its sleeves for heaps of the freshest fare of the sea, Portuguese style. more

El Sitio Grill and Cafe

The owners of El Sitio Grill and Cafe bring the South American taste of Quito, Ecuador to Collingswood. more

A Toute Heure

This Bistro-French, New American restaurant, set in a restored 1930s house in Cranford, aims to share everything they love about local, seasonal food. more

The Real Shore: 2010 Summer Beach Guide

Don’t get snookered by reality TV. The Jersey Shore is all about family fun, endless recreation and entertainment choices, and sophisticated nightlife. more

The Washington Inn

Cape May’s Washington Inn—32 years in its present incarnation, in a manor house dating to 1840—knows how to please generations of regulars while letting no culinary cobwebs form. more

Single Down the Shore

The scene is smart and sophisticated. Snooki and the Situation need not apply. more

A Seaside Gem Sparkles Again

After years of decline, Long Branch has reclaimed its place as a top Jersey Shore destination—but not without controversy. more

Thomas' Ristorante

This subdued Italian restaurant on Main Street in Moorestown offers traditional meals with a plentiful array of seafood options. more


David Drake comes to Lake Hopatcong, and serves up sophisticated comfort fare at a waterfront restaurant. more

Day Trip: Margate

Home to Lucy the Elephant—and more. more

Ninety Acres

Years in the planning, the Natirar resort puts a fine first foot forward—a farm-to-table restaurant where the pleasures are simple yet sophisticated. more

Terra Nova

This Pacific Northwest-style farmhouse restaurant, where wine is a raison d'etre, offers up New American cuisine. more

Dennis Foy Restaurant

Dennis Foy—a New Jersey culinary legend—has opened up a New American-style restaurant in Lawrenceville. more

The Crab Trap

Burger Deluxe


Can eating at a particular establishment in New Brunswick be considered a gamble? One of our dining critics certainly thinks so. more


Vine, a eclectic-menu establishment with a spacious and upscale ambience in Basking Ridge, offers a refreshing Southern Mediterranean option for jaded foodies. more

So Long, "Stringent" Process

Looking back with Ruth Cousineau, test-kitchen director for the late, lamented Gourmet. more

Eno Terra

After earning his stripes with restaurant royalty, chef Chris Albrecht triumphs at home. more

Siam Spice

Cuban Pete's

Fred and Ethel's Lantern Light Tavern

Bona Vita Osteria

This traditional Italian restaurant, which occupies a handsome storefront in downtown Summit, is run by culinary veterans. more


Oceanos, a Greek-accented seafood restaurant in Fair Lawn with a luxury yacht-esque ambience, aims for loftier standards. more


Nearly seven years on, the DePersio family’s pride and joy continues to sparkle. more

Why Cupid Has Chopsticks in His Quiver

The Chinese Year of the Tiger (4707, not Woods) begins on Valentine’s Day. Here’s a guide to dumplings and other festive fare. (Photos by Brian Yarvin) more

Dough Boy

For our restaurant maven, making pizza is not easy as pie. more

The Original

A century ago, after crossing the Atlantic, pizza crossed the Hudson and established itself in Trenton as the tomato pie—and you can still get the real deal. more

Searching For The Soul of Jersey Pizza

This month, we attempted to answer a question that has befuddled philosophers for centuries—does pizza have a soul? Laura Schenone believes it might. more

Celebrity Pizza Picks

New Jersey-based celebrities dish about they favorite pizza joints around the state. more

25 Perfect Pizzas

We asked for your suggestions, then we started to eat—and eat. We logged more than a thousand miles, and concluded that these are the pies to pine for. more

Speak Quickly, And Carry a Big Spoon

Whether cooking at her Hoboken restaurants (or at the White House), hunting edible lizards in Peru or hairy chayotes in Weehawken, Maricel Presilla is an ebullient culinary force. more

Big Wing Wah

Can a Chinese and Japanese restaurant in Hillsborough, whose name translates to "big success," make a splash on the dining scene? more


J.J. Bitting Brewing Company

O'Reilly's Bar and Grill

McCarthy's Bar and Grill

Day Trip: Edgewater

A shopping and cultural center along the Hudson. more

Cookbook as Cliffhanger

Restaurant Nicholas’s handsome tome is for kitchens as well as coffee tables. more

The Dosa

South India's favorite finger food arrives in New Jersey. more


Builder Don Luisi bids to make his hometown of Sparta synonymous with superb steaks and seafood. more


An ambitious New American-style restaurant settles in Pennington. more

Mama Mia's

The Cereal Bowl

Teaberry's Tea Room

2010 Best Of Poll

It’s your turn! For the first time ever, New Jersey Monthly readers will determine the BEST OF NEW JERSEY. more

The Pub

Alfonso's Family Trattoria & Gourmet Pizzeria

Sol Mexican Cantina

Market (Harding)

Spicy Cantina

The Ship Inn

2009 Readers' and Critics' Restaurant Poll

The results of our 26th Annual Readers’ Choice Restaurant Poll. more

Brickwall Tavern

The Little Tuna

Gourmet Italian Cuisine

Falafel Hut

Mis Amigos Mexican Restaurant

Shut Up and Eat

Harvest Moon Brewery and Cafe

Turning Point


Wasabi Asian Plates and Sushi Bar

Tortuga's Mexican Village

Barrington Coffee House

Tortilla Press Cantina

Painted Cottage Cafe

Olive and Fig


Bellisimo Ristorante

The Treehouse

State Street Grill

The 25 Best Restaurants 2008

Looking for a great restaurant? Check out our critics' top restaurant picks. With fine dining ever finer, our critics and dining editor tackle the difficult task of choosing the 25 best restaurants in NJ. more

Readers' and Critics' Choice - Restaurant Poll Winners 2008

Our critics do a lot of eating, and every August we look back and share the best of the best with you. And you do the same by voting in our Annual Readers' Choice Restaurant Poll. Discover which restaurants we honored and which are your favorites. more

Readers' and Critic's Picks 2006

These are the readers' and critics' picks for best restaurants of 2006. more
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