609 Route 206, Hillsborough
Hours: Tues-Thurs, 11 am-9 pm; Fri-Sat, 11 am-10 pm; Sun, 2 pm-9 pm
Style: Cozy one-room BYO Italian that is family owned and operated, and packed with regulars even on week nights.
Don’t Miss: Start with a traditional antipasto della casa that showcases fresh mozzarella, roasted red peppers, bruschetta, grilled jumbo shrimp, grilled vegetables, and potato croquettes ($8). Tuesdays and Wednesdays are pasta nights, when twice the pasta options are offered at half the normal price. Try the linguini di mare (normally $18) with littleneck clams and baby shrimp in a white- or red-wine garlic sauce. A number of dishes show off Piazza’s homemade gnocchi and raviolis. The menu also features classic Italian chicken and veal dishes such as Francaise, puttanesca, and parmigiana—all for under $20. For dessert, don’t miss the authentic tiramisu accompanied by chocolate-covered strawberries.
Heads Up: Chef Antonio Ruffa makes a point of greeting his regulars by name and making new diners feel like family. Call ahead and Tony will do his best to save you a romantic table by the window.
The Scoop: Tony and Piazza founder Gennaro Constabile (both born and raised in Italy) also started the nonprofit organization Food for America, which helps feed needy families of New Jersey. You can aid the non-profit and sample the Piazza fare at a low price through the restaurant’s monthly “Dinner Time Program.” Designed to feed a family of six to eight people, the $50 pick-up purchase includes generous portions of house salad, penne vodka, and homemade bread, plus a platter of a traditional entrée like chicken marsala, eggplant rolatini, or tilapia puttanesca. Ten dollars of every order goes to Food for America (firstname.lastname@example.org).