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New Jersey Monthly Magazine
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2012 Jersey Choice Restaurant Poll

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

Posted July 17, 2012

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August 2012 jersey choice restaurant poll article

The results of our 29th Annual Jersey Choice Restaurant Poll were tabulated by PriceWaterhouseCoopers in Florham Park. The winner in each region received the most votes in its category (in some cases there were ties). Editorial discretion was used when votes were cast for restaurants that in our judgment belong in another category. We have also added our critics’ picks. All readers who submitted a ballot became eligible to win dinner for two in our random drawing. This year’s winner is Mike Norworth of Upper Saddle River. He will receive a gift certificate to Blu in Montclair, the Best of the Best poll winner in the North region.

Click here to read about the Top 25 restaurants in the state.

Central Central
South South
Critics Choice Critics choice

Best of the Best
Blu, Montclair
Central Nicholas, Red Bank
South Il Mulino, Atlantic City

Top 25 Restaurants

Best New Restaurant
Pizza Vita, Summit
Central Daryl, New Brunswick, Toms River
South Dosa Grill, North Brunswick
Critics Choice Next Door, Montclair

Blu, Montclair
Central Nicholas, Red Bank
South Atlantic Bar & Grill, Seaside Park
Critics Choice Black Eyed Susans, Harvey Cedars
Highlawn Pavilion, West Orange
Serenade, Chatham
Washington Inn, Cape May

North Calandra’s Bakery, Fairfield
Central Sugarush, Red Bank
South Mueller’s, Bay Head
Critics Choice Balthazar, Englewood
Flaky Tart, Atlantic Highlands
Gina’s, Montclair

Bang for the Buck
North Bona Vita Osteria, Summit
Central Trinity and the Pope, Asbury Park
South 10th Ave Burrito, Belmar
Artisan's Brewery, Toms River
Critics Choice Dosa Grill, North Brunswick
Next Door, Montclair

Bar Scene
Egan & Sons, Montclair
Central Bar N, Red Bank
South View, Cape May
Critics Choice Watermark, Asbury Park
Pilsener Haus, Hoboken
Tomatoe’s, Margate

Texas Smoke Barbeque, Rockaway
Central Big Ed’s, Matawan
South Hickory Hog, Point Pleasant
Critics Choice Christine’s, Shamong
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Newark
The Wood Pit, Montclair

Beer Selection
Egan & Sons, Montclair
Central Basil T’s, Red Bank
South Artisan’s Brewery, Toms River
Critics Choice Mohawk House, Sparta
Mussel Bar (Revel), Atlantic City

Raymond’s, Montclair
Central Turning Point, Little Silver, Long Branch
South George’s, Cape May
Critics Choice Mariner’s Cove, Brielle
Hannah G’s, Ventnor

Brew Pub
Trap Rock, Berkeley Heights
Central Basil T’s, Red Bank
South Artisan’s Brewery, Toms River
Critics Choice Long Valley Pub, Long Valley
Triumph, Princeton

North Pizza Vita, Summit
Central Molly Pitcher Inn, Red Bank
South Mad Batter, Cape May
Critics Choice Elements, Princeton
Rats, Hamilton
Thirty Acres, Jersey City

North Next Door, Montclair
Central Bobby’s Burger Palace, Eatontown
South Frankie’s Bar and Grill,
Critics Choice Point Pleasant Beach
Rocky Hill Inn, Rocky Hill
Stage Left, New Brunswick

North Cuban Pete’s, Montclair
Central Martino’s, Somerville
South 410 Bank Street, Cape May
Critics Choice Drew’s Bayshore Bistro, Keyport
Melange@Haddonfield, Haddonfield

North Market Basket, Franklin Lakes
Central Culinary Creations, Hillsborough
South Joe Leone, Point Pleasant Beach

Chain Restaurant
North Bonefish Grill
Central Cheesecake Factory
South Houlihan’s
Critics Choice Chipotle

North Piccolo’s, Hoboken
Central Main Street Cheesesteak, Belmar
South Midway Steakhouse, Seaside
Critics Choice Beyond the Pita, Montclair
Hoagie Haven, Princeton

North Hunan Taste, Denville
Central Crown Palace, Middletown
South Cape Orient, Cape May
Critics Choice Chengdu 1, Cedar Grove
Chengdu 23, Wayne
Fortune Cookies, Bridgewater

Coffee/Tea Bar (non-chain)
North Rock ’n’ Joe, Cranford
Central America’s Cup Coffee, Asbury Park
South Cool Beans, Toms River
Critics Choice Infini-T, Princeton

North Bona Vita Osteria, Summit
Central Mara’s Cafe & Bakery, Denville
South Nicholas, Red Bank
Critics Choice Labrador Lounge, Normandy Beach

Deli, Kosher-Style
North Millburn Deli, Millburn
Central Harold’s New York Deli, Edison
South Wolfie’s, Toms River
Critics Choice Hobby’s Newark

Deli, Italian-Style
North Calandra’s Deli, Caldwell
Central DeMarco’s, Aberdeen
South Joe Leone’s, Point Pleasant Beach
Critics Choice Lisa’s, Hoboken
Nicolo’s, Montclair
Severino Pasta, Westmont

North Tick Tock, Clifton
Central Skylark, Edison
South Cross Mill, Lakewood
Critics Choice Paula’s Family Restaurant, Cinnaminson
Rio Grande, Rio Grande
Summit, Summit
Vincentown, Vincentown

North Chez Catherine, Westfield
Central Nicholas, Red Bank
South 410 Bank Street, Cape May
Critics Choice A Toute Heure, Cranford
Dream Cuisine, Cherry Hill

North Varka, Ramsey
Central Niko’s Trapezi, Long Branch
South George’s, Cape May
Critics Choice Stamna, Bloomfield

Hot Dog
North Rutt’s Hut, Clifton
Central Max’s, Long Branch
South HotDog Tommy’s, Cape May
Critics Choice Captain Paul’s Firehouse, Lawrenceville
Hot Dog Johnny’s, Buttzville
Pilsener Haus, Hoboken

Ice Cream
North Denville Dairy, Denville
Central Thomas Sweet, New Brunswick
South Hoffman’s, Point Pleasant Beach
Critics Choice Bent Spoon, Princeton
Holsten’s, Bloomfield
Nasto’s, Newark
Nelly Bly’s, Riverton
Torico, Jersey City

North Raagini, Mountainside
Central Neelam, Middletown
South Monsoon, Mt. Laurel
Critics Choice Khyber Grill, South Plainfield
Mehndi, Morristown
IndeBlue, Collingswood

North Bona Vita Osteria, Summit
Central Catherine Lombardi, New Brunswick
South Frescos, Cape May
Critics Choice Girasole, Atlantic City
Il Capriccio, Whippany
Osteria Giotto, Montclair
Undici, Rumson

North Taka Sushi, Summit
Central Shumi, Somerville
South Izakaya, Atlantic City
Critics Choice Sagami, Collingswood

Latin American
North Sabor, Edgewater
Central Patria, Rahway
South Cubacàn, Asbury Park
Critics Choice Costanera, Montclair

North Il Vecchio Café, Caldwell
Central Elements, Princeton
South Artisan’s Brewery, Toms River
Critics Choice Boulevard Five72, Kenilworth
Il Capriccio, Whippany
Mercer Street Charcoal Grill, Hightstown

North Tinga, Montclair
Central Juanito’s, Red Bank
South Cinco de Mayo, Toms River
Critics Choice El Tule, Lambertville
La Esperanza, Lindenwold

Middle Eastern/Turkish
North Toros, Clifton, New Milford, Paterson
Central Silk Road, Warren
South Norma’s, Cherry Hill
Critics Choice Efes, New Brunswick
Samdan, Cresskill

North Pizza Vita, Summit
Central Pete & Elda’s, Neptune
South Brother’s, Cape May
Critics Choice Ralph’s, Nutley
Santillo’s, Elizabeth
Star Tavern, Orange

North Highlawn Pavillion, West Orange
Central Nicholas, Red Bank
South Peter Shields Inn, Cape May
Critics Choice Anton’s at the Swan, Lambertville

North Blu, Montclair
Central Klein’s, Belmar
South Lobster House, Cape May
Critics Choice Fin Raw Bar, Montclair

North Summit Cheese Shop, Summit
Central Brennan’s, Rumson
South The Depot Market, Cape May

Southeast Asian/Thai
North Thai Chef, Montclair
Central Origin, Somerville, Morristown, Basking Ridge
South Buddakan, Atlantic City
Critics Choice Topaz Thai, Belleville

North Fornos of Spain, Newark
Central Bistro Olé, Asbury Park
South Europa South, Point Pleasant

North Roots, Summit
Central Brennen’s, Neptune
South Bobby Flay, Atlantic City
Critics Choice American Cut, Atlantic City
    Rare, Little Falls 

North Veggie Heaven, Denville
Central Nicholas, Middletown
South Green Cuisine, Stone Harbor
Critics Choice Kaya’s Kitchen, Belmar

Wine List
North Park & Orchard, East Rutherford
Central Nicholas, Red Bank
South Washington Inn, Cape May
Critics Choice Bernards Inn, Bernardsville
    Restaurant Latour, Hardystonick
    709, Point Pleasant

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top NJ restaurants

One, there is no such thing as "best" and "chain", two dont know who’s voting, but they seem to be into "popular" rather then interesting or actually outstanding.
For example,recently ate at Forno’s, awful food, awful service but its been around for so just gets votes. I’d say in my experience eating in Ironbound, the worst, not the best.
Also think you left out newest popular style of restaurant which is small plates/wine bar.

Posted by: Holly McClean, Fort Lee | Aug 03, 2012 15:23:16 PM |

Thai restaurants

Dear critics,

RE: Thai food
I assume you’ve tried Spice, also in in Belleville? It’s on Belleville Avenue. If not, please give it a go.

Posted by: tim, Newark | Aug 24, 2012 00:44:00 AM |

RE: top NJ restaurants

Holly, there is a lot of great restaurants in the Ironbound but you wouldn’t know about them if you haven’t been shown around by a local. The seafood at Seabra’s on Madison, the sangria and great fun at Brasilia on Monroe, the seafood soup and back terrace at Allegro... so many great places. The locals don’t go to the big tourist traps. I’d like to hear more of what you DO like, wherever they may be, and can share with us.

Posted by: tim, Newark | Aug 24, 2012 00:31:25 AM |

Need to add new category or true south jersey

Great choices, but seems like most are in central and north jersey. There are some truly great restaurants in south jersey such as Cherry Hill, Voorhees, Collingswood, Haddonfield and they sem to get ignored. Yet some that you consider south jersey such as Belmar is really central and should be considered such. Or maybe you should add another category as Philly suburbs in jersey... Just a thought

Posted by: Duke, Voorhees | Nov 25, 2012 00:32:00 AM |


Great site and a great topic as well i really get amazed to read this.I be taught one thing tougher on different blogs every day.

Posted by: AlexSmith, Singapore | Jul 22, 2013 11:20:00 AM |

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