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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.

Posted July 14, 2011

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The results of our 28th Annual Readers’ Choice Restaurant Poll were tabulated by PriceWaterhouseCoopers in Florham Park. The winning restaurant in each region received the most votes in its category—in some cases there were ties; in some categories we also list a chain winner. 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 Bill Hutchinson of Chester. He will receive a gift certificate to Blu in Montclair, the Best of the Best poll winner in the north region.

Key: North  South  Central  Chain /downloads/8029/download/chain.jpg Critics' Choice


Best of the Best:
Blu, Montclair
Nicholas, Red Bank
410 Bank Street, Cape May
Union Park, Cape May
See Top 25 Restaurants

New Restaurant:
  Toscania Trattoria, Little Falls
   Dauphin Grille, Asbury Park
  Shipwreck Point, Point Pleasant
  Satis, Jersey City
Costanera, Montclair

Blu, Montclair
Nicholas, Red Bank
Union Park, Cape May
Serenade, Chatham
Highlawn Pavilion, West Orange
Knife & Fork Inn, Atlantic City Boulevard Five72, Kenilworth

Calandra’s, Caldwell
Flaky Tart, Atlantic Highlands
Elisa’s Pastry Shop, Lakewood
Balthazar, Englewood
Gina’s, Montclair

Bang for the Buck:
Bona Vita Osteria, Summit
Trinity & The Pope, Asbury Park
Artisan’s, Toms River
Next Door, Montclair
Weber’s, Pennsauken
Barbara’s Hungarian, Ewing Cavallo’s, Nutley

Bar Scene:
Egan & Sons, Montclair
Langosta Lounge, Asbury Park
C-View Inn, Cape May
Rat’s, Hamilton
The Pour House, Westmont Alice’s, Lake Hopatcong Watermark, Asbury Park

Texas Smoke, Rockaway
Memphis Pig Out,
Atlantic Highlands
Hickory Hog, Point Pleasant
Christine’s, Shamong
Back Bay, Somers Point
The Wood Pit, Montclair
Hog Wild, Caldwell

Beer Selection:

Trap Rock, Berkeley Heights
Basil T’s, Red Bank
Artisan’s, Toms River
Light Horse Tavern, Jersey City Zeppelin Hall, Jersey City

Raymond’s, Montclair
Turning Point, Long Branch
George’s Place, Cape May
Meil’s, Stockton
Country Pancake House, Ridgewood

Trap Rock, Berkeley Heights
Triumph Brewing, Princeton
Artisan’s, Toms River
Ship Inn, Milford
Long Valley Pub, Long Valley

Raymond’s, Montclair
Molly Pitcher Inn, Red Bank
Mad Batter, Cape May
Mockingbird, Basking Ridge
Market Roost, Flemington
Amanda’s, Hoboken


Next Door, Montclair
Stage Left, New Brunswick
Frankie’s, Point Pleasant
/downloads/8029/download/chain.jpg Five Guys
Copeland, Morristown

La Isla, Hoboken
Langosta Lounge, Asbury Park
410 Bank Street, Cape May
De Island Breeze, Somerset

Chain Restaurant:

Bonefish Grill
Cheesecake Factory
Legal Sea Foods; Grand Lux Cafe; 

Piccolo’s, Hoboken
Hoagie Haven, Princeton
Midway, Seaside Heights
Beyond the Pita, Montclair

Chengdu 46, Clifton
Peking Pavillion, Manalapan
Cape Orient, Cape May
Fortune Cookies, Bridgewater
Chengdu 23, Wayne
YaYa Noodles, Skillman

Coffee/Tea Bar (non-chain):
Café Eclectic, Montclair
Small World, Princeton
Green Planet, Point Pleasant
The Fine Grind, Little Falls

Deli, Italian-style:
Fiore’s, Hoboken
Nino Jr.’s, Oakhurst
Joe Leone’s, Point Pleasant
Lisa’s, Hoboken
Nicolo’s, Montclair
Severino Pasta, Westmont

Deli, Kosher-style:
Millburn Deli, Millburn
Harold’s NY Deli, Edison
Wolfie’s, Toms River
Hobby’s, Newark
Bragman’s, Newark

Tick Tock, Clifton
Skylark, Edison
Mastoris, Bordentown
Summit Diner, Summit
Omega, North Brunswick
Ponzio’s, Cherry Hill
Spinning Wheel, Lebanon

Lorena’s, Maplewood
Nicholas, Red Bank
410 Bank Street, Cape May
A Toute Heure, Cranford
Le Rendez-Vous, Kenilworth

Varka, Ramsey
Pithari Taverna, Highland Park
George’s Place, Cape May
/downloads/8029/download/chain.jpg It’s Greek to Me
Stamna, Bloomfield
Nisi, Englewood

Hot Dog:

Rutt’s Hut, Clifton
Max’s, Long Branch
Hot Dog Tommy’s, Cape May
/downloads/8029/download/chain.jpg WindMill
Hot Dog Johnny’s, Buttzville

Ice Cream:

Applegate Farms, Montclair
Bent Spoon, Princeton
Hoffman’s, Point Pleasant
Holsten’s, Bloomfield
Halo Pub, Princeton
Springer’s, Stone Harbor

Mantra, Paramus
Moghul, Edison
IndeBlue, Collingswood
Mehndi, Morristown
Cross Culture, Princeton, Haddonfield

Bona Vita Osteria, Summit
Catherine Lombardi,
New Brunswick
Frescos Seafood Trattoria,
Cape May
Girasole, Atlantic City
Sapori, Collingswood
Il Capriccio, Whippany
Osteria Giotto, Montclair

Taka Sushi, Summit
Shumi, Somerville
Tokyo, Rio Grande
Sagami, Collingswood
Izakaya, Atlantic City

Latin American/ Mexican:
Cuban Pete’s, Montclair
El Meson, Freehold
Juanito’s, Red Bank
Gecko’s, Cape May
Zafra, Hoboken
Lola Latin Bistro, Metuchen

Next Door, Montclair
Frank’s, Asbury Park
Artisan’s, Toms River
3West, Basking Ridge
Bernard’s Inn, Bernardsville

Middle Eastern:
Beyond Pita, Montclair
Ibby’s Falafel, Freehold
Norma’s, Cherry Hill
Samdan, Cresskill

Star Tavern, Orange
Pete and Elda’s, Neptune
Mack and Manco’s, Ocean City
Santillo’s, Elizabeth
Ralph’s, Nutley

Highlawn Pavilion, West Orange
Nicholas, Red Bank
Union Park, Cape May
Whispers, Spring Lake
Chakra, Paramus

Blu, Montclair
Doris & Ed’s, Highlands
Lobster House, Cape May
Seabra’s Marisqueira, Newark
Fish, Asbury Park
Uncle Vinnie’s Clam Bar, Raritan

Raymond’s, Montclair
Brennan’s, Rumson
Carriage Trade, Medford
/downloads/8029/download/chain.jpg Panera Bread
Peasant Grill, Hopewell

Southeast Asian/ Thai:
Summit Thai Cuisine, Summit
Origin Thai, Somerville
Cape Orient, Cape May
Topaz Thai, Belleville


Don Pepe, Newark
Vivas, Belmar
Europa South, Point Pleasant
Fornos of Spain, Newark


Roots Steak House, Summit
Colt’s Neck Inn, Colt’s Neck
Shipwreck Point, Point Pleasant
Edward’s, Jersey City Steakhouse 85, New Brunswick
El Sitio Grill & Cafe, Collingswood
Bobby Flay Steak, Atlantic City


Park & Orchard, East Rutherford
Nicholas, Red Bank
Louisa’s Cafe, Cape May
/downloads/8029/download/chain.jpg Veggie Heaven
The Green House, Collingswood

Wine List:

Park & Orchard, East Rutherford
Nicholas, Red Bank
Shipwreck Point, Point Pleasant
Restaurant Latour, Hardyston
Bernard’s Inn, Bernardsville






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If you like this article please share it.

Beer selection...

Brandt is absolutely right about the beer selection part. Makes no sense. I don’t think most ppl even know what a good beer selection is.

Posted by: Michele Winant, Parlin | Jul 22, 2011 16:13:32 PM |

Best Beer Selection?

I am curious to know what the criteria for the Beer Selection category was. Trap Rock took the prize in the north, and while Trap Rock is a fine establishment, they only offer 10 beers. Is there confusion about the meaning of the word "selection." The Iron Monkey in Jersey City has 32 beers on draft and over 300 bottles to chose from. How the critics were able to chose the Light Horse and Zeppelin’s over the Iron Monkey is beyond me. Zeppelin’s may have more lines but they hardly offer the overall selection of The Iron Monkey.

In central New Jersey, Stuff yer Face and The George Street Ale House have far better selections than Basil T’s.

In Southern New Jersey, the Blue Monkey has 38 beers of draft.

The Beer Selection category is a complete joke.

Posted by: Brant, Somerdale | Jul 21, 2011 18:55:24 PM |

Best Steak

Glad to see that the Colts Neck Inn Steak & Chop House is getting some recognition again. They have recently won a few awards for their steaks also. This place has been an institution for years & has gotten progressively more modern & hip. There are live bands on the weekends in the bar area which is always full. This has become the steak place to go for monmouth county hands down.

Posted by: Ryan Collingswood, Freehold | Jul 21, 2011 21:14:14 PM |


I think the best bakery in Pinho’s in Roselle, NJ

Posted by: EP, Midland Park | Jul 23, 2011 00:05:30 AM |


Did I recently read somewhere (perhaps on Rosie’s blog of openings and closings) that Copeland has closed and is opening under a new name?

Also, great list, but would be helpful if websites could be included as well.

Posted by: Suzanne Ng, Short HIlls | Jul 29, 2011 22:09:54 PM |


The Bakery is absolutely accurate!! Any Calandra location, Newark, Fairfield or Caldwell offers the BEST bakery products in the STATE!!

Posted by: John, Wayne, NJ | Aug 03, 2011 12:42:11 PM |

Best Ice Cream

Just wanted to thank NJ Monthly, the readers, and the critics for mentioning Halo Pub in Princeton. The ice cream is all natural, local and amazing!

Posted by: Lucy, Princeton | Aug 11, 2011 17:48:08 PM |


How did Mastriano’s on Broad St. in Bloomfield get left off of this list? WITHOUT a doubt one of the very best quality sandwiches in Northern NJ, AND they serve their QUALITY sandwiches on Nicolo’s bread. All of the deliciousness, yet none of the attitude of Nicolo’s. Owners are nice, friendly and professional and take pride in their products. Great meats and catering service too.

Posted by: Lisa L, Bloomfield NJ | Aug 20, 2011 21:50:18 PM |

Best Burger in Hunterdon County

I was out in Clinton, NJ to see a client and went to the Garden Gourmet at 2 Leigh Street, Clinton, NJ. I had the Jersey Burger: Taylor Ham, Fresh Chopped Meat, Cheddar, on a Delicious Roll. The flavors were incredible!!!

According to the Chef and Owners’ Web Site; Chef Briellen, worked for Jean-Georges at Mercer Kitchen (NYC-SOHO) after her training at Institute of Culinary Education in NYC.

That explains why her flavors are incredible!

Finally, the burger is served with homemade chips.


Posted by: Rich Geiger, Esq., Scotch Plains | Oct 23, 2011 15:07:29 PM |

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