Best Dining Towns – Hoboken

Best Dining Towns NJ Hoboken - NJ Monthly - The Best of Jersey

Hoboken’s Washington Street boasts such a high concentration of eateries that it rivals Manhattan’s Restaurant Row—or even the Champs Élysées in Paris, especially in summer when you can eat outside and watch the world go by.

To sample this mile-square town’s culinary riches, start on Washington Street at La Isla, a tiny shoebox of a place where some of the best Cuban food this side of Havana is served up at a very few tables and at the counter. A little farther down are Schnackenberg’s Luncheonette, a 1950s-style eatery that serves terrific burgers, sandwiches, ice cream, and egg creams, and Frankie & Johnnie’s, where you’ll find great chops and steaks in a piano-bar setting (an appealing dining option for the meat-and-potatoes guy in your life). If you’ve stayed out too late, stop by for breakfast at the tiny Hoboken Gourmet Company café. Indian food lovers will enjoy Karma Kafe, where you can dine outside, and India on the Hudson; the food at both is a great bargain, particularly the buffet lunches at $8.95.

One of the more down-to-earth Hoboken eateries is Robongi, a bare-bones Japanese restaurant with inspired sushi that keeps the crowds coming. Nearby, the Frozen Monkey Café offers a sort of swinging ’60s-style setting where you can sit inside or opt for a sidewalk table for your coffee and dessert; sandwiches are also available. If you’re hungry and don’t want to break the bank, you can’t do much better than a huge slice of pizza ($2) from Benny Tudino’s.

We’d be remiss in not recommending one of Hoboken’s favorite eateries, Amanda’s, a charming restaurant with reasonably priced American food and wine. Just across the road, the more casual Elysian Café serves American and French bistro food and also offers a bar if you prefer to pop in just for a drink. At Charritos Restaurant, the guacamole is made fresh at your table and the Mexican food is as authentic as it gets. Augustino’s, where the salty language of the waitresses is as much a part of the experience as the reliably excellent Italian food and homey setting, is not to be missed.

Away from Washington Street, check out Cucharamama, the swanky South American companion restaurant to the Cuban hot spot Zafra, just a block away. Both establishments serve food that is so good there is often a line to get in. Lua, one of the newest and most popular places in town, is also known for its Pan-Latino menu, but the pluses here are the spectacular setting and panoramic view of New York City and the Hudson River. Sushi Lounge’s glitzy surroundings and nightly DJ are the perfect backdrop for its delicious Japanese food. Try Sri Thai for simple, cheap, but fabulous Thai food to eat in or take out. Court Street Restaurant and Bar is packed every night, but especially on Wednesday, when a pound-and-a-quarter lobster with all the trimmings will set you back just $15.95.

If you’re in the mood for pizza, head to Grimaldi’s Pizzeria (an offshoot of Grimaldi’s in Brooklyn) for the superb thin-crust pizza. For a healthy dining alternative, try Re Juice A Nation, a juice bar offering smoothies, soups, and sandwiches, plus build-your-own salad. Locals swear by Sobsey’s Produce, where in addition to top-notch fresh produce you can buy free-range meats, baked goods, and gourmet products. Truglio’s Meat Market is a good old-fashioned butcher shop that also makes sandwiches to go. Fiore’s is universally revered here; the place makes its own mozzarella and sells mouthwatering sopressata and other Italian specialties, and the sandwiches are legendary—particularly the Italian tuna on crusty rolls (on Friday) and the hot roast beef with gravy (on Thursday and Saturday). Prepare to see a line out the door on those days. The wait is worth it.

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