Announcing the Winners of Our 36th Annual Jersey Choice Restaurant Poll

Readers picked their 2019 dining favorites—and so did we.

A Toute Heure's black sea bass crudo and beloved Parker House rolls. Photo by Cayla Zahoran

The results of our 36th Annual Jersey Choice Restaurant Poll are in. Balloting took place online throughout the month of February. The winning restaurant in each region—North (N), Central (C) and South (S)—received the most votes in its category. Ballots from duplicate e-mail or IP addresses were disqualified. Editorial discretion was used when votes were cast for restaurants that, in our judgment, belonged in another category. We have also added our critics’ picks (★). All qualified ballots were eligible to win our random drawing. Winners will be announced in next month’s issue of New Jersey Monthly.

Best of the Best 

N: Ariane Kitchen & Bar, Verona
C: Nicholas, Red Bank
S: 410 Bank Street, Cape May
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Best New Restaurant

N: The Pasta Shop, Denville
C: Semolina, Red Bank
S: MudHen Brewing, Wildwood
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American | New American

N: Ariane Kitchen & Bar, Verona
C: Nicholas, Red Bank
S: Blue Pig Tavern, Cape May
★ A Toute Heure, Cranford
★ Central + Main, Madison
★ Farm & Fisherman, Cherry Hill
★ James on Main, Hackettstown
★ Laurel & Sage, Montclair
★ Maritime Parc, Jersey City
★ Park Place, Merchantville 

Pork bao buns at Ani Ramen. Photo by @girleatsnyc, courtesy of Gail PR

Asian Fusion

N: Ani Ramen, Montclair
C: Teak, Red Bank
S: Buddakan, Atlantic City
★ Roosterspin, New Brunswick
★ Wabi Sabi, Bloomfield

Bagels

N: Hot Bagels Abroad, Multiple locations
C: Bagel Barn, Princeton
S: Baron’s Bagels, Point Pleasant
★ O’Bagel, Basking Ridge

Bakery

N: Calandra’s, Caldwell, Fairfield, Newark
C: Flaky Tart, Atlantic Highlands
S: Mueller’s Bakery, Bay Head
★ Able Baker, Maplewood
★ Artist Baker, Morristown
★ Balthazar, Englewood
★ Dulce, Collingswood
★ LilliPiEs, Princeton
★ Liv Breads: Artisan Bakery and Coffee Bar, Millburn
★ Palazzone 1960, Wayne

Bang for the Buck

N: Cucina Calandra, Fairfield
C: Old Man Rafferty’s, New Brunswick, Hillsborough
C, S: Surf Taco, Multiple locations
★ Kitchen 519, Glendora

Bar Scene

N: Ariane Kitchen & Bar, Verona
C: Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten, Asbury Park
S: Brown Room, Cape May
★ Gypsy Tequila Bar (Borgata), Atlantic City
★ Keg & Kitchen, Westmont
★ SM23, Morristown

Courtesy of Local Smoke BBQ

Barbecue

N: Hot Rod’s BBQ, Wharton
C, S: Local Smoke BBQ, Multiple locations
S: Hickory Hog, Point Pleasant
★ Fink’s BBQ Smokehouse, Dumont
★ Henri’s Hotts, Hammonton
★ Red, White & Que Smokehouse, Kearny
★ Surfing Pig, North Wildwood

Beer Selection

N: Cloverleaf Tavern, Caldwell
C: Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten, Asbury Park
S: Crab’s Claw Inn, Lavallette
★ Amendment 21, Point Pleasant Beach
★ Cowan’s Public House, Nutley
★ Mohawk House, Sparta
★ Social 37, Toms River
★ Taphouse 15, Jefferson
★ Yard House, Moorestown

Breakfast

N, C: Toast, Montclair, Asbury, Red Bank
N, C, S: Turning Point, Multiple locations
S: Chicken or the Egg, Beach Haven
★ The Corner, Montclair
★ Klotz’s Kitchen, Point Pleasant
★ Mike’s Little Red Store, Atlantic Highlands
★ Plum on Park, Montclair
★ Sabrina’s Café, Collingswood
★ Sweet Basil’s Cafe, Livingston
★ Zoe’s Vintage Kitchen, Atlantic Highlands

Brew Pub

N: Trap Rock, Berkeley Heights
C: Triumph, Princeton
S: MudHen Brewing, Wildwood
★ Gaslight, South Orange
★ Iron Hill, Maple Shade, Voorhees
★ JJ Bitting, Woodbridge
★ Krogh’s, Sparta

Brunch

N, C: Committed Pig, Manasquan, Morristown, Summit
N, C, S: Turning Point, Multiple locations
S: Mad Batter, Cape May
★ Amanda’s, Hoboken
★ Avenue, Long Branch
★ Cardinal Provisions, Asbury Park
★ Marcel, Montclair

Pork roll sandwich with waffle fries. Courtesy of the Committed Pig

Burger

N, C: Committed Pig, Manasquan, Morristown, Summit
C: Stage Left Steak, New Brunswick
S: Vagabond, Atlantic City
★ Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen, Morristown
★ Pour House, Westmont
★ South + Pine, Morristown
★ Windward Tavern, Brick

Related: The 12 Best Restaurants in Princeton

Caterer

N: Calandra’s, Caldwell
C: Culinary Creations, Hillsborough
C, S: Joe Leone’s, Point Pleasant Beach, Sea Girt

Chain Restaurant

Cheesecake Factory
Bonefish Grill
Jersey Mike’s Subs

Cheese Steak

N: Cloverleaf Tavern, Caldwell
C: Hoagie Haven, Princeton
S: White House Subs, Atlantic City
★ Barry’s Do Me a Flavor, Beach Haven
★ Donkey’s Place, Camden 

Spicy, aromatic flounder fillet, a classic dish hard to find on local Szechuan menus, superbly executed here.

Aromatic flounder fillet at Joyce Chinese. Photo by Morgan Ione Yeager

Chinese

N: Hunan Taste, Denville
C: Temple Gourmet Chinese, Red Bank
S: Xina, Toms River
★ Cheng Du 23, Wayne
★ Han Dynasty, Cherry Hill
★ Joyce Chinese, River Edge
★ Shan Shan Noodles, Parsippany
★ Taste of Szechuan, Cherry Hill

Coffee | Tea Bar

N: Bluestone Coffee Company, Montclair
C: Rook Coffee Roasters, Multiple locations
S: Lava Java, Lavallette
★ Booskerdoo, Multiple locations
★ Local, Montclair
★ Modcup, Jersey City
★ Small World, Princeton

Deli (Italian-Style)

N: Calandra’s, Caldwell
C: Demarco’s, Aberdeen
C, S: Joe Leone’s, Point Pleasant Beach, Sea Girt
★ Nicolo’s, Montclair
★ Piccolo’s Gastronomia, Ridgefield
★ Rosario’s, Montclair
★ Sergio & Co., Denville
★ Severino Pasta, Westmont
★ Vito’s, Hoboken

Deli (Kosher Style) 

N: Deli King, Clark
C: Harold’s, Edison
S: Wolfie’s, Toms River
★ Hobby’s, Newark

Tropical dessert flight at Vanillamore

Desserts

N: Bovella’s, Westfield
C: The Bent Spoon, Princeton
S: Washington Inn, Cape May
★ Vanillamore, Montclair 

Diner

N: Tick Tock Diner, Clifton
C: Skylark Diner & Lounge, Edison
S: Mastoris Diner, Bordentown
★ George’s Place, Cape May

French

N: Chez Catherine, Westfield
C: Pascal & Sabine, Asbury Park
S: 410 Bank Street, Cape May
★ Avenue, Long Branch
★ Lorena’s, Maplewood
★ Manon, Lambertville 

German | Austro-Hungarian

N: Black Forest Inn, Stanhope
C: Asbury Festhalle & Biergarten, Asbury Park
S: Mickey & Minnie’s Inn, Egg Harbor City

Greek

N: Ambeli, Cranford
C: Pithari Taverna, Highland Park
S: George’s Place, Cape May
★ Black Olive, Voorhees
★ Elia, East Rutherford
★ Greek Flame, Haworth
★ Lefkes, Englewood Cliffs
★ Stamna, Bloomfield, Little Falls, Lincroft

Hot Dog

N: Rutt’s Hut, Clifton
C: Destination Dogs, New Brunswick
C, S: Windmill, Multiple locations
★ Hot Dog Johnny’s, Buttzville
★ Würstbar, Jersey City

A cone of purple sticky rice gelato from Bucket & Bay Gelato Co of Jersey City. Photo: Juan Roque

A cone of purple sticky rice gelato from Bucket & Bay in Jersey City. Photo by Juan Roque

Ice Cream

N: Applegate Farm, Montclair
C: Bent Spoon, Princeton
S: Hoffman’s, Multiple locations
★ Bucket & Bay, Jersey City
★ Halo Pub, Princeton
★ Holsten’s, Bloomfield
★ Jefferson Dairy, Lake Hopatcong
★ Milk, Sugar, Love, Jersey City
★ Springer’s, Stone Harbor
★ Taylor’s, Chester
★ Torico, Jersey City

Indian

N: Brick Lane, Montclair
C: Aarzu, Freehold
S: Aamantran, Toms River
★ Mehndi, Morristown
★ Amma’s South Indian Cuisine, Voorhees

Related: The 16 Best Restaurants in Morristown

Italian

N: Fascino, Montclair
C: Anjelica’s Restaurant, Sea Bright
S: Spano’s, Point Pleasant
★ Chef Vola’s, Atlantic City
★ Il Capriccio, Whippany
★ Girasole, Atlantic City
★ Osteria Morini, Bernardsville
★ Ristorante Giorgia, Rumson
★ Undici, Rumson

Japanese

N: Ani Ramen House, Montclair
C: Taka, Asbury Park
S: Xina, Toms River
★ Ai Sushi, Somerville
★ Hontei, Palisades Park
★ Sagami, Collingswood
★ Shumi, Ridgewood
★ Tomo’s Cuisine, East Hanover
★ Umeya, Cresskill

Courtesy of Cubacán

Latin American | Caribbean

N: Cuban Pete’s, Montclair
C: Cubacán, Asbury Park
S: 410 Bank Street, Cape May
★ Costanera, Montclair
★ Samba, Montclair
★ Somos, North Arlington
★ Vital, Montclair
★ Zafra, Hoboken

Lunch

N: Raymond’s, Montclair, Ridgewood
C: Old Man Rafferty’s, New Brunswick, Hillsborough
S: Blue Pig Tavern, Cape May
★ Café Giotto, Montclair
★ Pierogies House, Morristown
★ Slamwich Scratch Kitchen, Madison
★ Saddle River Café, Saddle River
★ South and Pine, Morristown

Mexican

N: Villalobos, Montclair
C: 10th Ave Burrito Company, Belmar
S: Cinco De Mayo, Toms River
★ El Guacamole, Millville
★ El Pueblo, North Cape May
★ Folklore Artisanal Taco, West Orange
★ Mi Pueblito, Kearny
★ Pancho’s Grill, South Bound Brook
★ Pancho’s Taqueria, Atlantic City
★ Taco Shop, Rio Grande

Middle Eastern | Turkish

N: Beyond Pita, Montclair
C: Reyla, Asbury Park
S: Falafel Brothers, Brick
★ Yasmeen, Clifton 

Pizza

N: Star Tavern, Orange
C: Pete & Elda’s/Carmen’s, Neptune
S: Poppi’s Brick Oven, Wildwood
★ Bivio, Montclair
★ Papa’s Tomato Pies, Robbinsville
★ Ralph’s, Nutley
★ Razza, Jersey City
★ Talula’s, Asbury Park
★ Tony D’s, Caldwell
★ Santillo’s, Elizabeth

The N Bar at Restaurant Nicholas.

The N Bar at Restaurant Nicholas. Photo by Viki Reed

Romantic

N: Highland Pavilion, West Orange
C: Nicholas, Red Bank
S: Washington Inn, Cape May
★ Anton’s at the Swan, Lambertville
★ Café Matisse, Rutherford
★ Peter Shields Inn, Cape May
★ Rat’s, Hamilton

Seafood

N: H2Ocean, Cedar Knolls
C: Blue Point Grill, Princeton
S: Lobster House, Cape May
★ The Bonney Read, Asbury Park
★ Hooked-Up Seafood, Wildwood
★ Parker’s Garage, Beach Haven
★ Two Fish, Haddonfield
★ Quahog’s Seafood Shack, Stone Harbor

Soup | Salad | Sandwich

N: Millburn Deli, Millburn
C: Frank’s Deli & Restaurant, Asbury Park
S: Barry’s Do Me a Flavor, Beach Haven
★ Farmer & the Chickpea, Whitehouse Station 

Southeast Asian | Thai

N: Topaz Thai, Belleville
C: Bamboo Leaf, Bradley Beach
S: Buddakan, Atlantic City
★ Binh Duong, Bloomfield
★ Gayeon, Fort Lee
★ Pandan Room, Hackettstown
★ Ricky’s Thai, Skillman
★ SLA Thai, Montclair

Pork tenderloin with fennel-corn kimchi, blistered shishito peppers and green-garlic potato puree.

Pork tenderloin with fennel-corn kimchi and blistered shishito peppers at Mathews. Photo by Brent Herrig

Southern | Soul Food

N: Vonda’s Kitchen, Newark
C: At the Table, Asbury Park
S: Corinne’s Place, Camden
★ Drew’s Bayshore Bistro, Keyport
★ Mathews, Jersey City 

Spanish | Portuguese 

N: Don Pepe, Newark, Pine Brook
C: Despana, Princeton
S: Europa South, Point Pleasant Beach
★ Broa, Jersey City
★ Malaga, Hamilton
★ Seabra’s Marisqueira, Newark
★ Spain Rincon, Wharton 

Steak

N: Roots Steakhouse, Morristown, Ridgewood, Summit
C: Stage Left Steak, New Brunswick
S: Prime 13, Point Pleasant Beach
★ ChopHouse, Gibbsboro
★ Edward’s, Jersey City

Vegetarian

N: Veggie Heaven, Denville, Montclair, Teaneck
C: Good Karma Vegan Café, Red Bank
S: Green Cuisine, Stone Harbor
★ Veganized, New Brunswick

Wine List

N: Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas, Clifton
C: Nicholas, Red Bank
S: Washington Inn, Cape May
★ Café Aldo Lamberti, Cherry Hill
★ Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen, Morristown
★ Restaurant Latour, Hamburg
★ The Manor, West Orange
★ Pluckemin Inn, Bedminster

Related: The 22 Best Restaurants in Cape May

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