30 NJ Restaurants Where You Can Celebrate on Thanksgiving Day

Why fuss with a turkey when you can let chefs handle the pressure of holiday cooking? Here's a guide to where to dine on Thanksgiving Day.

Photo courtesy of Salt Creek Grille.

If you feel like letting somebody else prepare Thanksgiving dinner this year, you’re in luck. There are plenty of restaurants in New Jersey keeping their doors open for the holiday. We rounded up 30 restaurants to assist in the cause of Thanksgiving sanity and satiety.

All hours listed are for Thursday, November 22. Prices don’t include tax or gratuity. It’s always recommended to make your reservations as soon as possible.

North Jersey:

–There are several options available at Crystal Springsall Thanksgiving info can be found here—but the basic set-up is your choice of afternoon buffet at the Emerald or Diamond Ballroom, three-course prix fixe at Crystal Tavern or Spring Bistro, and/or lunch buffet at Black Bear Golf Course. Times and prices vary. Crystal Springs Resort, 1 Wild Turkey Way, Hamburg; 855-977-6473

–Summit House Seasonal American Restaurant & Bar is doing a definitively refined take on Thanksgiving (turkey is confit leg, e.g.). which means touches like fried sage on your parsnip soup or salted vanilla ice cream on your apple streudel. Three-course prix fixe menu, wine pairings an additional $45. $85 ($25 for kids 10 and under), noon – 5 PM. Summit House, 395 Springfield Avenue, Summit; 908-273-6000

–For every soup sold at the three-course prix fixe at Blue Morel, $1 goes to the Community Soup Kitchen of Morristown. There will be free range turkey, sirloin, venison and fish from Local 130. $64 ($32 for kids 11 and under), 1 – 9 PM. Blue Morel, 2 Whippany Road, Morristown; 973-451-2619

–It’s a three-course prix fixe with river views at Flemings Prime Steakhouse. What stands out are the lobster bisque, pumpkin cheesecake and Fireside Rye cocktail—plus turkey, of course. $49 ($19 for kids 12 and under), 11 AM – closing. Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, 90 The Promenade, Edgewater; 201-313-9463

–There’s a four-course prix fixe at Ho-Ho-Kus Inn, featuring fried goat cheese with bacon lardons. Special touches pervade the menu, some sophisticated, some marshmallow. $49, ($19.95 for kids 15 and under), noon – 6 PM. Ho-Ho-Kus Inn, 1 East Franklin Turnpike, Ho-Ho-Kus; 201-445-4115

–Prime Rib is a specialty of the Walpack Inn, but this Thanksgiving you’re likely more inclined to the $35 turkey-and-fixin’s option. With the surrounding Kittatinny Mountain Range, there’s scenery and history to devour as well. The Walpack Inn, 7 National Park Service Road 615, Layton; 973-948-3890

–If you want a delicate, relaxed Thanksgiving meal in a city, try Amanda’s in Hoboken (we’re eyeing the honey-almond ricotta crostini). Seatings start at 2 PM, $55. Amanda’s, 908 Washington Street, Hoboken; 201-798-0101

–The buffet at the Brick House includes a carving station, but you might want to check out the Tuscan Table for homemade mozzarella or chafing dishes full of baked clams casino and Indian creamed corn. $64.95 (half-price for kids), 2 PM. The Brick House, 179 Godwin Avenue, Wyckoff; 201-848-1211

–Special selections with family-style Italian flavors from chef Constantino are promised at Cucina Calandra in Fairfield; noon – 10 PM. Cucina Calandra, 216 Route 46, Fairfield; 973-575-7720

–There are several seatings at Il Vecchio Café’s Thanksgiving buffet, each two hours. A baked ham and a prime rib carving station and a few Italian options round out traditional Turkey Day fare, washed down with a glass of red or white wine (included). $48 ($20 for kids 4 through 12; 3 and under eat free), multiple seatings. Il Vecchio Café, 234 Bloomfield Avenue, Caldwell; 973-226-8889, ext. 1

–At Liberty House in Jersey City, chef Ken Trickilo is doing upscale Thanksgiving this year. Go from Blue Point oysters to Long Island rotisserie duck with guanciale, or hover in tradition with chestnut- and sausage-stuffed turkey. 1 – 6 PM, $62 ($30 for kids). Liberty House, 76 Audrey Zapp Drive, Jersey City; 201-395-0300

–Expect rustic fare with a hint of Jersey history at the circa-1770 Inn at Millrace Pond’s Thanksgiving. In addition to roasted Pennsylvania Country turkey, you’ll find Berkshire pork with pumpkin ale gravy and apple cider short rib “sauerbraten.” Seatings at noon and 3 PM, $49 ($19.95 for kids 12 and under). The Inn at Millrace Pond, 313 Johnsonburg Road, Hope; 908-459-4884

–Chef James Laird’s New American cooking made Serenade one of NJM’s 30 Best Restaurants for 2018, and you can sample it in all its (new) Americana glory on Thanksgiving. Three courses from an as-yet unposted menu. 2 – 7 PM, $79 ($38 for kids 10 and under). Restaurant Serenade, 6 Roosevelt Avenue, Chatham; 973-701-0303

–There are several seatings for the Thanksgiving buffet at Madeleine’s Petit Paris. French and Continental accents to the turkey traditions (onions confit, duck a l’orange, spaetzle). $45 ($25 for kids), Madeleine’s Petit Paris, 416 Tappan Road, Northvale; 201-767-0063

Rails Steakhouse is keeping it elegantly simple, with a set-price Thanksgiving menu served during regular hours from chef Falivene. Expect very homestyle, down to giblet gravy. $35, normal hours. Rails Steakhouse, 10 Whitehall Road, Towaco; 973-335-0006

Central Jersey:

–Get a side of Navesink River views along with a side of sage candied yams at the Salt Creek Grille for Thanksgiving. The main event is limitless hand-carved turkey, sides, and traditional pie options for dessert. $35 ($14 for kids 13 and under), noon – 7 PM. Salt Creek Grille, 4 Bingham Avenue, Rumson; 732-933-9272

–Goffle Road turkey is the main event, but items like smoked salmon carpaccio with crème fraiche and roasted Brussels sprouts with dried figs and sunflower seeds seasonally call to us from Agricola’s three-course prix fixe. One of NJM’s 30 Best Restaurants. $70 ($30 for kids 12 and under), noon – 7 PM. Agricola Eatery, 11 Witherspoon Street, Princeton; 609-921-2798

–Drifthouse in Sea Bright is hosting its first-ever Thanksgiving prix fixe starting at noon, with seafood cameos in the autumnal feast (Pumpkin Soup with Spicy Rock Shrimp, Seawater-brined Turkey Dinner). $52 ($26 for kids 12 and under), noon – 8 PM. Drifthouse by David Burke, 1485 Ocean Avenue, Sea Bright; 732-530-9760

The Cranbury Inn does a simple, historically-set Thanksgiving for $37 to $46 during its normal business hours (with special children’s options). The Cranbury Inn, 21 South Main Street, Cranbury; 609-655-5595

–Veer straight for the guinea hen and foie gras terrine in the three-course prix fixe at the Frog and the Peach. The menu is rustic refined, including dessert (pumpkin flan and sticky toffee pudding). 1 – 7 PM, $56 ($16 for kids). The Frog and the Peach, 29 Dennis Street, New Brunswick; 732-846-3216

–At the Ryland Inn, chef Christopher Albrecht isn’t resting on tradition for his Thanksgiving menu. Dishes like poached duck egg with truffle and local hazelnuts and roasted local mushrooms with braised garden greens set the stage for a Griggstown heritage turkey (and other meat and non-meat mains). One of NJM’s 30 Best Restaurants. noon – 5 PM, $69 ($30 for kids under 12). The Ryland Inn, 115 Old Highway 28, White House Station; 908-534-4011

–There’s a range of tasting menus at Restaurant Nicholas this Thanksgiving (six courses with wine is $155), with menus subject to seasonal (and chef) whims. 2 – 8 PM, $75 ($35 for kids). Restaurant Nicholas, 160 Route 35, Red Bank; 732-345-9977

–At Rooney’s Oceanfront, find a Thanksgiving buffet with strong Jersey Shore (Italian, seafood) influence. Hit the raw bar before you succumb to the allure of the potato station. noon – 7 PM. Rooney’s Oceanfront, 100 Ocean Avenue North, Long Branch; 732-870-1200

–It’s a Thanksgiving buffet at the Olde Mill and a Thanksgiving dinner at the Grain House in Basking Ridge. The latter is four-course and a bit more upscale (e.g. Parmesan broth to go with your Fulper Farm ricotta gnocchi starter). Both are $59 ($24 for kids 4 through 11), 11:30 AM – 5:30 PM (Olde Mill), 11:45 AM – 7:15 PM (Grain House). The Olde Mill Inn and the Grain House, 225 Route 202, Basking Ridge; 908-696-2335

–Bahr’s Landing‘s full seafood menu is still being served on Thanksgiving, including whole lobster, but if you’re in the holiday spirit, the restaurant will have a traditional turkey dinner and seasonal cocktails. 11:30 AM – 4:30PM, $29 ($11.95 for kids 12 and under). Bahr’s Landing, 2 Bay Avenue, Highlands; 732-872-1247

South Jersey:

–A very traditional, very ample Thanksgiving buffet is on the menu for the holiday at the Historic Smithville Inn, which has been in operation since 1787. 11:30 AM– 7 PM, $38 ($19 for kids 4 through 11). Historic Smithville Inn, 1 North New York Road, Absecon; 609-652-7777

–At the Knife & Fork Inn, enjoy an Amish turkey with sausage stuffing and all the sides. 2 – 8 PM, $41 ($18 for kids 12 and under). The Knife & Fork Inn, 3600 Atlantic Avenue, Atlantic City.

–Special options on the three-course menu at the Blue Pig Tavern include a whole crispy trout with Mediterranean accents and a vegetarian kabocha squash risotto; $45. The Blue Pig Tavern, 200 Congress Place, Cape May.

–Seafood has a prominent, but not dominant, place on the three-course prix fixe at Peter Shields in Cape May. Smoked trout graces the butternut squash soup, and you can opt for day boat scallops with maple roasted Brussels sprouts over Joyce Farms free range turkey if you’re feeling more beachy than traditional this year; $65 ($35 for kids). Peter Shields Inn, 1301 Beach Avenue, Cape May; 609-884-9090

–Italian inflection comes mostly in the appetizers in Il Villaggio’s three-course Thanksgiving menu (prosciutto-stuffed peppers, broccoli rabe and sausage); the turkey stays traditional, with breast and thigh options au jus. $39, Il Villaggio, 211 Haddonfield-Berlin Road, Cherry Hill; 856-795-1778

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