Editor's Pick: Our Top 10 Favorite Italian Restaurants in New Jersey!
Of all the states in the U.S., New Jersey has the third-highest population of Italian-Americans (Rhode Island and Connecticut are ahead of it, in case you were wondering).
So, naturally, you can expect to find some pretty extraordinary restaurants, serving up great Italian cuisine. 'Cause face it: folks in this state know their way around a good pizza or "chicken parm." Here are ten must-sample Italian restaurants in the Garden State.
It doesn't look like much from the outside, but this no-frills landmark has been the go-to destination for Italian food in the area since1936. Their brick-oven pizza is legendary, but the fried calamari and lasagna are another reason there's always a hefty wait to get in.
The same family has run it since 1932, drawing crowds for its delectable "veal parm" ("veal parmigiana", if you're not from the 'hood) - not to mention, the ravioli. Two charming things: it's cash-only, and if you want butter for your bread, bring it yourself. That's how they roll.
Tucked away from the flash of the casinos is this beloved institution (1921). It's cash-only and BYOB, and because it looks something like your Nonna's house, kind of hard to find. But the Veal Parm on the Bone is worth the hunt.
An enduring staple, as evidenced by the, um, "mature" male waiters (they've been there for years). Settle in for some old school Italian food, along the lines of veal chops, homemade sausage and meatballs stuffed with fresh mozzarella.
From the street, it looks teeny-tiny - and it is (only seating about 20). But when you claim your spot, you're in for a treat. The excellent menu features hand-made pasta dishes, perfect meatballs and sauces that will leave you smiling.
The name means "star of the sea," and diners are treated to some beautiful ocean views. But the Italian food is the thing: this restaurant has been lauded by the New York Times as some of the best in the state.
It's known as much for the excellent service (personalized menus for special events!), as their top-notch risotto and calamari.
There are folks in the area who dine here once a week (at least). It's that good. The menu can get creative (black linguine?) - but it always delivers. And the bread is beyond fantastic.
The excellent classic cuisine led to its being voted as the best Italian restaurant in Morris County. And the elegant piano bar accompaniment ups the dining game. Hey, it's good for the digestion.
The stone floor and walls create a cozy ambiance - and the cuisine transports you to Palermo. The chef is so passionate about making you happy, that if nothing on the menu appeals (and that's rare), he's been known to whip something up special.
It claims to have one of the most unique takes on Italian cuisine in the state - and the truffle risotto or wild boar ragu pretty much establishes that. Think "classic dishes with a fancy twist."