(list of eateries is alphabetical)
New Jersey Reviews
Alpha Sub Shop --Alpha, NJ
This place has been around for as long as I can remember. It’s a staple in the community and it’s always full of patrons. The menu is extensive, but you don’t need to get fancy; just a pizza or sub will suffice. Alpha Sub offers lots of great coupons and daily specials. Not recommended for large groups; limit it to a pal or two, it’s close quarters.
USE OUR SENSE: Call ahead if you’re going to order out—certain times can be very busy. Particularly on weekdays during baseball season, everyone in the neighborhood is thinking the same thing.
SAVE YOUR CENTS: Fight the urge to order everything ‘large’, these portions are astronomical; you’ll only need the ‘small’.
Clove: Fine Indian Cuisine --Lopatcong, NJ
Delish! Clove has been in the Lopat strip mall for all of 2013 and I can't believe we're just discovering them now. When we stumbled in for the first time, it just so happened to be lunch buffet day. We don't usually enjoy that as much as choosing our own treats, but the beautifully renovated interior kept us intrigued. The buffet was great! Fresh, tasty, YUM!
USE OUR SENSE: Go! And they deliver, so make them your new take out place. Many vegetarian options too.
SAVE YOUR CENTS: Don't waste your time on Spice India or Indian on Main Street; this is the best around!
Delahanty’s Tavern --Phillipsburg, NJ
P'burg bar right downtown. Good drinks, usually empty for meal times though. Food is average. Good place for a group of friends.
USE OUR SENSE: Sit out back on the deck for a nice view of the river and Easton.
SAVE YOUR CENTS: Pass on the pizza. Leave that to the Italians.
East Tokyo --Flemington, NJ
Aren’t all Hibachis the same? No. Definitely not. East Tokyo holds its own, but I’d rather drive an extra twenty minutes for better quality and a savings on each entrée. We’ve tried to give this place multiple shots, but we’re just never that impressed. The chefs are good, entertaining. They’re hard to judge though because chefs at any hibachi have generally the same routine (how about spicing up that hibachi school, huh?) The food isn’t spectacular since you’re paying that inflated Hunterdon County rate for everything. We recommend Makoto in Phillipsburg if you want the next closest Hibachi in the Valley.
USE OUR SENSE: Call ahead if it’s prime time.
SAVE YOUR CENTS: Don’t order the scallops—tiny, undercooked, eh.
Enzo’s Italian Grill --Washington, NJ
This cute Italian Grill in Washington, NJ is much bigger than it appears from the outside. They offer a bar area and a fancier dining room; plenty of room for any type of party. So far we haven’t ordered anything off the menu we didn’t like. After one visit, Enzo’s quickly became a regular option for our Italian cravings (sometimes sparking debates when we have to choose between them and La Bella Via).
USE OUR SENSE: Order the nachos. These aren’t your typical bar menu item, they are delicious Italian nachos. They’re flaky homemade dough pieces topped with olives, peppers, tomatoes, sausage, chicken, and a creamy asiago sauce that makes your mouth water. (I want them now!)
SAVE YOUR CENTS: The service isn’t very consistent. We’ve had one good waitress, but otherwise they all seem to be younger high school/WCCC kids more interested in sitting with their friends at a bar table. It’s definitely not a deterrent because the food more than makes up for it, just hopefully you get the good one!
Finnagel's Bar & Grill --Clinton, NJ
It may be a little tough to find for people, but it's worth doing the loop around the highway to get into the parking lot. Finnagel's is a nice little bar for drinks with friends, or a casual place to have dinner with the family. The bar room and dining area are separated, so the atmosphere is varied. They even rent out private rooms for larger functions which you'd never guess just by walking in. There's always a few locals at the bar, but don't let that intimidate you; it's very friendly and the staff offer adequate service. There aren't a whole lot of options for casual dining/bar style in that area, so Finnagel's takes the cake.
USE OUR SENSE: Order a panini.
SAVE YOUR CENTS: Go during happy hour during the week and munch on the free wings they keep out in the bar area!
Fresh Tortillas –Alpha, NJ
FAVORITE! Don’t eat in, use this place strictly for take out or delivery. Food is fantastic! From taco salads, burritos, and quesadillas to burgers and jalapeño poppers…order it all! Order a few extra handmade tortillas, they make great leftovers!
USE OUR SENSE: Cheese quesadillas, shrimp tacos, and handmade tortillas are our favorites. We order the tortillas when we have taco night at home.
SAVE YOUR CENTS: They offer combo packages by the pound for family deals. Scope ‘em out next family night.
Gara's Pizza --Lopatcong, NJ
Eat in or deliver. If you live in Phillipsburg area, their delivery will give Nicolosi’s a run for their money. Good prices.
USE OUR SENSE: Order the Sicilian.
SAVE YOUR CENTS: Stick with the pizza.
Italy's --Phillipsburg, NJ
Nice little place, service is efficient. A bit generic, like every other 'Frank's Trattoria', but decent. We frequent for lunch, it’s never very packed. The rolls are amazing, we order them for pick-up when we have dinner parties (and now we’re giving up our secrets, haha).
USE OUR SENSE: Their salads are great. Add chicken, mmmm. They have this delicious balsamic glaze for their chicken pieces.
SAVE YOUR CENTS: Pass on the subs; too much bread, not enough filling.
Jake & Riley's --Clinton, NJ
USE OUR SENSE: This is the old Sunset Inn right off of Route 31. Similar food to Finnagel's right down the road, and honestly, I prefer them. J&R's has an extensive menu (almost too much to choose from) and the food is good, but Finnagel's beats them for me, at least. Plus, I'm not a huge fan of the atmosphere; outdated wood cabin-styled.
SAVE YOUR CENTS: They have private party rooms so you can hold your next gathering here.
La Bella Via --Phillipsburg, NJ
The location of this Brick Oven Bistro gives it a TON of drive-by traffic, but how many people actually stop? I know we never did--until now. Quickly ranked among Bare's favorite places, one trip to this place and we were hooked. For an Italian Bistro, the wings were great--stiff competition for other area favorites like Vintage, 1818, and Keystone. There aren't many tables, but there's a beautiful bar (new addition) and what looks to be a banquet room they just added to the side, doubling the size of the restaurant. Give La Bella Via a shot!
USE OUR SENSE: Yea, get the pizza. I mean, it's a brick oven, right? But, other than the obvious, their house-made marinara is as good as grandma's--order a dish that's drenched in this chunky garlic-y deliciousness.
SAVE YOUR CENTS: If you're looking for a romantic Italian evening with your date, skip it. The open format and family atmosphere is just not conducive to an intimate evening. It's more upbeat and fun.
Little Italy --Phillipsburg, NJ
Small little market, quaint setting (the old Ebner's). Get your Italian goodies after dinner. Don’t bring a large party, only about 6-8 small tables.
USE OUR SENSE: Order a cheesesteak or baked pasta dish. The sauce is good.
SAVE YOUR CENTS: Pass on dessert at the table, but splurge on the homemade gelato at the stand on your way out.
Marz Bar --Phillipsburg, NJ
Honestly, I was skeptical to try Marz Bar at first. Phillipsburg bars haven’t entirely proven themselves as nice places in the past. But I was wrong. We loved it here. It’s a pretty hoppin’ bar at night, but we went for happy hour/an early dinner. It was just filling up when we were leaving—nice! The drink specials were great, dangerous actually. The servers were very friendly, the decor was fun, and the food was good bar food. Large portions; we all had take-home boxes, and if you know my husband, that doesn't happen often. We waited a bit for our food which we thought was weird, because no one else around us was using the kitchen; and even on a packed night, there’s only about 6-8 tables. But it was worth it when we got it; plus the drink specials held us over. We’ll go back.
USE OUR SENSE: Go early. Especially on event nights like karaoke when the place fills up.
SAVE YOUR CENTS: Take advantage of those drink specials (ex. 50% off well drinks).
Midtown Tavern --Alpha, NJ
USE OUR SENSE: Small place, cute interior, friendly people. There's not much in that area of town, so it's nice to have options. It's pretty much Midtown, Alpha Sub, or Fresh Tortillas (personally I'd choose Fresh Tortillas every time). Nothing here on menu to rave about though. Pizza is decent. They do have live entertainment occasionally.
SAVE YOUR CENTS: Prices are good, they run specials, even for takeout. We went twice, we probably won't return. Nothing bad, just Eh.
Nicolosi’s Pizza --Phillipsburg, NJ
Don’t try to order anything other than a pizza; you’ll get a nice annoyed response. No subs or appetizers at this pizza shop. It’s touted as the most desirable pizza in the area, every local knows Nicolosi’s phone number by heart. The shop sports a few tables, but delivery is where it’s at for this place. There’s no other option worthy of a pizza delivery in town; stick with Nicolosi’s.
USE OUR SENSE: Extra sauce and makes this pie a messy, but delicious treat!
SAVE YOUR CENTS: Be prepared, they only take cash (and checks, but who carries checks anymore?).
Panico's --New Brunswick, NJ
We went to the Italian Restaurant, there’s a more casual Panico’s Pizza right across the street. This place is beautiful, the servers are polite, the food is good, but the menu was very overpriced. I’ll pay good money for GOOD food, but if you’re going to charge double what I’d usually pay, I expect there’s a reason. The food kinda fell short. We had a large party and the wait staff kept up with us nicely. (I must also note too, that other people in our party felt the food here was remarkable and our opinion was way off--so to each his own, I don't want to 'yuck' anyone's 'yum'). We were even there on a Saturday afternoon and there was a baby shower happening in the back so they must rent for private parties. It’s a nice set-up for that.
USE OUR SENSE: Browse the wine list, the Malbec was tasty. Don’t pass on the dessert menu either, we recommend the strawberry crème brulee.
SAVE YOUR CENTS: Don’t spend the extra $10-$15 on a salad, it’s small and unoriginal.
Rosa Luca's --Asbury, NJ
Yum. The husband-wife pair offering us Rosa Luca are both trained chefs with impressive backgrounds. The food is delicious, on premises or off (they cater private events without a hitch). Rosa Luca's sits on the side of Rt. 173 and can be easily missed. Inside, it’s like eating in someone’s home in a very traditional dining room. Don’t go for the atmosphere, go for the food. I ordered a chicken dish, without high hopes (I mean, really, how exciting can chicken get?), and I was BLOWN away. It was the best chicken dish I've ever tasted. And, the huge gardens out back provide the chefs some hand-grown, local ingredients.
USE OUR SENSE: Order the squash flowers. They aren’t in-season all year, but when they are; take advantage.
SAVE YOUR CENTS: Skip dessert; have another glass of wine instead.
Toby's Cup --Phillipsburg, NJ
Yea, it's a little grease-shack for sure. No one can dispute that one. But for a quick meal on-the-go, you can't beat it. Forget those national chains and all their junk food, if you're gonna pack on the calories, do it the right way at Toby's with their famous dogs. First off, they are closed on Tuesdays (now that you know that, you will undoubtedly crave Toby's on Tuesdays). Second, don't expect it to be quick on a nice evening. The line for Toby's quickly lines up out into the parking lot, as only about 4 bodies can fit comfortably in front of the ordering window. It really is a must-visit for Phillipsburg. And if you're a local, you know there can only be one. So choose wisely between Toby's (Phillipsburg side) and Jimmy's (Easton side)--Bare and I are torn since we hail from opposing sides of the river, so we'll review (and love) both. You decide.
USE OUR SENSE: Order the right way, or beware. We're not talking Soup Nazi severity here, but you'll get a look, at the very least. Hints: 'Everything' on your dog means 'mustard, pickle, onion'. And shakes are ordered 'thick' or 'thin', and it's 'black' and/or 'white', not 'chocolate' and/or 'vanilla'.
SAVE YOUR CENTS: Skip the burgers, just order another dog.
Tooze --Milford, NJ
This tiny gem is worth the trip out of the Valley to Milford, NJ. Owners, Ralph and Marcia, serve up some of the best American gourmet comfort food you'll ever eat. Ralph is constantly changing up the menu and Marcia offers different delectable desserts (I'm going for an alliteration record) every time you visit. Tooze is small and very comfortable. It's a BYOB with a very colorful, upbeat atmosphere. Onion rings, paninis, meatloaf...you name it, it's on the menu, and it's YUMMY!
USE OUR SENSE: Visit the bathroom on your visit for the cutest hand painted decor that just proves all the heart felt detail poured into the place.
SAVE YOUR CENTS: Fill out the survey after your meal, and Ralph and Marcia will send you a 10% off postcard in the mail each month featuring the new menu.
Viva Mexico --Flemington, NJ
USE OUR SENSE: If you want modern, Americanized, safe Mexican food... go elsewhere. This is authentic, delicious grub. Can be intimidating if you're not used to that. They serve up lunch and dinner, with specials. Haven't had anything bad. Small, independently owned establishment.
SAVE YOUR CENTS: Forget a bar bill, it's BYOB.
Wildflower Cafe --Pennington, NJ
This place sits rights off of Route 31 in the Pennington area and appears a lot smaller than it is. You walk in and it's a maze around bars, corners, booths; the place goes on forever. And on a weekday for lunch, it fills. Looks like it could have a decent nightlife too; poppin' bar. Large menu, decent portions, okay for the area.
USE OUR SENSE: Order a daily special, the flavor combinations were interesting and the veggie panini was decent.
SAVE YOUR CENTS: I'd go here. I've been stuck in that area a bit and always get stuck with fast food or the shitty Amwell Diner right off Rt. 31; this place is safe at least. Not worth driving down from the Valley though.
Woodglen General Store --Califon, NJ
This was one of our Reader Recommendations and we'd like to thank Mr. Duffy for his suggestion. Wow! As a Lehigh Valley local, I'd have never known this place existed. Califon/Glen Gardner, it falls in between these small Hunterdon towns and can be easily missed. Deli, store, order up what you want. Huge portions. Take out though, not much room to sit and eat.
USE OUR SENSE: When we asked Mr. Duffy was what so great to order, his response was, "Order your favorite sandwich, it will be the best you ever had." Not a bad tip. Everyone in our party ordered something different, without looking at a menu I might add, and they had EVERYTHING we asked for. We'll repeat his advice to you, it was worthy.
SAVE YOUR CENTS: It was a bit pricey for deli subs, HOWEVER, each sub was three meals. Prepare for leftovers or order halves.