Yummy Places – Jersey edition

I’m asked at least half a dozen times a week about where I would recommend a friend or family member to go for a nice dinner in the local surrounding areas. I usually spend about an hour researching places and studying menus; creating lists of eateries that I know would be appropriate for said friend/family member. Well, now hopefully I can just refer them to this post, and we’ll all be more efficient. Because I’ve listed many places where our experience dates back to almost 5 years ago, I will not go into great detail about every establishment. Instead, where necessary, I’ll drop a few tidbits of info on why I love the joint. The “Veg friendly” note has been added next to the eateries that I believe went above and beyond and created fun, seasonal, and unique meatless options for more than one course (ie not just a crunchy salad or pasta.)

Ariane Kitchen & Bar, Verona, NJ
chef was on Top chef and is extremely talented; I know them from old space (Culinariane); hearty meat dishes and scallop dishes were always great

Arturo’s, Maplewood, NJ - Veg friendly
incredibly seasonal and fresh; menu changes weekly; BYO; known for their gourmet pizzas and garden fresh salads; amazing crust!

A Toute Heure, Cranford, NJ – Veg friendly
farm to table; source as much as they can locally; BYO; hearty rustic vibe; French inspired; Apple cake during holidays is off the charts

Elements, Princeton, NJ – Veg friendly but ask
5 Star dining in NJ; Chefs Anderson Ryan are rock stars; unique, innovative, seasonal, fresh, delicious. they push the boundaries; LOVE everything!

Fascino, Montclair, NJ – Veg friendly
excellent pasta; fun tasting menu; BYO

Jockey Hollow Kitchen and Bar, Morristown, NJ
excellent wine list that offers pours by the taste, glass, and bottle; fun vibe; seasonal and fresh food locally sourced (Oyster Room and Dining Room)

Mistral, Princeton, NJ – Veg friendly
little sister of elements; all small plates; great for sharing; again very unique and seasonal, flavorful combinations; BYO; menu always changing

Ninety Acres, Peapack, NJ – Veg friendly but ask
gorgeous restored carriage house on natirar estate; seasonal farm to table; great wine list

100 Steps, Cranford, NJ – Veg friendly
sister restaurant of A Toute Heure; focuses on raw bar items; small plates; BYO; delicious menu constantly changing

Pairings, Cranford, NJ
beautiful setting in downtown cranford; BYO; great food and great ambience

Pluckemin Inn, Bedminster, NJ
beautiful space; contemporary upscale American cuisine with a twist; excellent wine list

Restaurant Blu, Montclair, NJ
BYO; innovative menu with lots of small plates; great for sharing; unique flavors

Sette Cucina, Bernardsville, NJ
excellent Italian fare; homemade pasta; BYO

Shumi, Somerville, NJ
the freshest sushi you will ever taste in NJ, maybe anywhere! tell server your budget and that you rely on the chef’s choices – they will hook you up!

Thirty Acres, Jersey City, NJ
very thoughtful and seasonal menu; very artistic plating; shared plates; used to be BYO – but I think things have changed and they now have a liquor license, and are a tasting menu only establishment. i will definitely check them out again soon

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