Robyn Lane

Robyn Lane

Robyn Lane

8 Exciting Bucket List Restaurants Near the Jersey Shore.

One thing is certain, New Jersey has some excellent restaurants. Several of them are on my bucket list. I’m going to list just a few in this blog post because I’d wind up writing for hours if I mentioned them all. My full list extends beyond Monmouth & Ocean counties.

A restaurant does not have to be fancy to make my list. I’m just looking for good food that I can tell everyone about.

Check out This List Of New Jersey’s Hidden Gem Restaurants.

I love everything from food trucks to upscale places and everything in between.
I have always been adventurous. I will try almost anything. I do have a few minor exceptions.

I will not try haggis, the national dish of Scotland, a concoction composed of the liver, heart, and lungs of a sheep (or other animal), minced, and mixed with beef or mutton suet and oatmeal and seasoned with onion, cayenne pepper, and other spices. The mixture is then packed into a sheep’s stomach and boiled.

I will never attempt to eat tripe, which is the stomach lining of cows. I‘m sure you’ve seen it in some of your grocery store meat cases.

I might try pig’s feet, and maybe a few other non-traditional food items from around the globe, other than that, I’m good.

I totally dig Indian food, but my companion does not. He claims to not be a fan of curry. The smell bothers him. Little does he know; I’ve snuck a few different curries into some of our meals at home over the last several years and never told him.

I’m telling you; the man does not know what he doesn’t like. He’s never even been to an Indian restaurant. He clearly doesn’t know what he’s missing.

I have introduced him to many foods from different cultures he had never been exposed to before meeting me.

Have You Tried Afghan Cuisine?

We used to have an Afghan restaurant around the corner called, Babur Garden. He was reluctant to try it, thankfully he trusted me and wound up falling in love with Afghan cuisine. Sadly, the restaurant has since closed. I really miss that place and the wonderful family who owned it.


I am determined to take him out for Indian food. I have a feeling he’s going to love it.

Here’s my list of fancy and not so fancy restaurants on my 2024 bucket list.

  • Aarzu Modern Indian Bistro - 30 E Main St, Freehold, NJ 07728

    The cuisine here is upscale modern versions of Indian dishes. I think this is the route I need to go to get my companion to try this amazing food. The decor is inviting with big spacious booths and tables not spaced too close together. The food looks amazing.

    I’ve been given a list of things to try by friends and foodies who’ve been here. The duck tacos, lamb Biryani, and Tandoori salmon are just a few things I am eager to try, as well as the unusual dessert offerings.

  • Clemmy's - 290 US-9, Waretown, NJ 08758

    This new BYOB restaurant has a lot of buzz since opening in the Summer of 2023. Seasoned chef & owner, Allen Walski, has quite the imagination. A true farm to table restaurant with an everchanging menu, chef Allan and his wife Carolyn strive to serve their customers the freshest dishes, most of which you won’t find in any ordinary restaurant in Waretown.

      For instance, on the current starters menu, they have Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Sourdough Brioche, Cherry Gastrique.  For an entree, you can also get something as simple as Roasted Chicken with Potatoes, Lemon, Broccoli, Parmesan. I’ll bet it won’t be like any roasted chicken from my oven.

    It’s a small bright space with a friendly attentive staff. I look forward to having a wonderful meal here.


    Menu - Clemmy's Restaurant

    MENU Starters Patatas Bravas $15 Pickled Peppers, Aioli Baby Kale Salad $16 Carrots, Peanuts, Ginger-Lime Vinaigrette Viking Village Scallops $18 Lemon Puree,




  • Lita - 1055 NJ-34, Aberdeen Township, NJ 07747

    A semi finalist for a 2024 James Beard Award for Best Restaurant, Lita serves flavors of the Iberian Peninsula. Creating these dishes comes natural To chef David Viana.

    Lita is the story of David’s family. Named for his mother, Rosa Lita, it’s a celebration of the culinary legacy of his family, who immigrated from Portugal to Newark, New Jersey in the 1970s.

    It’s like having dinner and a show as most of the menu is prepared in the open fire hearth oven that anchors the restaurant–it sits in the middle of the dining room. 

    I’m a huge fan of Iberian cuisine and I look forward to trying some of these incredible dishes like the Duck Croquettes, Carne de Porco “Alentejana”iberico pork secreto, little neck clams, pickles, potatoes, and the paella of course.


  • Bad Hat Dumplings & Cocktails - 133 S Main St Unit 2, Marlboro, NJ 07746

    This recent addition to Marlboro doesn’t look like any place I’ve ever been before. Bad Hat is located inside the Fireside Grill & Bar, but has a totally separate space.

    The chef is intent on pushing the envelope when it comes to Asian Fusion cuisine, creating their own recipes rather than relying on the the tried and true.

    Plus, the cocktails are masterfully crafted using  homemade syrups, infusions, and garnishes and made with Asian-sourced spirits.  

    They have an incredibly wide variety of sakes, wines, liquors and a special collaboration beer with Source Brewing of Colts Neck called Saku Saku.

    I need to get here before it becomes too popular. I have a great feeling about Bad Hat.


  • Hatch 44 Cafe - 401 Main St, Bradley Beach, NJ 07720

    Every photo of every plate on Instagram looks magnificent. Remember, we eat with our eyes first. This Brunch place has been on my radar for a while. The flagship location is in Metuchen, and this location is right up the road from my job.

    I couldn’t do their food justice by a mere description.  Belgian Waffles, Dulce De Leche French Toast, Birria Grilled Cheese !!!

    Please click on their Instagram page below.

  • THE GOAT by David Burke - 1411 NJ-36, Union Beach, NJ 07735

    I’m a fan of Chef Burke’s work. This particular restaurant seems less fancy and less intimidating than some of his other eateries. It’s a wood burning Italian American cuisine restaurant with a great variety of pizza, and interesting takes on fried calamari, fried mozzarella, and a host of entrees that are anything but average.   Events coming up include, Comedy Night Dinner & A Show February 29 @ 6:30 pm – 10:00 pm, Wednesday Trivia & Name That Tune, and more.


  • Pupusas House - 9 -15 Lanes Mill Rd, Brick Township, NJ 08724

    This is a fairly new place I heard about online that serves Salvadoran food. Pupusas are thick corn tortillas that can be stuffed with various fillings, including various meats, refried beans, cheese, and even squash flowers. The filled corn tortillas are then cooked to perfection on a traditional grill referred to as a comal. 

    It’s a small place and everything is cooked to order, so you’re going to wait a little longer for your food.


    Pupusas House Brick NJ

  • Catherine's Farm to Table - 1001 Arnold Ave, Point Pleasant, NJ 08742

    Another charming farm to table restaurant with rustic decor and an innovative menu that changes with the seasons. I have been dreaming of the Tuna Cannoli Appetizer I saw on Instagram several months ago. It looks like a clever twist on Ahi Tuna Nachos.

    The current menu has an East Coast Halibut dish bathing in a saffron lobster broth, accompanied by roasted root vegetables.

    We had reservations here several months ago and the couple who were supposed to join us, cancelled a few hours before. We wanted to share this experience with our friends.  I should have just kept the reservation.


    Catherine's Farm to Table | Restaurant in Point Pleasant | 1001 Arnold Avenue, Point Pleasant, NJ, USA

    Catherine's Farm to Table is an ideal spot for a romantic dinner or a casual meal with friends. Guests can expect to indulge in wholesome, delectable food in a welcoming ambiance. It's a charming restaurant that focuses on serving fresh, locally-sourced ingredients from nearby farms.

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