Robyn Lane

Robyn Lane

(Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for NYCWFF)

With the high price of dining out these days, a lot of us are spending more time cooking and eating our meals in the comfort of our own homes.

The price of food has skyrocketed since the pandemic, and trips to the grocery store ain’t cheap. Trust me, sticker shock is a real thing.

I am a bargain hunter with almost everything I buy. I compare brands, sizes of cans and packages, and make smart choices so I can get the biggest bang for my buck.

I look for sales on items we absolutely need to live a semi comfortable existence.

I download digital coupons from the grocery store app.

I hit the discount refrigerators located by the registers at the grocery store.

To be completely transparent, I was always this way. We grew up in a single parent household with very little money, so it’s always been my nature to look for ways to save money.

I guess you can say, my life experience prepared me way before the recent increase in food prices.

Eating at home is nice, but there are times you need to get out of the house for a date night with your beloved, or a night out with friends.

With the price of dining out, there are ways to manage keeping the dinner bill at a reasonable level.

If you apply some of the savings methods I mentioned above, you’ll be able to afford to eat out once or twice a month, or maybe even more.

The best way to save a few bucks, is to go the BYOB route. That’s right, bring your own booze.

Have you ever looked at your restaurant bill and noticed the cocktails are nearly as much as the food?

A decent bottle of wine can be purchased for $15 at your local liquor store.

I’ve dined with friends who have shown up to dinner with bottles of vodka, cocktail shakers, and olives at BYOB restaurants.

We were our own bartenders and the bill wound up being a fraction of the cost of a restaurant with bar service.

It’s time to check out some really good restaurants in Ocean County that are BYOB

  • The Poached Pear - 816 Arnold Ave, Point Pleasant Beach, NJ 08742

    This stylish bistro is a bit pricey, so maybe you want to dine at this upscale restaurant with innovative dishes only on special occasions. Fine dining at it’s best.

  • Rue 561 Bistro - 561 Fischer Blvd, Toms River, NJ 08753

    Jessica’s review highlights the reason to dine out at a BYOB restaurant:

    An excellent dining experience! We always drive to Monmouth County for steak & are very pleased we can now go a few mins from home! The owner is absolutely amazing & visited each table to have genuine conversation. For me that goes a long way! It’s BYOB so you can avoid an expensive bar bill especially if you enjoy fine wine! We def plan to bring one of our better bottles next time after tasting the prime aged tomahawk. The wedge salad was loaded with the best pork belly I’ve had!

    You can eat well and still save a few bucks by bringing your own wine.

  • Xina Restaurant - 3430 NJ-37, Toms River, NJ 08753

    A favorite of many WRAT Radio listeners and a  2 time winner of the 2023 WRAT Shore Awards For Best Sushi & Best Chinese Restaurant.

  • Biagio's Trattoria - 509 US-9, Lanoka Harbor, NJ 08734

    You can have a fabulous authentic Italian meal for a lot less than you think. Prices on Entrees range from $17 – $37.

    Biagio’s was also the winner of a 2023 WRAT Shore Award for Best Italian Restaurant.

    They have some lovely weekend specials, and the service here is fabulous. They’ve been bringing fresh Italian flavors to Lanoka Harbor for over 23 years.

  • Baladina Mediterranean Restaurant - 931 Fischer Blvd, Toms River, NJ 08753 In Belcrest Plaza

    Amazing food, friendly staff, and belly dancers!! This place is filled with Mediterranean and Middle Eastern goodness. 

    I have been here and I have thoroughly enjoyed the food, the service, and the weekend entertainment.
    Sasha entertains the dinner guests at Balladina in Toms River

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  • Tardi's Ristorante - 931 Fischer Blvd, Toms River, NJ 08753

    Tardi’s is in the same strip mall as Balladina, and they happen to be my one of my husband’s favorite Italian places in Toms River.

    I’ve yet to meet anyone who hasn’t had a great experience here.

     

  • Fire Pit Grill Churrasqueira - 242 Atlantic City Blvd, Bayville, NJ 08721

     Home Of Portuguese BBQ ! Fire Pit Grill Churrasqueira is a Portuguese / Spanish restaurant serving fire roasted chicken, ribs & steaks that are grilled to perfection on a bed of wood charcoal in an open pit for maximum flavor & tenderness. We also prepare many Mediterranean inspired delicious dishes that can be ordered to your taste. 

    This is a very intimate space, call ahead to make sure you can grab a table.

    Fire Pit Grill Churrasqueira | Bayville, NJ

    Fire Pit Grill Churrasqueira | Bayville, NJ

     

     

  • Koi Asian Fusion Lounge - 25 Brick Blvd, Brick, N.J. 08723

    The food is fantastic! From the expertly prepared sushi, to the flavorful hot dishes, every experience I’ve had here has been wonderful.

    The only issue you may have is getting through their extensive menu.

    Ramen,Sushi, Pokebowl,Japanese and Chinese

    Ramen, Poke Bowl, Sushi Burrito, Sushi Bar, Oyster Bar, Japanese & Chinese Restaurant. Best of the Best Ocean County Reader's Choice 2016,2014

  • The Beach House Restaurant - 13015 Long Beach Blvd, Beach Haven, NJ 08008

    This BYOB eatery also carries a selection from Sharrott Winery should you forget to go to the liquor store. The Beach House serves up classic seafood, steaks an pasta in a nice relaxed setting. 

  • La Catrina Mexican Restaurant - 17 Lacey Rd, Forked River, NJ 08731

    This place really gives you a lot of bang for your buck! The fresh ingredients they use to make your meal, comes from the Forked River community. Every dish they create comes from family recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation.

    They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner and the price of meal at La Catrina won’t break the bank.

    La Catrina Mexican Restaurant in Forked River NJ

    La Catrina Restaurant Forked River NJ. Serving authentic Mexican food. We use frehs ingredients to make our delicious dishes.

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