Philadelphia’s famous foodie scene may be just a short trip across the Delaware River, but Burlington County, New Jersey’s restaurants are proof you needn’t travel to the big city for fine fare. From contemporary American and authentic Argentinean cuisine in Bordentown to traditional Indian and Italian food in Mount Laurel, we round up Burlington County’s very best restaurants.
Since 1961, the Blue Claw Seafood & Crab Eatery has been serving it signature eats, and the small, casual restaurant remains as popular as ever, winning two awards locally in 2015. Its famous for crab platters where you can choose from blue claw, snow crab, Dungeness and king crab depending on availability and season. The restaurant serves plenty more to please any fan of seafood, from New England clam chowder and jumbo lump crab cakes to tilapia tacos and crabmeat mac ‘n’ cheese.
A modern, BYOB restaurant serving traditional Indian cuisine, Monsoon has consistently been one of Mount Laurel’s most raved about dining spots since first opening its doors in 2008. Start with appetizers like onion bhaji and tandoori chicken wings before mains of chicken tikka and South Indian-style shrimp curry. Vegetarians have plenty to choose from too, with meals like paneer tikka masala and vegetable korma. Better yet, during the restaurant’s lunchtime buffet diners can sample a selection of dishes for a true taste of authentic Indian cuisine.
New American fare gets the gourmet treatment at Zinc Café. A cozy, upmarket spot often hailed as one of Medford’s best dining spots. The menu offers salads like stuffed avocado and jumbo lump crab and sandwiches stuffed with fillings like hot roast beef with melted gruyere, crispy onions and garlic aioli. There’s also a great range of appetizers like steamed littleneck clams in a lemongrass broth and grilled pork tenderloin with grain mustard sauce and golden raisin chutney. Brunch is delicious as well with plenty of classic breakfast fare like omelets, Belgian waffles and breakfast burritos.
A Burlington County institution for many years, the family owned and operated Maple Shade Custard Stand is the place to go in south New Jersey to satisfy your sweet tooth cravings. Choose from a variety of frozen custards, soft serve ice cream cones, sundaes and milkshakes. Other sweet treats include banana splits, ice cream sandwiches, flurries and refreshing water ice in flavors like watermelon, black cherry and root beer. Better still, Maple Shade Custard Stand is open year-round so visitors can get their fix come rain or shine.
Italian restaurants boasting food ‘just like mama used to make’ may have become something of a cliché, but at Mama’s Pizza Grille & Bistro this no mere lofty claim. Except in this case the ‘mama’ in question is chef Giovanni, a native of Sicily who came to New Jersey in the early 1970s and focuses his cuisine on the traditions taught to him by his mother and grandmother. Guests can expect appetizers like sausage with broccoli rabe, homemade meatballs and calamari followed by pasta dishes, a range of traditional and gourmet pizzas and entrees like eggplant parmigiana and chicken cacciatore.
Under the Moon Café is full of quirky charm. Opened a decade ago by mother and son duo Estela and Santiago Orosco, its interior is retro, mismatched and inviting. The food draws on its owners’ Argentinean heritage alongside other Latin American and global influences. Choose from appetizers like short rib tostada and artichoke rice balls followed by salads and sandwiches. Entrées include Argentinean-style meatloaf wrapped in bacon and stuffed with mozzarella, egg and roasted red pepper or there’s a selection of tapas dishes like patatas bravas and chorizo with brandy and onions.
Founded in the late 1920s, Pic-A-Lilli Inn is today owned and operated by the fifth generation of the original owner’s family. Its as well-known for its rich history as for its deliciously traditional, homemade American eats. A range of salads, sandwiches, burgers and cheesesteaks are served alongside entrées including crab-stuffed fresh tilapia filet and meatloaf served with mashed potatoes, gravy and onion rings. But if you try just one thing, make sure it’s Pic-A-Lilli Inn’s award-winning wings available with mild, spicy, hot, smoker or garlic parmesan sauce, they’re often hailed as the best in south New Jersey.
Serving some of the best-loved classic Italian cuisine in all of south New Jersey, the family owned and operated Illiano Cucina Mediterranea has been serving its signature Neapolitan cuisine for more than 20 years. Here you can get appetizers including fried calamari with tangy marinara sauce or provolone and prosciutto stuffed long hot peppers with garlic and olive oil. For something heartier try the homemade potato gnocchi with pomodoro sauce, fresh basil and buffalo mozzarella or shrimp parmigiana. But make sure to save some room, Illiano Cucina Mediterranea’s classic Italian desserts are an indulgent treat worth sticking around for.
Located in scenic downtown Bordentown, Oliver A Bistro is a cozy spot opened in 2006 by chef-owner Matthew McElmoyl and his wife Danielle. The restaurant specializes in American comfort food classics with a contemporary twist and eclectic, global influences. A lunch menu is offered Tuesday through Saturday featuring salads, soups, sandwiches and burritos. The Friday and Saturday dinner menu includes creative, upmarket plates like jumbo lump seared crab cake with preserved lemon and pine nut couscous, vegetable barigoule and spring onion coulis. Burger nights take place on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays with gourmet offerings like ‘The Pig’, a half-pound Angus beef patty topped with chipotle brown sugar roasted baby back rib meat, beer cheese sauce and crispy fried onions.
Yokohama’s upmarket ambience, chic interior and authentic Japanese cuisine with contemporary twists has made the restaurant one of Burlington County’s favorite dining destinations. Choose from New York strip steak, scallops and lobster cooked hibachi-style or opt for specialty entrées like the miso-glazed Chilean sea bass served with Shanghai-style cabbage fried rice and gyoza. Alternatively combine a selection of Yokohama’s sushi and rolls with inventive martinis in flavors like lychee or blood orange puree and grapefruit, as suggested by SJ Magazine.