Top 10 Restaurants In Trenton, New Jersey

Rachel Gould

Art & Design Editor

Trenton was once home to Italian and Eastern European communities who dominated the local cuisine, before shifting towards a largely Hispanic and African American demographic. We look at 10 top places to dine in Trenton.
The New Jersey State House in Trenton | © Marion Touvel/WikiCommons

Amici Milano

Zagat-rated Amici Milano opened in 1910 under the name Trionfetti’s. It offered authentic Italian food that transformed the otherwise quiet, residential neighborhood of Chambersburg into something of a local dining destination. As one of the few remaining old-style Italian restaurants in the area, Amici Milano continues to provide the generous portions and traditional dishes that popularized this location more than a century ago. With extensive lunch, dinner and special value menus as well as live piano music on Friday and Saturday evenings, Amici Milano is a versatile choice. It is suitable for both large events and relaxed meals for two. As Chambersburg continually shifts to accommodate an increasing Latin American influence, Amici Milano stands as a reminder of the neighborhood’s predominantly Italian immigrant past.
Amici Milano, 600 Chestnut Avenue, Trenton, NJ, USA +1 609 396 6300

1. Blue Danube Restaurant

Restaurant, Romanian, German, European

Featuring a wide variety of eastern European cuisine, Blue Danube Restaurant specializes in the hearty gastronomic traditions found along the Danube River from Hungary to Romania, Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. The restaurant fosters an unassuming yet cozy atmosphere. It is intended to transport guests back to co-owner Peter Pulhac’s native region. The menu includes family recipes as well as classic fare such as beef goulash, stuffed cabbage and pierogi, a traditional Polish dumpling stuffed with meat, sauerkraut and mushrooms. As quality Eastern European food becomes more difficult to find, Blue Danube remains a neighborhood mainstay. It possesses a loyal customer base from the local community as well as a growing number of patrons throughout the Tri-State area.

3. JoJo’s Tavern & Restaurant

Bar, Restaurant, Italian, American, Mexican, Pub Grub

Whether it is the extensive selection of bar bites, pizzas or salads that brings you to JoJo’s Tavern & Restaurant, guests can expect a lively experience with consistently good food at reasonable prices. A great place for a friendly outing, JoJo’s offers live entertainment on Wednesday and Saturday nights. It also has a line-up of special events like Thursday night football. The menu features an eclectic mix of Italian-, American- and Mexican-inspired dishes. These are paired with a long list of wine, beer, cocktails and liquors. A characteristically American sports bar, JoJo’s Tavern & Restaurant is usually crowded as it is the popular choice for a casual, even late-night meal out.

4. Hot on D Spot Roti Shop

Hot on D Spot Roti Shop

Bringing ‘a little bit of the Caribbean Islands to you’, Hot on D Spot Roti Shop is the go-to place for no frills Indian-Caribbean cuisine. The menu is a fusion of Caribbean dishes like beef patties and fried plantains with traditional Indian curries. They all feature a roti – a lightly grilled Indian flatbread. Customers can choose from a selection of meat and vegetable curries with their roti, or they can opt for a Dhal Puri roti. This Trinidadian method of preparation includes grinding cooked yellow split peas into a powder. This is then spread across the dough and rolled into thin layers via a method akin to that of a burrito. While the decor is sparse, Hot on D Spot Roti Shop compensates for its lack of design innovation with big Caribbean flavor.
Hot on D Spot Roti Shop, 1469 Nottingham Way #5, Trenton, NJ, USA +1 609 586 0088

5. The Hummingbird Restaurant

Restaurant, Jamaican

With a focus on home-style Jamaican cuisine, The Hummingbird Restaurant is where locals go for anything prepared using ‘jerk’ spices. Jerk chicken, jerk salmon and jerk wings are among several options to choose from on the menu, which also includes the likes of red snapper, curried goat and oxtail. The food is what attracts customers to The Hummingbird Restaurant, where the ambiance is upbeat but not a main priority. There’s a scattering of Anglo-American dishes like baked macaroni and cheese and fish and chips thrown in for good measure. However, the Hummingbird Restaurant is mainly the place to go for a taste of Jamaica from the comfort of home.

6. Rozmaryn

Restaurant, Polish, American

Rozmaryn opened its doors in 2009, specializing in Polish cuisine infused with American influences. The restaurant is named after the Polish word for rosemary, an herb commonly used to flavor typical Eastern European ingredients like beets, cabbage, potatoes and red meats. Owner Joanna Myslowski offers her own take on family recipes from kielbasa to cheese blintzes. All of these are acclaimed by both customers and press, including The New York Times. Rozymaryn’s decor is basic but inviting, echoing the comfortable atmosphere of a family meal at home. As many customers are immigrant workers enjoying a familiar meal, the murmur of Polish conversations amplifies the feeling of authenticity.

7. Settimo Cielo

Restaurant, Italian

Awarded the title of ‘Best Restaurant in Trenton’ by Hidden Trenton, Ecuadorian-owned Italian restaurant Settimo Cielo is a local favorite. While the immediate street and storefront exterior exude minimal atmosphere, the dining area is tasteful. Customers consistently rave about the pasta Bolognese, chicken livers in balsamic vinegar and sweet potato and corn croquettes. Located in close proximity to City Hall and other state office buildings, Settimo Cielo is busy during lunchtime. It tends to remain quieter in the evenings, which minimizes waiting time. This also allows for a relaxed conversation during dinner without any overbearing background noise.

8. Social

Bar, Restaurant, American

TrentonSocial
© Trenton Social

A restaurant and bar with a neighborhood vision, Social was specifically designed to attract a younger customer base of musicians, artists, writers and professionals. With close proximity to Philadelphia and New York City, the entrepreneurs behind Social see Trenton’s potential as an attractive residence for millennials who could positively influence the community. That is, if they have the space to do so. Social is one of the few restaurants in Trenton with an active online presence and regular cultural events. These include monthly art exhibitions and guest chef appearances to introduce new, international dishes. Through a diverse, well-priced menu and a trendy urban atmosphere, the next generation of creative thinkers and foodies can mix, mingle and network. Thereby, it is hoped they will develop Trenton’s social and cultural scene.

9. Taqueria El Mariachi

Restaurant, Mexican

Serving the best of Mexico with various South American influences is Taqueria El Mariachi.It is one of the best places in town for tacos and pupusas—traditional Salvadoran tortillas stuffed with cheese, beans or meat—at unbeatable prices. The surrounding neighborhood is ostensibly run-down. Despite this, loyal customers urge newcomers not to be put off by the restaurant’s hole-in-the-wall exterior. The taqueria buzzes with local Spanish-speaking families and workers on their lunch breaks. This creates its own welcoming and cultural atmosphere. As Trenton moves away from the era of traditional Italian restaurants, Taqueria El Mariachi represents the newly predominant Latin American presence in the city.
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