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Newark, with its busy port and bustling downtown area, is home to a dizzying array of cultures and tastes. Its restaurants offer everything from soul food to Italian and Asian fusion, while the up-and-coming Ironbound district has seen an explosion in new, fashionable restaurants. Here are ten must-try restaurants in Newark, including fine dining venues.
This eccentric spot in the heart of the downtown area takes its name from the slang name for macaroni – Elbow Pasta. They serve the dish with everything from hamburger to lobster, and a specialty is their Chicken Tinga Mac, inspired by Mexican street food and stuffed with Monterey Jack cheese and chipotle chicken. Make sure to save room for their equally delicious ice cream sandwiches.
Elbow Room, 41 Halsey St, Newark, NJ, USA, +1 973 642 2300
This downtown spot morphs from a highly rated fusion restaurant by day to a lively music venue at night. Its outdoor dining area and patio doors out front allow diners to enjoy the warm New Jersey evenings, and local bands head up live music most nights. Try the signature 27 Mix black bean soup, Tokyo chicken wings, burritos or specialty pizza, and mix cultures through your courses to get the widest range of flavors available. Bar snacks and entrees are equally delicious, so visit for a sit-down meal or a culinary night out.
27 Mix, 27 Halsey St, Newark, NJ, USA, +1 973 648 0643
Adega Grill is a vineyard-themed Spanish and Portuguese restaurant. Harking back to the old world, the restaurant offers a seasonal menu with fresh, organic ingredients and a rustic, traditional interior. The restaurant is a marked contrast to its Ironbound district neighbours, known for their loud music and young clientele; Adega is romantic and slower paced, with black-tie waiters and many dishes made for two to share. Next to the dining room is the more modern Adega Lounge bar, where guests can relax with an after-dinner digestif.
Adega Grill, 130 Ferry St, Newark, NJ, USA, +1 973 589 8830
Visit Vonda’s kitchen for some classic New Jersey soul food. Vonda McPherson, the owner, has been selling her healthy alternatives to comfort dining for years, and she has refused offers to franchise her business – so this may be your only chance to sample her cooking. Specialties include waffles, catfish and grits, all cooked to Vonda’s special recipes, which forefront fresh ingredients in order to minimize fat and sugar. Visit for breakfast, lunch or dinner to get a taste of real New Jersey heritage food. Vonda also hosts local artists-in-residence and runs art and food events, so check her calendar before you visit.
Vonda’s Kitchen, 183 W Kinney St, Newark, NJ, USA, +1 973 732 4532