Whether you’re looking for classic American fare with a contemporary twist, authentic Turkish cuisine or a healthy salad, East Brunswick, New Jersey’s dining scene has something to offer every diner. Read on for our round-up of the area’s very best restaurants.
Bar, Restaurant, American, $$$
Art of Salad’s signature Mandarin salad | Courtesy Art of Salad
Gusto Grill’s culinary focus is described as ‘a revival of American fare with contemporary flair’. Casual bar plates like Kobe sliders and duck wontons are served alongside a full menu featuring fare like St Louis-style barbecue ribs with shredded vegetable-quinoa slaw and corn on the cob or salmon with roasted fingerling potatoes, sautéed spinach and tarragon cream sauce. Desserts include Nutella bread pudding and New York cheesecake. Guests can choose from fine wines, handcrafted cocktails and local craft beers from the likes of Ocean Township’s Kane Brewing Company and Ridgefield Park’s Bolero Snort Brewery.
Looking for your fix of healthy, wholesome fare in East Brunswick? Then look no further than Art of Salad. Build your own salad from a huge range of fresh ingredients, or go for one of the café’s signature salads: the Mandarin (with red cabbage, spinach, grilled chicken, carrots, mandarins, edamame, wonton strips and sesame-ginger dressing) or the California Salmon (romaine, grilled salmon, avocado, tomato, cucumber, corn and cucumber-wasabi dressing) are just two tempting options. Sandwiches, snacks and homemade soups in flavors like vegan split pea and chicken noodle are also served alongside a number of smoothies and fresh pressed juices.
European Homemade Provisions is a deli and sandwich shop specializing in old-fashioned European meats, pastries and breads. Stop by and pick up some of the deli’s famous meats, all smoked on premises in its traditional smokehouse, there’s everything from white kishka and German jaegerwurst, but European Homemade Provisions’ delicious kielbasa is probably its most popular offering. You could also grab a spot of lunch with the deli’s huge sandwich menu. Signature sandwiches include the Slavic hoagie (crammed with krakowska, three types of kielbasa, jack cheese, lettuce and tomato) and the Mr. Stasiu (liverwurst, muenster, bacon, red onions and beer mustard on rye).
For the freshest seafood in East Brunswick, head to Blue Water Seafood. This place is a pescatarian’s paradise with tempting appetizers like the colossal crab cake and coconut crusted shrimp leading to hearty entrées like grilled Chilean seabass with roasted beats and arugula and specials like the paella with lobster, shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels, chorizo and spinach. Take a seat in Blue Water Seafood’s homey yet stylish dining room on colder evenings and out on its charming patio in summertime for a spot of al fresco seafood dining under the stars.
Award-winning Magnifico’s Ice Cream has been serving its legendary sweet treats from its small, window-serve spot since 1981. Up to 30 rotating ice cream flavors are offered ranging from the classic (vanilla, chocolate chip mint, pistachio) to seasonal varieties like pumpkin and eggnog, alongside other fare like specialty sundaes, banana splits and the joint’s popular hot waffle ice cream sandwiches. Magnifico’s is open seasonaly, however, so make sure to drop by between March and November to avoid disappointment.
Wasabi House is a local go-to for delicious Japanese cuisine. A wide range of sushi is offered from baby octopus and giant clam to salmon roe and eel alongside plenty of maki rolls like the Maryland (with king crabmeat, caviar and avocado) and the house special with yellowtail, tempura crunch, spicy mayo, tuna and avocado. Alternatively, opt for starters including beef negimaki (broiled beef with scallions and teriyaki sauce) and pan-fried shrimp dumplings followed by entrées of Chilean seabass with red miso sauce and garlic sautéed vegetables or chicken katsu.
‘Köy’ translates from Turkish as ‘village’, and that is exactly what Köy Turkish Grill’s owners (Jawad Malik, Hina Malik and Adeel Siddiqi) have recreated in their cozy, communal restaurant. A casual café area ideal for a quick bite welcomes guests and leads to a beautifully decorated dining room (think warm, earthy colors, ambient lighting and softly draped canopies) perfect for enjoying a heartier meal of authentic Turkish cuisine. Choose from appetizers like hummus, falafel and mücver (a pancake made with zucchini, red pepper and feta cheese) followed by main dishes including chicken adana kebabs, lamb gyro and the vegetarian-friendly dish imam bayildi (baby eggplant stuffed with onions, pine nuts, raisins and garlic and served with rice).
Brother’s Pizza serves up some of the best loved pies in Middlesex County with delicious options ranging from square Sicilian-style pizza to specialty pies like barbecue chicken, black olive and vodka sauce; all available to eat-in or take-out. But pies aren’t the only thing on the menu at Brother’s Pizza, and diners will find plenty more traditional Italian eats including calzones, hot and cold sub sandwiches, pizza rolls and dinner dishes like manicotti with meatballs, veal scaloppini with mushrooms and peppers, and shrimp parmigiana.
A neighborhood restaurant and bar with roots dating back as far as 1934, Brunswick Grove is the ideal dining destination for a spot of casual American fare accompanied by a craft beer or two. Classic pub grub appetizers like chicken wings and nachos are followed by hearty sandwiches, juicy burgers, pizzas and entrées like stuffed cabbage with potato pancakes, New York strip steak and potato and cheese pierogies served with broccoli, applesauce and sour cream. Beyond Brunswick Grove’s selection of American craft beers, guests can choose from a range of specialty martinis and domestic brews.
Authentic Thai eats abound at N Thai Palace, a friendly restaurant that offers guests a range of traditional and contemporary interpretations of Thai cuisine plus the opportunity to customize their dishes according to their spice tolerance. Start with an appetizer of chicken satay or tom yum soup followed by familiar fare like chicken in green curry sauce or a classic pad Thai with egg, beansprout, ground peanut, dried tofu and scallion. You can also try contemporary Thai with a chef special like grilled lobster wok-fried with mango and garlic or quail marinated with honey and Thai spices and served with coconut ginger rice.