New Brunswick Skyline at Sunset | (c) Forevaclevah/WikiCommons
Located in Middlesex County, New Jersey, New Brunswick is an ethnically diverse and buzzing city. Home to Rutgers University, and a number of university hospitals, the city is also known as the ‘Healthcare City’. New Brunswick’s restaurants are also worth noting. From tantalizing Italian cuisine to Nouvelle American grub, here is a list of the top 10 restaurants in New Brunswick.
Bar, Restaurant, American, Seafood, Vegetarian, $$$
Walking down the stairway, visitors will be greeted by a warm and inviting atmosphere at Clydz. Located on Paterson Street, this restaurant features a bar area, a casual dining space, and a private dining area with booths. Exuding a speak easy feel, Clydz décor features brick walls and fish tanks with bottles inside them. Highlights from the intriguing menu include their roasted bone marrow pulled short rib with apple cider braised red cabbage, braised python filet ravioli with arugula and a wild mushroom cream sauce, and chicken adobo quesadillas served with caramelized onions, cheddar cheese, guacamole, and a plantain salsa. Whether it is a seafood feast or finger licking chicken dish you’re after, Clydz has you covered. They also have a number of vegetarian dishes available. For after-work relaxation, Clydz also have a happy hour, and their martinis are a popular choice.
Situated in downtown New Brunswick on Dennis Street, The Frog and Peach opened its doors in 1983. Occupying a 19th century industrial building which was originally used to store the local paper’s printing presses, it has since been given a new lease of life as a venue for culinary delights. Following extensive renovations, The Frog and Peach now brings fine dining to New Brunswick. Popular dishes include butternut ricotta gnocchi with caramelized red onion, F&P house smoked salmon, half shell Fisher’s Island oysters, and Griggstown chicken breast with Farnhouse cheddar grits, charred broccoli, rutabaga, and a rosemary chicken jus. The restaurant has received a number of awards and accolades for its food, such as New Jersey’s Best All Around Restaurant and it was listed as one of New Jersey Monthly’s Top 25 Restaurants for 2013.
Combining hand crafted beers with delicious American cuisine is the Harvest Moon Brewery and Café. Priding themselves on their high quality beers, the Harvest Moon has paired these creations with a menu full of delectable dishes. Must try’s include their vegetarian chilli served in a crispy tortilla bowl, Brunswick jumbo wings, cornmeal fried calamari, and their jumbo soft pretzel braids. Wash these down with their German Moonlight Kölschbier or their American Full Moon Pale Ale. The Harvest Moon is the perfect location for any occasion, from business lunches, to retirement parties, to family dinners, and can cater for up to 150 people. With great tasting food and flavourful beers, a visit to Harvest Moon proves to be a truly memorable tasting experience.
With its buzzing and electric atmosphere, it is rare to have an empty seat at Steakhouse 85. Decorated with a dark wood interior, this restaurant features a long bar and intimate booths. Naturally, the main attraction here is the steaks, ranging from a filet mignon to dry aged strip steak, and their pièce de résistance, their 40oz Porterhouse, which is aged 14 days, and presented sliced off the bone. However, if turf is not you’re thing, their surf is also worth noting, with the daily specials often featuring seafood dishes. For those with a sweet tooth, try their peanut butter chocolate mousse cake, their indulgent bananas Foster, and their mascarpone cheesecake. Since opening in 2008, Steakhouse 85 has been praised by critics, regulars and visitors alike. They also have private dining rooms for those extra special occasions. With live jazz every Friday and Saturday, an evening at Steakhouse 85 is one to remember.
Restaurant, South American, Spanish, Cuban, American, $$$
Fusing together the very best of South American culture and cuisine, Esquina Latina Restaurant is a lively yet chic venue located on Liberty Street. This casual restaurant is known for its tapas style food and authentic cocktails, making it the perfect location for any celebration or occasion. There is also the option to dine outside on their patio area. Furthermore, there is a gluten-free menu. Must try bites from their menu include their traditional Spanish tortilla, their Cuban style turnover, sautéed shrimps, and their savoury homemade Cuban corn tamales. With its colourful interior and helpful staff, a visit to Esquina Latina Restaurant will not leave you disappointed.
Bringing New Brunswick locals and visitors the very best of Italian and European food fare is Due Mari on Albany Street. The name is a translation of ‘two seas’ in Italian, and this inspires much of the restaurant’s menu, which focuses on seafood. However, if seafood isn’t for you, this quaint bistro also serves a great selection of signature handmade pasta dishes and succulently grilled meats. Key items from the menu include the chef’s selection of east and west coast oysters, saffron clam chowder, crispy calamari, and squid ink pasta. The menu is beautifully accompanied by a cocktail menu and a collection of wines from the major regions in Italy, as well as other bottles from France and the USA. For those looking for a more intimate evening, there is private and semi private dining spaces available. Although situated in the heart of the city, Due Mari will transport you to the cultural soul of Italy and Europe.
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Founders and owners Jimmy Cronk and Sean Hosty wanted to bring their love of food to the people of New Brunswick, and so Destination Dogs was born. Originally working in Clydz, the pair embarked on a mission to showcase the very best of local and international meats, with an emphasis on the humble sausage. From their worldwide travels, the duo has crafted a menu that highlights the flavours and culinary traditions from around the globe. Popular favourites from their amusing menu include the Cyclone, an all-beef hotdog, the Oscar, a chicken sausage, the Miami Hound Machine, and the Poi Boy which features wild boar. However, this is only a small portion of what is available. Since opening its doors in 2013, Destination Dogs has received rave reviews from critics and visitors, and is a must visit when in New Brunswick.
Vegetarians and vegans are also well represented in New Brunswick, with Veganized one of the most frequented alternative restaurants in the city. Priding themselves on their modern interpretation of vegan fare, Veganized has committed itself to bringing fresh and healthy eating to the New Jersey metropolis. Using only natural, organic and locally sourced ingredients, their menu’s dishes are made freshly every day. Try their timbale of black beans and sweet potato, or their off the grill oyster mushrooms, or their raw beet ravioli with herbed nut cheese ,you won’t be disappointed. They also have a selection of salads, wraps and sandwiches, which are perfect for a healthy and energy boosting lunch. For dinner, their burgers, pasta dishes and dogs are popular choices. If you’re looking for something a little different, then Veganized is worth a visit.
An intrinsic part of New Brunswick’s culinary scene, Old Man Rafferty’s, formerly known as The New Brunswick Habit, is located on the corner of Albany Street and George Street. Surrounded by the city’s theatres, there is always a buzzing atmosphere at this restaurant. Visitors to Old Man Rafferty’s can dine indoors in the main dining area, or outdoors in their garden, depending on the season. Their staff are attentive and friendly, and cater to your every need. There is also a deli and gourmet shop, so diners can try their favourite Old Man Rafferty dishes and desserts at home. The menu features dishes such as soups, salads, chicken entrees and seafood platters. Traditional American dishes are given a contemporary twist, with unique flavours and combinations of ingredients. For the true taste of New Brunswick, Old Man Rafferty’s is a must visit.
Old Queens at Rutgers University | (c) Rickyrab/WikiCommons
Positioning itself on Livingston Avenue, the cosy yet elegant Catherine Lombardi Restaurant has a dramatic view of the city. Gazing out from one of its 21 windows, diners can escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, whilst watching the world go by. The interior is decorated with two large fireplaces and a bar, creating a perfect oasis of calm. The restaurant has received a number of awards and accolades, such as the Wine Spectator’s Restaurant Wine List Award, and the Best of Award of Excellence. Catherine Lombardi is also environmentally friendly, as it was among the first restaurants to go green, by installing a solar-powered system on their roof. The restaurant is named after the owner Mark Pascal’s grandmother, and the menu revives her traditional Italian recipes, such as pastas and pizzas, giving them a modern twist. For the best of Italian food and flare, look no further than Catherine Lombardi Restaurant.