The Best New Restaurants in New Jersey (2024)

Hungry for fresh dining experiences in 2024? Check out our hotly anticipated roundup of the best new restaurants in New Jersey.

These spots opened their doors in the last year and knocked the socks off our editors and restaurant critics, who spent the past year traversing the state to find the latest, greatest local dishes and drinks.

Bon appétit!

[RELATED: Vote in New Jersey Monthly’s Jersey Choice Restaurant Poll]

Blu on the Hudson

Weehawken

The Best New Restaurants in New Jersey (1)

Seductive, shareable starters at Blu on the Hudson. Photo: Joanna Lin

While some diners may come to Blu on the Hudson for its wondrous, unobstructed view of the Empire State Building, they will come back for its standout food, service and ambience. The menu is diverse and delectable, with luscious, well-made sushi, seductive, shareable starters, and masterful seafood and steaks, all finessed by executive chef JC Ortega. co*cktails are impeccably crafted, and wine pairings, by sommelier Adam Greer, are just right. Gratifyingly, desserts are generous and indulgent. Blu’s glamorous, modern design, all plush and shimmer, fosters an urbane, chatty air, like a big co*cktail party. A very big one. Blu has nearly 400 seats, indoors and out. And they are all getting filled. —KT Harrison
1200 Harbor Boulevard, 201-636-1200

The Best New Restaurants in New Jersey (2)

Buy our February 2024 issue here. Cover design: Mary Kate McDevitt

Boschetto

Montclair

For a fast-casual restaurant, Boschetto certainly feels more like fine dining—and that’s what the faces behind the restaurant (restaurateur Robert Spina, his partner, Ryan Held, and Michelin-starred chef Joseph Sergentakis) are aiming for. With its stellar regional Italian cuisine and gleaming new digs, a lunch or dinner here is worth every penny. Order at the counter, and your food will be brought to your table inside or on the spacious patio—but don’t skimp! Start with the pomodoro salad of ripe, marinated tomatoes with stracciatella cheese, chunks of marinated bread, and chili. Then consider sharing pastas, such as the Amatriciana (bucatini with guanciale, a type of cured pork, and chili). Not to be missed are the zucchine fritte; the pizza is also fabulous. —Jacqueline Mroz
111 Grove Street, 973-509-1095

Café le Jardin

Audubon

Spreading the gospel of French food, Rich and Christina Cusack set out this past spring to broaden the audience for this often misunderstood haute cuisine by removing the hauteness. In comparison to their white-tablecloth restaurant June BYOB in Collingswood, Café le Jardin offers a sunny, bistro vibe and a more affordable menu—while still showcasing the formal training and superior talents of Chef Rich, who, for more than a decade, cooked beside some of the region’s top French masters. Patrons can dig into a cheese board groaning with pungent cheeses imported weekly from France, slurp up the white-wine broth of the moules frites, and relish the Mornay sauce bathing tender scallops in coquilles St. Jacques. To build a steady clientele for this off-the-beaten-path location, the Cusacks introduced a $10 Sunday sandwich menu and a reasonably priced $35 tasting menu on Mondays. —Jill P. Capuzzo
34 W. Merchant Street, 856-617-4800

Coniglio’s

Morristown

The Best New Restaurants in New Jersey (3)

Coniglio’s chef-owner Nino Coniglio and his wife, Shealyn, dig in. Photo: Jennifer Potttheiser

This retro-chic BYO pizzeria’s swaggering, charismatic chef/owner, Nino Coniglio, “grew up a wild kid in Bridgewater,” he says. “Pizza kitchens saved my life.” With his “Cirque du Soleil tricks with pizza dough,” he went on to rack up international trophies for his pies. Chopped appearances and a robust social-media following created wood-fired pizzerias in Brooklyn, then Manhattan, and now, Morristown. Coniglio’s chemical-free menu beguiles with his handcrafted pies, pastas, parms, heroes, salads, rosticcerie (Sicilian snacks), breads, bagels, pastries, and fountain-spritzed co*kes and egg creams. Coniglio, wife Shealyn (a pizza influencer), and baby Penny’s commute is a three-minute stroll across the Morristown Green. “This town is paradise,” he marvels. Pizza paradise, too. —KTH
11 South Street, 973-723-9430

Ember & Eagle

Eatontown

In just a few months, chef Ryan DePersio’s pop-up restaurant has become a go-to spot in Monmouth County. Nestled inside the Suneagles Golf Club, this steak house is drawing raves for its inventive dishes, along with its updates on traditional recipes. After warming up by the wonderful fire in the lobby, start with the heavenly housemade potato-and-onion focaccia. Then move on to the crudo, including the raw scallops served with turmeric sauce and cilantro. The Caesar salad, which comes with hidden layers of prosciutto tucked inside, is surprisingly delightful. Don’t miss DePersio’s signature ricotta gnocchi with a sweet-sausage bolognese—they’re pillowy soft and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. The filet mignon is impeccably cooked; order it with a side of creamy mashed potatoes. This pop-up is set to become a permanent restaurant in another building on the property in a year or so when construction is complete—but don’t wait. By then, it may be impossible to get a reservation. —JM
Suneagles Golf Club, 2000 Lowther Drive, 732-443-3009

[RELATED: How 5 Top New Jersey Chefs Stay Fit, Even Around All That Food]

Fusionista

Montclair

This new, modern Peruvian restaurant may be small in size, but its food has big ambitions. The fusion restaurant, which also combines culinary techniques from Italy, China and Japan, boasts flavorful takes on typical Peruvian dishes, such as lomo saltado, a traditional Peruvian stir fry with strips of beef, onions and tomatoes and topped with French fries. The papa y chocl*to Huancaina—fried potatoes that are usually served smothered with a cheesy Huancaina sauce—here is delicately drizzled with the sauce instead. The ceviche, the restaurant’s specialty, was tasty, but the risotto marino, with seafood such as mussels, calamari and shrimp, was a real standout, perfectly cooked and delicious. Don’t miss the rice pudding for dessert, which comes with raisins, cinnamon, anise, homemade dark caramel and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. —JM
14 Park Street, 862-846-4874

Gioia Mia

Montclair

Diners may have been disappointed when the popular Fascino closed after two decades, but once they try its replacement, they will be delighted. From the moment guests step inside, the low lighting, soothing background music, and inviting, red-leather booths will make them feel happy and relaxed. Now owned by two former Fascino employees, including executive chef Logan Ramirez, Gioia Mia more than lives up to expectations. Start with the perfectly roasted oysters, which are delicately breaded and lemony. The scallops, served over saffron seafood paella, are heavenly, with sundried tomatoes giving them an unusually sweet tang. The menu is interesting, with appealing dishes that don’t require a gastronomic dictionary to decipher. The experience here is quite enjoyable. —JM
331 Bloomfield Avenue, 973-233-0350

Kinjo

Newark

The Best New Restaurants in New Jersey (4)

“The flavors are bold, flavorful and exciting,” chef Jamie Knott says of the dishes at his new restaurant, Kinjo in Newark. Photo: Courtesy of Kinjo/Jeffrey Elkashab

Jamie Knott, one of the top chefs in the state, recently opened Kinjo, his first Japanese restaurant. Located in downtown Newark, it’s become a go-to hot spot for the hip foodies in the city and nearby. Knott always loved Asian food and flavors and wanted to try his hand at something new. The result was Kinjo. With its relaxed, Asian esthetic, Kinjo is a treat for the senses. But the food is the real reason to come here. From bao buns with a smash burger inside to dumplings to the temaki rolls to the noodle dishes, this place is worth the trip. Read more about Kinjo here. —JM
159 Washington Street, Newark, 973-944-2828

Lita

Aberdeen

The Best New Restaurants in New Jersey (5)

Chef David Viana says his grandmother’s Portuguese cooking inspired the food at his new restaurant, Lita, in Aberdeen. Photo: Courtesy of Lita/ET Schindler

Celebrated chef David Viana’s respect for his Portuguese grandmother’s recipes and his mom’s hospitality inspired Lita, his latest restaurant and a vibrant addition to the Jersey Shore. Named after Viana’s mother, Rosa Lita, the Iberian restaurant is the third project for Viana and managing director Neilly Robinson, the duo behind Heirloom Kitchen in Old Bridge and Heirloom at the St. Laurent in Asbury Park. Only a three-course, prix-fixe menu ($78) is available, and includes starters such as rissóis de camarão, crisp and creamy shrimp turnovers, and delicate saffron spaghetti with braised chicken sofrito. Mains are creative and hearty: risotto topped with cold crab and broccoli rabe tempura, an elevated feijoada with smoked pork belly, and tender duck. Esquire recently named the restaurant one of the best new spots in America. —Kelly-Jane Cotter
1055 Route 34, 732-696-8517

Maddy Rose at Liberty House

Jersey City

Long-lasting restaurants keep up with their clientele in ways that are subtle or sweeping. Liberty House, the initial venture of Landmark Hospitality in 2001, rebooted its mood, menu and moniker in 2023. Maddy Rose honors 30-year-old Maddy Cretella, the next generation of Landmark ownership. (Landmark also runs restaurants and event venues including Felina and the Ryland Inn.) Her social outreach and modern spirit have enticed a new cohort of Hudson County diners to this spot for its festive air, hopping bars, and dining environments ranging from barside high-tops to private cabanas. Landmark culinary director Anthony Bucco’s sunny, seductive, Mediterranean menu favors seafood, salads, steak and sides, all ultra-fresh, simply prepared and flavor packed. What hasn’t changed at Jersey City’s reinvented icon is the dazzling Manhattan view. —KTH
76 Audrey Zapp Drive, 201-395-0300

The Mainstay

Asbury Park

Part bar, part restaurant, part comfortable downtown lounge, complete with rattan couches and a beachy-yet-hipsterish aesthetic that matches the town of Asbury Park perfectly, the Mainstay is the latest opening from chef James Avery, the result of a complete reimagining of his former seafood mecca, the Bonney Read. The restaurant’s menu is mostly straightforward, but drizzles in occasional surprises. Standards like potato skins and calamari share space with Korean beef bao buns and an impressively creative and well-executed co*cktail program. Avery has wisely chosen to include some of the more beloved items from the Bonney Read, too, like the fan-favorite Bonney Burger, as well as an ale-battered fish with housemade tartar sauce that is simply unmatched. —Ryan Loughlin
525 Cookman Avenue, 732-455-3352

Maison Bleue

Cape May

French restaurants are a rarity in Cape May, making the experience at Maison Bleue feel somewhat exclusive without even trying. But despite all the date-impressing dishes you’ll find on the menu, the team here has managed to pull off a decidedly non-stuffy vibe. Navy-and-white-striped walls add a subtle sense of beachside whimsy, while executive chef Anthony Depasquale’s BYO menu cancans brilliantly between exquisite French dishes—the duck confit with port wine-cherry jam and cippolini is the single best version of the dish I have ever eaten—and perfectly executed classics for the less adventurous, such as the grass-fed Wagyu cheeseburger, which comes topped with a wonderfully earthy cave-aged cheddar and a black-garlic aioli that makes the very idea of ketchup seem almost silly by comparison. —RL
311 Mansion Street, 609-435-5554

Marcus Live! Bar & Grille

East Rutherford

Tucked away in the cavernous American Dream mall is celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson’s newest venture, Marcus Live! At first, it feels a little like you’re stepping into a restaurant at Disney World, but the food transports you somewhere much grander. With a menu typical of Samuelsson’s famed cooking style, which combines international influences with traditional cuisines, it features hot-honey salmon, so-good-you’ll-lick-your-fingers brown-sugar wings, perfect cornbread, and delicate snapper ceviche served with leche de tigre, amarillo sauce and plantain chips. The service is warm, and executive chef Ernest Bent, who lives in Wayne, won’t let you down. Don’t leave without ordering the banana pudding, which comes with a praline wafer, swirled salted caramel and caramelized bananas. It’s worth a visit just for that dessert. —JM
1 American Dream Way, 201-340-0076

Maru Sushi

Ridgewood

Though Ridgewood possesses one of Bergen County’s premier restaurant downtowns, this new addition is a bit off the beaten path. While most restaurants are clustered around East Ridgewood Avenue, Maru is tucked away in a strip mall about a block east, where it shares space with a pizza place, a hair salon, a furniture store and a laundromat. But don’t let the modest exterior fool you. The decor inside is minimalist, with wood panels and dark colors, which set off the vivid dishes. While you can order a variety of familiar rolls (some are named for local towns and roads), there are more striking options as well, such as the shrimp lollipop roll, with jalapeño and Thai chili sauce, and the geisha roll, which adds fruit (apple, mango) and vegetable (asparagus) flavors. The head chef, Ian Ryu, has more than two decades of experience in the sushi world, and not only does it show, but the restaurant shows it off. The omakase options, selected by the chef, arrive in boxes divided into individual compartments. The grandest of them, the Maru Grand Omakase Table, includes 21 courses. The restaurant is also open for lunch. —Elena Green
94 N. Maple Avenue, 732-410-8023

Meximodo

Metuchen

The Best New Restaurants in New Jersey (6)

Meximodo’s corn flan. Photo: Courtesy of Meximodo/Picture Perfect Studios

Located in a sleepy commuter town, this new hot spot offers diners a regionally inspired menu of traditional and contemporary cuisine in a fabulous venue. The restaurant boasts giant flowers hanging from the ceiling and traditional Mexican crafts and artwork, including a massive painting of a La Catrina-style Day of the Dead face in the bar. Meximodo claims to feature the tri-state’s largest collection of tequilas, mezcals and other agave spirits, which are worth a try. The delicious food is created by executive chef Antonio Carballo, who is just 26 and hails from Mexico. Make sure to try the Acapulco-style ceviche, with shrimp and avocado, or the pollo con mole, a house specialty of split-roasted chicken and mole poblano. For dessert, don’t miss the delicate churros served with Mexican chocolate and dulce de leche dipping sauces, or the spectacular corn flan. —JM
5 Pearl Street, 732-395-7767

Pasta Ramen

Montclair

Reservations at this spot, serving an unusual combination of Italian/Japanese food in downtown Montclair, are the hottest tickets in town, and tables fill up quickly on the first of each month, when the (online) reservation book opens. But then again, chef Robbie Felice has long been a New Jersey Monthly favorite. All three of his restaurants—Pasta Ramen, Viaggio in Wayne, and Osteria Crescendo in Westwood—made it onto our 2023 Best Restaurants list. Some of the most popular dishes at Pasta Ramen are Japanese Wagyu steaks, clams focaccia, and calamari fritti in spicy miso sauce. “l feel very lucky at 32 to have opened a concept that is not well known, is original and different, and I’m really grateful that everyone loves it,” Felice told NJM last year. —JM
6 S. Fullerton Avenue, no phone

Red Horse by David Burke

Bernardsville

Hazlet-raised David Burke, global celebrity chef, continues to cultivate his home state with exciting eateries; he’s the Johnny Appleseed of Jersey restaurants. His latest is a subtle yet stirring refresh of Bernardsville’s cherished, 1906-vintage Bernards Inn, at whose restaurant diners can relish sublime seafood, steak, connoisseur co*cktails and full-bodied wines. Executive chef Chris Grare, protégé of the legendary Gray Kunz, works his kitchen magic on transformative dishes like tea-smoked duck breast paired with a foie-gras dumpling. Burke, who says the town of Bernardsville has been won over by the inn’s metamorphosis, is toying with turning the basem*nt party space into “a comedy club, wine bar, nightclub, sushi bar, any or all,” because “Jerseyans want great food and a good time, too.” —KTH
27 Minebrook Road, 908-766-0002

The Roosevelt

East Rutherford

Step into this new, upscale restaurant and lounge, and you’ll be transported back to the Roaring Twenties, with its saloon, mahogany bar, vintage chandeliers and piano. It even has a delightful speakeasy hidden away in the basem*nt, which you enter through a door cleverly hidden behind a bookshelf; it’s named after FDR’s mistress, Lucy Mercer. The food hits all the right notes, too. The Roosevelt offers elevated standards such as steak frites—a perfectly cooked 10-ounce skirt steak topped with chimichurri sauce—as well as a well-executed shrimp scampi and delicately fried calamari served with lemon-chili aioli. The other reason to come to the Roosevelt? The friendly and helpful waitstaff. Once a month, the ebullient singer/DJ, Drew, belts out his own versions of crooner classics. By the time we left, we felt like we had made a whole new group of friends. —JM
356 Paterson Avenue, 201-713-3145

Shumi

Leonia

Shumi Leonia raises the bar in Bergen County—the sushi bar. Masterminded by sushi senseis Kunihiko “Ike” Aikasa and Seoul-born, Jersey-schooled David Seo, this is the elegant sibling of the original Shumi in Ridgewood. The Leonia restaurant showcases a dedicated omakase room with eight seats and myriad courses of exquisitely presented fresh fish, shellfish, Wagyu beef and other rarities. Patrons at the main dining room’s tables and sushi bar savor an extensive à la carte menu of innovative, succulent sushi pieces, rolls and salads, plus teriyaki, ramen, lunch bento boxes and pizza (yellowtail-topped). —KTH
354 Broad Avenue, 201-272-6577

Strickland’s Steakhouse

Woodbridge

With a new eatery stylishly set in a former bank, Woodbridge native Michael Strickland brings the chops he earned running New York City eateries to enhance his hometown’s dining scene. Strickland’s Steakhouse does just that. The interior, spearheaded by Strickland’s wife and partner, Jessica, gives a wink to the circa-early 1900s-era building’s former incarnation, with portraits of infamous bank robbers in the lounge, which flaunts Art Deco-inspired chandeliers and comfy leather banquettes. Upstairs, the spacious dining room eschews white tablecloths and plays up Palladian windows and original brick walls. The one-time bank vault now serves as a dry ager for Strickland’s prime beef, which spends no less than 35 days in the chamber. The staff is well versed on the menu and serve as excellent guides through the classic dishes that are executed with signature touches. Beyond the expertly prepared beef dishes are offerings like the crispy-skin Ora King salmon, dry aged and served on a bed of sublime Swiss chard with mushroom, shish*to and green-apple chutney. —Deborah P. Carter
106 Main Street, 732-510-7913

Toca Vez

Basking Ridge

The Best New Restaurants in New Jersey (7)

Toca Vez’s dining room features an open kitchen and a vibrant mural by local artist Jill Caporoso. Photo: Courtesy of Jennifer Sofia Studios

A high-energy atmosphere, fantastic food and two bars serving extraordinary co*cktails? Count us in! At this vibrant Mexican-inspired steak house, the two cuisines fuse deliciously. Sizzling 8- to 24-ounce steaks can be enjoyed solo or to share, alongside well-executed Mexican staples like tacos and enchiladas, seafood and more. Dishes are simple and fresh, yet elevated—and pack a lot of flavor, says Mick Gjevukaj, founder of boutique hospitality group Enjoy With Gusto, which runs Toca Vez. Little things at this bi-level space add a personal touch, like the co*cktail menu featuring hand-drawn drinks by an artistic staff member. We hear the restaurant has become a favorite of local pro athletes, too. Former Giants quarterback Eli Manning and Jets QB Aaron Rodgers have both dined here (separately). —Julie Gordon
95 Morristown Road, 908-588-2900

No one knows New Jersey like we do. Sign up for one of our free newsletters here. Want a print magazine mailed to you? Purchase an issue from our online store.

The Best New Restaurants in New Jersey (2024)

References

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Catherine Tremblay

Last Updated:

Views: 5749

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (67 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Catherine Tremblay

Birthday: 1999-09-23

Address: Suite 461 73643 Sherril Loaf, Dickinsonland, AZ 47941-2379

Phone: +2678139151039

Job: International Administration Supervisor

Hobby: Dowsing, Snowboarding, Rowing, Beekeeping, Calligraphy, Shooting, Air sports

Introduction: My name is Catherine Tremblay, I am a precious, perfect, tasty, enthusiastic, inexpensive, vast, kind person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.