The Best Restaurants In Jersey City
Whether or not you live in Jersey City, you should eat at the 21 places on this guide.
Jersey City may have a reputation for being NYC’s less-cool younger sister from across the Hudson, but this not-really-an-underdog city has so much more to offer than just a great view of the Manhattan skyline, (moderately) cheaper rent, and a train system that’s infinitely cleaner and less chaotic than the MTA.
For starters, it’s one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the country, and the food scene reflects it. You’ll find dozens of Indian restaurants, Caribbean spots, Italian delis, taquerias, Filipino bakeries, omakase-style sushi spots, and more within Jersey City’s 21 square miles. Pepper in dozens of parks, lots of fun bars, and no city tax, and you have plenty of reasons to take a quick trip through the Holland Tunnel. Here’s how to eat your way from neighborhood to neighborhood at the best restaurants in town.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
Razza is to Jersey City what The Eiffel Tower is to Paris or Britney Spears is to Kentwood, Louisiana. It’s one of the first things people mention when talking about the city, and it draws crowds from all over the country. That’s because it’s home to some of the very best pizza we’ve ever had, and that’s saying quite a lot.
A chalkboard in the middle of the industrial-looking dining room illustrates where they source ingredients like heirloom tomatoes, wild yeast and flour for the dough, and mozzarella and ricotta. (Hint: it’s all from The Garden State). The pizza has a thin, springy crust—the outer rim gets charred in the wood-burning oven in the open kitchen, but it’s still fluffy and salty underneath the crisp outside—and excellent toppings like pine nuts and raisins on the Di Natale and raclette and leeks on the Potato Pie.
photo credit: David A Lee
This corner spot on Grove and Grand is almost always the answer to “What’s next?” on a given Thursday night after 9pm. Space is tight, but you’ll make friends fast after bumping into the person next to you as you head inside. If you can, squeeze into a spot at the high tops where you’ll be eye-level to the walls lined with vintage photos and more recently-taken shots of the LA Dodgers.
The menu is as straightforward as their plating: you can mix and match four tacos for under $15, which you’ll either receive on a paper plate or in a plastic basket lined with wax paper. The carnitas, bistec, chorizo, and barbacoa are a winning combo, but you could certainly swap out two of those for the nopalitos or lengua.
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photo credit: Nisha Vedi Pawar
A long-time resident of Grove Street, this downtown Jersey City Indian-Pakistani restaurant has become a neighborhood favorite. While their interiors and menus have been updated over the years, their biryani remains a classic, along with their chicken karahi and reshmi kebabs.
Make sure to save room for dessert—their gulab jamuns are buttery soft when eaten hot. Head here for a sit-down lunch or casual dinner any day of the week except Mondays, when they're closed.
The Best Indian Restaurants In Jersey City
Mathews Food & Drink
The menu at Mathew’s is big and varied, which makes it a great place to take an indecisive friend group that can barely decide on what movie to watch, much less a restaurant for dinner. There are twists on classic Southern dishes, like fried shrimp with a homemade lemon remoulade, plus squid ink bucatini, burgers, a pimento cheese BLT, and jerk mahi mahi.
The decor is equally eclectic: there’s a palm tree wallpaper-lined bar across from the modern dining area, and the staff is a fun bunch that’ll eagerly suggest the best cocktails. Ours is the Practice What You Peach, a summery mix of whiskey, sweet tea, peach juice, and lemon.
Yes, Ani makes fantastic ramen, but their appetizers are top-notch, too. If you can handle some heat, order the spicy miso ramen: a chicken broth-based ramen with miso tare, roasted vegetables, and pork belly. (And if you can’t, stick with the shoyu.) We also love the shrimp bao, chili charred edamame, and the pulled pork donburi rice bowls. This is a casual spot that’s great for meeting up with a few friends for lunch over good food, drinks, and music—the playlist is mostly from the ‘90s and early aughts.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
Kitchen Step is a warm, familiar-feeling spot that’s great for an intimate dinner with someone you’re close with, like a partner you’ve been seeing for at least four months, college friends you still like, or your parents when they’re in town for a visit. Mismatched plates and bowls look like they came straight out of a kitchen cabinet, and the menu includes classic comforts like pork chops, chicken breast, brussels sprouts, branzino, and mac and cheese.
Try to grab a seat near one of the large street-facing windows or on the sidewalk near the fire pit for an upfront view of Jersey Ave. Make a reservation for dinner, especially on the weekends when your chances of snagging a walk-in table are slim. Brunch is a bit more flexible, but it’s best to book ahead if you want one of those spots outside.
It’s hard to walk by Uncle Momo and not get pulled in by the smell of their kebabs. During the afternoon, this French Lebanese bistro is consumed by the mid-day hustle and whirr of an espresso machine. Things slow down at night, when couples on third dates who are about to have the “are we dating-dating?” conversation can be found chatting over the candle-lit tables. The Moroccan slow-cooked lamb tajine ranks high on our list for its tender shanks and rich, savory broth. But if you’re in the mood for finger foods, the beef shawarma or Momo Pitza (their take on pizza which includes various toppings on fresh pita bread) will not disappoint.
photo credit: Rebecca Ferrier
Battello is located at the end of a pier, and its view of the Manhattan skyline is one of the best in town. It’s a popular spot for weddings—so popular that their website has an entire page for the days you won’t be able to eat or drink there unless you’re attending one.
The menu is seafood-focused and on the pricier side for the area: a plate of buttery-smooth scallops costs $46, but portion sizes are decent—the lobster ravioli is a substantial plate of pillowed pasta filled with hearty chunks of Maine lobster. If you’re not trying to spend that kind of cash on a weeknight, go early and grab some snacks at the bar or at one of the outside tables in the summer.
photo credit: Frank Oudeman
Domodomo, which you may know from its original Greenwich Village location, is one of the first sushi spots to bring omakase-style dining to Jersey City. If the six-course “Domokase” isn’t the vibe you’re going for, you can have a more casual experience by ordering the sushi and handroll course for a little bit of everything: a seared salmon over guacamole appetizer, nine pieces of chef’s choice sushi, and two hand rolls (we’re partial to the shrimp tempura topped with housemade mango salsa).
If you stop by around noon, expect a crowd from the neighboring businesses near Exchange Place. And know that if you have Domodomo delivered for a team lunch at the office, you will be awarded employee of the month immediately.
photo credit: Hamilton Inn
On weekends when the weather’s nice, you’re guaranteed to see two things in the brownstone-filled neighborhood of Hamilton Park: parents taking their kids to the playground, and crowds standing outside Hamilton Inn waiting for their brunch reservation.
Menu highlights include their cornbread french toast (three perfect, lightly charred squares topped with cinnamon butter and homemade blackberry jam) and their eggs benedict (though you can't go wrong with the Inn Burger, either).
Make a reservation in advance, and try to max out your party at four people, as space is limited in the L-shaped interior. If you’re too popular for that, take your big group of friends to Camp Hamilton, an enclosed outdoor space on the side of the building that has an airstream bar and picnic tables. And if you’re craving BBQ, head over to Hamilton Pork, a kind of Mexican-influenced, Texas barbeque spot from the same team that’s right next door.
Milk Sugar Love Creamery & Bakeshop
Milk Sugar Love Creamery & Bakery has the best ice cream in Jersey City, hands down. While you can absolutely order a cone of vanilla bean or a cup of strawberry and leave perfectly happy, try one of their funkier flavors, like matcha with chunks of Oreos or the honey lavender. They also do playful ice cream sandwiches like the Birthday Sprinkle (two confetti sugar cookies with vanilla ice cream and sprinkles) and the Red Velvet Dream (red velvet white chocolate cookies with cream cheese ice cream), plus blondies, brownies, ice cream cakes, and more.
The Heights is a close-knit community, and diners at Corto are typically neighbors that turned into friends. The Italian menu is built around what’s available locally and seasonally—if you ask your server to tell you about the Angry Chicken (a dish that includes tomato, guanciale, and calabrian chili), you’re going to learn quite a bit about where those ingredients came from.
Come here for something special: a milestone birthday, anniversary, or a dinner celebrating the fact that your newly-engaged friend decided not to have a bridal party at her wedding. The walls are lined with family photos and knickknacks, which adds to the comfortable and homey feel of the place. In the summer, sit outside on the patio that’s sheltered by a wooden pergola and surrounded by flowers.
Bread And Salt
There will be a line at Bread and Salt when it’s actually open, which is only Fridays through Sundays. It moves quickly, but even if it didn't, we’d suggest you wait it out: their breads, pastries, pizza, and sandwiches are exceptional.
This takeout-only spot makes Romana pizza that tastes like it’s straight out of an oven in Campo de' Fiori—the Pizza Rossa is perfectly simple with just tomatoes, olive oil, salt, and oregano, as is the Pizza Mozzarella. Sometimes, you’ll find a special on the menu, but it’s rare. When you do, order it. And don’t leave without trying whatever Italian pastries are available.
photo credit: David A Lee
White Mana Diner
A burger and fries from White Mana Diner in The Heights is a rite of passage for anyone within 20 miles of Jersey City. Built for the 1939 World’s Fair, it’s cash-only and primarily for quick counter service. Come with a twenty-dollar bill and leave with two heaping plastic bags of food, which—in addition to a burger or chicken sandwich and fries—should include onion rings and a shake. Basically, everything you could crave at a Mets game without the stadium prices.
photo credit: David A Lee
New Jersey is full of Italian delis, and Andrea Salumeria is one of its best. This family-owned, brick-lined storefront has small aisles stacked with imported Italian groceries, dried meats, and fresh homemade mozzarella alongside their specialty sandwiches, salads, and pastas.
Come for lunch and order one of the five sandwich choices, though know that The Combo (with ham, salami, sopressata, capicola, mozzarella, provolone, and sweet peppers) is the undisputed hero of them all. Try to beat the lunch rush by coming before noon. If that’s not an option, the wait will be worth it. There’s no seating, but you can take your sandwich to one of the nearby parks—Riverview-Fisk is just a few blocks away.
15 Fox Place
15 Fox Place isn’t like having dinner in someone’s home—it is having dinner in someone’s home. Though the owners don’t live upstairs anymore, every room in this house on a residential street in Journal Square is still decorated with wedding pictures and family mementos. The food is Italian-American, and while the courses on the $95 set menu change nightly, you can expect a lot of filling family-style dishes. Come hungry (and with your own bottle of wine—it’s BYO), because the six-course meal is hefty.
After around five appetizers of things like polenta arrabbiata and eggplant stuffed with fontinella, there are a couple pastas followed by entrees like chicken roulade, and then desserts. You’ll definitely need a reservation, and you have to make one over the phone. Don’t worry, you can do it.
photo credit: Nisha Vedi Pawar
Bring the family for a relaxed sit-down dinner at this husband-and-wife-run restaurant that specializes in North Indian food. You can’t miss their tandoor items—the chicken and paneer tikkas are a must. Head there early (or better yet, preorder in advance through their website) if you want to score their paneer ke sholay that’s made of thin paneer sheets wrapped around finely chopped, braised vegetables like cabbage, peppers, onions, and carrots. They’re incredible, but sell out often.
photo credit: Nisha Vedi Pawar
Korai Kitchen is now takeout or delivery only, which you can easily order from their website whenever you’re craving homestyle Bangladeshi food. Choose from fall-off-the-bone goat biryani, tender rohu fish curry, or buttery soft aloo bhorta. Expect large portions, plus a weekly special menu featuring dishes like chicken roast and hilsa fish curry from this mother-daughter-run spot.
Rasoi is one of the many great options in Jersey City’s Little India. It focuses on dishes from Northern India, and is one of our favorite places in the area for group dinners. Get a few orders of puri and a bunch of shareable entrees, like the tender, deeply spiced lamb rogan josh or a platter of various meats and vegetables cooked in a tandoori oven. Families and larger groups are most often seen here, but if you’re running solo and craving some samosas, you can place an order to-go as well.
Philippine Bread House
You’ll find Philippine Bread House in a small shopping plaza with two other Filipino businesses in Jersey City’s Five Corners. The move: swing by in the morning and load up on sweet and squishy ensaymadas, coco buns, pan de sal, ube cakes, bibingka galapong, and whatever else speaks to you from behind the pastry cases or in the well-stocked pre-packaged displays. $10 (which is their credit card minimum) will get you far, but no one’s stopping you from over-ordering and freezing your haul as a little treat for your future self. If you come during lunch, plan on also ordering one of their hot-dish combos that come with rice and your pick of different stews or other meat and seafood dishes.
There aren’t many restaurants in Bergen Lafayette, and Harry’s Daughter is one of the few Caribbean spots and the only one with a bar in Jersey City. Order a rum punch at the Art Deco bar (which is rumored to have come off a ship in the 1940s) and the rich, perfectly thick curry goat or the tender jerk chicken egg rolls. You’ll probably hear some Bob Marley remixes from the DJ, as well as old-school RnB and 2000s hip-hop. Catch the live band on Wednesday evenings and Reggae in the Summer on Sunday evenings. And on Thursdays, the rum punch is only $8, all day.