New Jersey Dishes Out a Fresh New Culinary Scene

a basket of strawberries sitting on a bed of straw

Located between New York City and Philadelphia, New Jersey is packed with enlightening attractions — from Princeton’s classic campus to the world’s first boardwalk and oldest operating lighthouse to Thomas Edison’s laboratory. Add in 130 miles of Atlantic shoreline, amusement parks and landmarks, and you’ll discover why New Jersey is the ideal touring destination. Perhaps one of the best things New Jersey dishes out is food. And lots of it. From raw bars to exquisite dining spreads to signature bites served on rooftops with a glass of top-notch local Jersey wine, of course, and some of the most abundantly fresh produce on the East Coast. I mean, who hasn’t savored the flavor of a perfectly ripe Jersey tomato?

Fluent in Multi-Cultured Cuisine

For innovative dining that showcases an aromatic blend of authentic international options, New Jersey delivers deliciously. Multi-cultural cuisine is a favorite among Garden State locals and tourists alike and a representation of the diverse ethnicities that populate the state. Italian, Japanese, Indian, Cuban, Portuguese and fusion specialty restaurants can be found in every region. And the options continue to grow, literally. Many New Jersey farms are now cultivating ingredients used in Asian, Latin American and Caribbean fare. A glimpse at the bounty of our crops reveals exotic peppers, squashes, eggplants and greens alongside traditional corn, tomatoes and cucumbers.

Spaces Seasoned with Unique Experiences

Expect a forkful of creativity on your next dining adventure in The Garden State. Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament serves dinner amid two hours of live jousting and swordsmanship while the Pilsner Haus Biergarten slings Austro-Hungarian dishes in an authentic European-inspired beer hall. Spectacular views are on the menu at Alice’s on Lake Hopatcong and McLoone’s Boathouse, nestled into the South Mountain Recreation area, while the serve staff at fusion restaurant Dragonfly is actually a fleet of robotic-assisted cats. Pull up a chair during a (simulated) tropical storm in the Rainforest Café, dine mobster style in The Kitchen Consigliere or savor just-caught seafood from a docked schooner at The Lobster House.

A Dash of the Outdoors

The dining climate has evolved, and New Jersey’s culinary spaces have kept up with the pace. Restaurant-goers are looking for elevated tastes in fun alfresco environments. Luckily The Garden State has plenty of panoramic views to wine and dine to. Whether basking in the warm sun on the patio of an eatery or taking in sweeping views from a rooftop bar, New Jersey has become a hotspot for dining alfresco.

In North Jersey, guests at Haven, named “One of the World’s 16 Most Spectacular Waterfront Restaurants” by Architectural Digest, are treated to striking views of the Hudson River and Manhattan skyline, while diners at TOWN bar + kitchen partake in exemplary rooftop dining complete with a cozy fireplace. Although some debate if Central Jersey really exists, its supreme culinary scene certainly does. Rooney’s offers coastal cuisine on a deck overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, and Witherspoon Grill serves up classic American eats on a spacious brick patio in the heart of leafy Princeton. South Jersey answers with Ventura’s Greenhouse Bar + Grill, a menu of casual fare in the fresh air with views of the ocean and Lucy the Elephant. Meanwhile, The Surfing Pig dishes out BBQ with a view of Otten’s Basin.

Growing Bolder in The Garden State

The Garden State is synonymous with produce. And not just any produce – zingy, zesty, eye-catching fruits and vegetables heralded by many as the absolute freshest on the East Coast. This summer, take your pick of blueberries, raspberries, corn, peppers, famous Jersey tomatoes, you name it. Support for local farmers is just as limitless, as Jerseyans frequent farmers markets, roadside stands, U-Pick farms and orchards up and down the state. And for wine lovers, New Jersey’s wineries are not to missed. With 50+ wineries and vineyards, tasting tours, festivals and even grape-crushing parties are plentiful.

Tracing The Anthony Bourdain Food Trail

Discover the New Jersey culinary roots of the late Anthony Bourdain, celebrity chef, best-selling author and globe-trotting food and travel documentarian on this designated food trail. The Anthony Bourdain Food Trail pays tribute to Bourdain’s childhood growing up in Leonia, New Jersey and summers spent at the Jersey Shore and spotlights 10 New Jersey restaurants featured on CNN’s Emmy Award-winning Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.

Craving culture-rich menus, unique experiences and fresh field-to-fork favorites served riverside to rooftops? See what New Jersey is dishing out. You’ll be glad you did.

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