[Editor's note: This post first appeared in Pam's Matador Travel blog.]
I’VE LIVED IN Jersey City for over 1.5 years but still haven’t been to nearly enough restaurants. With that in mind, this list is bound to grow and change. However, I have tasted enough of what JC has to offer to give a few pointers.
JC has a large Indian population and therefore a wide selection of Indian restaurants ranging from fancy to simple take-out. Most of them are congregated on Newark Ave in India Square, just a couple of blocks northwest of Journal Square. These are my favorites:
The Village – A reasonably priced and nice sit-down restaurant. I’m a samosa junkie and theirs are exquisite. You can get dinner for two and have leftovers for about $40.
Paratha Junction – Specializes in different kinds of breads, some of which they stuff with savories (paratha means flat or layered bread)
Marco e Pepe – Might be JC’s crown jewel, though I don’t want to jump the gun. Regardless, this place can hold its own in terms of quality against some of the better high-end offerings in Manhattan. The food is probably best described as French- and Italian-influenced, but there is definitely a lot of creativity happening here.
My mouth still waters when I think of the butternut squash soup with apple and pesto I once had. The menu is always changing but they have regular fare including an excellent shaved fennel and arugula salad for $9.
My last meal was herb-roasted market vegetables with creme fraiche — their only veggie entree (apart from mac ‘n’ cheese). They also have an excellent beer and wine menu.
Wild Fusion – On Grove Street, just down from Marco e Pepe, this is a Thai-Japanese restaurant with other East Asian influences. Wild Fusion is not always fabulous but it is reliably good and reasonably priced. Their sushi is fresh and they have some excellent Thai dishes.
More – Although I prefer Wild Fusion, this other Asian fusion restaurant on the same street is pretty good in a pinch.
Pho Binh – This is my favorite Vietnamese place in JC. In fact, it’s the only one I eat at. If you’re a vegetarian, you should be aware that most — if not all — soups have a beef or chicken broth, but there are many other veggie options such as my favorite: tofu with lemongrass.
It has peppers, strips of thick tofu, a sweet lemongrass sauce, onions, and garlic. Depending how hungry you are, it can usually be stretched out into two meals.
Ddeul Restaurant – Located on West Side Ave near Lincoln Park, this place offers traditional Korean BBQ. It’s a favorite haunt of my sweetheart who is the more carnivorous of us, but they also have some great seafood dishes such as a squid stir-fry with veggies.
It seems to be a family-owned place and is usually not busy at all. Ddeul is the real deal — unassuming, excellent food, without all the glitz of NYC’s K-Town.
Liberty House Restaurant – A moderately priced seafood restaurant situated at the end of the marina in Liberty State Park. The view of the Hudson and the Manhattan skyline is worth the cost of the sometimes-overpriced food.
It’s not the best seafood in the tri-state area, but it’s still quite good. They have a decent selection of seafood appetizers including an excellent ceviche taster as well as oysters and sushi. Their prix fixe dinner is only $32 Tuesday through Thursday and includes three courses. For budgeters, it’s not a place to frequent, but when the weather is nice, it’s a lovely way to spend an evening.
In time I will get to every restaurant. But until then I have to go with some recommendations of others. Here are a few that I’ve heard are excellent:
If you’ve been to any of these I would love to get your feedback. Bon apetit!
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Pam left rural Indiana at 19 to live in NYC. After acting, playing in a rock band, cleaning houses and designing websites, she decided to be a physical anthropologist and a freelance writer on the side. You can read about her travel adventures plus more on Jersey City at http://redcattravels.blogspot.com.