The Best Restaurants in New Jersey:  2021 Picks

Best NJ Restaurants
Best New Jersey Restaurants

Our picks for the best restaurants in New Jersey for the year 2021 stand above and apart from the pack of 20,000 + other New Jersey restaurants.

The criteria for our picks are based on food quality, ambiance, level of service, operations, and a chef who has achieved and has set a high bar for culinary excellence. These chefs are industry trend setters.

Of course, if you are looking for that exceptional dining experience, be prepared to pay more for a top restaurant. The best restaurants incur higher costs to achieve this distinction and need to pass them on in the form of higher price.

In past years, the best restaurants have been characterized by critics as "Fine Dining" restaurants. Today the trend is moving away from the stuffier, old-world style of dining to a more casual setting with a more approachable menu.

The top restaurant industry trend setters have begun to identify the top upscale restaurants as either: Chef-Inspired Fine Dining, Chef-Inspired Casual Dining, or Contemporary Casual.

Our picks for the “best” restaurants come from the best chef-driven restaurants; the Chef-Inspired Fine Dining, and the Chef-Inspired Casual Dining restaurants.




The Best New Jersey Chef-Inspired Fine Dining Restaurants

Cafe Matisse
Cafe Matisse
Rutherford, NJ
Website
Cafe Matisse is a destination, upscale "Chef - Inspired Fine Dining" restaurant and a great place to celebrate a special occasion or an intimate romantic occasion. Located in a historic building that was originally a horse and buggy firehouse, this restored building has been elegantly done-up with influences by French artist Henri Matisse. Serves a well-executed, eclectic menu, prepared using high quality local and seasonal ingredients.
Restaurant Review

Capriccio Restaurant
Capriccio
Atlantic City, NJ
Website
Capriccio Restaurant is an Atlantic City favorite for "Old World" fine dining. It features Italian elegance, creatively prepared food, and a fabulous Sunday Champagne Brunch. It is the longest running casino restaurant in Atlantic City, opening at the same time Resorts became the first Atlantic City casino to open in 1978. Capriccio is spread over four areas; Cirlo, a contemporary wine bar and lounge area, the main dining room with a high, vaulted ceiling and murals, the sunlit room with high arched windows with scenic views overlooking the boardwalk and ocean, and the outdoor patio also with scenic views overlooking the boardwalk and ocean.
Restaurant Review

Chez Catherine 
Westfield, NJ
Chez Catherine
Westfield, NJ
Website
Chez Catherine, as close as you can find to a taste of France in New Jersey, is a popular "Chef - Inspired Fine Dining" destination for a special occasion and for diners who enjoy high end French cuisine. Chez Catherine is a small 12 table dining room with an elegant, formal, cozy, romantic ambiance. The attractive decor is done up walls adorned in peach tones and beautiful floral arrangements to set the stage for a formal yet cozy and intimate dining experience. A great place to enjoy a special occasion or a romantic dinner for two.
Restaurant Review

Jardin at the Hugh
Cape May, NJ
Website
Jardin is not for everyone. This is a restaurant for the adventurous, eco-friendly, non-carnivore-oriented diner who welcomes a unique dining experience and are willing to pay more for it.
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Restaurant Latour Hamburg, NJ
Restaurant Latour
Hamburg, NJ
Website
Located in the Crystal Springs Resort, a 4,000 acre high end Alpine themed hotel resort, it's popular with diners who enjoy high end, upscale fine dining with creatively prepared food, excellent service, and without the "Old Word" stuffy atmosphere found in other fine dining restaurants. Diners get to enjoy the scenic view looking through the floor-to-ceiling windows out over the golf course to the Kittatinny Mountains. In the summer there is outside dining on the patio that gets you close to nature with an un-filtered view of the Kittatinny Mountains. Restaurant Latour is especially popular with wine aficionados. It contains an impressive wine collection and in 2018 was inducted into Wine Enthusiast's America's Best Wine Restaurant Hall of Fame. Restaurant Latour is the only restaurant from New Jersey included in the newly created Best Wine Restaurant Hall of Fame.
Restaurant Review

Saddle River Inn
Saddle River, NJ
Website
The Saddle River Inn located along the banks of the Saddle River is set in a 19th century restored barn.
Diners have come to experience the "best in class food and service" in a rustic romantic, casual, yet elegant ambiance.
This "chef-inspired fine dining" restaurant has all the amenities of a fine dining restaurant without the "Old World" stuffy atmosphere found in most fine dining restaurants.
Restaurant Review




The Best New Jersey Chef-Inspired Casual Dining Restaurants

Canal House Station Restaurant Milford, NJ
Canal House Station
Milford, NJ
(908) 995-7200
Website
On the site of a converted 1870 historic train station, The Canal House Station is one of New Jersey's hidden gems, having quickly achieved success as an upscale, Chef-Inspired, Casual Dining restaurant.
Restaurant review

Common Lot 
Millburn, NJ
Common Lot
Millburn, NJ
Website
Common Lot is an exceptional restaurant with many forward-thinking twists that are not to be found in other New Jersey restaurants. Diners come to enjoy an inventive eclectic menu, prepared with fresh farm to table ingredients, in an attractive industrial chic setting. The food is inventive and well executed using farm fresh locally sourced ingredients The menu is offered in three sizes "Smalls to Share", appetizer sized portions, " Big" for traditional size entrees, and "Shared Mains for Two", usually meats, served in huge portions meant to be shared.
Restaurant Review

Elements Restaurant
Elements
Princeton, NJ
Website
This high end, upscale restaurant pushes the envelope with extraordinary food preparation and a non-traditional service model. Acclaimed chef Scot Anderson serves up a New American menu with Japanese/Asian influences that changes daily to feature the freshest ingredients sourced from local farms and producers. These ingredients are prepared using progressive, modern techniques to draw out the purest flavors. Popular with diners who are open to a new non-traditional dining experience with a creative, inspired menu using fresh farm to table ingredients in an upscale, trendy setting.
Restaurant Review

Faubourg Restaurant Montclair, NJ
Faubourg
Montclair, NJ
Website
One of the best French Restaurants in NJ. Faubourg is a trendy, Bi-Level French Brasserie with a NYC vibe, and an executive chef and management team with impressive credentials. The well-executed menu offers a French cuisine dominant menu with an ample selection of small plates, appetizers, and entrees. The small plate and appetizer selections are popular with groups as they enhance the social nature of the restaurant. Vegan options are available with a separate plant-based menu.
Restaurant Review

Hearthside Restaurant
Hearthside
Collingswood, NJ
Website
Hearthside is an extraordinary Collingswood BYOB restaurant with rustic, elegant ambiance. They serve a contemporary American, inventive wood-fired, well executed menu. They are committed to preparing their dishes with high quality, fresh local and seasonal products.
Restaurant Review

Heirloom Kitchen Old Bridge, NJ<
Heirloom Kitchen
Old Bridge, NJ
Website
Heirloom Kitchen is a culinary experience with chef's table seating interacting with an acclaimed chef committed to healthy food. Acclaimed Chef Viana was nominated for the James Beard Award for Best Chef in the Mid-Atlantic region. Committed to using organic, locally sourced produce, dairy, grains, poultry, and meats from high end, quality sources. Except for the locally sourced primary ingredients, everything else is made on site, including the bread and butter, mustard, ketchup, etc.
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Il Nido Restaurant, Marlboro, NJ
il Nido
Marlboro, NJ
Website
il Nido is a destination restaurant and a dining experience with high end, well-executed, contemporary Italian menu prepared with quality ingredients, with a focus on organics. Stunning ambiance, in a romantic, cozy, rustic Italian farmhouse setting complement the experience. It covers four dining areas; Two main dining rooms, one of them has an attractive stone fireplace, a smaller, quieter Cave room, and the chefs table dining area with two booths overlooking the open kitchen.
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