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25 Best Italian Restaurants In New Jersey, According To A Local

plates of Italian food
plates of Italian food - Static Media / Shutterstock / Instagram

In a state that's known for many foodie things, including the ubiquitous diners, cranberry and blueberry bogs, pizza, and Jersey Shore food, I decided to take a stab at another quintessentially New Jersey staple: Italian restaurants. Every town in New Jersey probably has at least one solid Italian spot, and with over 500 towns in the state (yes, really), there is an abundance of Italian restaurants.

But it's not just about quantity, here. It's about quality. There are so many good quality Italian spots in the state, and everyone has a personal favorite. Since it wouldn't be realistic to include every Italian spot on this list, we decided to try to narrow it down to the best of the best (more on my methodology is at the end of this piece). These are the spots with the best reputations and, the best and freshest quality food, and we tried to include ones in every nook and cranny of the state since delicious Italian food is everywhere here. Put your white cloth napkin on your lap, order the chicken parmigiana, and let's dig in.

Read more: 13 Unexpected Ingredients To Elevate Lasagna

Joe Italiano's Maplewood - Multiple Locations

chicken parmigiana dinner
chicken parmigiana dinner - joes_maplewood / Instagram

Named one of the best restaurants in South Jersey by Tasting Table a few months ago, Joe Italiano's Maplewood is more than an Italian restaurant: It's an institution. Especially at its original location in Hammonton. Though there are now three locations, Joe Italiano's really offers a beating heart in the Hammonton community on White Horse Pike. Folks in the area have been going there for generations, and there's a good reason why.

The food is unparalleled. Every part of your meal drips with thoughtfulness. The bread is always fresh and warm, and at dinner, two varieties are complementarily placed on your table, along with the zingiest, tastiest starter salad you've ever tried. All the pasta is homemade, and Joe Italiano's goes above and beyond to make your experience authentic and memorable.

joesmaplewood.comMultiple locations

Verona Ristorante Italiano - Haddonfield

plate of pasta
plate of pasta - veronahaddonfield / Instagram

A charming spot in downtown Haddonfield, New Jersey, Verona Ristorante Italiano is a pretty restaurant with both indoor and outdoor seating and a menu fit for an Italian food superfan. A newer Italian spot, Verona takes the classic Italian concepts and updates them a bit, which we can appreciate. Skipping the appetizers here is a crime. As for mains, you can't go wrong with any of the pasta options, especially the penne alla vodka.

Aside from the pasta, Verona serves up some good-quality seafood dishes, including a fish of the day, salmon Toscana (a grilled salmon dish paired with sundried tomatoes, mango salsa, baby spinach, and topped with a caper lemon butter sauce), and even a swordfish steak. Plan to come here for an elegant date night, and rest assured that the prices are absolutely reflective of the quality of food you're getting.

veronahaddonfield.com(856) 446-2126141 Kings Highway East, Haddonfield, NJ 08033

La Scala's Fire - Multiple Locations

plates of Italian food
plates of Italian food - lascalasfire / Instagram

La Scala's Fire is a personal favorite spot, though it's a bit newer to the scene (and it was even home to one of the best pasta dishes in the U.S.). But its freshness is part of what sets it apart from the crowd. Innovative Italian twists and beautiful modern decor draw you in, but the quality of the food is what keeps you coming back. You'll regret it if you don't get the fan-favorite ricotta board appetizer (complete with a layered mason jar of honey and ricotta and toasted garlicky breadsticks to dip into it).

Everything here is as tasty as it looks, from the salads to the pasta to the meatballs; you truly can't go wrong with anything you order. Because there's so much to choose from, we recommend ordering a few things and sharing them with your friends.

lascalasfire.comMultiple locations

Piccini - Ocean City

plate of seafood pasta
plate of seafood pasta - picciniocnj / Instagram

Taking things down to the Jersey Shore, Piccini in Ocean City, New Jersey, may often be regarded as a pizza place, but the locals who are in the know strongly make the case otherwise. The pasta dishes, entrees, appetizers, and ambiance make it not only one of the best restaurants in Ocean City but also one of the best Italian restaurants in New Jersey.

Something we can appreciate about this place is that making an order for pickup and taking it back home (or to your rental summer spot for the week) doesn't mean that the quality of the food worsened at all. And, yes, the wood-fired pizza here is totally memorable, too, so get one of those while you're at it.

picciniocnj.com(609) 525-07671260 West Ave, Ocean City, NJ 08226

La Sorrentina - North Bergen

plate of calamari
plate of calamari - lasorrentina / Instagram

Another one of Tasting Table's picks for making one of the best pasta dishes in the U.S., La Sorrentina in North Bergen, New Jersey, really is doing just that: Making some of the best pasta around. Everyone in the area knows of this place, and for good reason; it's deliciously memorable. Namely, one of the best pasta dishes there is the lasagna Napoletana, which is always fresh and delicious and never a subpar quality.

If you're not feeling a heavier dish like veal parm, lobster ravioli, or a grilled skirt steak, you can opt for a slice of pizza (the four cheese is popular), a panini (you can't go wrong with the Ravello, which has prosciutto, tomato, and mozzarella), or a classic salad.

lasorrentinanb.com(201) 869-81007831 Bergenline Ave, North Bergen, NJ 07047

Chef Vola's - Atlantic City

bone-in veal chop
bone-in veal chop - jtaylor308 / Instagram

When asked, almost every single person I talked to mentioned Chef Vola's as one of the best Italian restaurants in New Jersey (and, honestly, in the country). Located in Atlantic City in an unassuming building, the staff at Chef Vola's knows that if you make the best quality food possible, then people will keep coming back. It's been doing that since 1921, so you know it's a winning philosophy.

One of the most popular dishes here is the veal parmigiana, though the desserts are just as memorable. Finish your meal with a classic tiramisu, and you'll already be thinking about the next time you can come to Chef Vola's.

chefvolas.com(609) 345-2022111 S Albion Pl, Atlantic City, NJ 08401

Femmina Italian Grill - Medford

plate of Italian food
plate of Italian food - pseudonymnotfound / Instagram

One of the first things everyone exclaims about when they come to Femmina is the portion size. Every dish looks big enough to feed four people, and they pretty much all do, and that's okay. It just means that you know you'll always be walking away with tasty leftovers here.

Femmina Italian Grill in Medford has all your Italian restaurant staples, but what makes it a favorite are all the unique charms. Your complimentary salad always comes with a trio of dressing options (all tasty), the calamari appetizer comes with a choice of hot or sweet marinara sauce, the soups are all homemade, and the pasta dishes are unparalleled — especially the lobster ravioli.

femminaitalianrestaurant.com(609) 714-8800408 Stokes Rd, Medford, NJ 08055

Carmine's Italian Restaurant - Atlantic City

plate of pasta
plate of pasta - Carmine's Italian Restaurant - Atlantic City / Facebook

Carmine's Italian Restaurant needs absolutely no introduction. Its reputation doesn't need explaining, but what you should know is that there is, in fact, a Carmine's location right here in New Jersey. Located in one of the Atlantic City casinos (the Tropicana, to be exact), it's worth going to A.C. just for this restaurant.

If you really haven't heard of it, Carmine's is a celebrity destination Italian restaurant in NYC (and all around the country, at this point) that is filled with chatter, Italian pictures, and prints covering every inch of the walls. Plus, the food will make you regret not coming there sooner. Try the fried zucchini appetizer, which is salty and so good when drizzled with some lemon overtop.

carminesnyc.com/locations/atlantic-city(609) 572-93002801 Pacific Ave, Atlantic City, NJ 08401

ITA 101 - Medford

plate of pasta
plate of pasta - ita.101 / Instagram

Medford, New Jersey, is coming in hot with another Italian restaurant favorite, though it would probably be impossible to compare ITA 101 to Femmina. They are completely different experiences. ITA 101 is more of a seasonal affair; you definitely need to make a reservation to get a seat, and the entire menu changes weekly.

But no matter what the current menu is, the food is always quintessentially Italian, albeit with some creative liberties and twists taken. This makes it always fresh and delicious. You can come back here time after time, knowing there'll always be something new and exciting for you to try.

ita101.com(609) 654-010120 S Main St, Medford, NJ 08055

La Cambusa - Wyckoff

greens, mozzarella, meat
greens, mozzarella, meat - la_cambusa / Instagram

La Cambus in Wyckoff, New Jersey, prides itself on offering authentic Southern Italian cuisine. If you're looking for amazing, regionally specific-Italian food, you've come to the right place. Everything here is not only plated beautifully and thoughtfully, but the menu itself has many offerings that other classic Italian restaurants in New Jersey don't have.

For instance, La Cambusa has branzino, saltimbocca alla Romana (veal scaloppine topped with prosciutto), and tagliatelle arrabiata (green fettuccini with sausage and mushrooms in a spicy tomato sauce) all on the menu. For dessert, get either the gelato, the panna cotta, or the cannoli.

cambusanj.com(201) 485-8703393 Franklin Ave, Wyckoff, NJ 07481

La Campagnola - Shamong

potatoes, veggies, meat
potatoes, veggies, meat - lacampagnola439 / Instagram

A bit of a hidden gem in Shamong, La Campagnola (or simply La Camp, as the locals refer to it), is really offering up some solid Italian food. The restaurant does host a lot of private events, so the catering is fantastic, but when sitting down for a proper meal, there is a range of stellar items, including the baked Maryland crab dip, the stuffed shells, any of the fresh seafood (the crab cakes, in particular, are great), and the chicken piccata.

The drinks here are also great, too, so have a glass of wine or a signature cocktail to pair with your meal. Keep in mind that the lunch menu is very different from the dinner menu, so the time that you're looking to dine does matter.

la-campagnola.com(609) 268-0600439 Oakshade Rd, Shamong, NJ 08088

III Amici Ristorante - Linden

seafood pasta dish
seafood pasta dish - amicirestaurant / Instagram

III Amici Ristorante is as classically New Jersey Italian as it gets. From the cold appetizers (antipasti assortito Amici is a classic) to the pasta (the ravioli bolognese is unique and delicious), you can't go wrong with any of the food here.

Also, the fish section of the menu is particularly big here, so if you're hankering for some classic fish-based Italian dishes, this is the spot to go to. The stuffed shrimp is delicious and comes stuffed with crabmeat, spinach, and spices, and the gamberi marinara (shrimp with sweet or hot tomato sauce and linguine) is also tasty.

amiciristorante.com(908) 862-00201700 W Elizabeth Ave, Linden, NJ 07036

La Piazza Ristorante - Allentown

espresso baby back ribs
espresso baby back ribs - lapiazza.nj / Instagram

Allentown, New Jersey, is home to one of the best Italian spots in the state: La Piazza Ristorante. Offering a much wider range of food than most of the other places on this list, La Piazza Ristorante does the classics well. That range includes items like make-your-own pasta dishes, calzones, stromboli, paninis, burgers, steak, seafood, appetizers, salads, and more.

Within each category, you'll find, obviously, the classics, but also some more unique-to-New-Jersey items, like the traditional fettuccini Toscano, which comes tossed with sun-dried tomatoes, Portobello mushrooms and broccoli in roasted garlic and extra virgin olive oil sauce. Talk about taking it back to the Italian classics.

lapiazzaristorante.com(609) 208-064011 Church St, Allentown, NJ 08501

Gabriella's Italian Steakhouse - Red Bank

steak with seasoning
steak with seasoning - gabriellas.nj / Instagram

One of the most aesthetically pleasing restaurants on this list, Gabriella's Italian Steakhouse in Red Bank is taking the concept of a classic Italian restaurant to a whole other level. Everything here is gourmet and fresh, and you can tell the folks there want you to enjoy both your food and your experience.

Absolute favorites here include the garlic bread appetizer (forget everything you thought you knew about garlic bread; this Pecorino-topped version is better), the cacio e pepe, the gigantic steaks cooked to perfection, and the side of truffle mac and cheese. As a side note, you can get some truffles on a lot of the items here, like the steak, the mac and cheese, and the pasta, so take advantage of that if you're a truffle lover.

gabriellasnj.com(732) 456-6699447 NJ-35, Red Bank, NJ 07701

Grissini - Englewood Cliffs

fried mozarella bites
fried mozarella bites - grissinirestaurant / Instagram

Taking it over to Englewood Cliffs, Grissini is clean, fresh, and polished, making sure your dining experience is nothing short of amazing. Some favorites here include the meatball appetizer (called the polpette al sugo alla Romana), some delicious salad options that you wouldn't see at other Italian restaurants, like the paesana salad (with arugula, radicchio, endive, artichokes, and hearts of palm with a balsamic dressing), and the homemade pasta (the taglioni neri al frutti mare is memorable as a squid ink pasta with assorted seafood throughout).

Prices are a little high, but that's because the food is authentic, and there are no cutting corners here. You get great quality items, and that's what matters most in a state full of Italian food options.

grissinirestaurant.com(201) 568-3535484 Sylvan Ave, Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632

BV Tuscany - Teaneck

tiramisu with chocolate drizzle
tiramisu with chocolate drizzle - bvtuscany / Instagram

Opened in 2008, BV Tuscany offers more than just a Tuscan atmosphere (though it does that really well). It also has some delicious regional dishes, despite being at home in Teaneck, New Jersey

Some of the classicly delicious Tuscan and Italian dishes offered include ribollita, a hearty Tuscan bread soup, and crespelli alla Florentina, a main dish comprised of crepes stuffed with ricotta and spinach. There's also baked with besciamella, tomato sauce, and Parmigiano Reggiano. And don't forget some of the unique meat entrées, including the rack of lamb.

bvtuscany.com(201) 287-0404368 Cedar Lane, Teaneck, NJ 07666

Luigino's Parmigiana - Montclair

many plates of Italian food
many plates of Italian food - luiginosparmigiana / Instagram

A fairly new restaurant that opened in Montclair that's getting a ton of press, Luigino's Parmigiana brings a new level of fine Italian dining to Montclair (and the Montclair State University students and faculty). The interior of the restaurant is beautiful, with greenery hanging from the ceiling and the plates having gorgeous scalloped edges.

Aesthetics aside, the food here is the main reason to come. Though the menu is pretty small, you can tell the restaurant has perfected each dish, and nothing is an afterthought. The carbonara, Roman-style pizza (the mortadella is particularly amazing), and the airline chicken breast topped with fresh mozzarella, marinara, and basil are all great choices.

luiginosrestaurant.com(973) 352-1511173 Glenridge Ave, Montclair, NJ 07042

Fanny's Italian - Bloomfield

steak with blueberries
steak with blueberries - fannysitalian / Instagram

Yes, that's a blueberry-topped steak in the image for this restaurant. And, no, it's not gross. It's actually ingenious. Fanny's Italian in Bloomfield, New Jersey, should be known for more than its light-up neon sign that everyone loves to take a picture in front of (though it is a really unique photo op).

Marketing itself as "Old School, New School Italian," Fanny's takes some classic concepts and makes them fresh again, like the aforementioned steak topped with a blueberry compote. The drinks here are innovative, colorful, and fun, and the food is the same. For starters, try the whipped ricotta toast with hot honey and sage, which is deliciously light. The pork chop is bigger than your head, and the baked clams are fresh and flavorful.

instagram.com/fannysitalian(973) 343-51091109 Broad St, Bloomfield, NJ 07003

Il Nido - Marlboro

pork chop and greens
pork chop and greens - ilnidonj / Instagram

Il Nido, meaning "the nest," is a very classy place in Marlboro, New Jersey, that makes you feel at home. It prides itself on sustainability, rusticness, and organic food. Over 20,000 Instagram followers seem to agree that this place is taking Italian food in a different direction—and I'm not mad about it.

Nothing here is so heavy that you'll feel weighed down when leaving. Instead, everything is meant to be light, airy, and tasty, and you will get full, just not overwhelmed with trying to finish a meal served to one meant for four. An artisan place, Il Nido deserves its spot on this list, and though it's very different from your classic Jersey Italian spots, it's carving its own tasty spot in the Italian space.

ilnidonj.com(732) 851-6347184 Route 9 North, Willow Point, Marlboro, NJ 07726

La Mondina - Brielle

pasta with meat, burrata
pasta with meat, burrata - la_mondina_brielle / Instagram

Opened just in 2019, La Mondina is already making a name for itself in the community and beyond. You can tell that the restaurant is a labor of love, and everything from the website to the plating of the dishes is thoughtful and intentional, which is something greatly appreciated when dining out.

The menu is precise, with items on there like gnocchi with black truffle cream, the vegan bolognese and gluten-free pasta, and a ribeye dry aged for 28 days with crispy, melt-in-your-mouth roasted potatoes. Get some sharables, too, like the homemade focaccia and the cheese plate (that comes with some high-quality and unique cheeses).

lamondinabrielle.com(732) 612-8331110 Union Ave, Brielle, NJ 08730

Pasta Shop - Denville

carbonara pasta dish
carbonara pasta dish - the.pasta.shop / Instagram

If you live in Jersey, you should really know of the Pasta Shop located in Denville. It feels almost more like a trendy restaurant you'd find in Europe than in New Jersey, and yet, here it is. It can be tricky to get a table here, so be sure to check out the website's tips for snagging one.

What makes this place so desirable? Aside from the customer testimonies (which are wildly fantastic), the first-come-first-serve restaurant is filled with love that seeps into every dish. It's truly, truly some of the best Italian food in the entire tri-state area, and yes, we're including NYC in that statement. It's not an uber-fancy restaurant, but it doesn't have to be in order to be serving up the top Italian food in the state. And the small menu proves that you can get literally anything, and it'll be the best you've probably ever had.

thepastashopdenville.com(973) 253-414313 1st Ave, Denville, NJ 07834

Viaggio Ristorante - Wayne

plate of pasta
plate of pasta - viaggio_ristorante / Instagram

Another high-end classy spot reinventing Italian food, Viaggio Ristorante in Wayne has all of the modern sensibilities without losing that traditional charm. How does it achieve that? By curating a cozy environment with traditional brick walls and string lights, paired with artful dishes that'll have you wondering how the chefs came up with such genius meals.

From the polenta-crusted Icelandic cod (yes, it's real) to the spiced pineapple crostada on the dessert menu, everything here is creative and original. But, at its core, it's still Italian, with pasta varieties, fresh meats and cheeses, and more, keeping the heart of things quintessentially Italian.

viaggioristorante.com(973) 706-72771055 Hamburg Tpke, Wayne, NJ 07470

Sofia - Englewood

mashed potatoes, steak toast
mashed potatoes, steak toast - sofiaenglewood / Instagram

Englewood is where you'll find the amazing Italian restaurant Sofia. Another more modern Italian eatery, Sofia changes up its menu a bit from season to season, making sure to only serve the freshest and best ingredients it can find. And you can feel the passion in the interior decorating, as well, with lively plants hanging from the ceiling, and light wooden banquet-style tables lining the room.

This North Jersey restaurant has amazing Italian bites with local ingredients always used. The raw bar is popular, with the seafood tower being a showstopper. For mains, you can't go wrong with the filet mignon, ravioli gorgonzola e pere, and the fresh spaghetti lobster.

sofiaenglewood.com(201) 541-853036 Engle St, Englewood, NJ 07631

Sorellina - Hoboken

braised lamb spaghetti
braised lamb spaghetti - sorellinahoboken / Instagram

In a very Italian city with lots of Italian restaurants to choose from, Sorellina is taking Hoboken by storm in some steep competition. The restaurant truly cares about the user experience, and something unique about this spot is that it's also a wine bar in addition to a restaurant, so the servers are well-equipped to recommend certain bottles and varieties of wine to you that would go well with your meal.

Changing a bit seasonally, some mains include the braised lamb spaghetti, the truffle campofilone (a buttery pasta delight), and the grilled hanger steak. And for appetizers, if you love spice, don't miss out on the calamari paired with a Calabrian chili agrodolce.

sorellinahoboken.com(201) 963-33331036 Washington St, Hoboken, NJ 07030

Razza - Jersey City

a margherita pizza
a margherita pizza - razzanj / Instagram

I know that this piece is not about pizza places, and it's not, but this pizza spot is so popular, tasty, and quintessentially Italian that not including it would be wrong. Razza in Jersey City has a reputation for whipping up some of the best pizzas in the state, and the reputation is totally correct.

Everything is so fresh that the dine-in menu changes daily based on the season and local ingredients' availability, but you can typically expect variations on your classic pizza favorites to be there, like the fan-favorite Santo pizza (tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, shaved onions, chili oil, and pork sausage).

razzanj.com(201) 356-9348275/277 Grove St, Jersey City, NJ 07302

Methodology

plate of pasta
plate of pasta - Xsandra/Getty Images

My methodology for this piece is based on a combination of things. First, I'm a lifelong New Jersey Italian resident, so I'm very familiar with lots of the Italian spots in the state.

To fill in my gaps of knowledge, I reached out to friends, family, and other Tasting Table New Jersey editors to hear about their favorite Italian restaurants. Finally, I conducted a lot of research online to see what the general public thought were the best Italian restaurants in the state. Of course, being that there are so many, I had to narrow it down based on factors like popularity, and quality of the food, and I focused mainly on non-pizza places, as pizza is a whole other beast in the state to tackle and it wouldn't be fair to compare a pizza shop to a nice sit-down Italian restaurant.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.