99 Italian-American foods and where to find them in NJ

While I don’t know how much you need to learn about Italian food if you live in NJ, I do see many restaurant names in this piece that I’m not familiar with, plus others that I’ve heard of/been to are getting some love. I know @seal likes Via45, and @NotJrvedivici introduced many of us to Jimmy’s, and if you haven’t been to the Belmont Tavern, well…don’t get me started! Those shrimp beeps ARE. TO. DIE. FOR.

One thing I did learn–the name of the Sicilian fig cookies that my former landlord made at Xmas every year. I freaking LOVE them and never knew the name, but I’ve shown pictures to many a legit Italian without learning that they’re Cuccidati, so thanks, Pete! :slight_smile:

Are there other restaurants in here any HOs approve of? Other places where you prefer the dishes listed?

1 Like

I had Carduna (Cardoon) for the first time at Viaggio, in Wayne, about a month ago. They had an excellent presentation of fried cardoon, with alfalfa crest, roasted garlic, in an amazing Calabrian chili vinaigrette. The cardoon was braised for several days with garlic, chili, and other ingredients. The cardoon had a celery like texture.

@corvette_johnny has a line on a killer joint that does it’s own sopressat.

Any chance you do weddings with how nice these pictures come out?

1 Like

No, I only do Bar Mitvahs :grin: Thanks for the compliment.

1 Like

Recently had cardoons for the first time as well. Really tasty, but prepared more simply. I’d like to try your way next

eta: This was at Via Carota in NYC.


Yes, I was told that cardoons can taste very bitter, which is why the chef braised it for several days in garlic & chili, and topped it with that Calabrian chili vinaigrette.


We took over the tradition from Grandma years ago. Ours are made as individual cookies and not a loaf and cut though. Every year is an adventure with dough quality, but we generally do ok. Remind me next December and we can do a handoff somewhere. :slight_smile:


@corvette_johnny what’s the deal on Gianna’s in AH ? Is the sopressat still homemade?

Omg I will DEFINITELY take you up on that, Tom! Thank you!! My landlord’s were individual cookies as well…Didn’t realize they can also be made in a loaf! Here are the only pics I have of her version:


Ours are more fig and less cookie. In fact the dough is pretty thin and nondescript, a not so sweet pasta frolla. If you are cool with that, then we have a deal. :slight_smile:

In my book, more fig is ALWAYS preferable!!! You have a deal!

1 Like

Still there

The braising might also be for tenderizing—- cardoons, especially larger ones, can be tough and stringy. Combined with the prickly translucent things (thorns?) along the stalks you have to peel off, it’s a wonder anyone thought to eat cardoons.


Yes, the braising was also for tenderizing, as you said. It can be very tough & stringy, if you try to eat it raw. That is also why they cut it into bite size pieces. I don’t think I would trust eating this unless it was made by an experienced chef like Robbie from Viaggio.

1 Like

I don’t know how I missed this thread, especially when I was tagged in it!!

Good list, I have to disagree with La’Rossa bakery in Shrewsbury, honestly that place sucks. I don’t like anything in there.

Also the typo for Barnegat Bills in Rumson. I was scratching my head for 5 mins wondering how I don’t know this secret Italian restaurant in Rumson, till I realized it was a typo!! lol

I’m going to be in AC tonight at a party at Carmines in the Trop, sure wish I was going to Chef Viola’s! (or Knife and Fork for that matter).

@NotJrvedivici - in AC, have you been to Café 2825? Dock’s? I’ve had very good meals at both.

No I have not but I have heard similar good things about both.