Asbury Park recs

Looking for help and it might be a tall order. In or near Asbury, place with seating at a bar, but also offers a decent amount of healthy food options. Thanks all.

Grand Tavern in the Neptune Bradley Beach area my favorite
Reyla in Asbury Park real small portions but good healthy food

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Welcome to hungry onion! Paging our resident Asbury Park expert @CurlzNJ!

In AP, we like reylas or barrio. I would recommend skipping modines if healthy food is a priority.

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Yes Gracieggg agree on all accounts

Reyla definitely fits the bill thank you… but website says they are closed for renovations. Reservation system still online tho, so will have to call to see. Really wanted to do Porta, but wife is trying to diet and she will not have the willpower to say no to pizza if we go there. Also we are planning to go on the later side ahead of a show at Asbury Lanes, and i think Porta gets a little nuts on a thursday later. As an aside, anyone try the food at Lanes? The venue seems to get mixed reviews in general, not sure about the food.

According to Reyla’s is reopening tonight (Thursday May 9th) after completing renovations.

“After a few weeks of serious renovation, Reyla is reopening to the public this Thursday, May 9. “We always wanted an open kitchen at Reyla,” says Pat Pipi of Culture Collective, the hospitality group behind Barrio Costero and Reyla and a forthcoming project (see below). Time constraints and construction issues meant it wasn’t possible when they first opened Reyla, but “now that time has passed, we wanted to create that original vision,” says Pipi. (For a sneak peek, see a recent Instagram post of the near-finished kitchen.) “The idea behind Reyla is coming into somebody’s home; it’s inviting, there are no walls between the people and the food and the guests, similar to what we have at Barrio Costero.” Beyond that sense of openness, the newly renovated space will have a 12-seat chef’s counter, and the interior itself will be slightly changed. “Some of the walls came down, and we’re adding more seats, booth seats, to keep the refined-yet-casual feel.” As a finishing touch, local Asbury Park muralist Porkchop is doing the front vestibule. (He’s done work for Culture Collective at Barrio Costero as well.) Once Reyla reopens, they’ll continue their shared plates menu and the Four Bites concept, but the chef’s counter marks a significant shift, allowing for “more culinary experiences, classes, different chef’s tastings,” says Pipi. This Thursday, the restaurant will be opening with a late spring/early summer menu and a new cocktail list”. Reyla , 603 Mattison Avenue, Asbury Park; 732-455-8333


I’m heeeeeeeeere! :slight_smile:

First of all, welcome @misterc71 ! We’re always happy to have new faces/voices around here. Definitely let us know where else you like to dine, as we have posters from all over NJ, although there’s a heavy Monmouth/Ocean concentration.

As referenced above, I live in AP and have (ahem) some strong opinions about what’s good and what’s just okay. My favorite two bars with food worth eating are Reyla (reopening on Friday 5/10 according to their Instagram post so I’d call and confirm) and Porta (where I’M able to resist pizza if I eat meatballs and salad, but that’s me). Drinks and food are excellent at both, and imo, a few plates at Reyla is plenty of food. I’ve actually told them outright that their sister restaurant (Barrio Costero) needs to bump up their offerings for the prices they get. I’ve never left Reyla thinking I’ve overspent for the portion sizes, but I can’t say the same for BC.

The other option is Taka, but that bar gets packed early because of their Happy Hour specials. Both their sushi and cooked food is very good, but not a bargain. There’s also the Bonney Read, which I’ve only been to once because I have a shellfish allergy and that’s their focus–but I did have their octopus with chorizo and it was excellent, so that might be an option. Not sure about dining at the bar, though–definitely worth asking.

Finally, for a little bit of everything, there’s Brickwall Tavern. A full pub menu so IF one chooses to eat healthy, I think one can (I’m generally that person)…

If you want to park once and aren’t averse to walking ‘downtown’ from the area near the Lanes, I do it all the time. Parking downtown and moving over near the Lanes can be a challenge if there are multiple events on the same night–not sure if that’s the case when you’re coming to town. As for the diner at the Lanes, I can’t say it’s bad, but it’s not what I’d recommend for dinner when you have far better choices! Can you get a decent burger/fries? Sure. Can you be occasionally surprised by something being really tasty? Sure. But you may also say “meh” depending on what you order. The service is very nice there, but it’s not quick like a diner, so that’s something to consider as well.
P.S. Here’s a tip: the big parking lots near the boardwalk are still open and FREE…that’s about to change, but you can park at the Carousel, the lot across from Porta, or the lot next to Wonder Bar as long as the incoming gate is open and there’s no $25 Special Event sign. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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I agree with Curlz, and I can’t eat pizza and go to Porta pretty often and either get the meatballs, octopus or a salad.

I wasn’t all that impressed with food at the dinar at the Lanes. And I wouldn’t recommend anything on the boardwalk, but that’s just me.

Brick wall is very good, same pork chop as Pascale and Sabine and half the price

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I think you now have the idea that Porta is more than a pizzeria. Someone is doing something close to magic in the kitchen.

I used to enjoy Brick Wall - that is no longer true. Between the menu changes and my perception of it being a poor value we have dropped it out of the rotation.

I do urge you to consider trying Medusa (4th & Main). Like Porta they are a bit more than pizza - we’ve happily done meals there sans pizza. Small menu; small venue; parking & BYO.

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While I love Medusa, I’ll say that it’s pretty tough for me to go there and find anything other than pizza; that’s my only complaint about the place! Their salads and pizza are wonderful, but except for mussels, there’s rarely another option that doesn’t involve carbs. The first summer they were open they were doing Mazi wings (that’s where I got hooked on Mazi) on the grill outside, but I think they have their hands full with the rest of the menu and they didn’t offer them last year. ETA that it’s also BYO–no bar.

I can’t believe I didn’t mention MY FAVORITE octopus! And really–their meatballs are excellent as well.

And…Reyla JUST posted that they’re open!

Thank you all for the warm welcome and all the thoughts. Unfortunately, my night in asbury just fell apart due to a now sick wife and kids’ practices being rescheduled for later.

As an intro to the board I am a longtime Monmouth county resident and back again after a hiatus in NYC after college. Yes, I am obsessed with food like you all and the wife does not always appreciate that. I am a partner in a local restaurant but am not involved at all the day to day operations (though I did work the kitchen for a while and came up with a brunch menu while we still were open for brunch.). I won’t ever post about the place but certainly watch for any postings, especially the negative ones. Those are the most useful to a restaurant owner of course.

As for the places in the area that continue to interest me: Blu Grotto is a date night go-to at the bar. Great pastas and though Porta’s Octopus is good, Grotto’s is the best in the area IMHO. Comes on a board with smashed fried potatoes, wilted scallions, and a delicious sauce.

Albariño is a good recent add. Lots of interesting tapas, and the paella is very good, if a little salty (I request no added salt). Price point on it is pretty steep tho. Their house Albariño wine is relatively cheap but good. Don’t miss the patatas bravas and the crispy eggplant. Oh and the steak.

Been going to piccola italia for years. Not cheap, but great quality and inventive with the Italian - skewed menu changing a bit seasonally and always great specials.

Trama is solid for Italian too. Love the shaved artichoke salad with shaved parm and though admittedly kinda lowbrow, we always get an order of the garlic bread.

Love Porta and Talulas for pizza, I fact love most everything there. Porta wins out for dinner, but Talulas does for brunch.

Ok last Italian mention would be newcomer Nettie’s in Tinton Falls. Pasta al dente, great vegetable sides (like deep fried mushrooms), and the bread and olive oil is top notch.

Tommy’s in sea bright I like their non traditional oven fired wings with onions, long hots, and sauces on the side. Speaking of wings, for traditional bar wings, Jacks Goal line stand is good. Their hottest level is the hottest I have had in my life, and I have downed wings made with Carolina reapers. Not sure if these are reapers or ghost peppers, but man are they hot. Do the next level down for hot and flavor rather than kill yourself.

Like Indian, Thai, but don’t get to do the latter often since fam doesn’t love it. Bombay river a welcome addition to red bank.

Catch 19, tho feels like a club-turned restaurant is worthy of a mention for the angry shrimp and lobster app with “sinister” sauce. It is a spicy light cream sauce and is like crack to me. Move is to ask for it with pasta and do it as a main. So good.

I’m sure I forgot a ton, but here’s my little intro as to what I like. I cannot resist pasta in any menu and will often get an extra one as a app for “the table”. I know you all have pulled a similar move!

Looks forward to being a parting this board. Thanks all!


Oh and curlz you have piqued my interest in Medusa and those mazi wings. That will happen soon, I hope they still have em.

@misterc71, you have found your people. :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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NOPE… that’s why I don’t end up there very often; I’m generally not a big carb eater, so that’s why I end up at Porta–many more non-pizza options.

Hope everyone is feeling better at your house. We just got through a week of strep with my toddler which was AMAZING. :roll_eyes: I’m looking forward to a cocktail tonight!

You mention a lot of favorites of the board. We have been going to Neelam in Middletown for Indian for 10 years. Also, if you haven’t checked out Semolina (same space Dish occupied in Red Bank) you should try that soon. BYOB fresh pasta and way more changing menu. Everybody here knows my true favorite is still Heirloom Kitchen <3

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The Bonney Read has ample bar seating and bar tables around it. I’ve never had a problem getting seats. If you like seafood, you can dine healthy here. We love their oysters, mussels, shrimp, spicy clam stew, and a handful of not-so-healthy options.

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Thanks, #gracieggg. That Heirloom Kitchen menu looks great, but Old Bridge is a little bit of a trek for me. Though that gnocci dish on the menu looks like it could get me to make the trip. With “crispy potato skins”?? Not something I have ever seen before and MUST try at some point.


So, if you have your heart set on a dish, call them beforehand. They change the menu each night and are now doing a fix menu instead of a la carte. I highly recommend them.

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