Best "fancy" restaurant in Monmouth county, nj

We are going out for dinner Saturday night! This is a big deal post baby! Since we have been out of the food game for a while, are there any new, exciting spots? Or older places that deliver time after time. We are going with friends and they want “fancy”. Our last meal at Nicholas wasn’t all that special. They suggested formagerie but I haven’t heard great things. Willing to travel up to about 30 minutes from Middletown. Thanks!

Heirloom Kitchen in Old Bridge is on my to-go list. Enjoy!!

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ME TOO! By far my favorite spot lately. I’ll suggest it. We took this couple there right before the baby and they didn’t seem impressed (which I don’t even understand).

While I agree that Heirloom Kitchen’s food is wonderful, the ambiance is pleasant but not fancy. This photo set I took last year has views of the dining room.

If fancy is an important factor for your friends, Fromagerie fits that requirement. We’ve had two quite good meals there. But frankly, if you’re willing to travel more than 30 minutes and dine outside of Monmouth County, you can do much, much better.

My suggestion is Chez Catherine, in Westfield. We’re in Marlboro, and it takes us about 40 minutes to get there. Superb French cuisine; cordial, professional service; and lovely ambiance.

We had two sensational lunches there this summer. Photo sets on my Flickr here (includes shots of the dining room) and here.

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Ok, here’s my $.02. Since you already brough up Nicholas enough about that, similar though I would throw The Raven and Peach in Fair Haven in a similar category. I love, love, love this place it embodies ambiance to me, large booths, palm tree’s and a piano player (sometimes singer). Service is generally top notch, but the food can be hit or miss. If you are steak eaters they have an excellent steak menu and that’s a very safe bet, the regular can be great or it can be meh.

Formagerie, I really can’t stand. I’m not going to say it’s a bad place because it certainly is NOT. I just truly wish the just renamed it something else and stopped trying to pretend they are Fromagerie. Again you can’t go wrong with the steaks here, menu items have been very good as well, it’s just NOT Fromagerie and I miss the old Fromagerie.

I would throw on the list Blue Grotto in Oceanport. (Monmouth Race track property but NOT in the actual track) This has become a recent favorite of ours, really beautiful property and the food is generally very good. Give this some thought.

You also always have the good ole’ Molly Pitcher, it’s hard to get more “fancy” than that.

I was supposed to have dinner at Heirloom Kitchen last Sunday, something came up and I had to send my wife on her own. (well with another coupe) They had 5pm reservations and dinner wasn’t over until 8:45pm - she said the food was very good, but it’s not fancy and I honestly do NOT have the patience for a 4± hour meal.

Pascal and Sabines in Asbury is very nice. Attentive service, quality food very comfortable booths.
I’m sure there are more upscale places around the shore. I find this place to be upscale “enough” and without pretense…

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Ooh, I’ll suggest Chez Catherine. Looks incredible!

I have a feeling we are going to end up at Formagerie. I feel like we have to go at least onece.

Thanks for the comments. I suggested Raven. We haven’t been in years but I too LOVE the scene. It feels like it is straight out of a movie.

If we make it to Formagerie, I’ll post about it for sure. We never went before so I feel like we have to go at least once.

Blue Grotto - good idea. I saw the thread on it here and it sounds very interesting. I’ll suggest it.

Molly Pitcher holds a special place for me. We got engaged there on a bizarrely snowy night in October 6 years ago.

Ah yes, Heirloom isn’t exactly known for their speediness. We did dinner there a couple Sunday’s ago at 4 PM and was home by 6PM. But, we were one of 4 tables and we had the baby so they knew they had to keep it moving or risk a meltdown.

@Oldandtired - We have been twice and were completely underwhelmed both times. I agree with the space, but I will only go for drinks.

+1 on Raven. We recently had a very nice event upstairs there. For passed hors d’oeuvres ( lol - ran that through the spell check and it came up with horsehide ) the food was very good and we did not feel out of place in our formal attire.

New Brunswick has a couple of options as well with Stage Left leading the pack for sheer “fancyness”.

-1 for Stage Left, was there this past Wednesday and really disappointed in their new “Steakhouse” format.

Hmm. that sux. I haven’t been since the format change. For steak in New Brunswick I still like Steakhouse 85.

Yes that has been a favorite of mine for awhile.

I’ll add that if it’s about food more than ambiance, The Grand Tavern in Neptune would be high on my list–but it definitely doesn’t feel ‘fancy’ from a decor perspective to me… Then again, I don’t generally care as much about that! :blush:


Well it isn’t within 30 minutes but do you ever take the ferry to nyc? It’s a 40 minute ride from Belford or Atlantic highlands.

On the topic of Nicholas, they just hired a new chef, Kevin, who has worked there for a while. I hear he should be putting out some interesting cuisine.

Hm that’s an interesting idea.

Turns out, we ended up going nowhere since our babysitter was sick and the killed any remaining motivation we had to figure out a Plan B.

Thanks everyone for the suggestions!

@seal @NotJrvedivici @corvette_johnny @jsfein @RGR @Oldandtired @CurlzNJ

Thanks for all the suggestions and as I expected we ended up at Formagerie on Saturday. I would give it a B- maybe a C+. We waited 30 minutes for our table, then another 15 before we got drinks. The food was fine, but nothing spectacular. On the plus, it looked really pretty and cozy for Christmas and we felt like celebrities since we were the youngest people in the dining room by at least a 15/20 year margin. I’m not in a big hurry to go back.

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Pretty much sums up the sentiments of my experiences there. What did you get to eat?

Started with a cheese and meat plate to split. Super unimpressive presentation but everything was fine on the plate. Two of us had a fish special. I am totally blanking on the name of it. White, Hawaiian fish that was well prepared over a bed of black lentils that I think could have used another 5 minutes. It looked beautiful. My husband had a lamb special which was very tasty and he enjoyed it. The last person in our group got the filet. He likes his beef medium well. The waiter urged him to order it medium and then they could throw it back on if he wanted. They went back and forth for a minute but ultimately decided to go medium. Of course it comes, our friend wants it cooked more. Kind of annoying but I suppose they have lots of people that don’t really want their meat that well done. We split an ice cream dessert which was fine, but nothing special. Service was good once we were actually sitting. We may try to go for the Tuesday burger night but I can’t see us doing a dinner like this again anytime soon. The menu felt uninspired.

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Do you have any pics of the fish? I wonder what it could be. I like fish, I fish and I like to fish in Hawaii too. Normally they don’t export most local species and eat it there.

Sadly, no. It started with a C. They also had artic char on special too. The other thing that struck me as odd was the special appetizer: heirloom tomato bruschetta. In December.