They are good, though, I’m spoiled, having just taken a trip to Portugal.
Having worked in Elizabeth a little over a year, and going to over 100+ spots here is my current favorite list of places (that are still in business):
La Estancia - Uruguayan
Don Julio’s, Mi Casa - Peruvian
Valenca, Ponte de Encontro, Portugal Express - Portuguese
Peniel Shalom - Brazilian
Olga’s Place - Costa Rican
El Tipico Dominicano - Dominican
La Tipica, Arepas Colombianas, City Tavern - Colombian
El Rinconcito Boricua - Puerto Rican
Rinconcito Latino, El Buen Gusto - Salvadoran
Tommy’s Hot Dogs, Santillo’s Pizza, DiCosmo’s Italian Ice - Italian / American
Taqueria Nealtican - Mexican
Yoly’s, La Tostano - Cuban
La Tambora, El Nuevo Latino - Ecuadorian
Bakeries / Cafes
Legacy Cafe (Portuguese)
Alkazar Bakery (Uruguayan/Argentinian),
North Ave. Bakery (Portuguese)
Don Ricky (Colombian)
Las Delicias Bakery (Colombian)
Bayway Elizabeth is home to several restaurants, located away from downtown, but conveniently located near the turnpike for those coming or going.
Noches de Colombia excels as one of the busiest restaurants in Elizabeth, especially at dinnertime. This has to do with its great drink menu, stylish patio and interior, great service, and decent food.
The pan de bono always comes out hot and delicious as do their empanadas. They have a wide variety of baked goods such as deditos de queso, pastelitos de guava, panuelos de dulce de leche, and more, although I am a bit suspicious as to whether these options are originally frozen.
Personally, I’m a fan of their appetizers and bakery options far more than their entrees.
The entrees are a tad pricy, and although are of big portion, are not extremely impressive. Nothing necessarily bad, just no wow factor in relation to the rest of the experience. A bit bland, lack of flavor.
I would rate them in the following way:
Another plus is that they even have their own parking lot.
I’ve just glanced through this entire thread. My mouth is watering (following my lunch of raw veggies and hummus). I need to take a road trip up there. I have recently tapped in Perth Amboy, but Elizabeth is totally unknown.
Noches has a few locations throughout north nj. Only been a couple times, but I can recommend the bandeja de paisa…if for nothing else than the huge chicharron serving. (Not my pic)
I love the Elizabeth food scene, don’t get me wrong, I’m fortunate for working here. Elizabeth Ave. is a one-mile stretch of 75+ restaurants. But the best foodie road trip recommendation I could make for Latin American food in NJ, without going to NYC, would be Bergenline Ave. in Union City, one of the most densely populated areas in the country.
Stellar pupusas, tamales (inhaled before the pic), the best yucca frita I’ve had in a while (if ever), and pollo guisado (the beans served alongside were really good).
New businesses in Elizabeth are always opening as the city continually expands.
Roc’s Cafe may appear to only be a brand new, clean and neat cafe on North Ave. but offers a real taste and tour of a true Portuguese pasteleria.
When it comes to Portuguese baked goods, it is a wonder that it’s even possible for there to be so many varieties made daily for consumption. This, of course, is due to an innovation of semi-industrial machinery as well as creative and traditional recipes.
Roc’s Cafe is a shining example of this. Equipped with a factory downstairs, Roc’s Cafe bakes rigorously daily to meet the local demand of and a variety of delicious and traditional Portuguese cakes, tarts, and sweets.
And I mean variety:
Bola de berlims (berliner donuts) fried daily, filled with fresh, perfectly made doce de ovos.
Tarts such as the infamous pastel de nata, and other familiars such as feijao (bean) amendoa (almond), and coco (coconut).
Queques, bola de arroz, russos, milhojas, pata de veados, etc etc etc.
Roc’s Cafe keeps it more traditional when it comes to their baked goods to particularly Portuguese sweets, which you’ll find isn’t as common as you’d think in Newark and Elizabeth. They even offer rarely-seen Portuguese baked goods in stores around here, such as the tentugal.
Seen below: bola de berlim, russo folhado, pastel de nata, torta de laranja, queijadinha de cremoso