Gargiulo’s* (Formerly Portifinos) Tinton Falls NJ

Understood. I actually will be going this weekend with family friends who grew up/still live around the original spot so it will be good to get their perspective on the new location. I will say though I’m not getting my hopes up.

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NotJR… thanks for trying Gargiulo’s new NJ branch and reporting back. As a basically lifelong Brooklyn resident now in my 60s (& still here), I feel I can unfortunately state that I don’t think you would’ve done better at the original. Most of the remaining Brooklyn old line red sauce Italian places with long standing reputations (I won’t name them here, as I know most of their owners and really am not interested in insulting anyone) are, in my opinion, just slightly better than mediocre on a good day. Not to say that I won’t go to any of several of them when I need my “fix”, but really nobody goes there anymore - and not just because they’re too crowded (yes, that’s my heavy handed riff on the Yogi Berra joke). Bottom line: the best old style Italian place is Park Side in Corona, Queens. And I don’t believe they have any plans to expand to NJ.

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I was going to say this but refrained. I’m glad you brought it up and I’m looking forward to your review.

This may be an issue with OpenTable but a friend of mine tried getting a reservation a month out for a Fri/Sat night and had zero luck. Apparently nothing available at all. I’ve seen this happen with Anjelica’s in the summer with OpenTable but usually I just call and have no problem getting in but found this interesting. Could this place really be booked out this far in advance? Guess I’ll find out Saturday.

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I experienced the same. Newer places will keep prime time reservations off open table as they learn how much business they are capable of handling. Annoying for us to have to call, but ultimately helps the diner experience early on and helps them manage negative reviews with respect to service issues.

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I figured it had something to do with that so I told him to call directly and ask what they have available. On the topic of reservations and not being able to get one… Someone brought to my attention a few days ago a certain establishment (won’t name names) accepts payment for standing reservations every weekend. I find this crazy honestly that some people will essentially put up money to have the table before they even order a drink or an appetizer. Maybe this is more common than I initially thought.

I apologize for the brevity as I only heard about my cousin’s visit secondhand. The general impression she had was that the food was OK and so was the service. She was “appalled” by the attire of her fellow patrons.

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For perspective:

Domestic fresh free range lamb chops costs $25/lb
That same lamb shank would cost $9/lb
A frozen commodity lamb shank $4/lb

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can’t compare a “fine dining” sit down restaurant with PEcci’s…that’s my local salumeria since it opened, but it’s hardly a restaurant, and Pecci’s is pricey.

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having eaten at the grand old school expansive restaurant landmark that Gargiulo’s is (not for many many years) there’s no way that any physical comparisons can be made to their new place which at best is a small country inn style restaurant. Cozy. Quaint. Looks like they did a great job with the change from Portofino’s to Gargiulo’s. But there no way it can be the same type of place, even with the same owners. I’m waiting a bit till they are open a few months to iron out all the kinks you experienced, hopefully. While we’re talking Tinton Falls Italian Restaurants, Nettie’s is my favorite. It’s hip, it’s modern, it reinvents the old school Italian cuisine while respecting it. Literally in my backyard it’s like a cool NYC place with an ItalianAmerican vibe. The Sole Milanese that was on their summer menu screamed old and new school. It was amazing.

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First and foremost Welcome to Hungry Onion! Always great to have more food impassioned people joining us!!!

Just a FYI although you replied to me regarding the comparison of Gargiulo’s to Taste of Italy, that was actually a comparison drawn by the person on Facebook not myself.

There is also a separate thread dedicated to Nettie’s which you should place your praise on, more eyes interesting in information on Netties will see it if it’s in their thread vs. here. Here is the link to that discussion if you want to join that conversation too:

Nettie's house of spaghetti - tinton falls, nj

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grazie.

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As long as we are at it, here is the official link to the Welcome to Hungry Onion thread. If you don’t mind me asking how did you find us here?

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also- believe the chef/owner of that spot has commented on that thread a few times, so your comments would likely be seen by them as well, providing useful feedback. We get some owners/chefs of some local spots, mostly in Monmouth County, to chime in from time to time.

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Welcome aboard! Do you have any other Italian favorites?

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Double post

Longtime Tinton Falls resident, born and raised in Staten Island NYC moved here in 1986. I’m Managing Director at a Financial firm but a lifelong cook, traveler, recipe developer, former chef and owner of my own catering firm here at the shore, social media addict, blogger, plus a Dad of 2 college girls and husband to my wife of 37 years. ItalianAmerican and ITalian food are my number one interests, involved in Italian American groups. Love the food scene, have a huge following on FB and am very active on Instagram. World travel is our shared family passion and eating our way and researching each area are my passions. Any and everything food, food related interests me. Most specific is drilling down the history of and perpetuating and making people aware of a dish and a food culture. Found you on a random IG post and thought I’d take a look. What took me so long??? lol. Glad to be here.

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pleasure to meet you! Jimmy’s in Asbury, Porta in Asbury.

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and there’s no food topic i can’t stop talking about. lol.

Sounds like you’ll fit in just fine. Welcome!

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold