Single Best Dish - Italian in New Jersey vs. Italy

There has been a lot of talk lately about boring local Italian.

Challenge to the group: what be your vote as the single best Italian dish you have ever had? Could be a local place, could be home made. Could be a meal you had in Italy. Could be borderline Italian or Italian inspired. Please provide links and or details!

To get the juices flowing :

Best pizza - Pizzeria Bardolino, Bardolino, Italy.

Best tiramisu - a tie between San Carlo Fiorentina, Greater Manchester, UK and Trattoria Delia, Burlington, Vermont, USA.

Best pasta - tortellini stuffed with suckling pig and sat on a spicy tomato sauce. Il Pagliaccio, Rome

If you insist on me only having one “best”, it’ll be the pizza.


On the island of Skiathos in the middle of the Agean Sea is a little pizza place called Medusa. Best pizza I ever had. 2nd is the pasta sauce made by my two great aunts. I still make it. But, I don’t make the ravioli they put it on. That was also way beyond fantastic

Is this a photo of the tortellini? If so, wow. Anyway, wow.

Joe, what made your great aunts’ sauce so unforgettable? Or family secret (which i can respect of course). ?

There’s no secret other than maybe the balance of ingredients. It’s just onions, garlic, basil, oregano, some tomato paste & tomatoes and enough salt to sweat the onions. Stop by the gyro place at the englishtown auction. We have spaghetti & meatballs every Saturday & Sunday.


Best homemade Italian dish is slow cooked beef shin ragu with pappardelle.

Best Italian dish in Italy was grilled rabbit with oregano in Florence. They cut it in half lengthways and a kidney was still attached.

Best Italian dish outside of Italy was in Slovenia near Skocjan caves.It was porcini season and the tagliatelle with porcinis was wonderful . Made all the better when the waiter asked if I’d like some black truffle grated on top.


I was wondering if that ever happened. Which building are you in? We should have a HOdown!

And, to keep this thread local ( or do you want me to move it to General Discussions? )

Best local NJ pizza - Frankie Fed’s Freehold sausage pie.
Best local NJ Italian Dish - Chicken Scarpetta at Jimmy’s in Asbury Park

Certainly similar - I don’t remember the white sauce (but I may have forgotten). And, yes, it was an absolute WOW.

We usually use shin for stews but, from time to time, we’ve tarted up leftover stew and turned it into a pasta sauce.

Red building, booth 49. That’s the northeast corner of the building. All are welcome.

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My apologies if this foreigner has intruded on the OPs intent. I’d assumed that with the mention that it could be a meal had in Italy, it was an invite to an open season of contributions. But maybe the intent was only to contributions from NJ folk. If so, please feel free to delete my post.

@seal, Although the title says, “Italian in NJ,” in the text, the OP says the dish could have been eaten in Italy. Thus far, the replies have mostly been Italy-related. So, if the answers are not going to be specific to NJ, I feel the thread should be moved off the NJ board with an appropriate title change.

You know what, I’ll put our NJ Italian food up against any in Italy! In fact, ten years ago I did just that. We ate at Pizzeria Da Baffetto in Rome, at the time considered by many to be the best pizza in the world. We sat at long communal benches and chatted up our neighbors. Turned out they were from Toronto and were also food bloggers. Both they and we decided that we liked the pizza but we all prefered our favorite hometown pie more.

Bring it on Italy!

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I suspect most people prefer what they know and enjoy. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.


My only visit to Italy was in 1963! When I was in Rome, I ordered a pizza. I was shocked to be served a very small, individual pie, something I’d never seen before because my experience with pizza at that time was with NYC pizza which in those days was served either by the slice or as a whole 8-slice pie.

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