Theres a link to a post below from someone who moved from Chicago to Jersey last year and misses her Chicago food so much she had to write about it. This inspired me to write about all of the Jersey foods I miss that I cant find in Chicago since I moved from Jersey 2 years ago.
You have the so much great Italian food that you can only take it for granted that almost wherever you look you can find a wide variety of wonderful, creative, soul satisfying, homemade dishes. I really miss antipasto salads, fried calamari, fresh pasta, real clams, homemade sauces, crusty garlic bread with cheese, and a lot more. I listed a few of my favorites, but there are so many (and my reviews are 2 years old)
Tuscan Grill, Bedminster
Newark has the best. I never liked any of the places in the suburbs, even when they were owned by the same people as the original. You gotta go into the hood. Gambas al ajillo, Paella Valenciana, Mariscada en salsa verde. And you better be hungry and bring people with you. When they tell you youre ordering too much food, believe them. Go ahead, and dont worry, they have parking. Fornos is a short walk from Newark-Penn sta. if you want to take the train and roll all the way home.
Don Pepe, Newark
An authentic churrascaria, reasonably priced, and save room for coconut cake dessert. Sure the salad bar isnt great, but youre not really going for the salad bar, are you? Go early and walk around Ferry St to see some of the Brazilian neighborhood.
There are lots of things that I miss from Jewish delis, including nova and lox, smoked whitefish, corned beef, matzo ball soup with real chicken broth, borscht, and lots more. Dont want to necessarily give this place a plug over the others, but they do have the best chocolate rugelach, pricey but worth it.
Celebrity Deli, Edison
There are also many pizza places I cant name. I would gladly take any of them over my choices here in Chicago. Chicago pizza is essentially a pool of cheap cheese in a pie crust with no real sauce to speak of. Some places I particularly dream about:
Vinnie & Son (I think thats the name), Easton Rd near 287 in Somerset, great bruschetta (they pronounce it bruce-KETT) pizza and other slices. Great quality for a pizza by the slice place.
Reservoir Tavern, Parsippany/Booton
The best pizza place ever not a place for slices, go with some friends and be prepared to wait for your table.
Its easy to take for granted a diner available on every highway, always open, always with a wide selection, and you find the ones you like. My favorite one by far, and it was far, but always worth the drive. Fun décor, fresh food, nice portions, wide variety, great quality, not your mothers diner food.
Americana Diner, Hightstown
Soup Du Jour, Hopewell
Tough to find, small place open only for lunch M-Sat and brunch on Sundays. But the best soups I have ever tasted. They make 3 soups homemade each day, and charge $5 a bowl from what I remember, but it was worth every drop. There are other things they serve, such as a thick grilled cheese sandwich, but you should go there for the soup. I sure wish I could find a place like that in Chicago. Best place to recover from a cold.
Dont just buy Italian bread from the grocery store, go there! I always liked to go to the Antique Bakery in Hoboken and buy the bread fresh out of the oven. You can even walk into the back and see the oven that makes that crust. I know there are a lot more great bakeries in Hoboken & Newark, and I encourage you to go search them out and see what they make. I think youll be surprised to see the variety they make compared with whats in the grocery store. My favorite: Large semolina twist with sesame seeds.
Happy eating from Chicago,