The Ultimate Local’s Guide to Jersey Shore Hidden Gem Restaurants

The Ultimate Local’s Guide to Jersey Shore Hidden Gem Restaurants


With so much competition out there, we love that these Jersey Shore hidden gem restaurants are making a splash in the culinary world. Even though we’re slightly torn about letting the cat out of the bag, we feel compelled to share these places with the masses!

Fake your dinner date out by bringing them to one of these Jersey Shore hidden gems. They may think you’re crazy when you first pull up, but once you’re eating the food, they’ll be singing your praises.

A funny thing we noticed while putting this list together, New Jersey strip malls seem to be the place for chefs to showcase their culinary chops to what feels like a lucky bunch of diners who just happened to hear about it along the grapevine. Well, consider us the ultimate grapevine because we’re giving up the secret on these Jersey Shore hidden gems (sorry to the locals!)

(If you’re looking for a more extensive county list of Jersey Shore hidden gems check out our Monmouth County Hidden Gems and Ocean County Hidden Gems!)

Our Guide to Jersey Shore Hidden Gem Restaurants in Monmouth & Ocean Counties

Beach Tavern, Monmouth Beach
People who aren’t from Monmouth Beach and the immediate surrounding area tend to be in the dark when it comes to The Beach Tavern, which is not only one of our favorite waterfront restaurants but also a local’s hang out. Featuring creative specials with lots of – you guessed it – seafood, but also awesome burgers, delicious fresh pasta, and more. Grab a seat outside, overlooking the marina, and you’ll see why we love it here. 33 West Street, Monmouth Beach (732) 870-8999 http://beachtavern.net/jersey shore hidden gemThe Boondocks Fishery, Red Bank(Seasonal)

Veer off on a small side street in Red Bank, head downhill towards the river, and you’ll find Marine Park, and along with it, something that looks like little more than a wooden shack on the waterfront. That shack is Boondocks Fishery, one of the best seasonal lobster and seafood joints around. Their Tuesday and Wednesday lobster nights are famous among locals, so get there early! This place is as casual as can be – order at the window, grab a seat at one of their picnic tables overlooking the water, and before you know it, you’ll be feasting on lobster. 1 Marine Park, Red Bank (732) 747-7177  https://www.facebook.com/LOBSTUH/

Eventide Grille at the Navesink Marina, Sea Bright
It’s funny how the small town of Sea Bright can be home to not one, but two Jersey Shore hidden gems. Locals flock to Eventide Grille for their seafood and also for the out of this world sunsets. It’s one of the best places to grab a drink, dinner, and enjoy the salt water as the sun goes down, no matter what time of year it is. 1400 Ocean Avenue, Sea Bright 732-530-1414 eventidegrille.com 

jersey shore hidden gemGraze Restaurant, Little Silver
Tucked away in the suburban town of Little Silver’s “downtown” is Graze, a restaurant that exceeds expectations. This small restaurant offers a dining experience with flavors curated by Chef Laercio Chamon “Junior.” From dinner menu favorites to the intimate Chef’s Table, Graze Restaurant is sure to set the bar high whether you’re dining in a strip mall or at the Ritz. 151 Markham Place, Little Silver 732-747-9988 http://graze.restaurant/

kitchKitch Organic, Red Bank & Asbury Park
This Jersey Shore hidden gem actually has two locations! So how does that stay hidden, you may ask? Well, Kitch Organic specializes in gluten, wheat and dairy free food, healthy options, and even vegan cooking. That all may sound a bit intimidating to someone who’s not used to all of that, but coming from some meat-loving, dairy-consuming, non-vegans: this place has GOOD food. Like, seriously good. 75 Leighton Avenue, Red Bank (732) 741-5400; 619 Lake Avenue, Asbury Park  http://www.kitchorganic.com/

jersey shore hidden gemMar Belo, Long Branch
You may know Long Branch as just the home of Pier Village, but there’s so much more to this seashore town. Just take a drive down Broadway and you’ll find a neighborhood filled with restaurants that excel at Portugese dishes. One such restaurant is Mar Belo, a local hideout where you are guaranteed to fill yourself with tapas and one of our favorites, their Caldierada de Marisco aka Seafood Stew. Don’t forget to check them out on Wednesdays for a fantastic deal on deliciously cooked steak611 Broadway, Long branch 732-870-2222 www.marbelorestaurant.com/ 

jersey shore hidden gemMister C’s Beach Bistro, Allenhurst
Mister C’s is easy to pass by if you don’t know it’s there.Sitting smack dab in the middle of a quiet residential area it fits the bill of a true hidden gem. Featuring a beachside bar and restaurant, right next door to the Allenhurst Beach Club, it’s one of our favorite spots for oceanfront dining, with its spacious outdoor deck and diverse menu. Ocean Place and Allen Avenue, Allenhurst (732) 531-3665 http://www.mistercsbeachbistro.com/
jersey shore hidden gemPatricia’s of Holmdel, Holmdel
Nestled along Route 35 is a restaurant featuring white tablecloths, elegant chandeliers, and Italian food that will make you wonder what else you’ve been missing out on. Their octopus (above) is the best in the area and if that doesn’t strike your tastebuds, there’s plenty of options that will. 2132 State Route 35, Holmdel 732-275-0234 www.patriciasofholmdel.com/

jersey shore hidden gemPorcini, Highlands
Porcini continues to make waves at the Jersey Shore, giving themselves a reputation for being a warm restaurant featuring five star dishes. Their menu of fresh Italian-American cuisine has become less and less “hidden,” and the nightly specials made with seasonal and local ingredients are as delicious as they are beautifully prepared. If you get the chance, be absolutely sure to try Chef Chris Atamian’s Pork Osso Bucco. It’s to die for! 168 Bay Ave Highlands (732) 291-3080 https://www.restaurantporcini.com/

jersey shore hidden gemReels at Pier 281, Brick
Waterfront views, outdoor dining, dock and dine, and stellar food is a recipe for success. Since opening in the summer of 2015, it has become less and less of a Jersey Shore hidden gem, especially to locals in the Brick area. This is another one of those places that’s easy to pass by if you don’t know about it. We’re telling you: don’t make that mistake! 281 Princeton Ave, Brick (848) 232-1361  http://www.reelsat281.com/

jersey shore hidden gemThe Marina at Oceanport, Oceanport
A couple of years ago, The Marina opened up, giving life to an area that was in desperate need of a local hang out. Now, locals have basically won the jack pot with waterfront dining, happy hours (2x a day), delicious dishes, and some of the best musical acts in the county. It makes us feel like we own a yacht… even though we just own a kayak. 10 Riverside Avenue, Oceanport 848-456-4396 marinaatoceanport.com/

jersey shore hidden gemThe Wine Bar, Atlantic Highlands
Walk the steps up into The Wine Bar and you’ll feel like you’ve been transported into one of the classiest members only bars in uptown NYC. It’s a classic lounge, with a number of wines, and a beautiful baby grand piano. Billy Joel may not be playing here, but it’ll feel like you’re expecting him any minute. 40 1st Avenue, Atlantic Highlands 732-291-1377 www.ahwinebar.com/
jersey shore hidden gemTrama’s Trattoria, Long Branch
Chef Pat Trama has earned a loyal following with food and wine aficionados due to his fierce commitment to quality, consistency and attention to detail. Every sea scallop gets perfectly caramelized, every dish carefully thought out based on the freshest and highest quality ingredients. At Trama’s Trattoria, you’ll feel like you’re in the heart of Tuscany. 115 Brighton Ave, Long Branch (732) 222-1121 tramastrattoria.com

Via Roma, Toms River
On the surface, Via Roma looks like any other Italian restaurant serving up all the classics, but take a look at their menus, and you’re in for a surprise. Via Roma has an extensive menu of gluten free, vegan, and vegetarian options. This has helped Via Roma bring in new diners from near and far. Via Roma is one of the best restaurants at the Shore for anyone with dietary restrictions, but any meat, dairy, and grain-loving diner is bound to love their food as well. It’s truly a hidden gem at the Jersey Shore. 2360 Lakewood Dr (Route 9), Toms River (732) 364-1980 viaromatomsriver.com

Via Veneto, Manasquan
People seem to be familiar with Via Veneto in Brick, but did you know they also have a location right in Manasquan? It’s the perfect place to enjoy a meal with family, paired with your favorite bottle of wine (BYOB). They serve lunch and dinner, so there are plenty of opportunities to go give this hidden gem a try. 2410 Route 35 North, Manasquan (732) 722-8458 viavenetoristorante.com/