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

jersey shore hidden gemBeach 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/
Blend on Main, Manasquan
The menu at Chef Lou Smith’s Blend on Main is everything that a modern day bistro should be. Bring your own and order the bistro steak, that’s cooked using the sous vide reel us in every time. One bite and you’ll never know why you bothered with anything else. 152 Main Street, Manasquan 732-223-0030 blendonmain.com 

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/

jersey shore hidden gemClaudie’s Chicken, Red Bank
Serving as a restaurant / convenience store for the adjoining 76 Gas Station, Claudie’s is a hidden gem in every sense of the word! For those with apprehensions about eating from a gas station – lose them! One bite of Claudie’s fried chicken or their buffalo wings and you won’t go anywhere else for chicken. We pretty much guarantee it! 417 NJ-35, Red Bank 732-450-0007  http://myclaudies.com/menu/

jersey shore hidden gemDIVE! Coastal Bar, Sea Bright
If you’re ever looking for a drink and some fresh dishes and just happen to be on Ocean Avenue in Sea Bright, make a beeline right to DIVE! This Jersey Shore hidden gem is one of our favorites because not only does it remind us of summer in the cold days of winter, but it’s always a festive atmosphere, maybe because of the tasty cocktails or the just off the boat tacos. 1072 Ocean Avenue, Sea Bright 732-268-7707 http://www.divecoastalbar.com/

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/

Kim Marie’s Eat & Drink Away, Asbury Park
Located just a block from the boardwalk is the type of place that you’re bound to stumble upon, and if you decide to go in and give it a try, you’ll find that it’s just what you needed. Kim Marie’s Eat & Drink Away is well known to locals, but with its location off the boardwalk and Cookman, it’s waiting to be discovered. Their menu is full of comfort food and pub fare done the right way. 1411 Kingsley, Asbury Park (732) 774-6666  http://www.kimmarieseatndrinkaway.com/

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/

lentil treeLentil Tree, Asbury Park
At Lentil Tree, you’ll find Mediterranean cuisine with an emphasis on North African and Middle Eastern dishes, including customer favorites like homemade Falafel, Hummus, Babaganoush and Spinach Quiche Entree (a Syrian concept dish).  Old world hospitality is apparent in their casual environment, where customers and friends can enjoy real authentic recipes both indoors and on the outdoor patio. Plus, they now offer live music in their outdoor “Tree House”, and are open late night on weekends for those post-going out cravings.  808 5th Avenue, Asbury Park (732) 455-5066 http://www.lentiltree.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 gemMix Lounge, Long Branch
This small lounge located in the heart of West End has and continues to be, THE place to order a martini. They’ve also upped their game when it comes to “bar food.” Oh and did we mention that they have happy hour… wait for it… seven days out of seven days? Yea, that’s just one of many reasons to stop by! 71 Brighton Avenue, Long Branch 732-923-1000 http://www.mixloungefoodbar.com/

jersey shore hidden gemMonAlyssa Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria, Pt. Pleasant
Cozy and romantic. Two words that perfectly describe this Jersey Shore hidden gem. MonAlyssa is way more than just a spot to grab a slice after the beach. Their meatballs are addicting as is their specialty pizzas and absolutely adorable outdoor patio. 1635 Bay Avenue, Pt. Pleasant 732-899-1999 www.MonAlyssaRestaurant.com/

jersey shore hidden gemMonticello, Red Bank
Since 2009 Monticello has developed a loyal following of local diners that appreciate their ever-changing menu from Chef Katerina. The best way to experience Monticello on your first visit is to book any one of the prix fixe seatings that are offered 4 days a week from 3:30pm to 9pm.  This restaurant also offers “clean” eating options with no processed foods that are GMO free and Gluten free options are always available.  69 Broad Street, Red Bank (732) 450-0255 http://www.monticelloatredbank.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/

monmouth county byobPeach Pit Cafe, Manasquan
Main Street in Manasquan is full of great finds, including this gem – located within another hidden gem, Blend on Main. It’s the perfect spot for a quick breakfast or casual lunch with coworkers. Their breakfast menu features both indulgences like Peaches & Cream French Toast, and healthier options like Quinoa Cereal and Veggie Frittata. Lunch offers a wide variety as well, from the Bourbon Burger to Tortelloni Bolognese. 152 Main Street, Manasquan (732) 223-0030 www.blendonmain.com/peachpit-cafe

Pizzuto Ravioli, Eatontown
Tucked in a cluster of businesses on busy Main Street in Eatontown, it’s very easy to get caught up driving down Route 35 without giving Pizzuto’s a second look. But this Italian market and pizzeria has been helping us get dinner on the table with minimal effort (they’re run by the same owners as Dominick’s in Wall Twp.) Whether you stop by to pick up something from the case of prepared foods, have a party catered, bring home their famously delicious fresh ravioli from Brooklyn, or order some pizzas and sandwiches for the family — Pizzuto’s will never leave you hungry.  15-17 Main Street, Eatontown (732) 544-2000 www.pizzutoravioli.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/
Senza Cucina, Bayville
We heard about this Jersey shore hidden gem from our foodie readers and once we went to investigate, we were happy we did. Senza is a former pizzeria that expanded and is serving up some of the most authentic southern Italian dishes in Ocean County!  One meal here and you’re hooked! We’re happy to pass a recommendation like this along, especially when we’ve been hooked as well. 333 Atlantic City Blvd., Bayville 732-503-4470  http://www.bayvillepizzadelivery.com/

jersey shore hidden gemSiam Garden, Red Bank
Nestled within Red Bank’s Galleria is one of the best Thai places we have yet to come across. Siam Garden serves a wide variety of regional Thai specialties, and boy, do they do it well! If you’re not sure if you’re into Thai food and are a bit wary, go for their business lunch specials Monday through Friday where you can enjoy two courses for just $10. 2 Bridge Avenue, Red Bank (732) 224-1233 http://siamgardenrestaurant.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

jersey shore hidden gemVal’s Tavern, Rumson
There aren’t that many restaurants in Rumson, which is why Val’s is so fun. Located along River Road, just down the street from a few notable places, it’s the spot to enjoy great eats, cold beer, and some time catching up with neighbors. Vitor’s tip: Val’s is known for their Lobster Pie Pizza. Its a must have. 123 E River Road, Rumson 732-842-3452 www.valstavern.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/