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A street with pedestrians and cars and many stores and restaurants sloping downward.
Jersey City’s India Square neighborhood slopes down to the Meadowlands.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

24 Restaurants Highlighting Jersey City’s Rich Culinary Diversity

Dosas, Filipino pastries, meat sauce-topped hot dogs, and more

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Jersey City’s India Square neighborhood slopes down to the Meadowlands.
| Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

With a population of around 250,000, Jersey City is the second largest city in New Jersey. It covers a vast area of cliffs and lowlands, hemmed in between the Hackensack and Hudson rivers. It possesses three institutions of higher learning within its borders, and a population so diverse that it rivals Queens. Look for any category of restaurant there, and you’re likely to find it.

A few things that make it unique: India Square, one of the largest South Asian shopping strips in the tristate area, with around 25 restaurants; two competing Filipino neighborhoods with bakeries, cafes, produce stands, and food stores (some linked to chains back in the Philippines); a transplanted hamburger stand that started life at the 1939 World’s Fair; and a handsome historic downtown with a large selection of bars, bistros, and artisanal food producers, not to mention a Krispy Kreme where you can watch the doughnuts being made.

Its reputation as a great culinary destination has remained sadly overshadowed by New York City’s, but hopefully that is changing. Even if you’re not a resident, there are multiple ways to get there by ferry, bus, car, or the PATH subway. And once you arrive, a light rail snakes across the landscape to neighborhoods that might otherwise seem remote. So give Jersey City a try, if you haven’t already.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. White Mana Diner

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470 Tonnele Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07307
(201) 963-1441
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Work your way through the tangle of highway underpasses and overpasses to find this docked flying saucer that was once a kiosk at the 1939 World’s Fair. In 1946, it was put on a flatbed and dragged to the bottom of a hill beneath the Jersey City Heights. The counter inside is as circular as the exterior, and wondrous cheeseburgers are cooked there, along with hot dogs, fries, onion rings, and slender sandwiches of an ancient nature, including Taylor ham (aka pork roll), the national meat of New Jersey.

A round white building by a cluttered roadside.
White Mana is a World’s Fair leftover.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

2. Bread & Salt

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435 Palisade Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07307
(201) 500-7338
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Pittsburgh’s Rick Easton is the impresario of Italian baked goods, both sweet and savory, at this rare scenester spot in the Heights. Sure, there are thick-pizza-like focaccias, some smeared with tomatoes, some with more elaborate toppings, and there are also cookies, tarts, custard-squirting bomboloni, and other pastries, as well delectable sandwiches — a Roman-style mortadella sandwich is often available. Bread & Salt is a quirky and unpredictable establishment that also sells Italian groceries. Only open Friday through Sunday.

A man in an apron with mask and stocking cap leans over a pizza topped with tomatoes.
Chef Rick Easton making a pizza.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

3. Golconda Chimney

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806 Newark Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07306
(201) 608-0666
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Open for six years, Golconda Chimney — named after a Hyderabad landmark that was once the seat of a sultanate and center for the diamond trade — offers the food of the high-tech city, including biryanis, Indo-Chinese dishes, tandoori specialties, and street snacks as well as vegetarian and non-vegetarian main options. The kitchen does wonders with goat — roasting, stewing, skewering, currying, and even using the animal’s feet in a goat paya soup. Other menu highlights include chicken gongura and Malabar fish curry.

A variety of red, yellow, and brown dishes against a wooden surface seen from above.
A selection of dishes from Golconda Chimney.
Nick Solares/Eater NY

4. Sri Ganesh’s Dosa House

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809 Newark Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07306
(201) 222-3883
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Owner Venu Rachuri’s Sri Ganesh’s Dosa House — its blue awning featuring the elephant-headed god — was the second southern Indian restaurant to appear in the neighborhood dubbed India Square in the ’90s, just as the Gujarati dominance was waning. The menu presents dozens of dosas, the crisp, thin crepes made from a batter of naturally fermented rice and lentils, with a variety of stuffings. But it is also offers other classics from a strictly vegetarian menu, including idly, pongal, and upma. Place your order at the counter, take a number, and sit down until your dishes are called.

A stunted cone of off-white farina dotted with spices, with red pickle on the side.
A serving of upma wheat porridge.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

5. Mithaas Jersey City

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795 Newark Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07306
(201) 659-8700
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Helmed by Kamal Arora, Mithaas is a vegetarian Indian restaurant that concentrates on the food of the South, with the usual freshly prepared dosas, uttapams, and composed rice casseroles like bisi bele bath. Every day a thali is prepared, the name designating a composite meal of curries, chutneys, dals, and breads served on a round metal tray. But Mithaas doubles as a sweet shop, and glass cases are filled with milk-based treats in a rainbow of colors, some flaunting gold- or silver-leaf decorations.

A round metal tray with a variety of colorful dishes in metal cups placed inside it.
Typical daily thali at Mithaas.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

6. Minar Halal Meat

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771 Newark Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07306
(201) 216-0222

There’s nothing better than barbecue from a butcher shop, and that is just what Minar does. In the back, there’s a selection of raw halal chicken and goat, and lots of frozen imported fish from Bangladesh, like hilsa, pomfret, and rohu. In the front stands a wooden shack housing Minar Kabab and Tikka Corner, where meat sizzles on a charcoal grill. Ground lamb and chicken kebabs are available on flatbread or over rice, along with chickens, fish filets, and mutton kebabs. Tandoori items find their way into the vertical clay oven.

A charred ground lamb kebab bedded in lettuce sticks out of the end of a flatbread.
A flatbread sandwich of ground lamb.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

7. Korai Kitchen

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576 Summit Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07306
(201) 721-6566
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Few Bangladeshi restaurants in the metropolitan area are as good as Korai Kitchen. A joint project of the mother-and-daughter team of Nur-E Gulshan Rahman and Nur-E Farhana Rahman brings the curries, pullaos, and bhortas (spicy vegetable purees based on eggplant, potatoes, or lentils) right to you. This place doesn’t hold back on the mustard oil, a key ingredient in Bangladeshi cooking that leaves a pleasant burn in the throat. The menu spotlights the freshwater fish, a staple of the national cuisine. Check the chalkboard for daily lunch specials, and don’t miss the rice pudding.

A pair of plastic tubs on a towel, one made of eggplant, the other of yellow split peas.
A pair of bhortas at Korai Kitchen.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

8. Boulevard Drinks

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48 Journal Square Plaza
Jersey City, NJ 07306
(201) 656-1855
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Jersey City has its own iconic hot dog counter, in this case it’s bright yellow and also selling the conventional gritty drinks of NYC institutions like Papaya King. But Jersey dogs don’t come topped with sauerkraut and caramelized canned onions, rather there’s a meaty topping often described as chili, even though it’s really an onion-y Greek meat sauce. Currently owned by John Bardis, whose father Speros bought the narrow place in 1962, Boulevard Drinks has been around since 1937.

Boulevard Drinks’ all beef franks, with chili on a yellow background.
A pair of franks with “chili” at Boulevard Drinks.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

9. Morgan Fish Market and Restaurant

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2801 John F. Kennedy Blvd #1215
Jersey City, NJ 07306
(201) 792-2400
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Jersey City has a handful of Egyptian seafood restaurants exhibiting a cooking style that originated in the Mediterranean port of Alexandria. There are whole fish grilled or fried, depending on the coarseness of the flesh, served with salad, baba ghanoush, fried rice, and french fries. (If grilled, the skin comes out black, and should be pulled off and discarded.) The menu also includes other Mediterranean dishes, such as red-sauced seafood pasta and fried squid. Decorated with nautical motifs, Morgan serves incredibly fresh seafood at prices that put Manhattan restaurants to shame.

A blackened whole fish covered with parsley on a silver salver.
Grilled porgy at Morgan Fish Market.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

10. Philippine Bread House

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530 Newark Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07306
(201) 659-1753
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Elma Santander, who came from Manila, opened Philippine Bread House in 1979 and it grew into a mini shopping complex in one of the two Filipino neighborhoods in Jersey City (the other is way south in the West Bergen neighborhood). The prominent red building, seen as you climb the hill toward Journal Square on Newark Avenue, is foremost a bakery. When you step inside, many pastries and breads gleam with purple ube. In the rear, find a steam table with hot dishes, many featuring pork and fish and tangy with vinegar. Kare kare is a stew of oxtails and green beans thickened with peanut butter. Desserts include halo-halo, the Filipino crushed ice dessert.

Scoop of purple ice cream dotted with colorful jellies.
Halo-halo at Philippine Bread House.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

11. Hamilton Pork

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247 10th St
Jersey City, NJ 07302
(201) 957-7245
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You shouldn’t be surprised that one of the city’s best and smokiest barbecues is found in Jersey City’s plush Hamilton Park neighborhood. Hamilton Pork has lovely summer seating in a side yard, and the dark interior could double as a beer hall. Barbecued offerings run from the core favorites (brisket, pulled pork, chicken, beef ribs) to the lesser-seen (pork belly, lamb ribs, habanero cheddar sausage), along with barbecue tacos and a whole slew of sides.

What look like a rack of well-blackened ribs.
Barbecued lamb belly at Hamilton Pork.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

12. Chef Tan

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558 Washington Blvd
Jersey City, NJ 07310
(201) 987-7070
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Newport is an unexpected location for one of the metropolitan area’s best Hunan restaurants, with lots of fiery choices and pleasing ingredients like smoked bamboo, pickled chiles, pork belly, eggplants, and yes, the cuisine’s signature fish head. The menu also offers Sichuan fare and plenty of vegetarian dishes, but skip the steamed dumplings.

A while bowl of reddish pork belly in a sticky dark red sauce.
Chairman Mao’s favorite — red-braised pork belly.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

13. Samakmak Seafood

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772 West Side Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07306
(201) 333-3474
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In common with Morgan Seafood, Samakmak is another of Jersey City’s distinctive Alexandrian restaurants, offering a menu of simply grilled or fried fish, a half dozen species per day. The front of the premises is a fish market, but go through the door at the rear to find the restaurant, decorated with a skyline of Alexandria. In fact, you can grab your fish in front and carry it to the back to be cooked. Shrimp or calamari, fried or in tomato sauce, are also available. For dessert, don’t miss kanafa or rice pudding.

A bubbling red sauced casserole filled with shrimp and big rings of calamari.
Italian style shrimp and calamari casserole is popular in Egypt.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

14. Pasta Dal Cuore

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527 Jersey Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07302
(201) 332-8505
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While long-running, red-sauce Italian spots like Joe and Pat’s (featured in the Sopranos) and Dante have closed in Jersey City, newfangled, more modern places have opened, and Pasta Dal Cuore is one. It was founded by Elena Cartagena, an Italian-Uruguayan, in 2014. Check out the freshly made pastas in the glass case as you enter, but the menu goes way beyond noodles. A meal there might feature a seafood faro salad followed by a chicken cutlet milanesa, but you can also stick with pastas, of which the lasagna shown here is one of the richest in town.

A lush square of lasagna in an orangeish tomato sauce.
Lasagna at Pasta Dal Cuore.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

15. Nicole's

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521 Jersey Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07302
(201) 433-8443
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Since 1999, Nicole’s Caribbean has been a prominent feature of the neighborhood just west of the Historic Downtown, its bright yellow awning shining like a beacon. The kitchen makes up about three-quarters of the interior, and there’s not much seating. From that kitchen fly Guyanese specialties that include a wonderful roti. The flatbread is a dal poori, and the primary filling is a choice of goat, chicken, shrimp, etc. But also consider asking for a secondary filling like pumpkin or callaloo to balance your meal. And don’t forget to use the scotch bonnet hot sauce.

A flatbread with chunks of meat and pureed orange squash visible inside.
A Guyanese roti is the specialty of Nicole’s.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

16. Tamborim

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130 Newark Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07302
(201) 416-4400
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Normally, you’d have to go to Ironbound to get Brazilian food. Tamborim (“tambourine“) is located right on the mall portion of Newark Avenue, where crowd watching is almost a contact sport. The bean-filled cauldron of feijoada, stuffed with plenty of pig parts, is spot on, while Afro-Brazilian cuisine is well represented with the dende-laced bobo de camarao. Finally, snacking is encouraged with a menu of fritters and baked goods such as pao de queijo, an irresistibly bouncy cheese bread made with yuca flour.

The dishes set on the diagonal, with one containing shredded greens and orange segments; one with black beans; and one with rice.
The complete feijoada, the national dish of Brazil.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

17. Ibby's Falafel

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303 Grove St
Jersey City, NJ 07302
(201) 432-2400
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Owned by Adnan Kwara, a nephew of the Mamoun’s founder Mamoun Chater, Ibby’s has been a dining resource of the Historic Downtown neighborhood for 25 years. Favorites on a fundamental Lebanese-Syrian menu include lamb shawarma and falafel sandwiches whose chickpea-bearing orbs are notably fried to order. Vegetarians will do spectacularly here, with a fattoush salad filled with crisp toasted pita, or a platter of baba ghanoush and foul — the garlic-stewed fava beans. This remains a budget option in a neighborhood with an upscale restaurant collection.

Out front of the restaurant is a collection of tables with red umbrellas, with a party in the foreground just seating itself.
The cheery outdoor seating area of Ibby’s.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

18. Razza

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275 Grove St
Jersey City, NJ 07302
(201) 356-9348
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Dan Richter founded Razza Pizza Artiginale right on Grove Street in 2012. It was destined to become one of the most respected pizzerias on the Eastern seaboard early on: The pies come out of the wood oven round and puffy, charred here and there, and delectably good in a sourdough-y way. Topping ingredients run from the obvious — fresh mozzarella and canned tomatoes — to the more arcane, like orange winter squash, cream, fermented chile paste, fingerling potatoes, raclette, and hazelnuts — imparting toasty flavor. This place is also big on bread and butter, as well as short dishes in a modern Italian vein.

A round pie with a puffy crust, browned and charred, with plenty of cheese on top.
Razza’s famous pie featuring local hazelnuts.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

19. La Brujeria

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590 Grand St
Jersey City, NJ 07304
(201) 267-6760
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A Mexican restaurant appeared in the back of a gas station on bustling Grand Street, a largely industrial neighborhood of warehouses and factories. The owner and chef is Mexico City native Roberto Islas, and the menu at this small spot decorated with huge art murals on Mexican themes is a compendium of dishes found locallly, from tacos, tortas, and quesadillas to more ambitious creations like mixiotes. And this is one of the few places I know of to offer lamb birria, though not always available.

A counter with a prep area behind it; a woman stands there with her back to us as a man in a mask looks quizzically through a doorway to the kitchen.
The order counter at La Brujeria.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

20. Jayhan's Grill

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456 West Side Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07304
(201) 360-2056
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While most of the dozen or so Philippine restaurants on the West Side are of the steam-table cafe sort, Jayhan’s is a thoroughly modern hang that attracts a young crowd. Brunching? The congee-like goto, laced with seafood, makes a great weekend repast, and dishes like kare kare often arrived stylishly deconstructed. And if you’re not into a giant meal, plenty of dumplings, fritters, and other small snacks are available.

A round bowl with green beans and pork belly on top.
The kare kare arrives stylishly deconstructed.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

21. Bistro La Source

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85 Morris St
Jersey City, NJ 07302
(201) 209-1717
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Fourteen-year-old Bistro La Source is tucked away in a residential neighborhood near the Colgate clock. Its strength lies not only in its comfortable interior and parking-lot outdoor dining area, but in its conventional bistro menu. The scaled-down bouillabaisse and hopelessly rich cassoulet are good examples, but one is also free to dine more lightly on bone marrow and chanterelles or French onion soup.

A bowl of orange broth with various shellfish, fish, and croutons emerging.
Bouillabaisse at Bistro La Source.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

22. Restaurante y Panaderia Guatamalteco

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Pacific Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07304
(201) 892-5957
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The double storefront in the bucolic Communipaw neighborhood boasts a bakery on one side and cafe on the other, both open early in the morning. Out of one side flies elaborately decorated, celebratory cakes. Out of the other side comes classic Guatemalan dishes, including a beautiful abundant ceviche served in a plastic cup containing fish, shrimp, and surimi, dotted with tomatoes in a tart wash and served with tortilla chips. The tamales are fabulous, too, and so are the numerous breakfast combos featuring eggs, cheese, plantains, and chorizo. There’s even a Guatemalan take on Chinese chow mein.

A plastic cup filled with seafood and tomatoes seen from above.
Ceviche is served in a plastic cup.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

23. Mamak House

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250 NJ-440
Jersey City, NJ 07305
(201) 333-0072
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A rather grand restaurant along the Hackensack River waterfront, with views of Newark across the water, Mamak House offers a deep dive into Malaysian cuisine with a few Chinese and Indonesian flourishes. For an introduction to the cuisine, try nasi lemak, a rice-based dish topped with a dark chicken curry and anchovy relish. Okra with fermented belacan sauce is another highlight, and so is Hokkien char mee — thick wheat noodles slicked with a dark fragrant sauce and topped with crisp fried shallots.

A close-up photo of cut and steamed okra with a sweet fish sauce.
Green steamed okra with a sweet fish sauce.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

24. Laico's

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67 Terhune Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07305
(201) 434-4115
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HIdden midblock in a residential neighborhood not far from the warehouses that line the northern reaches of Newark Bay, Laico’s is typical of the old-guard Italian restaurants that once dotted Jersey City. The cudgel-size pork chop parmesan covers the plate, while the eggplant rollatini — stuffed with scintillatingly fresh ricotta — is just like Italian grandmas used to make. The wine list offers plenty of bargains, and there’s a postage-stamp-size parking lot adjacent to the restaurant.

A pork chop with bone protruding smothered in red sauce and cheese.
The cudgel-size pork chop.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

1. White Mana Diner

470 Tonnele Ave, Jersey City, NJ 07307
A round white building by a cluttered roadside.
White Mana is a World’s Fair leftover.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Work your way through the tangle of highway underpasses and overpasses to find this docked flying saucer that was once a kiosk at the 1939 World’s Fair. In 1946, it was put on a flatbed and dragged to the bottom of a hill beneath the Jersey City Heights. The counter inside is as circular as the exterior, and wondrous cheeseburgers are cooked there, along with hot dogs, fries, onion rings, and slender sandwiches of an ancient nature, including Taylor ham (aka pork roll), the national meat of New Jersey.

470 Tonnele Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07307

2. Bread & Salt

435 Palisade Ave, Jersey City, NJ 07307
A man in an apron with mask and stocking cap leans over a pizza topped with tomatoes.
Chef Rick Easton making a pizza.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Pittsburgh’s Rick Easton is the impresario of Italian baked goods, both sweet and savory, at this rare scenester spot in the Heights. Sure, there are thick-pizza-like focaccias, some smeared with tomatoes, some with more elaborate toppings, and there are also cookies, tarts, custard-squirting bomboloni, and other pastries, as well delectable sandwiches — a Roman-style mortadella sandwich is often available. Bread & Salt is a quirky and unpredictable establishment that also sells Italian groceries. Only open Friday through Sunday.

435 Palisade Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07307

3. Golconda Chimney

806 Newark Ave, Jersey City, NJ 07306
Read Review |
A variety of red, yellow, and brown dishes against a wooden surface seen from above.
A selection of dishes from Golconda Chimney.
Nick Solares/Eater NY

Open for six years, Golconda Chimney — named after a Hyderabad landmark that was once the seat of a sultanate and center for the diamond trade — offers the food of the high-tech city, including biryanis, Indo-Chinese dishes, tandoori specialties, and street snacks as well as vegetarian and non-vegetarian main options. The kitchen does wonders with goat — roasting, stewing, skewering, currying, and even using the animal’s feet in a goat paya soup. Other menu highlights include chicken gongura and Malabar fish curry.

806 Newark Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07306

4. Sri Ganesh’s Dosa House

809 Newark Ave, Jersey City, NJ 07306
A stunted cone of off-white farina dotted with spices, with red pickle on the side.
A serving of upma wheat porridge.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Owner Venu Rachuri’s Sri Ganesh’s Dosa House — its blue awning featuring the elephant-headed god — was the second southern Indian restaurant to appear in the neighborhood dubbed India Square in the ’90s, just as the Gujarati dominance was waning. The menu presents dozens of dosas, the crisp, thin crepes made from a batter of naturally fermented rice and lentils, with a variety of stuffings. But it is also offers other classics from a strictly vegetarian menu, including idly, pongal, and upma. Place your order at the counter, take a number, and sit down until your dishes are called.

809 Newark Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07306

5. Mithaas Jersey City

795 Newark Ave, Jersey City, NJ 07306
A round metal tray with a variety of colorful dishes in metal cups placed inside it.
Typical daily thali at Mithaas.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Helmed by Kamal Arora, Mithaas is a vegetarian Indian restaurant that concentrates on the food of the South, with the usual freshly prepared dosas, uttapams, and composed rice casseroles like bisi bele bath. Every day a thali is prepared, the name designating a composite meal of curries, chutneys, dals, and breads served on a round metal tray. But Mithaas doubles as a sweet shop, and glass cases are filled with milk-based treats in a rainbow of colors, some flaunting gold- or silver-leaf decorations.

795 Newark Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07306

6. Minar Halal Meat

771 Newark Ave, Jersey City, NJ 07306
A charred ground lamb kebab bedded in lettuce sticks out of the end of a flatbread.
A flatbread sandwich of ground lamb.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

There’s nothing better than barbecue from a butcher shop, and that is just what Minar does. In the back, there’s a selection of raw halal chicken and goat, and lots of frozen imported fish from Bangladesh, like hilsa, pomfret, and rohu. In the front stands a wooden shack housing Minar Kabab and Tikka Corner, where meat sizzles on a charcoal grill. Ground lamb and chicken kebabs are available on flatbread or over rice, along with chickens, fish filets, and mutton kebabs. Tandoori items find their way into the vertical clay oven.

771 Newark Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07306

7. Korai Kitchen

576 Summit Ave, Jersey City, NJ 07306
A pair of plastic tubs on a towel, one made of eggplant, the other of yellow split peas.
A pair of bhortas at Korai Kitchen.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Few Bangladeshi restaurants in the metropolitan area are as good as Korai Kitchen. A joint project of the mother-and-daughter team of Nur-E Gulshan Rahman and Nur-E Farhana Rahman brings the curries, pullaos, and bhortas (spicy vegetable purees based on eggplant, potatoes, or lentils) right to you. This place doesn’t hold back on the mustard oil, a key ingredient in Bangladeshi cooking that leaves a pleasant burn in the throat. The menu spotlights the freshwater fish, a staple of the national cuisine. Check the chalkboard for daily lunch specials, and don’t miss the rice pudding.

576 Summit Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07306

8. Boulevard Drinks

48 Journal Square Plaza, Jersey City, NJ 07306
Boulevard Drinks’ all beef franks, with chili on a yellow background.
A pair of franks with “chili” at Boulevard Drinks.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Jersey City has its own iconic hot dog counter, in this case it’s bright yellow and also selling the conventional gritty drinks of NYC institutions like Papaya King. But Jersey dogs don’t come topped with sauerkraut and caramelized canned onions, rather there’s a meaty topping often described as chili, even though it’s really an onion-y Greek meat sauce. Currently owned by John Bardis, whose father Speros bought the narrow place in 1962, Boulevard Drinks has been around since 1937.

48 Journal Square Plaza
Jersey City, NJ 07306

9. Morgan Fish Market and Restaurant

2801 John F. Kennedy Blvd #1215, Jersey City, NJ 07306
A blackened whole fish covered with parsley on a silver salver.
Grilled porgy at Morgan Fish Market.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Jersey City has a handful of Egyptian seafood restaurants exhibiting a cooking style that originated in the Mediterranean port of Alexandria. There are whole fish grilled or fried, depending on the coarseness of the flesh, served with salad, baba ghanoush, fried rice, and french fries. (If grilled, the skin comes out black, and should be pulled off and discarded.) The menu also includes other Mediterranean dishes, such as red-sauced seafood pasta and fried squid. Decorated with nautical motifs, Morgan serves incredibly fresh seafood at prices that put Manhattan restaurants to shame.

2801 John F. Kennedy Blvd #1215
Jersey City, NJ 07306

10. Philippine Bread House

530 Newark Ave, Jersey City, NJ 07306
Scoop of purple ice cream dotted with colorful jellies.
Halo-halo at Philippine Bread House.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Elma Santander, who came from Manila, opened Philippine Bread House in 1979 and it grew into a mini shopping complex in one of the two Filipino neighborhoods in Jersey City (the other is way south in the West Bergen neighborhood). The prominent red building, seen as you climb the hill toward Journal Square on Newark Avenue, is foremost a bakery. When you step inside, many pastries and breads gleam with purple ube. In the rear, find a steam table with hot dishes, many featuring pork and fish and tangy with vinegar. Kare kare is a stew of oxtails and green beans thickened with peanut butter. Desserts include halo-halo, the Filipino crushed ice dessert.

530 Newark Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07306

11. Hamilton Pork

247 10th St, Jersey City, NJ 07302
What look like a rack of well-blackened ribs.
Barbecued lamb belly at Hamilton Pork.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

You shouldn’t be surprised that one of the city’s best and smokiest barbecues is found in Jersey City’s plush Hamilton Park neighborhood. Hamilton Pork has lovely summer seating in a side yard, and the dark interior could double as a beer hall. Barbecued offerings run from the core favorites (brisket, pulled pork, chicken, beef ribs) to the lesser-seen (pork belly, lamb ribs, habanero cheddar sausage), along with barbecue tacos and a whole slew of sides.

247 10th St
Jersey City, NJ 07302

12. Chef Tan

558 Washington Blvd, Jersey City, NJ 07310
A while bowl of reddish pork belly in a sticky dark red sauce.
Chairman Mao’s favorite — red-braised pork belly.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Newport is an unexpected location for one of the metropolitan area’s best Hunan restaurants, with lots of fiery choices and pleasing ingredients like smoked bamboo, pickled chiles, pork belly, eggplants, and yes, the cuisine’s signature fish head. The menu also offers Sichuan fare and plenty of vegetarian dishes, but skip the steamed dumplings.

558 Washington Blvd
Jersey City, NJ 07310

13. Samakmak Seafood

772 West Side Ave, Jersey City, NJ 07306
A bubbling red sauced casserole filled with shrimp and big rings of calamari.
Italian style shrimp and calamari casserole is popular in Egypt.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

In common with Morgan Seafood, Samakmak is another of Jersey City’s distinctive Alexandrian restaurants, offering a menu of simply grilled or fried fish, a half dozen species per day. The front of the premises is a fish market, but go through the door at the rear to find the restaurant, decorated with a skyline of Alexandria. In fact, you can grab your fish in front and carry it to the back to be cooked. Shrimp or calamari, fried or in tomato sauce, are also available. For dessert, don’t miss kanafa or rice pudding.

772 West Side Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07306

14. Pasta Dal Cuore

527 Jersey Ave, Jersey City, NJ 07302
A lush square of lasagna in an orangeish tomato sauce.
Lasagna at Pasta Dal Cuore.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

While long-running, red-sauce Italian spots like Joe and Pat’s (featured in the Sopranos) and Dante have closed in Jersey City, newfangled, more modern places have opened, and Pasta Dal Cuore is one. It was founded by Elena Cartagena, an Italian-Uruguayan, in 2014. Check out the freshly made pastas in the glass case as you enter, but the menu goes way beyond noodles. A meal there might feature a seafood faro salad followed by a chicken cutlet milanesa, but you can also stick with pastas, of which the lasagna shown here is one of the richest in town.

527 Jersey Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07302

15. Nicole's

521 Jersey Ave, Jersey City, NJ 07302
A flatbread with chunks of meat and pureed orange squash visible inside.
A Guyanese roti is the specialty of Nicole’s.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Since 1999, Nicole’s Caribbean has been a prominent feature of the neighborhood just west of the Historic Downtown, its bright yellow awning shining like a beacon. The kitchen makes up about three-quarters of the interior, and there’s not much seating. From that kitchen fly Guyanese specialties that include a wonderful roti. The flatbread is a dal poori, and the primary filling is a choice of goat, chicken, shrimp, etc. But also consider asking for a secondary filling like pumpkin or callaloo to balance your meal. And don’t forget to use the scotch bonnet hot sauce.

521 Jersey Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07302

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16. Tamborim

130 Newark Ave, Jersey City, NJ 07302
The dishes set on the diagonal, with one containing shredded greens and orange segments; one with black beans; and one with rice.
The complete feijoada, the national dish of Brazil.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Normally, you’d have to go to Ironbound to get Brazilian food. Tamborim (“tambourine“) is located right on the mall portion of Newark Avenue, where crowd watching is almost a contact sport. The bean-filled cauldron of feijoada, stuffed with plenty of pig parts, is spot on, while Afro-Brazilian cuisine is well represented with the dende-laced bobo de camarao. Finally, snacking is encouraged with a menu of fritters and baked goods such as pao de queijo, an irresistibly bouncy cheese bread made with yuca flour.

130 Newark Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07302

17. Ibby's Falafel

303 Grove St, Jersey City, NJ 07302
Out front of the restaurant is a collection of tables with red umbrellas, with a party in the foreground just seating itself.
The cheery outdoor seating area of Ibby’s.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Owned by Adnan Kwara, a nephew of the Mamoun’s founder Mamoun Chater, Ibby’s has been a dining resource of the Historic Downtown neighborhood for 25 years. Favorites on a fundamental Lebanese-Syrian menu include lamb shawarma and falafel sandwiches whose chickpea-bearing orbs are notably fried to order. Vegetarians will do spectacularly here, with a fattoush salad filled with crisp toasted pita, or a platter of baba ghanoush and foul — the garlic-stewed fava beans. This remains a budget option in a neighborhood with an upscale restaurant collection.

303 Grove St
Jersey City, NJ 07302

18. Razza

275 Grove St, Jersey City, NJ 07302
A round pie with a puffy crust, browned and charred, with plenty of cheese on top.
Razza’s famous pie featuring local hazelnuts.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Dan Richter founded Razza Pizza Artiginale right on Grove Street in 2012. It was destined to become one of the most respected pizzerias on the Eastern seaboard early on: The pies come out of the wood oven round and puffy, charred here and there, and delectably good in a sourdough-y way. Topping ingredients run from the obvious — fresh mozzarella and canned tomatoes — to the more arcane, like orange winter squash, cream, fermented chile paste, fingerling potatoes, raclette, and hazelnuts — imparting toasty flavor. This place is also big on bread and butter, as well as short dishes in a modern Italian vein.

275 Grove St
Jersey City, NJ 07302

19. La Brujeria

590 Grand St, Jersey City, NJ 07304
A counter with a prep area behind it; a woman stands there with her back to us as a man in a mask looks quizzically through a doorway to the kitchen.
The order counter at La Brujeria.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

A Mexican restaurant appeared in the back of a gas station on bustling Grand Street, a largely industrial neighborhood of warehouses and factories. The owner and chef is Mexico City native Roberto Islas, and the menu at this small spot decorated with huge art murals on Mexican themes is a compendium of dishes found locallly, from tacos, tortas, and quesadillas to more ambitious creations like mixiotes. And this is one of the few places I know of to offer lamb birria, though not always available.

590 Grand St
Jersey City, NJ 07304

20. Jayhan's Grill

456 West Side Ave, Jersey City, NJ 07304
A round bowl with green beans and pork belly on top.
The kare kare arrives stylishly deconstructed.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

While most of the dozen or so Philippine restaurants on the West Side are of the steam-table cafe sort, Jayhan’s is a thoroughly modern hang that attracts a young crowd. Brunching? The congee-like goto, laced with seafood, makes a great weekend repast, and dishes like kare kare often arrived stylishly deconstructed. And if you’re not into a giant meal, plenty of dumplings, fritters, and other small snacks are available.

456 West Side Ave
Jersey City, NJ 07304

21. Bistro La Source

85 Morris St, Jersey City, NJ 07302
A bowl of orange broth with various shellfish, fish, and croutons emerging.
Bouillabaisse at Bistro La Source.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Fourteen-year-old Bistro La Source is tucked away in a residential neighborhood near the Colgate clock. Its strength lies not only in its comfortable interior and parking-lot outdoor dining area, but in its conventional bistro menu. The scaled-down bouillabaisse and hopelessly rich cassoulet are good examples, but one is also free to dine more lightly on bone marrow and chanterelles or French onion soup.

85 Morris St
Jersey City, NJ 07302