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Where to Dine in the Ironbound

The neighborhood of Newark is known for its Portuguese, Brazilian, and Spanish restaurants

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The Ironbound is a corner of Newark bursting with a collection of restaurants, sandwich shops, and bakeries that are brick-and-mortar homages to the local immigrant culture. From traditional family-owned restaurants to late-night sandwich and pastry shops, Ironbound is a food haven for both the traditional diner and the new-age food enthusiast.

Here are 18 must-try restaurants in the area, in geographical order. And if you want to know more about Ironbound, check out A Guide to the Ironbound: Newark's Culinary Gem.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Fernandes Steakhouse

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As you near the end of Ironbound, you'll find one of the most popular restaurants in the area, Fernandes Steakhouse. While its location may be on the outskirts of town, its traditional menu makes it a destination for out-of-towners and a favorite among locals. Made up of a combination of Brazilian and Spanish cuisine, the menu includes fresh seafood and a vast selection of meats, including rodizio. Tip: Try the filet mignon, served sizzling on a round stone.

Krug's Tavern

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Deemed the best burger in New Jersey by nj.com, this small, family-owned spot has been serving up no-nonsense pub fare since 1932.

Sol-Mar Marisqueira & Restaurant

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Simplicity is key at this restaurant, made up of a bar area and a separate dining room. Wherever you sit, try the grilled veal chops smothered in a mushroom sauce.

Altas Horas

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One thing every buzzing neighborhood needs is somewhere for the late-night crowd to get their munchies. Altas Horas Lanches is open twenty-four hours and serves anything you can think to eat at 4 a.m. Its biggest seller is its famed Brazilian sandwich, called an X Tudo, meaning it includes everything. The behemoth of a sandwich comes with either a grilled chicken or beef patty, smothered with mayo and topped with mozzarella, bacon, ham, potato sticks, lettuce, tomato, corn, and — because that's clearly not enough accoutrement — a fried egg. For those whose post-bar appetite is not as grand, the restaurant also has kebabs, salads, mini pizzas, crepes, and a pastry counter.

Catas - Tapas Restaurant & Bar

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Catas Restaurant is a relatively new eatery on Market Street that's slightly removed from the main drag. Iberian-inspired appetizers like the pequillo peppers stuffed with bacon and manchego cheese in a béchamel sauce keep it packed before soccer games and bring in a decent crowd on Thursday and Sunday nights. They also offer a brunch menu that includes two drinks and a selection of items like eggs "bendicto," made with chorizo instead of Canadian bacon. Tip: Stop in before heading to the nearby soccer stadium for a Red Bulls game.

Burger Bound

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Van Buren's Burger Bound brings organic burgers to the area. Options include grass-fed beef, salmon, turkey, black bean, and mushroom varieties. No matter your order, do yourself a favor and add their signature avocado aioli. They also have a variety of sides (the onion rings are excellent) and items like hot dogs, salads, milkshakes, and espresso drinks. Burger joints are a rarity in Ironbound, and Burger Bound is making a name for itself in this market.

Tony Da Caneca Restaurant

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Tony Da Caneca has been open since 1965 and is one of the original restaurants in the Ironbound. Chef Jose Dantas was trained at the Lisbon Culinary School before bringing authentic Portuguese cuisine to Newark.

Teixeiras Bakery

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With four Ironbound locations, Teixeira's Bakery is hard to miss when walking around town. Stop in for a quick dessert of creamy custard tarts known as "pasteis de nata."

Brasilia Grill

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Slightly east of the main strip is Brasilia Grill. This is the place to feast on Rodizio —an unending parade of meats brought out on skewers by waiters eager to slice off a piece of your choosing. The carnivorous buffet is offered at many restaurants in the area, but Brasilia is one of the best to do it. Tip: Splurge and add the salad bar to your entree (or for lunch, order the salad bar alone) — a smorgasbord of salads, side dishes, meat-stuffed breads, and more.

Adega Grill

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A short walk from Fornos, in the heart of the Ironbound, is one of the best-located restaurants and a great place for an after-work drink, Adega Grill. The lot is divided into three distinct venues, making it a one-stop shop for a drink, a bite, and a dance party. Stop by the long and narrow bar, or try and grab a seat outside if weather permits. Order a pitcher of red sangria that flows from wooden barrels behind the bar, and share a quick appetizer of their famous camarão á guilho (shrimp in garlic sauce) or seasoned king crab legs. For a more formal meal, visit the dining room next door, where the decor evokes the ancient romanticism of the Middle Ages, and try the gambas grelhadas (grilled prawns). Tip: On Fridays and Saturdays, grab a bite at the bar, then make your way to the lounge where a DJ blasts a Top 40 mix until 2 a.m.

Seabra's Marisqueira

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Seafood lovers can't visit the Ironbound without stopping at this no-frills restaurant open since 1989. It's a must-try for delicacies of the sea. Located off of a less populated section of Ferry Street, the bar area is great for a casual meal. The food is authentic Portuguese and the seafood is fresh and cooked to perfection. Order a decadent seafood dish called açorda de mariscos (assorted shellfish and cubes of Portuguese bread in a rich sauce) and watch your server slowly stir in a poached egg by the table. Tip: The octopus is the best in town and is cut into thick chunks tossed with sweet onions and olive oil.

Manu's Tapas Bar & Sushi Lounge

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A more recent opening is Manu's Kitchen Bar & Sushi Lounge — the first sushi restaurant to make a name for itself on Ferry Street. The fusion menu is mainly Japanese cuisine, punctuated by a few Mediterranean dishes — including pistachio-encrusted lamb and charred octopus. The menu features more than 50 hand and specialty rolls. Standouts include the Ironbound Roll (lobster tempura, spicy crab, avocado, asparagus, and eel sauce) and Spice Girl Roll (spicy salmon, avocado, cucumber, and spicy tuna).

Mompou Tapas Bar & Lounge

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One of the first contemporary eateries to become a success was Mompou Tapas Bar & Lounge, opened almost 10 years ago on the most populated stretch of Ferry Street. Textured copper ceilings and exposed brick give the spot an industrial look, and the Spanish-inspired menu puts a modern spin on the classic dishes that Ironbound is known for. The selection of tapas includes tortilla topped with a a Cabrales blue cheese, albondigas (a must-try), and patatas bravas. The menu also offers a charcuterie and cheese board and a few entrees like charred Iberian octopus. Tip: Reserve a seat at their monthly wine-paired menu tasting for $65-$75 per person.

Iberia Peninsula

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One of the most well-known, albeit not the best, old-school spots is Iberia Peninsula. The venue has been a Ferry Street staple since 1926 and is easily recognizable by its castle-like structure. Locals and visitors alike who can be seen devouring plates of parrilhada, a grilled seafood combination platter, under its cathedral-like ceilings. Tip: cross the street and watch a big soccer game (preferably one featuring Spain, Portugal, or Brazil) on the outdoor patio of its sister restaurant, Iberia Tavern, and order the sangria. It's served in big plastic jugs almost too big to fit in your hand.

Fornos of Spain

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Located a little further down Ferry Street is Fornos of Spain, one of the pricier and in many ways fancier spots in the area. The paella Valenciana, an array of shellfish, chicken, and sausage served over a heaping pile of saffron-infused rice. While deemed overpriced by some locals, it's a popular choice for many coming into the area looking for an upscale dining experience with a wide selection of wines — including the rarest selection of Spanish wines in the US — in a restaurant whose American influences have not affected the authenticity of its Spanish cuisine. Tip: On crowded nights, go through the back and grab a seat at the bar for faster service.

Bello's Pub & Grill

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Boasting a sign that reads "Newark's First Gastro Pub," Bello's Pub recently got a facelift that gave its facade a more appealing and modern look. The after-work hotspot, located a block from Newark Penn Station and around the corner from Ferry Street, offers more than 180 beers from 20 different countries and a menu of traditional pub fare with some twists like veggie marsala sliders, Caribbean jerk shrimp salad, and a creme brulee cheesecake.

Nasto's Ice Cream Co

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There's good reason why this famed spot has been selling traditional Italian desserts like spumoni, tartufo, and gourmet cakes to Ironbound for more than 75 years. Not to be missed is their homemade ice cream in rotating flavors like holy cannoli and sweet potato pie.

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Spanish Tavern

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This is a great choice for traditional Spanish dishes. They offer a complimentary kale soup with every meal.

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Fernandes Steakhouse

As you near the end of Ironbound, you'll find one of the most popular restaurants in the area, Fernandes Steakhouse. While its location may be on the outskirts of town, its traditional menu makes it a destination for out-of-towners and a favorite among locals. Made up of a combination of Brazilian and Spanish cuisine, the menu includes fresh seafood and a vast selection of meats, including rodizio. Tip: Try the filet mignon, served sizzling on a round stone.

Krug's Tavern

Deemed the best burger in New Jersey by nj.com, this small, family-owned spot has been serving up no-nonsense pub fare since 1932.

Sol-Mar Marisqueira & Restaurant

Simplicity is key at this restaurant, made up of a bar area and a separate dining room. Wherever you sit, try the grilled veal chops smothered in a mushroom sauce.

Altas Horas

One thing every buzzing neighborhood needs is somewhere for the late-night crowd to get their munchies. Altas Horas Lanches is open twenty-four hours and serves anything you can think to eat at 4 a.m. Its biggest seller is its famed Brazilian sandwich, called an X Tudo, meaning it includes everything. The behemoth of a sandwich comes with either a grilled chicken or beef patty, smothered with mayo and topped with mozzarella, bacon, ham, potato sticks, lettuce, tomato, corn, and — because that's clearly not enough accoutrement — a fried egg. For those whose post-bar appetite is not as grand, the restaurant also has kebabs, salads, mini pizzas, crepes, and a pastry counter.

Catas - Tapas Restaurant & Bar

Catas Restaurant is a relatively new eatery on Market Street that's slightly removed from the main drag. Iberian-inspired appetizers like the pequillo peppers stuffed with bacon and manchego cheese in a béchamel sauce keep it packed before soccer games and bring in a decent crowd on Thursday and Sunday nights. They also offer a brunch menu that includes two drinks and a selection of items like eggs "bendicto," made with chorizo instead of Canadian bacon. Tip: Stop in before heading to the nearby soccer stadium for a Red Bulls game.

Burger Bound

Van Buren's Burger Bound brings organic burgers to the area. Options include grass-fed beef, salmon, turkey, black bean, and mushroom varieties. No matter your order, do yourself a favor and add their signature avocado aioli. They also have a variety of sides (the onion rings are excellent) and items like hot dogs, salads, milkshakes, and espresso drinks. Burger joints are a rarity in Ironbound, and Burger Bound is making a name for itself in this market.

Tony Da Caneca Restaurant

Tony Da Caneca has been open since 1965 and is one of the original restaurants in the Ironbound. Chef Jose Dantas was trained at the Lisbon Culinary School before bringing authentic Portuguese cuisine to Newark.

Teixeiras Bakery

With four Ironbound locations, Teixeira's Bakery is hard to miss when walking around town. Stop in for a quick dessert of creamy custard tarts known as "pasteis de nata."

Brasilia Grill

Slightly east of the main strip is Brasilia Grill. This is the place to feast on Rodizio —an unending parade of meats brought out on skewers by waiters eager to slice off a piece of your choosing. The carnivorous buffet is offered at many restaurants in the area, but Brasilia is one of the best to do it. Tip: Splurge and add the salad bar to your entree (or for lunch, order the salad bar alone) — a smorgasbord of salads, side dishes, meat-stuffed breads, and more.

Adega Grill

A short walk from Fornos, in the heart of the Ironbound, is one of the best-located restaurants and a great place for an after-work drink, Adega Grill. The lot is divided into three distinct venues, making it a one-stop shop for a drink, a bite, and a dance party. Stop by the long and narrow bar, or try and grab a seat outside if weather permits. Order a pitcher of red sangria that flows from wooden barrels behind the bar, and share a quick appetizer of their famous camarão á guilho (shrimp in garlic sauce) or seasoned king crab legs. For a more formal meal, visit the dining room next door, where the decor evokes the ancient romanticism of the Middle Ages, and try the gambas grelhadas (grilled prawns). Tip: On Fridays and Saturdays, grab a bite at the bar, then make your way to the lounge where a DJ blasts a Top 40 mix until 2 a.m.

Seabra's Marisqueira

Seafood lovers can't visit the Ironbound without stopping at this no-frills restaurant open since 1989. It's a must-try for delicacies of the sea. Located off of a less populated section of Ferry Street, the bar area is great for a casual meal. The food is authentic Portuguese and the seafood is fresh and cooked to perfection. Order a decadent seafood dish called açorda de mariscos (assorted shellfish and cubes of Portuguese bread in a rich sauce) and watch your server slowly stir in a poached egg by the table. Tip: The octopus is the best in town and is cut into thick chunks tossed with sweet onions and olive oil.

Manu's Tapas Bar & Sushi Lounge

A more recent opening is Manu's Kitchen Bar & Sushi Lounge — the first sushi restaurant to make a name for itself on Ferry Street. The fusion menu is mainly Japanese cuisine, punctuated by a few Mediterranean dishes — including pistachio-encrusted lamb and charred octopus. The menu features more than 50 hand and specialty rolls. Standouts include the Ironbound Roll (lobster tempura, spicy crab, avocado, asparagus, and eel sauce) and Spice Girl Roll (spicy salmon, avocado, cucumber, and spicy tuna).

Mompou Tapas Bar & Lounge

One of the first contemporary eateries to become a success was Mompou Tapas Bar & Lounge, opened almost 10 years ago on the most populated stretch of Ferry Street. Textured copper ceilings and exposed brick give the spot an industrial look, and the Spanish-inspired menu puts a modern spin on the classic dishes that Ironbound is known for. The selection of tapas includes tortilla topped with a a Cabrales blue cheese, albondigas (a must-try), and patatas bravas. The menu also offers a charcuterie and cheese board and a few entrees like charred Iberian octopus. Tip: Reserve a seat at their monthly wine-paired menu tasting for $65-$75 per person.

Iberia Peninsula

One of the most well-known, albeit not the best, old-school spots is Iberia Peninsula. The venue has been a Ferry Street staple since 1926 and is easily recognizable by its castle-like structure. Locals and visitors alike who can be seen devouring plates of parrilhada, a grilled seafood combination platter, under its cathedral-like ceilings. Tip: cross the street and watch a big soccer game (preferably one featuring Spain, Portugal, or Brazil) on the outdoor patio of its sister restaurant, Iberia Tavern, and order the sangria. It's served in big plastic jugs almost too big to fit in your hand.