Restaurants in New Jersey. There certainly isn't any shortage of them.

To me, that's a very good thing.

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More restaurants equals more jobs, more dining options, and more overall prosperity.

It's a win-win for everyone.

Plus, one of the many advantages of living in New Jersey is that we have a ton of diversity that transfers over to our food.

It doesn't matter if one is looking to enjoy Italian, Indian, French, or even Chinese food. It's nice to have options.


If someone were to ask you what you would consider a "hidden gem" restaurant, what qualities would put them in that category?

Maybe these restaurants are tucked away in a quaint part of the state. It's almost secretive and you like it that way.

There could also be eateries that are very popular, but only on the radar of locals.

Then there are those restaurants that consistently serve amazing food with phenomenal service and atmosphere. They just don't get the credit they deserve.


Trip Advisor published its list of the best hidden gem restaurants in America.

It's not easy for a restaurant to have "best" next to its name on the site.

We award Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best to restaurants with a high volume of above-and-beyond reviews and opinions from our community over a 12-month period. Each winner has passed our rigorous trust and safety standards. Fewer than 1% of Tripadvisor’s 8 million listings are awarded Best of the Best, signifying the highest level of excellence in travel.

Included in this one percent of eight million, were restaurants in big cities, including several in New York.

Thankfully, there was one eatery that represented Jersey well.

I can safely say there is no other restaurant in New Jersey, maybe even the country that is quite like this one. It truly is a hidden gem.

Where else can you dine at an eatery owned by a rock and roll hall-of-famer that doubles as a non-profit and allows patrons to pay as much as they can for a nice New Jersey home-cooked meal?

JBJ Soul Kitchen in Red Bank was the brainchild of NJ music legend Jon Bon Jovi.

It has a perfect five-star rating on Trip Advisor. The travel website describes it as:

a community restaurant that serves tasty American food. The restaurant operates on a 'pay it forward' model, where there are no prices on the menu, but instead, suggested donations are encouraged. The staff and volunteers are friendly and welcoming, and the garden-fresh dishes are delicious. The menu changes every two weeks, keeping the experience fresh and exciting for repeat visitors.

This model of giving back to the community has done so well in Red Bank, that a Toms River location is now in operation.

JBJ could absolutely open these throughout the state, almost like a chain, but it seems like just having the two locations allows the spots to truly have a homey feel.

If you've never been to JBJ Soul Kitchen, it's really a life-changing experience.

Not only is the food outstanding, but the sense of community and caring shown by the volunteers will truly warm your heart.

Not many restaurants do Italian like these New Jersey favorites.

15 Beloved New Jersey Italian Restaurants Too Delectable Not to Try

Gallery Credit: Matt Ryan

Every NJ pizza joint Barstool's Dave Portnoy has reviewed

Dave Portnoy, commonly known as El Presidente, is the founder of Barstool Sports. Somewhere along the way, he decided to start reviewing local pizzerias, and the concept took off. Here is every New Jersey pizzeria Dave has stopped in, along with the score he gave them.

Gallery Credit: Joe Votruba