21 NJ Restaurants Perfect for Your Next Date Night

by Peter Candia
Date night restaurants in NJ

Finding the perfect date night spot can be a challenge sometimes. Lucky for us, New Jersey is jam-packed with great restaurants that are perfect to take that special someone in your life. From Brazilian food to cocktail bars and sushi, here are 21 New Jersey spots that are perfect for your next date night.

1. Dullboy – Jersey City, NJ

This lively, dim-lit cocktail bar is the perfect date night spot. The menu is dotted with an array of shareable plates, small bites, natural wines and complete with a cocktail list curated by their expert bartenders.

On Sundays, they serve large-format punch. What’s more intimate than sharing a large bowl of booze? The ambiance is unmatched—complete with old-school hip-hop from the speakers. All things considered, Dullboy is one of the coolest places to eat (and drink) in the state. 


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2. Ramen Nagomi – New Brunswick, NJ

If you’re trying to impress the ramen lover in your life, look no further than Ramen Nagomi. Across the state, it is widely agreed that Ramen Nagomi serves up some of the best and most authentic ramen. Classic bowls such as tonkotsu and chicken shio adorn the menu, but the miso crab ramen might just take the cake. The slight dining room is complete with Japanese art spread across the walls. Ramen Nagomi has additional locations in Freehold, NJ and Lawrence Twp, NJ (located in the Quakerbridge Mall).


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Ramen Nagomi (@ramen.nagomi) • Instagram photos and videos

3. The Ebbitt Room – Cape May, NJ

New Jersey’s southernmost city is certainly a great destination for your next date. Besides the historic architecture and beautiful beaches, great food is also a draw to the area. The Ebbitt Room is located at the bottom of the legendary Virginia Hotel and features fresh, farm-to-table fare in a breathtaking environment. The menu is dotted with local seafood, meat, produce and an expansive raw bar. You know what they say about oysters…


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4. Turtle + the Wolf – Upper Montclair, NJ

This cool and sophisticated restaurant has “date night” written all over it. The BYO serves up classic American fare with inspirations pulled from a variety of cultures. Duck confit pot pie and pappardelle with pork sugo are some of Turtle’s best, but if you want something more light-hearted, don’t look past Lo’s fried chicken. This shareable dish of fried chicken, salad, potatoes, shishito peppers, biscuits and coleslaw offers an upscale approach to a comfort food classic. Grab a bottle of wine and head to Turtle + the Wolf for your next date. 


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Turtle + The Wolf (@turtleandthewolf) • Instagram photos and videos

5. June BYOB – Collingswood, NJ

If you want something a tad more elegant, then June might be your answer. The South Jersey eatery serves upscale French cuisine in a refined style. Originally opening in Philadelphia, it was immediately named one of the city’s essential French restaurants before being relocated to Collingswood in 2021. The constantly changing menu features French staples such as escargot, choucroute garnie and the coveted Canard a la Presse—more colloquially known as “pressed duck.” 


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June BYOB (@junebyob) • Instagram photos and videos

6. Rat’s Restaurant –  Hamilton Twp, NJ

Rat’s is an experience from the get-go. The beautifully decorated, old-school building is off the beaten path, so the adventure starts early and lasts through the evening. Modern, farm-fresh French fare is paired with immaculate views of the Grounds for Sculpture—which shares a property with the restaurant. The restaurant itself will have you feeling like you just stumbled into a chateau in Bordeaux. The atmosphere at Rat’s is worth the trip alone.


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7. Shumi – Ridgewood and Leonia, NJ

Sushi is often people’s first thought when it comes to planning a date, so why not have the best? Better yet, why not choose somewhere that offers more than just sushi? Shumi serves up sushi and other Japanese dishes such as katsu curry, tempura and more. For the particularly food curious, Shumi’s Omakase menu should not be overlooked. This will land you a tasting menu of the day’s fresh catches prepared in traditional style. The omakase menu changes daily, but the surprise is the fun of it all. Shumi’s second location in Leonia is now open.


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8. South + Pine – Morristown, NJ

Leia Gaccione’s South + Pine might not be a diner’s first thought when it comes to Morristown, but it is undoubtedly one of the town’s, nay, the state’s great restaurants. The casual eatery focuses on farm-to-table food with an emphasis on fresh, local produce. Dishes like the lamb meatballs and chicken and waffles have become S+P staples, while other portions of the menu change constantly. The food is sustainable, health-conscious and of course, delicious. If you’re in the area or looking for something new, this is the place to try. 

9. Reyla – Asbury Park, NJ

Located in the heart of Asbury Park, Reyla takes the flavors of the Middle East and presents them in a chic and refreshing way. The welcoming spot specializes in shareable plates—making for the perfect date spot whether you’re just getting to know someone, or have been together for some time. Better yet, Thursday evenings at Reyla are date nights, where guests can book a deal that includes 5 courses and a bottle of wine for 90 dollars. 


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10. Rab-bit Hole – Bloomfield, NJ

If you want to impress your date and take them somewhere unknown, Rab-bit Hole—a speakeasy-style cocktail bar located above the famed Blue Steel Pizza Co—is the perfect place. The secretive space releases limited reservations every Thursday for the following week and spots can be hard to come by. Killer cocktails and bites of food are to be expected, but it is the vibe of the concept that makes it a no-brainer for your next date night spot. 

Rabbit Hole Speakeasy

11. Grand Vin – Hoboken, NJ

This cozy restaurant is located on the ground level of an old-school Hoboken apartment building. The quaint eatery boasts a well-rounded wine list and menu featuring Italian and Italian-American fare. Sitting down at a table in Grand Vin transports you to many of the intimate restaurants and cafes you will find throughout Europe’s historic cities. The menu is well-priced and the nightly happy hour is alluring. Grand Vin is a perfect place to take that someone special in your life.  


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Grand Vin Kitchen & Wine Bar (@grandvinhoboken) • Instagram photos and videos

12. Frankie – Jersey City, NJ

Frankie is perhaps one of the coolest places you can dine (and drink) in Jersey. The JC restaurant is inspired by the beaches and sights of Sydney, Australia and the food matches that vibe. Meat pies, fish and chips and a remarkable burger are some of what you can enjoy when dining at Frankie. The wine list is laden with natural wines from an array of places across the globe and a similarly hip cocktail list accompanies it. The service is excellent, the color palate is alluring and most importantly, the food is strikingly great. 


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Frankie (@frankieeatsjc) • Instagram photos and videos

13. Artie’s – Maplewood, NJ

Pizza is always a good idea for date night and what better than wood-fired pies in an industrial setting? Artie’s (FKA Arturo’s) in Maplewood dishes out some of the state’s best pizzas and pasta. The menu is designed around their wood-burning brick oven and that idea extends beyond pizza: Wood-fired veggies and meatballs get a kiss from the ovens burning hot flame too.  Whether it’s a first date or a hundredth date, Artie’s is a no-brainer.


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14. Samba – Montclair, NJ 

Montclair’s Samba is quickly becoming one of the city’s most beloved restaurants. The interior is intimate and decorated with wall art and foliage from floor to ceiling. Besides the fact that their inventive take on Brazilian cuisine is a homerun with guests, their commitment to gluten-free is alluring for diners who are particularly sensitive to wheat, barley and rye. Samba is the only restaurant in NJ certified by the Gluten Intolerance Group. This makes it a perfect date night spot for eaters of all varieties.


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Samba Montclair (@sambamontclair) • Instagram photos and videos

15. Cellar 335 – Jersey City, NJ 

Truly, this list would be incomplete without the addition of Cellar 335, Jamie Knott’s legendary restaurant and cocktail bar located below a historic building in Jersey City. The space serves thoughtfully plated Asian-inspired fare, alongside tiki cocktails served in an array of creative glassware and mugs. The staff is some of the most knowledgeable around and the surrounding dining room—complete with knick-knacks, foliage and antiques—is simply sexy. There’s just no other way to put it.


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Cellar 335 Jersey City’s Best Restaurant (@cellar335) • Instagram photos and videos

16. Osteria Crescendo – Westwood, NJ 

What else is there to be said about Robbie Felice’s Osteria Crescendo that hasn’t already been said? Hand-made pasta, dry-aged steaks for two and expertly crafted cocktails make OC one of Jersey’s most alluring restaurants. Better yet, the sleek interior and top-notch service makes for an eatery that is ideal for your next date night. Not only will the staff deliver an unforgettable experience, but dining at Osteria Crescendo is a sure-fire way to secure that second date (it worked for me).


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Osteria Crescendo (@osteriacrescendo) • Instagram photos and videos

17. Lovesick – Asbury Park, NJ

If you ask me, a glass of wine is both the best way to get to know somebody and the best way to celebrate an already loving relationship. Wine is eternal. Wine is love. Wine is life. Asbury Park’s Lovesick sports a varied wine list, including many natural options to choose from and probably the best sparkling selection in NJ. Additionally, dine on playful snacks like char-siu ribs, 24-month prosciutto and bowls of ramen. The dimly-lit room, with colorful lights hanging from the ceiling, is just what your next date night is calling for. On Fridays, vinyl records play over the speakers and on Saturdays, a DJ spins the tunes.


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18. Il Nido – Marlboro, NJ

Rustic Italian fare flies out the window at this bustling, pasta-centric hot spot. It was recently proven that pasta improves your mood, so why not eat a bunch of it on your next date? Spicy sausage rigatoni and spaghetti with crab will do. Il Nido goes way beyond just pasta, though. Immerse yourself in rosemary-scented wild boar arancini and creamy borlotti beans with pickled peppers and crackers for starters. For your main, why not split a whole-roasted branzino? All of this to go with a cozy, fireplace-illuminated dining room. The food is delicious, the vibe is unmatched and the ingredients are of the best around. Il Nido is bound to impress.


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19. Undici – Rumson, NJ

Undici aims to recreate the Tuscan farmhouse with its intoxicating stone and wood detailing, wooing guests from the get-go. This is all to compliment what is the largest selection of Italian wines in New Jersey and a menu replete with sustainably sourced proteins and produce. You and your date will uncover a journey which sees the likes of antipasto spreads, pillow-like gnocchi with tomato, fall-apart short ribs and affogatos to finish. The fare perfectly encapsulates the meeting of nostalgia and modernity with it’s effortless poise in Italian flavors.


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20. Parker’s Garage – Beach Haven, NJ

Enjoy a meal backdropped by the Barnegat Bay at what is no doubt Long Beach Island’s hottest restaurant. Parker’s Garage is nothing fancy, but it’s packed every day for good reason: the food is downright delicious. Dine on the freshest local oysters, shrimp cocktail and lobster corn dogs. Not a seafood person? No worries, Parker’s Garage has you covered with plenty of non-oceanic options like lamb ribs, fried chicken and more. For a casual date night, this might just be the move.

21. The Highlawn – West Orange, NJ

When discussing NJ date nights, The Highlawn is always one of the first names to come up. This legendary restaurant sits atop Eagle Rock Reservation, overlooking the NYC skyline. It has been renowned for good reason, the food and ambiance add up to create a meal that is undeniably special. Share a wood-fired steak as you gaze at the Manhattan skyline. It’s a dining experience that is hard to match.


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About the Author/s

All posts

Peter Candia is the Food + Drink Editor at New Jersey Digest. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, Peter found a passion for writing midway through school and never looked back. He is a former line cook, server and bartender at top-rated restaurants in the tri-state area. In addition to food, Peter enjoys politics, music, sports and anything New Jersey.

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A A January 27, 2023 - 4:49 pm

None in Bergen County?????!

Steven Eisenstein February 9, 2023 - 3:41 pm

Don’t Westwood and Ridgewood count?

Doug Deutsch December 28, 2023 - 11:10 am

This list is woefully incomplete, he completely omitted any restaurants in Atlantic City! We have great restaurants here.

Doug Deutsch December 28, 2023 - 11:13 am

No Atlantic City restaurants? We have great restaurants down here! Flawed list.

CHET January 31, 2024 - 4:22 pm



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