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Weigh In - What is your favorite restaurant...
10/27/2009 - By Teja Anderson

Weigh In - What is your favorite restaurant...

What Is Your Favorite Restaurant In Monmouth County?

The original question was actually “What restaurant in Monmouth County do you frequent the most?” However, after the first 12 people we asked responded with their local pizza joint because it was “fast, easier than cooking, cheap, and they  deliver” we knew that although everyone apparently loves pizza, we would not be discovering any great new restaurant recommendations to pass along to our readers. Instead, we asked what your favorite restaurant is and why? This time we got  lots of great places, and found that the most popular places actually ended with ’s! McLoone’s, Rooney’s, Sallee Tee’s, Jessie’s, Val’s, Tony’s, Jack’s, Barnacle Bill’s, Mike & Nellie’s, and Nonna’s are all named for their owners or chefs, and  people really liked that; they liked the personalities behind the restaurants, and took pleasure in seeing the owners there night after night…sort of like “Cheers,” where everybody knows your name.

A great water view was also a huge reason people loved particular restaurants. Salt Creek Grille on the Navesink River was mentioned, as well as Sawa in Long Branch (a hands-down favorite for sushi and hibachi lovers alike); both locations of McLoone’s Rum Runner on the Shrewsbury River and Pier Village on the Atlantic Ocean, got many votes, as did Rooney’s. People enjoyed feeling as if they were on a tropical vacation, far from New Jersey; thanks to the palm trees that get  shipped in and planted every summer they are able to enjoy that ambiance.

Not surprisingly, however, it’s ultimately the food that makes a restaurant worthy of people’s adoration. Some of you had a favorite dish that you order every time, while others could rattle off a whole menu or just go with the chef’s recommendation.  Our mouths were watering listening to some of the descriptions!

We should note that among the chains, Applebee’s was the standout with both young and old, with The Cheesecake Factory coming in second place. So read on. You may be tempted to try one of your neighbors’ recommendations the next time  you feel like dining out.


Rooney’s in Long Branch. They have great lobster bisque and huge sandwiches.

-Antonio Bayuk

Mike & Nellie’s in Ocean. They have the best Veal Francaise ever!

-Caroline Dorick
 Osaka in Bradley Beach. I just love the hibachi.

-Terry Browning

Lubrano’s Trattoria in Wall. It’s just an awesome Italian restaurant.

-Carolyn Treney



The Cheesecake Factory at the Freehold Mall. I like everything on the menu!

-Jo-Ann Bayuk



Rooney’s was great. We just ate there!

-Jason Bayuk




Nonna’s in Marlboro. They do so well with food allergies. I just hand them my card of what I’m allergic to and it is never a problem. They are very accommodating.

-Sue Grill



Fuji in Shrewsbury. They have the greatest sushi, and Jenny makes you feel at home. She is the best!

-Jon Schultz


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The Anchor Inn in Union Beach. It’s family owned and run; the owner is the chef. I go there every night, and they know everyone’s name.

-Amy Mescal


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McLoone’s Rum Runner in Sea Bright. I go there because of the music. Bobby Bandiera plays there. Its unreal!

-Carolyn Taylor  

Fridays because the food and service are always consistent. Their signature Jack Daniels® steak is delicious!

-Tenroy Cuffe

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Copper Canyon in Atlantic Highlands. They have amazing and delicious margaritas and mojitos. Their menu is non-traditional and inspiring. How can you go wrong!

-Josh Ganyer

Turning Point in Pier Village. It’s really great there, and they have the best breakfast dishes.

-Mariah Simpson


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Mom’s Kitchen in Neptune. If you love family-style Italian cooking then this is the place! It is family owned, run, and operated. If you are lucky, Nicky (the chef and owner) will cook you something from special recipes tucked away in the family  vault! My husband and his family have been going for over 50 years and I have been going every Sunday for over 10 years. I think the verb “obsessed” correctly describes our love for this restaurant!

-Alison Stanzione 


Angelica’s in Sea Bright has the best food and atmosphere.

-Pam Hemel


Rooney’s because of the view and being able to eat outside. You really feel like you are on vacation somewhere tropical with all the palm trees.

-Stephanie Randazzo


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I never eat out any more. It’s too expensive.

-Thomas Hill

Applebee’s. The food is always good there, and it’s a fun place to go with a big group of people.

-Tim Levan


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Any place that has a great beer on tap, that’s good enough for me.

-Fred McDonnel
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Sallee Tee’s Grill in Monmouth Beach. They are always so friendly there, and the menu has everything for the whole family… even sushi. My favorite appetizer is the Hot and Spicy Shrimp...WOW!

-John Hempner 

Sawa in Long Branch. Great sushi and you can’t get a better view, being at the beach.

-Mike Controbich



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What’s Your Beef? in Rumson for prime rib and salad. The have a great salad bar that is all you can eat, and you pick out your own cut of meat. It’s perfect.

-Al Miller 

I like Jack’s in West Long Branch. They have great wings.

-Heather Santos

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I can’t afford eating out anymore. That’s a luxury.

-Johanna Martin

The Trattoria Venezia in Matawan. They have the best pizza in the area by far.

-Sheetal Werneke

The American Diner in Shrewsbury. They have the best chicken fingers.

-Lynelle Scanlon

McLoone’s in Pier Village because of the view, the food, and the prices!

-Stacey McConlogue

Applebee’s because I like the mac and cheese there.

-Alexandra Cirigliano

McLoone’s in Long Branch because he hired my daughter, and Tim (McLoone) is just a really great guy. He had the first restaurant in New Jersey to “go green.” Did you know that?

- Gary Ruggiero
Salt Creek Grille in Rumson. The food is amazing, and it has a great view of the river. I’m going there tonight for my mother-in-law’s birthday and I can’t wait!

-Ellen Montemarano
(No picture) Val’s Tavern in Rumson. I love their Chicken Francaise and the spicy shrimp pizza, plus it’s an old-school atmosphere there. I like that.

-Steve Scanlon

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Tony’s in Long Branch because of their thin-crust tomato pies; and Tony himself is like a Long Branch institution!

-Jim Scanlon

Barnacle Bill’s in Rumson. I love their seafood, and you cannot get larger shrimp anywhere else. They are enormous!

-Sue Henderson
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McDonough’s Pub in Keyport. The food is really good there and they have a lot of things that you don’t find anywhere else, like Sheppard’s Pie.

-Chuck Werneke



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Buona Sera in Red Bank, but they are really expensive.

-Alice Kate

Jessie’s Café in Long Branch because I am allergic to dairy and they have dairy-free cheese…and they make the hummus without sesame.

-Jacob Wahba

We like Villa Pizza in Holmdel. It’s a good place to go, the service is fast, and it’s great for families.

-Karen and Ashley Cunningham

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My mom’s cooking. I don’t like to eat anywhere else really.

-Lukas Carmichael


Golden Jade in Middletown. I love the steamed dumplings and the wonton soup. I get it every time!

-Taylor Cirigliano


My favorite restaurant is Saigon II in Lincroft. I always get the shredded pork and rice; it is so good!

-Kara Clemmer

Kanja in Tinton Falls. They have the best, freshest sushi. I know because I used to work there!

-Erica Loren
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Red Lobster because I like lobster.

-Joe Roche

Ray’s Seafood in Little Silver. I like that it’s BYOB, and everything there is excellent!

-Peter Brown

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Moonstruck in Asbury Park. They have great pasta and shrimp choices.

-Gina Crochet

Ichiban in Ocean on Route 35. I like the shrimp and steak hibachi.

-Tom Treshock

 Tuzzio’s in Long Branch. They have this great eggplant dish.

-Ginna Caruso

The Sitting Duck in West Long Branch has a great cheeseburger!

-Tomas Treshock, Jr.


Moonstruck in Asbury Park is the best for special occasions. They have such a great atmosphere and outdoor dining. I love the mussels with the small white beans.

-Angela Moro

Sallee Tee’s Grille. They have so many choices there…sushi, seafood, pasta, steaks. My favorite is Diane’s Spicy Shrimp and Calamari with Pasta. It’s like two meals in one, and I always leave satisfied.

-Denis Cusack

Dunkin’ Donuts®, and I only eat the holes because I’m on a restricted diet!

-Ray Dunzelman

Sallee Tee’s in Monmouth Beach because of the overall selection of food and the people there. But for a particular dish? Jimmy’s in Asbury Park has a veal chop stuffed with Fontana cheese and spinach. Fagedaboudit!

-Bruce Bradley

King’s Star in Monmouth Beach, because I just moved here from California and I can walk there. The chicken and broccoli is excellent, and there is no wait.

-Renita Pruchnicki

Squan Tavern in Manasquan. Everything is great...the atmosphere, the prices, the people. Try the Sausage Murphy. Hot!

-Tim Muccio

Red Lobster because I like lobster.

-Joey Crochet

We are Sawa lovers. The hibachi, the sushi, and the birthday disco ball really make it all!

-Jen & Jacob Ditzel

Sawa in Eatontown by the mall. I can get shrimp and filet mignon at the same time on the hibachi menu!

-Vinnie Manfreda


Nelly’s in West Long Branch. They have a lot of great stuff. Or Sallee Tee’s in Monmouth Beach is good too.

-Cody Schmitt


Giuseppe’s in West Long Branch has the best veal parm!

-Grace Treshock

Brennan’s in Ocean Township. I always order number 18!

-Steve Panduri

Mike & Nellie’s in Ocean because of their New York Strip.

-Nick Panduri

Federici’s Pizza in Freehold. They make the best thin crust pizza.

-Gary Dietrich

Buona Sera in Red Bank. They have the best steak!

-Keith Golub

Vivas in Belmar. I like the Latin Flair. I like cuisine that is ethnic and different.

-Linda Mosery

Sallee Tee’s Grille in Monmouth Beach because it feels just like “Cheers.”

-Brian Thompson

Mahzu in Matawan. They have great sushi and hibachi.

-Samantha Hirsch

Home. Mom’s cooking.

-Marissa Adler

Wind and Sea in Highlands. It sits right there on the water and the atmosphere is really great. People arrive by boat in the summer.

-Al Wester

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McDonald’s®. I love to eat there. They have the best French fries, and even the healthy wraps are good. I’m not sure how healthy they really are though.

-Andrea Wright

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Who can afford to go to restaurants these days? The economy is so bad. I lost my job. Even a slice of pie is ridiculous!

-Joe Kirland

Stella Marina in Asbury. I love the atmosphere, and they have an excellent wine list.

-Andrew Hirsch

Outback Steakhouse™ in Middletown. The Alice Spring Chicken dish is excellent; chicken, cheese, onions, bacon, all that good stuff. And their bread is excellent, even though I shouldn’t eat it.

-Donna Baker

McLoone’s Rum Runner in Sea Bright. I love the view, the service is exceptional, and they have this really tasty seafood pasta dish!

-Lee Rubin

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I couldn’t possibly narrow it down to just one. I go out almost every night with my husband, and we don’t play favorites.

-Abby C

Norah’s Caribbean Restaurant in Long Branch. It just opened, and they have really authentic dishes like curried goat and oxtail stew.

-Maria Paul

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Probably any of the Surf Tacos, or that new place by the mall in Eatontown, Chipotle. I like that kind of food.

-William Forest

El Meson in Freehold. I am from California and grew up on real Mexican food. They have the best there, the closest to being authentic.

-Carmen Rubin


Navesink Fishery in Navesink. They have great seafood, and it is always quiet and relaxing.

-Michael & Mike Jr. Keane

McLoone’s Rum Runner in Sea Bright. They have the best view. I love sitting at a window table; you feel like you are on a boat!

-Cheri Golub

La Cashina in Matawan. Everything is home cooked and tastes delicious. The owners are really nice, too.

-Jennifer and Connor Keane


Nicholas in Middletown. You aren’t rushed, so you can really sit back and enjoy your food and your company.

- Robin Hirsch


The Peking Pavilion in Manalapan. They have good, familystyle food. I like their General Tso’s Chicken.

-Austin Hirsch


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