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The Best Restaurants in New Jersey: 2018 Results

The best restaurants in New Jersey are of interest to people who are looking for that exceptional dining experience to celebrate a special occasion, or for those that just enjoy quality dining and are seeking out the best.

These restaurants stand apart from the pack of other restaurants and are judged on the basis of food quality, ambiance, level of service, operations, and a chef who has set high culinary standards and who has served as a positive example for other food professionals, — all criteria that are essential to experiencing a dining experience that separates a top rated restaurant from the rest of the pack.

Of course, if you are looking for that exceptional dining experience, be prepared to pay more for a top restaurant than others. The best restaurants incur higher costs to achieve this distinction and need to pass them on in the form of higher price.


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Series: A Local’s Guide to North Jersey BYOB Restaurants

Make no mistake – just because you may be bringing your own bottle of booze, does not mean that the food will not be bringing the flavor. If our list of some of the best North Jersey BYOB restaurants have anything to show you it’s that what they lack with the bar, they make up for in the kitchen – two-fold!

No matter what you’re craving, one of these BYOB restaurants in North Jersey will hit the spot. From Mexican to Italian, seafood and Cuban, there’s nothing left to be desired (except for a trip to the liquor store on your way there). We’ve got award winning chefs, restaurants that have won praises from all over, and of course, our personal favorites.

So it’s time to pop open some of your favorite bottles of wine and beer and find out just how spectacular these BYOB restaurants really are. You can also download our Locals InMotion iPhone® app for hundreds of events, restaurant specials, happy hours and more throughout New Jersey.

Can’t Miss North Jersey BYOB Restaurants

Liquor licenses in New Jersey cost $350K and it’s crippling the state’s dining scene

Peter Loria still recalls with disappointment the time he tried to open a restaurant in Ridgewood. He poured a chunk of his retirement savings into what he thought would become a destination for New Jersey food lovers, but he hit a common roadblock.

“I couldn’t get a liquor license,” Loria, who owns Café Matisse in Rutherford, said of the 2007 project. “So it never opened. It was heartbreaking.”

Loria is one of countless casualties of New Jersey’s notoriously restrictive laws governing who can sell alcohol. Those laws, which date back to the post-Prohibition era, limit municipalities to one liquor license per 3,000 residents. In places where demand is high, licenses can sell for $1 million or more — if they are available at all.

The result is a dining scene that, in the words of Morris Davis, a Rutgers professor who studies the economics of real estate and housing, is “diseased.” And more problematic still, the laws are seen by local officials as holding back efforts to revitalize downtownsand attract new, often younger residents.

New liquor license laws, experts say, could strengthen New Jersey’s economy.

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This list began in 2007 as a Top 25. Since then, New Jersey’s dining scene has steadily gotten bigger, better, more varied and contemporary. Expanding to a Top 30 simply recognizes that fact. It was not an easy decision—Top 25 had a certain alliterative ring, and during its 11 years it became a recognized standard. But the need to expand the list is reason to celebrate.



Common Lot is located on 27 Main Street Millburn, New Jersey, (at the corner of Main and Essex Streets). The closest public car parking lot is across the road from Common Lot, where the big clock is. We are a short 3 minute walk from Millburn Train Station from where you can catch a NJ Transit Train directly to / from New York Penn Station. The Train takes around 30 minutes. We are also a 5 minute walk from the renowned Paper Mill Playhouse.