Princeton Restaurant Reviews



Princeton Restaurants

This page describes my experiences dining at various restaurants in Princeton and the surrounding areas. Written by a food enthusiast who's lived in Princeton for 10+ years. Bon appetit!

Here are my personal favorite restaurants in the Princeton area.


African


American–New


Bakery


Bar and Pub

For a town with a high-profile university, Princeton has very few places to get a drink.


Chinese


Coffee, Tea, and Juice

You can also grab a cup of coffee at Chez Alice, The Little Chef, Panera, or Witherspoon's in the Frist campus center.


Diner


European


Farm and Farmers' Market

Some terrific local farms, with high-end products.

  • Mallery's Grazin' Meats. (382 Georgetown Franklin Turnpike (Route 518), Skillman)
    Closed


    French–New


    Gourmet / Specialty Food Markets

    Princeton has some outstanding specialty food markets.


    Greek / Middle Eastern / Afghan

    • Afghan Kabob and Grill. (468 Renaissance Blvd. E., North Brunswick; 732.543.1100)
      Excellent kabobs, gyros, and breads. Favorites include Chicken Tikka Kabob, Bolani Kachalo, and Samosa Chaat. Well worth a visit. They also have a location at 888 Route 33 in Trenton.

    • Mamoun's Falafel Restaurant. (20 Witherspoon Street, Princeton; 609.454.5936)
      Princeton outpost of everyone's favorite Greenwich Village falafel house. Serving up Middle Eastern favorites, including falafel, kebabs, shawarma, hummus, and baba ganouj. I had high expectations and Mamoun's delivered. My favorites are the chicken kebab sandwich and the hummus.

    • Cedar's Restaurant. (45 West Main Street, Somerville; 908.722.8666)
      Fresh Middle eastern and Lebanese food. Good kebabs and vegetarian entrees.

    • Efes Mediterranean Grill. (235B Nassau Street, Princeton; 609.683.1220)
      Greek and Turkish kebabs, felafel, gyros, and appetizers. My favorites are the chicken kebab sandwich and the Turkish lentil soup. The small portions will leave you with enough room for their nice selection of Greek desserts (baklava, kadayif, and sobiyet).

    • Sahara Restaurant. (1325 Route 206, Skillman; 609.921.8336)
      Authentic Lebanese cuisine with many vegetarian and vegan options. In the Montgomery Shopping Center, near the Montgomery Cinema.

    • Zorba's Brother. (80 Nassau Street, Princeton)
      Closed.

    • Zorba's Grill-Takeout. (183 Nassau Street, Princeton)
      Closed.

    • Halal Mediterranean Grille and Cafe. (2607 Hamilton Avenue, Hamilton)
      Closed.


    Grocery / Supermarket


    Ice Cream / Desserts

    Princeton is blessed with several excellent (and always popular) ice cream spots.


    Indian

    There is excellent Indian food in surrounding towns, especially Edison.


    Italian

    • Teresa Caffe. (21 Palmer Square East, Princeton; 609.921.1974)
      Neighborhood trattoria. Outstanding and inexpensive brick-oven pizettes, seasonal pasta dishes, and fresh breads (from Terra Momo Bread Company). I usually order the pasta special, which is consistently excellent. No reservations, so be prepared to wait during peak hours.

    • Eno Terra (4484 Route 27, Kingston; 609.497.1777)
      A wine bar restaurant featuring modern Italian cuisine using local and seasonal ingredients. The salumi and formaggi is exceptional and reminds me of Italy. Excellent pastas, grilled meats, and desserts.

    • Mediterra. (29 Hulfish Street, Princeton; 609.252.9680)
      Upscale Mediterranean restaurant in the Terra Momo group with a liquor license.

    • Chick and Nello's Homestead Inn. (800 Kuser Road, Trenton; 609.890.9851)
      Old-country Italian-American in a homey setting. My favorite Italian restaurant in the area. Simples, but glorious, fresh flavors. Try the Jersey tomatoes with fresh mozzarella (in season). The pastas are also excellent. There's no menu, but the list of appetizers and entrees goes on and on. The prices are quite reasonable, if inconsistent from visit to visit. No credit cards. Closed Tuesdays.

    • Capuano Ristorante (217 Clarksville Road, West Windsor; 609.897.0091)
      Nice family Italian restaurant and pizza parlor, hidden away in a strip mall.

    • Trattoria Procaccini. (354 Nassau Street, Princeton; 609.683.9700)
      An Italian farm-to-table trattoria. Formerly North End Bistro.

    • Enzo's La Piccola Cucina (1906 Princeton Avenue, Lawrenceville; 609.396.9868)
      Authentic, homemade, family-run, Italian BYO. Neighborhood atmosphere with Sicilian-sized entrees. Recommended dishes: Chicken Alla Enzo and Chicken Marsala.

    • La Mezzaluna. (25 Witherspoon Street, Princeton; 609.688.8515)
      Upscale, fine, classically-influenced Italian dining. Their signature dessert is a seasonable flambe over house made gelato, served tableside.

    • Settimo Cielo. (11 East Front Street, Trenton; 609.656.8877)
      Perfect place to get a fine meal when you're stuck on jury duty.

    • Vidalia. (21 Phillips Avenue, Lawrenceville; 609.896.4444)
      Cozy Italian BYO with wonderful and authentic Italian food.

    • Olive Garden. (3345 Route 1 South, Lawrenceville; 609.987.9207)
      Unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks don't make up for the bland, institutional food. Hidden away in the Mercer Mall.

    • Gennaro's. (47 State Road #B, Princeton)
      Closed.

    • Tre Piani. (Forrestal Village, Plainsboro)
      Closed.

    • Avanti Ristorante Italiano. (23 West Delaware Avenue, Pennington)
      Closed.

    • Camillo's Cafe. (301 North Harrison Street, Princeton)
      Closed.

    • Romano's Macaroni Grill 162. (3569 Route 1 South, Princeton)
      Closed.


    Japanese / Sushi

    Princeton has a disproportionately large number of sushi joints. You can also find sushi at Soonja's Cafe, Shanghai Park, Wegmans, and Nassau Street Seafood. More Japanese at Banzai and Shogun.


    Korean

    • Soonja's Cuisine. (244 Alexander Street, Princeton; 609.924.9260)
      A mixture of Korean, Chinese, Thai, and Japanese entrees. I go for the Korean - the Bi Bim Bop is better than Nassau Street Sushi's. A good spot to go before an evening at McCarter Theater. I recommend the Seafood Gobdol Bi Bim Bop (seafood, scallops, and squid in a hot stone pot).

    • Woo Jeon Restaurant. (411 U.S. Route 1, Edison)

    • Wang Ga. (Route 27, Highland Park)

    • Keum Ho Jung. (Edison, NJ just off of Route 1)
      Excellent Korean BBQ. Try the pancakes. Fans say it's the best Korean restaurant in the region (possibly including NYC).

    • Kimchi Hana. (South Plainfield, in the Middlesex Mall)

    • Hobin Chicken. (180 Nassau Street, Princeton)
      Closed.
    Nassau Sushi and Tokyo Japanese Restaurant also serve up a number of Korean specialties.


    Mexican and Spanish

    Hard to find good Mexican in Princeton. Your best bet is to go to New Brunswick.


    Pizza

    Pizza aficionados are blessed with three heavyweight options: Nomad, Osteria Procaccini, and De Lorenzo's.

    Teresa's and D'Angelo Italian Market also serves excellent pizzetas.


    Princeton University and IAS

    • Prospect House Garden Room.
      The University's faculty club features a dramatic view of Prospect Garden. A great spot for Sunday brunch (offered once per month). Not open for dinner or on weekends, except for special events. Payment is via University ID only.

    • Prospect House Tap Room.
      Casual weekday lunch spot in the basement of Prospect House.

    • Rockefeller–Mathey Dining Hall.
      Recently renovated all-you-can-eat undergraduate dining hall. The food and presentation is much improved.

    • EQuad Cafe.
      Located in the lobby of the Engineering Quadrangle. Prepared sandwiches, salads, soups, hot entrees, and Small World coffee. Breakfast and lunch only, Monday through Friday. Open Monday to Friday 8:30am to 3:30pm during the academic year. Recommended: Belgian waffle station when available.

    • Genomics Cafe.
      Located in the Carl Icahn Laboratory. Prepared sandwiches, salads, soups, hot entrees, and Small World coffee. Open Monday to Friday 9am - 3pm during the academic year.

    • Chancellor Green Cafe
      Coffee, tea, pastries, sandwiches, salads, panini, and soup in the lower level rotunda of Chancellor Green.

    • Woodrow Wilson Cafe.
      Features a la carte made-to-order salads, sandwiches, wraps, and hot entrees.

    • Food Gallery at Frist.
      Located on the A level of the Frist Campus Center.

    • Witherspoon's.
      Featuring coffee from Small World, ice cream from Bent Spoon, and fresh pastries. Located on the 100 level of the Frist Campus Center.

    • Cafe Vivian.
      Organic, sustainable, and local food. Located on the 100 level of the Frist Campus Center.

    • The C-Store.
      Mini convenience store. Located on the 100 level of the Frist Campus Center.

    • Institute for Advanced Studies Dining Hall.
      The Institute provides excellent lunches during the week and afternoon tea and cookies.


    Sandwiches and Deli

    • Olives Deli and Bakery. (22 Witherspoon Street, Princeton; 609.921.1569)
      A great take-out spot for fresh salads, baked goods, hot specials, and first-rate sandwiches. My favorites include the Moussaka, Spanokopita, and freshly baked muffins (especially almond peach). Limited seating. They also do alot of catering.

    • Red Onion. (20 Nassau Street, Princeton; 609.924.6667)
      Gourmet deliatessen.

    • Princeton Soup and Sandwich Company. (30 Palmer Square East, Princeton, 609.497.0008)
      Formerly an outpost of the Original Soup Man from the famed Seinfeld soup nazi, but afer changing to Princeton Soup and Sandwich, it no longer serves the same great soup (or the Seinfeld mystique). They also offer hot and cold sandwiches, salads, Belgian fries, and smoothies.

    • Tico's Eatery and Juice Bar. (33 Witherspoon Street, Princeton; 609.252.0300)
      Best fruit smoothies and fresh-squeezed juices in town. Decent deli sandwiches, paninis, wraps, and soups. Popular with Princeton students.
      Formerly the Moondoggie Cafe.

    • Say Cheez. (183D Nassau Street, Princeton; 609.924.2454)
      Grilled cheese sandwiches (in just about any combination you can imagine), plus Greek dishes from the former Zorba's. Nothing special, but open until 2am Thursday through Saturday.

    • Panera Bread. (136 Nassau Street, Princeton; 609.683.5222)
      It's a big chain, so you know what to expect. Decent sandwiches.

    • Hoagie Haven. ( 242/244 Nassau Street, Princeton; 609.921.7723)
      A Princeton landmark serving up quick hoagies. Extremely popular among high-school and college students. Very inexpensive sandwiches, burgers, cheesesteaks, and meatball parms. Open until 1am.

    • Molisana Deli. (266 Witherspoon Street, Princeton; 609.924.9555)
      Deli directly across from the University Medical Center.

    • Chuck's Spring Street Cafe. (16 Spring Street, Princeton; 609.921.0027)
      Cheap and quick. They're best known for their buffalo wings.

    • PJs Pancake House. (154 Nassau Street, Princeton; 609.924.1353)
      Be prepared to wait in long lines for Sunday brunch. The food is mediocre and overpriced, and the service is poor, but it's as popular as ever.

    • The Orchard Cafe (59 Paul Robeson Place, Princeton; 609.269.8762)
      This hole-in-the-wall-inside-the-YMCA/YWCA offers soups and sandwiches.

    • Bobby's Burger Palace.
      Bobby Flay's upscale fast food chain, in the Marketfair mall. Good burgers and fries; disappointing milkshakes; kid friendly.

    • Porta Via. (180 Nassau Street #C)
      Closed.

    • Cafe 44. (44 Leigh Avenue, Princeton)
      Closed.

    • Cox's Market. (180 Nassau Street)
      Closed.

    • Cheeburger Cheeburger (182 Nassau Street, Princeton).
      Closed.

    • George's Roasters and Ribs. (244 Nassau Street, Princeton).
      Closed.

    • Quiznos. (301 North Harrison Street, Princeton)
      Closed.

    • Subway. (18 Witherspoon Street and 252 Nassau Street)
      Closed.

    • 30 Burgers. (124 Nassau Street, Princeton) 609.497.7570)

      Closed.
    D'Angelo Italian Market also serves up some excellent hoagies.


    Seafood

    • Blue Point Grill. (258 Nassau Street, Princeton; 609.921.1211)
      The best seafood in the area and one of my favorite restaurants. Impeccably fresh seafood, cooked to perfection. The grilled fish is simply prepared (usually with capers, lemon, and butter) to highlight the fish. Sides of garlic smashed potatoes and creamed spinach are the perfect accompaniment. Also features a raw oyster bar. My favorites are the Australian Baramundi and George's Banks Lemon Sole. The Day Boat Maine Sea Scallops are also recommended. The menu offers little for non-seafood lovers. Not open for lunch.

    • Nassau Street Seafood and Produce Company. (256 Nassau Street, Princeton; 609.921.0620)
      Best place to buy fresh seafood. Also fresh produce and Terhune Orchard pies. They serve boxed-lunch fish sandwiches, which are very tasty and inexpensive. You can eat lunch outside at the Blue Point Grill, next door.

    • Calico Grill. (180 Nassau Street, Princeton)
      Closed.

    • Big Fish Seafood Bistro. (3535 Route 1 South, Princeton)
      Closed.


    Steakhouse and Grill

    • Witherspoon Grill. (57 Witherspoon Street, Princeton; 609.924.6011)
      American steakhouse with an upscale bar scene and nice outdoor seating in Hinds Plaza. Unfortunately, the food quality is very inconsistent: the burger ranges from excellent (among the best in Princeton) to alarming (cool and red center served to a 4-year old, which the waiter dismissingly asserted was "steakhouse medium"). I was also very disappointed with the braised short ribs, which were 90% grizzle. The filet tip sandwich is consistently good. Same owners as Blue Point Grill.

    • Ruth's Chris Steak House. (2 Village Blvd., Princeton; 609.452.0041)
      Upscale steakhouse chain whose signature is serving prime steaks, seared at 1800° Fahrenheit.

    • Salt Creek Grille. (1 Rockingham Row, Princeton; 609.419.4200)
      Mini-chain grill and tavern, located in the Princeton Forrestal Village. Vibrant bar scene, but uninspired food. The mesquite grilled baby back ribs and chocolate souffle are fan favorites.

    • On the Bone. (4355 Route 1, Princeton; 609.514.2663)
      Steakhouse attached to the Doubletree hotel.

      Charlie Brown's Steakhouse. (4491 Route 27, Kingston)
      Closed.


    Thai / Malaysian / Vietnamese

    • Origin. (25 Division Street, Somerville; 908.685.1344)
      Excellent, upscale (yet modestly priced) French-Thai BYO. Well worth the 30-minute trip to Somerville. Closed Monday.

    • Lil Thai Pin. (180 Nassau Street, Princeton; 609.279.9000)
      This hole-in-the-wall Thai Pin (Hamilton, NJ) outpost is defintiely the best place to get Thai in Princeton. Serving up classic and authentic dishes. My favorite is the Crab–Crab Fried Rice.

    • Rhong Tiam. (660 Plainsboro Road, Plainsboro; 609.799.1888)
      Authentic (and spicy) Bangkok cuisine. I recommend the seafood Pad Kee Mao. Try the Peanut Pancake for dessert. Nice decor, but spotty service. The food at dinner seems more consistent than at lunch, but prices are higher (and white rice is extra). Located next to the Asian Food Center in the Princeton Meadows strip mall. Its sister restaurant in Greenwich Village earned a Michelin star in 2009.

    • Pad Thai. (217 Route 27, Highland Park; 732.247.9636)
      Authentic and very flavorful Thai food at bargain prices.

    • Chao Phaya Thai Cuisine. (9 Davenport Street, Somerville; 908.231.0655)
      Spicy and good Thai food. Large menu, good BYO for a group.

    • Aroma Royal Thai Cuisine. (3175-3 Route 27 South, Franklin Park; 732.422.9300)
      Good, authentic, inexpensive Thai food. Despite being located in a strip mall (just south of Great Wall supermarket), the interior of the restaurant is lavishly decorated and many of the dishes arrive with beautiful presentations.

    • Da's Kitchen. (21 East Broad Street, Hopewell; 609.466.8424)
      Reincarnation of the YMCA/YWCA hole-in-the-wall, now located in Hopewell. Chef Da serves up authentic Thai food and offers cooking classes.

    • Pho 99. (3151 Route 27 South, Franklin Park; 732.821.1828)
      A tasty Vietnamese pho joint in the same mall as the Great Wall Supermarket. I especially enjoyed the rice vermicelli soup Hue style, fried egg rolls, and seafood crepes.

    • Pho Anh Dao. (1483 Franklin Mall, Route 27 South, Somerset; 732.246.1788)
      Has the ambiance of a strip mall, but the food is good and cheap. Try the Vietnamese pancake.

    • Kung Fu Tea and Noodle House. (80 Nassau Street, Princeton; 732.248.0400)
      Vietnamese tea and noodle house, serving pho, ramen, and banh mi. More than 50 tea offerings, including traditional, mil, and bubble teas. Part of a chain based in NYC.

    • Penang. (635 Nassau Park Blvd., Princeton; 609.897.9088)
      Average Malayasian and Thai food combined with spotty service, overpriced dinner entrees, and tiny portions for lunch. Does not appear to be connected anymore with the NYC franchise with the same name. Located in the shopping mall next to Home Depot. Favorite dish: Roti Canai.

    • Thai Village. (235 Nassau Street, Princeton; 609.683.3896)
      It's not authentic, and it's not particularly good. Favorite dish: pad see ew.

    • Tom Yum Goong. (354 Nassau Street, Princeton).
      Closed.

    • Tom Yum Goong II. (72 Princeton Hightstown Road, East Windsor)
      Closed.


    Wine and Liquor

    Local liquor licenses are scarce, so most Princeton restaurants are BYO.


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