There's nothing like a restaurant with a view, especially if that view happens to involve an expanse of glittering water. New Jersey has over 130 miles of shoreline, scores of lakes, dozens of rivers, and hundreds of savvy restaurant owners who know how to make the most of them.
If you want to combine some of New Jersey's finest cuisine with some of its most scenic views, here's our guide to the 10 best restaurants by the water NJ has to offer.
10. Rooney's Oceanfront Restaurant - Long Branch, NJ
An NJ institution since 1995, Rooney's Oceanfront Restaurant occupies a breathtakingly lovely location on the shoreline of Long Branch. Grab a seat on the giant bi-level outdoor deck to enjoy sublime views over the Atlantic as you work your way through a seafood-heavy menu of shrimp frittata, Caribbean shrimp curry, chargrilled octopus, tuna bruschetta, and cajun shrimp.
9. Hudson & Co - Jersey City, NJ
There's no denying that the views are one of Hudson & Co's key attractions. With a 4,000-square-foot outdoor terrace overlooking Jersey City’s Harborside and the Manhattan skyline in the distance, it boasts one of the best panoramas in the state.
Fortunately, the menu doesn't let it down, featuring a sizzling collection of gastropub staples like mac and cheese made with 4 kinds of cheese, applewood smoked bacon and a herb panko crust, grille shrimp cocktail, brick oven pizzas, and steaks.
8. Bahrs Landing - Highlands, NJ
With its picture-perfect location at the entrance to Sandy Hook National Seashore, Bahrs Landing is a Jersey Shore landmark, offering "Dockside Dining,” good vibes, and a menu bristling with some of the finest surf and turf around.
Keys dishes not to miss include the "Famous Manhattan Clam Chowder" made to Jack Bahrs' original 1917 recipe, lobster bisque served in a sourdough bread bowl, popcorn shrimp dusted in chili-lime and served with dipping sauce, and a seafood pot pie made with scallops, shrimp, monkfish & ocean clams in a creamy lobster brandy sauce served under a flaky puff pastry top.
7. Alice's - Lake Hopatcong, NJ
If you're craving some "new-American" cuisine, take the advice of Only In Your State and head for Alice's in Lake Hopatcong, a local favorite where good food isn't the only thing on the menu.
With a full bar serving up a tempting selection of wines, spirits, cocktails, and craft beer, live music, a lively atmosphere, and expansive lakefront views, it's got all the makings of your next favorite hangout. Choose between eating indoors or making the most of the views on the outdoor patio.
6. Haven - Edgewater, NJ
In 2016, Architectural Digest named Haven "One of The World's 16 Most Spectacular Waterfront Restaurants", and it's not hard to see. Set in a sublime location on the banks of the Hudson River in Edgewater, the restaurant offers dazzling views over the water to the Manhattan skyline beyond.
The menu focuses on modern New American cuisine, with a fabulous selection of seafood dishes (the cream lobster risotto croquettes with Spanish chorizo, mozzarella, petit pois and kaffir lime tartar sauce is particularly scrumptious), brunch options, and vegetarian dishes. Stop by between 4 pm and 7 pm Monday through Friday to enjoy cut-price food and drink specials.
5. The Dining Room, Molly Pitcher Inn - Red Bank, NJ
The Molly Pitcher Inn might be a great place to stay, but its dining room is an even better place to eat. Combining a fine dining menu with attentive service, a welcoming atmosphere, and a gorgeously elegant dining space complete with glowing chandeliers and cozy seating arrangements, it's a fabulous place to enjoy a special occasion or date night.
The views over the Navesink River from the panoramic windows are divine, but so is the menu - expect a tantalizing selection of breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner options that include an excellent jumbo lump crab cake served with cajun remoulade, cucumber, radish, red pepper, and lemon vinaigrette and an equally tempting Faroe Island salmon crusted with scallions and served with citrus herb tabouleh and grapefruit butter.
4. Proving Ground Waterfront Dining - Highlands, NJ
Proving Ground Waterfront Dining has it all - beautiful views over the water, an elegant dining space, good vibes, quick, friendly service, and an innovative menu that never fails to please.
Keys items not to miss include a creamy, silky smooth lobster bisque loaded with chunks of meaty lobster and flavored with just a dash of sherry wine; big, sweet scallops wrapped in crispy brown-sugar bacon served with a horseradish glaze; and shrimp and grits made with andouille sausage, white wine, lemon, bacon and fresh corn. There's also a superb selection of craft beer and cocktails to work your way through.
3. Andre’s Lakeside - Sparta, NJ
As thedigestonline.com notes, the location of Andre's is what makes it especially magical. Set on the shores of Seneca Lake in Sussex County, it boasts gorgeous waterfront views in a wonderfully peaceful, elegant setting. The farm-to-table menu is equally delightful, bristling with innovative dishes, fresh, seasonal ingredients, and enough variety to suit every taste. Although it doesn't offer a drinks menu, you're welcome to bring your own bottle.
2. Pearl at The Oyster Point Hotel - Red Bank, NJ
This intimate dining spot at The Oyster Point in Red Bank is the perfect place to linger over a drink with friends and enjoy the stunning waterfront views.
Upscale but friendly, with welcoming vibes and extremely hospitable service, the restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, dinner and lite bites, making it an ideal destination regardless of the time of day.
The menu focuses on contemporary American cuisine and local seasonal produce - try the cast iron lump crabcakes with the housemade sriracha sauce for a light lunch, or seared sea scallops & jumbo shrimp with gnocchi pearls, yellow peppadews, & sundried tomato simmered in truffle cream for something a little heartier.
1. The Old Causeway - Manahawkin, NJ
Named one of the best restaurants in New Jersey by Time Out, The Old Causeway's location alongside a salt marsh is hard to beat, offering gorgeous views of swaying reeds and glittering water.
It makes the most of its location with a menu that celebrates local seafood - the hand-shucked oysters and oyster po’ boy come particularly highly recommended. There's also a very impressive selection of gut-busting burgers, steaks from the finest natural Angus beef, and barrel-aged cocktails to enjoy.
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Written by Liz Flynn
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