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Restaurant Reviews

This page will list some of the area Restaurants we have reviewed.  It will include some of the popular national chains as well as the local family owned eateries. We judged them for the quality and taste of their dishes, the portion size, and the price.  We also revisit some to see if they are consistent and to try other dishes.  Some make the grade and some fail a repeat visit.  We have noted those that weren’t consistent with a Not So Good notation and summary.

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See our extensive reviews of these restaurants

NOTE: Restaurants are listed by latest review on top. 

Best Restaurants

Why We Like Them

Paulines (5 of 22)HRez-3

Paulines (22 of 22)HRez-2
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Paulines (14 of 22)HRez-2
Paulines (9 of 22)HRez-2
Paulines (10 of 22)HRez-2
Paulines (4 of 22)HRez-3
Paulines (3 of 22)HRez-3

Open For Dinner
Monday - Closed
Tuesday - Thursday 5:00PM to 10:00PM
Friday & Saturday 5:00PM to 11:00PM
Sunday 4:00PM to 9:00PM

Pauline's Italian Cusinine

It was way overdue for my review of Pauline's. Pauline's happens to be one of our favorite Italian restaurants, but I thought I should review some of those in Hazlet and in surrounding towns first, and then widen the geographic area for these reviews.

Andy Peeke our International Press Correspondentand his friend Rachel came down to visit and wanted to take us out to dinner. I knew the perfect spot, Pauline's. It is a BYOB family owned, cozy restaurant on Route 34 in Matawan. Andy brought some wonderful bubbly and we brought some wine which paired perfectly with our dinner.

During the week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday Pauline's offers .special dinner menu for $16.95 that includes an appetizer and your choice of many popular entrees.

Paulines (15 of 22)HRez-2
My wife ordered their baked clams appetizer which was wonderful and the sauce was sopped up with the fresh Italian bread. Then came her entree, the broiled salmon with mixed veggies. As you can see in the photo, the veggies were cooked to perfection and not overdone as is the case in many restaurants and she told me the salmon was excellent. I am more of a chicken man myself.

Paulines (16 of 22)HRez-2
I ordered off their regular menu and had my favorite dish the Chicken Rolatini which is a chicken breast rolled with broccoli, sundried tomato, mozzarella in a garlic white wine sauce over pasta. As you can see from the photo, it was a very generous portion and at $19 very reasonable as well.

Paulines (13 of 22)HRez-2
Andy who always eats healthy ordered Salmon Milanese which is a thin sliced filet of salmon breaded and pan fried over tomato, red onions, olives, capers, sun-dried tomato over Spring mix lettuce.

Finally Rachel, ordered their Mozzarella and Tomato appetizer and the meat lasagna as her entree...perfecto!

We have been to Pauline's many times over the years, they have a wonderful and creative and extensive menu you don't often find in our local Pizzaria/Italian Restaurants. There food is gourmet compared to many others we have reviewed, but yet rustic, complex in flavor and ingredients and unique. Be sure to ask for extra bread to sop up all the sauces and gravy on your plate.

We highly recommend Pauline's, but advise to get their early on the week-ends, they have a limited number of tables and don't accept reservations for parties under 5 people. During the week, there is no waiting, with a great special menu and great prices. Their service was excellent and fast, one of the other benefits of going during the week.

Remember to tell them you read our review in the Hazlet News and remember to leave your comments on our Hazlet News Facebook Group so others can also try this wonderful, Italian jewel.

Visit Their website to see their complete menu.

Pauline's Italian Cusine
765 Route 34
Matawan, NJ 07747
Phone: 732 583-7808
TxsRdhse2015- (5 of 75)HRez
TxsRdhse2015- (8 of 75)HRez
TxsRdhse2015- (2 of 75)HRez
TxsRdhse2015- (12 of 75)HRez
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Dallas Filet
Dallas Filet

Dallas Filet - Medium
Dallas Filet - Medium

Bone In Ribeye
Bone In Ribeye

Grilled Shrimp Sidekick
Grilled Shrimp Sidekick

Big Ole Brownie
Big Ole Brownie

Amy our server
Amy our server

TxsRdhse2015- (73 of 75)HRez
Click Here To Visit Their Website .
Monday - Thursday
4:00 PM -10:00 PM
Fri: 4:00PM-11:00PM
Sat: 12:00PM-11:00PM
Sun: 12:00PM-10:00PM

Texas Roadhouse

TxsRdhse2015- (4 of 75)HRez
I thought to myself when they were building Texas Roadhouse that we didn't need another steak restaurant in the area, but I have to admit, I was wrong.

At my age I don't eat a lot of beef, but when I do I like to get a nice lean cut of beef and have stayed with a filet mignon or one of the other lean cuts.

We had dined at Texas Roadhouse on Veterans Day for lunch and enjoyed a great angus beef burger, yes a burger and my wife had their grilled salmon which she loved. I was looking forward to another visit for dinner to see how their steaks were. They looked great in their showcase.

I asked our server Amy, and manager Joey, to bring out their most popular appetizers. It was their Cactus Blossom, similar to Outback's Bloomin Onion and their combo appetizer. The combo included stuffed tater skins, rattlesnake bites, and boneless chicken wings.

This was not something we would eat at our age, but we wanted to shoot it for the sake of the article.

They also boasted about their Chile and that is something I could get into and I did. I had a cup of their famous Texas Red. The chili was full of chunks of meat and just hot enough.

Of course we didn't intend on eating everything you see in this review. It did gave me an opportunity to take some actual photos of what they really serve.

I asked Amy and Joey for their recommendation to find out which were their most popular steaks.

For me they recommended their Dallas Filet 8 ounce and a sidekick of their fall off the bone ribs (my wife ate ribs) and a loaded baked potato.

My wife had their Bone-In Ribeye with grilled shrimp sidekick (I took her shrimp), and a loaded sweet potato. She had to take more then half the steak home it could easily have been shared.

Now if that wasn't enough, we also had their desserts. I had the Granny's Apple Classic and she had the Big Ole Brownie with a ball of ice cream.

Now we did take some of this food home. If we attempted to eat everything you see here, it would have been thousands of calories. Their Big Ole Brownie alone is 1250 calories, which is my normal days consumption. The portions are large and I would suggest sharing a dessert, thus cutting the calories in half.

So my recommendation is to try their great steaks or healthy food options. if you are watching your diet, then do look at the calories in each item you order and select some of their healthy choices.

If you are celebrating a special occasion, have a group to share some of these dishes with you can then have a guiltless meal. Trying to eat some of their supersized portions is going to be a challenge.

Birthday? Get In The Saddle
Birthday? Get In The Saddle
Lots of fun, loads of FREE peanuts on the table, great little rolls with butter, friendly wait staff and a company that believes in helping the community by allowing charities to set up a table in the entrance.
Giving Back To The Community
Giving Back To The Community

You can also Call Ahead to shorten your wait!
Let them know you saw them in the Hazlet News.

NOTE: Check out their menu where there is a calorie count on each menu item and you can decide what to order before you walk through the door.
Click Here To See Their Full Menu and Specials

Texas Roadhouse
2105 State Route 35
Holmdel, NJ 07733
Phone: 732-671-3749
Our Waiter Sal Sassa
Our Waiter Sal Sarra


Park Place Diner

There are a number of Diners in and around Hazlet and we have tried many.

We had the pleasure to dine at the Park Place Diner for lunch and found it a great place with a wonderful menu.

They have a number of lunch specials most under $10 that include a small side salad or a small bowl of soup, a nice lunch entree and a dessert.


I opted for their corn beef and Potato Latka sandwich, which might have been an adventure trying to eat it, so I requested having the corn beef on rye bread and the Latka's on the side.

My wife opted for one of their triple decker sandwiches with fries. Both were excellent choices, the corn beef was sliced deli thin, just right and the Latka's suprisingly was pretty good.

Another great Grecian chicken, spinach and feta panini sandwich we had on another visit. We had to take half of this home as well.


The Diner was renovated a few years ago and looks great. If you haven't been there in a long while you won't recognize it. No more salad bar as you walk in, instead they now have a bar and a great selection of baked goods as you can see in our photos.

My only negative comment is that their vegetables are way overcooked. Unlike many restaurants today that steam veggies that come out bright, fresh and full of color, theirs does not. So ask them to make your vegetables fresh or don't order them.

They have a nice website, one of the best I have seen of any restaurant or business in our area, you must visit it and sign up for their promotions by email.

You can check some of their specials and promos on Facebook too, go in an LIKE their page.

Be sure to visit them and let them know you read about them in the Hazlet News.com

On their website you can see their entire menu

Park Place Diner
1040 New Jersey 34
Matawan, NJ 07747

T: (732) 290-1978
F: (732) 290-1527

Monday - Thursday 6:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Friday & Saturday 6:00 AM – 3:00 PM
Sunday 6:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Hazlet Pizza - Front
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Hazlet Pizza - 04

Hazlet Pizza

If you live in New Jersey you know that Pizza is the soul food of our state. Just visit any strip center or mall in Jersey and there will be an Italian Restaurant or Pizzeria.

We visited one such local Pizzeria in the Toys R Us Shopping Center on Rt. 35 North, Hazlet Pizza.

What caught our eye driving into the center was one of their signs $6.99 Large Pie. Wow, we have seen specials before, but never this special.

The Special Pie offer is good Tuesdays and Wednesdays and they just extended it to Thursday too.

So we pulled back into the center and headed for Hazlet Pizza. We decided to order two pies to go. One to eat at home and one to freeze for another day.

Hazlet Pizza - 02

We met the owners and told them about the Hazlet News. We talked about some of their great specials, their dining room in the rear of the restaurant and how they give back to Hazlet. They supply the schools with a very special price pizza that they can offer students and for various activities at a very low cost.

You can see in the photos this is a great and inexpensive way to have a nice $4 lunch or dinner and stay within your budget.

They have a website with nice Italian music playing during your visit there. Check out their menu and when you visit them say hello to owners Caroline and Max and let them know you read about them on the Hazlet News.

Hazlet Pizza
3041 Route 35 North
Toys R Us Shopping Center
Hazlet, NJ 07730

T: (732) 732 335-8300

Visit Their Website .
La Dolce (38 of 44)HRez
Sicilian Thin Crust Pizza
Sicilian Thin Crust Pizza

Fried Calamari
Fried Calamari

Fried Artichoke Appetizer
Fried Artichoke Appetizer[/caption[caption id="attachment_5610" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Margarita Pizza Margarita Pizza

Linguini with White Clam Sauce
Linguini with White Clam Sauce

Chicken Marsala Over Linquini
Chicken Marsala Over Linquini

Specialty Personal Pizza
Specialty Personal Pizza

Traditional Large Pizza
Traditional Large Pizza

Large Specialty Pizza
Large Specialty Pizza

Chicken Parm
Chicken Parm

Personal Size Pizza $6.99
Personal Size Pizza $6.99

Meatballs & Spaghetti
Meatballs & Spaghetti

La Dolce Brick Oven Pizza

La Dolce (2 of 10)HRez
I have been meaning to visit La Dolce for quite some time, but after receiving their latest flyer with an offer for a FREE slice of pizza I decided to stop in with my wife and finally see if they could live up to their claims of being the best brick oven Pizza in the area.

Owner Joey Tardo and son Dominick
Owner Joey Tardo and son Dominick

We visited La Dolce early Friday night before the traditional rush hour traffic so I could speak to the owner Joseph (Joey) Tardo and his son Dominick. Joey told me he comes from Coney Island back in the days when I lived there so we had a lot in common. We had the best Italian restaurants in Coney including the Carolina which closed many years ago.

Hand Crafted Pies
Hand Crafted Pies

So I was excited to see if La Dolce could meet my challenge and couldn't wait to try some of their fabulous brick oven pizza and taste some of our favorite dishes.

As many of us living in Hazlet know this location has not had a lot of luck in the past. It is the location that seems to be the problem. It is nestled in a small strip center just north of Costco on the North side of Rt. 35. The entrance to the strip is a bit tricky and if you don't watch for it carefully, you can miss it.

Needless to say we knew where it was and they had added loads of signs to help you navigate into the center. The restaurant is beautiful on the inside as you can see in our photos and the pizza and food is fabulous with very generous portions, something we don't see too often at local eateries.

Great Personal Sized Pizza's
Great Personal Sized Pizza's

They specialize in a number of pizza combinations and you can order a nice personal sized pizza you can see here for as little as $6.99. I had the Margherita Pizza with fresh Mozzarella and a nice Marinara sauce. The crust on the pizza's are about the best I have tasted in our area. Crispy but not hard, taste is great, can't imagine any thin crust pizza being any better.

Joey wanted us to try some of his appetizers and brought out a nice platter of fried Calamari which my wife loves. I normally don't order this, but I actually loved it too. Soft and crisp, not rubbery which can happen at some restaurants, perfect. We also tried their fried artichoke appetizer nice creamy sauce with a rich garlic flavor.

Onto the entrees...Joey asked if I like linguine with white clam sauce, of course I do, one of my favorites and my second favorite is Chicken Marsala, if it is made correctly. I can tell you we weren't disappointed.

The dishes came out and I had to ask if they were made especially for us this way or is this the way they serve their customers. The portions were huge with loads of pasta which I love and a generous portion of clams and chicken.

We of course had to pack up so much food. The next time we dine there we will order either a personal or full sized thin crust pizza and one entree. That would be more then enough for the both of us.

You may want to do the same, or do as we did take home what you can't finish and enjoy your meal at home on another night.

We enjoyed our visit to La Dolce which as you can see was jammed on a Friday night. They told me their busiest nights of course were Friday, Saturday and Sunday, they are closed on Mondays.

Be sure to stop in and give them a try, you will be surprised how this new little treasure, nestled in this little strip, can make you a believer in their Brooklyn Style thin crust pizza and other classic Italian dishes.

La Dolce runs loads of specials including $5.99 Lunches weekdays and pick up large pizzas for only $10 on Tuesday and Wednesdays. Check their website for updated specials and to view their full menu.

When you visit, please be sure to say hello to Joey and Dominick and mention you read about them in the Hazlet News. They will give you that special HN service for sure.

NOT SO GOOD - Second Visit

We revisted La Dolce with my family and it was not a good experience. The chicken to the veal dishes both came our overcooked and tough, we couldn't eat it at all. The garlic knots came out black, left in the oven too long. We confronted Joey who agreed it was a problem, but never offered to replace the dishes or take it off the check. I can no longer recommend La Dolce, love the guy but not the food.

They no longer have a website.

La Dolce Brick Oven Pizza
2889 State Route 35
Hazlet, NJ 07730
Phone: 732 264-5300
Rays - 01
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Rays - 04
Rays - 07
Rays - 10

IMG_0575Chicken Valdestana

saladSide Salad

IMG_0574Chicken Parm Sandwich

Ray's Real Pizza

I have lived in Hazlet for over 40 years and when the family was young we used to take them to one of the local Pizza restaurants for a quick and nourishing meal.

Over the years Hazlet has evolved with some of the older restaurants closing while others opened. One of the best kept secrets on where to get the best, authentic pizza and other Italian dishes is a quaint restaurant opposite Home Depot on Rt. 35 North, Ray's Real Pizza.

Now as anyone that came from New York knows, Ray's Pizza in Little Italy was well known for the exceptional pizza. Because of their reputation and popularity, many others copied their name with minor variations. Hazlet's Ray's Real Pizza is one of the originals.

Originally in New York City and opened in 1983, they have brought that New York City famous pizza to our town.

We have enjoyed their food for years and I believe not only is their pizza the best in the area, but their "chicken parm" is perfection.

I love to order a pizza and a chicken parm sandwich which, unlike other pizza restaurants, contains a generous portion of breaded chicken and a large sandwich is only $8.25 and can feed two to four people.

Of course their other dishes are excellent as well and their soup of the day at $4.95 is the perfect lunch. It is a large bowl and that with one slice is all I need to feel satisfied.

Entrees range in price from $13.25 to $16.95 and their pasta dishes range in price from $10.50 to $18.95. Homemade meat lasagna is only $11.95 so they are in line if not less than most of the other local Italian restaurants, but the quality and quantity in any of their dishes is 5 stars.

If you haven't visited or eaten at Ray's we highly recommend you do so. Whether it is ordering to take out or eat in, you won't be disappointed. The restaurant has a cozy dining room, warm and comfortable.

Their wait staff is friendly and the food comes out fast.

Considering the size of Ray's, I can't figure out how they can cook so many dishes and serve them piping hot in such a small location. Got to give them credit, they know what they are doing.

Rays - 11

Be sure to say hello to owners Joe and Marco Russo and tell them you read about them in the Hazlet News.

Ray's Real Pizza
3429 Highway 35 North
Hazlet, NJ 7730
(Across from Home Depot)

T: (732) 203-1600

Yesterdays Bar

Yesterday's Restaurant
3153 Route 35
Hazlet, NJ 07730

Tel: 732.696.8900

Yesterday's Restaurant

We have been dining at Yesterday's, Family owned and operated southern Italian restaurant for the better part of 35 years. Unfortunately in March 2010 they had a fire that destroyed the old structure and they decided to rebuild.

The new Yesterday's is gorgeous now with rich dark wood, a beautiful bar and banquet facility and a party room for private parties and the overflow from their restaurant.

In the past it was a great place to take the family and we enjoyed their wonderful salad bar that included mussels in a spicy marinara sauce, their classic chicken soup with rice and a soup of the day. But read our section below to see why we can't recommend them.

My favorite has always been their Chicken ala Yesterday’s, which is Chicken breast (I ask them to pound it thin) sautéed with mushrooms, peppers, onions in a Marinara sauce smothered in mozzarella cheese.

I of course enjoy the classic Chicken Parm. My wife loves the Grilled fillet of salmon served over a bed of spinach and black beans in a light tomato broth.

Average cost of most entree's that include the mussel bar, salad bar, soup, freshly backed rolls is $17.95 - $20.95. NOTE: Watch for their $5 Off Coupon in the local Independent and other local papers.

NOT SO GOOD - Update Last Visit • No Longer Recommended

They have changed recently and not for the good of their patrons. See Current Yelp ReviewsI have to agree with them Yesterday's has reverted back to where they were before the fire. They must have a new cook...can't imagine such a drastic change.

It seemed that the chicken portion in my Chicken Ala Yesterday shrunk drastically. I used to have to take home half of their portion, now half a portion is what they are serving and prices are higher.

It also looked as if they used a chicken patty rather then a fresh breast and was very tough. The peppers and onions were so overcooked it was mushy. They also didn't get the order right which was supposed to be over the pasta. The pasta came on the side with a red sauce, so I asked the waiter to just bring some pasta without sauce, but he told me he couldn't unless he returned the other which was already touched, or he would have to charge me for the pasta. Understand this is a very small side of pasta, maybe 10¢ worth at best, their cost.

The waiter asked me if I wanted Vinnie the owner to come over, but we were with our family and I didn't want to make a scene so I just had him remove my dish, half uneaten, my mistake, I should have sent it back to the kitchen or had them take it off the check.

Their quality has changed. Their are also new rules and you can no longer take home the left over sauce from the mussels you eat. We are not talking about taking mussels home, just the small amount of left over sauce. Anything that comes from their buffet you can't take home...I can understand abuses for this buffet rule but really, some left over sauce in a plate from the mussels. We go to many buffets and have never seen this strict rule, ever.

We dined at Yesterdays for so many years until they lost their way. They had a cook who was, by their own admission, horrible. It literally killed their business. Now they must have a new cook because, the food we received, not just my dish but my son's as well, was again horrible...yes horrible. I did ask if they had a new cook and the waiter said it was the same cook. Just can't be, such a huge difference in the food.

Unfortunately we will not return to Yesterdays after almost 30+ years of patronage.

Middletown Location:
Crown Palace - 02
Crown Palace - 04
Crown Palace - 09
Crown Palace - 06
Crown Palace - 16
Crown Palace - 17
Marlboro Location:IMG_0286

Crown Palace

We have dined at both Crown Palace restaurants, the one on Rt. 35 South in Middletown and their second location in Marlboro and both restaurants deserve to be in our Best of Section on our website.

Unfortunately there aren't many good Chinese restaurants in our town or even neighboring towns, but one we feel deserves special mention is Crown Palace. We have dined in both locations over the years and love to visit the Middletown location because it is truly a beautiful restaurant with their gorgeous round salt water aquarium in the center of their main dining area. We always request a table there when available.

Their food is excellent and won't disappoint and we love to start with a simple bowl of wonton soup, somehow theirs is better than others with generous slices of pork and wontons with a great filling.




Lately we have been ordering their Four Seasons dish which contains lobster, shrimp, pork, chicken and Chinese vegetables in a rich brown sauce. Since my wife and I like their Chicken Mei Fun Mei fun which is a thin noodle typically made only with rice and water. It has lots of chicken, pieces of fried egg and scallions, carrots, shredded Napa cabbage and it is a great side for any dish that has a rich sauce.

There are many other dishes we love that are the traditional Chinese dishes we have been eating for years, they include: Moo Shu Pork, Sesame Chicken, Garlic Chicken with String Beans, Shrimp in Lobster Sauce and so many more. You can see their menu at their website.

Now one of the nicest things about Crown Palace is that it is an elegant restaurant. The Maître d wears a suit and tie and the hostess is a beautiful well dressed lady. The waiters all wear jackets and the service is wonderful. There is plenty of room in their main dining room for big parties too and they can close the wall to make it more private.

If you love good Chinese food at very reasonable prices ($8.95-$16.95) and want to feel you are in a fine restaurant, then this restaurant is a must. When you go there please let them know you heard about them at the Hazlet News. Click Here to visit their website

Crown Palace - Middletown
1283 Highway 35
Middletown, NJ 07748
Phone: (732) 615-9888
Open 7 Days: 11:00 AM - 09:30 PM

Crown Palace - Marlboro
8 N Main St
Marlboro, NJ 07746
Phone: (732) 780-8882 (No Delivery)
Open 7 Days: 11:00 AM - 09:30 PM

Click Images To Enlarge

Kickys Japanese Restaurant

I am not a fan of sushi and have very plain tastes when it comes to Japanese food, but we do like Kickys because they also have a number of Chinese dishes that I like.

I love their sesame chicken, I don't think any other restaurant I have gone to Chinese or Japanese can do it as well. The chicken is coated in a batter than deep fried until the pieces are crispy and than coated with a wonderful honey glaze and sprinkled with some sesame seeds.

We like to order their Chicken Udon Noodles as our second dish and we share the two. The portions are large enough to share and an order of green tea does the trick.

Now here is the best part of dining at Kickys...they run super specials during the week. 40% Off certain menu items. Tuesday through Thursday Chinese dishes, noodles, sushi are on special.

Visit their website to confirm which days the specials run. Thursday night we dined there and our check came to $13.74 plus tax. We always leave a generous tip for their wait staff.

My wife will go for lunch with some friends and I understand they order many types of Sushi and love it.

Note: They also have the famous $5 lunch and it is quite generous. It is also a great way to avoid McDonald's which will cost less than any one of their meal packages and it is so much better.

15% Off on Take Out Orders too!

Kickys Restaurant
1140 Route 34
Matawan, NJ 07747

Tel: 732.970.648

Mediterranean Chateau
27 Freneau Avenue Route 79
Matawan, NJ 07747

Tel: 732.696.8900

Mediterranean Chateau

Remember Charlie Brown? Well once again old was replaced by new with this cozy Spanish/Portuguese restaurant and bar.

This new restaurant is just what our area needed. No need to travel to Don Pepe's in Newark because head chef Robertini Martinez is now the head chef of MC and every dish is prepared properly.

They have a beautiful new restaurant both indoors and outdoors. Their food is as good, if not better than most Spanish restaurants we have dined in both in New York and New Jersey.

The value is fantastic. A dinner order of Camarao em Molho de Alho - Shrimp in Garlic Sauce for $18 is served in a dish full of 30 or more shrimp. My guess was this was one pound of shrimp (25-30 shrimp to a pound). Of course it comes with a full platter of yellow rice and my favorite, their thin fried potato chips.

My wife loved their lobster and on a second visit tried one of their special Paelha dish that had clams, pork and loads of other goodies in a huge pot. See photo on left.

I asked the hostess, Fatima the owners daughter how they were able to offer me a salad, a pound of shrimp in garlic sauce, a full platter of rice and potato's for only $18.

She explained that her father and owner Jose Barreiro formerly of Caravella in Elizabeth and Ria Mar in South River, wanted to build a restaurant that would offer fine food at reasonable prices. He wants to build a solid business that his customers would appreciate and support.

This restaurant is a must for anyone that seeks fresh seafood and traditional Spanish/Portuguese food. We loved it and will put this restaurant on the top of our list.







Update - Not So Good

On a recent re-visit we ordered their two for $29.95 special. Unfortunately both of our dishes simply didn't make the cut. Consistency is important in a restaurant but not always possible. The dishes went back to the kitchen and we walked out of the restaurant to go have dinner at another local restaurant.

Any restaurant that doesn't maintain their quality or consistency we will no longer recommend.

Assaggini Di Roma

We are always looking for new restaurants in Hazlet and the neighboring towns to review for the Hazlet News and Assaggini Di Roma was one of them. Our friend Lisa Corsi from Home Depot and of course Facebook has been telling me how great it is and that she and her husband dine there on a regular basis.

The restaurant is a family owned and operated since 1999 and it owner Damaris Giro, serves up modern Italian cuisine with the addition of fresh seafood specialties. The decor is warm and inviting with their brick walls and stunning decor.

They recently started to open on Monday's, usually a night most restaurants are closed. We knew it would be quiet, but it would give me a good opportunity to take some photos of the interior of the restaurant.

Unfortunatley, I didn't have the opportunity to photograph many of their signature dishes which I like to do, but will return on a busy night to take them and will include them in our listing and article.


I started with a generous bowl of their homemade Pasta Fagioli Soup with Sausage and my entree was their special of the day, the Chicken Parm with Angel Hair pasta.


They offered the option of having it with their wonderful Italian vodka sauce. Normally you would order "Penne Alla Vodka" a popular dish in most restaurants, but they offered this wonderful, rich sauce on the Chicken Parm. It was a nice change from the traditional red sauce.

Factoid: Adding vodka releases chemical compounds called esters, which bring out the purest tomato flavors and this did just that. The generous portions of chicken parm over the pasta was wonderful and the crispy coating was just right.

My wife is a seafood lover and salmon is one of her favorite dishes. She had their Grilled Alaskan Salmon stuffed with crab meat over mashed potatoes and asparagus and although I am not a salmon lover, it looked great. She loved it ...

Grilled Alaskan Salmon Stuffed W/ Crabmeat
Grilled Alaskan Salmon Stuffed W/ Crabmeat

Although they don't have a website right now, you can do a search on the internet and see all the rave reviews. On Trip Advisor they are rated 4 out of 5 stars not too shabby for a local Hazlet eatery.

Assaggini Di Roma
3253 State Route 35,
Hazlet, NJ 07730

Tel: 732.847.2693


2136 State Route 35
Holmdel, NJ 07733

Call Ahead:
Tel: 732-671-6633


Another favorite of ours is Houlihan's in Holmdel. When they opened we were also the first to try them out and we loved the menu and their pricing. Great freshly made food, unlike so many national chains that we were frankly surprised.

We did our first review for our sister publications on Houlihan's and reprinted an updated version on this site.

The Houlihan's has a number of wonderful dishes that I continue to go back and order on each visit. Some of my favorites include their Yankee Pot Roast, their incredible Fajitas and the Navajo Pasta.

Be sure to sign up on their website and you will receive all their weekly promotions and on your birthday and anniversary you will receive a coupon for a FREE entree (birthday) and a FREE Dessert (anniversary) along with all the other money saving offers.

We have recently discovered their Early Bird Specials too. Mon-Fri 3:00 - 5:30
3-course meals starting at $14.49, best deal in town.

Not So Good
Stay clear of their chicken stir fry. All overcooked rice a few pieces of chicken and some broccoli. Certainly not Asian Stir Fry. This is one dish to pass when you visit this restaurant.

See our complete review right here under our Restaurants heading or, just click here now .


Outback Steakhouse

I am not a beef eater, more chicken then anything else. Once and awhile when I do have steak, it is usually a Filet Mignon.

Now the only steak house I go to, for my once a month steak, is Outback. Outback is another national chain that started in a few select cities and is now all over the country with multiple locations in New Jersey.

We happen to love the consistent quality of the food they serve and all at very reasonable prices. After all I am used to paying $12.95 for a hamburger or more at many restaurants.

At Outback you can get a nice sized 6 oz. $11.99, 9 oz. $15.99, or their 12 oz. Outback Special steak for just $18.99. All dinners come with two sides. I always get their small bowl/cup of soup.

Visit them and see their extensive menu that includes, steaks, chicken, fish, shrimp and other specialties of the house.

Of course all dinners start with their warm hot black bread rolls with creamy butter. They also have a number of lunch specials too, so check them.

Not So Good

In order to continue to run all the promotions and discounts, Outback had to cut costs somewhere. Here are some we found recently on visits.

Their hand cut french fries were one of the few treats I used to look forward to when I visited Outback. Unfortunately they have decided to now serve frozen fries, bad decision.

Stay clear of their Lobster Tail promotions. The photos on the menu look great, but what you will get is a very small Lobster Tail no larger than a Jumbo Shrimp at best. Not worth the additional $9.99 they charge if you want to add one to your steak dinner.

We also noticed that their 9 oz. steaks looked a bit small on our last trip. Their Wednesday 3 course dinner is not bad for $16.99, but their soup bowls got smaller and the slice of carrot cake for dessert was such a thin slice, not sure how they even cut it. You get what you pay for.

Visit their corporate website : Sign up for specials and promotions

Outback Steakhouse
740 Route 35 South
Middletown, NJ 7748

(732) 796-0110

Mon-Thu: 4:00 PM-10:00 PM
Fri: 4:00 PM-11:00 PM
Sat: 11:00 AM-11:00 PM
Sun: 11:00 AM-9:00 P
Town Square Diner - 12
Town Square Diner - 09
Town Square Diner - 03
Town Square Diner - 04
Town Square Diner - 06
Town Square Diner - 07
Town Square Diner - 10

Not So Good

Depending on when you visit the diner and who is in the kitchen can determine the food you receive. Unfortunately we went for a late lunch that just didn't cut it. Consistency is the key in all restaurants, so depending on who is in the kitchen can have a lot to do with what you are served.

We have not returned to Town Square after our last experience, but will have to give them another try.

Town Square Diner

I am always looking for new places to dine. More often than not, I revisit some of the restaurants that I stopped going to because they may have slipped in the quality of their food or their prices began to rise to a point where the value was no longer there.

One such restaurant is where the new Town Square Diner resides. In the Aberdeen Plaza on Route 34, next to Livoti's.

Town Square Diner - 08
Over the years we saw a Jewish style Deli there, never made it, than a Restaurant/Diner that also failed. Now under new ownership we revisit the new and much improved Town Square Diner.

We went there for Lunch recently and although the interior looked the same, we soon discovered that this was not the same restaurant.

There menu was full of fresh new dishes and their prices were actually less than going over to McDonalds for a Burger and Fries. There Burger Deluxe is a nice sized burger, with all the trimmings and a large order of fries, priced at $6.75 it actually was less than the McDonald's quarter pounder and a large fry.

O.K. that is just a small example of the value.

Town Square Diner - 02
Now I ordered a Philly Cheese Steak Wrap that you could order with chicken instead of steak which I did. The wrap was huge and must have weight close to a pound. With a generous portion of fries the cost was only $8.95. Of course I could only eat half, the other half I took home.

Town Square Diner - 01
My wife ordered the Cobb Salad at $8.75 and as you can see from the photo, this came with a generous portion of grilled sliced chicken and loads of everything else. Of course half went home with us too.

Town Square Diner - 05
There menu is extensive, the manager told us they will be redoing all the decor in the restaurant soon and they run all sorts of specials including a Breakfast Special at only $3.75...This is the McDonald's Killer. A cup of coffee alone in most places is at least $2 or more.

The restaurant's owners own a number of fine restaurants and they have brought value and quality to the Town Square Diner.

We returned for another lunch and had a killer Chicken Pot Pie, only $6.95 and my wife had their Salmon Special. We need to return for dinner one night and report back on our findings. I would recommend you try them soon, you won't be disappointed.

Their website needs some improvement, but you can get some idea of what they serve and their prices.

Their website : Town Square Diner

Town Square Diner
1077 Route 34
Aberdeen, NJ 07747
Phone: (732) 583-2100
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