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. Some of the other restaurants have gone out of business, while others were removed from our list because, we felt they no longer lived up to our initial review.
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See our extensive reviews of these restaurants
NOTE: Restaurants are listed by latest review on top.
Why We Like Them
Broad Street Diner
"Voted Best Diner In New Jersey By NJ.Com"
We read about them in the papers, we heard about Bobby Flay going to visit Diners in New Jersey including the Broad Street Diner. NJ.com picked Broad Street as the Best Diner In New Jersey, and we still hadn't visited the Broad Street Diner...until a couple of weeks ago.
Wow...what a treat, a small, nostalgic and comfortable diner, just like the ones we remember from years ago. They have limited seating both in their booths, tables and counter, but from what we can see the people waiting on line knew about this dinner and didn't mind the wait.
Our first visit was really exciting. The menu was a surprise, great dinners that included soup and dessert and the prices were, well...unreal.
My three course Turkey Dinner, my choice, was only $12.95 and came with a either a salad or a bowl of soup, I chose the Matzo Ball soup and it was the largest Matzo Ball I had ever seen...the size of a baseball, really.
For dessert we had a choice of their puddings which were really good or a ball of ice cream. Of course I opted to pay another $2 to upgrade to their chocolate pudding pie topped with a generous amount of fresh whip cream.
Now at any other restaurant in New Jersey or just about anywhere I would have paid double or more what I paid at the Broad Street Diner and I can tell you from experience it wouldn't have been as good. We were so excited after our first visit that we revisted the Diner a week later for lunch and I had a huge hamburger, sweat potato fries and my wife had a Greek Salad and half of both our lunches went home with us.
The Broad Street Diner is owned by Nick and Maria Kallas a young couple with a dream...for us the Broad Street Diner was our Dream Come True. Our new favorite eatery.
When you go there to dine be sure to tell them you read about them in the HazletNews.com
Visit Their website to see their complete menu.
83 Broad Street Diner
83 Broad St,
Keyport, NJ 07735
Phone: 732 497-0808
Dinner Size Sesame Chicken
Chicken Yudon Noodles
Lunch Size Sesame Chicken $5.95
Kickys Japanese Restaurant
>Kicky's has moved, please see updated photos and new address below.
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 love.
Their sesame chicken is by far my favorite dish. I don't think any other restaurant I have gone to, Chinese or Japanese, can do it as well. The large white meat chunks of chicken are coated in a batter then deep fried until the pieces are crispy. They are coated with a wonderful honey glaze and sprinkled with sesame seeds. This is the best Sesame Chicken the New Jersey...really.
We also like to order their Chicken Udon Noodles as our second main dinner dish. We share the Sesame Chicken and the Noodles for dinner. The portions are large enough to share .
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 friends who are sushi lovers and I understand they love the lunches.
For Lunch they have a $5.95 lunch special and some other great lunch choices. Even their lunch specials are a generous portion and we usually have to take half of our lunch home too. What a great way to avoid those fast food restaurants, the food and value is great at Kicky's.
Go in for lunch one day and try their Chicken Bento Box it is a big lunch. It comes with Sushi, Grilled Chicken, Salad and Soup...I get their Sesame Chicken of course with white rice and a salad for lunch.
They also offer discounts on take out orders...15% Off.
See their complete menu here
Kickys Pan Asian & Japanese Cuisine
1208 Route 34
Matawan, NJ 07747
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.
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.
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.
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: 732 497-7808
Click Here To Visit Their Website .
Monday - Thursday
4:00 PM -10:00 PM
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.
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.
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
2105 State Route 35
Holmdel, NJ 07733
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
Chicken 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.
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
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
27 Freneau Avenue Route 79
Matawan, NJ 07747
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
2136 State Route 35
Holmdel, NJ 07733
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.
See our complete review right here under our Restaurants heading or, just click here now .
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 or shrimp 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. They also offer a $9.99 dinner, but that is for their 6 Oz steak.
Note: We prefer Texas Roadhouse now for our steak dinners. Wednesday night they offer a great $9.99 dinner with an 8 Oz. Sirloin, large salad and side. You can't make this dinner at home for less.
Visit Outback corporate website : Sign up for specials and promotions
740 Route 35 South
Middletown, NJ 7748
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