Food may be very different in 2021 as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, but one thing has remained the same: New Jersey restaurants continue to gain national recognition.
Yelp recently released its 100 Best Places to Eat in 2021, and three of the restaurants are in Garden State. The Pasta Shop in Denville, Kim’s Sushi in West Orange and Fresh Tiki Bar in Somerville made the cut.
The Pasta Shop, which ranked 19th, has been open for only a few years, but has already grown into one of the most popular contemporary Italian restaurants in the state. Its modern minimalist but rustic dining room with unstained wood tables, an open stainless steel kitchen, and subway tile walls was routinely packaged before the pandemic. Long waits are normal as people queue for their pasta dishes like rigatoni alla vodka and pappardelle bolognese and classics like chicken parm.
Kim’s Sushi is far from the fanciest sushi restaurant you’ll find in NJ, but don’t be fooled by the unassuming interior, you won’t find many better sushi places than this one, especially for their prices. Basic rolls? They have them. Fancy it, over the top pieces of sushi? I have them too. It won’t break the bank for either of you, and you’ll likely get a free roll sent your way through the kitchen. They came in at # 45 on the list for good reason.
Fresh Tiki Bar in Somerville completed New Jersey representation at No. 63. While it may look like a bar, it is actually an ice cream parlor with other healthier desserts. With smoothies, açai bowls, candy, chocolate, hot chocolate bonbons, and ice cream, among other desserts and treats, Fresh Tiki Bar is as Instagram-worthy as it is delicious.
“Last December, we asked the Yelpers to tell us about their favorite restaurants, places to go for lunch, and places for special occasions they can’t wait to return to,” Yelp wrote in the ad. “This year’s list is the culmination of thousands of suggestions we received from the Yelp community, a list of favorite restaurants where we can’t wait to enjoy a meal with our loved ones again.”
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Jeremy Schneider can be reached at [email protected]. Tell us your coronavirus story or send a tip here.