Want to know a secret? Jersey City is a great dining destination.
Forever overshadowed by being so close to New York City, this town of a quarter of a million people has quietly been producing remarkable, off-the-radar restaurants. And it’s just across the Hudson River, literally one subway station away from the West Village. And yet, for many New Yorkers, it seems so far away. Their loss.
Jersey City is crammed with deliciousness. There’s a swath of newly pedestrianized streets that are flanked by bars and restaurants. There’s India Square, a section of the city that is mostly Indian restaurants. And there are a couple of Filipino enclaves. Not to mention arguably the best pizza around (sorry, Brooklyn). If that’s not enough to get you over the Hudson, the Paris art museum Centre Pompidou is opening a branch in Jersey City in 2023.
Here are our favorite restaurants in Jersey City.
Bread & Salt
This Jersey Heights spot calls itself a bakery, but let’s be clear: people don’t pack the place to walk out with a loaf of bread under their arm. What began as a place known for making some of the best pizza in North America has turned into a place that also serves superlative sandwiches too.
Bread and Salt’s post-pandemic hours are weird—at the time of publishing, they’re only open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday to Sunday—but the food here is excellent enough to schedule a feast that corresponds with their opening times.
The restaurant so nice they named it twice. Domodomo is an outpost of the original Greenwich Village restaurant. This high-quality, nicely priced sushi spot—the best in town, actually—is cheaper than the sibling eatery across the Hudson.
Come at lunch and you can get five hand rolls for just under three Hamiltons. Or spring for the cleverly named “Domokase,” in which the chef will give you whatever he feels like for $85 (at lunch or dinner). There are a number of hot and cold non-sushi menu items too.
Located around the corner from Hamilton Park, hence the name, Hamilton Pork is one of the best restaurants in Jersey City. This barbecue basilica slow-smokes brisket, pulled pork, lamb belly, pork belly, and beef ribs until the meat is practically melting off the bone. It also has an impressive line-up of tacos, burritos, nachos, and sandwiches.
Jersey City has a small number of great beer gardens and beer halls. Hudson Hall is one of the most ambient, serving up a menu of Central European fare that may take you back to that pre-pandemic trip to Prague, Munich, or Vienna.
There are about 20 beers on tap and several more by the bottle. When you need to put something more solid in your stomach to prolong the day or evening for more beer, Hudson Hall has a list of smoked meat and sausages, as well as the usual American pub grub like nachos, avocado toast, and burgers. Hudson Hall is strictly BYOL: Bring Your Own Lederhosen.
A good Bangladeshi restaurant is hard to find. At least in the New York area. But look no further than Korai Kitchen, one of the best restaurants in Jersey City. This kitchen serves up delicious Bangladeshi staples like various curries and a fall-off-the-bone goat korma that is, in and of itself, worth a trip to Jersey City for.
It’s unclear if they perform any witchcraft on the food here, but the long list of Mexican food at La Brujeria is good enough to assume they might. If you’re near La Brujeria in the morning, the restaurant serves breakfast burritos and pozole, the spicy soup that many Mexicans swear is a great hangover cure.
One of the best restaurants in Jersey City, this spot serves excellent tacos in the form of lamb birria, lengua, tender beef cheeks, and pork belly chicharron. Among the millions of other items on the menu, La Brujeria also does a Mexican version of poutine, dumping melted cheese, pico de gallo salsa, and your choice of meat over a mountain of French fries.
Last year, CNN.com published an article stating that the best Indian food in the United States could be found in Jersey City—specifically, on Newark Avenue. That might be a bit of click-bait hyperbole, but it is true that 1) Newark Avenue is lined with Indian restaurants, and 2) they are very good.
One of the best is Rasoi (810 Newark Ave.) which has been cooking up delicious northern Indian fare here since 1996. Get anything with lamb and you’ll be happy. And that’s no exaggeration.
In September 2017, New York Times restaurant critic Pete Wells penned a dazzling review of Razza and the headline accompanying the article read: “Is New York’s Best Pizza in New Jersey?” The answer was—and still is—a resounding yes.
Dan Richer is the pizzaiolo behind Razza, making Neapolitan-style pizzas that are good enough to pass muster in Naples. Everything here is good, but first-timers should gravitate their palates toward the guanciale or burrata pizzas to ensure edible bliss.
White Mana Diner
In 1939, Queens, New York hosted the World’s Fair. And at that event, a diner opened up called White Mana, serving up these things called “hamburgers.” Seven years later, the diner materialized in Jersey City and it’s been flipping fine cheeseburgers ever since. The prices are low, they only take cash, and the burgers are fantastic.
This mecca of all things tubular meat is not the worst bar in Jersey City. But it is the Würstbar. The menu is loaded with delicious beer hall staples: giant pretzels, Mexican corn dogs (filled with queso fresco), and burgers. And, of course, there are multiple variations on the theme of sausage, including currywurst, that unique Berlin street snack.
Würstbar has a massive selection of beers, both on tap and by the bottle, that is refreshingly not dominated by IPAs. And for those who prefer to pair wine with their tubular meat, the bar has four wines on tap.
Insider’s Tip: Traveling through Newark? Make sure to bookmark our guide on where to eat at Newark Airport!
David Farley is a West Village-based food and travel writer whose work appears regularly in the New York Times, National Geographic, BBC, and Food & Wine, among other publications. He’s the author of three books, including “An Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church’s Strangest Relic in Italy’s Oddest Town,” which was made into a documentary by the National Geographic Channel. You can find Farley’s online homes here and here.