Now that we are back home and settled, we've been able to enjoy some of the comforts of home including visiting our favorite local spots. Do you have a favorite local restaurant/bar that you can always rely on for good food and drinks? Here are our favorite local spots in the Monmouth County area. Sometimes it's nice to be back home.
Up first on our list is our favorite local bar right in town, Ader's Tavern. We first started to come to Ader's when we first moved in with my mother after we sold our house. After that first visit we loved the place. The hamburgers are delicious, the beers are cold and the bartenders are friendly. It helps that it's 3 blocks away from my house. Try coming on a Tuesday night when their burgers are 1/2 price! Can't beat that deal.
Far East Taste
This little hidden gem, located in Eatontown, NJ, serves some of the best Thai food I've had (including our travels in Thailand). We discovered this place accidentally, looking to order Chinese food, but we noticed that they also served Thai cuisine. Wanting to try something different I ordered pad thai and the rest is history. The best pad thai I've ever had, still to this day. One thing I noticed in Thailand is that it's hard to find pad thai (or any meal) without sugar added to it. I prefer my pad thai savory and not sweet. Also try the wonton soup made with homemade wontons.
Anyone that knows me knows I'm particular about my pizza. Having traveled to the pizza capital of the world, Naples, I still prefer my NY style pizza. Crispy crust, chewy bread, oozing cheese and thick sauce. When we first moved to New Jersey from Brooklyn, NY I thought I would have to go back to New York to get good pizza. I'll admit I've had some good pizza in New Jersey but none are better than Scala's located in West End, Long Branch. I actually don't mind the 20+ minute drive to get to Scala's because I know I'll be rewarded with a fresh and delicious square (Sicilian for all you non-New Yorkers). Laurie swears it's better than the pizza in New York; that'll never come out of my mouth but it sure is close.
When we visited Playa del Carmen we feasted on the best tacos we've ever had. Los Fabulosos served us tacos de arrachera (skirt steak) that blew our minds. We know we'll never get tacos that good stateside but that doesn't stop us from going to the next best thing: Acapulquenos located in Long Branch. We love the food there so much we actually hosted our engagement party there. The food is inexpensive (for the northeast United States) and it's delicious. The appetizers alone will fill you up especially the sopes (thick tortilla with meat, cheese and vegetable toppings). It's a BYOB so grab some of your favorite Mexican beer (ask them to make you a michelada) and head over for some of the best Mexican cuisine in New Jersey.
Have you ever been in the situation where you ask your significant other "What do you feel like eating?" and the response is "Whatever, you feel like". Then the next 30 minutes go by trying to figure out what the hell you're going to eat because nobody can make up their mind? Well that was our Friday or Saturday night every week. Where'd we usually end up? The Pour House. Located in Tinton Falls, NJ, The Pour House serves typical American cuisine with some original dishes mixed into the daily menu. Our favorite dishes? Prime Beef (Wednesday is prime beef night) and their burgers. With an always rotating seasonal selection of cold beers, The Pour House will always be one of our favorite local spots.
One of my favorite cuisines (maybe I'm bias), finding good Puerto Rican food is a challenge in our area. Luckily, we have LaLa's Puerto Rican food truck located in Old Bridge, NJ on Route 9 South. My waistline took a hit after we found this place but it's well worth it. Always with a few staples such as pernil (roasted pork), rice and beans and maduro, LaLa's like to change up their menu offering typical dishes such as alcapurrias, pasteles, etc. If you're in the mood for authentic Puerto Rican food, head to LaLa's. Always check them out on LaLa's Puerto Rican Kitchen first for their menu.
Having heard about Babur Garden through friends on Facebook we decided to give it a try. Our first time (and most of the time) it was pretty empty. We were second guessing going in but decided to give it a shot. What's the worst that can happen? The staff was super friendly, especially the waiter named Wally. Laurie and I both ordered kebabs which were served with Afghan rice. Let's just say we've been back plenty of times since that first meal. Another BYOB, it's fairly easy on the wallet.
Last but definitely not least is Maloney's. Again we discovered this quaint Irish bar when we moved in with my mother after selling our house. Wanting to go somewhere different we drove through Matawan, NJ and happened upon Maloney's. While it's usually common for Irish bars not to serve up good food, Maloney's is different. Serving up some of the best bar food (it's a disservice to call it bar food but it is an Irish bar) along with probably the largest beer selection I've ever seen in one restaurant, Maloney's is an excellent choice for lunch/dinner. It's not a place to guzzle beer, as many of the beers average $8-12 and are stronger than your average beer, but it's a place to bring some friends socialize over a fine ale or stout (or IPA if you're a hipster, joking!) and have a tasty meal.
While we enjoyed dining overseas there were always moments where we missed our favorite foods back home. We would get hungry and think "Wow, I could go for ________ " (whatever we were craving at the moment). Depending on where we were sometimes we'd be able to get a version of whatever we were craving but many times we couldn't or it would be a cheap knock-off and wasn't even worth spending the money to leave disappointed. Also, being able to go to a place and know exactly what you will order or see the same friendly bartender is always comforting. Sometimes it's nice to be back.
What's your favorite local place? Sound off on the comments below! Remember to sign up for our FREE newsletter with plenty of travel tips and fun stories.
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Traveler. Blogger. Amateur Photographer. "Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all." - Helen Keller.