Every year we’re so excited to check out new restaurants and shops that have popped up in South Jersey, and return to the ones that have staying power because they’re so great at what they do. But the very best part of the annual Best of SJ? Sharing the list with you.

  • Best Use of SJ-Grown Grapes

    Amalthea Cellars

    amaltheacellars.com

    It’s easy to forget that South Jersey’s thriving wine region has only existed since the 1980s. So pause…and consider that so many nationally recognized wines are made from SJ grapes – including Amalthea Cellars 2017 Legends Edition Europa III. Now that’s worth toasting.

  • Best Beer for Smoothie Lovers

    Flying Fish Brewing Co.

    flyingfish.com

    On a steaming summer day it can be hard to choose between an icy smoothie or thirst-quenching beer. But you don’t have to when you go for Flying Fish’s Mango Smoothie, a summer craft wheat ale brewed with tropical fruit, mango and passion fruit.

  • Best Old World Tastes

    Tre Famiglia

    trefamiglia.com

    Meals at Tre Famiglia are made fresh using the same old-world recipes that have been passed on through the Cipollone family for nearly 120 years. So the homemade gnocchi (our Tre Famiglia fav) is basically the same plate your great grandparents may have ordered in 1903!

  • Best Bundtini

    Nothing Bundt Cakes

    nothingbundtcakes.com

    Bundtinis make all occasions joyful, so really anytime you have them is happy hour. The bite-sized cakes from the Cherry Hill bundtery come in a variety of delicious flavors, including red velvet, blueberry bliss and white chocolate raspberry.

  • Best Fitness Classes for EveryBODY

    KATZ JCC

    katzjcc.org

    Katz JCC has classes running most days from before the sun rises to after sunset, ranging from gentle yoga and Tai Chi to Zumba and fitness bootcamps. If classes aren’t your thing, try one of the Peloton bikes or Hydrow Rowers in the new TechFit Studio.

  • Best Chocolate-Covered Pretzels

    Classic Cake

    classiccake.com

    This pretty platter of crunchy knots comes coated with white, dark and milk chocolate and then dipped in candy, including mini M&M’s, peanut-butter pieces and jimmies, for extra crunch and deliciousness.

  • Best Bar Menu

    Carlucci’s Waterfront

    carlucciswaterfront.com

     

    Situated on the banks of the Rancocas Creek, Carlucci’s is the picture-perfect setting for an afternoon get-together. Happy hour drink deals on Mondays through Thursdays and apps like flat breads and fried calamari keep us coming back.

  • Best Catering for a Cause

    CK Catering

    cathedralkitchen.org

     

    Cathedral Kitchen is back in business serving hot restaurant-style meals to anyone who needs one. To help raise money for that service, CK Catering now has pop-up cafes once a week, where you can get a take-out meal that feeds a family of 4. Meals and pick-up locations (at various places throughout SJ) change every week, and you must order online in advance.

  • Best Shrimp Burger

    Chickie’s and Pete’s

    chickiesandpetes.com

    The bangin’ shrimp burger brings together 2 great tastes: handcrafted chopped meat and crispy fried shrimp. The only way this could get better is by ordering a side of Chickie’s and Pete’s famous crab fries.

  • Best Wings, Ears and Tails

    Pic-A-Lilli Inn

    picalilli.com

     

    Everyone knows to get the wings from this Shamong institution, but the Pic’s ears and tails have the same big flavor. The hardest decision is which flavors to order: garlic parm, hot and honey or all the above?

  • Best Classic Pies

    Pizza Amore

    pizzaamoredelran.com

    Head to Pizza Amore in Delran for a pizza turnover, stromboli or calzone and you won’t go wrong. As for us, we’ll be having their classic thin-crust pies. They’re made with fresh ingredients, come with nearly any topping under the sun and are simply deliziosa.

  • Best Venue for Dancing Your Wedding Night Away

    The Mansion’s newly refreshed indoor spaces include a luxury dance floor with spectacular crystal lighting overhead. With elegant touches throughout, the Voorhees venue is ideal for celebrating your special day.

  • Best Ballroom For a Dramatic Entrance

    Collingswood Grand Ballroom

    collingswoodballroom.com

     

    All eyes will be on you as you and your new spouse are introduced for the first time and descend from the elegant balcony of the 1920’s era ballroom. It’s pretty dramatic, so practice your wave.

  • Best Bettys

    The Pop Shop

    thepopshopusa.com

     

    Bettys are The Pop Shop’s pancakes, inspired by the original Betty Crocker recipe. They come with everything from oreo crumbs and cookie dough to a taco betty stuffed with scrambled eggs, sausage and cheddar cheese.

  • Best Plates for Sharing

    Hearthside

    hearthsidebyob.com

     

    It’s still hard to get a reservation for this cozy Collingswood BYOB, but well worth the effort. The menu is divided into small, medium and large platters, so order for the table and try as many of these innovative dishes as possible.

  • Best Garden Parties

    Chartwell Gardens

    chartwellgardens.com

     

    A garden party can mean anything from the queen’s tea at high noon, a poolside karaoke party to a tented wedding ceremony. Chartwell’s fragrant and beautiful gardens are versatile enough to pull off any version of a garden party you can dream up.

  • Best Sizzlin’ Fajitas

    The Tortilla Press

    thetortillapress.com

    These fajitas smell so good (taste even better) and sizzle like those trick candles on birthday cakes. But this is the real deal!

  • Best Dry-Aged Steak

    The Capital Grille

    thecapitalgrille.com

     

     

    Each cut of steak – New York strip, ribeye and filet mignon – is dry aged in house for 18 to 24 days for ultimate flavor then hand-cut by a butcher for your order. Paired with The Capital Grille’s amazing sides and award- winning wine, it’s perfection.

  • Best Bridal Jewelry

    Family & Co Jewelers

    familyjewelers.com

     

    After finding the dress for your wedding, the next step is working with the experts at Family Jewelers to pick the perfect wedding bands, not to mention a necklace, earrings and bracelet to complete your picture-perfect bridal look.

  • Best Spot for Stunning Wedding Pics

    Camden County Boathouse

    camdencountyboathouse.com

     

    The elegant interior is shaped by vaulted ceilings and reclaimed beams with unique metal and crystal chandeliers for some added elegance. Outside, the wrap-around porch is the best place along the Cooper River to catch the stunning sunset and views of the Philly skyline. Pick your spot and snap your pic.

  • Best Drive-Thru Pizza

    Joe’s Pizzeria & Bistro

    joesbrickovenpizzeria.com

     

    Joe’s in Marlton may be the only pizzeria in SJ with a drive-thru window to pick up your piping hot pizza without leaving your car. That and the great selection of hand-tossed plain and white pizzas, quesadillas and sandwiches are a great reason to drive thru.

  • Best Garden-Growing Help

    You want to grow a garden, but you don’t have the time and expertise to build sturdy, raised garden beds to keep out pesky animals (and make your backyard oh so pretty). Have a quick meeting with Alex and Brian from Backyard Gardens and let them build your beds exactly the way you want. Then get growing.

  • Best Vegan Version of Pork Roll

    The Gentle Giant Café

    thegentlegiantcafe.com

     

    The debate over whether to call New Jersey’s most disputed sandwich – Taylor Ham or Pork Roll – is a non issue at this vegan café in Pitman. The Gentle Giant’s version is simply called a Jersey V-Roll. We call it delicious.

  • Best Light Lager

    Iron Hill Brewery

    ironhillbrewery.com

    Iron Hill’s light lager is the kind of beer your grandparents might have enjoyed at the end of a long, hot day. Brewed to give a crisp, refreshing taste, the lager goes down easy but has very subtle malt and hop flavors. It’s a great one for the beach, or poolside and anywhere else after your long, hot day.

  • Best Plant-based Pies

    Pizzeria Halt

    pizzeriahaltch.com

     

    This new pizzeria is proudly a “100% animal-products free kitchen” where you can order a BBQ chicken or Philly cheesesteak pizza and there’s no question whether the chicken, steak or cheese is vegan. It is. Pizzeria Halt was started for fellow health-conscious pizza lovers by a pizza lover who happens to be lactose intolerant.

  • Best Place to Eat Like Real Italians Do

    ITA101

    ita101.com

     

    Inspired by his Italian nonna, Chef Kevin Maher mastered the art of pasta and risotto working in restaurants in Italy – including 2 with Michelin stars – for 14 years before returning to South Jersey. The Medford BYOB’s limited menu is always changing, depending on what’s fresh and in season.

  • Best Way to Buy Bulk

    The Refill Market

    therefillmarketnj.com

     

    You bring your bags to grocery stores already, so taking containers to a market is not a stretch. With a focus on natural ingredients, minimal packaging and small suppliers, The Refill Market is an ideal way to go greener.

  • Best Signature Martini

    The ChopHouse

    thechophouse.us

     

    The ChopHouse martini is simple and fresh – pineapple-infused vodka is chilled and garnished with fresh-cut pineapple. It pairs perfectly with their expertly cut steak and, well, everything else.

  • Best Coffee with Attitude

    Royal Mile Coffee Roasters

    royalmilecoffee.com

     

    Dallas Still Sucks is a dark roast. Gritty Jawn is a medium roast while the 7th Inning Jawn is more mellow java. Besides the great names, Royal Mile, with locations in Collingswood and Cherry Hill, has great coffee.

  • Best Meals from a Big Container

    Camden Lunchbox

    camdenlunchbox.com

     

    Camden Lunchbox is a shipping container food kiosk outside of Camden’s City Hall that offers a casual 5 S menu: sandwiches, salads, soups, sides and smoothies. Any one of the 5 S’s are worth waiting in line for during the lunchtime rush.

  • Best Pre-Theater Meal and After Show Nightcap

    Martini’s On Broadway

    martinisonbroadway.com

     

    Attached to the Broadway Theatre of Pitman, Martini’s offers a small plate sharing menu perfect for pre-show dinner. Then come back after the last encore for the Curtain Call, a vodka drink made with amaretto, pineapple juice and a splash of cranberry.

  • Best Tea to Quench Your Spiritual Thirst

    Boukakuan Tea House and Garden

    njgreentea.com

     

    The Japanese tea ceremony cannot be rushed. You will satisfy both a physical and spiritual thirst at this unique tea house in Columbus that follows Zen Buddhism rituals dating back to the 15th Century.

  • Best of All Worlds Takeout

    Foodie Hall

    foodiehall.com

    When every one of your hangry crew wants something different for dinner, FoodieHall saves the day with 10 restaurants all on the same meal ticket. From tacos to Asian noodles, craft burgers to chicken sandwiches, there’s something for everyone at this new take-out/delivery joint.

  • Best Old Fashioned

    Striped Lion Distilling

    stripedlionrum.com

     

    The menu for this small-batch craft rum distillery in Woodbury features 10 standing cocktails plus seasonal specials. The Old Fashioned, made with aromatic bitters and simple syrup, is as classic as they come.

  • Best Tasting Menu

    Two Fish BYOB

    twofishbyob.com

    Medford Lakes’ most seafood-centric restaurant offers a 7-course tasting menu for parties of 4-6 Thursdays through Saturdays. What you’ll be tasting will depend upon what local and sustainably-sourced ingredients are at their peak of deliciousness that day.

  • Best Flower-Powered Food

    Park Place Cafe & Restaurant

    parkplacecafeandrestaurant.com

    When chef/owner Philip Manganaro is not in the kitchen, he may be in the Pinelands foraging for flowers and herbs to power his constantly evolving menu. Guests make an “appointment” at this popular BYOB, and enjoy a tasting menu that changes according to what’s fresh at the moment.

  • Best Cold Foam Coffee

    Brown Dog Cafe

    browndogcafe.net

    Sure, you’ve had lattes and cappuccinos topped with hot foam. Now try Brown Dog’s cold foam on your cold brews and iced lattes. The 5 cold foam flavors include plain, sea salt caramel, vanilla, mocha and beehive – a house-made syrup crafted with brown sugar, honey, and cinnamon. You just might be buzzing for joy.

  • Best Killer Waves Far From The Ocean

    Clementon Park & Splash World

    clementonpark.com

     

    On days when you want a quick beach fix but a shore trip is not in the cards, head to Clementon and put down your towel next to Splash World’s Big Wave Bay. You can body surf and dive in the waves or lay out and chill to the relaxing sounds of the (not really) sea.

  • Best New Age Surf & Turf

    By Land or Sea Xtream Cuisine

    facebook.com/By-Land-or-Sea-Xtream-Cuisine

     

    A self-described new age BBQ & seafood restaurant, this spot in Glassboro truly offers a menu of extremes. Order fresh Baltimore crabs and Maine lobster tail or try the BBQ menu, including Southern style BBQ ribs, smothered pork chops with collard greens and candied yams.

  • Best Meal Delivery Service

    Grubr

    grubreats.com

     

    Weekly meal delivery services of fresh food you simply heat up are all the rage. But none come close in quality and taste to Medford’s Grubr. But since you’re local, stop in for grab-and-go meals, including wild boar bolognese and lemon-caper chicken breasts.

  • Best New Take on Hot Chocolate

    The Candy Jar by 1892

    thecandyjarby1892.com

     

    The Candy Jar’s Hot Chocolates bombs look like bite-sized chocolates – but these hollow chocolate balls with marshmallows in the middle become so much more when you mix with steamed milk. Simply place one in a mug, slowly pour in the milk and stir. Voila, you have a delicious hot drink.

  • Best Laser Tag for Serious Gamers

    Fireball Mountain

    fireballmtn.ourers.com

     

    Give your gamers a great reason to get off the couch. Fireball Mountain in Wrightstown is the place to play laser tag games set up like popular video games, including Call of Duty, Battlefield and Fortnite.

  • Best Macarons – or is that Art?

    DiBartolo Bakery

    dibartolobakery.com

     

    DiBartolo’s Ispahan is an almond macaron shell painted with rose cream icing, filled with a lychee fruit confit and garnished with fresh raspberry and a freezer-dried rose petal. It may look too good to eat, but it’s actually too good to not eat.

  • Best Kids Menu

    Silver Diner

    silverdiner.com

     

    The Silver Diner’s health-conscious menu has been kid approved. It’s been food tested by kids with input from their parents. So go ahead and order the gluten-free quinoa coconut pancakes for your picky eaters. Just tell them it’s “pancakes.”

  • Best Use of Peanut Oil

    Best Use of Peanut Oil Five Guys

    fiveguys.com

    The (not so) secret to the great taste of Five Guys burgers and fries is peanut oil. Both the hand-formed patties and fresh-cut potatoes are grilled in pure peanut oil. It sounds so simple – maybe it’s the simplicity that keeps the burgers consistently good.

  • Best Ice Cream Cocktails

    Splitz Bar & Grill

    laurellanesnj.com

     

    We can’t say for certain if ice cream cocktails will improve your chances of avoiding splits while bowling, but you’ll care less when your strawberry shortcake ice cream drink with amaretto and vanilla vodka is delivered to your lane at the Mt. Laurel-based bowling and entertainment center.

  • Best Way to Raise Vegetable Eaters

    Johnson’s Corner Farm

    johnsonsfarm.com

     

    Want your toddler to love vegetables? Have them pick their own produce. Better yet, enroll them in Johnson’s little farmer classes where they’ll learn about farming, play in the Discovery Barnyard and visit the Medford farm’s animals.

  • Best Challah French Toast (Again!)

    Sabrina’s Café

    sabrinascafe.com

    The signature thick-cut challah French toast is simply irresistible, and that’s why it has made this list for the second year in a row. Stuffed with cream cheese and laden with bananas, strawberries and vanilla bean syrup, this is truly the breakfast food you crave anytime of the day.

  • Best Brisket Cheesesteak

    Henri’s Hotts

    bestbbqsj.com

     

    The brisket meat has already been slow-cooked for 19 hours before the burnt ends are repurposed for this hoagie, sautéed with onions and then topped with melted American cheese and served on a brie roll. Warning, portions are huge and the sides are amazing too.

  • Best Makeup Lessons

    Rizzieri Salon & Spa

    rizzieri.com

     

    Rizzieri makeup artists help you put your best face forward. They’ll even teach you the tips of the trade so you can do your own makeup and look absolutely fabulous.

  • Best Way to Sing Along to your Favorite Songs

    Songbird Karaoke

    songbirdkaraoke.com

     

    Everyone can be a diva at Songbird. In addition to 37,000+ songs in English, almost 18,000 in Spanish and 2,000 in Hindi, the Collingswood Karaoke joint provides tambourines and light dimmers for ambiance in your private rooms. So sing your heart out.

  • Best Place to Find the Like- New Dress of Your Dreams

    Pure Couture

    purecouturehaddonfield.com

     

    You can find current high fashion, vintage and one-of-a-kind outfits at this Haddonfield consignment shop. But inventory changes daily so start browsing Pure Couture’s Instagram or, better yet, stop in to the shop often, because you just might find the like-new dress of your dreams.

  • Best Spaces for Any Event, Anytime

    The Madison

    themadison.net

    The Madison in Riverside has always changed with the times. Now, in addition to the more than century-old friendly pub, The Madison offers 4 very different and unique spaces to celebrate joyful occasions. The Madison Room is ideal for larger affairs while the elegant cafe has your mid-sized events covered. The dramatic and versatile courtyard is ideal for weddings while the wine cellar has the perfect vibe for more intimate parties.

July 2022
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