The touches of bright blue at Mikonos Restaurant—pendant lights, plaid tablecloths, and chairs—recall the blue and white shades that flourish on Greece's coast. Peppered with photography of the island it's named after, Mikonos strives to offer an authentic Greek experience. The chefs craft dishes based on family recipes passed down through generations, and they import much of their kitchen's stock from Greece—including feta, yogurt, Souroti sparkling mineral water, and the piping-hot flames for the saganaki flambé.
The menu ranges from traditional dishes such as spanakopita, moussaka, and lamb souvlaki to diner-style dishes such as omelets and a burger piled with bacon, Greek parmigiana cheese, and piquillo-smoked-paprika aioli. Since the spot opened in 2011, it's been noticed for its Greek flair. The New York Times praised the grilled octopus as "exceedingly fresh and tender—luscious, really—simply drizzled with olive oil and vinegar," and noted the "affable service at prices that are on the low side." All of this contributes to revelry at the eatery, the chatter of silverware punctuated by glasses of Hope Valley Wine clicking together.
Guido Barone simmered the first pot of pasta at Villa Rosa Ristorante nearly 30 years ago. Since then, three generations of his family have whipped up Italian dishes in the restaurant's kitchen, from classics like eggplant parmigiana to more contemporary selections such as truffle mac 'n' cheese. The family serves their pasta, risotto, and seafood specialties in an elegant dining room with exposed brick walls and a vivid mural of the Italian coast. Supplying patrons with entertainment as well as good food, the BYOB eatery hosts special events throughout the month, including live music performances, Tapas Tuesdays, and adventurous wild-game tastings.
As forks and knives descend on plates of refined American and Italian dishes, The Runway Restaurant and Bar's vast eastern window reveals airplanes touching down and taking off from Trenton-Mercer Airport. While diners watch the aerial ballet outside, chefs in the kitchen whip up mainstays such as sun-dried tomato ravioli, orange-basil mahi-mahi, and chicken cacciatore. In addition to the plane’s nightly shows, The Runway also hosts live entertainment such as local musicians and parties celebrating holidays ranging from Halloween and New Year’s Eve to the birthday of the Wright Brothers.
Catering to the fast-paced clientele that frequents Markers Restaurant from the surrounding financial district, the weekday-only eatery has developed three distinct levels of service to adapt to their customer’s varied tastes.
In the dining room, art-deco prints hang over upholstered booths where diners dig into elegant entrees such as pan-roasted mahi mahi or meatloaf in a wild-mushroom sauce. Meanwhile, Markers Express caters to on-the-go patrons with stylized takeout and delivery, including Jersey City–based Kobrick Coffee and an extensive salad bar.
Additionally, the staff offers full catering services that include deliveries of artfully arranged sandwiches and dessert trays, as well as set-up of salad, parfait, and breakfast bars. The waterfront restaurant also features outdoor seating, where patrons can enjoy views of Manhattan’s downtown skyline.
A white-clapboard Victorian house perched atop a grassy knoll and surrounded by a sprawling lawn and stately oaks, Paulie's Anna Rose Restaurant might be overlooked as the home of a well-to-do family. Yet, beneath the prim, painstakingly maintained exterior, a surprisingly lush history stretches back. More than 150 years old, the house served time as a stagecoach-frequented inn before transforming into a bustling, inconspicuous, Prohibition-era speakeasy. Today, owner Paulie Villareal and his wife, Colleen, take responsibility for its latest incarnation, which they named for Paulie, his mother, and Colleen’s mother, according to a glowing profile in the Times of Trenton.
As a young man, Paulie worked for his father at their family-owned diner, then followed his fascination with the gourmet arts to culinary school. Upon graduation, he fluttered through Atlantic City kitchens, honing his skills before landing in West Trenton at Paulie’s Anna Rose Restaurant. Now, this Italian giant has become a place of pilgrimage for his loyal Atlantic City diners.
Inside this culinary destination, a pair of cozy dining rooms houses a fireplace, gleaming woodwork, and framed paintings that help guests feel at home, but not so at home that they arrive to the table in their pajamas. Tucked up next to a white tablecloth, they dive into authentic dishes of chicken and veal blanketed in garlic white-wine sauces and cognac demi glazes. Their forks also sink into herb-encrusted salmon and angeloni fish or reel in tangles of pasta with classic, pink-vodka blush and marinara sauces. On summer days, diners lounge on a patio as they complete these feasts with one of Colleen’s desserts, such as her jaw-dropping banana cream pie, and on chillier evenings, they can warm their insides with wine and other libations at the full bar, instead of eating a log and then swallowing a match.