Fine Italian Cuisine | Handmade Pasta | Raw Bar | Colossal Wine List | Award-Winning Restaurateur
The Chef: Wisconsin native Michael White has built his career on crafting authentic and innovative Italian cuisine. The eateries in his Altamarea Group have received heaps of praise, including the title of Best New Restaurant from GQ magazine and the James Beard Foundation.
While You're Waiting: Settle by the circular bar near Due Mari's front entrance for a pour from its 15-page list of wines and spirits.
What's in a Name? In Italian, due mari translates to "two seas." It's an apt moniker for Chef White's eatery, which specializes in Italian seafood such as local swordfish and daily selections of oysters.
While You're in the Neighborhood
Before: Trace earth's geological journey with minerals, fossils, and specimens at Rutgers Geology Museum (85 Somerset Street).
After: Yuk it up with emerging and veteran jokesters at Stress Factory Comedy Club (90 Church Street).
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: Sample more of Chef White's Italian cuisine at his other New Jersey eatery, Osteria Morini (107 Morristown Road, Bernardsville).
Blue Water Seafood Company’s expansive menu satisfies the deepest desires of seafaring appetites. Appetizers such as oysters on the half shell ($16/dozen) launch the stomach on a seafaring journey, continued by jumbo lump crab cakes ($17 lunch; $23 dinner) and fried clam strips ($15 lunch; $18 dinner). Blue Water's live Maine lobster ($26/lb., dinner only) is steamed and served with roasted potatoes and fresh vegetables upon order, bringing forth celestial flavors from the abyssopelagic depths. The maritime menu is bordered by an assortment of terra firma tasties including lemon chicken with artichoke hearts and crispy garlic ($14 lunch; $18 dinner) and New Zealand lamb chops ($35, dinner only).
Arched doorways and rustic wood carvings envelop diners at Portuguese Manor in Old-World atmosphere. To further the feeling, chefs cook flavorful Portuguese dishes, such as pork chops cooked with garlic, bay leaves, and wine; and shrimp sautéed in a homemade garlic sauce. Soft music provides a soundtrack as guests sample appetizers such as stuffed mushrooms and mussels doused in hot sauce.
When it comes to Italian food, the culinary team at Cafe 34 Bistro draws equally from tradition and its own creativity. From seasoning housemade gnocchi with ground beef to tossing fettuccine with bacon-wrapped scallions and creamy wild-mushroom sauce, the cooks prove they have classic Italian flavors mastered. On the flip side, they lend fried calamari an extra zest by tossing the rings in mandarin-orange sauce. Cafe 34's culinary wizards likewise expand the flavorful potential of the burger by crowning beef patties with Cajun seasoning and mango-crabmeat salsa.
An extensive selection of wine by the glass and bottle, as well as cocktails, such as chocolate martinis, complements Cafe 34's edibles. Meals, in turn, complement the cafe's entertainment lineup, which bounces between flat-screen TVs showing the night's biggest games and live music performed three nights a week.
Cuisine Type: Seafood, Fish and Chips
Reservations: Not offered
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Number of Tables: 5–10
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Fish and Chips
Delivery / Take-out Available: Yes
Outdoor Seating: Yes
What made you want to work with food? When did you first develop that passion?
I've been in the restaurant business since 1985, and I'm a culinary graduate. I love to cook and create flavorful dishes, and I feel this shows in my diverse menu.
Is there anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
Even though we are known for our fish and chips, I also create daily specials for the health conscious, including a fresh grilled fish-of-the-day. Other popular items include fish tacos, the Fat Fish Sandwich, and New England seafood chowder.
Décor can say a lot about the type of food a restaurant serves. How does your décor inform or reflect your culinary practice?
Our dining area is cozy and comfortable with a nautical décor.
In your own words, how would you describe your menu?
A wide array of fresh seafood, including sandwiches, fish and chips, soups, grilled daily specials, and salads. Every menu item is made from scratch, and we only use fresh-cut potatoes.