Like other Mediterranean cuisines, Portuguese fare incorporates aromatic doses of olive oil, garlic, onions, and wine. But unique to this cuisine is its intercontinental flair; you'll find rice from Asia, hot peppers from Africa, and cinnamon, cloves, and ginger from India, all influenced by the Portuguese colonies once spread across the globe. PortuCale Restaurant & Bar brings all this together in a festive and welcoming space. The seafood-heavy menu features six variations on shrimp, a lobster, clam, and scallop entree doused in the chef's secret hot sauce, and tilapia and salmon filets rubbed in zesty lemon sauces. Specialty meat dishes such as braised Portuguese steak topped with an egg and pork loins with mushrooms, clams, and Spanish potatoes add a robust, meaty element to the proceedings. And dishes like mac and cheese and chicken fingers keep kids from getting cranky and eating their homework.
The space is festive and distinctly Mediterranean?think dark-finished wood furnishings set against light exposed brick. Bartenders make pitchers of Sangria, stock wines from Portugal and Spain, and keep 20-year-old Porto wines on hand. They also sell fine cigars that guests can bring to the outdoor patio?itself a draw for its castle-like stone walls, waterfalls, and faux-moat?and take puffs from between sips of single-malt whisky and cognac from the bar.
"The Hamilton Inn on Jersey Avenue is a recently-opened restaurant near Hamilton Park and the Holland Tunnel in downtown Jersey City that has the feel of a country inn on a cold rainy night – a welcome oasis that as a bonus features a variety of great dishes emphasizing the best in American cuisine." Hudson Reporter
The smoke pit stays busy at Haledon BBQ and Tap House, where guests come to enjoy barbecue combos such as the pork spare rib and beef short rib platter. But the restaurant has a second specialty you might not guess: seafood. Smoked whole red fish emerges from the smoke pit next to the chicken and ribs, and chefs also prepare dinners of tilapia and Portuguese clams. Guests can enjoy their meals at tables or at a rustic bar where TVs play sports and bartenders pour draft beer and house-made sangria.
The chef at Zaika Barbeque & Grill pulls 14 years of experience out of his hat as he prepares traditional Pakistani dishes cooked- and spiced-to-order with halal ingredients. As he barbecues chicken, lamb, and beef, he locks spices and flavors into kebabs, whereas his tandoor oven slowly lets juicy chicken tikka stew and gather up as much flavor as it can. Waiters guide diners through the wide selection of entrees, which includes vegetarian curries and rice dishes. A petite menu of Pakistani desserts coddles sweet teeth after dinner, assuaging their ever-present, irrational fear of the tooth fairy.
The first decision to make at Nino's Coal Fired Pizza is an important one: to share, or not to share? The coal-fired pies come in an individual size or a larger 16-inch ideal for sharing. From there, the decision-making process becomes even more agonizing (in the good way), with creative specialty pies topped with everything from meatballs and cheesesteak to, yes, traditional cheese. Whole-wheat and gluten-free crusts are available, and certain pizzas are sold by the slice throughout the day. None of which is to say that Nino's is exclusively about pizza; the menu also includes homemade pasta dishes, steak and seafood entrees, and hot sandwiches.