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 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 chefs at Muscle Maker Grill put a healthy spin on flavorful dishes inspired by Italian, Asian, American, and southwestern cuisines. The chain was founded in 1995 by Rod Silva, a fitness enthusiast who grew weary of fast-food eateries that bogged customers down with unhealthy morsels and toys sculpted from butter. What began as a smoothie stand has expanded into a successful franchise that slings pastas, burgers, salads, and Tex-Mex–style wraps, and proudly displays the calorie content and relationship status of each dish on the menu.
It’s easy to find the party at Aventura Lounge & Grill—just follow the sparks that fly from the necks of bottle-service liquors or the beats pulsing from the DJ booth. Patrons can groove beneath the colorful lights that swirl on the dance floor or relax on a couch in a VIP lounge sectioned off by velvet ropes and a force field visible only to those wearing sunglasses. To fuel up for the night, order dinner from the barbecue-centric menu; apricot-brandy sauce glazes center-cut pork chops, and sides such as corn on the cob or baked sweet potatoes pair with hickory-smoked ribs.
The passionate chefs at Maria Mentiras Bar & Grill intensify the Spanish flavors in their steaks, seafood, and chicken with the kiss of an open flame. Exposed brick walls, subtle lighting, and a long, smooth bar table set an elegant scene for diners to start their meals with golden-fried pork cracklings or plantains topped with shredded steak and pork. The menu's smoked, barbecued, and seared entrees include everything from fried red snapper to grilled skirt steaks cooked to meet high school prom dress codes. Beef rib "lollipops" glazed with housemade barbecue sauce playfully spin Latin American cuisine, while the traditional Columbian bandeja paisa impresses palates with grilled steak, chorizo, and pork belly served alongside sweet plantains and fried eggs.