Italian Restaurants in Princeton

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Using only the freshest local ingredients, Tre Bar prepares savory Italian and Mediterranean cuisine. A major voice in the local food movement in New Jersey, chef and owner Jim Weaver buys the fine seafood, produce, and meat from more than 100 regional farmers, fishermen, and noodle-mongers. Activate your appetite with one of Tre Bar's three bruschettas ($4+), dive fork-first into the State seafood panzanella salad ($12+, as seen on the Food Network) or pacify your palate with a plate of the homemade mozzarella, vine-ripened tomatoes, and roasted peppers drizzled with basil oil ($8+).

120 Rockingham Row
Princeton,
NJ
US

Golden splatters of magma embellish the eatery's fire-red walls and draw eyes to the back of the dining room, where a 10-foot-high volcano pulses with flames. Well, it's actually a custom oven, but it houses real hot lava rocks designed to cook up to 10 large Mediterranean-inspired pies in two minutes flat.

Chefs top dough made fresh daily with eclectic ingredients ranging from grilled eggplant and sun-dried tomatoes to smoked gouda and meatballs. Sharing space inside the specialty oven are vulcanas, similar to calzones and jam-packed with meats, veggies, and gooey cheese. Other fare includes certified Angus beef burgers and pitawiches, all aptly washed down with chilly fountain drinks sourced from Magma Pizza & Pita's sister restaurant, located inside of a real underground igloo.

445 Nassau Park Blvd
Princeton,
NJ
US

Look out the window of Zinna's Bistro and you'll spot a lush, vibrant garden from which the BYOB restaurant's chefs cull freshly grown produce to fuel their salads, pastas, and pizzas. An ample dinner menu showcases the Italian-American bistro's veggies: arugula, cherry tomatoes, and red onion make a bed for strips of succulent steak grown from the garden's steak trees. For a closer look at the flowering garden, patrons can sit outside on a patio while dining on ravioli stuffed with four cheeses or breaded chicken smothered in tomato sauce and mozzarella, all the while listening to live acoustic music on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

1275 S River Rd
Cranbury Township,
NJ
US

Chicken alfredo, shrimp scampi, eggplant parmesan. More than 30 housemade pasta dishes emerge from the kitchen every night at Piccolo Trattoria of Newtown. Chefs scatter pistachio nuts and goat cheese into fettuccine, smother penne with baby shrimp and pesto cream sauce, and cover fusilli with oyster and shiitake mushrooms.

Earlier in the day, however, these recipes take on a different form: they become pizzas. During lunch, chefs whip up more than 20 gourmet pies, crowning them with classic pasta ingredients alongside non-Italian flavors such as taco and cheesesteak fixings. Besides tossing noodles and flinging dough, the BYOB eatery's chefs cook salmon in a port wine reduction and sauté veal with figs and mushrooms in a cognac cream sauce.

800 Denow Rd
Pennington,
NJ
US

After successfully preparing 12 grilled quail for a prince, one commands a certain amount of respect in the culinary trade. This was, in fact, part of Alex Cormier’s daily duties as personal chef to prince Bandar bin Sultan of Saudi Arabia, a gig he held during the prince's visit to the United States. Perhaps even more impressive than his part-time brush with royalty, Cormier once stood at the helm of his own restaurant, Alex on South, where his reputation for artful, elegant French fare took off and his culinary star shone brighter than ever over the Atlantic seaboard.

After closing his restaurant and completing stints in various other four-star kitchens, Cormier journeyed to Rick's, which had already achieved local fame for its standout Italian fare. In his temporary role as executive chef, Cormier saw a reflection of himself in the restaurant’s base menu of Italian favorites, and it was not long before he took over in a permanent role. Today, he continues the tradition of fine Italian cuisine that has kept Rick’s on the map for more than a decade, occasionally drawing on his own experiences to pepper the menu with European and Asian influences or dazzle his fellow chefs with onion-ring volcanoes.

19 S Main St
Lambertville,
NJ
US

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.

41 Scotch Road
Ewing,
NJ
US