This list is close to my Italian-American heart. Half of my great-grandparents emigrated from Southern Italy (Avellino and Calabria) in the 1890s, passing through Ellis Island and settling in New Jersey via the Pittston, PA coal mines. Authentic Italian for me is red sauce and pasta Italian, not white sauce and risotto.
My favorite dishes growing up: lasagna, braciole and mussels in spicy tomato sauce. Now I appreciate bistecca alla fiorentina, osso bucco and ricotta gnocchi.
In an authentic New Jersey Italian restaurant, somebody should be speaking Italian, at least one of the waiters or bartenders should be over 60, and a few of the customers should be dead-on Sopranos casting-call types.
Don’t see your favorite Italian? Share yours. I’ll add the most popular to the list, and to the map. Looking for New Jersey’s best pizza?
Best Italian Food in New Jersey
Where to Find the Best Italian Food?