The Definitive List of the Most Romantic Restaurants in New Jersey for Every Occasion

Jersey's date-night offerings include everything from seafood restaurants by the shore to cityscape establishments that shine.
The Highlawn dining room
Photo: The Highlawn
Beth Ann Mayer - The Knot Contributor.
Beth Ann Mayer
Beth Ann Mayer - The Knot Contributor.
Beth Ann Mayer
The Knot Contributor
  • Beth Ann writes articles for The Knot Worldwide, including venues, honeymoons and planning advice.
  • Beth Ann is a lifestyle freelance writer, with bylines on and
  • Prior to freelancing, Beth Ann was a writer and editor for Long Island Pulse Magazine.
Updated Oct 30, 2023
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New Jersey's proximity to New York City doesn't do it any favors. The foodie haven known to house the best restaurants in the world casts a large shadow over its neighbors to the south. But the most romantic restaurants in NJ are worth a date night, lest you find yourself with a heaping helping of FOMO. (Why do you think Garden State legend Bruce Springsteen made the boss move to return to the place he frequently sang about running from? And why does another of the state's favorite sons, Jon Bon Jovi, croon, "Who says you can't go home?")

The easy access to the Atlantic and the views may have something to do with it, but the food likely played a role too. The Garden State offers seafood by the shore and some of the best Italian food on this side of the pond. To be clear, some of New Jersey's best date-night eateries certainly play into the state's surroundings. For instance, there's no shortage of romantic restaurants in NJ with a view of the city skyline. But the food and ambiance will make couples happy they're on the Jersey side of the river. Ready to dig in? These 24 spots make for some of the most romantic restaurants in NJ.

The Knot's Top Picks for Romantic Restaurants in New Jersey

The Highlawn kitchen
Photo: The Highlawn

New Jersey is a small—but densely populated—state with many settings and cuisines. You'll find expansive fine-dining restaurants and cozy spots for standing date nights. The bountiful number of romantic restaurants in NJ by the water? They reel in out-of-staters and keep them coming back for more.

The Most Romantic Restaurant in NJ: The Highlawn

Favorite Date Night Restaurant in NJ: The Frog and The Peach

Best Romantic Restaurant by the Water in NJ: Rooney's Oceanfront Restaurant

Romantic NJ Restaurant with the Best View: The Chart House

Cozy Valentine's Day Restaurant in NJ: Grain House Restaurant

Read on for our complete list of the 24 most romantic restaurants in NJ by region.

| North Jersey | Central Jersey | Jersey Shore | South Jersey |

North Jersey Romantic Restaurants

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, Edgewater
Photo: Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar

Much of the traffic in North Jersey heads into the city and back—the region is dotted with commuter towns inhabited by folks with Manhattan offices. But when the dinner bell rings, locals stay put to dine at restaurants with city vistas and the Hudson River in the foreground. Plus, bucolic garden settings offer a respite from the hustle and bustle of NYC.

The Highlawn, West Orange

The Highlawn food on a table
Photo: The Highlawn

This high-end West Orange restaurant in a restored-from-ruin 1900s building sits atop a cliff in Eagle Rock Reservation. The Highlawn's lofty vantage point gives diners the opportunity to take in dazzling New York City skyline views while they devour equally stunning New American cuisine. The Grill Room's praised steaks and raw bar with oysters are a surf 'n turf dream. An outdoor bar is perfect for al fresco aperitifs or extending the night when the weather is right.

1 Crest Dr, West Orange, NJ 07052

Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar, Edgewater

Situated smack-dab between the Lincoln Tunnel and the George Washington Bridge, Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar serves otherworldly seafood and steaks in a sleek white-tablecloth dining room. It's considered one of the most romantic restaurants in Edgewater, NJ, and a worthy choice for a proposal or anniversary dinner. Dim lighting and posh cushioned booths provide the fixings for a luxurious night out. One glance at the ample wine list and a bite of the juicy steaks will have pairs justifying the gridlock traffic it took to get there.

90 The Promenade, Edgewater, NJ 07020

Amanda's, Hoboken

Amanda's dining room
Photo: Amanda's

Set in a circa-1895 brownstone in the hip and happening Hoboken neighborhood, Amanda's has the warmth of being a decades-old family-owned establishment—a nice change for couples who primarily dine out on the other side of the Hudson. But it has an elegance you'd expect from a dining destination, courtesy of soft hues, tasteful art and a white-tablecloth dining room. The expansive eatery recently introduced a wine bar menu with suggested dish pairings, adding the experiential dining touch people crave these days. Brunch and early-bird dinner are served for couples who prefer to turn in early.

908 Washington St A, Hoboken, NJ 07030

The Chart House, Weehawken

The Jersey Shore is noted for its waterfront restaurants. But The Chart House offers water vistas a stone's throw away from the city. The seafood spot's large wall-to-wall windows give way to next-to-none views of Lincoln Harbor and the city skyline, including the iconic Empire State Building. Picture yourself popping the question or saying, "Cheers after all these years" on an anniversary date with a backdrop like that. The fish is fresh, the steaks are juicy and the hot lava cake is worth saving room for.

1700 Harbor Blvd, Weehawken, NJ 07086

Cafe Matisse

Cafe Matisse's BYOB menu allows couples to bring a special sipper—ideal for uncorking a vino you promised to open on a specific anniversary, something that's aged as finely as your romance. A back patio garden room with Victorian-inspired decor like candle-lit chandeliers offers a charming serenity that feels miles away from the nearby city and MetLife Stadium. A four-course tasting menu changes with the seasons, allowing for new date-night culinary adventures throughout the year. During cooler months, savory-yet-spicy meatballs and vanilla-scented cheesecake topped with apples just sound cozy.

167 Park Ave, Rutherford, NJ 07070

Battello, Jersey City

Industrial-chic exposed beams combined with white linens make Battello a unique backdrop for a date night. Speaking of scenic touches, the Hudson River and Manhattan views sure do provide another one from the outside. Battello leans into its nautical surroundings, pairing marina decor (like a rowboat above the entrance) with a seafood-focused menu with Italian influences. Think a bright Mediterranean branzino or a hearty ravioli made with Maine lobster. Brunch dates on Saturdays and Sundays are also options.

502 Washington Blvd, Jersey City, NJ 07310

Bernards Inn, Bernardsville

Though the main bar is undergoing a facelift, lunch and dinner are still available at Bernards Inn Restaurant. Unlike other options on this list, Bernards Inn provides a more idyllic setting that plays into its Bernardsville surroundings and location within a quaint inn. Elegant drapes, hanging greenery and chandeliers with understated glamor add to the charm. An award-winning wine list includes celebratory options like Champagne and prosecco, ideal for couples toasting to an engagement or a big anniversary.

27 Minebrook Rd, Bernardsville, NJ 07924

Central Jersey Romantic Restaurants

Undici patio
Photo: Undici

Joke about the non-existence of Central Jersey all you want. It's a real place with food to write home about. And, in some cases, restaurants that serve ample portions, meaning you'll have food to take home with you. We'd call that a win-win.

The Frog and The Peach, New Brunswick

The Frog and The Peach dining room
The Frog and The Peach

Set in the emerging New Brunswick area, the garden room at The Frog and The Peach has lush greenery and white tablecloths at every turn, and is a coveted spot for couples on Friday and Saturday nights. The Frog and The Peach was farm-to-table before it was cool, and it remains an industry standard bearer. The menu highlights local purveyors. A truffle tasting elevates any date night, and wine dinners offer a chance to sip, savor and learn about different regions and pairings.

29 Dennis St, New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Grain House Restaurant, Basking Ridge

Located in the charming boutique hotel Olde Mill Inn, Grain House Restaurant's fireplace, area rugs and warm lighting give it a cozy ambiance. The original ceiling beams from the 18th century offer up a throwback elegance, while the linen-free tablecloths invite couples to make themselves feel right at home. Creative twists on comfort classics are often the order of the day—think ribeye spring rolls and turkey burgers with cranberry relish. Happy hour is a happening affair in the pub—ditto for weekend brunches.

225 Morristown Rd, Basking Ridge, NJ 07920

Osteria Cucina Rustica, Marlboro

This lively spot many pass on their way to the Jersey Shore is worth a stop. Osteria Cucina Rustica is a destination all its own for next-level Italian—and those words aren't said about just any old restaurant in a state that takes pride in knowing all about good Italian food. Wooden tables and a brick patio lend a rustic appeal, while the straightforward menu leans into flavor and familiarity. Think paccheri in a slow-braised Bolognese ragu and a no-fuss, all-flavor spaghetti with fresh tomato and basil.

91 S Main St, Marlboro, NJ 07746

La Cipollina, Freehold

Another celebrated Italian eatery in "the 732," La Cipollina's brick walls, tall interior columns, white tablecloths and tuxedo-clad staff give it an old world ambiance. BYOB gives couples more control over what they pair with La Cipollina's menu of traditional Italian offerings, which are known for getting proverbial standing ovations from taste buds. Berkshire pork osso buco with whipped potatoes and a flourless chocolate torte are among the menu items that consistently knock it out of the park.

16 W Main St A, Freehold, NJ 07728

Whispers, Spring Lake

A Victorian-inspired, white-linen spot with a BYOB policy, Whispers Restaurant is tucked away in the Hewitt Wellington Hotel, making it a perfect option for staycation couples. The intimate space is quiet (true to its name), allowing couples to chit chat as they head down memory lane or look ahead. Meats like steak and pork chops are said to be cooked to perfection. But save room for dessert. There's a triple chocolate treat that involves dipping chocolate ice cream in dark chocolate—need we say more?

200 Monmouth Ave, Spring Lake, NJ 07762

Undici, Rumson

This Italian-focused hideaway set in Tuscan farmhouse-style digs has an award-winning wine program with the largest selection of bottles from Italy in the state. Undici hosts wine tastings with food pairings throughout the year, allowing couples to savor the chance to sip new vinos and learn together. It's not all about the vino, though. The housemade pastas taste fresh and flavorful, and the gnocchi begs to be tried. Indoor and outdoor seating are available.

11 W River Rd, Rumson, NJ 07760

Jersey Shore Romantic Restaurants

Rooney's Oceanfront Restaurant patio/dining room
Rooney's Oceanfront Restaurant

Down the shore, the ambiance and food at local restaurants are more than alright. The area by the Atlantic is, not surprisingly, home to some of the most romantic restaurants in NJ by the water. Many of the eateries lean into the nautical surroundings with some of the freshest fish in the state. From down-to-earth spots with elevated views to upscale options in renowned shore towns like Cape May and Atlantic, these Jersey Shore restaurants turn date night into a splash.

Rooney's Oceanfront Restaurant, Long Branch

Appropriately located on Ocean Avenue, Rooney's Oceanfront Restaurant features a bi-level deck. On a quintessential Jersey summer evening, consider opting for a table on the top level for a gorgeous view of the Atlantic below. Bonus points if you catch the sunset. The picturesque spot goes heavy on seafood and has a "fish board" option that's similar to a "build your own burger" menu. Choose a fish, preparation style and sides for a meal that's truly you.

100 Ocean Ave N, Long Branch, NJ 07740

Dock's Oyster House, Atlantic City

Dock's Oyster House food
Photo: Emily Repici

This Atlantic City seafood house has left oyster fanatics feeling like they hit the jackpot since it opened its doors at the turn of last century. Dock's Oyster House naturally offers a raw bar. But there are other ways to get your oyster fix, too. The appetizer menu alone offers them broiled or fried, Rockefeller or wasabi-crusted. There's even an oyster stew. Landlocked folks rave about the meat offerings like filet mignon, saying it's cooked to perfection. Soft piano music that plays nightly in the background adds a peaceful touch to date night.

2405 Atlantic Ave, Atlantic City, NJ 08401

Peter Shields Inn and Restaurant, Cape May

Romantic elegance is the order of the day at Peter Shields Inn and Restaurant, a true Cape May institution located steps from the beach. The 1907 Georgian mansion setting is a breath of fresh air in a state full of both modern fine-dining restaurants and rustic Italian joints. The dramatic tall columns outside the front exterior and black-and-white awning over the covered deck immediately set the stage. Inside, the bright space with white tablecloths feels like a countryside escape. Appearances aside, the steak and seafood specials are known for hitting the spot. Bonus: Turn the date night into a romantic weekend by staying in one of the nine guest rooms.

1301 Beach Ave, Cape May, NJ 08204

Knife and Fork Inn, Atlantic City

Knife and Fork Inn steak and lobster
Photo: Emily Repici

Another AC landmark, Knife and Fork opened in 1912 and long ago proved it had the chops to survive the oft-fickle Jersey Shore dining scene. The old world exterior immediately pops. The throwback appeal continues when couples step inside the white-tablecloth dining room with arched windows. The mahogany bar is ideal for a pre-dinner cocktail or extending the evening with a digestif (or both). In between, the upscale menu boasts everything from bone-in cowboy steak and filet mignon to a bright halibut.

3600 Atlantic Ave, Atlantic City, NJ 08401

Ebbitt Room, Cape May

Ebbitt Room corner room
Photo: Cape Resorts

This restaurant at the lauded Virginia Hotel offers a refined yet glamorous interior—Ebbitt Room has red booths, dazzling chandeliers and candlelight tables that truly brighten the space. The farm-to-table menu is ripe for long, multi-course affairs with your favorite human. Dishes are made using ingredients like free-range eggs, herbs and vegetables from Cape May's Beach Plum Farm. Vegetarians and gluten-free folks will feel at home here—options for both are available.

25 Jackson St, Cape May, NJ 08204

Crabby Jack's, Somers Point

Like a good long-term partner, Crabby Jack's accepts you as you are. The casual seafood joint is known for its relaxing vibes, gorgeous waterfront vistas and lively atmosphere. The straightforward menu has comforting classics like lobster rolls, chicken fingers and hot dogs. A raw bar with oysters, clams and grilled shrimp cocktail is also available. It's a great choice for couples looking for a fuss-free afternoon or sunset dinner in which flip-flops won't be frowned upon.

2 Broadway, Somers Point, NJ 08244

South Jersey Romantic Restaurants

Lamb chop entree with side of brussels sprouts and asparagus
Photo: Sofia

South Jersey is loved for its proximity to the shore and the greater Philadelphia area. It's also full of some of the most romantic restaurants NJ offers. These spots are known for serving delicious Italian food and meats, noteworthy wines and all the cozy feels.

Caffe Aldo Lamberti, Cherry Hill

Pan-seared Berkshire Pork Chop
Photo: Caffe Aldo Lamberti

Fresh seafood, housemade pastas and an ample wine list (the cellar is home to more than 15,000 bottles) are three features that have made Caffe Aldo Lamberti one of the best romantic restaurants in NJ over the last three-plus decades. The upscale, white-linen dining room is tasteful and refined with understated artwork. A small outdoor area is also available when the weather is right. The prices are reasonable, with entrees coming in at under $40, making Caffe Aldo Lamberti a candidate for regular dinners together.

2011 Marlton Pike W, Cherry Hill, NJ 08002

Rat's Restaurant, Hamilton

Rat's Restaurant front enterance
Photo: Rat's Restaurant

Located within the sprawling, much-visited 42-acre sculpture park that is Grounds for Sculpture, Rat's Restaurant's views are truly one-of-a-kind. The interior is a sight, too, making it one of the most romantic restaurants in the U.S. The chateau-style setting includes dark wooden chairs, glistening chandeliers, and dim lighting, leaving guests feeling like French royalty. Either location is the perfect spot to pop the question. The menu is a Francophile's dream—think duck a l'orange, steak frites, plenty of cheese appetizers and, of course, French onion soup.

16 Fairgrounds Rd, Hamilton Township, NJ 08619

Sofia Restaurant, Margate City

Dig into Mediterranean fare in romantic and elegant surroundings at Sofia Restaurant. The old world-inspired decor includes iron chandeliers, plenty of candlelight and arched doorways. The wine list features mostly Greek and Italian varietals, though domestic options like reds from Napa also make the menu. Greek-focused favorites like hummus, tzatziki and lightly seasoned seafood dishes all make the menu.

9314 Amherst Ave, Margate City, NJ 08402

Annata Wine Bar, Hammonton

Annata Wine Bar enterance
Photo: Annata Wine Bar

Tapas made for sharing, an affordable menu and live jazz music make Annata Wine Bar excellent for impromptu dates or couples in the getting-to-know-you phase. Small plates like pulled pork potstickers and stuffed peppers provide natural conversation starters. Learning something new together can add to a date-night memory, and Annata Wine Bar offers those opportunities in spades. The pages-long wine list has more than 150 options, and the staff welcomes the chance to discuss notes and recommend food pairings.

216 Bellevue Ave, Hammonton, NJ 08037

The ChopHouse, Gibbsboro

A high-end steakhouse in South Jersey, The ChopHouse is a no-brainer choice for a spare-no-expense special night out. Set beside the lake, the dining room's arched windows add an elegant touch without trying too hard. The menu has the chops, steaks and seafood you'd expect from a restaurant of The ChopHouse's caliber. But the spot offers something special that's perfect for pairs: A chance to sample any two of the restaurant's signature steaks family-style with all the fixings (sauces).

4 Lakeview Dr S, Gibbsboro, NJ 08026

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