New Jersey's culinary landscape is deeply intertwined with rich Italian American history that has flourished in the state. As Italian immigrants made their way to the United States seeking opportunities and a better life, they brought with them their vibrant culture and cherished culinary traditions. These traditions have been lovingly passed down through generations and have found a home in the numerous Italian restaurants that have stood the test of time. Here are five of the oldest Italian restaurants in New Jersey, where the flavors of Italy have melded with the state's own unique culinary heritage.
Tosca Grille (Haddonfield)
Established in 1947, Tosca Grille stands as a testament to the enduring allure of Italian cuisine. This historic restaurant has garnered a reputation for crafting dishes that transport diners straight to the heart of Italy. With its classic Italian offerings, Tosca Grille has solidified its place as one of the oldest and most beloved Italian restaurants in New Jersey.
La Taverna (South Amboy)
Rooted in history and flavor, La Taverna has been delighting patrons since 1959. Stepping into this establishment is like stepping into a piece of Italy itself, as the restaurant's dedication to preserving authentic Italian flavors shines through in every dish. With its rich heritage and inviting atmosphere, La Taverna is a true gem in New Jersey's culinary landscape.
Villa Barone (Collingswood)
A dining institution since 1960, Villa Barone has become a gathering place for families and friends seeking a taste of Italy in their own backyard. The restaurant's commitment to quality ingredients and time-honored recipes has allowed it to thrive over the years, making it a true treasure in the state's culinary landscape.
Luigi's Restaurant (Harrison)
Since its inception in 1961, Luigi's Restaurant has been serving Italian-American comfort food with a touch of nostalgia. As one of the oldest Italian restaurants in New Jersey, Luigi's has become a haven for those seeking hearty dishes that evoke the warmth and familiarity of a home-cooked meal.
La Strada (Millburn)
Opened in 1964, La Strada is a culinary landmark that bridges the gap between tradition and innovation. With a diverse menu that pays homage to Italian cuisine's roots while embracing modern influences, La Strada offers a dynamic dining experience that has earned it a special place in the hearts of its patrons.
These Italian restaurants are more than just places to enjoy a meal; they are living testament to the enduring power of Italian American heritage in New Jersey. Each establishment has kept the legacy of Italian immigrants alive and celebrates the fusion of tradition, history, and the artistry of Italian cuisine in the Garden State.
Arianna DiCicco is an educator and writer from California, born into an Italian American restaurant family with strong ties to her grandparents’ home in Abruzzo, Italy. She has lived in San Francisco, Rome and New York City where she’s made deep connections within the Italian communities and gained new perspectives about her own culture. With a Masters in International Education, Arianna has a love and passion for learning and educating others about Italian history & culture.