See also: Things to Do in Princeton, NJ
Whether you live in the city or are a visitor for the weekend, you'll be glad to know that there are plenty of great eateries in Princeton, New Jersey.
The state itself is known for its hoagies, sloppy joes, and saltwater taffy.
Dining out can be challenging because there are many places to choose from.
Read further to know the hidden gems that only locals know about and the top-rated places to eat in Princeton, NJ.
Blue Point Grill
The Blue Point Grill is known for its daily menu changes, cooking meals with the seafood caught that day.
Known for the best oysters in Princeton, Blue Point keeps attracting flocks of diners.
The restaurant carries over 10-15 rotating east and west-coast varieties of oysters, which provides a wide selection for oyster lovers.
It's just a few blocks from the nation's old capital congress building, Nassau Hall.
Established in 1999, the restaurant is also next to its top-rated sister business, the Nassau Street Seafood & Produce Company.
The same owners run both companies.
If you're interested in seafood, you won't find another place in Princeton with the freshest catch.
Their menu is constantly changing, so you'll need a bit of luck to eat every item.
Since their menu is ever-changing, it's hard to give a good recommendation.
However, crowd favorites include their jumbo lump crab cakes, the Maine lobster bisque, New England clam chowder, and the Jumbo fried oysters.
Jammin' Crepes is known for its freshly made French crepes that are made to order.
The small business also provides a large selection of foods.
You can try their fresh seasonal soups and salads that use locally sourced ingredients at their peak of freshness.
They also include baked goods and juices featuring fresh produce from around the area.
You can also find this place on Nassau Street.
It's where the old Congress building was back when Princeton, New Jersey, was the nation's capital.
Their menu has breakfast, lunch, and dinner-style items, which make it an excellent place to hit up any time of the day.
They have both sweet and savory crepes, along with vegetarian options.
If you're in the mood for freshly baked crepes stuffed with various ingredients, you can't go wrong visiting Jammin Crepes.
Their menu utilizes changing ingredients, so it's hard to pinpoint just one crepe as the best.
However, locals enjoy the Turkey Club Crepe, Health Nut Crepe, and the Green Eggs & Ham Crepe.
Established in 2006, the Witherspoon Grill is a steakhouse with a refined, casual setting in downtown Princeton.
It's the perfect place to go for dinner and is known for its locally sourced poultry and seafood.
Aside from steak, the award-winning grill includes classic American dishes such as braised short ribs, lobster mac and cheese, and burgers.
Locals tend to recommend their braised short ribs, filet mignon, and crab cakes.
Agricola, which translates into 'farmer' in Latin, is what this restaurant is all about.
Agricola Eatery is a modern eatery with open kitsch that serves farm-fresh ingredients such as organic fruit, salads, and vegetables.
The restaurant is close to downtown.
With a seasonal menu, the restaurant offers you only the best available options.
Some of their rotating dishes include spice-braised short ribs, scallops, and their speck.
However, locals recommend their kale salad, mushroom flatbread, and eggs benedict.
If you're looking for a casual place to grab a bite to eat, then Agricola Eatery is perfect for brunch or dinner.
Their main goal is to serve carefully crafted meals to their guests and create a memorable atmosphere that's welcoming and inviting.
Mistral is located in the heart of downtown Princeton and employs the award-winning chef Scott Anderson.
The restaurant focuses on using fresh local ingredients that are artistically plated.
If you're looking for eye-catching food, then you shouldn't go wrong with Mistral.
Whether you're in the mood for dining indoors or outdoors, Mistral has seating out on the patio and inside.
Aside from that, the atmosphere is rustic, inviting, and meant to help create a sense of community.
The kitchen features an open kitchen concept and strives to develop high-class American classics.
Locals recommend their brown butter Cake, grilled vegetable salad, and roasted tandoori chicken.
Others also recommend their oysters, octopus, and fried burrata.
Essentially, everyone enjoys their small dishes as it's the perfect compliment for brunch.
The Teresa Caffe is in Palmer Square, and it first opened its doors in 1991.
The first owner was Teresa Azario, born and raised in Bergamo, Italy.
After opening several restaurants in multiple locations, Teresa Caffe now features three decades of passed-down recipes.
Aside from that, Teresa Caffe has their farm, ensuring that the restaurant uses the freshest ingredients.
You won't find any better Italian food in the area.
Teresa focuses on providing a fine dining experience for all of its guests.
Its specialty is simple Italian food served in a trattoria-style atmosphere, featuring seasonal pasta, pizzette, and Italian wine.
However, locals tend to recommend the conchiglie balsaico, margherita pizza, and linguine vongole.
Alchemist & Barrister
Alchemist & Barrister is a quaint restaurant that focuses on providing delicious American bar food.
The restaurant features an executive Chef, Nicole Biondi, who has worked in the restaurant business for over 15 years.
We recommend giving them a shot if you're looking for a place to grab a bite to eat downtown.
The restaurant includes a rustic interior design that pairs well with its lively bar and patio.
Currently, their bar is the main attraction, thanks to its friendly atmosphere and plenty of delicious snacks.
Locals recommend getting the bacon-wrapped turkey meatloaf or the All-American burger if you want a complete meal.
Many say you shouldn't skip the kettle chips, A&B nachos, or pretzel bites for bar foods.
No food list is complete without a pizza joint.
Conte's Pizza is a historic pizza place that has operated since the late 1950s.
The family-owned business started its venture back in 1936 by Sebastiano Conte, who opened Witherspoon Bar.
Since then, the family has passed down their recipes through generations.
They specialize in a thin-crust pizza similar to New York-style pizza.
Unlike other pizza joints, their food is relatively simple.
The owners believe they should stick to red pies, and no green vegetables nor "gourmet" toppings are available.
Their pies are made from simple ingredients that aren't the same as classic American pizzas.
Locals tend to recommend any of their pizzas, homemade soups, and fresh-made pasta.
Elements are located in Palmer Square, downtown Princeton and opened in 2008.
The restaurant serves refined American food with a wide variety of other dishes.
They use sustainable ingredients that are locally sourced.
The interior is upscale and features a high-ceilinged dining room perfect for a romantic date night.
The tables are spaced away from each other, which gives the restaurant a more intimate atmosphere.
Additionally, the lights are dim, and the color scheme uses neutral colors, making it serene and relaxing.
For food, the open kitchen serves a la carte dishes and tasting menus.
Their chef and co-owner Scott Anderson and Chef Mike Ryan craft these menus.
Their menu includes libations, including casual wines, craft beers, and other alcoholic beverages.
Locals tend to recommend their scallops, tuna tartare, and ravioli.
La Mezzaluna is located in downtown Princeton and brings authentic Italy to the area.
Head chef Michael Moriello is a graduate of the Sorrento Cooking School, well-known for its excellent Italian cuisine training.
All ingredients used by the restaurant are locally sourced and regionally produced.
Their gourmet Italian dishes include handmade pasta, sauces, and locally sourced meats.
The entrees come with libations, including casual wines, craft beers, top-shelf spirits, and more.
Their highly-rated dishes include the barramundi fillet, the oven-roasted branzino fillet, and the calamari fritti.
Otherwise, local favorites include the rigatoni, pork osso buco, and rigatoni vodka.
Plus, don't forget to grab yourself their homemade desserts, the most popular being tiramisu.
The Mediterra Restaurant is a downtown restaurant located in Palmer Square.
Best known for its upscale dining with the option to book private spaces, it allows large parties to use their space for events.
The dining experience is exclusive, and the restaurant features Mediterranean-style cuisine.
All food comes from locally sourced and organic, freshly picked ingredients.
Mediterra specializes in small sharing plates, delicious entrees, and decadent desserts.
Plus, the high-end upscale food comes with casual wines and other drinks.
Popular dishes include the lamb kofta bowls and paella clasica.
However, locals recommend bacon-wrapped dates, papas bravas, and tuna ceviche.
Main entrees to try having the pork chop, house-made maccheroni, and basque-style gacos.
Metro-North is a contemporary dining establishment next to Princeton University.
The restaurant features upscale, hearty, and flavorful American cuisine.
Additionally, they throw in some Italian cuisine and feature a lively bar scene.
The menu mainly consists of seafood and grass-fed meats.
However, they also include wood-fired pizzas alongside freshly tossed salads.
The food also contains libations which include all types of alcohol.
The consensus is to try their scarpariello and the chicken and broccoli rabe sandwich.
On the other hand, local favorites tend to be the grilled eggplant towers, crab meat scampi, and homemade ravioli.
Typically, lists like this don't include chain-style restaurants, but Season 52 is a unique exception.
The restaurant is known for its rotating menu using fresh seasonal and local ingredients.
The cuisine also tends to change, but the dishes keep an American-style touch.
They grill their food on an open grill, oak fire, or in a brick roast oven.
The restaurant also includes a wide selection of hand-curated wine, cocktails, and craft beers.
The Florida stone crabs, wild Alaskan salmon, and customizable flatbreads are favorites.
Likewise, locals favor the brick oven-roasted Chilean sea bass, caramelized grilled sea scallops, and wood-grilled dry-rubbed pork chop.
The menu changes depending on the local produce available, so don't feel scared to try something new from the menu.
The Peacock Inn Restaurant
The Peacock Inn Restaurant is located in The Peacock Inn hotel, featuring a fine-dining experience.
It's located near Princeton University and serves award-winning cuisine made with fresh seasonal ingredients.
The restaurant does its best to source ingredients locally.
That way, customers will get the freshest meals possible.
Unlike other restaurants on this list, the Peacock Inn Restaurant, also known as the Perch, serves afternoon tea.
The term refers to small dishes that are considered 'finger food,' which come with teas paired to go with the food.
If you're looking for a fine dining experience for afternoon tea, you shouldn't go wrong with the Perch.
Locals favor many dishes from the Perch, including their oysters, French toast, and soft shell crab.
However, the restaurant highlights are the small plates and lunch entrees.
Eno Terra Restaurant & Enoteca
Eno Terra is an Italian restaurant founded on the principle of regionalism and seasonality.
The restaurant serves farm-to-table foods and features a large selection of global wines.
The eatery and decor focus on producing a unique rustic appearance with an enoteca-style menu.
Their menu features a wide selection of fresh salads, vegetarian dishes, and homemade desserts.
Aside from that, there are other alcohols besides wine, including microbrews, craft beers, and cocktails.
After looking over the menu and asking locals, their favorites tend to be the short ribs, roasted beet salad, and ricotta gnocchi.
Additionally, other popular dishes include the pork chop, lamb meatballs, and grilled octopus.