Hoboken, New Jersey is a small, charming city just across the Hudson River from Manhattan. The city has three distinct neighborhoods - downtown, midtown and uptown. At just one square mile, Hoboken has an amazing number of restaurants and bars. There are plenty of options and you won't go hungry.
These are three locally-owned, upscale restaurants. Each happens to sit on Washington Street, Hoboken's main thoroughfare. You typically don't need a reservation and your bill could be certainly be lower elsewhere. And as with any subjective list, if you ask three different people, you'll get three different answers, but as someone who’s in the know, these are my personal favorites.
Amanda's sits inside a restored brownstone. You'll notice the details from the ceiling moldings to the carpet as soon as you enter. The stained glass ceilings and staircase add to the elegant decor.
The well-kept bar is in what was probably the foyer of the home. You'll find a fireplace and several oil-paintings as you enter the home, er, restaurant. As you make your way to your table, you'll travel through several rooms of the home to various dining rooms.
In addition to its regular menu, Amanda's offers a weekend brunch menu, early Sunday dinner, and five-course tasting dinners as well as other special events throughout the year. Amanda's offers a wine list that spans the globe.
Who is Amanda? She is the granddaughter of the original owner and her portrait can’t be missed as you enter through the bar.
When Bin 14 opened; it was Hoboken’s first wine bar. It is situated just near the corner of Washington and 14th Street and reservations are recommended. There is a long bar where you can take a stool but don't count on the availability. There is also outdoor seating when the weather is nice.
Exposed brick and tin ceilings combine with recycled materials from around town. Bin 14 offers 100 wines by the bottle and about 75 wines by the glass at any given time. The restaurant offers weekly wine classes and monthly tastings.
The Italian tapas-inspired menu changes seasonally. Be sure to try the meatballs and marinara topped with Pecorino. The pizzas are good for sharing and be sure to ask your server about the cheese selection. There are regular-size plates if you aren't in the mood to share.
Augustino's is a cozy (read: very small) old-school Italian restaurant.
If you don't have a reservation a month out, you're mostly likely out of luck. You’ll likely call and get an answering machine. Leave your details along with the date (or two) of your preferred reservation and wait for a return call.
The facade is unremarkable. The decor is simple. But you are there for the food and the wine.
There is a small, full bar in the back corner of the restaurant. It's small and you can sit, if you can manage to find a stool. Exposed brick and white tablecloths fill the room. The menu is filled with old-school Italian favorites. You'll feel a bit like you've gone back in time.
Instead of bread while you wait for your meal, Augustino's offers complimentary bruschetta. Be sure to grab some cash before arriving, as Augustino's is cash only.
If you are coming from elsewhere in New Jersey, there are NJ Transit Trains and Light Rail options. Check NJTransit.com for schedules. Street parking can be a challenge but there are plenty of garages for ease and convenience.