Best Places to Live

Hoboken, NJ

Population: 55,503
Photo: Robyn Lee

Hoboken is one of the best food cities in America. Authentic Italian cooking dominates the city of Hoboken's dense restaurant landscape, which includes century-old bakeries, clam bars and steak houses. Menus in Hoboken range from South American and Asian fusion to Middle Eastern and cheese steaks. Hoboken has more Zagat-rated restaurants than anywhere else in the state. Those who prefer to dine al fresco will find nearly 100 outdoor cafés within one square mile.

Cakes became Hoboken's most famous export thanks to the reality show Cake Boss, which chronicles Buddy Valastro and his crew at Carlo's Bakery as they create massive, complex cakes for an assortment of celebrities, special events and weddings. The 100-year-old bakery also sells butter cookies, crumb cakes and rugelach, a hand-rolled pastry stuffed with cream cheese. Less familiar to outsiders, Dom's Bakery Grand lines up locals who pick up baguettes and focaccia that come out of a 120-year-old brick oven.

Among the most respected chefs in Hoboken, Maricel Presilla, a four-time James Beard Foundation award nominee, owns the restaurant Cucharamama. Presilla dazzles food critics with her artisanal South American cooking. Meanwhile, Chef Omar Giner's La Isla Restaurant heats things up with spicy cuisine that is somewhere between chic Nuevo Latino and Cuban home cooking. The dining room at Helmers Restaurant looks much like it did when it opened more than 70 years ago and began serving German specialties, including beer.

It's hard to go wrong when choosing from the Italian restaurants in Hoboken, but since 1939 a lot of locals have chosen Leo's Grandevous, including Frank Sinatra. Leo's large selection of Italian comfort foods and intimate dining area leaves customers satisfied.

People easily find fresh, local produce and other epicurean delights at farmers markets in uptown and downtown Hoboken. And to learn basics such as preparing for a dinner party, making chili, or the best beer and wine pairings, The Urban Kitchen hosts a variety of cooking classes. 


Photo courtesy of Robyn Lee, using a Creative Commons license.