The Garden State is a wonderful place to live for so many reasons: our beloved Jersey Shore, our natural resources, our arts and entertainment scene. At the top of my list, though, is our state’s diversity. As a matter of fact, Jersey City was recently named by Wallethub as the most culturally diverse city among 500 major U.S. cities. And where there is diversity, there is almost always great food. This list includes some of my favorite places for experiencing — and enjoying — many of the ethnic food options we can find throughout northern New Jersey.


Piast family & staff

Piast Meats & Provisions

{1 Passaic Street, Garfield, NJ 07026; 973.614.1315}

Henry and Maria Rybak emigrated to the United States from a small Polish town just east of Kraków, in the early 1980s, settling in the Garfield, NJ, area. Garfield was — and still is — home to a large Polish community along the Passaic River, otherwise known as “Poland on the Passaic.”


Hearth & Tap

Hearth & Tap Co.

{125 N. Kinderkamack Road, Montvale; 201.307.6300}

In 1997, Fintan Seeley sailed from New York, across the Atlantic, his homeland of Ireland. Seeley’s goal was to bring enough recycled and historic material back from Ireland to form a “brand new” building for his restaurant project in New Jersey. During his hunt for artifacts, Fintan met his would-be wife, Kelly Robinson, in Belfast. He returned to the states with three 45-foot commercial shipping containers full of reclaimed materials and antiques — and Kelly. Along with their general manager, Alberto Andrade, the two run the day-to-day operation at Hearth & Tap, where they serve up traditional Irish dishes like Herders’ lamb pie, as well as a range of continental fare.


Nvair and Zareh Beylerian


{193 Route 17 S, Paramus, NJ 07652; 201.654.4488. Montclair – Paramus – Ridgewood}

Nvair and Zareh Beylerian are proud of their Armenian heritage, and above all, they embrace the cultural diversity of the United States. Nvair’s grandparents emigrated through Ellis Island in the 1920s, orphans of the Armenian Genocide. As a teenager, Zareh, along with his parents and little sister, flew into JFK airport in 1976, escaping the Lebanese Civil War. When the couple decided to take meat out of their diets, Nvair experimented in her home kitchen to remake their beloved lahmajun as a plant-based offering. With drive and perseverance, the couple launched worldFLATS to provide quick, delicious, plant-based meals inspired by spices and produce from around the world.


State Line Diner

State Line Diner

{375 State Rt 17. Mahwah, NJ 07430; 201.529.3353}

The family traces its roots to Karpathos, Greece, an island in the southern Aegean Sea. Nicholas Nissirios, along with his brothers John and Mike, established the diner in 1976. As a young man, Nicholas’ son Themi grew up in the diner business with his dad and uncles. Today, Themi and his Uncle Mike operate the diner on a daily basis.

Greek City

Greek City Restaurant

{1300 New Jersey 17 #12 Ramsey, NJ 07446; 201.760.2500}

It’s all in the name — and it’s the truth: Greek City offers plenty of authentic Greek cuisine. Owners Spiro Sfaelos and Noah Qua brought their version of Greek food to Ramsey 14 years ago, in the form of dip platters, grilled fish, and other Greek recipes—some even served in authentic clay pots. Moussaka (layered beef, eggplant, and potatoes), and Arnaki Tis Gastras (braised lamb in tomato sauce) are just a couple of items that will give customers a taste of their Greek heritage.


Dong Bang Grill – John Kim

Dong Bang Grill

{1616 Palisade Ave. Fort Lee, NJ 07024; 201.242.4485}

Owner John Kim’s family has been in the restaurant business for 50 years, a venture which started in Seoul, South Korea. Today, Kim says his family operates Dong Bang Grill, their Korean barbecue restaurant, with the same enthusiasm as they did in South Korea. “We are very excited at how Korean food has been accepted by the general population,” Kim says. “And in some small way, we would like to think that we contributed to the popularity of Korean food in this area.”


Jessica Goes – Matuto Bar & Grill

Matuto Bar & Grill

{130 Main St. Newark, NJ 07105; 973.520.2016}

Matuto considers itself a restaurant that serves a multicultural menu with a Brazilian touch. Live music and a daily happy hour help create an exciting atmosphere. Yuca fritters and fried yuca are both available, along with roasted octopus, churrasco steak, and Matuto’s “special” beef ribs, which are served with yuca, corn, and garlic bread. The restaurant features a night club menu as well, which is available until 1 a.m.


Aldo Cascio


{640 Wyckoff Ave. Wyckoff, NJ 07481; 201.891.2618}

The Brick House

{179 Godwin Ave. Wyckoff, NJ 07481; 201.848.1211}

Chef Aldo Cascio immigrated to the United States at 15 years old, alongside his chef father, and immediately started working in the restaurant industry. Since then, he’s established himself as a traditional Italian chef with two restaurants: Aldo’s and The Brick House, both located in Wyckoff. Each of his restaurants serve homemade pastas and specialty Italian dishes that pay homage to Cascio’s southern Italian roots.


Benares Wyckoff


{327 Franklin Ave. Ste 2051. Wyckoff, NJ 07481; 201.904.2222}

Benares owner, Inder Singh, and general manager, Ranbir Bhatia, bring authentic Indian dishes to the area, and Bhatia loves sharing the food of his culture. “It’s the food I grew up with,” he says. Bhatia wanted to involve himself in the restaurant industry to showcase Indian food’s versatility; plus, he loves engaging with customers who want to immerse themselves in delicacies from southern Asia. “There’s nothing I appreciate more than meeting guests who are open to experiencing a new type of cuisine.”

By Deborah Smith

You can follow Deb @Jerseybites everywhere you hang out in social land. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok.