One of my favorite Italian-inspired dishes to cook is Chicken Parmigiana. When I lived in Monmouth County, I had specific places to get my cutlets. I like to use very thin cutlets. When I lived in Ocean Township, there were a few places where I would buy my cutlets. I would go directly to the butcher in the meat department at Wegman’s on 35 and have him personally package my thin cutlets. I sound like a diva, but cutlets of any kind need to be thin, I believe I have OCD, no joke.

Sometimes I would get my cutlets from Drew’s Market in Spring Lake, or my neighbor who only shopped at Monmouth Meats in Red Bank, would pick me up a couple of pounds of thin cutlets when she placed her monthly order.

I met my husband when I lived in Monmouth County and he turned me on to Livoti’s, so that became another place to buy near perfect chicken cutlets.

I do have a list of places that make, in my opinion, the absolute best chicken parm. If I’m eating chicken parm in a restaurant I don’t go nuts if the cutlets aren’t super thin, it’s only when I cook them that they need to be thin. Go figure.

Monmouth County is loaded with some amazing Italian restaurants and pizzerias! I haven’t been to them all, but I have been to a lot in the many years I’ve lived in New Jersey.

Although I’m a really good cook, I like to get out of the house and try different places, and then rate them in my mind. Sometimes I take notes if the food is exceptional. I like to try to recreate the dishes I really enjoy from some of the restaurants that stand out to me.

Chicken Parm is one of my favorite dishes. I’ve ordered it many times when we dine out or order in, especially if it comes highly recommended.

My recipe calls for thinly pounded chicken cutlets, bread crumbs seasoned with salt, pepper, granulated garlic, and Locatelli Pecorino Romano. basil, parsley, and onion powder. Fried lightly in a combination of olive oil and vegetable oil to raise the smoke point. I always finish off my cutlets with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

But when I’m not in the mood to cook, it’s off to one of the great Italian places for some delicious Chicken Parm.

Here are my 7 favorite places to get the best Chicken Parmigiana in Monmouth County.

  • Buona Sera - 50 Maple Ave, Red Bank, NJ 07701

    This is my #1 favorite chicken Parmigiana in all of Monmouth County! Hands down the most tender, most flavorful, perfectly breaded chicken parm! Amazing sauce, along with the freshest perfectly melted mozzarella.

    Everything I have ever eaten here is outstanding. Chris, the owner always makes us feel welcome. One time, he personally prepared a broccoli rabe Frittata for us to enjoy before our meal. Think Broccoli Rabe Francese. The Chicken Francese, and the Veal Chop Parmigiana are exquisite.

    Top notch food, service, bartenders…everything is perfection at Buona Sera.

  • Molinari's - 312 W Sylvania Ave, Neptune City, NJ 07753

    This place is tucked away in a strip mall next to a liquor store. I think it may have been my friend, Rob Busch who recommended this place. Bruce and I decided to take a chance and we were sure glad we did.

    We sat at a table next to people I recognized from the “What’s On Your Plate” Facebook page, David and Susie, aka “The Skillets”, who were there dining with friends.

    The chicken parm was fantastic. Not only was it tender, the sauce was out of this world. Don’t pass by a place because it’s in a strip mall. Some of the best places we’ve dined at were these little out of the way joints that wind up on our go to list again and again.

  • Dusal's Italian Restaurant - 345 W Main St, Freehold, NJ 07728

    Another BYOB in a strip mall. I’m telling you, some of the best food is located in strip malls. We went here for my brother in-law’s 50th last October. It’s really nothing fancy, but the food was incredibly good, especially the chicken parm.  I mentioned on the air that I dined here and immediately got a few positive responses on the request line about how good the food is here.

    One guy said that Dusal’s was his favorite place to grab a chicken parm dinner. The penne ala vodka also got rave reviews.

     

     

  • Squan Tavern - 15 Broad St, Manasquan, NJ 08736

    I don’t eat here enough! I love the pizza here, but the chicken parm is next level. Whether you get the chicken parm dinner, sub, stromboli or chicken parm pizza, you’re in for a treat.

     

  • Illiano's Italian Restaurant - 933 W Park Ave, Ocean Township, NJ 07712

    A great little local stand alone restaurant that was around the corner from my place in  Ocean Township. The crew and family here are really nice people. The chicken parm  can be described as a symbol of everything I love about good Italian food. Juicy tender cutlets with a crispy exterior, topped with flavorful tomato sauce and soft melted mozzarella. I have had the dinner with pasta and the 12 inch sub version.

    The eggplant parm is also superb. It’s a nice family business with great recipes.

  • The Galley Pizza & Eatery - 1313 Memorial Dr, Asbury Park, NJ 07712

    The chicken parm and the chicken vodka parm will take you to places you’ve never been before. It must be the buttermilk brined organic Bell & Evans chicken breast. I don’t know what he puts in the sauce, but it’s magical.  Try the chicken vodka parm on the cheese garlic bread and you’ll know what heaven is like.  Any chicken sandwich you order from The Galley is bound to be incredible.

    My husband asked me what I want for my birthday, now he knows.

     

  • Jimmy's Italian Restaurant - 1405 Asbury Ave, Asbury Park, NJ 07712

    My husband’s favorite place for Veal Parmigiana. One of my favorite places for chicken parm.

    Gotta start the meal with either the stuffed artichoke, or the eggplant rollatini, or maybe both. Don’t forget the Jimmy’s Special Salad.

    Then the Chicken Cutlet Parmigiana. OMG!!!! It’s enough to feed 2 people. Crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and covered in a fantastic tomato sauce and a boatload of mozzarella. For the pasta side, I usually get spaghetti with garlic and oil. These people load the garlic on my pasta like I was going to the chair. Buon Appetito!

     

     

     

     

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