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“Every kid from Long Island and Jersey has their "Go To" Greek Diner. This one's ours.”
Review of Manalapan Diner

Manalapan Diner
Ranked #5 of 54 Restaurants in Manalapan
Price range: $9 - $20
Cuisines: American, Diner, Greek
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Large groups, Kids, Families with children
Dining options: Brunch, Breakfast, Late Night, Dinner, Lunch, Accepts American Express, Accepts Discover, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Off-Street Parking, Free Wifi, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Takeout, Television, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible
Central New Jersey
Level Contributor
84 reviews
76 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Every kid from Long Island and Jersey has their "Go To" Greek Diner. This one's ours.”
Reviewed December 19, 2012 via mobile

In October of 2010, on a Monday after our entire family had Friday night "pre-Bar Mitzvah" dinner (which Grandma paid for, of course), we were devastated to learn that our beloved Manalapan Diner had gone up in flames! They had been in the process of renovating the decor when this happened and did not reopen for the better part of a year, much to our collective family chagrin.
Now, no offense to you Marlboro Renaissance Diner or "that other Diner on Route 9" fans: they don't hold a candle (oops - be careful with that fire) to the Manalapan Diner.
Being a Diner, there's something for everyone here. All the usual diner fare is good at the MD, from exotic egg specialties (ask for the Litza's Special Omelet. It's light, fluffy, made with egg whites, and tasty) to sandwiches (they serve lean premium cold cuts), Gyros, Panini's, crispy French fries, Sweet Potato Fries, that startlingly "yellow" chicken soup that diners serve with a more-than-credible matzoh ball (I just noticed the word "credible" has the word "edible" in it...hmmmm. Coincidence? I think not!), and my personal faves: lentil and Yankee Bean Soup.
They have nice salads and will happily grill or poach a nice piece of fish to top it all off.
They have good burgers - even veggie burgers - and plenty on the menu for the kiddies.
They don't have many strictly vegetarian or vegan dishes, but they'll do their best to accommodate.
Not that I partake, but if you enjoy dessert, you won't be disappointed. Supersized cakes and sweets abound and are encased in glass displays for your consideration. Just make sure you have the old insulin pump handy if you're brave enough and hungry enough to go there.
The dining areas are roomy and tastefully decorated. The owners are ever present and always great us at the door warmly. And the bathrooms are clean. Editor's Note: I don't typically mention the "euphemism" in my reviews but I'll make an exception here since as I get older, I find myself frequenting them more often. In fact, from here out I will make it my business, when doing my business, to review the commodes and other fixtures but not so you should lose your appetite. I promise.
During the Spring and Summer months we like walking the four miles there to work up our respective appetites and then walking home to help work off the abundant portions/calories.
The servers work very hard to ensure all your needs are met and are constantly on the go as the MD is one successful and busy neighborhood mainstay.
Hope to see you there soon! Stop by the table and say hi.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank FamilyGuy_from_NJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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82 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    28
    31
    9
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    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Matawan, NJ
Level Contributor
30 reviews
20 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“uWhat a letdown!”
Reviewed November 22, 2012

This was our first visit to the diner since they re-opened some months back. We used to enjoy the food - we never had a bad meal...till this visit. The diner continues to offer soup on the house with any lunch or dinner menu item - a most hospitable touch even if the soup is just ok. Our server, Celeste, was terrific. Despite her full compliment of tables she offered us attentive service. The food was another story. I ordered a burger cooked medium. My burger arrived well done and tasted far from fresh - not spoiled, but definitely had been previously cooked and reheated. Ugh. Celeste offered to exchange it for a fresh burger but we were tired and crabby...my husband finished his meal (eggplant parm, which he said was very good), we paid our bill and left. I don't think that I will return to the Manalapan Diner anytime soon.

  • Visited November 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank AndiCNJ
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint James, Missouri
Level Contributor
272 reviews
190 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 143 helpful votes
“Says it's a diner... Looks like a diner...”
Reviewed October 11, 2012 via mobile

But it kinda misses the mark.

First hint, not open 24/7. Then I got handed a breakfast menu. Really? In a diner? No way.

<RANT>
Oh, and could we outlaw crappy soft mushy home fries, please? Yes, hashed browns are more expensive to serve - but I'd pay the upcharge to be able to eat and enjoy breakfast potatoes again.
</RANT>

Everything was OK. Server largely ignored me, even though there were less than a dozen customers ( and only three at her station ). No one ever asked about my satisfaction - server or cashier.

Adequate, but there are many better (real) diners in the area.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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Helpful?
1 Thank Ian411Ian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Monroe, New Jersey
Level Contributor
107 reviews
78 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
“This is a model NJ diner!”
Reviewed August 31, 2012 via mobile

I've always loved this place. Recently the food has gotten even better. The service was fantastic and the prices were very fair. If you are traveling and want to experience a good NJ diner, this is the place.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Ebeauchea
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Jersey
Level Contributor
347 reviews
255 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 282 helpful votes
“Not your typical diner”
Reviewed January 7, 2012

For those who "aren't from around here," the offerings at Manalapan Diner are a couple of notches, at least, above typical diner fare. Lunch and early-bird specials include the homemade soups for which they are renowned, and the entrees are restaurant quality. The lemon chicken, for example, included tender roasted chicken accented with a really outstanding sauce. Dessert, which is included, can be selected from a tray that includes layer cake, pie, pastry, and their enormous chocolate chip cookies. The price is typical for local diners, but the food is anything but typical. Be prepared for a bit of a wait on weekend mornings, but weekday lunch is leisurely. Service is friendly and attentive. Highly recommended.

  • Visited December 2011
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
4 Thank GHartley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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