Whether you need a table for two or a girls’ night out, Newark’s got a restaurant for you.

Lauren Craig

Lauren Craig, the Glambassador

Newark’s diversity is reflected not only in the faces of its residents but in its food and restaurants—170 in the Ironbound section alone! Dining out here is just as much about where to eat as what to eat. Looking for a Sunday brunch or a good place for a power lunch? Take-out or a sit down dinner with the family? A romantic table for two or an after-work retreat that serves a great cocktail? Whatever you’re in the mood for, you can find it in Newark.

Destination Newark reached out to Lauren Craig, Newark’s very own “Glambassador,” to get some restaurant guidance. Craig is the founder of Brown Girls Bar Crawl and she writes for NewarkHappening.com, the official travel and tourism blog for the city of Newark. Here are her picks for where to go when a particular mood strikes.

Best for: Late night bar food and a strong pour

Kilkenny AleHouse
Favorite dish: Tacos
27 Central Avenue | Newark, NJ 07102
(973) 824-8048 | kilkennynewark.com

This Irish pub, which is named after a historic city in southeast Ireland, offers lots of seating and a reliable menu with crowd favorites like buffalo wings, chicken fingers and, of course, tacos. The type of tacos change daily but Craig swears by the chicken tacos, her fave. Plus, they pour a good drink, which is always a good thing.

Best for: Lunch in an inspiring setting

Freetown Café
Favorite dish: Mango Avocado Smoothie
41 Halsey Street | Newark, NJ 07102
(973) 732-7517 | freetowncafe.com

The recently reopened Freetown Café sources its artisanal coffee from East Africa and has an interesting menu of light bites and flavorful drinks like Craig’s favorite smoothie, the Mango Avocado. Owner Emeka Onugha is hoping to re-brand the Freetown Café for a whole new audience, and he’s using renowned chef, author and Freetown, Virginia native Edna Lewis as his muse.

Best for: A romantic dinner

Casa d’Paco
Favorite dish: Salmón a la Plancha
73 Warwick Street | Newark, NJ 07105
(862) 307-9466 | casadepaconj.com

This cozy, family-owned restaurant is known for its tapas and welcoming atmosphere. It’s a great place for a quiet, intimate meal. Angel Leston and his parents run the place together and, if you’re lucky, you might catch his mom making some of her delectable pastries. Craig’s favorite entrée, the Salmón a la Plancha, is a filling and tasty grilled salmon steak.

Best for: An authentic taste of Newark

Hamburgao
Favorite dish: A hamburgao
288 Lafayette Street | Newark, NJ 07105
(973) 465-1776 | hamburgaonewark.com

Never heard of a Brazilian-style burger? Head on over to Newark’s Hamburgao restaurant in the largely Portuguese Ironbound community and see what you’ve been missing. Their signature Hamburgao burger is made out of steak-quality beef and comes piled high with mozzarella, ham, bacon, eggs, corn, potato sticks, lettuce, tomatoes and mayo. Oh, my. And, yes, all of that yummy goodness comes ON the oversized burger, which is why it comes nestled inside a peel-away wrapper.

Best for: Girls/Guys night out

Taste Venue
Favorite dish: Grilled Hennessy Honey Wings
47 Edison Place | Newark, NJ 07102
(973) 642-8400 | tastevenue.com

This massive, 5,000-square-foot venue is just the right place to unwind with your friends after a hard week. The space has two bars, one of which overlooks the other from a balcony, and frequently features live entertainment. The menu offers “American cuisine with a unique flair,” which includes several flavors of chicken wings. Craig says the grilled (not fried) Hennessy Honey Wings that she loves to nibble on are so well cooked that the delicious meat practically falls off the bone.