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Maria’s Restaurant in Manasquan – Food for the Whole Family

As we headed into the last official summer weekend, a bunch of our family and friends decided we needed to go out to dinner one more time before the vacation ends and the kids go back to school. We were looking for a kid-friendly, local place. We decided on Maria’s on Main Street in Manasquan.

There were about 14 of us (just a small contingency of our larger, closely-knit, extended family), so we needed a big table away from the rest of the restaurant. They sat us in the back area at a long table with plenty of room. The waitress took our drink orders as we perused the extensive menu. Appetizers were the first order of business. Whenever my daughter is involved, fried calamari is a must. We also ordered some sauté calamari, mussels, and eggplant rollatini, all of which were excellent and plentiful. Just when we thought the apps were done, out came 2 huge bowls of shrimp and clams, courtesy of the owner! They were just awesome. I actually could have stopped there and would have been satisfied.

Being that we were so many people, we ended up sampling quite a few different items on the menu. I was in the mood for pasta and went with the shrimp fra Diablo – made extra hot. Out came a big plate of linguine and a generous portion of shrimp in a spicy red sauce. It was heaven. I thought I couldn’t eat another bite after so many appetizers, but I suddenly got a second wind when my pasta got there. I ate every bite. It was that delicious. Also at the table, we had a couple of orders of linguine with clams, veal Milanese, baked ziti, and a steak. Everyone loved their meals.

The time had come for coffees and desserts. They offer all the quintessential Italian desserts, as well as ice cream. This is where I had to stop myself. I couldn’t eat another bite, although I was tempted by the cannoli. I settled on a cappuccino – a perfect way to end a great meal.

What a tremendous local family restaurant. The owner, Mario, is a great host and it’s located right in the heart of town. The service was excellent and so was the food. If you’re looking for a kid-friendly place with an atmosphere that the whole family will love, give Maria’s a shot. You’ll be glad you did.