Reviews Reviews

A Central Jersey Local’s Guide to Unique Italian Restaurants and Eateries

Lucas Ristorante featured in the new Local's Guide!

Luca's Ristorante Meatballs featured in write-up!

5 local restaurants switch up the meatball

Jersey Choice 2014 & 2015 - Best Italian Restaurant in Central Jersey

See the full list of winners!

TripAdvisor 2014, 2015 and 2016 Certificate of Excellence

The Critic Returns to Luca's Ristorante - *** 1/2 stars

By Faith Bahadurian

Our critic returns to a favorite spot, still impressed with the fine dining Italian spot I hadn't been to Luca's Ristorante in Somerset, which I reviewed in 2006, for several years, but on a recent visit I found myself impressed all over again.

Owner Andréa DiMeglio has matured, and now has a family of his own. The restaurant he started 20 years ago with his brother Luca — who has his own Luca's in Flemington — has crossed over entirely to fine dining, as opposed to pizza with some fine dining in a side room. Both rooms, which seat about 60 between them, are picturesquely decorated with murals, tiles, etc. to evoke his homeland on the island of Ischia near Naples, and table accessories are colorfully Italian. DiMeglio loves embellishment and that's as apparent in the food as in the décor.

For more of this story, read more here.

Winner 2014, 2015 & 2016 Diner's Choice Award OpenTable

Zagat Recognized for Excellence 2013-2014

Food-24 Decor-21 Service-23 Cost-38

"A real find tucked away in a little strip mall", this "unassuming" Somerset BYO dishes up "interesting Italian fare" with "creative twists on classic preparations" at "fair" prices; "attentive, but not obtrusive" service and "cozy" decor add to the "charming experience."

Chef Andrea describes his Perfect Pasta in the Courier News

Trip Advisor: Voted #1 for Best Italian Cuisine overall, out of 101 restaurants in Somerset, NJ

"Diner's Choice Winner 2013, 2014 & 2015" Open Table

Chef Andrea Di Meglio is included in the 2013, 2014 & 2015 Editions of Best Chefs America

Zagat Recognized for Excellence 2012-2013

"Unique, Plated with serious attention, Step up from the ordinary."

Luca’s Ristorante: Food Lover's Guide to New Jersey

Peter Genovese, Summer 2012

"Andrea Di Meglio opened Luca's when he was 18; he's still in the kitchen 20 years later. Tired of the same old Italian standards? Luca's pastas include agnolotti di cacao, a cocoa ravioli stuffed with roasted butternut squash, and organic whole wheat penne piedimonte with artichokes, asparagus, shiitake mushrooms, broccoli, yellow squash, cherry tomatoes, and topped with fontina."

Zagat Rated Zagat Rated

"With bright earthenware dishes, statues and an abundance of amusing art, this Somerset spot serves up serious old-world recipes with new-world twists at moderate prices."

Lucas Ristorante: "A Diamond"

Written by: Jamie Strickland, from the College Voice 2012

Lucas Ristorante is a charming BYOB restaurant, lost in the Country Plaza, a strip mall located off Route 27 in Somerset, NJ.

Prices at Lucas are moderately high. For a student budget it might be a place to go for a special occasion or treat. But portion sizes are large so you will likely have leftovers to take home…it’s worth it because the food is terrific.

Chef/owner Andrea Di Meglio, of Lucas Restorante transformed his restaurant so as to resemble the island Ischia, his birthplace.

The Bruschetta Caprese. taste is buttery and tangy with a hint of garlic. The bread is appropriately softened by the toppings, but still has a good amount of crunch.

Crab meat and corn soup is excellent. The soup is thick, creamy and filled with lumps of fresh crab meat. The corn adds a perfect sweet taste. I didn’t want to stop eating.

The Shrimp Nuovi is comprised of shrimp, crab, bay scallops, asparagus, capers and roasted tomatoes in a creamy white wine sauce over linguini. The dish is beautifully plated and sprinkled with basil. No taste over powers the other.

First time customer Milly Perez from South Brunswick said she ordered the Chicken Frances and it was amazing.

"Top 20 in Summer 2011 Best Restaurants and Dishes"

Rated by the Star Ledger, Munchmobile for 2011

"Best Fresh Pasta in NJ"

"No run-of-the-mill Italian here; dishes include agnolotti di cacao, a cocoa ravioli stuffed with roasted butternut squash, and the standout lobster cannelloni, loaded with lobster flavor." Selected by the Star Ledger, Munchmobile for 2011

"Tasty cuisine, friendly service, and modest prices at Luca’s Ristorante"

Describes NJ Monthly blog, Table Hopping with Rosie, August 10, 2011

Zagat Recognized for Excellence 2011-2012

"Unique, Plated with serious attention, Step up from the ordinary."

**1/2 Stars

2007 Star Ledger

LUCA'S: An adorable strip mall spot in Somerset, nothing ordinary about the ambience at the family-owned and run ristorante, whose elaborate, one-of-a-kind design transports you to the shores of the Mediterranean, meant to mimic an al fresco trattoria on Ischia, an island off the coast of Naples near Capri, where the owners are from.

STAFF: Friendly and efficient.

HOUSE SPECIALTIES: A fabulous bread basket of freshly baked rolls and vegetable and cheese-stuffed focaccia. Escarole ($9.99) sauteed in olive oil and garlic with portobello mushrooms, pine nuts and raisins was pleasantly sweet and savory. A sizable portion of eggplant rollatine ($9.99) impressed, the homemade potato gnocchi Sorrentina (split four ways, $14.99) with perfectly executed dumplings.

BUT DON'T MISS: Pastas and entrees, both accompanied by house salads (penne also comes with entrees). As for pasta, rigatoni ($12.99) in a vivacious cream-tomato sauce was excellent. Lasagna ($14.99), hand-made pasta sheets layering cheeses and meats in an enriched tomato sauce, was also on target. Both the chicken Sorrentina ($15.99), sauteed chicken breasts crowned in eggplant, prosciutto and mozzarella in a light tomato sauce, and shrimp Amalfi ($17.99), a hearty portion of medium shrimp, broccoli, portobellos and sun-dried tomatoes in garlic and wine over linguine, satisfied.

ROOM FOR DESSERT? There's always room for Death by Chocolate (warm chocolate cake with a semi-liquid center, $8) and warm berry cobbler ($7) served with choice of house-made gelato (vanilla, chocolate, pistachio, hazelnut), prepared by the house pastry chef.

***1/2 Stars

Princeton Packet 2006

"There are often surprises at this Italian Restaurant and never disappointments - I'm a bit reluctant to tell the rest of the world about Lucas. . .Please save me a seat at the table"

**** Stars

New Jersey Life 2006

"Perfectly executed on its own and comes together to make a pleasing vision"

Lucas Ristorante - A Fresh Approach to Traditional Italian Cuisine