What’s better than spending some time during the Summer at the Jersey shore? The answer is finding a restaurant at the Jersey shore that’s so good you need to write home about it! That’s what Duffinetti’s is! This restaurant has a rich history and an even richer following! I don’t blame the following that this restaurant gets but that’s only just the start of it!
Duffenetti’s has been making Italian goodies starting in the 1960’s. 1965 to be exact. In the many decades, the restaurant has been an Asselta family staple. In the 70’s and at the moment, the gracious owner is Trish Asselta, Duffy and Mary Asselta’s daughter. Even after closing for ten years for personal reasons, Trish knew that something was missing and in 2015, Duffenetti’s picked up a new location and has been back in business! Trish is so amazingly gracious, walking into the restaurant truly feels like walking into Nonna’s kitchen; but, that isn’t just Trish’s doing these days. Chef Stephen Quici came to Duffenetti’s in 2018 and if Duffenetti’s didn’t already have a following, Chef Stephen Quici added to it, for sure!
Chef Stephen Quici is out of this world. Culinary-trained, his food is amazing and the amount of love and hard work that he puts into his dishes back in the kitchen is beyond obvious! Quici has only elevated an already solid restaurant. He’s brought some amazing recipes and his dishes really shine.
My family and close friends have visited the restaurant many times already and no one’s stopping anytime soon. I had the pleasure of visiting Duffenetti’s last week and it won’t be my last. Trish does a wonderful time hiring entertainment. During my recent visit, there was a live singer who was singing amazing hits from Sinatra to Neil Diamond. It added to the wonderful atmosphere and delicious food I was about to experience! The ambiance of the room is great and you feel like you’re in an Italian restaurant but definitely still taking part of being at the Jersey Shore! Let me take you on this culinary experience I was able to partake in!
We started with long hots (don’t take the “hots” lightly, they’re insanely hot!). We also had some fresh bruschetta. I could have licked that plate clean! It was served on toasted seasoned semolina bread and also featured some fresh shaved cheese on top. We ordered a round of calamari because I don’t recommend ever going for Italian and skipping out on calamari.
Our waitress also brought us warm bread served with an olive oil filled with fresh herbs and cheese. The bread was so good our table devoured two baskets! To go with our dinner choices, a special house salad was brought out. This dressing is a Balsamic Vinaigrette but it’s a house recipe and so unique! It’s sweeter than what I expected but in a great way! You can take home a bottle while you’re at the restaurant or even order online and I highly suggest it!
As for our dinners, everyone was so happy with our dinners! I ordered chicken marsala and had it served over a bed of angel hair, a favorite Italian dish of mine over my absolute favorite pasta. It was so good that I ate the ENTIRE thing! I ALWAYS bring home leftovers. I try to have some self-control and always look forward to a second helping but, I.JUST.COULDN’T.STOP. I finished it and even wanted more!
My fiance’ had a chef’s special of Eggplant Parm with “the best gravy ever”. He enjoyed it a lot! Gravy is definitely a very subjective topic in Italian families and he had no complaints!
We had a chef’s special bronzino sauteed with escarole, beans, and bruschetta. Another plate-licking dish!
Also at the table was the crab cakes with a side of roasted veggies. The crab cakes are topped with a lobster bisque and had rave reviews!
Last but certainly not least, my father had the seafood pescatore (he’s had it every time he’s gone). It’s served with fresh shrimp, sea scallops, mussels, clams, and topped with a HUGE dungeness crab cluster. It’s sauteed in fresh Italian herbs, garlic, and white wine. It’s not only delicious but a beautiful dish!
Also, I did not have them but I’ve been told by MANY people how amazing Chef Quici’s gnocchis are! They are said to be literally melt in your mouth pillows. Literally, my only regret of the night is not ordering these!
We were so full that there was no room for dessert but I truly believe the food was so amazingly decadent that it wasn’t even missed!
If you’re in Wildwood, or even if you’re not and don’t mind the drive, I’d highly recommend shooting down to Duffenetti’s! It’s not something that you’ll regret. AND Duffenetti’s is NOW OPEN YEAR ROUND! That’s right, you can enjoy Duffenetti’s even during Jersey’s off-season. There’s no excuse not to give it a shot! I promise, it won’t be your last and make sure to tell them I sent ya!
Duffenetti’s can be found at:
Duffinetti’s Restaurant & Lounge
4600 Pacific Ave
Wildwood, NJ 08260