You could stand on a corner and look around until a restaurant sign draws you in. But we've got a better idea. Each week, Patch's Jersey Shore region picks a great restaurant either in town or nearby that is worth checking out. Here's this week's choice:
Il Giardinello Ristorante, 1232 Route 166, Toms River. 732-286-9111.
The scene: One may not expect a fine-dining experience to be buried in a strip mall filled with mostly in-and-out services. But don’t let that exterior fool you, as Il Giardinello, located in the Stella Towne Center, offers the perfect place to go when you'd like to leave the kids with a babysitter and have a quiet romantic evening out.
The eats: If the name didn’t tip you off, definitely enter with an appetite for Italian. Though the menu is what you’d expect to see at a typical Italian restaurant, you’ll certainly be happy with the quality of the food served here. Rich marinara sauce enhances many dishes, such as the chicken parmigiana. After the meal, you’ll want to save room for a tasty espresso and tiramisu dessert. Though there are no advertised daily specials, coupons do exist out there, so keep your eyes open and you may be able to get three meals for the price of two.