Restaurant Review #251: Maria’s Pizza (Atlantic Highlands, NJ)

This is not going to be a long one because I usually save pizza and takeout for my “Takeout Joints” column where I combine three or four mini reviews into one. As I started to write this one following some leftovers, I decided that this was good enough to stand on its own. When people tally up the amount of pizzerias in Atlantic Highlands, they usually forget about traveling a little farther down Route 36 toward Highlands and Navesink. Hell, I did not even know this place existed. I drive by almost daily, but never noticed…until we tried a couple of pies with our friends Roy and Joanne when hanging out at their house recently. They had ordered garlic knots, a white pie, a plain, and one with half sausage (sliced paper-thin rather than in clumps) and half pepperoni.

While I did not try the latter, I did manage to eat two slices of the white. I do not usually eat this aside from making it myself at home because I am not a big fan of ricotta on pizza. However, this one may have changed my mind: it was delicious! The crust was a little on the thicker side, had plenty of crunch, a thick layer of mozzarella, and was not too heavy with just enough ricotta. This is easily the best crust I’ve tasted on a pizza in at least  year or two. A sturdy slice it was, and I was absolutely stuffed…but kept eating.

A slice of the plain was above average and the garlic knots were excellent. There was so much oil and garlic at the bottom of the tray just waiting to be sopped up. If there were any vampires around, we need not have worried. It is not often that I am impressed by takeout pizza. There are so many places around us, and while many of them are good, most do not stand out enough to get a return visit. It is too far to order from my house, but for when I am working in the Atlantic Highlands/Highlands area, Maria’s will be a must. 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Maria’s Pizza and Restaurant is located at 2387 Route-36 in Atlantic Highlands.



    • White pizza is still very popular in the NY/NJ area. 99% of pizzerias simply do mozzarella with clumps of ricotta, while there was one on Staten Island (Denino’s) which had a white with no ricotta, but put on onion, garlic, and a drizzle of olive oil. I always preferred it that way.

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      • Exactly. It is VERY hard to find good southern/creole cooking anywhere around here, though we are fortunate to have a highly respected New Orleans-style restaurant called Drew’s Bayshore Bistro in Keyport, NJ (have yet to visit, and it is only 10 minutes away). A little farther from me in Belmar is Simply Southern, which has southern homecooking favorites. A review of them is somewhere on this blog from a few years ago.

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