We love Kaya’s Kitchen. This Belmar restaurant is one of the only places in New Jersey that has an organic, all-vegetarian menu that goes well beyond Asian cuisine. Comfort foods like lentil loaf with mashed potatoes are the real stars here, as well as Kaya’s Combo for an appetizer–an appealing mix of vegetarian hot wings, riblets, and crispy nuggets with a fabulous bowl of cooling potato salad alongside. There is always a wonderful array of soups, chili, salads and burgers, as well as artfully dressed entrees featuring vegetables and soy proteins. The vibe is laid back, evolved and eclectic, with live music on weekends (shout-out to The Stringbeans, the jazzy trio playing during our last visit) and a Sunday all-you-can-eat buffet we are dying to try. Prices are not cheap, but the portions are huge and there’s really no other place like this in the state that we can think of. It’s also a popular spot, so make reservations if you are targeting a Saturday dinner.
Belmar was ravaged during Hurricane Sandy and as of this writing all access to the beach was still cordoned off, but likely will be opened soon. Kaya’s was not damaged, with the exception of power loss, and its proprietors very graciously offered a “pay what you can” policy for diners in the weeks following the storm. Plenty of good karma (the name of another vegetarian restaurant in Red Bank!) and good food going around at Kaya’s, go and enjoy!