*Chef’s Table: French; Franklin Lakes; 754 Franklin Av; 26/20/$52; 201-891-6644; http://www.tctnj.com/; Bistro feel run by charming owners; BYO policy; Reserve a week early for this always popular spot; Rack of lamb unreal; Crepes Suzette the top dessert choice; Sizable selection of items- all created with care. Venison, duck. Smallish place in a strip mall; Crispy duck orange; Such a cute spot. Closed Mondays; Entrees about $32, apps are $10. Yellowfin Tuna.
Elysian Café: French; Hoboken; 1001 Washington @ 10th St; 22/21/$38; 201-798-5898; www.elysiancafe.com; Oldest restaurant in Hoboken- in a converted Saloon; Fantastic brunch; Known for impeccable Steak-Frites; Inventive cocktails; Just a solid French bistro, casual feel. Two for one entrees at the bar on Monday. Patio seating in summer. Have a great Lobster roll, Cod Fillet and Short ribs. Cute date spot. Open daily for lunch/ dinner; Brunch drinks sadly not included- but discounted. Best for sitting outside in summer.
Madeleine’s Petit Paris: French; Northvale; 416 Tappan Rd; 25/21/$54; 201-767-0063; French country inn setting; Red Snapper and Duck L’Orange are specialties; Prix Fixe is a great value; Family owned and operated- outstanding service; Welcoming feel. Have a Sunday buffet-brunch (11-2) or 3 course Prix-fixe brunch; Closed Mondays. Somewhat limited dinner menu- $39.50 prix fixe. Check website for current menu. Expert French cooking. Smoked Salmon; French Onion Soup; Bronzino www.madeleinespetitparis.com;
*Latour: French; Ridgewood; 6 E Ridgewood Av; 27/22/$56; 201-445-5056; www.latourridgewood.com; Classic French show stopping cuisine; BYO; Chef-owner Michael Latour will spoil you; Closed Monday; Spacious, elegant, tasteful lay out; Seafood Risotto; Menu for everyone. Best vibe here. Go with Prix Fixe if you can. The menu changes seasonally; Expertly presented. Romantic setting; Superb service. Best in foodie-haven Ridgewood. 201 Mag Best French 2x. Perfect service; Pricy but you won’t care.
*Café Matisse: Eclectic; Rutherford; 167 Park Av @ Highland; 29/28/$80; 201-935-2995; www.cafematisse.com;Hidden gem; Extremely romantic; 3 or 4 course meals, prix fixe $75 or $95 a person; Outdoor dining available; Top notch décor and service; Worth the splurge and it is BYO so you save on wine. Jaw dropping décor; Truly a great dining experience, Menu selections are mouthwatering… mac n cheese with King Crab! Complex creations and best service I’ve ever had. A la carte Sun-Thurs available. Food is a work of art.
*Melting Pot: Fondue; Westwood; 250 Center Av; 21/22/$53; 201-664-8877; www.meltingpot.com/westwood-nj/; What a fun chain restaurant perfect for dates; Choose from cheese, oil, broth, or chocolate to dip in; Try the “Big Night Out” option for $42 a person; Romantic seating available; Excellent service with fondue made at your table. Only complaint is portions could be bigger, especially the fondues. Fun for parties.