*Royal Warsaw: Polish; Elmwood Park; 871 River Dr; 24/20/$33; 201-794-9277; www.royalwarsaw.com; Polish comfort food including great potato pancakes; Hopping bar scene featuring Wednesday ladies night; Imported beers; Unusual dishes, creative cuisine; Huge menu to sample all the classics of the region. Website has pictures and descriptions of most dishes; Food cleverly presented; You will go home with leftovers; Inexpensive drinks; Party/ date atmosphere. Pierogi mania; Even serve Frog legs. Happy Hour 3-6pm; Closed Monday.
*Bennies: Lebanese; Englewood; 54 E Palisade Av @ Grand; 24/14/$31; 201-894-5700; www.benniesofenglewood.com; Truly authentic Lebanese regional cuisine; Spinach, cheese and meat pie appetizers; Chicken Shawarma sandwich, Falafel and Shish Kebob stands out; Hookah options. Been around 20 years and owned by same family; The food will impress you – even if Mediterranean cuisine isn’t your thing. Grilled Ahi Tuna; BYO.
*Rose’s of Englewood: Lebanese; Englewood; 126 Engle St; 21/18/$43; 201-541-0020; Open daily for lunch & dinner; BYO; Parking difficult; Inexpensive lunch specials; Menu includes Frog Legs, Grilled Quail, Grilled Cornish Hen, numerous Kebab platters with lovely char-grilled skewers of flavorful meat; Over 40 different appetizers – all $6-$10 so you can order a bunch and sample Lebanese cuisine; Has other locations in Fair Lawn & Cliffside Park if you are a fan. http://roseslebaneserestaurants.com/;
*Pilsener Haus: German; Hoboken; 1422 Grand @ 15th St; 21/20/$38; 201-683-5465; www.pilsenerhaus.com/; Gigantic Beer Garden; 2,000 Sq foot outdoor patio; 6,000 sq feet inside; Upstairs lounge; Over 20 imported German drafts and 50+ other beers by the bottle; Great Bavarian pretzels, strudels, goulash, schnitzels, sausages, rotisserie chicken and more; Opens at noon on weekends; Giant steins of beer available; Weekend brunch.
17 Summer Restaurant: European; Lodi; 17 Summer St; 24/20/$50; 973-928-4780; http://17summerrestaurant.com/; Open kitchen format; BYO; Very small with seats for 22; Closed Sunday, Monday; Limited menu includes Burrata, Bison Carpaccio, Fettuccine Carbonara, the Fish of the Day, Duck, Pork Chops and Steak; Very friendly & helpful staff; More of a place for foodies; Book in advance as it remains popular since 2012 opening.
*Mesob: Ethiopian; Montclair; 515 Bloomfield Av @ Park; 26/21/$39; 973-655-9000; www.mesobrestaurant.com; Outstanding, I mean super good Ethiopian; This is a must-try for any adventurous eater; Finger foods mixed with delicate Injera bread; Get a sampler platter; Informative service; Modern, date-friendly setting; The dishes are just so flavorful – you will be converted; Look out Indian & Thai – here comes Ethiopian. BYO. Get the “Taste of Mesob” where you sample about 12 items at once!
Abu Rass: Middle Eastern; Paterson; 1057 Main St; 26/15/$28; 973-278-0007; www.aburassnj.com/ Some of the most rave reviews you will ever see for this super authentic Middle Eastern; Try the mix appetizer of 12 items for only $22; Delicious dips and spreads; All of the meat oriented platters are huge and cooked to perfection; Mixed Grill platter can feed a family; Open for lunch and dinner daily. Endlessly long menu.
Pardis Persian Grill: Iranian; Ridgewood; 47 E Ridgewood Av; 25/15/$37; 201-652-8000; http://pardispersiangrill.com/; The staff is ultra-friendly and accommodating; They respond to every Yelp comment – love that; Menu is full of chicken, beef and seafood kebabs and entrees; Eggplant and Hummus Dips; Bronzino even; Portions are huge and the meat juicy and mouthwatering. Date friendly and how cool to eat Iranian food! BYO.