*Allendale Steakhouse: Steakhouse; Allendale; 95 W Allendale Av; 24/19/$55; 201-962-9797; Excellently flavored steaks; Closed Monday; BYO – hugely rare for a steakhouse; Try the porterhouse for 2 or the lamb chops; Great chilled seafood platter appetizer; Jumbo lump crabmeat; Chef is a former Benjamin Steakhouse & Lugar allum; Surf & Turf for $41; Rib Eye; Swordfish; Great sides. Thick cut bacon; Buffalo Mozz; Chilean Sea Bass; Lobster; Cornish Hen and steaks galore! www.allendalesteakhousenj.com
Masa Sushi & Grill: Japanese; Allendale; 81 W Allendale Av; 24/18/$42; 201-934-6616; http://masasushiandgrill.com/; Great food served by a welcoming staff; Large menu with lots of non-traditional items such as Lamb Chop appetizer; King Crab app; Salmon or Tuna tartare; Amazing dumplings; Shrimp tempura to die for; Omakase available; BYO; The sushi is swimmingly fresh; Absolutely worth a visit. Try the sushi/sashimi combo; Grilled whole Calamari app; Grilled Duck app;
Nirvana: Indian; Allendale; 29 W Allendale Av; 25/18/$36; 201-818-2300; www.nirvanaindiankitchen.com/; Great new-ish place that is receiving rave reviews; Lunchtime buffet; BYO; About 15 different appetizers and Chaat; Wonderful tandoor selections; Butter Chicken; Chicken Tikka Masala; Chicken Makhani; Rogan Josh; Lamb Saag; Lamb Phaal; many vegetarian & vegan dishes. Several kinds of Naan available. It is a must try for Indian lovers. Staff very friendly as well.
*Savini: Italian; Allendale; 168 W Crescent Av; 24/21/$43; 201-760-3700; Beautiful setting in a country house; Date-friendly; Menu includes Caprese, Smoked Salmon, Seafood Salad, Crab Cocktail, Rock Shrimp, Lobster Tails Fra Diavolo, Shrimp scampi, Crème Brule. Enjoy dinner by the fireplace in winter; Lots of specials as well; Lively bar scene; Crowd is 30s-50s. 2014 Best of Bergen for best wine list, cocktails, & 2nd for Italian http://www.savinirestaurant.com/
*Kiku: Japanese; Alpine; 5-9 Route 9W; 23/23/$48; 201-767-6322; Hibachi show- skilled chefs performing as they cook for you; Top notch slice and dice show; Pretty tasty sushi and sashimi as well; Great for dates or groups and special events; Gorgeous Alpine location. Exotic drinks. Fun time. Huge portions; Only restaurant in Alpine – maybe you’ll spot a local celeb. 201 Mag winner for best Japanese. I love the place. But it is gimmicky.
*Chapala Grill: Mexican; Bergenfield; 52 S Washington Av; 23/16/$36; 201-387-2107; www.chapalamexicangrill.com/; Fairly authentic Mexican classics; Gigantic menu consisting of any variety of combos and specialties; Guac and drinks are flavorful and a highlight; Mid-scale in terms of fanciness. Appealing service. Great neighborhood find; Try the fresh fruit margaritas or fish tacos; Full bar; Rack of Lamb; Incredible enchiladas & Fajitas.
Aki: Japanese; Bloomfield; 1273 Broad St; 24/17/$35; 973-338-5030; www.akisushius.com/; Tons of sushi, sashimi and rolls to pick from- one of the largest menus I’ve seen; Cooked entrees as well; Dinner box specials; Well-presented and tranquil; More affordable sushi alternative without sacrificing freshness. Exotic rolls as well. It’s BYO. Great website; Offer brunch as well (all you can eat for $21); Cool, local neighborhood place- but not fancy. Excellent options although so-so ish décor.
Bloomfield Steak & Seafood House: Seafood/Steak; Bloomfield; 409 Franklin St; 21/18/$44; 973-680-4500; Occupies a 17th century home; Friendly staff aim to please; Outdoor patio in summer; Full bar with “heavy pours”; Closed Monday; Try: the angry shrimp, Crab Bisque, Sea Bass, Honey garlic wings, Clams, and the large assortment of steaks. Have a nice burger as well. Cheap for the genre. http://www.eatbeefgethooked.com/;
Brookside Thai: Thai; Bloomfield; 380 Broad St @ Pitt; 21/19/$27; 973-566-0057; What a long, mouthwatering menu; BYO; All of your favorite Thai selections; Try the Pad Thai and Panang Curry; Delightful spices; Very large portions. $7.95 lunch specials M-F; Dirt cheap even for dinner as most entrees are under $10. I’d get 3 main courses for 2 and split them like a buffet! Service is questionable. http://www.brooksidethai.net/
Momoya: Japanese; Bloomfield; 390 Broad St; 25/18/$40; 973-748-0077; http://sushimomoyanj.com/; Photos on their website will make you crave their food; Sushi impossibly fresh; Gorgeous presentation of the food; Sashimi entrée with 20 pieces only $25; Endless menu with tons of regular and special rolls; 20+ appetizers; Hand rolls about $6; Special rolls $11-$14. Just a great bargain yet incredible meal. Must try. Casual setting.
Pandan Asian Cuisine: Filipino / Asian Fusion; Bloomfield; 406 Broad St @ Baldwin; 24/17/$30; 973-748-9997; www.pandanasiancuisine.com/ Focus on Filipino cuisine; Huge portions in an intimate, cozy setting; Try the various Dumplings; Soups are a meal in themselves; Pork and Chicken dishes stand. Leftovers for sure. BYO; Delicious Thai selections as well. And, the prices are oh so right. Go crazy and share 3 dishes if you are two people to fully explore the menu. Very inexpensive meal for dinner.
*La Famiglia: Italian; Bogota; 107 E Main St @ Palisade; 23/15/$38; 201-489-1713; www.lafamiglia.biz/; Menu highlights include house-made pastas, traditional Italian appetizers, fresh fish and flavorful meats; BYO; Filled nightly with locals, staff will treat you like family; Extremely affordable classics are served. Calamari Fra Diavolo, Chicken Francese, Linguini con Vongole stand out. As authentic as it gets. Specials galore.
Riviera Maya: Mexican; Bogota; 252 East Fort Lee Rd; 21/15/$26; 201-996-1380; Live Music Thurs and Friday; Authentic cuisine, under the radar local spot; Extremely affordable and surprisingly good; Large portions; BYO – rare for a Mexican place; Come here when you are craving Mexican and prepare for leftovers; All the standards well prepared. $5 margaritas at times. https://www.rivieramayamexicancuisine.com/
*Biggies: Seafood; Carlstadt; 430 Rt 17S @ Broad St; 19/17/$33; 201-933-4000; www.biggiesclambar.com; Truly a seafood-centric sports bar that is always popular due to drink specials and food specials and overall great pricing; It’s a fun place to go; Don’t expect expert service if its busy; Known for amazing clams; Hoboken and Ramsey locations not listed on my site; Cheesecake Factory sized menu (and quality). Nice raw bar. Known for their bar scene. Roasted clams, Oysters Rockefeller, Great Wings & Soups, Dozens of sandwiches including a Lobster Roll
*Gianna’s: Italian; Carlstadt; 843 Washington Av @ Moonachie; 21/18/$41; 201-460-7997; www.giannas.biz; Been around since 2000 and they focus on huge family style portions; Thus, this place is great with a group of 6 or more; Individual portions available; Nice bar area; Good bang for the buck if you go family style; Attentive staff; Some question the overall product. Large menu; Excellent soups. Shrimp Scampi is great.
Hunkar Restaurant: Turkish; Carlstadt; 319 Hackensack St; 24/20/$29; 201-507-0606; www.hunkarrestaurant.com; Has BYO; the full package of cool décor, attentive service and authentic cuisine cooked to perfection; Back patio with Manhattan views; Home cooked meals; Get the mixed grill, I demand it! Shepherds salad is spot on; Tons to pick from on extensive menu; Order lots to share. Alternative to eating Greek. Lamb shank.
*Il Villaggio: Italian; Carlstadt; 651 Rt 17N @ Passaic Av; 24/23/$57; 201-935-7733; www.ilvillaggio.com; Upscale, mature setting; Classic Northern Italian dishes; The double cut Veal Chop and Crème Brule stand out; Huge menu & massive place; Smoked salmon; Seafood Salad; Chilean Sea Bass; Bronzino; Lobster Tails; Excellent, reliable restaurant. Mature date night or perfect for mature crowd; Great wine list. Endless specials… King Crab appetizer. Truly a great place. Even has a large bar area. Function hall/ weddings too. Full bar.
Avo’s Grill: Mediterranean; Cliffside Park; 720 Anderson Av; 24/19/$37; 201-945-9038; http://avosgrill.com/; Unreal reviews on diners from Yelp; Pleasant setting and nicer service; Meze dips are great; BYO; Large menu with unique items as well –even pasta; Burgers and sandwiches; Steaks and Falafel; Ideal spot for lunch or a casual dinner. They sure know how to grill food!
Black Beard Ramen: Japanese; Cliffside Park; 607 Gorge Rd; 24/14/$15; 201-943-8003; www.blackbeardramen.com/; Closed Mondays, BYO; You come here for 1 reason – Ramen noodles; I can’t suggest the Tonkotsu Ramen highly enough; Large portion for only $11 – a steal for this meal. Only 4 Ramen dishes to choose from but it doesn’t matter. Just order some soup and enjoy! Weekend lunch spot only in my mind.
Dayi’nin Yeri: Turkish; Cliffside Park; 333 Palisade Av; 25/17/$31; 201-840-1770; Amazing Turkish BYO; Kababs other worldly; Lamb Chops are succulent; Pita bread baked fresh daily; Best Kunefe in Jersey; All the local Turkish people rave about the authenticity; I suggest getting the large mixed appetizer and then a combo Kebab for main course (to share of course). Have many Turkish pizzas as well. http://dayininyerinj.com/turkish_food/Dayininyeri.html
Petite Soo Chow: Chinese; Cliffside Park; 607 Gorge Rd; 23/13/$32; 201-313-1666; BYO; Shanghai style Chinese; Very popular in the area; Endless menu; Soup Dumplings are their signature dish, called Xiaolongbao; Dim Sum typical menu; Always packed. Similar to Joe’s Shanghai in Manhattan. One of the best (and only) sit-down Chinese restaurants in Bergen, a sorely lacking genre. Best for weekend lunch. NY Times loves them! https://petitesoochow.eat24hour.com/
Rudy’s Seafood Restaurant: Seafood; Cliffside Park; 591 Anderson Av; 24/15/$35; 201-943-9252; Pizzeria & restaurant; Super casual for dinner; Has a full bar; Tons of regulars; Old school feel; Seafood Salad, Grilled Shrimp, “Pot of Clams”, Sautéed Calamari, Blackened Scallops, and lots of chicken & veal entrees. Fresh pasta dishes and amazing heros. Ideal for lunch or casual weekday dinner. http://rudyscliffsidenj.com/;
*Buco: Italian; Clifton; 953 Allwood Rd @ Rt 602; 22/17/$37; 973-779-3500; www.bucoristorante.com; Popular old school Jersey Italian joint; Friendly service, large portions, and one of the biggest menus you’ll ever see; Tons of pasta, chicken, port and veal dishes; Great place to go with family and good for groups. 7 soups on the menu. Also, well-spaced tables. Romantic vibe for couples. Nice wine list (full bar). Mmm Seafood salad.
Chengdu 46: Chinese; Clifton; 1105 Rt 46 @ Rock Hill Rd; 20/17/$41; 973-777-8855; www.chengdu46.com; Upscale Chinese that could use a facelift; Has a bar and wine list; Solid reviews in Zagats and can Chinese food, both high end and regular take out, ever be that far apart? Worth dining out here overall. $14.95 Sunday Lunch special perfect time to go. Gets better every year. Peking Duck amazing. For a ‘nicer’ Chinese experience.
Clifton Thai: Thai; Clifton; 239 Parker Av; 25/15/$36; 973-253-1400; www.cliftonthainj.com/; Incredible reviews from all sources; Tasty, fresh food; Try the Basil Chicken, Drunken Noodles or Green Curry; Grilled Chicken Dumplings; Duck entrees for under $20; Incredibly affordable; I’d order 3 main courses for 2 people as it’s so cheap and have leftovers; You will come back; BYO and lunch specials; Closed Monday.
La Riviera Gastronomia: Italian; Clifton; 429 Piaget Av; 25/18/$37; 973-772-9099; Incredibly good reviews; Very inexpensive; Basic menu featuring expected Italian classics; Standing out is the delicious seafood salad; Veal Parm; and the many pasta dishes- all large portions; Closed Monday; BYO; Must try the Tagliatelle Bolognese. If you love pasta – come here. Special quality. www.yelp.com/biz/la-riviera-gastronomia-clifton
La Riviera Trattoria: Italian; Clifton; 421 Piaget Av; 25/20/$45; 973-478-4181; www.larivieratrattoria.com/; Rave reviews on Yelp; Stuffed Artichoke is a favorite; Closed Monday; Formal-ish; Chilled seafood salad; Bufala Mozz; Homemade pastas; Lots of specials served daily; Calamari Salad; Excellent antipasto; Chicken “Hunter” style; Calamari Costa Viola; Shrimp scampi. Amazing service. Great website. Linguine Vongole is perfection. Lots of chicken, fish, veal and pasta selections.
Matthew’s: Italian; Clifton; 1131 Bloomfield Av; 26/19/$38; 973-928-4300; http://www.matthewsitalian.com/; Classy, cozy restaurant ideal for a date; Excellent service; Food cooked to order; Freshest ingredients; Restaurant that cares; Full bar; Young energetic owner; Very inexpensive overall; Shrimp cocktail, Stuffed Artichoke, Antipastos, Seafood salad, excellent soups, Stuffed Shrimp or scampi, Calamari Fra Diavolo stand out. Rave reviews by all; Seafood Salad is insane; Stuffed Artichoke; Full bar.
*Bone Gusto: Italian; Closter; 534 Durie Av @ High; 25/15/$42; 201-784-9036; http://www.buongustocloster.com/; Charming BYO Italian; The menu is large and the list of specials even larger; If you crave it – they will make it for you; Suffers from cramp seating so don’t go if there is more than 4 of you; Food is outstanding here as is the service. Home cooked meals and staff are all knowledgeable about menu. Tons of regulars here. Closed Sunday & Monday. Old school Italian at its best.
*Locale: Italian; Closter; 208 Piermont; 21/21/$53; 201-750-3233; http://locale208closter.com/; Italian-Med flavor; Exposed brick fire place décor and great bar area; Private functions; Great martinis, cocktails; Outdoor seating; Buffalo Mozz, Smoked Salmon, Shellfish platters, Escargot, Dozen pasta dishes, Long Island Duck, Zuppa di Pesce, Rib Eye Steak, Veal dishes; Lots of effort and variety. 201 Mag: Top 3 outdoor dining.
*Rudy’s: Italian; Closter; 71 Closter Plaza; 24/14/$31; 201-768-8444; http://www.rudyspizza.com/; 201 Mag Best Pizza; Incredible pizza; Homemade Lasagna; Try the Rudy’s Special “Sonya” salad with grilled calamari or chicken; Amazing cold and hot subs; Monster sized pasta dishes; Endless menu; Old school real-deal Italian cuisine; Huge take out business; Has full bar – dirt cheap martinis and house wine. The service is often lacking – and take-out staff is gruff to say the least. Been around since 1963. Best for lunch.
*Sear House: Steakhouse; Closter; 411 Piermont Rd; 24/25/$64; 201-768-2011; www.searhouse.com; Finally a steakhouse with a gorgeous, sleek interior and romantic female-friendly vibe; Excellent bar scene and wonderful cocktails; Very attentive service; Amazing thick bacon by the slice; Menu highlights: Crab Cake; Mozz & Tomatoes; Onion Soup; Rib Eye; NY Sirloin; Porterhouse; Sushi grade Tuna; Lobster; Broiled Shrimp. Lobster Mashed and Mac N Cheese; Just high quality rivaling The Park.
*Samdan: Turkish; Cresskill; 178 Piermont Rd @ Union Av; 23/17/$45; 201-816-7343; www.samdanrestaurant.com; The grilled seafood and meats stand out; Kebab heaven; Dining room somewhat plain and formal- certainly a mature setting; Very traditional dishes; One of the few Turkish restaurants in county. Interesting wine list; Limited seafood options; Easy-to-share portions; Fairly priced main courses. If you love lamb, prepare! Website has pictures of all the dishes. Meat lover’s dream.
Fink’s: American; Dumont; 26 W Madison Av; 23/15/$30; 201-384-3210; http://finksbbqsmokehouse.com/Home.html; 201 Mag best BBQ in 2013; Has a full bar; Rave reviews for what is the best BBQ in Bergen; They have shrimp, smoked wings, bacon wrapped sausage on a stick, Beer/cheese pretzels. Also the classics: Pulled Pork, Spare Ribs, BBQ Chicken. Sampler plates available. Also a great take-out option.
*Il Mulino: Italian; Dumont; 132 Veterans Plaza; 21/19/$41; 201-384-8016; http://www.ilmulinodumont.com/; Reliable southern Italian from the owners of Café Italiano in Englewood Cliffs; Soft Shell crab in season is excellent; BYO policy always helps; Attentive staff and a relaxed, casual environment; Menu has something for everyone and always some daily specials to entice; Great family or date restaurant. Sautéed calamari.
Al Di La Bistro: Italian; East Rutherford; 1Hoboken Rd; 23/16/$42; 201-939-1128; www.aldilaitalianbistro.com/; Great ‘classic’ Italian restaurant with a large selection of pasta, fish, veal and chicken dishes; Tapas/small plate menu available in addition to normal sizes; Very affordable; Venetian style; Stand outs include Seafood Salad, Ahi Tuna Tartare, Sunday Gravy Rigatoni, & Pork Osso Bucco; Lots of specials; Bottles of wine under $30.
Arigato: Japanese; Edgewater; 1034 River Road; 21/17/$35; 201-886-1233; http://arigatonj.com/; This is an all you can eat restaurant – ideal for a casual date. Dinner only. Huge selection with incredibly tasty appetizers; The sushi rolls could use less rice and more fish; BYOB; Nice location in northern Edgewater with great views- but not on the water. Great for someone new to sushi to try a number of items.
*Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse: Steakhouse; Edgewater; 90 The Promenade @ River Rd; 24/22/$66; 201-313-9463; www.flemingssteakhouse.com; Excellent restaurant; Check out the website loaded with specials and graphic detail on the food; Incredibly fresh seafood; Expert cocktails; Mouthwatering steaks- Rib Eye & Filet way to go; Beautiful views of NY. They stick to a formula with less of a typical old boy feel. Nice happy hour. Feature 100+ wines by the glass; Comfortable seating. Dinner only. Prime Rib featured Sundays. Burrata. Chilled seafood tower for two.
*Greek Taverna: Greek; Edgewater; 55 Promenade @ River Rd; 22/18/$35; 201-945-8998; www.greektavernausa.com; The price is right; The selection is huge- particularly the appetizers; The food is excellent; Having a grilled whole fish may be way to go; It is BYO; Open kitchen adds an air of class to the otherwise laid back mini-chain. Lamb chops stand out as well. Has Grilled Calamari! Large portions.
*Haven Riverfront: American; Edgewater; 2 Main St @ River; 22/24/$55; 201-943-1900; www.havenedgewater.com; Known for near perfect views of Manhattan; Offer weekend brunch with 2 free Bloody’s for $24; Great bar and lounge area; Same owners as Hoboken’s 340 Grill; Large and spacious – great contemporary décor; For dinner: raw bar, Sea scallops, Yellowfin Tuna, Chilean Sea Bass, Monkfish, Short Ribs. Excellent date option.
*Jack’s Lobster: Seafood; Edgewater; 1040 River Rd; 24/12/$46; 201-224-2808; http://jackslobstershack.com/; Extremely small almost take-out location; Amazing fresh soups, lobster and sandwiches; Clam Strips, Steamers, Steampots with seafood galore; Signature Lobster Roll Maine or Connecticut style; Crab Salad. King Crab, Snow Crab or Dungeness Crab legs. Just seafood heaven – but uncomfortable setting. BYO helps.
*Kinara: Indian; Edgewater; 880 River Rd; 22/17/$41; 201-313-0555; Excellent prepared dishes – better than the buffet; Dumpy outside but somewhat stylish interior; BYO a plus; Very authentic, not overly spicy- ask for hotter if you like that; Huge a la carte menu; Affordable pricing; Pretty much offer anything you can think of. Safe bet for reliable Indian fare. Chicken Makhani; Buffet is $10 and daily. https://www.yelp.com/biz/kinara-edgewater
Mitchell’s Fish Market: Seafood; Edgewater; 541 River Rd; 20/23/$52; 201-840-9311; Replaced Crab House. Regional chain restaurant comes to Edgewater; Food quality reviews are mixed so far – but the insanely beautiful views and great drinks are not. Happy Hour Sun-Fri 3-7pm with $5 drafts, $6 wine & martinis; Iced Seafood tower, Seared Ahi Tuna, Charbroiled Oysters or Shrimp, Bronzino, King Crab, Lobster Tails, Lots of Fish. www.mitchellsfishmarket.com/home.php
Namaste: Nepalese; Edgewater; 1086 River Rd; 25/18/$34; 201-224-8777; Exotic flavorings in this Indian influenced Nepalese restaurant; Chicken Makhani, Tikka Masala and Lamb Korma; Tons of appetizers under $8; Try the Himalayan Soup; 20 or so vegetarian entrees; Has my Goat Curry; “Momo” their take on Dumplings; The Naan is wonderful; Very affordable. Try something new. www.yelp.com/biz/namaste-edgewater
*Pier 115 Bar & Grill: American; Edgewater; 115 River Rd; 22/24/$42; 201-313-2155; www.pier115barandgrill.com/; New hotspot open daily for lunch or dinner; Very cool interior – brick walls, wine bottles all over; Nice oak tables; Gastro Pub with 100 beers on tap; Date friendly; Outdoor seating available; Amazing views; Wood Fired pizzas; Pretzel with Cheese sauce, Tuna Tartare, Hummus, Wings, Incredible Burgers, Chilean Sea Bass, Linguine with Clan sauce.
*Rebecca’s: Cuban; Edgewater; 236 Old River Rd; 23/20/$47; 201-943-8808; http://new.rebeccasedgewater.com/; One of the best Cuban restaurants in the county; Addictive food; Incredible quality; BYO helps with the cost; They serve wine only as well; Fun, friendly staff; Secluded backyard for dates; Smallish- romantic feel. Every Cuban dish you’d expect is on the menu. Try the roast pork; Sort of a Cuban-Caribbean fusion. Charming space. Excellent website with photos.
*River Palm: Steakhouse; Edgewater; 1416 River Rd @ Palisade Terrace; 201-224-2013; www.riverpalm.com; One of the best known steakhouses in NJ; Sides are very inexpensive with many to choose from- as are the salads; Steaks are $27 – $40 on average; Also Lamb chops, Lobster, Shrimp, and chicken dishes. Expensive sushi- tons of rolls – in Edgewater & Mahwah locations; Fish selections as well…. Truly a massive menu for a steakhouse. They do it right. Each location has a different personality. 201 Mag 3-time winner Best Steakhouse.
*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.
Cinar Turkish: Turkish; Emerson; 214 Kinderkamack; 25/17/$33; 201-523-9284; www.cinaremerson.com/; Incredibly popular mini-chain with loyal fans; Try the Turkish Dumplings, Warm Hummus, Lamb Adana with Salad; Large selection of dinner salads; Short Rib flatbread Pizza, Grilled Octopus, Cinar Borek – puff pastry with cheese and leeks; Lamb Shank, Whole Grilled Bronzino. Looks amazing. Owner super friendly. Full bar.
*Pimaan Thai Restaurant: Thai; Emerson; 79 Kinderkamack Rd; 24/17/$35; 201-967-0440; Consistent quality and service; Noodles and curries stand out; Excellent lunch specials; Soft Shell crab available; BYO; Will accommodate any plate; Pleasant experience though more of a spot for locals. Serviceable restaurant with well-presented dishes. Shrimp Pad Thai is tops; 201 Mag Best Thai winner 3x. Best Thai restaurant in Bergen county easily. Only issue is speed food comes out when busy. www.pimaanthai.com/
*Akai Lounge: Japanese; Englewood; 11 N Dean St; 26/21/$43; 201-541-0086; www.akailounge.com; One of the best sushi restaurants in Bergen; Full non-Sushi Japanese/ Asian Fusion menu; Perfect date spot; Well-made cocktails; Hipster cool; Creative rolls; Tuna Guac appetizer- yum. NYC Chelsea feel. Absolute must try. Only possible issue is portion size with some dishes. Try the Rock Shrimp and special rolls & lychee martini! Soup Dumplings on menu; Friendly service and great location. Gigantic menu.
*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.
*Blue Moon Mexican Café: Mexican; Englewood; 21 E Palisade; 24/18/$35; 201-541-0600; Hip, Americanized versions of the Mexican classics; High energy and lively; Upscale Mexican serviced in a laid back environment- almost a club feel; Excellent margaritas; Mouthwatering appetizers including Guacamole; Unique main courses; Just better than the rest. Englewood location expanded to feature a huge bar area with great drink specials. Happy Hour 4-7pm $3 sangria, beer. www.bluemoonmexicancafe.com/;
*Daruma: Japanese; Englewood; 45 N Dean St; 22/18/$40; 201-567-9600; http://darumaenglewood.com/; Look out Akai, Englewood has new competition in the ‘where to take your date for amazing sushi’ battle; Extremely fresh and creating special rolls; Option to sit Japanese-style; BYO keeps costs down; Service is friendly and attentive; Soft shell crab roll even available; Appetizers are solid as well and Tempura ice cream available. Chilean Sea Bass; Shrimp Dynamite; Incredible lunch specials.
*Nori Japanese Cuisine: Sushi; Englewood; 27/15/$35; 201-568-1148; http://norienglewood.com/; Near perfect reviews on Yelp can’t be ignored; Open daily for lunch and dinner except Sunday; Known for amazing special rolls – large selection – all $11-$15; Dirt cheap lunch specials; Bento Boxes as well; BYO; Wonder, friendly staff; Super casual – nothing fancy – but a clean, nice décor.
*Pintxo y Tapas: Spanish; Englewood; 47 Dean @ Palisade; 23/20/$49; 201-569-9999; Some of the best Tapas anywhere; Large selection of mouthwatering, authentic delicacies; All meals come with complimentary soup; Paellas are excellent; Plenty of hot a la carte items to pick; Best of all- the Sangria. Name changed from Tapas de Espana. Facelift has caused slight decline in quality. Portions huge. Paellas so-so. Endless Tapas to pick from including Grilled Calamari. 25+ main course entrees as well. https://englewoodtapas.com/
*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/;
*Sofia: Steakhouse; Englewood; 36 Engle St; 25/23/$62; 201-541-8530; www.sofiaenglewood.com; Formally Smoke Chophouse; Smoker’s room downstairs; Nightlife scene after it gets late – cool bar area; This is an ideal date spot – good looking crowd; Lunch & brunch served; Brunch features $5 cocktails; Raw bar and a half dozen steaks; Lots of seafood, pasta options as well; Huge wine list; Happy hour 3-6pm weekdays.
*Café Italiano: Italian; Englewood Cliffs; 14 Sylvan Av @ Irving; 19/18/$38; 201-461-5041; www.cafeitaliano.net; Great outdoor dining on nice patio in summer; Friendly, neighborhood restaurant; Reasonable prices and reliable fare; Speedy service and large menu. Family feeling and well-made specials. They will take care of you with their drinks from well stocked bar, if you are a local or friendly. Lunch or dinner. Mixed reviews overall
*Cliffs Steakhouse: Steakhouse; Englewood Cliffs; 18 Sylvan Av; 22/16/$58; 201-944-0233; www.cliffssteakhouse.com; From the owners of next door’s Café Italiano, this is a service-focused restaurant with a great menu featuring lots of daily specials; Seafood shellfish appetizer is incredible but very pricy; Steaks and seafood come out on a very hot plate keeping everything warm; Manager will banter with you & regulars are treated extremely well; Try porterhouse for two. Sizzling bacon; Fresh Mozz; Smoked Salmon; Pasta Dishes.
*Grissini: Italian; Englewood Cliffs; 484 Sylvan Av @ Palisade; 19/22/$67; 201-568-3535; www.grissinirestaurant.com; Expensive but worth it- IF you get solid service; Huge menu with upscale Italian fare; Unique offerings plus classic standards; Try the Buffalo Mozz with Jersey Tomatoes followed by Linguine with whole lobster fra Diablo. Also a scene at night- people watching and great for a drink. Bring your expense account. Can have off Nights and locals heavily favored. Recent service reviews are harsh. Specials wildly overpriced.
*Davia: Italian; Fair Lawn; 6-09 Fair Lawn Av; 23/18/$35; 201-797-6767; http://daviarestaurant.com/; I love their menu; It is typical of a trattoria that serves the usual Italian classics but they have so much more as well; Even Beef Wellington and many seafood entrees; Pastas – you pick the type and the sauce with 12+ preparations to choose from; Everything well described; Maybe an older scene – better for a weekday; Have a full bar. Great place to bring the family or picky eaters.
Empire Hunan: Chinese; Fair Lawn; 444 Cedar Lane; 22/15/$28; 201-928-0370; http://www.empirehunannj.com/; 201 Mag runner up Best Chinese for 2013; One of the rare decent sit-down Chinese spots in Bergen; Serve Japanese food too (sushi as well) but Chinese is better; Lunch specials are all under $10 with tons of food; Salt & Pepper Shrimp; Peking Duck; Seafood Soup; Has Fair Lawn Location.
*Oceanos: Seafood; Fair Lawn; 2-27 Saddle River Rd; 25/22/$62; 201-796-0546; www.oceanosrestaurant.com; Just a wonderful, pleasant surprise; Affordable, and perfectly tasty Greek inspired seafood; Soft Shell Crabs in season are enormous; Homemade bread; Romantic courtyard in summer; Welcoming service; Try the Mediterranean spreads; Full Raw Bar; Huge selection of hot seafood entrees. Even a Rib Eye. Excellent, mature evening found here. Chilean Sea Bass, Grilled Calamari, Grilled Yellowfin Tuna.
*River Palm: Steakhouse; Fair Lawn; 41-11 Rt 4 W @ Saddle River Rd; 24/19/$58; 201-703-3500; www.riverpalm.com; One of the best known steakhouses in NJ; Sides are very inexpensive with many to choose from- as are the salads; Steaks are $27 – $40 on average; Also Lamb chops, Lobster, Shrimp, and chicken dishes. Expensive sushi- tons of rolls – in Edgewater & Mahwah locations; Fish selections as well…. Truly a massive menu for a steakhouse. They do it right. Each location has a different personality. 201 Mag 3-time winner Best Steakhouse.
City Pearch: American; Fort Lee; 2023 Hudson St; 24/23/$53; 201-582-7101; www.cityperch.com/; American entrees, pizzas and salads; Craft cocktails and whiskeys; Gorgeous views & outdoor seating; Service outstanding and every Yelp review replied to; Brunch weekends 10:30-3pm for $19.99 prix fixe – bottomless drinks $10 more; Menu outstanding – smoked salmon popovers, Burrata Margherita Pizza, Steak Frites, Lobster Dishes, Shrimp & Grits, Sea Bass, Happy Hour daily 3-6pm; Great for dinner or Brunch. Lots of seats at bar.
*Dong Bang Grill: Korean; Fort Lee; 1616 Palisade Av; 23/18/$42; 201-242-4485; www.dongbanggrill.com/; Excellent steaks and other Galbi (Korean BBQ); Sushi as well; Amazing short ribs; Miso soup is tasty; Two level location with a large menu of individual items besides BBQ; Great service & it rivals NYC’s Korean town. You will always find locals & Asians there – a great sign. Nicer interior than most. 201 Mag Best Korean. Has bar.
Franco’s Metro: Italian; Fort Lee; 1475 Bergen Blvd; 22/15/$35; 201-461-6651; www.francosmetro.com; Been around for 40+ years; Local classic Italian standby; Brick over pizzas; Early bird specials; Nothing fancy and more of a casual neighborhood local spot; Food prepared with care; The pizza and Pork braciole over pappardelle are amazing; Has an endless menu; Full bar with lots of wines to pick from. Amazing salads. Super fresh. Cold seafood platter for two just $24.
*Gam Mee Ok: Korean; Fort Lee; 485 Main St; 22/15/$29; 201-242-1333; Noted for outstanding Kimchi; Large Galbi menu of BBQ meats; Considered to have the best Ox Tail soup in the state (Sul Long Tang); Beef short ribs and soups are super tasty. Service friend and environment welcoming. Open 24/7; Beer & wine served; Nice setting for the genre. Korean comfort food. www.yelp.com/biz/gam-mee-ok-restaurant-fort-lee
Hiura: Japanese; Fort Lee; 400B Main St @ Anderson; 25/15/$44; 201-346-0110; Highest quality sushi and sashimi; BYO; Super friendly chef; More suited for Omakase and sushi in general; Great Udon soup; Sit at a table and order sushi sampler for the best deal; Rolls served as well. Super fresh. Never worse than a good experience here. Chef brings traditional Japanese experience to his Fort Lee cliental. Very small place like Fuki Sushi. Not a place for special rolls. Otherwise a huge hit.
Menya Sandaime: Ramen; Fort Lee; 1638 Parker Av; 25/14/$16; 201-482-4141; http://menyasandaime.com/; The go-to place for incredible Ramen Soup. Open daily for lunch and dinner but probably best suited for lunch – or a quick meal on the go; Great place to get introduced to this fabulous dish. BYO. Gyoza and a couple apps but basically just ramen.
Prime and Beyond: Steakhouse; Fort Lee; 501 Main St; 25/12/$55; 201-461-0033; www.primeandbeyond.com; Very small, casual Korean-owned steakhouse; They use the highest quality meats; BYO- with $5 fee; It is a small menu featuring Porterhouse, T-Bone, Filet Mignon & Ribeye; Apps include Kimchi and other Korean dishes; Double Smoked Bacon app; Some salads, Various Vegies. There is one daily pasta dish and no fish dishes. You come here for Meat! No Tips accepted! Oxtail Soup for lunch served.
Santorini Taverna: Greek; Fort Lee; 2020 Central Rd @ Main; 22/18/$39; 201-947-2055; www.santorini-taverna.com; About 15 tables, nice blue painted walls – Greek feel; Has nice outdoor area; Large menu of Greek classics; Lots of grilled items available including lamb, and various whole fish; Full bar and outdoor patio in warmer months; More casual dishes at lunch; Upscale quality and authentic. Very large menu including the classics. Grilled Calamari.
So Kong Dong: Korean; Fort Lee; 130 Main St; 24/14/$34; 201-242-0026; Just incredibly tasty beef ribs; Endless varieties of tofu soup; Lunch and dinner served daily; They specialize in Tofu Stew and soups; In addition, the Dumplings are delicious; The Ribs are the stand-out, however. Not a big menu…. Prepare for soup and ribs if you come here. BYO www.yelp.com/biz/so-kong-dong-fort-lee
Soup Dumplings Plus: Chinese; Fort Lee; 1550 Lemoine Av; 24/14/$16; 201-944-0901; http://soupdumplingplus.com/; Incredibly inexpensive; Soup Dumplings are the stand-out of course for about $6 an order! Full service Chinese options as well; Lunch specials with a drink for under $10. Decent setting overall – good service; I’d suggest order 4-5 things for a party of 2 so you have lots of leftovers.
*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.