Nagoya: Japanese; Mahwah; 1007 MacArthur Blvd; 22/20/$45; 201-818-9933; www.nagoyacuisine.com/t4/menu.htm; Top notch sushi and extremely welcoming staff; Stone waterfall, paper lanterns highlight the décor; BYO; Gigantic assortment of special rolls and other specials; Excellent service and elegant décor; One of the better Sushi/ Japanese restaurants in Bergen; If you anywhere near to them, give them a try.
*River Palm: Steakhouse; Mahwah; 209 Ramapo Valley Rd @ Rt 17; 24/19/$58; 201-529-1111; 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.
Roxanne’s: Italian; Mahwah; 150 Franklin Tpike; 23/15/$38; 201-529-0007; www.roxannesrestaurant.com/; Attractive bistro setting with outdoor dining available; Brick oven turning out fabulous pizzas; Stylish red oak décor; Both individual and family style portions available; Tons of homemade pasta dishes to choose from and a large menu overall; Massive portions- and a full bar; Have whatever you want! $25 bottles house wine. Brick oven pizzas; Great for groups.
Sangria: Spanish; Mahwah; 1033 MacArthur Blvd; 23/20/$46; 201-962-3310; http://sangriamahwah.com/; One of the rare Spanish places in Bergen County (most in Newark). Incredible Sangria – try the 4-6pm Happy Hour weekdays; Endless Tapas menu including Grilled Calamari and Chilled Lobster meat; Great for groups; Off beat location but worth the trip; Share a handful of Tapas for your table and enjoy.
Sapphire Divine: Indian; Mahwah; 164 Franklin Turnpike; 24/17/$35; 201-252-2789; www.sapphiremahwah.com; Great dishes on the menu, Tikka, Vindaloo, Biryani, etc. Daily lunch buffet $11-$13; 25 different appetizers; Huge tandoori options; Chicken Makhani and my favorite – Goat Curry; Lamb Rogan Josh; Just a great menu – if not predictable. Even 12 kinds of Naan/ Bread. BYO.
Angelo’s Greek Taverna: Mediterranean; Maywood; 245 Maywood Av; 23/18/$44; 201-845-4278; Rave reviews for this casual Greek restaurant which features a large assorted menu; Known for amazing Greek fries, Gyro platters, Souvlaki and their spreads; Probably better for lunch as it is casual. Extremely good pricing anyone can afford. Not a fancy spot but reliable & well liked by locals. BYO. https://angelosgreektavern.wixsite.com/chef-angelo
Pho Thai-Lao Kitchen: Thai/ Lao; Maywood; 219 Maywood Av; 23/15/$35; www.phothailao.com/; Unusual combo of Thai and Lao cuisine; Exciting dishes not normally found in the area; Setting is nothing special – super casual; Must try the spare ribs; Pad See Ew – get it spicy; Any of the house soups; Red or Green curry; Food comes out as spicy as you like: you ask for 1-5, 5 being super spicy; Closed Monday; BYO; Noodle soups similar to Viet cuisine;
Seafood Gourmet: Seafood; Maywood; 103 W Pleasant Av; 25/12/$45; 201-843-8558; www.seafood-gourmet.com; Long time seafood market has added a dining room; Freshest seafood from local fishermen; Menu features all kinds of broiled or grilled or fried fish entrees; Raw Bar; Lobster; About 20 appetizers; King and Snow Crab legs; Some pasta dishes; Try the fish and chips. Shack-like setting. BYO; Lunch or dinner. Take-out.
*Arturo’s: Italian; Midland Park; 41 Central Av; 23/20/$51; 201-444-2466; http://www.arturos.co/; Like eating at home with huge menu of Italian mainstays; Tuxedoed service- classy atmosphere; For a special occasion; Slightly pricy but overall great. Closed Mondays; Massive selection of food. Menu includes dishes ‘beginners’ will recognize. Lobster tails fra Diablo stands out. Calamari Salad; Smoked salmon; Tons of daily specials. Full bar.
Fiona’s: Italian; Midland Park; 118 Godwin Av; 20/18/$43; 201-857-5800; www.fionasristorante.com/; Nice family restaurant with doting service; Nothing too fancy – mostly core Italian dishes in the usual array of sauces; Multiple Chicken, Veal and seafood dishes; Calamari salad; Fresh Mozzarella; Pork Chops; BYO; Open for lunch; Place best described as reliable.
Ah’Pizz: Pizza; Montclair; 7 N Willow St; 21/15/$31; 973-783-9200; http://ahpizznj.com/; Brick oven brilliance; BYO; They serve tons of Italian specialties besides pizza including lots of salads and appetizers; Chicken and pasta main courses as well; Get the “Ah’Pizz” Pizza; Most individual pies are around $15. Pricy for pizza but worth it. Ask about weekly specials. Like a mom & pop upscale pizzeria.
Aozora: Japanese/ French; Montclair; 407 Bloomfield; 24/22/$43; 973-233-9400; www.aozoramontclair.com/; Incredibly sleek and stylish; Like eating in an art gallery; Huge menu of Sushi, Japanese, Asian Fusion and French dishes; Creative presentations; NYC trendy & a perfect date spot; High end dining. Innovative menu. BYO helps with price. Very popular. Service can be spotty and food take long to come out. Maybe the biggest menu for this type of food I’ve seen. Something for everyone.
Corso 98: Italian; Montclair; 98 Walnut St. @ Willow; 24/19/$45; 973-746-0789; www.corso98.com/; Upscale quality in a comfortable setting; Osso Bucco is amazing; Friendly service and outstanding menu; Though a limited number of selections (25 or so) it is original and often changing; Quaint dining room feel – like at home; Pan Seared Tuna; Chilean Sea Bass; Veal chop; See website to view well-presented dishes. Get a pitcher of Sangria; Has own free parking lot; BYO is welcome; Owners/service top notch.
Costanera: Peruvian; Montclair; 511 Bloomfield Av @ Park; 23/20/$40; 973-337-8289; http://costaneranj.com/; Gourmet South American food at last; Wonderful menu that even features a raw bar; Mouthwatering dishes – ideal place for someone not used to experimenting; The Osso Bucco would be my pick; Pan roasted Cod in a spicy seafood sauce; Seafood stew; Hanger Steak; Grilled fish; Appetizers take the cake though. BYO; Closed Tuesday; Has perfect Raw bar- build your own; Get the Costanera Ceviche with Crab & shrimp.
De Novo European Pub: American; Montclair; 275 Bellevue Av ; 22/20/$40 ; 973-893-5008; Former train station turned into this quaint Pub. Closed Monday; Great short ribs and pasta entrees delicious; Tuna tartare; Broiled Bronzino; This place can be for a nice dinner, drinks or something in-between. Nice date option as well. Lots of parking near-by helps. http://www.denovomontclair.com/
Fascino: Italian; Montclair; 331 Bloomfield Av @ Grove; 26/22/$54; 973-233-0350; www.fascinorestaurant.com; BYO high end Italian; Desserts are fabulous; Unique, mouthwatering menu; Tasting menu available for $75 (5 courses); Top shelf cuisine complete with smallish portions and impeccable presentation. Perfect blend of traditional and modern. Romantic- aided by great service. Yellowfin tuna; Pancetta wrapped bronzino; Sea scallops; King salmon. Seasonal menu. Foodie joint. Closed Sunday. Spacious & romantic.
*Fin Raw Bar & Kitchen: Seafood; Montclair; 183 Glenridge Av; 25/22/$56; 973-744-0068; Large, wonderful seafood menu; Open feel and kitchen; BYO; Fun, welcoming setting that’s both rustic and chic; Tons of grilled fish entrees as well as shellfish; See website for menu and great photos; Worth the trip. Monkfish osso buco; Lobster & Shrimp; Nice raw bar menu; Awesome oysters; Best seafood in Essex county 2 years running. Just love this place. Bronzino, Lobster sliders, Little Neck Clams. http://finseafoodandoysterbar.com/montclair/;
Halcyon Seafood Brasserie: Seafood; Montclair; 114 Walnut St; 22/24/$48; 973-744-4450; www.halcyonbrasserie.com; Freshest fish; Excellent cocktails at bar or upstairs lounge; Bar scene worth it alone; Inviting marble décor; Closed Monday; Only downside – iffy service; Date friendly; Seafood chowder; Tuna Tartare; Salmon 3 ways App; Moules Frites; Chatham Cod; Sautéed Lobster; Sea Bass; Coconut curried shrimp; Yellowfin Tuna. Drinks can be highly overpriced.
*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!
Nori: Asian; Montclair; 561 Bloomfield Av; 23/19/$37; 973-655-8805; http://www.nori-sushi.com/; Won Best Sushi in Essex County; Super fresh sushi and rolls; Very substantial menu; Creative menu options; Sushi Pizza; Sashimi Tartar; Soft Shell Crab; You can order a sushi boat for 2 or 3 people; BYO; Special rolls have funny names (like Donkey Kong roll, if that matters). Small, casual place.
Pig & Prince: American; Montclair; 1 Lackawanna Plaza; 20/23/$53; 973-233-1006; www.pigandprince.com; Under the vaulted train station; Farm to table dishes; Seasonal New American menu; Full bar; Gastro-lounge feel; Soft Pretzels; Cheese & Meat plates; Lots of Risottos; Atlantic Cod; Pork Loin Chop; Duck Breast; Pan Roasted Skate; The menu is very eclectic; Very curious to try them out! Happy Hour 4-7pm Tues-Sat. Cool décor.
Saveur Creole: Haitian; Montclair; 131 Grove St ; 23/20/$40 ; 973-744-3507; www.saveurcreolerestaurant.com/; Delightful atmosphere; Upscale Caribbean; Closed Monday; Offer cooking classes; BYO; Menu also features dishes from following cultures – Cajun, Spanish, Dutch and Portuguese Creole; Sample as much as possible – start with the Saveur Creole Sampler; Excellent soups; Goat stew; Red Snapper; Tilapia Roule; Conch Creole; Shrimp or Crab Etoufee; Lots to choose from in this large menu.
Sla Thai: Thai; Montclair; 38 Upper Montclair Plz; 27/19/$40; 973-509-0111; http://www.slathai.com/; As good as it gets for Thai; Casual but charming setting; Closed Mondays; BYO; Try the Pad Thai – it’s incredible; Not the usual huge menu – they focus on what they are great at. Specials written on chalk board; Great mid-week dinner option and ideal change of pace option.
Bellissimo: Italian; Montvale; 12 S Kinderkamack; 22/17/$38; 201-746-6669; www.bellissimonj.com/; Lots of specials are the way to go including Lamb shank, short ribs and lamb chops; Salads are included and bread is fresh and warm; BYOB; All the pastas are homemade; Opened in 2008; Sautéed calamari fra diavolo; You can’t go wrong with a Veal dish. Décor is basic and uninspiring. Delicious appetizers – I’d order them all. Calamari salad. Great for parties or groups.
*Fire & Oak: American; Montvale; 100 Chestnut Ridge Rd; 21/23/$43; 201-307-1100; www.fireandoak.com/; Extremely cool, NYC lounge-like scene; Swanky, excellent bar area; Great menu with a combination of New American dishes and comfort food; Solid steaks; Mac N Cheese; Fancy cocktails and even flat screens for the game; Combination of elegance & upscale tavern. Trendy vibe – date friendly. Has sushi; Nice cocktails. Multiple dining rooms; Happy hour 4-7pm weekdays.
*Hearth & Tap: American; Montvale; 125 Kinderkamack Rd; 22/20/$44; 201-307-6300; https://hearthandtap.com/; Open daily for lunch & dinner; Gastropub; Mixed reviews on service and quality; Private parties welcomed; Comfort food central; Craft beers and whiskey; Pan Seared Meatballs; Numerous flatbreads; Mac N Cheese is delish; Grilled Lamb steak; King Salmon; Herder’s Pie; Pappardelle stroganoff. Cool décor & nice bar.
Johnny Roll House: Japanese; Montvale; 4 Railroad Av; 25/15/$34; 201-391-0550; Known for regular and special rolls; Extremely inexpensive for the genre; Huge selection and the freshest quality; Renovated décor as of 2017; Sushi & sashimi specials as well; Closed Sunday; BYO; Amazing find – very popular in area; Rave reviews. www.yelp.com/biz/johnny-roll-house-montvale
Momma’s Kitchen: Italian; Montvale; 15 W Grand Av; 23/17/$36; 201-746-9777; www.mommaskitchennj.com/; Family environment; BYO – wine or cake; No Rez; Known for incredible pizza; Menu features, as well, delicious Pork Ribs; Italian Nachos; Bruschetta; Assortment of fresh salads; Gourmet Meatballs – as an entrée or a Sub; About a dozen or so pasta dishes and chicken done your way – Marsala, piccata, parm, Milano. Kid friendly – casual setting. Not a date spot.
Bazzarelli: Italian; Moonachie; 117 Moonachie Rd; 23/17/$32; 201-641-4010; www.bazzarellirestaurant.com; Gigantic menu. Shrimp scampi and lobster fra Diablo jump out at you. Fairly standard neighborhood setting. Tight seating but perfect stop for pizza or a red sauce classic. Ideal Meadowlands bound eating option; Family run business since 1971; Try their pizza! Great soups. Choose a pasta and a sauce from huge selection. Lots of salads; You can pick your pasta type with a huge assortment of sauces.
*Segovia Restaurant: Portuguese; Moonachie; 150 Moonachie Rd; 23/16/$38; 201-641-4266; Extremely personable service; Wonderful seafood combinations; Lobster tails to die for; You will be treated like family; Energetic setting where you will leave full & satisfied; One of best of its genre outside of Newark. Try the shrimp in garlic sauce. Chilean Sea Bass; Even the steak is well prepared. Red & White sangria available. Fairly loud and often a wait. Endless specials. If you can’t get to Newark go here. Tapas menu as well. Grill Squid. Prime Rib. Huge menu. www.segoviarestaurant.com;
*Pancho’s Burritos: Mexican; New Milford; 214 Main; 24/15/$33; 201-225-2554; www.panchosburritosnj.com/; Happy Hour noon-6 and 9pm-close every day; Huge menu, endless variety; Great guacamole; Many margaritas to choose from; Friendly service; Large, I mean huge portions; Festive, laid back & fun atmosphere. Outdoor seating. Even serve brunch. Inexpensive and casual. Amazing drinks. One entrée enough for 3 people. Famously fun cocktails. Hard to stay sober here.
Roman Pizza: Italian; New Milford; 858 River Rd; 24/12/$25; 201-265-9371; http://www.romanpizzarestaurant.com; Family oriented, casual Pizzeria with an endless menu; Amazing for take-out; Can dine-in and enjoy the huge family sized portions that feature dozens of different sandwiches, hot & cold; Salads; Pasta dishes, Chicken/Veal dishes and of course their famous pizza.
*Sanzari New Bridge: Italian; New Milford; 105 Old New Bridge Rd @ New Bridge; 25/20/$52; 201-692-7700; Large, interesting menu with daily specials; Soft Shell crab in season is spectacular; Creative entrees and appetizers; Menu has the usual classics; Spacious setting and dining room; Bar area more lively and energetic; Well maintained; Great service. Fairly fancy evening overall; Ahi Tuna salad, Calamari Oreganate, Bufala Mozz, Smoked Salmon appetizer, Egg Ravioli. Tons of seafood; Huge menu. Quality is top shelf. http://sanzaris.com/
*Adega Grill: Portuguese/ Spanish; Newark; 130 Ferry St @ Madison; 24/20/$48; 973-589-8830; www.adegagrill.com; One of the fancier of the genre; Gigantic portions of incredible fish and seafood dishes; Large wine list; Epic quality sangria; Friendly staff in lively yet elegant-ish setting. Romantic option in the area. Hip adjacent lounge. Try the grilled seabass or lobster tails; Service is excellent. Has a large bar. Grilled Calamari as well.
Allegro Seafood Grill: Portuguese; Newark; 58 Kossuth St; 24/22/$33; 973-344-4500; www.allegroseafoodgrill.com; Amazing portions that promise a great bang for the buck; Nice outdoor patio for summer; Smallish place and parking tricky at peak hours; Courteous service; Great alternative; Garlic shrimp special; Pitchers of sangria; Menu is endless – features tons of seafood and fish, especially lobster and shrimp. They will grill calamari for you and add it to a salad. Italian influences on the chef. Lots of steaks on menu as well. https://www.yelp.com/biz/allegro-seafood-grill-newark-2
Brasilia Restaurant: Brazilian; Newark; 99 Monroe; 22/19/$38; 973-465-1227; www.brasiliagrill.net; All the meat you can eat – servers come around with endless selections; Wonderful rodizio; Huge salad bar as well; Lively atmosphere; One of the better restaurants in Newark. Ah, did I say all you can eat? Has a la carte options as well. Try their caipirinha. Palm trees & colorful décor – if slightly cheesy. $30 for the rodizio/ salad bar.
Casa d’Paco: Spanish; Newark; 73 Warwick St; 25/20/$45; 862-307-9466; www.yelp.ca/biz/casa-d-paco-newark; Incredible reviews that are well earned at this wonderful Tapas Bar; Super friendly and accommodating service; Try the passion fruit sangria; Closed Mondays; Parking is tricky at times; Extremely affordable; Most of the tapas are seafood oriented; I’d get several Tapas and share for the table.
Casa Vasca: Spanish; Newark; 141 Elm St; 23/16/$36; 973-465-1350; www.yelp.ca/biz/casa-vasca-newark; Huge menu of amazing seafood selections; Steak selections as well; Massive portions of food all served with soup and rice; Shellfish central; Can dine at the bar. Stands out among the many Newark options. Bit off the beaten track; Full bar; Free parking; Menu is huge. Attentive service and reasonably priced.
Chateau of Spain: Spanish; Newark; 11 Franklin @ Broad-Mulberry; 21/17/$37; 973-624-3346; www.chateauofspain.com; Serving classical Spanish and Portuguese cuisine; Also – great variety of American classics; Casual bistro bar set up; Try the seafood paella, Shrimp enchiladas, Snow Crab legs, broiled lobster, King Crab, a variety of steaks and lamb and veal. Great location near Prudential Center. Maybe too much American food on Spanish menu?
Don Pepe: Spanish; Newark; 844 McCarter Hwy @ Raymond; 21/17/$51; 973-623-4662; www.donpeperestaurant.com; Truly the home for gigantic portions of lobster and steak; Tasty sangria is a must beverage here; The seafood paellas are outstanding as well; More than enough to share; Lobster stuffed with crabmeat; Shrimp in garlic sauce; Various steaks, veal chops – oh it’s just perfect for a feast. Excellent pricing. Service is iffy. Location is very close to Prudential Center.
Fernandes Steakhouse: Portuguese; Newark; 152-158 Fleming Av; 25/21/$40; 973-589-4099; Rodizio at its best; Servers come by with endless meat offering on skewers; About 12 types for $38. Huge portions if ordering off menu- seafood is outstanding; Large salad bar/ buffet; Festive atmosphere; Great bang for the buck. Perfect for a boys night out; Your stomach will be stuffed. Rave reviews from all sources. Large place. Broiled seafood combo; King Crab; Lobster Tails; Has a full bar. $9 martinis. www.fernandessteakhouse.com;
*Fornos of Spain: Spanish; Newark; 47 Ferry St; 26/20/$52; 973-589-4767; www.fornosrestaurant.com; Huge portions of delectable steak, seafood and paella; Great for large groups or sharing; One of the more famous Ironbound Spaniards; Sangria to die for; Fun, festive atmosphere. Surf and Turf is worth trying. Paella is excellent. Lobsters calling your name. Free parking; 250 seat restaurant. Pricy for genre. Excellent service – reliable. Wine cellar has 450 different bottles; Nice dining room and separate bar area. Grilled Calamari.
*Hobby’s Deli: Deli; Newark; 32 Branford Pl; 25/12/$19; 973-623-0410; www.hobbysdeli.com/; Load up before a Devils game; Monstrous sized sandwiches; Super-friendly staff, welcoming feel; Soups are incredible; Grilled Cheese; Endless list of sandwich options and platters. Hungry writing this! Lunch and breakfast and dinner before Devils games. Website has mouthwatering images of menu. Closed Sunday. Just rave reviews. Serve beer/wine.
Mompou: Spanish; Newark; 77 Ferry St @ Congress; 23/22/$37; 973-578-8114; www.mompoutapas.com; Tapas house; About 20 different Tapas to choose from which can be served in larger portions as well. Sophisticated with a beautiful courtyard; Entertainment on weekends. Lounge feel; Happy Hour weekdays from 4-7pm; Not your typical Ironbound restaurant. Outdoor courtyard. Full bar. Has Grilled Calamari on menu; Sea Bass. Really just a Tapas house with $12 cocktails and Spanish wines. More of an upscale feel.
Sabor Unido: Portuguese; Newark; 77 Jefferson St; 25/16/$33; http://saborunido.com/; Brazilian options as well. Incredible Yelp reviews. Family run; Near Adega; Tons of steak/ beef options – half and full sizes available; Grilled Calamari, Cod, Red Snapper and tons of Chicken entrees. BYO. Lunch or Dinner. Super casual setting. Likely better for lunch.
*Seabra Marisqueira: Portuguese; Newark; 87 Madison St @ Ferry; 26/16/$37; 973-465-1250; Authentic seafooder; Large portions; Free parking; Great service though bland décor; Full bar; Notable selections are Codfish, Grilled Jumbo shrimp, King Crab Legs, and Twin grilled Lobster tails. Lobster stuffed with crab as well; Lots of steaks as well; Don’t forget a pitcher of sangria. Rave reviews. Grilled Calamari.
Sol Mar: Portuguese; Newark; 267 Ferry; 24/20/$37; 973-344-8540; www.solmar-restaurant.com/; Fresh fish, seafood and steaks; Connected to a bar; More laid back for the area; Fabulous value and spot on service; Get taken back to Lisbon; Smaller menu than most of this genre as they focus on quality. Just a gorgeous interior; Website has a great written description of the culture of the place. Stuffed Lobster with Crab meat! Quality galore.
Spain: Spanish; Newark; 419 Market St @ Raymond; 22/18/$38; 973-344-0994; www.spainrestaurant.com; Beautiful murals on the walls; Well-spaced tables, lively atmosphere; Old school Spain feel; Giant menu focusing on splendid seafood entrees including Lobster; Various combinations and sauces to choose from; Noted Spanish wine list. Huge portions of steak and seafood. Close to train. Free parking. Known for the Paella.
Kamal Palace: Indian; North Arlington; 623 Ridge Rd; 24/18/$33; 201-991-8282; http://kamalpalacenj.com/; Hidden gem for sure; Dirt cheap weekend buffet for lunch is under $12; Tandoori chicken perfectly done; Huge menu that offers anyone something great for dinner; Mulligatawny Soup is yum; Dozen different Naans; I think this is the biggest Indian menu I’ve ever seen; Chicken Makhani; 3 different Goat curries; 100+ entrees.
Lassoni: Italian; North Arlington; 602 Ridge Rd.; 24/17/$36; 201-998-0911; http://lassonirestaurant.com/index.html; Truly authentic cuisine served in this non-descript spot with a nice bar; What makes it a hit is the large variety of appetizers, hot and cold including calamari salad and also the specials; Wonderful pasta dishes; Fresh ingredients and open daily; Extremely reliable for traditional Italian fare.
Mykonos: Greek; North Arlington; 440 Ridge Rd; 24/17/$37; 201-991-5055; www.mykonosrestaurantnj.com/; Menu is fantastic and food quality very high for this local neighborhood favorite; The assorted App platter for just $15 includes 6 kinds of dips and stuffed grape leaves. Grilled Calamari, Seafood Orzo, and fantastic versions of Moussaka and Pastichio stand out. Give it a try! Very casual setting.
Brazeiro Churrascaria: Brazilian; North Bergen; 7420 Broadway; 23/23/$40; 201-662-1212; www.brazeirobbq.com/; The county needed a great Churrascaria and this place doesn’t disappoint; Waiters come by with an endless flow of delectable meats on skewers for you to sample; 4-7pm Happy Hour; Salad Bar has tons of side dishes and other foods to pick from; Beef, pork, chicken, ribs, steaks all available. Only $30 for the rodizio! Wines for $20/bottle – 20 different types to choose from.
DiPalma Brothers Restaurant: Italian; North Bergen; 8728 Kennedy Blvd @ 87th; 22/22/$36; 201-868-3005; You are actually eating in an antique shop; Buy while you eat! Cozy feel with all of ‘grandma’s’ recipes; BYO; Rustic feel; Hearty Italian menu loaded with classic pasta selections; Unique experience Their meatballs are delish. Family style portions; Love the affordable prices. Closed Monday. Great find. http://www.dipalmabros.com/
*La Sorrentina: Italian; North Bergen; 7831 Bergenline Av; 26/14/$31; 201-869-8100; Near perfection; Top of the line in quality; Brick oven pizza is heralded; Fried Calamari; Try the 4 cheese pizza; Linguini and clam sauce; Basically- nothing fancy- just top preparations. Great wine list. Family run. And, dirt cheap! Insane popularity on Yelp; Huge portions. Real old school Italian from cooks who can do it up right. Tons of specials. http://www.sorrentinanb.com/
Rumba Cubana: Cuban; North Bergan; 1807 45th St @ Tonnelle; 23/16/$25; 201-854-4000; As traditional as it gets; Dirt cheap prices and the real deal on food; Full bar; Huge, monstrous portions; Mojito is the signature drink; Island décor inside; Outdoor seating available; Lots of fun on weekends; Oxtail on Wednesday; Try a Cuban sampler platter; Best for lunch or weekday dining for newcomers. www.rumbacubanarestaurant.com/;
Sabor: New Latin; North Bergen; 8809 River Rd; 24/21/$41; 201-943-6366; www.saborlatinbistro.com; Large menu featuring selections from all over the Caribbean; They serve hot and cold tapas style dishes as well as full hot entrees; Pricy for the genre; Gorgeous setting- festive and polished. Ideal for a date and also solid for a drink. They serve Brunch as well. Seasonal outdoor seating; DJ & dancing after 11pm weekends; Full bar. Guac, Pork Shank, Skirt Steak. Dancing on weekends later in night. Try Tapas Thursdays. Newly renovated.
*Greek Village: Greek; Northvale; 254 Livingston St; 26/14/$35; 201-750-8570; Local favorite; Small in size with about 15 tables; BYO; Hummus, spanakopita, chicken souvlaki, and gyros stand out; Very inexpensive and delicious; Fabulous for a neighborhood joint. Absolutely rave reviews from locals. Diamond in the rough- go early for a table. Family owned; Grilled calamari; Less crowded for lunch. Take out popular here. Greek salad. http://greekvillagenj.com/
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;
*Dimora Ristorante: Italian; Norwood; 100 Piermont Rd; 25/20/$55; 201-750-5000; Old school family owned restaurant; Chef Gino will take care of you; Classic Italian menu- large selection to choose from; Very friendly feel, full of regulars; Not the cheapest place; Always crowded and busy- can be noisy. Full bar; Certainly overpriced for the area and genre but quality is there. Whole bronzino & Osso Buco. Endless specials. https://www.yelp.com/biz/dimora-restaurant-norwood
*Ragazzi: Italian; Norwood; 530 Livingston St; 25/19/$33; 201-660-7950; http://ragazzirestaurantlounge.com/; What a wonderful addition to Northeast Bergen county; Affordable Italian cuisine in a clean airy setting featuring a well-spaced outdoor patio with extremely comfortable furniture; Full bar; Large portions of food fit for sharing; The Mixed Bruschetta, Calamari Fritti, Chilled Seafood Salad, Pappardelle Carbonara, Shrimp & Scallop Risotto, Pork Chop special, and Veal Sorrentino all are favorites. Be sure to say hello to super friendly owners Anthony & Damiano. Whole staff is great.
*Café L’Amore: Italian; Oakland; 455 Ramapo Valley Rd @ Rt 287; 24/16/$36; 201-337-5558; www.cafelamore.org Often as many specials as items on the menu; Locals flock to this family owned traditional Italian. Incredibly flavorful sauces are the trademark for pasta dishes and meat dishes alike; Though few chances are taken, they are masters at what they prepare; Friendly service to boot. BYO as well. Sea Bass; Large portions. Hole in the wall that produces serious food. Pizzas are amazing too.
Cenzino: Italian; Oakland; 589 Ramapo Valley Rd @ Franklin Av; 25/21/$62; 201-337-6693; www.cenzinos.com; Very consistent cuisine, expertly prepared by owners; Decent bar scene; Closed Sundays; Extremely good looking menu with mouth-watering selections to please anyone; Certainly a must-try. Ultra-friendly service; Seared Ahi Tuna; Mozz Caprese; Lobster tails; Tons of pasta dishes; Excellent service always. Upscale Italian.
Meson Madrid: Spanish; Palisades Park. 343 Bergen Blvd; 22/20/$35; 201-947-1038; Website is excellent. Pan Seared Sea Bass; Beef Short Ribs; Prime Rib; Huge portions of their non-tapas menu; About 30 Tapas as well; Twin Lobster special for $30.95; Wonderful Paellas; Broiled Lobster tails; Full Bar; Fun vibe; While not as good as the best Ironbound Spaniards, it is still a solid option. Been around 30+ years. www.mesonmadrid.com
So Moon Nan Jip: Korean; Palisades Park; 238 Broad St; 22/13/$33; 201-944-3998; First of all- enter by the entrance with the Korean lettering (hard to find); Seafood Pancake is notoriously good; Kalbi – Korean BBQ is outstanding and so flavorful; Need two orders for them to let you cook it ($25 a pop); Service is fast and excellent; The place is very popular and authentic; New York Koreans flock here even. Sushi on menu. Excellent Kimchi. Serve beer and wine only. https://www.yelp.com/biz/so-moon-nan-jip-palisades-park
*Biagio’s: Italian; Paramus; 299 Paramus Rd; 22/19/$36; 201-652-0201; www.biagios.com; Popular high volume restaurant with a good bar scene- especially late; Dining room & separate bar-lounge that serves food; The usual hugely long menu that will please most if not all palates; Great for catering or to host a birthday party; Service can be hit or miss if other large parties there; Reliable overall & a fun atmosphere. Blue crab ravioli; Appetizer menu stands out – meat and cheese plates and tons of hot/cold.
*Bonefish Grill: Seafood; Paramus; 601 From Rd @ Ridgewood; 21/19/$41; 201-261-2355; www.bonefishgrill.com; Mini-chain seafood restaurant – basically an upscale Red Lobster; From Outback’s management; Opens 4pm daily; Website is great – listing food and drink daily specials; Well prepared grilled fish and seafood entrees; Excellent appetizers; Next to great shopping center; Full bar w/ creative drinks. Try bang bang shrimp;
*Capital Grille: Steakhouse; Paramus; Garden State Plaza; 25/24/$73; 201-845-7040; www.thecapitalgrille.com; NY pricing for steaks expertly prepared; Best side is the Lobster Mac n Cheese; Shellfish available; Delicious salads including Mozz & Tomato; Lamb Rib Chops, Sirloin, Porterhouse, Filet Mignon, Lobster, Sushi grade Seared Tuna and Lobster and crab stuffed shrimp. Great wine list; Perfect for power lunch. All so good and the service is top notch. Not a fan of chains normally but this one hits the mark.
*Chakra: American; Paramus; 144 Rt 4 E @ Arcadian; 21/24/$53; 201-556-1530; www.chakrarestaurant.com/; Stunning décor and interior made for impressing a date; Asian fusion/ American cuisine; Romantic with a large selection of fancy cocktails; Palm trees add to the serene feel; There is a lounge as well; Later at night more of a younger scene; Attractive servers; Sushi on the menu; Cumfy booths available. Nice eclectic menu, unique.
*EL Cid: Spanish; Paramus; 205 Paramus Rd @ Century – Rt 4; 24/17/$48; 201-843-0123; Lobster central. All time huge portions of seafood, Paella, ribs, and Prime Rib; Try the Twin Lobsters = ‘3’ one-pounders; Tasty sangria; Overall- fun, family style dining for not too much! Mixed bag on service. Recent reviews have prices going up and cleanliness going down. Prime Rib is gigantic. Excellent sangria. More than enough to share.
*Grand Lux: American; Paramus; 1 Garden St Plaza Mall; 21/20/$35; 201-909-0399; www.grandluxcafe.com/; Might be 200 items on the menu; Similar to Cheesecake factory in style/ theme but slightly fancier; Huge variety of food and drinks; Fun time for a relaxed family dinner or lunch. Great Martinis and cocktails. Actually an ideal bar scene for a break from shopping or a liquid lunch with bar food. Does get packed on Saturday.
*Legal Sea Foods: Seafood; Paramus; 1 Garden St Plaza; 23/19/$48; 201-843-8483; www.legalseafoods.com; For years a great experience; Lobster Roll, Chowder, Fried Clams, Blackened Raw Tuna, Crab Cakes, and Surf and Turf – all outstanding; Try the Lobster bake; Best chain on the east coast. They are a polished product; If you ever make it to Boston – go to Park Square location. Great drinks from bar as well. In seafood restaurant-lacking Bergen County, it’s a great place to go.
*Mantra: Indian; Paramus; 275 Rt 4 W @ Forest; 24/24/$42; 201-342-8868; www.mantranj.com; High end Indian; Stylish lounge feel; Chic, romantic setting; While expensive for the genre- the exotic selections are sure to please; Great bar scene; Not the usual endless Indian menu- more ‘Table’ like (hotspot in Manhattan). The Rogan Josh and Chicken Mahkani are tops; Incredible $14 lunch buffet on weekends…. A steal. Top service.
Seoul Galbi: Korean; Paramus; 123 Paramus Road; 23/17/$36; 201-843-8885; http://www.seoulgalbi.com/; Korean BBQ in northern Bergen county so you don’t have to drive to Fort Lee or 36th Street in Manhattan. Daily for lunch or dinner. Full combo meals for 2-3 for $60 with apps. Huge a la carte menu with affordable pricing $12-$18. Features a full bar. Fun for groups. Stews and soups are outstanding.
103 Prime: Steakhouse; Park Ridge; 103 Spring Valley Rd; 22/24/$62; 201-391-2220; www.103prime.com/; Large Italian Seafood-Steakhouse at this gorgeous home called Valentino’s; Menu includes cheese and salami plates, Burrata, Grilled Octopus; Oysters Rockefeller, Homemade Meatballs, a raw bar, Tuna Tartare, Ahi Tuna, Shrimp Scampi, Bronzino, Veal Chop and an assortment of steaks. Relatively affordable for the genre. Classy service. Inexpensive beer list, wine and more pricy cocktails.
*Esty Street: American; Park Ridge; 86 Spring Valley Rd; 26/23/$66; 201-307-1515; www.estystreet.com; New American seasonal menu; Décor replicates a library- formal-ish feel; Serious dining and you will be taken care of. Soft Shell Crab appetizer looks amazing. Brunch menu (pricy) and a nice bar. Sophisticated-cool. Private club feel; Average sized portions. Tuna tartar appetizer. Lobster Caesar salad. Great for special occasions but bring your charge card – expensive. Tons of specials – expensive – but half portion available.
Greek Corner Grill: Greek; Park Ridge; 99 Park Av; 24/17/$36; 201-476-1400; www.greekcornergrill.com/; Fantastic family run business with super friendly service; Menu includes Grilled Calamari; Stuffed Shrimp; Saganaki; Pan seared meatballs; Any 4 spreads; Gyros and Souvlakis; Rack of Lamb; Grilled Shrimp and the usual Greek classics; BYO; Can’t go wrong here and you will feel at home. Casual – not fancy. Very cheap.
*Park Steakhouse: Steakhouse; Park Ridge; 151 Kinderkamack Rd; 25/20/$59; 201-930-1300; The house specialty is the Sirloin; 80 seat dining room; Top shelf service and excellent cocktails- especially martinis; Perfectly cooked steaks and seafood; 200 bottles of wine; Raw Bar; Really innovative menu with fabulous appetizers to choose from; Excellent website and top of the line service. Female friendly menu as well including Ahi Tuna, Buffalo Mozz, Grilled Octopus, Raw Bar, Chilean Sea Bass. Suckling Pig. 201 Mag Best Steakhouse. www.theparksteakhouse.com;
Pesto Italian Bistro: Italian; Park Ridge; 168 Kinderkamack; 24/17/$41; 201-690-6101; http://www.pestonj.com/; Small bistro setting with excellent service; Great for private events; Italian classics fill the traditional menu; Overall quite inexpensive; Can order chicken or veal with 8 preparations to pick from; Not a huge menu and nothing exotic; BYO helps with already low bill. Loved by Yelpers. Very casual.
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.
E & V: Italian; Paterson; 320 Chamberlain Av; 23/16/$32; 973-942-8080; www.evrestaurant.com; Seafood is excellent here; Warm, family environment- very casual; In existence since 1967; Family style dining options; Massive menu – whatever you want is there; Spacious; They care about their customers; Inexpensive but Cash only. Sell beer & wine only. Absolute diamond in the ruff. Bottles of wine under $20. Lobster or Calamari Fra Diavolo; Linguini with Garlic & Oil;
La Hacienda: Mexican; Paterson; 102 McLean Blvd; 24/18/$36; 973-345-1255; http://haciendarestaurant.com/home; Enjoy Margaritas & Mexican Beer; The combo appetizer includes quesadilla, grilled shrimp, empanadas, calamari and wings; Nachos outstanding; Dinner combos are huge and tasty; Basically a typical Mexican menu and very affordable pricing; Great seafood soup and grilled items.