*Café Panache: American; Ramsey; 130 E Main St @ Franklin Tpk; 25/23/$63; 201-934-0030; www.cafepanachenj.com; More of a formal dining experience; High end cuisine, expertly prepared; Spot on service and a relaxing setting provide for a true old school dining treat. Dress nicely. Short menu but everything is superbly prepared. BYO helps with cost; Seasonal menu – check website. First class all the way. Try filet Mignon ravioli. Has gone downhill slightly from its hay-days.
Gao Thai Kitchen: Thai; Ramsey; 63 W Main St; 25/19/$36; 201-962-2691; www.gaothaikitchen.com; Open daily; BYO; Terrific, lengthy menu; Elegant setting – tranquil; Expertly prepared Thai cuisine; Try the jumbo lump crab fried rice, Shrimp Pad Thai or Duck rad prig – ½ a boneless crispy duck; Yellow curry seafood also great; So much to choose from. Great lunch specials. Pleasant service; Spot on quality. Incredibly good.
Greek City: Greek; Ramsey; 1300 Rt 17N; 23/16/$37; 201-760-2500; www.greekcityrestaurant.com/; Open daily for lunch and dinner; BYO; Amazing quality and tasty food; Assortment of Greek spreads includes 4 choices; Grilled calamari appetizer; Stuffed calamari; Spanakopita; Sautéed shrimp with Feta; Lots of salads; Moussaka; Braised Lamb; Lamb Chops; Grilled seafood combo; Whole fish. What a menu!! Casual setting.
*Kinchley’s Tavern: Pizza; Ramsey; 586 N. Franklin Tpke; 24/13/$21; 201-934-7777; Known for Thin Crust pizza; Friendly service; Bring cash; Extremely popular and been around for years; Fans absolutely love their pies. No slices; Has other Italian dishes as well. Nice drink specials – pitchers of beer. Great relaxing place for friends or family. Endless varieties of pies to pick from. www.yelp.com/biz/kinchleys-tavern-ramsey
*Varka: Greek/ Seafood; Ramsey; 30 N Spruce St @ Main; 26/23/$59; 201-995-9333; www.varkarestaurant.com; Elegant, mature dining; Cottage house dining room feel; Hot bar scene; Outdoor patio in summer- known for TOP al fresco dining; 12-15 whole fishes to choose from- premium quality; Steaks selections; Seafood dishes; Expensive but worth it. Manhattan feel in Ramsey; Top of the line service and ambiance. Large menu for a gourmet place. Serve King Crab Legs. Grilled Calamari. Top Greek restaurant in Bergen Cty. 201 Mag winner for Best Greek, Seafood, & Mediterranean. Raw bar with shellfish; Lobster – done 6 ways.
Chan’s Dragon Inn: Chinese; Ridgefield; 630 Broad; 23/17/$36; 201-943-1276; While the menu is fairly typical of a Chinese restaurant, the food is extra good. Also has a full bar with lots of fun Asian inspired drinks like the Zombie; Great, affordable lunch specials with soup included; Décor almost cheesy – but they do Chinese right. Polynesian set up; Service and prices are great. www.yelp.com/biz/chans-dragon-inn-ridgefield
*Tutto a Modo Mio: Italian; Ridgefield; 482 Bergen Blvd; 25/15/$45; 201-313-9690; http://tuttoamodomio.com/; Classic menu of locals enjoying consistent cuisine; BYO; Chilean Sea Bass stands out; Very friendly service and the owners will take care of you. Grilled Calamari, Stuffed Artichoke, Stuffed Talapia, Bronzino, Veal Osso Buco, Bufalo Caprese and tons of pasta dishes. Huge assortment of specials; They will alter any dish to fit your desires; Chef is absolutely outstanding; Try this diamond in the rough.
MK Valencia: American; Ridgefield Park; 228 Main St; 23/22/$48; 201-373-0228; Beautiful interior ideal for dates and romance as well as fun & classy night out; Full bar- pricy mixed drinks; NYC vibe; Happy hour specials at bar; Caprese Salad, Lots of pasta dishes, Short Ribs, Hanger Steak, Osso Bucco, & raw bar. Great menu for anyone. Worth the splurge; Brunch served- bottomless drinks for $12 extra. Very cool spot. www.mkvalenciarestaurant.com;
*A Mano: Italian; Ridgewood; 24 Franklin Av @ Chestnut; 22/17/$31; 201-493-2000; www.amanopizza.com; Very attractive and date-friendly pizzeria that serves other basic Italian specialties. Wood burning oven; 30 foot high ceilings; BYO; Salads and paninis also stand out. Ideal for weekend lunch. On your first visit – get the Margherita Pizza or A Mano Pizza (Buff Mozz & cherry tomatoes); Just a solid reliable neighborhood place that is a safe bet for a tasty lunch.
*Brooklyn’s Coal-Burning Pizzeria: Italian; Ridgewood; 15 Oak St @ Ridgewood Av; 25/12/$20; 201-493-7600; No slices served; BYO except Hackensack location which has beer/ wine; Fresher than fresh coal over pizza; Truly melt in your mouth pizza; Crust is beyond outstanding. Plenty of tables and it’s ideal for a heavenly lunch. http://brooklynspizza.net/
Café 37: New American; Ridgewood; 37 S Broad St; 24/21/$59; 201-857-0437; www.cafe-37.com/; Foodies rejoice here at former Latour chef’s new date-friendly, mature restaurant; Dishes include Ahi Tuna, Pan Seared Salmon, Diver Scallops, Pork tenderloin, Grilled Australian Lamb chops, Short Ribs. BYO policy. Beautiful looking place; Smallish portions and not inexpensive. To me it’s a worthwhile adventure. Fresh Buff Mozz. Closed Mondays. The new Café Panache?
*Dim Sum Dynasty: Chinese; Ridgewood; 75 Franklin Av; 20/15/$28; 201-652-0686; www.dimsumdynastynj.com; Cantonese BYO; Hong-Kong style Dim Sum on weekends; Push carts and all; While not Chinatown, great for area; Clean, pleasant setting; Mixed service and always a quality meal. Ideal for lunch and obviously Dim Sum. Won’t blow you away but a nice sit-down option for the genre. Starts 11am weekends. Go early.
Kailash: Indian; Ridgewood; 22 Oak St; 23/17/$36; 201-251-9693; www.kailashindiancuisine.com; Known for excellent Naan and Chicken Tikki Masala; BYO; Lunch buffet available; Perhaps they are the reason Brick Lane Curry House closed! Not yet been here but on the list to try. Fans of spicy food rave. Calming vibe. Good service. Garlic Naan to die for. Great reviews. Best suited for lunch or weekday dinner. Casual setting.
La Lanterna: Italian; Ridgewood; 29 W Ridgewood Av; 21/21/$40; 201-444-5520; www.lalanternaofridgewood.com/; Try the Carbonara or the Scallops with Risotto; Family run BYO Italian; Great service; Outdoor seating in summer; Closed Monday; Cute, welcoming scene; It does have a fairly limited menu but with Italian you can always find something; Run by Ridgewood locals. Cute inside- romantic setting. Dinner only.
*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.
Lisa’s Mediterranean Kitchen: Turkish; Ridgewood; 28 Oak St; 21/20/$37; 201-251-8686; Belly dancing on Thursdays bring energy to this friendly, high quality Turkish restaurant; Mixed Grill is excellent; BYO; Authentic cooking and ingredients. Extremely friendly service; Great effort made here. Massive menu with tons of seafood, kebabs etc. Order 4-5 appetizers instead! Mixed Appetizer plate, Homemade Manti (dumplings) are way to go. Whole Bronzino;
Mediterraneo’s: Mediterranean; Ridgewood; 23 N Broad St; 23/19/$45; 201-447-0022; Reliable regional fare; Great outdoor seating in the spring and summer; Phyllo rolls, Falafel, Lamb dishes delish; Cuisine influenced by Greece and Turkey; BYO; Even has a Spanish Tapas menu – outstanding; Located in a ‘cute’ welcoming street in always nice Ridgewood. Offer 3 menus- tapas specials, 1 for fresh fish & 1 for featured entrees. Bronzino & Paellas stand out. 201 Mag Best Med. www.mediterraneoridgewood.com/;
Mekong Grill: Vietnamese; Ridgewood; 24 Chestnut St; 22/16/$28; 201-445-0011; Authentic southern Vietnamese that will win you over; Delicious Pho soups and other noodle soups – over a dozen to choose from; Endless appetizers and larger entrée choices; Comfortable, contemporary space; Lunch and dinner served but closed Mondays. Family run. BYO; 201 Mag Top 3 Viet. Sticky Rice entrée. Lunch would be best.
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.
Park West Tavern: American; Ridgewood; 30 Oak St @ Franklin; 21/17/$45; 201-445-5400; www.parkwesttavern.com/; From the management of The Park steakhouse in Park Ridge; Nice happy hour in their full bar; Great atmosphere; Steaks and meat items are the way to go; Weekend brunch; Tons of beer, wine and fun cocktail options; $25 bottles of wine; Date friendly; Not a huge menu, however. I suggest sharing a few items off the ‘community dishes’ (apps) menu, such as Lobster or Kobe beer sliders and enjoy the bar. Chilled Seafood Platter.
Pearl Restaurant: New American; Ridgewood; 17 S Broad St @ Ridgewood; 23/20/$48; 201-857-5100; Nice ever changing menu based on what fresh ingredients available; About 15 main courses to select from – half seafood; Monkfish, Red Snapper, Salmon, Lamb, Duck, & a couple pasta items usually available; Date friendly – romantic; Open daily 5-10pm; BYO; Often have Burrata, Little Neck Clams, and homemade pastas. Bistro setting. http://www.pearlridgewood.com/
Raymond’s: American; Ridgewood; 101 E Ridgewood Av; 24/18/$28; 973-744-9263; www.raymondsnj.com; Brunch is flat out amazing here- Mmm French toast; B-L-D American BYO institution; Looks like a soda parlor; Outdoor seating; Wildly popular – long lines for Sunday Brunch; Best for Lunch or Breakfast. Fantastic burgers, sandwiches; Friendly service; Locals rave about it. Eggs Benedict, French Toast stand out.
*Ridge Thai: Thai; Ridgewood; 50 Chestnut St @ Franklin; 22/17/$32; 201-493-9929; www.ridgethai.com/; Delicately made traditional Thai dishes; Stylish, relaxing décor; Excellent menu with a large assortment of curries, duck, chicken and noodle dishes; BYO; Won 2009 Best of Bergen award for Thai food. The usual huge menu for a Thai restaurant. Small place – 10 or so tables so come early. Great lunch specials. Thai curries amazing.
S. Egidio: Italian; Ridgewood; 17 N Broad St; 25/16/$37; 201-389-3525; http://www.segidiopizza.com/; This pizzeria screams fresh ingredients and top service; Coal oven pizzas that are mouthwatering; Antipasto boards and selections to get you started; Burrata and Mozz di Bufalo; Prosciutto & Melon; 15 pizzas on menu; Closed Monday; BYO and they have sangria; Best possible place to go for lunch in Ridgewood.
Sakura-Bana: Japanese; Ridgewood; 43 Franklin Av; 25/15/$44; 201-447-6525; Outstanding sushi/ sashimi and special rolls; BYO; Fairly steep prices typical of Ridgewood; Large menu with tons of combinations to choose from; Also have hot entrees including delicious tempura. Décor is average and it can get fairly crowded. Go early or during the week. Likely best for lunch (not romantic). Food = Yum. Extensive traditional menu. Swimmingly fresh sushi.
Village Green: American; Ridgewood; 36 Prospect St; 25/21/$65; 201-445-2914; www.villagegreenrestaurant.com; Small Plates; BYO; Romantic setting; This place specializes in a tasting menu- 5 courses for $65 and you get 4 items per course to choose from; Lunch tasting is 3 courses for $25; Food is outstanding and certainly a ‘foodie’ mainstay. Smallish portions. Really cute cottage house interior – date friendly. Former Latour chef runs the place.
Babylon: Mediterranean; River Edge; 606 Kinderkamack @ Monroe; 20/16/$31; 201-646-0005; www.babylonrest.com; Regional fare with a Turkish slant; BYO policy; Nothing fancy but great service; Food is always consistently good and reliable; Great menu featuring Lamb shank; Kebabs; Huge combo plates and various types of hummus. Pick 4 appetizers for $16.95. Café and deli attached to property. Calamari is fried- c’mon man!
*Fuki Sushi: Japanese; River Edge; 828 Kinderkamack Rd; 25/13/$42; 201-225-0169; http://www.fukisushi4u.com/; Small, family owned Sushi house; Small in size but the quality of sushi is outstanding; Extremely large selection of special rolls; Sushi swimmingly fresh and tempura top notch. It’s a BYO; Only 8 or so tables or you can sit at sushi bar; High quality sushi for sure. Try the Hamachi Dream special roll.
Joyce Chinese Cuisine: Chinese; River Edge; 478 Kinderkamack; 23/16/$35; 201-261-8858; www.joycechinese.com/; Lots of amazing dishes on this huge menu; Includes Sautéed & Spicy aromatic Crab – hard or soft shell; Great Crispy Duck; Frogs Legs; Mini Riblets; Basically, what makes them great is their sauces are so flavorful; BYO; Open daily for lunch or dinner; Lobster dishes; Almost an eclectic menu for genre. Management cares.
*Rugova: Italian; River Edge; 259 Johnson Ave @ Rt 4; 23/19/$46; 201-880-8445; From owners of Sear in Closter; Upscale Italian in a warm setting featuring a full, active bar scene; Spaciously placed tables; Stand outs include – Chilean Sea Bass, Rigatoni Bolognese, Shrimp Arrabbiata, Tuna Tartare, Grilled Veal Chop, and Soft Shell Crabs – in season; Large menu and always several specials which I suggest. Mixed service. www.yelp.com/biz/rugova-river-edge
*Sanducci’s Trattoria: Italian; River Edge; 620 Kinderkamack; 20/17/$30; 201-599-0600; www.sanduccis.com; Comfortable setting, casual; Huge menu full of Italian classics; Numerous pizzas, pastas, chicken and seafood dishes; Probably 20 appetizers to choose from including Grilled Calamari; BYO and they serve wine as well; Private parties, take-out orders; Even have lunch & dinner buffet dining on certain days. No Rez.
*Taste of Greece: Greek; River Edge; 935 Kinderkamack Rd; 25/17/$38; www.atasteofgreecenj.com/; Incredible reviews; Restaurant confirms grilled calamari; Known for grilled octopus, Greek classics, and grilled meat platters; Huge portions; Get the ‘any 3 dips’ appetizer; The Souvlaki and Kebob platters are delish; They of course feature Moussaka and Pistachio; Great bang for the buck. BYO; Casual – ideal for lunch after shopping.
DD Thai Cuisine: Thai; Rochelle Park; 184 W Passaic St; 23/14/$31; 201-880-8227; http://www.ddthaicuisine.com; Try the Drunken Noodles with chicken or shrimp or the Duck Tamarind at the authentic BYO Thai find in Rochelle Park; Various fried rice dishes or sides are incredible; SO inexpensive; Whole Red Snapper, various curries, Pad Thai. Downside is décor which is basic and not very memorable.
LongHorn Steakhouse: Steakhouse; Rochelle Park; 160 Rt 17 North; 20/18/$48; 201-587-0673; This is a chain restaurant I used to frequent in high school and college so it is dear to my heart; Remains quite reliable; Better than Outback; Try the Wild West shrimp; Ribeye; Salmon and Chicken options; Pretzel sticks with dipping sauces; T-Bone; Steak and Shrimp combos; Surf and Turf; Prime Rib; Blackened Shrimp; Ribs; and Lamb Chops. All for very cheap for the genre. http://www.longhornsteakhouse.com/locations/nj/rochelle-park/rochelle-park/5146;
*Nanni: Italian; Rochelle Park; 53 W Passaic St @ Rochelle; 21/19/$41; 201-843-1250; www.nanni.com; Been around over 25 years; Old world Italian, mature crowd; Large menu full of classic standards; Good, reliable cuisine; Can eat at the bar; Seafood salad, Mozz Caprese, Smoked Salmon, Escargot, clams & mussels galore, Seafood Risotto, endless pasta offerings; Lobster tails, Osso Bucco. Truly an endless menu. Great wine selection.
*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.
Nizi Sushi: Japanese; Rutherford; 300 Union Av; 26/18/$38; 201-804-7666; http://nizisushirutherford.com; Small place but great quality food and super friendly staff ; Incredibly rave reviews on Yelp & other sites; Calamari Tempura; Spicy Tuna Tartar to die for; Crab Meat soup; Sashimi by the piece is 3 pieces for $3 or $5-$6 for a Hand roll; They have 17 different regular rolls and 35 Special rolls to choose from – mouthwatering combinations. Also Udon, Korean items and Teriyaki combos.
Paisano’s Restaurant: Italian; Rutherford; 132 Park Av; 24/20/$43; 201-935-5755; www.paisanos.com; Favorite gathering place for locals; BYO; Back patio for summer; Very inexpensive overall; Lots of specials; Try the hot & sweet rub Rib Eye; Burrata; Bruschetta; Bronzino; Endless pasta dishes; Stuffed Pork Chops; Last Thursday of every month is comedy night. Portions are huge.
Sabor Peru: Peruvian; Rutherford; 8 Highland Cross @ Park; 23/15/$35; www.saborperunj.com; Locals rave about how authentic the cooking is; Hidden gem for sure; Closed Monday, Tuesday; Try one of these: numerous ceviche’s, seafood medley salad, one of a dozen home-made soups, or a Peruvian stir-fry which are made to order and delicious. Also have cheapo lunch specials; Noodle dishes. Brunch served. BYO; Improving reviews.
Yamada: Japanese; Rutherford; 55 Park Av @ Spring; 23/14/$35; 201-460-8700; http://www.yamadasushi.com/; Extremely affordable special rolls- around $9-$11; Massive menu; Regular rolls and sushi a la carte is $5 or less; Extremely fresh- you may think it alive; It is BYO; Store front décor and small. Welcoming place. People are shocked at how good the sushi is; Unexpected joys; Diamond in the rough. Not fancy so best for casual night. Great Ramen soup as well.
*Saddle River Inn: New American; Saddle River; 2 Barnstable Ct @ Saddle River Rd; 27/26/$61; 201-825-4016; High end elegance; Many French inspired dishes as well; Fancily prepared and presented masterpieces; New ownership and chef – but haven’t lost their touch; More affordable than you think as it is BYO; Perfect service; Spectacular setting; Only drawback is possibly serving sizes and the limited menu. Extremely romantic. Reservations a must. Closed Sunday & Monday. Tuna carpaccio; Caprese; Crabmeat salad; Sea Bass; Yellowfin Tuna; Lobster Risotto; www.saddleriverinn.com;
*I Gemelli: Italian; South Hackensack; 268 Huyler St; 26/17/$46; 201-487-4220; www.igemelliristorante.com; Just excellent food in a rather plain dining room – but made up for with excellent service; Amazing specials; BYO; Grilled Calamari App, Seafood Salad, Fresh Mozz & Tomato; Seafood Risotto. They will accommodate your special requests; You are treated so very well here; Worth the trip despite location. Hard to order a poor dish. Shockingly good. Closed Monday.
*Giostra: Italian; Tappan; 65 Old Tappan Rd; 28/20/$52; 845-848-2575; http://giostrany.com/; Family run Italian by an immensely talented brother duo; Large menu featuring daily specials; Knowledgeable and attentive staff; Food wise, you will be taken back to Italy; Try the absolutely perfect Grilled Octopus; Numerous homemade pasta dishes served beautifully; Full bar; They cater and are available for private events; Closed Monday; Other menu highlights: Seafood Salad, Littleneck clams with crabmeat, Mozz Tower, Grilled Langoustines, Braised Short Ribs, Veal Scaloppini, and seasonal Soft Shell Crabs. Top 5 Italian in Bergen and neighboring counties.
*Amarone: Italian; Teaneck; 63 Cedar Ln; 23/17/$41; 201-833-1897; www.amaroneristorante.net; Filled with locals; Large sized portions served with style in a consistently good eatery; Traditional setting – tables for four laid out with space; Average décor made up for by service and food. They will work with you on adjustments to the menu- they will grill your calamari; Authentic Italian service. Neighborhood regulars. Always improving. Has full bar. Menu is predictable Italian classics.
BV Tuscany: Italian; Teaneck; 368 Cedar; 25/22/$42; 201-287-0404; www.bvtuscany.com; Neighborhood Italian; Not a huge menu – 10 appetizers, 12 pastas; 15 entrees; Mouthwatering aroma and food; Food becoming great; Perfect for a weekday dinner in welcoming environment. Osso Bucco. Lobster Fra Diavolo; Benny the owner is all about his customers; Ever improving restaurant. Good for special occasions. Full bar. Sea Bass, Yellow Fin Tuna, Wild Boar – great menu. Rave reviews. Closed Mondays. Great for a date.
Regina’s: Steakhouse; Teaneck; 827 Teaneck Rd; 23/18/$54; 201-862-1996; http://reginassteakhouseandgrill.com/ Surprisingly high quality food and setting; Full bar; Lunch, dinner and parties welcome; Menu is far more than steaks; Choices include Lobster Roll, Mozz & Tomato; Great chopped salads; Filet, Rib Eye, NY Strip, Pork Chops, Bronzino, Lobster, Seafood Black Fettuccine, Duck, Mahi Mahi, Swordfish and Ahi Tuna. Happy Hour 3-7pm weekdays. Closed Sunday. Wine/cocktails $11.
*Vasili’s Taverna: Greek; Teaneck; 365 Queen Anne Rd; 24/15/$41; 201-287-1007; http://vasilistaverna.com; Family owned Greek tavern; Huge menu and it’s BYO; Open Mon-Sat 11:30am-10pm; Grilled Calamari appetizer; About 10 charbroiled fish selections to pick from; Wonderful chef specials; They also have the classic Greek dishes you’d expect in this very casual find. Outdoor patio in summer. Will work with you on menu; Lamb souvlaki; Try 5 different spreads for $14.
Yakitori 39: Japanese; Teaneck; 252 DeGraw Ave; 22/19/$38; 201-692-0700; www.yakitori39.com/; Yakitori, or grilled chicken on a skewer, done perfectly; Freshest chicken used; Beer & Wine served; Closed Monday; Besides chicken they have Lamb Chops, Pork Belly, Duck, a variety of vegetables and an endless selection of appetizers; You could order just 4 or 5 apps and share them and have a great meal. Great option for something different.
*Axia Taverna: Greek; Tenafly; 18 Piermont Rd; 24/23/$48; 201-569-5999; www.axiataverna.com; Upscale bi-level Greek house of goodness; Beautiful setting; Large, mouth-watering menu; As good as Greek gets; Live music on Tuesdays; Date or night out with the parents. They nail it- décor, food and service all tops. Reviews on Yelp and other sites off the charts. Try sautéed shrimp over risotto. Full bar. The fresh whole fish stand out.
*Palmer’s Crossing: American; Tenafly; 145 Dean Dr; 20/18/$45; 201-567-4800; www.palmerscrossingrestaurant.com/; Weekend Brunch buffet – Free champagne after noon; 11am-2pm; Happy Hour M-F 4-7pm w/ half priced apps & $3.50 beer, $4.50 wine & well. Bar menu for Apps is outstanding; Great thin crust pizzas; Dinner menu features Lobster Quesadillas; Gourmet burgers; Meatloaf; NY Sirloin; Seafood pasta.
*Sayola: Spanish; Tenafly; 50 Prospect Terrace; 22/23/$48; 201-379-4311; http://sayolarestaurant.com/; Such a gorgeous setting – the space is ideal for a date. They also have a large bar area away from the main dining room. Lobster, seafood, shrimp are their signatures; Spanish Tapas as well around 22 to pick from; Lots of main entrees – which are pricier – include veal, chicken and steak options and of course lots more seafood including Chilean Sea Bass.
*Simply Vietnamese: Vietnamese; Tenafly; 1 Highwood Av; 26/15/$32; 201-568-7770; Master chef Khanh “KT” Tran of Mo Pho fame has done it again with this Tenafly masterpiece; Creative, unique and most important delicious takes on Vietnamese dishes; The Pho soup, Curry Coconut shrimp, Chicken dumplings, Chili Garlic Shrimp, and Vietnamese spring rolls stand out; Just a delightful change of pace; The portions of the Pho soups are huge; Authentic as it comes. BYO. Huge menu. http://simplyvietnamese.info/
Beyti Kebab: Turkish; Union City; 4105 Park Av; 22/14/$27; 201-936-0640; http://www.beytikebabunioncity.com/ Extremely good Turkish restaurant; Great(ish) for dates or family; Baklava is epic; Very authentic cuisine; Kebabs solid- be prepared to eat lamb or chicken; BYO; Hummus and baba ghanoush outstanding. Belly dancers on Saturdays except Summer. Good bang for the buck. Endless menu. Lentil soup is great.
Five Star Thai: Thai; Union City; 324 29th St @ Palisade; 25/16/$32; 201-583-1800; Authentic, wildly flavorful dishes; Try the Thai dumplings, Spicy Shrimp Soup & Drunken Noodles; Pineapple fried rice; BYO; Large portions; Tons of options on the menu; Specials galore; Worth a try for sure. Off the charts ratings for the genre. Closed Tuesdays. Roasted Duck for only $17. Endless curry options. http://fivestarsthai.com/
Mi Bandera: Cuban; Union City; 518 32nd St; 21/19/$30; 201-348-2828; Generous portions of flavorful fare; Located above a supermarket; 20 years in business; Very solid service; Amazing sangria; Famous for their churrascos; Nice port chops; Flavorful steaks; Tropical themed décor; Staff makes an excellent effort; Fun energy and a great local option. Reliable for the genre. Very big menu. http://www.mibanderarestaurant.com/
Andreas Ristorante: Italian; Waldwick; 20 E Prospect St; 21/18/$45; 201-670-0275; www.andreasrestaurantnj.com/; Family neighborhood restaurant since 1984; Full bar; Signature Veal Chop; Lunch & Dinner; Large assortment of appetizers & soups; Mozz caprese; Entrees $20-$30; More than 50 dinner entrees to choose from; They have daily specials and will work with you; Gracious service. Menu is typical Italian classics.
Moshi Moshi: Japanese; Waldwick; 137 Franklin Tpke; 25/18/$43; 201-444-1130; www.sushimoshi.com/; Rave reviews all around; Endless menu with tons of rolls, special rolls, tempura, grilled selections, Soups and Teriyaki; Sashimi special with 22 pieces for $28. All appetizers (20+) are under $10. So affordable and so fresh. It is a small location not great for dates – more of a place for causal weekday dinner or lunch.
Village Grill: Italian/ Seafood; Waldwick; 71 Crescent; 21/19/$41; 201-670-8200; What a fun menu with Italian, Seafood, American and even Asian items – focus on Italian; Nice bar area with martinis, cocktails, and a good wine selection; Specials and drinks of the week; Weekday Happy hour; Menu includes Tuna sashimi, Shrimp Scampi, Pad Thai, Stuffed artichokes, tons of gourmet salads, Grouper, Talapia, Steaks, Paella and Fish Tacos as well as dozens of pasta and more traditional Italian dishes. Endless choice! www.villagegrillewaldwick.com/
*Bacari Grill: Italian; Washington Township; 800 Ridgewood Rd @ Pascack; 24/21/$45; 201-358-6330; http://bacarigrill.com/; Vastly improved restaurant since 2012 renovation/ menu changes; Huge selection of appetizers and main courses; Try the build your own antipasto bar – amazing; Fish dishes and pastas are delish; Seared Ahi Tuna; Scallops over Risotto; Grilled shrimp; Slow roasted duck; Tons of specials nightly; Classy service – healthy pours of wine; Great for private parties; Always packed so make a reservation. Brick oven individual pizzas as well. Sushi chef in house. Can’t go wrong here.
Charrito’s: Mexican; Weehawken; 974 Blvd East; 22/21/$38; 201-330-1130; www.loscharritos.com; Full bar; Family run, and well maintained. Housing the usual fair and numerous varieties of combos and exciting dishes; Insanely good Guacamole, made tableside; Not a huge place but always high energy and extremely reasonable prices. Beautiful views of Manhattan; Has 3 small Hoboken locations – very different. Brunch served.
*Chart House: Seafood; Weehawken; Pier D-T, Lincoln Harbor; 22/25/$66; 201-348-6628; www.chart-house.com; Eye popping panorama view of Manhattan skyline; Excellent seafood delicacies; Lunch served on weekends only; Seafood and Steak are ways to go; Good, spacious bar scene; Pricy- but worth it for the atmosphere. Ideal for a romantic date; Take a walk outside & gaze at Manhattan afterwards. National chain now. Lava cake dessert. Hummus Trio. Yellowfin Ahi Tuna; Mahi Mahi. Sea Bass. Happy Hour weekdays 4:30-6:00.
Hi-So Thai: Thai; Weehawken; 1903 Willow Av; 23/16/$27; 201-902-0991; www.hi-sothai.com/publish/; Very popular local Thai restaurant with endlessly large menu and fairly priced cuisine; Pad Thai and the various noodle dishes stand out; Right near the Lincoln Tunnel and it is BYO. Nothing overly unique about the place except for its consistency. Reliable Thai fair to be had before a night out in Hoboken. Cash only. Open daily 11:30am – 10pm.
*Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse: Steakhouse; Weehawken; 1000 Harbor Blvd @ 19th St; 26/22/$74; 201-863-5100; Easily the best chain steakhouse in the country; Sizzling butter-topped steaks are especially juicy; Huge sides and large variety; Great view of Manhattan; Large menu of steak and non-steak items; Spot on service; Not as stuffy as some competitors. Juiciest steaks I’ve had. Large variety and a nice bar menu. Specialty drinks & cocktails. Lots of seafood items as well. Ahi Tuna; Lobster; https://www.ruthschris.com/restaurant-locations/weehawken/
*Baci Italian Grill: Italian; Westwood; 36 Jefferson Av; 21/20/$44; 201-722-1900; http://baciwestwood.com/; Great bar scene –fully stocked; Classy dining area; Mozz and tomato special should be the go-to; Short ribs over orzo; Mixed reviews on dining room service; Restaurant will provide you with a date-friendly experience and solid weekday meal or weekend spot for appetizers and drinks. Ahi Tuna carpaccio!
*BiBi’z: American; Westwood; 284 Center Av @ Westwood; 20/21/$43; 201-722-8600; www.bibizlounge.com; Also a lounge with Ladies night on Thursdays; Daily happy hour 3-6:30pm; Very interesting all-day menu including seared tuna, chicken, beef, lamb, pasta, sandwiches, salads – everything. Only issue – mixed service quality. Lounge food is way to go over restaurant. Food and service going downhill in recent years. Stick to brunch or the bar/happy hour for tasty nibbles.
*Bop & Sushi: Japanese; Westwood; 441 Broadway; 25/18/$35; 201-722-8687; www.bopnsushi.com/; Amazing for lunch as it is casual – less fancy for dinner; BYOB; What is great – the menu. Absolutely huge menu with endless special rolls to choose from; Very fresh sushi and sashimi; Giant appetizer list. Rave reviews and certainly a hidden gem. Affordable too so you can order lots and share.
*Caffe Anello: Italian; Westwood; 429 Broadway; 27/21/$52; 201-786-8137; http://caffeanello.com/; Tuscan inspired cuisine from hot local chef John Vitale; Known for the freshest ingredients including fresh pasta made daily; Fresh Mozz made daily; Also all vegetables from a local farm; Cozy atmosphere and attentive service; Rez only and BYO; Try the Homemade Mozz, Bucatini Carbonara or ala Amatriciano; Chilean Sea Bass or Rib Eye. Amazing Italian take-out next door: Johnny’s. Both restaurants winners of several Best of Bergen categories.
Downtown Dhaba: Indian; Westwood; 31 Westwood Av; 23/19/$43; 201-664-0123; www.dhabadowntown.com/; Finally an Indian option in Westwood; Lunch & Dinner daily; BYO; Buffet on weekends; High quality food but mixed service so far; Opened mid 2017; Chef’s signature is the Butter chicken; Try the Lamb Bhuna Gosht or Rogan Josh. Lots of Naan to choose from. Delicious Indian.
Kimchi Smoke BBQ: Korean; Westwood; 301 Center Av; 25/17/$40; 201-497-6333; www.kimchismoke.com/; Kimchi, brisket, Korean Ribs and unreal comfort food are the draw here; Do not come here expecting traditional Korean cuisine; It is a BBQ restaurant with Korean influence; BBQ Chicken, Mac N Cheese and crazy good sandwiches. Do not expect to lose weight here. Wildly good reviews.
*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.
Mezza: Mediterranean; Westwood; 20 Jefferson Av; 24/21/$51; 201-722-8822; www.mezzawestwood.com/; Owners take great pride in cliental’ s experience; Wonderful reviews and almost a certain positive experience; BYO; Open daily for lunch and dinner; Apps include 8 types of Mezza – dips; Sautéed Calamari; Tuna Tartar; Sautéed Bronzino; Glazed Duck; Rack of Lamb; Hummus Bowls; Roasted Shrimp; Seafood Couscous and Hanger Steak.
Café Amici: Italian/ American; Wyckoff; 315 Franklin Av; 22/16/$28; 201-848-0198; http://cafeamiciwyckoff.com/; Great for lunch or dinner; Friendly local spot; The menu is very simple and not huge but the quality of food is excellent; Doesn’t try to be what it isn’t; Nothing fancy – just a reliable spot for good red sauce Italian. It is also a BYOB; Come with expectations of an upscale diner & you’ll leave happy. Mozz Caprese w/ Prosciutto. Ahi Tuna. Individual pizzas.