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Good food in Northern NJ?

  • y

I live in Manhatten but love NJ for some reason. I guess because everyone seems to write it off. As such I spend a great deal of time exploring NJ. I have found a wonderful mine tour, a wild west town, a ski slope - 30 minutes from my house, etc, etc. What I haven't found is interesting places to eat. (There is one exception which is a fantastic south Indian resturant in Jersey City called Chowpatty - on the same block as the White Castle - order appitisers from the photos.)

So given that I am not interested in hot dogs or dinners, (but love barbaque and ethnic food), any suggestions for me? Thank you all. Yale

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  1. Ummm...while many in Manhattan have "written off" New Jersey, those of us who live here count its' remarkable food resources as one of the reasons we love it so much.

    If you liked Chowpatty, you should come to Oak Tree Road in Edison and try some of the other great Indian restaurants (including Chowpatty's other branch)

    Have you been to any of the Korean and Japanese places in the Fort Lee area?

    Portugese in Newark?

    German in Ringwood?

    Cuban in Union City?

    Chinese in Highland Park?

    I live here for the food!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Brian Yarvin

      One of the best Indian restaurants on Oak Tree Road is Moghul.

      In Highland Park, on Raritan Avenue, you will find excellent Turkish food at Seven Hills of Istanbul.

      And in Morristown, there is a branch of Pamir (original location in Manhattan on 2nd Ave. in the 70's), where you can eat very good Afghani food.

      1. re: Brian Yarvin

        Ok maybe I am under selling NJ and myself. Yes I have been to the Ironbound district, often. I have had Cuban in Union City and Indian in Edison. I have been to Fort Lee and had Japanese and Korean. The thing is I can find good Japanese and Korean in NY, good Cuban and Chinese also.

        Chowpatty like food I can find but not anywhere as good here so a specific greatest hits for me would be great. Thank you. Yale

        1. re: Brian Yarvin

          German in Ringwood?

          I've lived in Ringwood for almost 20 years and don't know of a German rest. Am I missing something?

          1. re: Drew E

            Unless he's referring to the "Alpine Deli" on Greenwood Lake Tpke. That's about the only thing "Deutsche" I could peg in Ringwood.

        2. Best BBQ i've had in the area: http://www.finksfunky.net/
          (very small CASUAL place, fairly new, good home cookin'
          )BTW, also convenient that the Red and Tan Bus line (11A) passes right by the place, so you can get there from NYC even w/o a car

          1. I recommend China 46 Resturant, which is only 3 miles away from the GWB. They have a huge selection to choose from. I brung many of my friends to this place and they all enjoyed the food. My friends were excited to see all of the unique dishes availible. China 46 also has good reviews from The New York Times (Very Good) and The Bergen Record (3 1/2 Stars out of 4). Thier website is www.china46.com

            P.S. China 46 is B.Y.O.

            Link: http://www.china46.com/

            1 Reply
            1. re: Kevin

              Haven't been in years, but always very popular and very good. Thanks for the heads up and the reminder.

            2. Maybe not completely Northern NJ, but in Jersey City (near Journal Square) on Newark Ave., you'll find the best dosas around. Dosa House is incredible (blows away anything I had in NYC). Give it a try. Their Samosa Chatt (w/ chickpeas) is also to die for. Their sambar - yummmmmm. This place is a real gem.

                1. Epernay in Montclair is a fabulous french bistro...though you probably don't need to leave Manhattan for that.

                  1. If you like Turkish food, there is a wonderful Turkish restaurant called Lalezar on Bloomfield Ave in Montclair. Also, for great Indian try Saffron on Rt. 10 in East Hanover!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: NiKoLe1625

                      I am from India. India has varied cuisines. Roughly cut to North and South and then finely diced to Keralite, Chettinad, Mangalorian, Goan, Rajasthani, Andhra, Konkani, Bangla, Kashmiri, Mughal...the list is practically endless. And I have not seen any single Indian restaurant catering more than three cuisines in a respectable fashion. However, Kinara in Edgewater, in my opnion has some how struck a very impressive notch in North Indian, Goan and Rajasthani Cusine. Kinara, after 5 years of living in NJ remains my BEST indian restaurant.

                      1. re: ravanan

                        ravanan, try going to Edison/Woodbridge to Oaktree Rd, its loaded with great Indian/Asian food, bakeries, and different kinds of delis

                        1. re: ravanan

                          Kinara is very well liked and very popular. Every single one of my Indian friends know the place and frequent it. Excellent recommendation. Thanks.

                      2. come to summit...roots steak house, fiorino's ristorante, huntley tavern, dabawalla (indian)...www.summitdowntown.org

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: foodgirl1201

                          I love Huntley Taverne. Its one of my favorite restaurants in the area!

                            1. re: NiKoLe1625

                              I've always had just an OK experience at Huntley Taverne, but had been told that they have improved their menu, so I went back recently to give it another try. I was much more disappointed than I have been on previous occasions. The food was the kind that sounds better on the menu than it actually tastes, the service was distracted, and the price point was much higher than restaurants that I would consider to be much higher quality. IMHO, the only thing Huntley Taverne has going for it is that it has a liquor license.

                              1. re: Scrambled

                                My wife and I love going to Huntley for burgers. They are only on the tavern menu, but they will deliver to table. Pass on the truffle-oil fries though, they are kind of chemical-tasting. Had a small problem with server time I was there. I ordered plain hamburger, but server brought bacon-cheeseburger. He apologized and offered to have another one made, but I didn't have time. I did not eat bacon and returned truffle fries for plain, but he charged me for the bacon-cheeseburger! He was a nice kid, but he didn't fo the right thing. Had to talk to "Captain" (Consuela) who handled well. Mgr. brought me corrected check and was polite. We will go back--for burgers! And goblets of red wine.

                          1. If you're ready for more authentic regional indian food go back to India Square in Jersey City & try some great "Chaat" - the North Indian fast food/street-cart food at Rajbhog Sweets. Think of it as the Indian version of going out for pizza or burgers - no meat in this verion though.
                            Try some Bhel Puri (savory puffed rice), chole batura (garbanzo beans curry with fry bread), papdi chat ( potatoes tossed with crisps, beans, onions, yogurt and spices - a salad of sorts), or even their thalis (meals).
                            Don't let the tacky, garish colors and deli style atmosphere with long lines to place your order at the counter put you off. They really have some great eats.

                            p.s.: where is the wild west town and the mine tour that you mentioned located?

                            1. So, you like BBQ...well, try Fink's (Dumont). Don't expect fine dining -- just a very good BBQ/smoke place.

                              Some of my favorites are:
                              Savinis (Allendale)
                              St. Eve (Ho Ho Kus)
                              Cafe Panache (Ramsey)
                              Oceanos (Fair Lawn)
                              River Palm (Edgewater)
                              Saddle River Inn (Saddle River)
                              Hiram's (Fort Lee) -- for hot dogs, sorry, I can't help it, LOL.

                              There's plenty of other good places...more to come...

                              1. I would also add Varka and Axia to the list -- in Ramsey and Tenafly respectively. Both "upscale" Greek, a bit of Mediterranean, etc. type of flair. Check the websites so you know what you are getting into, LOL.

                                Some people will say "expensive" or "overpriced" and you might here "pretentious" or "snobbish" -- and so on. Relative terms. Both offer very good food.

                                1. You can make an entire day if you go to Ridgewood...shopping, walking, activities, a lot nearby and a lot of restaurants...

                                  Some of my favorites are:
                                  Village Green
                                  A Mano
                                  Park West
                                  Sakura Bana
                                  Cafe 37

                                  15 Replies
                                  1. re: ELA

                                    Lisa's Mediterranean is my current favorite in Ridgewood...

                                    1. re: ELA

                                      Ela...which ones would you recommend for fun casual dinner for 6 people? Thinking of Ridgewood/paramus area.

                                      1. re: smilingal

                                        I would check out the menu/website at:

                                        Oceanos -- Fair Lawn, but 5-7 minutes from the intersection of 4 and 17 -- take 4 west to Saddle River Road, and it's right there on the right.

                                        St. Eve -- in Ho Ho Kus; I might not call it "casual" but I would not say "fine dining" either. Last time I went, I wore nice jeans, nice "polo" type long sleeve shirt, and loafers. You can't go in shorts and a tank-top, LOL. Check out the website and menu. Steve is doing some excellent things there. It's 5 minutes from Ridgewood. BYO, but there is a large, very good selection liquor store next door, and another small one across the street.


                                        1. re: ELA

                                          You're great! Thanks...both of those are added to my list...I fogot about Steve's new(not anymore!) place. Can you suggest lower priced menus too?

                                          1. re: smilingal

                                            The other places in Ridgewood are good -- and might hit closer to the price-point. Park West might be considered "expensive" -- but A Mano is not in my opinion. I've heard one or two people say they think it's expensive for "pizza" -- but value and worth it and bargain and all that -- they are all relative terms.

                                            Masago is not expensive at all -- small place, BYO, service can be a bit off if they are crowded, but it's OK in my opinion.

                                            I would also add Dining at Memorie to the list -- a very good addition to the Ridgewood dining scene, and a good value in my opinion. Also Mediterraneo -- one of the best rated restaurants in Ridgewood and very good value as well.

                                            1. re: ELA

                                              dining at memoire - looks great! thanks for the intro. I am hoping that will be where we'll go!

                                              1. re: smilingal

                                                You are welcome. They are doing well, and getting very good/positive reviews. Several people I know in the industry have really enjoyed it -- and while I respect their opinion, I share similar likes, tastes, etc.

                                            2. re: ELA

                                              We frequently meet people from Madison and we're in Rockland.

                                              1. re: smilingal

                                                Good spot to meet, or anywhere near by for that matter.

                                                So, being that you are in Suffern -- do you stay in Rockland for Italian food? If so, what are your favorites? Velo (in Nyack)? I might have a counter-intuitive and off the radar recommendation for you, LOL.

                                                1. re: ELA

                                                  I rarely frequent restaurants. I have enjoyed Milano's on Rt. 303, recently went to a party at Del Art'e and felt I would like to try a menu meal there, recently took a cooking class at Marcello's and was reminded of his good food. Would love a great Italian in Rockland but haven't found one yet. Last week we went out to Queens to Don Peppe's - that was great!
                                                  Always interested in anything - counter-intuitive could be fun!?! lol

                                                  1. re: smilingal

                                                    Well, I like Velo (Nyack). It is very good in my opinion.

                                                    So, another place I like -- and you might have passed it a hundred times -- is La Vera Cucina (Suffern). From the outside, it looks like an old-fashioned, old style Italian place in a small shopping strip/plaza, with an old fashioned awning, etc. -- BUT -- looks are deceiving. Go inside. It's very nice, done well. The food is very good. The owners/operators are Albanian, and while some of the staff, kitchen staff are Italian -- there is a different, unique flair on some of the dishes. There's a lot of flavor, taste, etc. throughout the menu. I've never had a bad meal there, yet, they've all been very good.

                                                    Very nice bar, bar area, very good service, attentive, etc. Some of the dishes are traditional -- what you might expect -- but it's good. Others have a different, creative, flair or twist -- and they too are very good. It is not a typical, average, red sauce place.

                                                    1. re: ELA

                                                      You are right. Passed it hundreds of times...had heard good things thru the years but never made it in. Will have to change that.

                                                      1. re: ELA

                                                        La Vera Cucina...quite good! THANK YOU ELA!
                                                        I had chicken valdostano...rolled with spinach, mushrooms, a liitle cheese, fresh tomatoes (although I thought it was to be sundried) along with house made rigatoni all finished with a rich marsala mushroom sauce. Salad came with dinner...fresh and tasty house balsamic.

                                                        1. re: smilingal

                                                          You're welcome. I heard they might have a new chef in the kitchen (from a while ago), but I don't know. They changed the menu a bit as I went there for dinner about 6 weeks ago and noticed some changes.

                                                          Still very good. I liked it.

                                          2. For my likes, tastes, etc. -- I would also add:

                                            Cafe Matisse (Rutherford)
                                            Chef's Table (Franklin Lakes)
                                            Kosher Nosh (good Kosher deli in Fair Lawn)
                                            Bacari Grill (Washington Township)
                                            Chakra (Paramus)
                                            Kinchley's (for thin-crust pizza, Ramsey)
                                            Davey's (Montvale, for their burger)

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: ELA

                                              Cafe Matisse is probably one of my favorite restaurants!

                                            2. L'Arte della Pasticceria in Ramsey is worth the trip. I tried gelato the other day and it was absolutely fantastic, the stracciatella was so so good. I've also gone by for their coffee/bombolini (italian creme-filled donuts) and it was to die for! Definitely check them out.