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Moving to Montvale

Well, we are making the move out of NYC, me kicking and screaming, my SoCal husband looking forward to a backyard and a barbeque. I must admit, I am looking forward to having a garden again... 7 years in SoCal, veggies and herbs and flowers, etc... Ooh, what fun!

Well...with a baby on the way, I gave in... :-) I am actually looking forward to grass and trees and quiet! I think...

Anyway, I know there are plenty of wonderful restaurants in Northern NJ but would love some suggestions in the immediate area and surrounding towns... the next few months will not be easy for getting around but I still want to eat well!

We love everything, looking for casual, inexpensive as well as finer dining. Faves include Italian, Steakhouses, French, Middle Eastern/Mediterranean. Sushi is pretty much out for now but future recs would be most appreciated.

Also, a great butcher, farmers market, and local diner rec would be most appreciated.

Thanks so much, in advance, for your help...

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  1. You're in luck as far as a farmer's market, with DePiero's, just off Grand Avenue in Montvale. It's a good source for produce, with decent prices. It's also has a bakery and a garden shop, a salad bar,and a section of "gourmet foods"--imported jams, sauces, salad dressings, maple syrup, varietal honey, etc. Plus they lease space to a fish market and a deli, so there's a certain one-stop-shopping aspect to it. The major drawback is that they close early--maybe 6 pm during the week--so you need to check the hours.

    That said, Montvale is not a great restaurant area, but there are plenty of options if you broaden your reach a bit. With a 15- to 20-minute drive you can head over to Nyack and the rest of Rockland County, or down to the Westwood area.

    Probably the best Mediterranean nearby is Turkois Grille, just over the NJ/NJ border in Airmont, NY. And Yuki Sushi, right near the train station in the center of Montvale, is probably your best local bet for sushi and other Japanese food.

    One more local treasure is the Dairy Queen at the corner of Chestnut Ridge Road and Summit Ave in Montvale. It's the standard DQ selection of ice cream and related cold treats, but the building has remained untouched since it was erected in the late '50s. Go there on a hot summer night, sip a blizzard in the parking lot, and you feel like you're time traveling.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JRBlack

      Thanks, that is a great start... BTW: LOVE Dairy Queen, had it for the first time in 20 years about 6 months ago...One of the reason I am happy to be moving to New Jersey :-)

    2. Take a ten minute ride over to Rt. 17N and get off at Franklin Tpke. Go north for half a mile and Kinchley's tavern is on your right for the best thin crust pizza around. Suffern NY is only a few minutes farther and has the area's best mexican rest., Hacienda, as well as a middling Indian place. Immediately past the Franklin Tpke exit in the Kohl's mall is Ginger and Spice, a pan asian place that I like. Ridgewood is only about 15 minutes south on Rt. 17 and you can find whatever you like there. Grek to Me is decent and there's a Brooklyn Coal Oven Pizza which is in the incestuous family of Patsy's / Grimaldi's / Angelo's etc.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Drew E

        Thanks to you as well... sounds perfect...we do not mind driving but soon there will be a little one and traveling for the short term will be tough...

        BTW: Any fine dining you both can recommend? Thanks again...

        1. re: Drew E

          Does anyone have any more info on Hacienda in Suffern...I have been searching for it online and cannot find it.


        2. For fine dining, there's always the Peter Kelly restaurants, Xaviar's and Freelance Cafe in Piermont, and Restaurant X in Congers. www.xaviars.com will give you menus, driving directions, hours, etc., and you'll find lots of high praise for all three estsablishments on these boards. In the Montvale area, Esty Street falls into the fine dining category, but I haven't found it to be terribly impressive.

          1 Reply
          1. re: JRBlack

            I will check these out, thanks so much... I have to say, I think the Ridge Diner up Grand Ave. is a good local stop. Went twice during this long weekend with the move-in... Both times, great food and service. I know it is a diner but I like diners and this one works.

          2. The food at the Porter House is supposed to be good. I've only been to their pub, which has great atmosphere and a really good beer selection. Twice a month on Sundays they have a traditional Irish music session which is one of the best in the NYC area (which is why I go there).


            1. Thanks, we happened to have found it the day after the closing when we came to check out the house. It was torrential rain and we were starving...

              Had an amazing cheeseburger, perfectly cooked (just past medium during pregnancy but still moist and delicious)...hope the next one stands up to it...The menu looks great, both beer and food.

              Looking forward to trying it again...

              1. Ditto on Restaurant X Congers, NY. Xavier in piermont and nxt door at Free Lance cafe and wine bar in Piermont.........No reservations at Free Lance.

                Park Ridge, NJ The Park, great steaks..............Route 4 in Paramus, The river Palm, great steak and sea food.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Raisel

                  hey folks - i posted on the NE Board for CT options for friday night as we drive from Philly to North Haven but the more I think about it, the more I think wemight jump off the GSP around Montvale or other...is there something you could suggest ($ to $$) right of fthe road? Or just after the Tappan Zee even? We will eat anything and everything - from dive bar with pizza and burgers to a nice mexican to ....

                2. We make that trip all the time...now live in Philly but grew up in Rockland County and always heading to New England. If you want an "I don't know what I want to eat and don't know what time I'll be there" type of place, you can't go wrong with the Nanuet Diner on Route 59. It has everything you could ever want from a diner, and the food's good. (It's the diner we went to when we were in high school and couldn't get into bars.) It's easy on-easy off the Thruway. Hope this helps.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: susan1353

                    we are going over the tappan zee and then on 95 north (not our usual 684/84 route that we'd take as if going to Boston/NH)

                    how does this Route 59 come into play?

                    its a great suggestion - i guess was thinking more on the lines of something, I dunno, more than a diner, but less that a white tabe cloth? Which could mean a great pizza place or something.

                  2. Right off exit GSP 172 is Aldo and Giannis Italian... I have not been yet but it is next on my list... Got high marks from many new friends in the area... we might actually hit it this weekend as well...

                    Casual but nice, decent wine list (short but you can find something nice in the mid $30's)...


                    It appears to be affordable but that depends on what you think is affordable for that night... I have been told the food is terrific! Not sure if they take reservations...I would call and check...

                    If this is not what you are looking for, I can try to recommend something else...just need some time to think, still being a newbie to the nabe...some more parameters would help as well if I am off here...

                    1. I did a search on chowhound for Tappan Zee and came up with the Striped Bass which (really!) looks appealing http://www.stripedbassny.com/aboutus.htm - i guess something with a bar/casual atmosphere more of a jeans place than something like adlo + gianni. In philly a lot of the folks aer touting the "gastro pubs" nowadays...whatever that means.

                      of course, all of this googling has also got my radar in a twitch - do we take GSP to the tappan Zee or NJTpike to some thruway to 95? decisions decisions - i guess it is based on which offers better grub - GSP exits or NJTpike/thruway exits (neither of which I am at all familiar with, the exits that is, since for 15yrs I did the GSP-TZEE-684-84 route to go home to NH, but i never got off the highway).

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: rumdrinks

                        Let me see if I can come up with something right off or close to right off one of these... most that I am familiar with are a bit off from the routes...

                      2. About a year ago I was pretty much in the same boat as you, tho I had the edge of growing up here in Rockland-even if so many restaurants have change. I don't know NJ too well, but I'll tell you what I know about Rockland. My favorite farmers market (not a farm) is in Nyack on Thursdays. If you can't make that one, then my second favorite is in Piermont on Sundays. I believe they both end at 2 p.m. For Italian food, the possibilities are endless. La Lanterna in Nyack reminds me of a downtown NY restaurant. For middle eastern/med, I'd highly recommend the greek restaurant Nestos Estiatorio in New City. When you can eat sushi again, checkout Wasabi in Nyack (very sleek & Manhattan-esque). Have you found any French places? There's a severe lack of them here. I read about Madeleine's Petite Paris in Northvale, NJ. That's on my list!

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: pumpkin donut

                          Madeleines's Petite Paris in Northvale is very good. My kids and I are going there for my birthday in two weeks. It is a very warm, friendly yet also gentile establishment. I recomend it!

                          1. re: agnesrob

                            Thanks for the positive vote... We will definitiely check it out and soon!

                          2. re: pumpkin donut

                            Thanks for all the recs, I will definitely be trying them out.

                            I work from home (lucky - I know) so I would prefer a Thursaday market anyway, less crowded (especially being so large at the moment LOL).

                            We are so close to the border that we get the best of both worlds...

                            As for French, it is our fave of all but have not found our place yet. We will check out Madeleines's as soon as we can and let you know. I am going to go online and see if I can find any more info, a menu, etc. If they serve escargot, I am there!

                          3. Good luck with your move, you are going to love Bergen County.

                            Try the Saddle River Inn in Saddle River for fine dining http://www.saddleriverinn.com

                            For a good diner try Matthew's Colonial Diner on Franklin Turnpike in Waldwick. Go only if you will be exploring the Ridgewood/Wyckoff area (which is something you have to do while living in NE NJ


                            For casual dining try the Rhodes Tavern in Sloatsburg (Twp. of Ramapo), NY. They make an excellent roast pork hero. Just don't go late on a weekend because it turns into a roadhouse with live bands, you can still eat though. The also serve brunch.

                            Also in Sloatsburg on Rt. 17 South is Auntie EL's. It's a country farm market and bakery. 845-753-2122

                            For catering and gourmet grocery shopping go to the Market Basket in Franklin Lakes. Get a New Jersey-style Sloppy Joe. It's not what you think.

                            For the most unique dining experience of all and if you are on your way into Manhattan or the Meadowlands, go to the Park and Orchard in East Rutherford (the southern end of Bergen County). They don't serve red meat. While not low calorie or low fat, everything is fresh and made without preservatives, artificial ingredients, refined sugars or flours. The menu and wine list are huge and all over the place. It's been there forever but it's the first of its kind in the area and introduced the sort of dining in NJ that at one time had only been known in California. It's been discussed on Chowhound before. http://www.parkandorchard.com/

                            Do you like pork products? If you do, then you will have to be initiated into the wonders of pork roll, better known as "Taylor Ham" (from Taylor's pork roll in Trenton). It's of South Jersey origin but is now a staple throughout the state. You get it with or without american cheese, with or without eggs and with or without salt, pepper and ketchup on a hard roll or a bagel. You'll discover a favorite local coffee, bagel, Sunday Times place on your own for this, or maybe someone can recommend one.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: SunnysideUp

                              Wow, nice post! Thanks.

                              I will definitely check these out...I can guarantee my husband will be quite happy with some of your standout recs!

                            2. Since French is one of your favorites you may be interested in a first rate patisserie called Bon Appetit, Inc. in Bergen County. It is French owned and operated and has wonderful pastries, cakes, cookies, croissants and chocolates. It is also a small cafe serving sandwiches, quiches, crepes, soups and salads (no escargot, however). A previous poster mentioned Kinchley's for bar pie style pizza, this is on the same road.
                              Bon Appetit, Inc.
                              180 Franklin Tpk.
                              Mahwah, NJ
                              (201) 512-1144

                              1. The Vietnam restaurant in Spring Valley is my pick...Best Pho I've had in years. It's off exit 11 from the pallisades ..Here's the address

                                The Viet Nam Restaurant
                                304 North Main Street
                                Spring Valley, NY 10977

                                1. Thanks everyone, this entire post has been really interesting. I will go on the recommendation for Madeleine's & bump it up higher on my list of places to go.

                                  1. been here all of my life. citrus grille in airmont is always good. cafe panache in ramsey also very good. for less expensive fare try simon's in westwood. good fusion, good prices. flirt in allendale has the best sushi around and it is a very cool place. ridgewood has everything. enjoy.

                                    1. Thanks to everyone from me as well... I did not realize my post would yield so many great suggestions...

                                      One more big one...I have 7 weeks until my due date...If my husband and I wanted one big date night in the next few weeks before the baby, which place should we go to?

                                      I would prefer a place where I do not have to dress up too much, no fancy maternity wear :-) but I still put it together very nicely. Elegant, warm, candlit, romantic, excellent food!

                                      Let's hear it... And thanks again, we look forward to making our way through the list. I will report back as we do...

                                      1. That's easy. Either Cafe Panache or Saddle River Inn. Both among the top restaurants in NJ and very close. Although I think they might require a sport coat, neither requires formal wear.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: gkrav

                                          Thanks, I will check them out...

                                          I will report where we end up going...

                                        2. I don't think this place was mentioned, yet, but Cenzino's in Oakland is amazing. Very good Italian food. Also, someone mentioned River Palm on Route 4 in Paramus. Wouldn't teh River Palm in Mahwah be closer to Montvale? I also think that the Mahwah location is better then the one in Route 4 (which is actually Fair Lawn).

                                          1. I love Echo & Whetstone Gourmet in Rivervale, NJ (about 10 minutes or so from Montvale). They have great cheese, Niman Ranch meats, fish, & other supplies for obscure foodie demands.
                                            Lairia's Cheese has a great selection of cheese, but be aware of their hours. During the week they close at 5, & on the weekends are only open on Saturday until 1:00.