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Mar 17, 2007 06:52 AM

Coco-La in Hillsborough NJ - Anybody been there?

This less than a year-old restaurant is just a couple miles from me on 206, but have stayed away due to what seemed to be high prices -- $19.95 pasta specials on off nights. Anybody been there that can tell me it's worth it?

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  1. I've been only once but thought the food was decent enough for the prices.

    1. I've driven by this place several times and wondered if it's any good. All I can say is that those pasta specials better be really special, i.e. with lots of seafood. You can do much better at Acqua, near the Somerville Circle, where most pastas are about $4 less (except the seafood ones).

      4 Replies
      1. re: ambrose

        I agree that it is not worth the price.They claim to be upscale and even have the audacity to claim a 20% gratuity for parties greater than five, when their service is mediocre at best.The food is not exceptional, although not bad.
        I went there today for my daughter's birthday with my family and was quite disappointed with the lack of attention we received. It was 3 hours from the time we arrived to the time we left. Our bill for 7 people was $266 which included their adding 20% gratuity. I complained that, although it is acceptable to add gratuity for parties greater than eight, 15% is the max, I asked that they remove the additional 5% and the manager declined and suggested I take it up with Amex if I wanted the refund.
        My family and I will certainly not be going back there!

        1. re: ambrose

          Ambrose; your reference to Acqua is a bit outdated. It closed sometime last fall and has re-opened as a steakhouse call Char. Have not been there yet but certainly enjoyed the former restaurant.

          As for Coco-la, we have avoided the place given the ambivalent report of friends and other diners posts. Depending upon how you define great dining or bargain dining, it doesn't seem to have found a successful niche.

          A far more successful destination niche restaurant is Tapestre in Somerville at N. Bridge St and High Street. A far better traditional Italian/Mediterranean restaurant is Main Street Bistro in downtown Somerville. A tremendous fine dining destination is Origin's between Main Street and Somerville's Post Office on Division St.

          1. re: ThanksVille

            Yes, my reference to Acqua is outdated but it wasn't when I posted my comment almost two years ago.

            I definitely agree with you about Tapastre, Main Street Bistro and Origin Thai. The food at Char is pretty good though the one time I was there the service bordered on poor.

            1. re: ambrose

              Oops; Sorry. I missed the date of your posting about Acqua. Interesting that the new Char would open and suffer from service as its former life (and I heard the same owners remain in place) was marked by a really solid service staff and manners. Must be the shake out period gremlins at work.

        2. Not worth the price, especially drinks. The first time we went the food was fantastic, service a bit iffy. Second time the service was worse and the food nothing to write home about. The wine we selected wasn't available so the server suggested a "similar" bottle. After checking the wine list and seeing the suggested replacement was 3 times as much as our original choice we declined his suggestion. Pretty presumptious and rude if you ask me. Not really an upscale experience, but their prices are certainly upscale. Try the Carrentino for consistently great food, and it's byob. We have been going there for years and have always enjoyed it.

          3 Replies
          1. re: sharandmike

            Ok, where is the Carrentino. Thanks in advance

            1. re: lovetotalkfood

              The Carretino is on 340 South Branch Rd in Hillsborough in a little strip mall (which name escapes me right now) not far from the Municipal Building. Not the glitz and glamour of Cocola, but family run, casual atmosphere, consistently good food byob.

            2. re: sharandmike

              I hope his tip was a third of what it would have been. No matter how good the service might be otherwise, that blatent "faux pas" is unforgivable.

            3. I have been to coccola about a dozen times and the service was shaky the first time but since it has improved greatly. The food is fantastic, and the atmosphere amazing for around here. You can only eat in New Brunswick for so long. I am addicted to the pork osso buco. Thier wine list is really good as well. I would give it two thumbs up. You should give it a shot.

              1 Reply
              1. re: chazy

                I have been there for brunch and it was so fantastic that we are going for mothers day this year. I think the price is really decent for brunch as the selection is huge. As for their pasta it is homemade. At mothers day last year they had this Lasgna that just melted in your mouth. It was so awesome! At a differnt brunch (not for a special occasion) they had a little less of a selection but they had hand made ravioli that were out of this world. I think their website advertises specials. I would highly recommend this and I am a food snob!

              2. I know this is an old thread but it should be noted that CoccoLa recently closed.

                2 Replies
                1. re: ambrose

                  And the building is for sale.

                  1. re: ambrose

                    good to hear !! I did'nt like the way they treated Chowhounder "MAURICIO", in one of the posts above !!!

                    Very arrogant to say "Take it up with your AMEX"....
                    If this was an accurate statement on the owners part, they DESERVE to close !!!