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ITALIAN run restaurants in NJ...Where?

Anything from a sausage stand or a pork store to a hot foods deli to a fancy restaurant. Where can you get great Italian food from authentic Italians or Italian-Americans?

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  1. how about....everywhere. Can you be a little more specific?

    10 Replies
    1. re: Dcemont

      1. Pasta at a family run restaurant
      2. Sausage and Peppers
      3. Pizza by the slice
      4. Connolo

      1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

        Since I live in Essex County, I can only comment on Italian food around there. So, no disrespect meant to any other locale.
        Pasta: La Riviera on Route 46 in Clifton, Il Forno on South Fullerton Avenue in Montclair, Giotto Osteria in Montclair, Toscana Rustica on Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair. Sausage and Peppers: Joe Bartoli's Market and Rosario's, Montclair, A&S Pork Store, Nutley.
        Pizza by the Slice: Doesn't exist as it does in NY: Thin crust would be Star Tavern in West Orange, or Mario's on Van Houten Avenue in Clifton.
        Can't help you with Connolo.

        1. re: Felixnot

          I would suggest that in New Jersey, it is easier to find good by-the-slice joints run by 'real' italian-americans than it is in the city. The quick slice pizza joints in Manhattan are a little bit sorry these days. For examples in jersey, I would point to every other strip mall on roads like Routes 10, 24, 3, 46, 35, etc. How about Ragazzi della Mamma in Middletown, Dino's or Enzo's (great soups) in Budd Lake or Esposito's in Cedar Grove? (Esposito's is more of a deli that also has pretty good pizza and a small room for table service, while the others are more slice places that are also red sauce joints)

          1. re: Felixnot

            i'm glad you metioned Il Forno, that guy is from Italy. Rome I believe. You covered alot. Corrado's in Clifton is a pretyy amazing place too.

          2. re: NAtiveNewYorker

            The best Ravioli's and veal cutlets I've had from an Italian restaurant is at Spirito's in Elizabeth. Their pizza is also among the best in the state. This opinion is shared by many.

            In Morris County (Denville) Attilio's Kitchen is the place to go. Great atmosphere, great food (named best restaurant in Morris County). Famous for their Chicken Scarpiello.

              1. re: RayP

                Attilio's was sold. It is now called LaCucina. New owners, but essentially the same menu and people (including cooks) working there. Last time I was there, Gino the previous owner introduced me to the new owners who promised to keep everything the same. I haven't been there since the new owners took over.

          3. re: Dcemont

            On the deli/food shopping side, you got Jerry's Gourmet in Englewood and Ridgewood. Bartolomeo (which I just posted on the blog this morning) in Palisades Park is a great Italian deli. Esposito's in East Hanover is also a great deli, and you also have the venerable Corrado's in Paterson.

            For Italian-American style Pasta my highest recommendation has to go to DiPalma Brothers in North Bergen. Not only is the food awesome but the entire restaurant is an antique store. My blog has all sorts of pictures of it and the food.

            On the high end, Fascino in Montclair has to be the best Italian we have in the state, if not one of the best fine dining restaurants we have period. Due Terre in Bernardsville is excellent, great atmosphere, and the chef/owners are from Gramercy Tavern and Fiamma Osteria in NYC.

            For Pizza, I'm going to have to say Franco's Metro in Fort Lee, which has been around for at least 35 years.

            Cannolis you're pretty much up the creek unless you go into the Bronx on Arthur Avenue and go to Madonia's. That's what I do. Arthur Avenue also isn't far from Northern NJ, I live in Tenafly and its like a 25 minute trip. Great restaurants too, like Roberto's and Mario's. Pizza at Mario's and Full Moon is excellent, and you cant beat the Arthur Avenue Retail Market either.

            Hope that was helpful.

            1. re: OffTheBroiler

              By the way, also not to be missed is Cafasso's Fairway Market in Fort Lee. Great Italian and gourmet supermarket that's been around since the early 1960's.

              1. re: OffTheBroiler

                Excellent comments and excellent blog. Thanks,

          4. "Authentic"??? The only way to get authentic Italian food is to hop on a plane to Italy. The food there is entirely different from just about anything you can get in the US. A small exception would be in the Batali empire, particularly Babbo in NYC. That is the closest to "authentic" as one can get, although they do admit that the menu is tailored to "American tastes".

            Otherwise, any "Italian" food here bears little resemblance to that found in Italy. Beware especially of menus in Italian, those are usually the furthest from "authentic" as one can get!

            1 Reply
            1. re: menton1

              I'm talking about New Jersey.

              In Manhattan, there's a heck of a lot more options for authentic Italian food than just the "Batali empire."

            2. lmao. transplant in nj for about six years now from nyc, still hard pressed to find good italian food

              1 Reply
              1. re: col8118

                Not a restaurant per se, but get a sandwich from Vito's Deli on Washington Street in Hoboken. Or for that matter, Lisa's Deli on Park and 9th in Hoboken.

              2. Hey, NativeNYer,

                There is more to NJ than the northern counties. You might want to consider posting this query on the Mid-Atlantic board for responses from Hounds who live in the Central and Southern areas.

                3 Replies
                1. re: RGR

                  Great idea, but Northern New Jersey historically has been the destination for the Little Italy (and Bronx) families of the 40s and 50s. Was hoping they brought their cooking with them.

                  1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                    Trenton immediately comes to mind. It has a sizable Italian population.

                    1. re: NAtiveNewYorker

                      They did, but the next generation wasn't that interested in keeping it up. Then the "northern Italian" craze hit and everyone abandoned their roots to go upscale. Sadly, most didn't survive the transition.

                  2. I am a little scared to reveal my favorite place. Please don't overrun the joint. It's a small Italian grocery/deli that is run by a brother and sister from Southern Italy. It has a very low key sign that says "Euro Market". It is in Palisades Park on Bergen Boulevard. They make their own mozzarella, cure and season their own olives, and have all types of Italian specialties at half the price of Jerry's. They are able to do this because they are primarily Italian food distributors. Enjoy!

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: fuma

                      I'm sure there are plenty of fantastic unknown local joints in the Italian towns like Garfield and Lodi. I don't know these towns real well, but there is a fantastic Italian deli on Harrison Ave. in Lodi called Vitamia. They are not cheap, but they have absolutely fantastic Italian food. Great pastas, sauces, meats and cannolis! And trust me, these guys are the real deal. Italian all the way!

                      Italian Riviera in Waldwick is also very good. They make great Italian hero sandwiches. There's a similar place in Midland Park about two miles away on Godwin Ave. which I think is called La Strada. I browsed in there once, but didn't buy anything. The place was very busy though and everything looked great! I'll get there one day.

                    2. The most authentic Italian food in the US is actually in New Jersey NOT NYC - why? because authentic Italians leave NYC for New Jersey as soon as they can - my grandparents left Flatbush in 1894 and we've been in Jersey since. Most Italian restaurants & food stores in NJ that are run by Italians or Italian Americans are either directly transplanted from Italy or recently over from NYC. The easiest way to find authentic Italian stuff is to find a place run by a family. I ask them what's their paese and if they can answer, I know I'm there!

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: CompareFranco

                        the vast majority of italian-americans that i know, including those in my own family, cook italian-american food, and have very little to zero knowledge of the food from the various regions of Italy. I don't know of many, if any, truly authentic Italian restaurants in NJ, but I'm hoping to hear about a few.

                        1. re: tommy

                          If you've ever been to Italy, you realize immediately that food there is just a totally different animal than anything available here. The food varies from region to region except for these common factors: the ingredients are fresh and local, the recipes are simple, and the experience is rather awesome.

                          P.S. There are just about NO Italians that have emigrated to the US in the last 35 years. Why? Easy: the life is better over there!!

                      2. Casa del sol in Woodcliff Lake is a great deli. Their prepared food is amazing as well.


                        1. Italian Riviera in Waldwick is also very good. They make great Italian hero sandwiches.....I will second this remark. La Famiglia in Millburn is also an excellent deli. It's located on Main Street. As for pizza, if ever down central NJ, Conte's in Princeton, Pete and Elda's in Neptune or Federici's in either Freehold or Lakewood/Howell are tops. I want to try Delorenzo's Tomato Pies, there's the original in Trenton, but they opened up a 2nd shop in Hamilton, or thereabouts, which we are going to soon. For the best Italian restaurant, Laico's in Jersey City on Terhune Ave. is the way to go.

                          1. This weekend I ate at Trattoria La Sorrentina in North Bergan which was absolutely AMAZING!!! Being from the Bronx, I LOVE this place. Excellent sauce, pizza, pasta, riceballs. I will be back here!!!!

                            1. Cosmo's Italian Deli in Hackensack is great.