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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. The original comment has been removed
                1. 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.