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Varka in Ramsey?

dropdeadcookie Nov 1, 2007 12:06 PM

I want to take my BF to dinner for her birthday. She lives in Franklin Lake and I thought Varka in Ramsey sounded nice. Good seafood with a fun atmosphere. But as she pointed out the review Varka had on its website was a two-year-old NYT review which was favorable. Any input? Or other suggestions? I wanted a fun place -- she's single with two teenagers... need I say more? She needs a fun night out. And I'm buying! Thanks, Cookie.

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    rruben1 RE: dropdeadcookie Nov 1, 2007 01:11 PM

    Varka is a lovely room, with excellent service and great food. I generally don't gush about restaurants on this Board, but Varka may be the best and most consistent dining experience I have had in North Jersey in the last year or two.
    The appetizers are wonderful, the fish is stunningly fresh and well prepared. The yogurt and honey dessert is fantastic. The "Varka Chips" appetizer is addictive.

    Have a great time. I'll be back there in a few weeks myself.

    5 Replies
    1. re: rruben1
      sixelagogo RE: rruben1 Nov 1, 2007 02:03 PM

      What kind of food does Varka serve?? I knew an East Indian woman name Varka, but I'm thinking it' not indian..

      1. re: sixelagogo
        dropdeadcookie RE: sixelagogo Nov 2, 2007 03:31 AM

        Varka is reported to be a Greek restaurant with an emphasis on seafood. A friend told me that the fish prices can be extraordinary and to ask your server for the price before selecting one of the specials. Does anyone have any suggestions for Franklin Lakes/North Jersey? I'm getting a little cold feet over Varka.... thanks.

        1. re: dropdeadcookie
          meb903 RE: dropdeadcookie Nov 2, 2007 07:34 AM

          we had a nice experience at Varka, but we ate outside when it was warmer. i understand that the restaurant itself has really bad acoustics - friends of ours were there on a sat. night recently & said they could near hear each other. the food was excellent. i would recommend cafe panache in ramsey - great food and byob, but not what i would call a "fun" place but a nice dining experience.

          1. re: dropdeadcookie
            Concetta RE: dropdeadcookie Nov 2, 2007 11:02 AM

            True, Varka can be loud, but it's a fun and festive place, especially for a gal's night out. If you do get cold feet, perhaps consider Arturo's in Midland Park - a short drive from Franklin Lakes. Atmo is more subdued, but they have a full bar, decent food (long specials list includes many seafood items), and better acoustics.

            1. re: dropdeadcookie
              JUDYSBACI RE: dropdeadcookie Dec 9, 2007 03:48 PM

              If it's great fish you're looking for, the best in Bergen county is South City Grill. They actually have 3 locations but I've only eaten at the one on Rt. 17 and the other in Jersey City. Excellent.

        2. r
          robin76 RE: dropdeadcookie Nov 3, 2007 10:17 AM

          Try Varka! We went last Sat. night and loved our meal- everything we tried was absolutely delicious. In fact, my husband and I agreed that it was the best restaurant we've tried in awhile- we can't wait to go back. Our waiter was great and recommended which fish to try (there were four of us, so we got a good sampling- all were excellent). We also tried the saganaki fried cheese and shrimp santorini appetizers, and the donuts and Greek yogurt for dessert (all were sooo good). Nice wine list too.

          1 Reply
          1. re: robin76
            dropdeadcookie RE: robin76 Nov 4, 2007 05:12 AM

            Well, we loved Varka. The joint was jumping on Friday night and we were seated right next to the bar -- which was fine by us as it added to the sense of festivity. We truly enjoyed our food and liked that the appetizers were brought out one by one so that we could share and then share again. I ordered the tuna which was cooked beautifully. We avoided ordering a whole fish because my friend said she had heard that that could lead to sticker shock. Anyone out there ever order off the fish by the pound menu? I might go back next time i'm in N. J. and my friend will definitely be going back.

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            fourunder RE: dropdeadcookie Nov 4, 2007 05:53 AM

            Varka is a nice restaurant, but for simply grilled fish, there are many opinions this place is on the expensive side, especially when ordering whole fish and being charged @ market prices.

            The Varka Chips are the best item on the menu and should not be missed if you decide to go there.

            My suggestion to you if you would like to go for seafood with a Greek Flair is to reconsider and think about Axia Taverna in Tenafly, Much more creative and they have recently implemented a Bar Menu and more "small plates" friendly. This restaurant is also considered expensive .

            Google Axia Taverna and you will find many reviews and a recent one by The Artful Diner. You can find the website information there also.

            1 Reply
            1. re: fourunder
              sixelagogo RE: fourunder Nov 6, 2007 02:52 AM

              I have mixed reviews of Axia...the first time I was there, I was really impressed with the quality and clever-ness of food, though we only had small plates: ouzo gravlox, homemade phyllo around cheese, a greek sausage platter, a salad and chamomile rice pudding with black pepper.....the second time there, we all had entrees and I was pretty dissapointed in each...I had some kind of fish with fava crust that sounded better than it tasted (soggy), my dude had a superundercooked lamb, mom had moussaka which was, well, moussaka, and pop had something else...nothing great, all pretty mediocre..
              That said, i'd still try it again, as both visits were within 6 months of the grande opening...I think the place shows promise, it just needs to get it together.

              AXIA Taverna
              18 Piermont Rd, Tenafly, NJ 07670

            2. e
              elbo33 RE: dropdeadcookie Nov 30, 2007 06:04 AM

              I agree with the many positive reviews here regarding Varka. I work nearby, and have been to the restaurant both for lunch and dinner about a half-dozen times (not including a lunch date with a client today). It's one of the few options around with a somewhat hip, urban vibe. The scene at the bar on weekend nights is quite lively, and the place seems perennially filled with attractive people. What's more, the food is fresh, abundant, and well-presented, though not exactly inexpensive. You can do quite well by putting together an appetizer and a salad for lunch, though.

              1. g
                glenna1127 RE: dropdeadcookie Dec 1, 2007 09:53 AM

                You can not go wrong with anything on the menu, I absolutely loved Varka, from the appetizers to the entrees to the deserts
                I loved it all, I live at least 1 hour away but it is worth the drive.
                The atmosphere is wonderful and the owner's make you feel right at home
                with the most delicious food you could possibly eat with flavor bursting
                in every bite.....enjoy, GLenna

                1. e
                  ekdd RE: dropdeadcookie Feb 16, 2008 02:57 AM

                  Went for lunch this week.....very happy with the space just off the main drag of east main st in ramsey. The room itself was large open and decorated well with a very clean bathroom as well. We started with with the greek spread appetizer which was very good and they happily broght ot extra pitas for us. The bread with olive oil to start was top notch as well, very crusty and really delicious- next time there will find out where the bread is from! Next time as well will try the varka chips which looked quite good. We both had panini- one chicken (terrific) and one fish (which actually had too much of a "fishy" flavor) with terrific fries and a salad-- the plates are enormous and great value for <10bucks, although wouldnt order the fish sandwich again even in this place known for fish- maybe just an off day. We were more than full but the next table was raving about the donut dessert so we gave it a try. At 8$ it was huge- probably 15 warm donut balls in syrup. It was good and an order thaty should be shared by about 4-6 people. All in all a great space, great service, nice wine list, with large portions of for the most part very good to excellent food. We will be back.

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