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Northern NJ- Family Dinner for 35ppl

Hi- DC hound in unfamiliar territory. I need suggestions for a restaurant in Northern NJ (Bergen or Passaic Counties... could go a bit further) where we can have an intimate family celebration. A private room would be nice, but am thinking more of "back of the restaurant" atmosphere where our group could be tucked away, even if part of a larger dining room.

Cuisine is not inherently important- but American, European is more our pace (Italian, French, Greek) with the grandparents in tow... (Not really Indian, Thai, Chinese restaurant kind of grandparents). Would do lunch or dinner.

The Brownstone in Paterson and the Paris Inn in Wayne have been suggested to me but I have no idea. Would love some chowhounds to weigh in with other thoughts and suggestions.

Our party would be in the Spring (April/May) so no need to take holiday crunch into consideration.

Thank you!

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  1. I'm assuming you don't want anything too cutting-edge for a family dinner, and I don't know what your price range is, but if you want decent, inexpensive Italian, Biaggio's in Paramus can accommodate a crowd either in the main restaurant or a private room. If you want something more upscale, Berta's Chateau in Wanaque is quite good and has an amazing wine list.

    1. I'm trying to think of a place that is really good, that would meet your criteria. I'm not coming up with anything right now--but I will think about it a little bit more and let you know. But I must say, the Paris Inn is horrible. My husband took me there for dinner a few years ago, and it was so bad we wanted to get up and leave. I would not recommend that place. I've heard the Brownstone is nice--but I'm not sure if you are aware that it is a catering hall. Your group may be too small for that place.

      1. A little more detail to budget, and your actual preference to Bergen or Passaic County, and I'll enter some suggestions for you.

        Also, do you want a full service restaurant or a BYOB? Lunch would obviously reduce costs. What specific day you prefer, e.g., M-T-W-TH-F-S-S would help as well. If there are many people coming in many different cars, parking may be an issue . Lastly, is easy highway access a concern for you and your party?

        1. I would steer away from the Brownstone..the food is good, but it more of a catering hall than a restaurant. also, it is kind of hard to reach, lots of one way roads in that area. If folks are unfamilar with the area, they might end up in a seciton of Paterson they do not want to be in.
          Some suggestions...Season's in Washington Township, a few minutes off of the Garden State parkway , I think exit 168 or 69, or 70!!! Someone suggested Biaggio's in Paramus. It is newly renovated and good.

          1. Another good stop with a private room or a "back of the restaurant" area would be Dolce Novita in Moonachie. Another good stop with both private and back of rest..is Vivo in Lyndhurst on Valley Brook Ave. Both have liquor license.

            1. Lu Nello in Cedar Grove is excellent. I am pretty sure they have private rooms. Great food, liquor license, fantastic service. Not a casual place - men wear jackets etc. I can't think of a nicer place in Northern NJ, but it is not a budget restaurant.

              1. Tredici 13 in East Rutherford has a back room that can accommodate your needs. They have a liquor license and live music or DJ music every Friday and Saturday nights.

                1 Reply
                1. re: RONNIENJ4

                  Tredici is very good, I have been there several times. I would also try Nicola's in Hawthorne. Great food, nice people and a overall good exprience.

                2. Thanks all for so many good suggestions. We do not have a preference between full service or BYOB. I know this is hard to do but we're leaning toward Saturday evening. I've done some calling and I know that difficult. Not impossible but difficult.

                  In terms of price, mid-range is ideal.

                  Parking is not too much of an issue, we'll be carpooling. We moved away from this area about 10 years ago so are fairly familiar with physical layout and locations. Our actual preference is Bergen, but we're flexible.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: ChocoHound

                    I agree with Hugh DeMann with his recommendation of LuNello's. It's always my first choice for for friends and Business Associates and it has the "Wow" factor built in.......however, unless you consider your function to be lunch, I do not think they will be able to accommodate you for a Saturday Evening.......and men DO NOT have to wear jackets.... Saturday evening is always a busy one for them and they use both dining rooms already for their dinner crowd. Unless you were able to guarantee a certain menu, I do not think they would accept your reservation and dedicate a private area for you. There may be naysayers about the place, but The Seger Family always tries to make your experience special and would not want to do anything remotely less if they could not give you their full attention.

                    In Bergen County, I would recommend Dinallo's restaurant in River Edge or their Sister Restaurant, the Sony Hill Inn in Hackensack. Both have private rooms to accommodate your party size and the quality of their food is very good. Both these places are preferred by older crowds. I would suggest for a Saturday, you consider starting your party as early as possible.

                    Although not in Bergen County, but just over the border south in Hudson County, there is Di Palma Brothers Family Italian. Pure Rustic Italian and BYOB. Go to Jason Perlow's Blog : , and he has some excellent pictures for you to see in high resolution: . Also Tommy's Blog: has many Bergen County restaurants covered with great pictures as well: .


                    I would have to respectfully disagree with Biaggio's in Paramus. They have recently redecorated, but I feel the food is ordinary and the crowd a little young and loud.

                    Last, since you mention Greek, Oceanos in Fair Lawn is receiving many positive reviews for their fish and other specialties.

                    1. re: fourunder

                      My suggestion of Biaggio's was based on price/quality ratio. The food is simple and tasty, not fabulous, but IMO the best in the price range that can accommodate a large party. OP is looking for "mid-range". The Stony Hill Inn is a very fine restaurant with excellent food, but is seriously expensive. I'm not familiar with the other places you mention so I can't add my two cents on those.

                      1. re: rrems

                        My whole family as well as many of our friends love Biagios. We have attened Pre-wedding parties, graduation parties, birthday and regular dinners there and they have always been consistanly good food and service.

                  2. My son recently went to a rehearsal dinner at Di Nallos in River Edge and everyone was really pleased...cozy private room, good familiar old school Italian food, convenient location right off Route 4

                    1. I would definitely second Rayp's suggestion of Vivo's in Lyndhurst. Last week I went to a private party of 32 and had a wonderful meal from beginning to end. They have a private room off the back of the main dining area and they have a private parking lot.


                      1. I just wanted to report back that our family had a wonderful experience at Vivo's in Lyndhurst on Saturday night.

                        Delicious food and attentive service for our party of 30. Back in December, we reserved the private room and put down the deposit. About a week ago, we made our menu selections.

                        They served appetizers family style: the calamari especially was delicious. Apps were followed by a pasta course (a nicely prepared penne in vodka sauce), a salad course, and then a meat course (we had a choice between 2 fish and 2 chicken options). Everyone loved the food.

                        We brought our own cake with they cut and plated for us.

                        I thought the value for the price was overall outstanding. Highly recommend!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ChocoHound

                          I'm glad you enjoyed. Since you're back in the Bergen County area you'll have to try my other recs for dinner some time.

                        2. Besides my suggestion of Biagios above, another suggestion is Aldos in Wyckoff which is excellent and BYOB which can help keep a budget down.

                          1. Yes, Biagio's is excellent too. I have been there lots of times and always love to go back.