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Feb 5, 2008 09:00 AM

Favorite spots in Montlcair NJ?

We will be relocating to Montclair in a few weeks. We're looking for 'everyday' type places, -- pub, ethnic, etc. Favorite Chinese spots. Good bagels. Really, any suggestions would be appreciated.

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  1. Well, you're certainly moving to a good food town, imo! There should be plenty of recs for you, but I'll get you started...

    The best (real) Chinese is just outside of Montclair, at Chengdu 1 on Pompton Ave in Cedar Grove (all of a mile off of Bloomfield Avenue); authentic Sichuan dishes that I'm betting you haven't seen/had at 99% of Chinese restaurants in the US. BYO.

    Everyday spots--

    Raymond's on Church St--fantastic coffee and breakfast/brunch food, but also great for lunch and dinner. Think locally owned dinerish, but with a better vibe and better food. Great owners who actually care about their staff and their customers. BYO.

    Egan's Pub on Walnut St is a traditional pub...noisy, some decent food, some just ok, great selection of beers, and a nice bar. Family friendly as well as packed with adults (single and couples) just about any day/time.

    Next Door on Bloomfield Ave is very new and I've only had one meal there, but I'm a big fan of the chef/owner (Zod), who also owns Blu, which door. To Next Door, that is! ND is the 'casual' sister restaurant with crazy decent prices and everything from soup and salads to burgers, lamb and hangar steaks. BYO.

    Greek Delights is currently on Park St across from the Y, but is moving next door to...Next Door-on Bloomfield Avenue. (This is getting funny, no?) Despite the ownership not being Greek, the food is very good-and exactly what you'd expect--souvlaki, greek salads, kababs, pastichio, moussaka, etc.

    Belgiovine's has fantastic mozzarella and Italian deli specialties; love their sandwiches, too! Just a deli, though-not a restaurant. They're on Bloomfield Ave across from Whole Foods. Joe Bartoni's is on Valley Road and they also have great mozz, sandwiches, and a full restaurant in the rear of the building.

    Nauna's on Valley Road has good pizza, imo--but pizza is VERY personal, as I'm guessing you know. Also a full (casual) restaurant. BYO.

    Beyond Pita on Orange Road is a teeny, tiny spot (next to Krauser's) with some of the best falafel I've ever had. Crazy inexpensive, too! And now that I've mentioned it, I'm realizing it has been far too long since I've had their falafel... ;-)

    Also just outside of town is Amazing Hot Dog, which is, honestly, amazing. I promise you've never seen such a wild selection of hot dog toppings, and although I don't consider myself a regular hot dog eater, I have been since AHD opened. It's on Bloomfield Avenue on the right just after you cross over Pompton Ave, in the strip of 5-6 stores immediately after the Acura dealer.

    For all of the BYOing, you'll need to discover Amanti Vino, which is a lovely wine store on Church Street. Interesting and unusual selection, knowledgeable staff, and a wide range of prices.

    I like the bagels from the little strip mall on Valley Road that's diagonally across the street from Joe Bartoni''s in with a Krausers, not in the one where Nauna's and Quick Chek are located; not sure of the name-sorry.

    Not everyday, but you MUST get to Blu for a superb dinner. Ridiculously inexpensive for the food quality and presentation. I think Zod is one of the best chefs in NNJ and have never had a bad meal there. BYO, of course.

    Another wonderful restaurant is Fascino, which is on Bloomfield Avenue closer to Grove St. Great spot for a special night out, and also BYO.

    Other places you should know about:
    There's a HUGE Whole Foods (think Wegmans-sized) in West Orange, just 2-3 miles outside of Montclair. It's on the corner of Prospect and Eagle Rock Avenues.

    Go another 1-2 miles west down Eagle Rock Ave and turn left on Pleasant Valley Way, and in the strip mall on your left is Mark and Julie's ice cream. I swear to you, this is some of the best (homemade) ice cream I've ever had--particularly the coffee chip.

    Finally, around the back side of the Essex Green shopping center is Total Wine. While Amanti Vino is great, if you want a 'big box' wine/beer/liquor store, this is the place to go. Great selection and prices.

    That ought to get you started... :-) ENJOY!