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Good Eats in Livingston, NJ

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Will be visiting older relatives over Mother's Day weekend in Livingston, NJ. Looking for good eats suggestions for Jewish deli, upscale diner, Italian, basic Chinese, Mother's Day brunch (not buffet). These are not fancy people, no haute cuisine here. We would like to treat them to a meal or two while we are here. These are hard to please people, so ROI of quality for money really needs to be there - thanks!

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  1. In Livingston:
    There's a new Greek place in the town center that I was pleasantly surprised by (http://www.itsgreektomeliv.com/). The food was tasty and it would probably fit the bill while being something your relatives might not try on their own (I'm imagining my grandmother). It has an outdoor seating area if the weather is nice. Good price point and it's BYOB.

    Otherwise the only options in town I'd endorse are Italian - Calabria's (on Livingston Avenue) has a nice dining side with very good food (though my favorite thing to eat there is pizza!) - or Pizzeta Enoteca (on Mt. Pleasant Avenue) also good food but a little dark inside so maybe not for older folks.

    Many are fans of the Ritz Diner. I am not. No good Chinese in town. Eppes Essen is your typical Jewish deli style but I wouldn't waste your time on it unless you're in the mood for giant latkes or massive deli sandwiches.

    Outside of Livingston:
    The Garlic Rose in Madison is a family favorite (http://www.garlicrose.com/). You'll want to make a reservation. I've always enjoyed my food there.

    Friends like Sophia Restaurant in Caldwell (http://dinesite.com/info/rstrnt-11266...). It's a homey Italian spot with good food. Smaller than Calabria's and with more of a family feel than Pizzeta Enoteca. Another good Italian place but a little pricier - Primavera Restaurant in West Orange.

    I don't live in the area (just go back to visit family) so I'm not up on newer places. I'd generally recommend Montclair and South Orange if you want to expand your search area.

    1. Jfood lived 20 years inthe next town over and moved 12 years ago. The things he misses are bagels and stuff for bagels, especially Livingston Bagel and Bagel Chateau (Millburn). Novey, white fish and whitefish salad, chopped herring and jfood's favorite sable. He's crying just writing about it.

      The Ritz Diner was great when the little jfoods were single digits old on Sunday mornings with day watcing the Bubbies and Zaydies at the other tables. If it is still the same they had enormous portions but jfood has fond memories.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jfood

        Thanks Jfood! We are thinking to carry in a deli tray with Nova, whitefish and sable, bagels, schmear, etc, a babka coffeecake with some fruit salad for Mother's Day brunch. For us, living in Columbus, OH, decent deli is an enormous treat (although we get very good bagels, go figure!). The relatives are worried that there will be leftovers (trust me there won't be).

      2. There's been some chatter on this board about Irving's Deli and the hand cut pastrami a la Katz's.

        Livingston bagel will fill all your takeout needs

        For chinese, try Bill and Harry a bit up Rt 10

        Unfortunately, as Jfood will agree, you're many years too late for Don's..sniff..tear...

        1. Eppes Essen or Livingston Bagel are great choices for trays or dining in. The ROI on trays shouldn't be a problem, but dining in at EE is the better choice, imo; portions are huge there, albeit pricey in the opinion of the older folks. M's Day might be your best time to bring food in vs. going out, but that's my opinion!
          For other meal ideas, Nero's has been in Livingston forever, but I haven't been in well over a decade-maybe others can chime in. There's the Millburn Diner, Broadway Diner in Summit (literally around the corner from the Mall at Short Hills), and Montclair does have a lot of options, but let us know if you're willing to travel a bit and if so, how far.

          1. There are some great choices from Stretch's or Ricci's for Italian in Livingston, Ritz Diner in Livingston, Cafe Arugala or Antonella's in South Orange, Mr Chu's in East Hanover (just up Route 10).

            For more ideas: http://njrealestatewire.com/category/...

            Good Luck

            1. Bill & Harry's chinese awesome quality on Route 10 - (its East Hanover, but close enough), there is an awesome kosher deli on Livingston Ave http://www.nanasdeli.com/hot-buffets...., that is on the pricey side, but I swear you have never had tuna like this in your life. They REFUSE to give up the recipe.

              I have to agree on The Garlic Rose in Madison.

              1. http://www.nanasdeli.com/catering-men...

                ?? did this one work?

                1. Irvings for Jewish Deli on Rt 10, much much better choice than eppes essen, (it opened in last fall I think). I will take exception to the Ritz. I eat there every week with my 86 year old mother. It's baked goods are great, but it's not special as a diner. It's just a diner.

                  I also like Stretches for the chicken. The Pizza at the Starlight Pizzeria on Pleasant Valley Way at Rt. 10 is terrific.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: Felixnot

                    Agreed re: The Ritz!

                    1. re: Felixnot

                      I do think the Ritz has great breakfast and foods in general and the bakery is great for that area. The service lacks though and thats not what you want at a diner, especially because they charge more then most diners.