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Best (nice) restaurants in northern Bergen county NJ

Looking for a place for dinner this weekend in the northern Bergen county area. Looking for great food (obviously) but not stuffy and quiet.

What do I like? Bacari Grill - nice atmosphere, good consistent food, causal but feels like you're "out to dinner" and can always tell people are having a good time. But I go there too often...

Has anyone been to Varka? I heard it's great but want to make sure it's not too formal...

I also love any kind of Bistro (Chef's Table might be too out of the way)

Any thoughts or recos are welcome! THX

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  1. cafe panache in ramsey would be nice, not stuffy at all but good food and good service. varka is good too, greek fish place, casual but sometimes can be quite loud.

    1. There is an unusual place in Teaneck call Bistro En. Combination french and Japanese. I believe the owner is French but the chef and most of the waitstaff is Japanese. The pate is terrific and the duck is also. The pate is enough for 2. The sushi and sashimi is intersting and they have nice cocktails and wine and beer. Its a little small and they are connected to a bar next door which can be a little loud. If you try it, report back and let me know what you think.

      1. Varka is excellent but very noisy.

        Oceanos in Fair Lawn is very good. The fish is comparable to Varkas but the atmosphere of the restaurant is quieter (in a good way).

        2 Replies
        1. re: howel

          Barcari Grill is nice but they don't do BYOB....which sometimes keeps me away. I moved from NYC 15 years ago and I have always loved the BYOB rule..it makes it cheaper to go out. I like Marra's in Ridgewood (although it sometimes gets pretty packed in there, probably not so much in the middle of the summer). I also like Pastafino in Allendale as a comfortable place to have dinner. Lot's of good pasta choices. Janice's Bistro in Ho-Ho-Kus is also a good little romantic find. It is pretty unique, it was formally a diner and they have kept the counter in place but don't utilize it for seating, they have a great menu. All of these are BYOB.

          1. re: billmayo

            Love Janice! Sorry it took me so long to respond! You are a dear!

        2. Grew up in Bergen county but haven't really eaten there in years so this is from memory. Saddle River Inn was pretty excellent, definitely cafe panache. Cafe Matisse is awesome too if its not out of your way and its a BYO which is insane for this caliber of restaurant.

          Zarole in Ridgewood used to be insane but i think its closed.....oh and off course Latour in Ridgewood.

          1 Reply
          1. re: nrfoodie

            Cafe Matisse has small portions! Any other good ideas/

          2. Give Varka a try if your looking for really good seafood. Definitely not stuffy!! Yes it can be loud and if that is a problem you can sit outside on the patio since its suppose to be a nice weekend. I particularly love their appetizers, make sure to get a few for the table. The greek tomato salad is also wonderful and is big enough to share amongst a couple of people. They have a very nice and fairly priced wine list and also a full bar. Check out their menu if you already haven't. http://www.varkarestaurant.com/menu_i...

            3 Replies
            1. re: The Dabbler

              Best restaurants in Bergen are actually just over the line in Rockland...

              My standout faves are:

              Relish, Sparkill NY
              Citrus Grille, Airmont, NY
              Velo, Nyack NY

              Best seafood in Bergen to be found at Axia, a stunningly beautiful place in Tenafly, NJ.

              Bistro? Skip Chef's Table, which looks more like an American diner. Closest place in NJ that resembles a bistro that I can think of is Passionné in Montclair.

              1. re: menton1

                For Greek/ Seafood - Axia is wonderful and has a great atmosphere. Varka and Oceanos are also good options.

                We also also love Valentino's in Park Ridge. It has great Northern Italian Food.

                Latour in Ridgewood is nice for French food.