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dinner in bergen county, nj

we are meeting friends for dinner tomorrow night anywhere in bergen county. we are not interested in getting 'dressed up' for dinner, but would like someplace nice. any suggestions? thanks.

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  1. "anywhere" in Bergen County is too vague. it's a large county, so it would be best if you mentioned some nearby towns. and cuisine preferences & price ranges would be useful as well.

    1 Reply
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      sorry, i had not had my coffee when i wrote that! we live in ft. lee, they live in fairlawn - so anywhere from ft. lee to ramsey, up to closter. any price range is okay for us, expensive to inexpensive. italian, french, american, greek - but none of us like japanese or korean or indian! thanks again.

    2. Yes, it's a huge county with several hundred restaurants. Could you narrow down your perameters a bit, perhaps by towns and by cuisine so that we could have a better idea of where to recommend?

      1. Nisi in Englewood
        Cafe Matisse in Rutherford
        A Mano in Ridgewood
        Esty Street in Park Ridge
        Mantra in Paramus

        3 Replies
        1. re: Bosmer

          thanks, we've done nisi just a week ago and thought it was great, have been to cafe matisse with this same couple. what kind of food is A Mano in ridgewood. and i think i read that esty street has new owners - have you been there since that? thanks.

          1. re: meb903

            A wonderful casual place in between the two towns is Saigon R in Englewood. Small, only 10 tables, cute with plants in the window, and awesome Pan Asian/Vietnamese dishes. Outstanding is the Pho, the salads, Wasabi Mussels, and the Aromatic Duck, but there really is nothing that is not exceptional on the menu. Make sure to reserve before though.

            1. re: meb903

              A Mano is Naples style pizza. Very fresh ingredients. Usually, they also have eggplant parm and maybe lasagna but you really go there for the pizza. Nice salads too.

              Esty Street hasn't missed a beat. New owner but chef remains the same. They changed the interior decor. I went there within the last two weeks and the food and service were great.

          2. How about Baumgarts in Englewood? I've never had a bad meal there.....ever! They've just added a few new items to their menu. They have the best house salad anywhere.

            -----
            Baumgarts
            45 E Palisade Ave, Englewood, NJ

            5 Replies
            1. re: Ambimom

              unfortunately, my experiences there have been the complete opposite - in twenty some-odd years i've never had a decent meal there, so Baumgart's is the last place i would recommend to anyone. my friends & family know better than to suggest it if i'm involved ;)

              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                I also never understood the popularity of Baumgart's. Place looks like an old time diner, and the prices are pretty hefty. Even the highly touted ice cream sucks, IMHO.

                If you are in Englewood, go 2 blocks west to Saigon R for great food and a nice experience.

                1. re: menton1

                  isn't Baumgart's the kid-friendly place that serves americanized chinese food? it's dreadful, unless you're 10, or like americanized chinese food in a family friendly atmosphere.

                  1. re: tommy

                    that's the one. it's nice to know i'm not the only CHer who's perplexed by the popularity of Baumgart's.

                    1. re: tommy

                      Agreed. I ate lunch recently at the one in Livingston, and the food was at best mediocre (for example, shrimp dumplings were filled with a ground up mass that tasted decidedly fishy) - but the many kids and their parents in attendance seemed to be having a good time.

              2. i just remembered this thread from several months ago - we discussed quite a few Englewood-area restaurants...

                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/584110

                you should also look at some of the Hackensack threads...a lot of local CH favorites there.

                1. Sabor Peru, Rutherford. Don't have to get dressed up, bring your own, and have a great meal. Located on Highland Cross in the center of town next to the park. There is a website...don't know it offhand. A Google search should do it.

                  1. You might consider Oceanos, Saddle River Road, Fair Lawn.
                    Portions are on the large side, and the fish is so fresh it practically swims to the table !!
                    Preparations lean toward the simple, allowing the fish to be enjoyed without being smothered or covered.
                    Pricey, though in case thats a consideration.

                    Will also recommend Roca, Rock Road, Glen Rock. Some Italian dishes, but mostly eclectic. Not as pricey as Oceanos and it is BYO, which helps the bill.
                    Never heard a bad review.

                    1 Reply
                    1. Sorry you all don't like Baumgarts. I do and so does my family. I guess we're the ones that make it a popular place. Us and the scores of others. Hate to disappoint you, but WE like the ice cream too...and I've had a decent hamburger and tuna salad on occasion as well as perfectly cooked shrimp. It's popular because the food is good, not pretentious, informal, and reliably good.

                      P.S. It is not Americanized Chinese food. It isn't Chinese food at all, though many of the servers and cooking staff are of [or were of] Asian descent and that undoubtedly influences the food.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: Ambimom

                        If the place you're talking about isn't americanized-chinese food or chinese at all then we're not talking about the same place.

                        the servers influence the menu? that's something i wouldn't expect.

                        1. re: tommy

                          It's absolutely the same place, tommy. Lots of quasi chinese dishes. They opened another one in Ridgewood across from Stop n Shop, and this menu is identical to the one in Englewood:

                          http://www.baumgartscafe.com/Ridgewoo...

                          The ambience in Englewood is like a dingy old diner/greasy spoon, and yes, as we see, lots of people love the place. People also line up for an hour to get in to Olive Garden. But I don't like the place at all, seems neither does ghg, and you wouldn't like the place either.

                          EDIT: Found the Englewood menu. If this isn't "Americanized Chinese", I don't know what is!

                          http://www.baumgartscafe.com/Englewoo...

                        2. re: Ambimom

                          no need to get defensive. as we've all seen here on CH, tastes vary, and everyone has a right to his/her opinion. as i said, my friends & family know i hate it so they no longer suggest it when i'm involved, which implies they they would still eat there willingly.

                          i was simply stating that i personally would never recommend it because every meal i've ever eaten there has been bad. and yes, as both tommy and menton indicated, the menu is, for the most part, Americanized Chinese. to further complicate things, they now serve sushi as well.

                          1. re: Ambimom

                            I agree with this comment about Baumgarts-I also especially like the shrimp dishes I have had.

                            1. re: daver

                              were they perfectly cooked, these shrimp dishes? a good place to meet friends, "someplace nice", baumgart's is?

                              1. re: tommy

                                We ate for the first time last weekend at Oceanos, in Fair Lawn on the way down from upstate NY on the way to Cape May, NJ. Excellent food (whole fish) , wine and service. Dinner was relatively quiet and nicely paced, compared to some other places we've dined at with my folks who live in Bergen County. We'd go back.

                                1. re: markabauman

                                  Oceanos is a very good restaurant. They know how to run a restaurant over there. The staff are over-the-top excellent, the kind of service you'd find at restaurants in NYC, where management knows how to train and hire. There's very little turnover in staff there, and most if not all have been with the restaurant from its opening some years back, and before that when it was Peter's Whale.

                          2. My husband and I are big fans of Oceanos. My father the harshest critic I know loves it too. The fish is so fresh and the staff is great.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: NJfoodLover

                              all of these raves for Oceanos are making me wish Fairlawn wasn't such a schlep for me! my brother lives in Franklin Lakes, i'll tell him to check it out.