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Moving to Cranford/Westfield area and looking for suggestions

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My husband and I are moving from Hoboken to Cranford at the end of February and already I'm thinking about what restaurants we'll have to check out. We love Asian food so a good sushi or Thai place is a must. I'm not a huge Italian fan though it would be great to find a good pizza place. Basically we're up for any cuisine and we're looking forward to exploring the area. Any recommendations you have would be appreciated. Thank you!

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  1. A Toute Huere in Cranford is a must, locally sourced, excellent food, and BYO

    The Thailand restaurant in Clark (it borders Cranford) is the best by far (regardless of what ANYONE says about Splash of Thai in Westfield)

    I like Fujiyama Mama in Westfield for Sushi but it can be expensive.

    Pizza is too subjective and based on personal taste but we love Emma's brick oven in center of Cranford shopping district (they don't deliver).

    Kenilworth, also bordering Cranford, has an excellent Indian restaurant (Star of India) on Kenilworth Blvd and it's a BYO. Just down from there is a great little French restaurant Le Rendezvous, very personal service, very good food, also BYO.

    Westfield has several good restaurants, Mojave grill, Elm Street (nothing that will change your life) and most are BYO.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Spiritchaser

      Thanks! I think we actually already went to the Thailand restaurant - is that the one that's in the old diner? It was really good, a lot spicier than other Thai food I've had. I'm looking forward to going back. I'll definitely try out your other suggestions also. Thanks again.

      1. re: LttlMichey

        Charlies Hot Dogs in Kenilworth has fabulous Italian style hot dogs.

        1. re: LttlMichey

          That is the Thai place I was referring to.

        2. re: Spiritchaser

          I love Mojave Grill. Just there for lunch the other day, I had the shrimp quesadilla and my husband had the chicken quesadilla. I think the place is just great for lunch! Sorry, I have never been for dinner.

          1. re: Angelina

            I second that. Mojave Grill is a great place that takes Mexican food beyond it's usual scope. Also, this is not your average restaurant. It is very fancy and the food itself is presented beautifully on the plate. There's even a nice waterfall on the left wall. The only dish I didn't like was the shredded pork. It seemed a bit too dry for my tastes. Otherwise, anything else on the menu is good to go :)

        3. Cafe Paris in Cranford is another great choice.

          http://www.restaurantpassion.com/list...

          1. Fresco Pizza on Raritan Road in Cranford has pretty good regular and specialty pies. Just across the street on Raritan is the Clark BBQ, a Portuguese BBQ that I really like--good solid food, huge portions and very reasonable prices. They do a big takeout biz. I would avoid the Spanish restaurant on North Ave by the Cranford train station; also to be avoided is the Spanish Tavern on Rt 22 in nearby Mountainside which used to be good but is now awful--a better choice is Solar do Minho on Westfield Ave in Roselle Park, which is somewhat inconsistent but the best in the area, in my experience.

            1. Welcome to the area! The suggestions so far are dead-on. I know you said you don't like Italian, but definitely check out the Italian Pantry on Eastman Street in Cranford. It's a name, not a style, and certainly offers more varied bistro-style fare than the red-sauce places we're used to in this area.

              I also have to put in a plug for Donna Toscana - the incredible chocolate place also on Eastman Street. Go there for dessert. You won't be disappointed!

              4 Replies
              1. re: njguy99

                Thanks everyone for all for all of the suggestions! Any other sushi recommendations? That's one of our favorite cuisines, bonus points if the restaurant is BYOB...

                1. re: LttlMichey

                  Our favorite in the area is Nagoya on the Drugfai/Walgreens strip mall on North Ave. just off Central. Through the years, their fish has been more consistant in quality and yes it''s byo as are most resraurants in the state. Congrats on your move.

                  1. re: jnk

                    Second on Nagoya....my hubbie is Asian and this is our go to restaurant for sushi. Henry (the main chef) is great.

                    All other recommendations are dead on. We love Mojave Grill and A Toute Huere. Also, Avenue East in Cranford, although we haven't been there in a while.

                    1. re: njfoodiegirl

                      Third on Nagoya. Best sushi in the area - way better than Fujiyama Mama mentioned above, which is too westernized for my tastes - and far too noisy as well. The owner, Henry, is a great guy and takes pride in everything he serves. Hands down the place to go locally.

              2. I like limani grill, seafood but very fresh, I know others have not been so impressed however

                1. Welcome to the area - I moved from Hoboken to Fanwood 3 years ago. Here are some ideas (click the links for more info and my reviews)
                  1. Sushi - we've tried them all and we swear by Ginger sushi in Fanwood
                  2. Thai - Splash of Thai on South Ave in Westfield - great curries, the red snapper with tamarind is awesome too
                  3. Pizza - Emma's brick oven in Cranford. Try the vodka pie
                  4. Pasta - Bel Paese also in Cranford. Homemade pasta. YUM!
                  5. Nice night out - A Toute Heure - one of the top rated in NJ! We also like Boulevard Five72 in Cranford.
                  6. Indian - Raagini on Route 22 has a great lunch buffet
                  7. Bakery - for bread we like breadsmith in Cranford. For pastries and donuts, check out the Swiss Pastry Shoppe in Scotch Plains. They make old fashioned donuts that are about the best things on earth.

                  If you want more of my thoughts, feel free to check out reviews on my blog for many of them - I've summed up our faves here, but that has details about our favorite dishes.

                  Enjoy the area!

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: ladyberd

                    Thanks so much for all of the recommendations! We're moving in exactly two weeks and may not have a kitchen then so I'm sure we'll be trying out a lot of these places.

                    One question - are there any good delis around? We've been to Jersey Mike's for sandwiches which is pretty good. I was just curious if there are better or different options around. Thanks again.

                    1. re: LttlMichey

                      In the short time we have been in Fanwood(3 years and counting), we like Hershey's in Westfield for subs. A little further out of town, Just Subs on route 22east in Green Brook area has even better subs.

                      1. re: LttlMichey

                        Are you familiar with the North Central deli sandwich the Sloppy Joe? I'm told Mr. J's Deli in Cranford has good ones, but my standard is the Millburn Deli not far away. And you also have a Trader Joe's in nearby Westfield, which is a good thing.

                        1. re: LttlMichey

                          Right next to Splash of Thai on South, there's an Italian deli we like - it's called Mario's - they have a good meatball parm sub, regular subs and more. If you can find a place that makes roast beef and mutz like in Hoboken, let me know! I miss Fiore's from when I lived there!

                          1. re: ladyberd

                            Love Mario's! Great addition to the area since they came in. Their chicken cutlet sub is darn good too. Try the pasta fagioli soup - to die for.

                        2. re: ladyberd

                          Boulevard 572 is in Kenilworth and is excellent.

                        3. Xocolatz in Westfield is a great choice. Enjoy having lunch there.

                          http://xocolatznj.com/index.html

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: b777

                            We really like Fuji on South Avenue in Westfield ( not to be confused with Fujiyamama which is across the street). Fuji just moved into a bigger nicer space and the sushi is delicious.
                            Ferraro's on Elm is a must for Italian food. They have great pizza as does Cosimo's on Broad. Wild Rice on South Ave in Cranford is good for Asian fusion.
                            Meagan

                            1. re: meagan

                              We also really like Mama Lou's in Westfield for subs and Fujiyama Mama in Westfield for sushi.
                              A Toute Heure is hands down our favorite restaurant in the area. Its definitely a can't miss.
                              For a great family friendly casual meal, the Tavern at the Stage House in Scotch Plains is great.

                            2. re: b777

                              My husband & I shared a salmon salad and apple dessert @ Xocolatz about a month ago and really enjoyed it. Well prepared food, nice dining atmosphere.

                            3. You've gotten some great advice above. Thought I should add the terrific kosher deli, Deli King in Clark (Raritan Road, on the left past the Barnes & Noble). There's also a great sub shop on Wood Ave in Roselle/Linden called SubStop--the best bread!

                              The last 2 times I've been to A Toute Heure I was less than impressed. Food was improperly prepared one time and the quality wasn't what I expected the second time. For what its worth; we used to have very good meals there. In our experience, Les Rendezvous in Kenilworth (on corner of Orange Avenue and Kenilworth Blvd) is more consistent and better value.

                              We also like the Kilkenny House on South Avenue. Staff is terrific and mashed potatoes are yummy!!

                              Cervantes (Spanish restaurant by the train station) has good mojitos and tapas in the bar area. Not worth it for dinner, though.

                              Second the opinion on the Italian Pantry. I don't like typical Italian, either, but this BYO place is different! We get a bottle of wine from Andy at NJ Wineseller across the street--very nice guy!

                              For pizza, I like Il Gardino on Miln Street; they deliver, too!

                              If you're sans kitchen for a while, you might also might like to register for www.localdiscountdining.com Once a week one of the partner restaurants offers discounted take-out options!

                              Oh, and I almost forgot, Bing Sushi on North Avenue! I'm not the biggest fan of Asian food, but my husband loves his sashimi. I like Bing (very small, intimate place, BYOB). Avenue East (also BYOB) is great for Salmon Skin Salad, Masaman Curry or Singapore Noodles and has a bit of a New York feel--caution, the calorie counts on the menu are for a half serving! Fuji (mentioned above) is also good.

                              Lastly, there's a new Chipotle restaurant that opened on Route 22. If you've seen Food, Inc., then you know that this fast food chain serves humanely raised meat and organic veggies.

                              Welcome to the area! If you want to meet some local women, you might want to check out the Cranford Newcomer's Club.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: defrog

                                Thank you so much for all of the recommendations. A Toute Heure is only a few blocks from our house so I'm sure we'll check it out fairly soon. I'll be interested to see how it is.

                                So funny that you mention Chipotle since I loved Food inc. and have been wanting to go back there for a few months. I didn't realize there was a new one in the area.

                                Also thanks for mentioning the Cranford Newcomer's Club. That definitely seems like something I would be interested in checking out.

                                1. re: LttlMichey

                                  Ah, if you're a few blocks from A Toute Heure, then go for Calabria's Pizza. When I first moved to Cranford I lived on Winans Ave and would go there all the time (when they were in the building across the street)!

                                  The next Newcomers meeting is on Tuesday, 3/9 at the Hanson House on Springfield Avenue (when traveling toward the bridge that's being reconstructed, its the last property on the right).

                                2. re: defrog

                                  Had a Corn Beef sandwich at Deli King in Clark and it was cold and grisly, I tossed it, that's how bad it was for $10.00

                                3. I'm really surprised no one mentioned Teresa's for Italian food. This is not your average pizza shop, rather it's home made Italian food done right. I took my friend who's an Italian fanatic there and it was love at well... first bite :P I highly recommend stopping by someday.

                                  http://www.theresasrestaurant.com/

                                  1. How could I have forgotten to mention Garlic Rose on North Ave. by the Cranford train station! One of our favorite restaurants in the area--they will tone down the garlic if you ask them to (we ask them to add more), and their menu is very diverse--Italian at its core, but branches off into other creative dishes. Not BYO, but reasonably priced wine list.

                                    1. I like limani, very fresh seafood

                                      1. Boulevard Bistro on South Avenue in Westfield (across from the train station), is a relative newcomer to the scene, and is a really good choice for a casual BYO dinner. Last night I had a plate of angel hair pasta with shrimp and manila clams in a fra diavolo sauce, a special that was really excellent; their mushroom with polenta app is outstanding.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: albinoni

                                          I just wanted to thank everyone for their recommendations. We've tried out a lot of the places that were suggested. So far our favorites are The Italian Pantry (so much nicer than we were expecting), Ginger Sushi (great sushi and service) and A Toute Heure (again, great service and very good food). We also tried out Calabria's pizza. We enjoyed the pizza but we're still looking for a great margherita pie in the area.

                                          1. re: LttlMichey

                                            I'll reiterate that you can get a GREAT pizza at Emma's brick oven pizza.

                                            1. re: Spiritchaser

                                              We actually tried Emma's and weren't that impressed. Though I think that's because we ordered a margherita pie but the pizza was really just more like a regular bar pie. It was a very good bar pie but just wasn't what we were looking for.

                                        2. Some of these were covered, but here's my humble opinion. The order is just how I'm remembering the places, not any hierarchy.

                                          1. Bakery - no competition - Natale's in Summit. Croissants, bread, muffins, cakes, cookies.
                                          2. American/pub - Stage House Tavern in Scotch Plains. Big place, you can (almost) always walk in and get a seat. Good burgers, varied menu. A few decent wines, and local bands on weekends.
                                          3. Country French - Les Rendez-Vous in Kenilworth. If you understand good French food, you'll appreciate the meals here. Very small place - 10 tables, and the service is okay. But the food is brilliant.
                                          4. Italian take out - Cioffi's in Springfield - Pizza is expensive (some pies over $20) but it's so worth it. Sandwiches are excellent too. Try their Fra Diavolo pizza.
                                          5. Thai - Thailand on Central Ave in Clark - it looks like a diner.
                                          6. Indian - Raagini on Route 22. Try the buffet lunch.
                                          7. Diner - Union Plaza Diner.

                                          -----
                                          Union Plaza Diner
                                          US Highway 22 N, Union, NJ 07083

                                          Raagini Restaurant
                                          1085 US Highway 22, Mountainside, NJ 07092

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Laurencat

                                            I think Laurencat is dead on with the Stage House tavern in Scotch plains and Le Rendevous in Kennilworth

                                            I would also suggest David Drake in Rahway. I have been there four times and I think its great and its rated one of the best restaurants in NJ. There is a parking deck within a block of the restaurant.

                                            Chez Catherine in Westfield is the spot for french fine dining. I went there years ago but I have heard that the new chef is very good.

                                            The New York Times recently reviewed The Skylark Diner in Edison and gave it its highest non New York review because it has a famous chef who used to cook at the Ryland Inn.

                                            Another spot that is very good is Restaurant MC in Millburn.

                                            -----
                                            Chez Catherine
                                            431 North Avenue West, Westfield, NJ 07090

                                          2. think Laurencat is dead on with the Stage House tavern in Scotch plains and Le Rendevous in Kennilworth

                                            I would also suggest David Drake in Rahway. I have been there four times and I think its great and its rated one of the best restaurants in NJ. There is a parking deck within a block of the restaurant.

                                            Chez Catherine in Westfield is the spot for french fine dining. I went there years ago but I have heard that the new chef is very good.

                                            The New York Times recently reviewed The Skylark Diner in Edison and gave it its highest non New York review because it has a famous chef who used to cook at the Ryland Inn.

                                            Another spot that is very good is Restaurant MC in Millburn.

                                            -----
                                            Chez Catherine
                                            431 North Avenue West, Westfield, NJ 07090

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: Jeffrey Wendler

                                              David Drake and Restaurant MC are out of business.

                                              1. re: hotdoglover

                                                And, as far as I am concerned, The Skylark leads in the category "Most Highly Overrated".

                                                1. re: albinoni

                                                  I think if you go there and remember you're going to a diner, you'll be thrilled. I think it's exactly what it's supposed to be and spot on.

                                            2. This is late, but if you haven't tried it already don't forget Magic Grill. Never forget Magic Grill.