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Need recs for really nice dinner in bergen, passaic or essex...

  • b

for my very dear friend who despepately needs a pick me up. Been to all the standards (cafe matisse, panache etc) so anything new or just really good would be great. Thanks in advance.

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  1. i don't know what your budget is like, but if s/he enjoys Greek, go to Axia Taverna in Tenafly or Nisi Estiatorio in Englewood. i've also heard here on CH that Oceanos in Fairlawn is wonderful for seafood but i think it may be pricey.

    hope your friend perks up soon!

    ETA: also, it's been a while since i spent any time in Montclair, but they've always had a good restaurant scene there. perhaps someone can suggest a place in that area...

    5 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

      Harvest Bistro in Closter. Great place, seems to fly under the radar. Not on the usual "lists".


      1. re: menton1

        Harvest Bisro is not on the usual lists because the quality of food is subpar. The service has been suspect. The only thing it has going is nice decor.

        1. re: Bosmer

          O I get it. So every restaurant on the "lists" has above par food and non-suspect service. Thanks.

          1. re: menton1

            Of course every restaurant that appears on whatever "lists" you refer to probably don't have above par food and non-suspect service...but lets deal with specific restaurants rather than generalizations.

            I really want to like Harvest Bistro. Truly. But the food and service are not very good. The menu looks interesting at times but has consistently failed in execution. I hope someday they get a good management team and chef and make the very attractive restaurant into a destination spot.

      2. re: goodhealthgourmet

        I had a wonderful meal at Axia Taverna last pm. Started w. Pikilia of dips, steamed mussels and finished off w. the octopus salad. The restaurant has a extensive wine list and brandy.

      3. Those two are the restaurants where we were invited for friends' wedding dinners in NJ.


        1. oceanos is great fresh fish and raw bar from a greek standpoint
          river palm on route 4 for a steakhouse experIENCE
          A Mano in Ridgewood true Naples style pizza awesome oven great gelato
          far more casual but truly lovel food
          go across the street get some nice wine get loaded and call a taxi
          you will not be disappointed

          1 Reply
          1. re: foodismylife

            i considered suggesting the River Palm as well, but i was conflicted. both the food & service at the original Edgewater location are *much* better than the one on Rte 4, but the atmosphere at the Edgewater restaurant can get pretty chaotic and LOUD...not really ideal for quiet conversation with a friend who's down in the dumps.

          2. just go to Nisi...it is the best restaurant in Bergen County.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Bosmer

              If Nisi is the "best in Bergen County" we're in trouble (we are). Nisi is overhyped, overpriced, and overrated, IMHO.

            2. forgot to suggest a nice bottle of absinthe
              drank some with my wife and others on a cruise to croatia, all our troubles went away for a while
              a nice experience as long as you do the taxi thing

              1 Reply
              1. Some people may be sick of hearing me say it, but take her to Blu in Montclair. Do the tasting menu if you're adventurous or order a la carte; just remember to BYO wine! Or maybe champagne to make it really festive?!?

                More casual but a lively place with great food: Stamna Greek Taverna on Broad St in Bloomfield, all of a mile off the GSP.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Curlz

                  Totally agree with Blu. The decor is just OK (NJ restaurants, in general have an issue with separating the entry, front of the room, back of the room and kitchen), but the food is definitely amongst the best in Essex. Others Im impressed by:
                  1. Orange Squirell
                  2. Culinarian - Former Top Chef contestant but a little overrated)
                  3. Passione - French. a little underrated in my opinion and the Chef has been on the Today Show a bunch of times.

                  554 Bloomfield Ave, Montclair, NJ 07042

                2. Cafe L'Amore in Oakland might be worth a try. Outstanding pizza and pasta dishes. I'm not a veal fan but my wife raves about their veal. Their Involtini di Pollo is one of the best chicken dishes I've had anywhere. They don't take reservations so you can wind up waiting for a half hour or more if you get there at prime time, but the food is solid, service better than average and the prices reasonable.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: briansnat

                    This sounds like some place I should look into, coming from Wayne. Any thoughts on Rosemary and Sage in Riverdale?

                    1. re: berna

                      Haven't been for ages, but I remember loving it.

                  2. Another place that is SUPERIOR and off all the standard lists is Velo, just a few minutes over the border in Nyack. A wonderful addition to the area, top notch in every category.


                    3 Replies
                    1. re: menton1

                      Is Velo in the old space that used to be Heather's? Just looked at their site and it's vaguely familiar.

                      1. re: mom22tots

                        Yes, it replaced Heather's about 2 years ago. And it's a great improvement.

                        1. re: menton1

                          What do you enjoy at Velo? The menu is not enticing.

                          Also, they have a lunch menu on the website but they do not open until 5pm?!?!

                    2. I also Recommend AXIA in Tenfly Or Oceanos in Fairlawn. Both are wonderful Restaurants that will not let you down.