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Middle Eastern places in Bergen County.

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so the wife and I have gotten tired of the normal - "where do you want to go out for dinner", " i dont know, what are you in the mood for"... conversation we have every time we want to go out and grab dinner. We usually just fall back on our favorite Italian place, sushi place, Chinese place, Greek place, etc. or if were really lazy, just go over to our favorite diner. So ive decided its time to open our palate up a little and try some different cuisines. So were on a little bit of a middle eastern kick now after trying the Turkish Kitchen in River Edge. We really, really enjoyed it, and will return, but wanted to try some other middle eastern spots in Bergen County. any ideas???? thanks in advance.

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  1. How about Rose's in Englewood. It's a Lebanese restaurant.
    If you do go, let us know how it was.

    12 Replies
    1. re: Monica

      There's a Rose's in Fair Lawn too, on Broadway/Route 4. The location is rough to get into out of, but it has gotten very good reviews. (I've never been there, but I'll get there one day.)

      If casual is OK, Chicken Kebab in Glen Rock (on Prospect Street just past the Fair Lawn border) has some very good food at good prices. The gyros are outstanding! (If you can handle it spicy, ask them to mix their pepper sauce in the meat!)

      1. re: zhelder

        Best in the county is Axia in Tenafly. Beautiful environment, impeccable food and service, and a large selection of Greek wines.

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        AXIA Taverna
        18 Piermont Rd, Tenafly, NJ 07670

        1. re: menton1

          uhhrr..but that's a greek restaurant.. voai is looking for a middle eastern restaurant.
          I live in Tenafly and I can't believe I can't believe I stil haven't been to Axia.

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          AXIA Taverna
          18 Piermont Rd, Tenafly, NJ 07670

          1. re: Monica

            Dup.

            1. re: menton1

              thats funny menton1 because in my original post, where i said we normally fall back on our favorite places, for Greek food, its Axia hands down. We adore that place. tomorrow i will be meeting mom for lunch at Samdan, a Turkish restaurant in Cresskill. And Monica, ive heard about a good middle eastern place in Englewood, but I didnt think it was Rose's.... I have to check, but would definitely try either one out. thanks guys for the great ideas and keep them coming!

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              AXIA Taverna
              18 Piermont Rd, Tenafly, NJ 07670

              Samdan Restaurant
              178 Piermont Rd, Cresskill, NJ 07626

              1. re: yogi70

                Bennie's may be the place you heard of. It's between Grand and Dean Streets on Palisades.

                http://www.benniesofenglewood.com/

                1. re: yogi70

                  At Samdan you and your mom should each get one of the lunch specials (the #1 is a choice of cold mezze, the #2 is hot, I think they both come with lentil soup and salad) to get a sense of a variety of items. I prefer the #1 because I think their babaghanoush is the best thing there, but the acile ezme, grape leaves and pilaki are also really good.

                  Hamsa in Tenafly also has a nice lunch special to keep in mind, though a bit more pricey. It is a really good place to get a Jerusalem Mixed Grill ( essentially street food, chicken offal heavily spiced with baharat spice mixture and grilled with onions- the Hamsa version has dark meat chicken with livers); they call it Siniya, and it is served on top of their killer hummous (maybe the best in the area), just an insanely rich dish. Their matbuha (red peppers with eggplant) and cauliflower spread are also worth going for.

                  -----
                  Samdan Restaurant
                  178 Piermont Rd, Cresskill, NJ 07626

                  1. re: TongoRad

                    So Samdan was great. Did as TongoRad mentioned above, had some hummus, and stuffed grape leaves as well as chicken kebobs. Also their lentil soup was great as was their chopped salad. Next time well try the babaganoush. I have to say I liked the stuffed grape leaves better at the turkish kitchen. all in all it was a nice lunch with mom.

                    -----
                    Samdan Restaurant
                    178 Piermont Rd, Cresskill, NJ 07626

                    1. re: yogi70

                      you got most of my Samdan faves - the Shepherd's salad, hummus, and chicken kebab :)

                      definitely try the baba next time...and if you eat red meat, the Has Has kebab.

                      -----
                      Samdan Restaurant
                      178 Piermont Rd, Cresskill, NJ 07626

          2. re: zhelder

            When I lived in NJ I ate at Rose's and enjoyed the food there

            1. re: zhelder

              im assuming the rose's in englewood and fair lawn are owned by the same people??? cant find a website for either one?

              1. re: yogi70

                Rose's Place
                (201) 475-8800
                32-1 Broadway , Fair Lawn , NJ 07410

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                Rose's Place
                32-01 Broadway, Fair Lawn, NJ 07410

          3. Although Paterson, NJ, is in Passaic County, it is only about 3 miles from Fair Lawn. It is the home of many wonderful - and authentic - middle eastern restaurants. Foremost among them is Al Basha, owned by a Palestinian and specializing in Lebanese/Palestinian food. You'll find all the standards plus an all-you-can-eat (modestly priced) dinner buffet with many offerings. Attentive service by fez and black tie wearing waiters and freshly prepared, tasty food make this a place which I frequent often out of sheer nostalgia and enjoyment. There's a lot of Arabic spoken there. Its the real deal.

            1. The best in Bergen County is Nisi in Englewood. It is located at 90 Grand Avenue in Englewood.
              201-567-4700. http://www.nisirestaurant.com/

              Fresh seafood, daily specials, sommelier, and the overall best staff in the area.

              Make sure you save room for their always interesting made in-house desserts!

              7 Replies
              1. re: Bosmer

                I respectfully disagree. Nisi is going for snob appeal, but Axia is the real deal.

                -----
                AXIA Taverna
                18 Piermont Rd, Tenafly, NJ 07670

                1. re: menton1

                  haha, as far as i know, no restaurant in NJ is as snobbish as Grissini in Englewood Cliffs.
                  I first thought the place was a fancy car dealer. Hated the people who dined there and hated the food and the staff...one of the worst dining experience ever.

                  -----
                  Grissini
                  484 Sylvan Avenue, Englewood Cliffs, NJ 07632

                  1. re: menton1

                    I have never experienced any form of snobbery at Nisi. The management, sommelier and waitstaff are extremely accommodating, friendly and efficient.

                    Did you have a different experience that you would like to share with us?

                    1. re: Bosmer

                      I agree with Bos...Plus the $30 prix fix menu and happy hour they've got running right now is impossible to beat....probably the only restaurant in B.C. I can honestly say i adore.

                  2. re: Bosmer

                    again, not looking for a greek restaurant. as a far as Nisi goes, its nice, but the last time we went i had to take out a 2nd mortgage to pay the bill. ($33 per lb of grilled fish w/ lemon? cmon.) for Greek, i also much prefer Axia. However, per my original post, im currently looking for Middle eastern bergen county options. thanks.

                    -----
                    AXIA Taverna
                    18 Piermont Rd, Tenafly, NJ 07670

                    1. re: yogi70

                      well, my top 2 suggestions were already mentioned - Samdan & Bennies. i've heard good things about the food - but not the service - at Hamsa.

                      -----
                      Samdan Restaurant
                      178 Piermont Rd, Cresskill, NJ 07626

                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                        Re: Hamsa
                        There is a waitress there, she might be related to the owner, that I have gotten numerous times (always for lunch, fwiw) who is really sort of 'distant', but not terrible. As long as you stay on top of her, flag her down to get refills on water or bread or even the check, you should be allright. But you're right, it is worth mentioning so people know what to expect ahead of time.

                  3. not Bergen - but right on the border - in Airmont NY - Turkois Grille - check it out - pleasant restaurant and great food!

                    1. Nazar in Rutherford despite their recent recasting as a more Italian place (why???) still has very good kebabs and appetizers - and they're cheap and BYOB.

                      1. Went to Hamsa. Everything was incredibly tasty. The best dish was moroccan chicken(chicken tagine). It was really flavorful. I really wish I can have that recipe.

                        1. I think Hamsa was the place I had a splendid felafel for lunch one time - it's the little Israeli place in Tenafly, right? Beautiful light and fluffy chickpea mixture, fried perfectly and green with parsley, and a wonderful tahini sauce. I'd definitely go back to try other dishes on the strength of that one sandwich.

                          11 Replies
                          1. re: trBabs

                            Yes that's the place. Falafel was one of the best i had. My MIL went crazy over those and she almost never eats fried food.

                            1. re: Monica

                              meeting mom again for lunch tomorrow, cant decide between Bennies in Englewood or Hamsa in Tenafly. Any thoughts?

                              1. re: yogi70

                                have you been to either one yet? i never made it to Hamsa, but Bennies is terrific.

                                1. re: yogi70

                                  I have never been to Bennies but Hamsa was GREAT. My mother in law is a picky eater and she wouldn't share her food with us. We had dinner...i don't know if their lunch menu is different.
                                  Whatever you do, you gottta try the Moroccan chicken and mixed appetizers. So delicious.

                                  1. re: yogi70

                                    As was mentioned upthread, service <can> be an issue at Hamsa, but the food is really good. If your mom won't be put off by an inattentive waitress then it definitely deserves consideration. I will reiterate also, that their hummous just kills.

                                    Bennies is great too. If I were to go there I'd get one of the schwarma and some cold mezze, particularly the spicy eggplant of they have it.

                                    I don't think you could go wrong at either place, in terms of the food.

                                    ETA- I just looked at the date and saw that this response was too late, and your lunch was planned for Friday. In any event, I was editing my post to add the info that Hamsa is a Kosher establishment and would be closed on a Saturday anyway. Still worth noting, I guess...

                                    1. re: TongoRad

                                      "In any event, I was editing my post to add the info that Hamsa is a Kosher establishment and would be closed on a Saturday anyway."
                                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
                                      according to their website, they have "Jazz Night" on Saturdays...so apparently they're open.

                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                        Yeah, but yogi70 mentioned lunch, and I'm pretty sure that they're closed from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, so lunch wouldn't be an option.

                                        I do have to check out that Jazz Night one of these days, though. We usually go out to eat a lot earlier in the day when we do.

                                        1. re: TongoRad

                                          ah, i didn't think about the option of opening after sundown! please report back if you check out Jazz Night - i'd love to have it as an option when i'm in town visiting family and don't want to drive into NYC.

                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            as mentioned above, met mom last friday for lunch. since the weather was really crappy we decided on Hamsa instead of Bennies, as Hamsa is slightly closer to her. After reading the reviews above, i told her that the food should be great and to be aware, the service is probably gonna stink, lol. First, the inside is much bigger than i expected from the small storefront (on the same street as the tenafly movie theater). Its also decorated very nicely. It was completely empty (again the weather was terrible) and we were seated. I ordered the small mezze plate app and the Siniya. Mom ordered the falafel app and the Pargiot chicken, and we shared everything. for the lunch small mezze app, you can get 3 dif. mezzes. We chose babaganoush, matbuha (a red pepper tapenade) and the greek style eggplant. All three were great, especially with the yummy pita they have (slightly thicker pita bread than im used too). If I had to pick a favorite of the three , id go with the greek style eggplant. it was marinated in a spicy oil with peppers and other things, very good. the falafel was great too. not the best ive had lately (that honor still goes to the turkish kitchen in river edge) but very very good. we waited an extremely long time for the lunch entrees to be brought out after the apps. (especially since we were the only ones there). finally the entrees come. The Siniya is the same as their Jerusalem mixed grille (grilled chicken with mushrooms and onions), just with a thick ring of homemade hummous around the plate. it was delicious and the portion was huge for a lunch. moms chicken pargiot (grilled cornish hen) was also very tasty and came with sides of isreali salad (diced cukes tomatos and parsley) and some boring rice. all in all the food was fantastic, portions (especially the siniya) were good and at $15 per person for lunch, although more expensive than other middle eastern lunch prices in the area, was in my mind, worth it. As far as the waitress goes, the above poster's info regarding her is so true. no smiles, no water refills, no "how was everything" / "can i get you anything" LOL. Really very apathetic bordering unfriendly. almost comical. Someone should mention something to the owner as this kinda brought down an otherwise great lunch / experience at a new place. (although i have feeling she is probably a family member of the owners). all in all, id return, but not before trying a few more middle eastern places in the area. (Bennie's in Englewood and Lodo's (Toro's?) in New Milford are two we want to get to soon.

                                            1. re: yogi70

                                              thanks so much for the detailed review! i'll have to pass along the CH thumbs up to my folks in case they ever want to try another Middle Eastern alternative to their beloved Samdan ;) the Siniya sounds like something my dad would love.

                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                my mother in law had Siniya but it wasn't as good as moroccan chicken.

                              2. Love Samdan too

                                Samdan Restaurant
                                178 Piermont Rd, Cresskill, NJ 07626-1561

                                (201) 816-7343 ‎
                                samdanrestaurant.com

                                -----
                                Samdan Restaurant
                                178 Piermont Rd, Cresskill, NJ 07626

                                16 Replies
                                1. re: MommyLovesToEat

                                  Great to see a new poster on the board. Have any faves at Samdan?

                                  -----
                                  Samdan Restaurant
                                  178 Piermont Rd, Cresskill, NJ 07626

                                  1. re: TongoRad

                                    The shepards salad is amazing, as well as the hummus, AND basically anything lamb. Had a great romantic dinner there with my hubby and it was a great night!

                                    1. re: MommyLovesToEat

                                      agree on the salad & hummus. their Tavuk (chicken) kebab is pretty terrific too - always super tender & moist.

                                    2. re: TongoRad

                                      Heres some pictures of Samdan

                                      http://www.jerseybites.com/2010/07/sa...

                                      -----
                                      Samdan Restaurant
                                      178 Piermont Rd, Cresskill, NJ 07626

                                      1. re: MommyLovesToEat

                                        we had a fantastic dinner Saturday nite at Al Basha (recommended above by Avi). Been trying different middle eastern places in Bergen county lately, but we were in Paterson so we decided to give it a try. so glad we did. started with the Al Basha Mazzah, (sort of a app sampler). when the Mazzah arrived i couldnt believe my eyes. easily eight different dishes / items to try. not small plates mind you. some stuff we knew (hummus, babaganoush, spicy eggplant) other stuff we were unaware of. everything was fantastic. my favorite was the Muhammara (a red pepper spicy dip with pine nuts?) then for the entree we split a Al Basha platter, a sampler of kebabs, chops and schwarma. one item was tastier than the next. but there was so much! noticed everyone was leaving with bags full of leftovers, and i never leave leftovers to be taken home, but this time we took a ton home. the price was quite reasonable and we left extremely full, very satisfied, and had a full dinner off the leftovers sunday night. Thanks to Avi above for the recommendation. Anyone else have any other middle eastern places in Bergen to try? Next on my list are : Rose's Fair Lawn, Nazar Rutherford and the place in New Milford (Lodos / Toros?).

                                        -----
                                        Toros Restaurant
                                        1083 Main St, Paterson, NJ 07503

                                        1. re: yogi70

                                          Just read in the record about yet ANOTHER middle eastern restaurant in Englewood called La Mezza. Now we are still on our middle eastern kick, and would love some recs for one of these places the next time we are in Englewood. So far we have already been to Bennies and absolutely loved it. We were going to try Rose's next but in addition, it looks like we can also check out La Mezza, Bennies (again), Hummus Elite, the Palm grille or the Levant Grille.... whew. i know Englewood is a good size town but 6 middle eastern options? (not to mention Hamsa in neighboring Tenafly, Samdan in Cresskill) not complaining, but wow - our work is cut out for us lol. thanks in advance for any info on these -

                                          1. re: yogi70

                                            there's also a new Turkish place in Tenafly called Cafe Europe in the space that formerly housed Green Door Cafe & Sparkie's Pizza. i'd love to hear feedback from the Hounds on this one - it will be interesting to see how they fare with Samdan right down the street.

                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                              has anyone been to the above mentioned Europa Cafe in Tenafly? any feedback is appreciated,

                                              1. re: yogi70

                                                I haven't been there, but I heard from others that it's super-ordinary. Go to Bennie's in Englewood instead, they say.

                                                1. re: lemarais

                                                  last weekend we found ourselves in Fair Lawn and stopped at Rose's Place. not sure if they are affiliated with Rose's of Englewood. Lunch was off of the ala carte dinner menu which was weird as my experience with many middle eastern places for lunch is usually some sort of a prix fixe option where you pick a salad (or soup) an app and a protein entree. either way, it was pretty good. nothing jumped out at us however. falafel and hummous were both
                                                  good. both entrees good too but again, nothing to rush back too (shish tawook and shwerma). still looking for some feedback on the multiple (6?) middle eastern places in Englewood as mentioned previously as it's much closer. Particularly the Levant grille or La Mezza, as were already fans of bennies.
                                                  thanks!

                                                  1. re: yogi70

                                                    Unless she recently sold it, they are definitely owned by the same person. I had a couple of conversations with Rose in the Fair Lawn location about her opening in Englewood. Somehow, though, the Fair Lawn location's food is better.

                                                  2. re: lemarais

                                                    stopped by the Europa Café in Tenafly other day with a friend for a late lunch. I wouldn't say "super - ordinary" , but certainly not great either. It was in between lunch and dinner around 3 - and the lunch menu was no longer available. So, we shared the small combo platter and an order of falafel. Waitress was surprised by our order and asked "that's it?" - not a great way to start the meal... (by the way, it turned out to be more than enough food.)

                                                    the combo platter lets you get 5 items, unfortunately, my favorite middle eastern app mohammra, wasn't available. we chose the stuffed grape leaves, hummus, babaganoush, cracked wheat salad and eggplant with sauce. all were good, with the babaganoush standing out, and the hummus being mediocre. The falafel were ok, but nothing to return quickly for. Glad we tried it, but with the multitude of middle eastern places in Englewood (6?), Samdan in Cresskill, Hamsa a block away and Efe's in River Edge, I probably wont be back here anytime soon.

                                                    1. re: yogi70

                                                      I live in Tenafly and that location has had so many restaurants that I can't even keep up anymore.

                                                      1. re: yogi70

                                                        got ourselves over to another Middle eastern place this weekend after a little bit of a break. Hit up Rose's in Englewood. It was pretty good. Started with the obligatory order of falafel which was very good, not the best in the area (that honor imo still goes to Efe's, formerly the Turkish Kitchen, but they were still very good.) Their Mohammra, was possibly the best I have had since going out in Paterson. Had the Rose's combo which was a couple of different kebabs and a baby lamb chop It was just ok. Meats weren't seasoned enough, if at all, and the baby lamb chop was close to the size of silver dollar. nothing exceptional. wife had the shwarma platter, which she enjoyed. All in all, I would return, but not before trying some of the other options in town I have yet to get to (la mezza, levant grille, etc) and not before returning to Bennies, which I definitely prefer.

                                                        1. re: yogi70

                                                          after a hiatus, we got back to our middle eastern, bergen county restaurant tour lol. Had a fantastic dinner with another couple at Lisa's Mediterranean Cuisine in Ridgewood. Place is legit. Started with some falafel and turkish cigar pies filled with feta and parsley, which were great. Also had a cold mezze platter of the standard hummus, baba, lebni etc. All very good, nothing that knocked me out though. What I really liked about this place is that the entrees were different than most middle eastern places. there were many more options besides the standard kebob combos or sautes. For example, I had something called Hunkar Begendi, which was lamb cubes with smoked eggplant, turkish cheese and cream. Very rich and delicious. Finished with some Turkish coffee and baklava. Fantastic dinner at a very quaint byo spot. And although I try to avoid going out in Ridgewood, i would definitely recommend Lisa's, and return soon.

                                                          1. re: yogi70

                                                            Agreed. Lisa's is worth a trip and the time spent finding a parking spot...