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Looking For Elegant Mother's Day Brunch in North Jersey

I'm looking for an elegant Mother's Day brunch suitable for taking an elderly grandmother out. Price is no object; I'm primarily looking for a place that's really nice and will impress her with good food as well as a nice atmosphere. Food should be reasonably mainstream - granny doesn't do spicy - so no Indian, Thai, Mexican, etc. The location should be within roughly a half hour's drive from the intersection of 3, 46, and the Parkway in Clifton; as long as it's not past 287, it's probably okay.

I've looked at the web menu for the regular buffet Sunday brunch at the Terrace at the Hilton in Short Hills, and it sounds like just the sort of thing I'm looking for - anybody been? I also see that Amanda's in Hoboken has received awards as the best Sunday brunch in Jersey, and it has a nice menu too (a la carte) - again, anybody been? I know she's been numerous times to the Manor and the Highlawn Pavilion, so those might not be my first choice, but I'll be keeping them in mind. I'm open to additional suggestions, so feel free to mention any place else you think would be suitable.

Also, if there are any "gotchas" involved, please mention them. (For example, I know in some cities, Sunday brunch books up many months in advance.)

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!

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  1. I've been to the Short Hills Hilton for brunch ....it was a great experience. The food was terrific, lots of great entrees and wonderful desserts, very attentive service as well. But the Sundays that we were there were NOT Mother's Day....I can only hope that they do an equally fine job on that holiday. The Hilton has a buffet style brunch. Amanda's was not, but it is a top-notch restaurant in every way. I also heard that Lorena's in Maplewood has a terrific brunch....just off the Parkway. I wouldn't overlook the brunch at The Manor.....grandmas love The Manor. It's so sweet that you are taking her out for Mother's Day....grandmas are very special.

    1 Reply
    1. re: maryanne06

      Rod's in Morristown consistently gets positive reviews. Out of the 30 minute window, but two places that serve and families and older crowds are...Madeleine's Petit Paris in Northvale and Restaurant X in Congers.




    2. I dont think I would take my grandmother to Amandas on mother's day, it is a GREAT restaurant but with parking and getting her in unless she is extremely spry I would not think it would be very comfortable on mothers day as it can be really tight in the townhouse there.

      A place that gets overlooked often is the restaurant VU at the Hyatt in Jersey City, easy to get to and you park right at teh bottom of teh escalator, no stairs to walk through teh lobby to an incredible view of Manhattan and the Hudson River, it will be crowded but certianly not a mad house, it will be special for grandma and the food is pretty good.

      1. Well, granny says she'd rather not travel too terribly far, and isn't too thrilled with Short Hills or Jersey City, both about half an hour away. So it looks like we'll probably end up at either Highlawn Pavilion or the Manor, unless someone has any additional suggestions...? Preferably within 15 minutes of 3/46/GSP, an area which would include Montclair, Clifton, the 46 end of Wayne, etc.

        Thanks again for all the help!

        1. +1 for Lorena's / Maplewood. Quite elegant, and it blows away past-their-prime places like Manor or Highland Pav.

          1. Here I go sounding like a broken record again, but Amanda's in Hoboken would be an excellent choice. The food is superb, the ambience will impress your grandmother and it is just about a half hour's drive "of 3, 46, and the Parkway in Clifton." There is a Mother's Day brunch or dinner, both with seatings at assigned times. I'm sure they are not all booked yet, but the sooner you book the better.


            1 Reply
            1. re: ttoommyy

              Perhaps I wasn't clear. After discussing the choices with granny, she says she doesn't want to ride half an hour to brunch, so I'm looking for places that are significantly closer, hopefully within 15 minutes. The recommendations of Amanda's and Lorena's were good ones, except that they are both a bit too far now. (In fact, I LOVE the menu at Lorena's and hope to go there on my own, either on this visit or another one.)

              If we can't find a suitably impressive brunch close by, we might consider an early dinner instead.

            2. NSXTASY: if you have any spare time and are visiting your alma mater, let me know! It's been years since I've seen you at the track! Cheers! -mJ

              2 Replies
                1. re: nsxtasy

                  Lorena's is only about 20 min from exit 153 (rte 3 & 46 junction you mentioned).

                  But here's another good option for you, near 46, 17 and Rte 80 in Hasbrouck Heights.


              1. Check out this site

                it has a lot of nice places listed and maybe one will be within driving distance for you


                3 Replies
                  1. re: MommyLovesToEat

                    Can't really vouch for this place yet - I have a luncheon event scheduled in the next 2 weeks - but Hamilton and Ward in Paterson might fit the bill. The brunch menu looks good and I'll report back on the food after my event.
                    They provide free valet parking

                    1. re: foodyum

                      Looking forward to your report, as that would be very convenient. (The suggestion of Ivy Inn near Teterboro is pretty close too.)

                  2. I discussed it further with granny, emphasizing how we ought to do something SPECIAL, and laid out all the possibilities. She finally decided on Amanda's. This seems to be a great choice (one of several very appealing options). I'll report back afterwards. Thanks again to all for the input and suggestions!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: nsxtasy

                      Great news nsxtasy. I really think you will enjoy Amanda's. If either of the owners, Joyce and Eugene Flinn, are there you should introduce yourself to them and let them know how you came to decide on Amanda's; they'll get a kick out of it. They are lovely and professional people. Have a wonderful Mother's Day.

                      1. re: ttoommyy

                        So we went to Amanda’s for Mother’s Day brunch, and it was absolutely PERFECT. The place was very elegant; it’s in what must have been a private mansion many years ago, with high (12-foot?) ceilings and small rooms connected to each other. The food was fantastic! I loved everything I had: polenta with sun-dried tomatoes (one of the best polentas I’ve ever had), salad of grilled chicken breast over greens, and a molten chocolate lava cake for dessert. I did indeed introduce myself to Joyce and Eugene, who were charming, and said they have no idea who mentioned them on Chowhound but they appreciate the recommendation. I can see why Amanda’s was voted best Sunday brunch in Jersey. This was a very memorable meal and it was exactly what I was looking for. Thank you all SO MUCH for all the great recommendations (including those for other places as well – many of which sounded enticing but will have to wait for future visits). Thanks!

                        1. re: nsxtasy

                          You are so welcome nsxtasy! You have made me so glad with your report. We have loved this restaurant (and Joyce and Eugene) for almost 20 years and I absolutely love when people go there and love it too.

                          "The place was very elegant; it’s in what must have been a private mansion many years ago, with high (12-foot?)"

                          Believe it or not, those are just two brownstone apartment buildings converted to a restaurant. Amazing, huh? Hoboken has some beautiful architecture. I am SO happy you enjoyed your Mother's Day , Amanda's and Hoboken!

                    2. Ana Beall's Tea Room in Westfield is very nice:


                      in addition to brunch, they do afternoon tea and high tea.

                      make sure you make a reservation for the upstairs room...decor is really special..

                      I took my mom there for mother's day, we did tea, complete with scones and finger sandwiches, was just wonderful....

                      Ana Beall's Tea Room
                      415 Westfield Avenue, Westfield, NJ

                      1. Piccolo Trattoria has a Mother's Day brunch on Sunday. $24 for adults and $12 for kids. Check out their menu at

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: MikeK2014

                          Nice plug....but I don't thing anyone from North Jersey is gong to travel to Pennington or Pennsylvania to your restaurant.