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Apr 17, 2011 03:57 PM

David's Restaurant in Cliffside Park

I'm looking for feedback on anyone's experience in eating at this small Italian (BYOB) restaurant on Lawton Avenue in Cliffside Park. The restaurant is moderately priced and is rumored to have a rather large and loyal following, including regulars from as far away as Connecticut and Massachusetts. Zabar

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  1. It's long been known as a local favorite......I seem to recall about 5-6 years back, it was voted as having the top Chicken Parmigiana in the The Record.

    1. If you're disposed to go to Belleville, La Sicilia on Washington Ave has way-above average red sauce Italian-American food. It's small and homey, and a very friendly management as well as below-average prices. An unusual "Palermo Pizza" is to be found there as well, a rectangular, thin-crust variety that is excellent.

      I had an eggplant dish where the eggplant was pounded to paper thin, lightly breaded and was absolutely delicious, best I've had of this style dish. I highly recommend it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: menton1

        eggplant was pounded to paper thin?

        1. There's an interesting story about David's chef. His name is Reynaldo and once upon a time, when he 1st emigrated from South America, he was the dishwasher at DeAngelo's (another famous Cliffside Park Italian eatery that was also located on Lawton Avenue) several years ago. The story is that the owner of DeAngelo's mentored Reynaldo because of his zeal for cooking knowledge, and consequently was responsible for his blossoming into a really good chef. These days, David is very rarely in the kitchen at David's Restaurant - it's Reynaldo who is in charge of putting smiles on the faces of their patrons. Zabar

          5 Replies
          1. re: Zabar

            Nice. The owner of La Sicilia has a similarly interesting background.

            "Giuseppe Ali, La Sicilia's affable proprietor, immigrated to the U.S. in 1975 from Agrigento, Sicily. After navigating a 30-year circuitous bout of restaurant gigs in Bayonne, the West Hamptons, and Jersey City, Mr. Ali opened La Sicilia in Belleville, New Jersey, six years ago as his first pizza-centric venture. The net effect of all his experience is a menu full of exquisitely delicious, classic red-sauce Italian cooking."

            His wife waits tables, and they are a charming couple, you actually feel like family dining there.

            To get yourself really hungry, check the Foodie Brothers link above for their video report on La Sicilia!

            1. re: menton1

              I've made a mental note to go to La Sicilia the next time that we're near to Belleville.

              Usually, when we're in the Newark vicinity, we make a beeline to our very fav Portuguese seafood restaurant, namely Casa Vasca.

              "menton1", have you ever dined at Casa Vasca? Zabar

              Casa Vasca
              141 Elm St, Newark, NJ 07105

              1. re: Zabar

                Many years ago. I found that 99% of the Spanish restos in Newark specialize in quantity over quality, and that is exactly the OPPOSITE of what I look for. I actually prefer smaller quantities of food! (Is that un-American?)

                BTW, my recollection is that this resto is SPANISH (sic) rather than Portuguese...(but not really either)

                For Portuguese, you need to travel a bit, it's 10 min over the Tappan Zee, name is Churrasqueira Ribatejo in Ossining, NY. The real deal. (See my review on the thread on the NY State board.) This is authentic Portuguese/Azorean food, right out of Lisbon, and decorated with the real Azulejos tiles straight from Portugal. Vinho Verde, too! Fabulous food here! Best Portuguese resto outside of New Bedford, Mass.


                1. re: menton1

                  I bow to your knowledge of Portuguese restaurants. I did not realize that the cuisine at Casa Vasca is "Basque".

                  "menton1", do you believe that Casa Vasca should be included in the 99% category of Newark restaurants selling quantity over quality?

                  For CHers who are unfamiliar with "Casa Vasca", the following is a December 1996 NYT review (courtesy of their archives). IMO, the quality of the food is basically unchanged since 1996, and the restaurant is still packed by loyal foodies.
                  We enjoy CV for the "quality" of their food (although the portions are also large) and the more intimate atmosphere that they provide in their dining room. Zabar

                  Casa Vasca
                  141 Elm St, Newark, NJ 07105

                  1. re: Zabar

                    Yes. Not worth the trek to Newark. Equidistant from me is the Portuguese resto in Ossining, where I would go in a heartbeat.

          2. Haven't been in a long time, but last time I was there -- it was good. Not easy to find an excellent Italian restaurant in Northern NJ, but this one was good.