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Nov 8, 2011 08:35 PM

Inexpensive dinner rec WO/Montclair/Maplewood vicinity?

Dinner out is a rare treat now -- financially -- but we want to mark our anniversary. We'll be visiting family in West Orange so we're open to towns around it in any direction. We enjoy all kinds of cuisine but we need to make sure that our treat to ourselves is worth it. We can't afford typical "occasion" place right now. Good food is more important than atmosphere or decor.

I don't know how common BYOBs are in the area, but that's an attractive option.

I know this is pretty open. Maybe you can suggest one of your favorite casual places. Or the place you think of as the best "deal" on great food.... I'm open to all suggestions!

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  1. Due Amici on the corner of Eagle Rock and Main St. in west Orange is a favorite BYO of my family. It is your basic Northern NJ Italian, but it's reasonable and the food is pretty good. Lots of BYOs in Montclair of all sorts,I suggest you search Montclair on this board for abundant information.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bropaul


      I have been browsing the board and following lots of links, but was having trouble narrowing it down to inexpensive but of almost any cuisine! There are lots of Montclair recs for higher end places or for specific ethnic restaurants.

      So I guess I was hoping for some suggestions to narrow it down! Thanks for the Due Amici suggestion. I'll go check it out!

      I haven't lived in the area for more than 20 years, so I'm out of touch with what's current.

    2. 99% of the restaurants in Montclair are BYO, so you have that going for you. My two recs:

      Next Door on Bloomfield Ave, which is the casual sister restaurant to Blu. Everything from interesting salads to THE. BEST. BURGER. and a variety of entrees, all at reasonable prices, imo.

      Stamna Greek Taverna on Broad Street in Bloomfield (right on the Montclair border) has authentic Greek food and you can eat for under $20 pp and leave stuffed. Also BYO, and imo, a fun, festive atmosphere.

      Next Door
      556 Bloomfield Ave, Montclair, NJ 07042

      Stamna Restaurant
      1049 Broad St, Bloomfield, NJ 07003

      1. If you go to and put in the West Orange zip code and '5 mile radius' there are some excellent deals in the area. In Verona there is Frank Anthony's. For Thai there is Bangkok Kitchen in Caldwell, which is very reasonable and excellent, TsMa for Chinese in Montclair. Caldwell and West Caldwell is close to WO and there are some very good places there as well.

        Bangkok Kitchen
        391 Bloomfield Ave, Caldwell, NJ 07006

        1. Thank you all! Now we have ideas for several more visits.

          We ate at Stamna Taverna in Bloomfield (thanks for the rec Curlz) and enjoyed it very much. Not knowing how much food it would be (and having some gift $ to spend) we had the flambeed cheese and the zucchini fritters for appetizers. Fair warning -- all delicious, but we never expected SEVEN decent-sized fritters with the order. We decided to enjoy and just take home parts of our entrees. My husband had the rabbit stew that was on the special list and enjoyed it very much. We didn't stop to think about it until after we'd ordered, but I had the braised lamb -- so they were both "stew-like." But we both really enjoyed our selections. The lamb was incredibly tender and I pulled it all of the bones (even the different shaped bones) with just my fork. We each took home part of our meals, but still ended the meal with a shared baklava -- which was delicious.

          The staff was all very friendly and helpful, and clearly knew many of the regulars. Wine glasses were brought over right away when they saw we'd brought a bottle and it was opened and the cork saved for us.

          I like that it was casual -- some people were just having a gyro and fries, others were having full meals. They have an extensive menu:

          Stamna Restaurant
          1049 Broad St, Bloomfield, NJ 07003

          Stamna Taverna
          1045 N Broad St, Bloomfield, NJ 07003

          1 Reply
          1. re: eamcd

            SO glad you enjoyed Stamna! I just love that place; the food is always great, the service warm and friendly, and for some reason, even on a Tuesday night, I always feel like the atmosphere there is happy/festive. And of course, there are always leftovers... :-)

          2. Hat City Kitchen, on Valley St on the Orange/West Orange border, is an absolute GEM. Ambience is cool without being stuffy, lots of artwork on the walls. Staff is extremely friendly and helpful. Food is absolutely terrific, eclectic menu, something for everyone, lots of fresh and local ingredients used.

            On top of that, this restaurant is 100% NON PROFIT, all proceeds go to rejuvenating and preserving the neighborhood!

            Do not miss Hat City Kitchen!