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Elizabeth and Hillside meal options

elinornicole Oct 20, 2012 05:49 PM

Hi all,

I'll be in Hillside to facilitate a training onTuesday and I was wondering if anyone has recommendations for dinner Monday night and for lunch on Tuesday. I won't be getting into Jersey until around dinner time, so somewhere only 15-20 minutes driving from the airport would be ideal. And for lunch the next day, I need to be able to pick up lunch in the morning because I won't have time to run out at lunch time--I need to prep for the afternoon training session.

Cuisine is not specific--I just want great food and a place with relatively well-lit parking because it gets dark earlier now...

Any help would be great; and I think I'll be heading down to that area quite often, so "late" replies will be fine too. :)

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  1. njfreqflyer RE: elinornicole Oct 21, 2012 08:34 AM

    Union is just next-door to Hillside and has two good dinner options.

    Ursino at Kean College has had good reviews on this board (do a search), although I have not been there.


    A couple of more minutes away is Ristorante da Benito, with excellent Italian (albeit on the expensive end). I have been there and recommend it.


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      albinoni RE: elinornicole Oct 22, 2012 07:40 AM

      Vinhus is a good Portuguese restaurant located in Roselle Park, which is on the Elizabeth border. They are open for lunch.

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        coldbeer RE: elinornicole Oct 22, 2012 08:14 AM

        The City Tavern in Elizabeth is a great place for lunch or dinner. Try the skirt steak con cinco estrellas...it's out of this world.

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          Jersey Girl227 RE: elinornicole Oct 22, 2012 02:07 PM

          100% Agree with njfreqflyer...I go to both Ursinos and Benito's all the time. Tho Benitos can be pricey. If I had to choose for eating solo, I'd choose Ursino's. Benny's isn'y really a 'dine by yourself' kind of place, unless your a regular.

          City Tavern you'd probably like for lunch if walking in the dark is a concern, as its downtown and you can't really get a parkign spot close.

          La Catena in Roselle Park is one of my go to favorites. The lot can be dark depending where you park in it; but if your solo the owners will walk out with you (its real throw back Italian...run/owned by 3 brothers.)

          2 Replies
          1. re: Jersey Girl227
            coldbeer RE: Jersey Girl227 Oct 23, 2012 05:36 AM

            City Tavern has their own lighted fenced in parking lot just north on the corner of Dickinson Street.

            1. re: coldbeer
              Jersey Girl227 RE: coldbeer Oct 23, 2012 08:43 AM

              I forgot about that! Thanks.

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            OGguy RE: elinornicole Oct 23, 2012 05:48 AM

            Valenca at 665 Monroe Avenue is a wonderful Spanish/Portugese restaurant near Hillside. It has a tavern side and a more formal restaurant side, and I like the tavern better

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              foodeenj RE: elinornicole Oct 23, 2012 08:33 AM

              Manolo's is a Spanish restaurant in Elizabeth. It's a hidden gem with fantastic food. Also has its own parking lot. I highly recommend the fish dishes and the paella is out of this world. (As an aside, Manolo's was Vesuvio's in The Sopranos.)


              1 Reply
              1. re: foodeenj
                albinoni RE: foodeenj Oct 23, 2012 09:08 AM

                Forgot about Manolo's, which is would be a great choice. It's in Port Elizabeth.

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                basil4me RE: elinornicole Oct 23, 2012 10:48 AM

                Torna di Sorrento on Westfield Avenue in Elizabeth has delicious Italian food. The best fried calamari and eggplant parmagiana I've ever had. The pasta and sauces are top-notch. They have a large-well lit parking lot right next door which is a plus. The dining room is not fancy and could use a facelift, but the food and service are terrific. John runs the front of the house and his parents/brother do the cooking. Please give it a try and report back - I've been eating there for almost 20 years and have NEVER been disappointed.

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                  elinornicole RE: elinornicole Oct 24, 2012 06:51 PM

                  Thanks so much for the recommendations! I got in too late to try any of them Tuesday night, but I'm excited to try ALL of these places when I return. When I was driving to my training location, it brought back fond memories of the school district where I had been working before my new job as an educational trainer--good people and GREAT food. You brought back some good memories and excitement for some new ones! I can't wait to come back down there. :)

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: elinornicole
                    michele cindy RE: elinornicole Oct 26, 2012 03:34 AM

                    When you come back, my recommendation would be Spirito's in Elizabeth. They have the best ravioli in the world. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/408224 The pizza is ok, but it's the ravioli that I'd travel for.

                    1. re: michele cindy
                      elinornicole RE: michele cindy Nov 9, 2012 06:52 PM

                      Sounds like a GEM! Do they take credit cards? I'll be back down in a few weeks, so I can't wait to try it and some Portuguese too. :)

                      1. re: elinornicole
                        michele cindy RE: elinornicole Nov 10, 2012 03:25 AM

                        I'm pretty sure it is cash only.

                  2. goody2 RE: elinornicole Oct 25, 2012 04:23 PM

                    I agree with all of the previous suggestions. Also...

                    If you like Cuban food, I would recommend El Palmar (have made several visits) on Elizabeth Ave. (From airport take Hwy. 1&9 South). On same street is Café Alvarez (never eaten there).

                    And let us not forget Santillo's Pizza on S. Broad St. (also just off 1&9). In NJ's top five according to Munchmobile, NJ Monthly, Radio 101.5, and yours truly. It is take-out only, but you can take your pie to the Vasco da Gama tavern around the corner and enjoy it there.

                    I would add that Valença, besides the regular Portuguese menu, offers cook-at-your-table (on an ultra-hot stone) filet mignon, tuna steak or prawns. The first two you cut up into small pieces to cook. Delicious and fun. A bit smoky in the dining room when a lot of people are doing it.

                    1. Angelina RE: elinornicole Oct 26, 2012 10:04 AM

                      My fav place for Portuguese......


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