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Red Sauce Italian joints

coldbeer Jun 6, 2013 11:06 AM

My current top three for what I call "red sauce" Italian restaurants with a bar on premises would be Casa Dante in Jersey City. Libretti's in Ornage, and Taormino in kenilworth. Went to Taormino's last weekend for the first time and have already been back. I may go once a week until I die or move to Florida. It is as authentic as you can get from the clientele to the cavatelli.

  1. l
    lemarais Jun 10, 2013 08:37 PM

    La Sorrentina, North Bergen

    La Sicilia, Belleville.

    Great red sauce places. Magnificent mussels at North Bergen joint.

    1. m
      madgreek99 Jun 10, 2013 06:58 PM

      If you look up red sauce Italian joint in the NJ dictionary, you will see a picture of Espo's in Raritan. Yum.

      1. s
        Sdenred Jun 7, 2013 09:47 AM

        I'd suggest Barcelona's in Garfield:

        and Patsy's Tavern in Paterson.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Sdenred
          DownNeckBetty Jun 7, 2013 03:23 PM

          OMG Barcelona's in Garfield is still around? Used to go there when I worked in Lodi from 85 to 90. Always an experience!

          1. re: DownNeckBetty
            Sdenred Jun 10, 2013 09:25 AM

            It's still there.

        2. b
          bifpocaroba Jun 7, 2013 05:26 AM

          Haven't been there in a while but I used to frequent Laico's in Jersey City and always thought it was very good. Coldy, would you consider that a red sauce joint?

          1 Reply
          1. re: bifpocaroba
            coldbeer Jun 7, 2013 06:25 AM

            I would...I love a spot like that with the bar. That's the key. Order a Grey Goose Martini on the rocks with olives and you get those crummy little shriveled up olives in a faux crystal glass while the Sunday gravy wafts from the kitchen. Laico's lost a speck of it's draw when Marie retired at the age of 90 or so. Would write your order down on a clipboard with a magic marker.

          2. TomT Jun 7, 2013 04:19 AM

            I don't know the other two, but calling Taormina a red sauce joint does it a disservice, imo. Maybe my definition is off, but I think of red sauce joint as one who does the southern Italian/Americanized Italian dishes.

            Looking at Taorminas menu I guess I can see how it could be construed a red sauce joint but the specials are always adventurous.... At least the 3 times I have been there. Baby goat last Easter was very well prepared. All in all I would put Taormina up there with any Italian restaurant in NJ.

            3 Replies
            1. re: TomT
              coldbeer Jun 7, 2013 05:13 AM

              Well, the chef at Taormino is from Sicily...that's pretty far south.

              1. re: coldbeer
                TomT Jun 7, 2013 06:57 AM

                Understood. Just saying I think his menu is a little more adventurous for my definition of red sauce joint.

                1. re: TomT
                  lemarais Jun 10, 2013 08:40 PM

                  None of it is "Italian", it's Ital-American, hence "red sauce".

                  For an idea of what you get in Sicily, check the menu here, so different than anything on this side of the pond...


            2. creamfinger Jun 6, 2013 10:34 PM

              I'm dying to find a "red sauce" Italian restaurant that makes their own pasta. When I was in college I used to go to a restaurant in Wilmington, DE called Mrs. Rubino's that made all their own pasta and served a homemade marinara sauce that still haunts my dreams. Delaware is too far to drive and I don't even know if the place still exists. Anyone know where I can get that sort of thing in northern New Jersey?

              4 Replies
              1. re: creamfinger
                DownNeckBetty Jun 7, 2013 01:11 AM

                I believe that Michaelangelo's on Ridge Road. in North Arlington makes their own pasta. Spirito's, in Elizabeth makes their own Ravioli. I just don't know if they make all their pasta. Ravioli are little pillows of perfection.

                1. re: DownNeckBetty
                  creamfinger Jun 7, 2013 02:12 AM

                  "Ravioli are little pillows of perfection." You are a poet!

                2. re: creamfinger
                  SusieQQ Jun 7, 2013 04:40 AM

                  This place is really out of the way for most of you, but the Italian Villa on Rt. 539 in Plumsted is a great little hole-in-the-wall place with delicious traditional red sauce food. And, yes, they make their own pasta!
                  Any one going to Six Flags Great Adventure can find it by traveling a little further on Rte. 537 to Rte. 539.

                  1. re: creamfinger
                    MGZ Jun 7, 2013 05:18 AM

                    I left Wilmington in 2002. I always thought that Rubino's reminded me, food wise, of Rita & Joe's in Jersey City. http://www.rita-joes.com/

                    I have not been to either in well over a decade, but . . . .

                  2. HillJ Jun 6, 2013 09:30 PM

                    Would Spirito's in Elizabeth qualify as a red sauce Italian joint? Been going there most of my life and still enjoy it.

                    1. w
                      wizard2 Jun 6, 2013 03:54 PM

                      Always loved Jerry's of East Rutherford

                      1. jrvedivici Jun 6, 2013 11:16 AM

                        I'm not familiar with your 3 choices however as just mentioned in another thread regarding Ocean Grove, my personal favorite is Jimmy's in Asbury Park.

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