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Dec 11, 2013 09:54 AM

Casual, tasty solo dinner between Mt Olive and Newark (airport)

I have several hours to get from Mt Olive to Newark for a late night flight - with a rental car and GPS - where should I go for dinner (tomorrow around 6:30 -7:30p)?

I like all types of tasty food and prefer sitting at a bar for dinner with a good basic cocktail (not required, preferred - food trumps drinks), but occupying a table is not out of the question for me either. Budget can be cheap dive to hotel dining prices at Marriott, Sheraton, Hilton, etc..

I have reviewed posts and come up with only the following partial fits so far:

Reservoir Tavern, Parsippany (pizza)
Alexis Diner, Denville
Hunan Noodle House or Noodle Chu, Parsippany

Is there a gem in this corridor I am overlooking?

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  1. Salt Gastropub in Byram. Had an excellent meal there a couple of months ago, thanks to PuniceaRana's rec. Highly recommended, great food and atmosphere. Here's the thread:

    1 Reply
    1. re: lemarais

      Thanks - this looks really good - a definite contender for me!

    2. Go to the Orange Squirrel in Bloomfield. Right off the Parkway on Bloomfield Ave just north of 280 and close enough to the airport. Sit at the bar and ask Dorian to make you prickly pear margarita, and get the steak with the marscapone polenta. Or the duck. Or the pizza. Or anything,

      5 Replies
      1. re: coldbeer

        I think I read that the Orange Squirrel has a different name now.

        1. re: bropaul

          Odd--I hadn't heard that, and their website is unchanged...

          1. re: Curlz

            Actually, I think it was Bar Cara, not Orange Squirrel.

            1. re: bropaul

              Yes--that's right. Bar Cara is no longer owned by the DePersios--it's now Yellow something (and getting some terrible reviews by people I trust).

              1. re: Curlz

                The Orange Squirrel, The Yellow Plum, Blue Morel, The Red Knot...some colour place

      2. Without knowing where you come from (food-wise), I'd suggest one of the following, because although Reservoir is a great Jersey experience, I'D go for more ethnic food:

        -Head to the Ironbound (Portuguese and Brazilian) section of Newark and sit down at the bar at Seabra's Marisqueria, where you can eat and drink INSANELY well for ridiculously reasonable prices-- with the locals. They have a huge parking lot right across the street and the restaurant will even validate the ticket for you, so you only need to tip the attendant. Fantastic seafood and authentic Portuguese food there.

        -Dying for fantastic Szechuan? Head to Chengdu 23 in Wayne--but it's BYO, which is the case with many restaurants in NJ.

        -The best Greek food I know is at Stamna Greek Taverna in Bloomfield, all of a mile in off of the Garden State Parkway. Again, a BYO--with a liquor store on the same block. Octopus and Greek sausage and macarounes are necessary if you go.

        If you search this board for any of those restaurants, you'll find more details.

        Is there something else you don't get where you normally travel or live? Tell us! We're happy to help.

        1. I ended up getting late breakfast / early lunch at Alexis Diner - it was a top notch diner experience - even the grilled kielbasa would hold up to my wife's eastern European scrutiny - the coffee was the weak link but drinkable.

          I didn't have a ton of time so I did stop into Reservoir Tavern and got a table immediately even though the bar was filled to capacity before 6pm - great cold broccoli rabe salad and a delicious but not mindblowing sausage and onion pizza - thicker, softer crust than I expected - not so crispy and a little tough but good flavors in the crust and sauce.

          Thanks for the other tips - I am going to be back and will research them further and use them, particularly Salt Gastropub and the Greek place.

          Good diners are far rarer in MA than you would expect and really good, casual Portugese is prevalent in Cambridge and Somerville near home - several decent Szechuan options in the area as well, but I am not heat-seeking enough to fully appreciate them.

          I would love to hear about great, real Thai, Indian, and Vietnamese options as well. Thanks for the help!

          1 Reply
          1. re: rlh

            Thanks for reporting back.

            Next time, get thee to the Greek for sure! :-) For Indian, Saffron on Rt. 10 in E. Hanover is a longtime favorite and I hear good things about Cinnamon, which is on Rt 10 in Parsippany. There is also a restaurant called Mysore Woodlands on Rt 46 in Parsippany that has a lot of fans.

            For Vietnamese, my absolute favorite pho is at Viet Ai in Florham Park.

            For NON-spicy Chinese, Hunan Garden in Denville would be my rec; excellent classic dishes, and you just can't beat the decor! They even have Scorpion Bowls...not that I've spent time in Cambridge, but I have!