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mid-price restaurant suggestion for Livingston area?

Thanks for reading & responding -- looking for a mid-price restaurant (American bistro, Asian fusion, modern Italian) in Livingston area. By mid-price I mean $75 per person with maybe a drink or two. This is a gift for a young couple in the area - I live in New England and don't have a clue! It could be a destination type place they have to drive to but not more than 1/2 hour.

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  1. Plenty...

    Luigi's is very good but best value and really good food I'd go with the Godfather on Rt.10...don't let the cheesy name or the fact it's located in a strip mall by a Hone Depot and marshalls fool you..it's really good and nice decor.

    http://www.luigisitalianrestaurant.info/

    http://www.godfatherofeasthanover.com/

      1. Lots of the restaurants in this area are BYO. There is a small group of restaurants http://harvestrestaurants.com/ that could do what you want. The gift cards/certificates are interchangeable at all the restaurants in the group. Some are more pricey than others (like Roots); others would fit your bill like Huntley Tavern or Urban Table.

        1. Sorry, but I've got to chime in here and say that Panevino is NOT a special place, and imo, other than a few excellent Jewish delis, Livingston is a culinary wasteland in terms of DINING. I suggest you look to towns close to Livingston--but not Livingston proper. Here are a few ideas--all searchable on this board and for websites:

          Montclair (2 towns over) has a ton of terrific restaurants, most of them BYO, so you really get bang for your buck. I'd suggest Restaurant Blu, Samba, or Fascino.

          Morristown has Blue Morel (in the Westin Hotel but don't let that scare you off) and Mendhi (if they like Indian food in an upscale setting).

          Summit is another nearby town with a couple of decent places (Fiorino is the one that comes to mind).

          Come on Jersey 'hounds...I'm sure you can chime in with better than what's been posted thus far!

          6 Replies
          1. re: Curlz

            You should be sorry for not reading the parameters given.

            :)

            The OP mentioned Livingston...so that's what we gave..some places with a bar as requested... and I don't see where the OP indicates a Special Place is required.... if so, then I would have recommended Il Capriccio, in Whippany, or the Highlawn Pavillion in West Orange for the view alone.

            BTW even your buddy tommy recommends Panevino, and personally, I don't recommend Montclair,or Ridgewood for that matter, due to the parking problem, nor do I recommend BYOBs unless requested.

            1. re: fourunder

              For the record, I *did* read the parameters! "...in the Livingston AREA..." and "By mid-price I mean $75 per person with maybe a drink or two. This is a gift for a young couple in the area - I live in New England and don't have a clue!"

              When I don't have a clue about an area (something that often happens when I post on a board in a different region), I absolutely want someone to tell me if it's not a Chow-worthy area, most esp if there are better choices nearby! I also read $75pp, which is a healthy dining gift in the area--another reason to spend it (more) wisely. People outside of NNJ aren't always used to our wonderful BYO laws, so they factor in the cost of alcohol--I'd much rather not (over)spend my dining dollars there if I don't have to.

              And you're right--my buddy Tommy and I agree that Panevino is acceptable; I just don't think it's worth $150 gift.

              1. re: Curlz

                Well, I think you wear out Blu....at the expense of other fine restaurants recommended by others. The recent thread where the comparisons were made between Blu and Culinare should tell you there are differences in opinions on the same places. You have your tastes, others have theirs....no one is right and no one is wrong.

              2. re: fourunder

                You're discounting all of Montclair, NJ's best restaurant town, because of parking? There is plenty of space in the lots on most nights and on busy nights you might have to park on the street and walk for ten minutes. The horror!

                1. re: dan

                  Why would i want to drive an extra 20-30 minutes past Cedar Grove....to go to a restaurant that most likely is BYOB...look for parking and then have to walk 10 minutes...When I can pull right into LuNello, hand my keys to the Valet and the Bartender hands me a drink without me having to ask....I'll gladly pay the upcharge for wine and the fee for parking. Thanks,

                  1. re: fourunder

                    But do you get your car back? Just kidding, couldn't help it.

                    LuNello is one of my favorites -- a classic, top notch, excellent restaurant. It has it's critics who say yes, the food is very good, BUT, and then come the stones. LOL. Expensive? Relative term. If you perceive and get value for what you are paying, can afford it, enjoy, etc. -- then no, it is not expensive. Not authentic? Overrated and fallacious argument.

                    That said, I don't discount Montclair or Ridgewood at all. They are two of my favorite towns, vis a vis food, downtown areas, social, fun, etc. But, like I always say -- chocolate and vanilla. I have a friend who despises both! Vehemently. We don't argue, we don't even discuss it. I like chocolate and he likes vanilla. It's that simple. If parking is not a deterrent, great. And it doesn't have to be. Montclair, yes, I've had more trouble finding a parking spot on Saturday nights, but I don't know the town nearly as well as I know Ridgewood. The latter, I've rarely had a problem. Sure, a trip or two around the block, going to one of the lots, etc. and I find parking. It has never been a problem, and it is never a deterrent, but that's me. I don't mind walking a block or two etc. Each case, town, night, etc. takes on a life of its own.

                    In today's day and age -- BYO's are becoming more popular. Ask, and you'll get plenty of recommendations. It's harder for a BYO as it relates to the bottom line as they are not making the profit from alcohol (which can be big), but plenty of BYO's do well, have longevity, etc.

            2. Thanks for everyone's suggestions. BTW I asked on my HS FB page (I'm from Teaneck originally) and caused a fracas over there too. Gotta love Jersey --- no shortage of strong opinions!

              So what do ppl here think of The Manor? It sounds like a better bet for less money than Highlawn Pavilion. Both are in West Orange or thereabouts. Is that within 1/2 hour drive?

              PS I did say LIvingston AREA within 1/2 hour drive.

              3 Replies
              1. re: jzzy55

                The Manor and the Highlawn Pavillion are both owned by the same family. Both are very well regarded. I have not eaten in their a la carte restaurant in years....but their Lobster/Seafood Extravaganza Buffet is a great spread and deal....They have the best Cream of Mushroom Soup anywhere, and I rarely attach that moniker. It's definitely an older crown if that means anything.

                Both would be good choices and under a half hour driving distance....probably no more than 15 minutes

                1. re: jzzy55

                  Of those two I'd def choose Highlawn, ESP if they're under 55, as fourunder says, bc they attract an older crowd.
                  As for distance, I could be at either in 10 mins from Livingston. It's NNJ--everything is 20 mins away! :-)

                  1. re: jzzy55

                    Manors nor Highlawn are going to be considered mid price range. Those are special occasion dining establishments.

                    Curlz said it best... Pretty spot on.

                    Huntley Tavern in Summit is a very hip spot for a young couple. If they have to dish out a few bucks, they won't be upset.
                    Fin in Montclair is a fave...and BYoB which might meet your needs.
                    Panevino is a little better than Olive Garden.
                    Pazzo Pazzo in Morristown, not the best food but a swanky spot for young people.
                    Strip House in Livingston is about the only reason we go there. Everyone loves steak right????