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Manhattan & NJ (Bergen County) Restaurant Reviews

Ian Hunter's Guide to Manhattan and Bergen County, NJ's Best Restaurants, Bars, and Gourmet Markets

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........  Best:  Giostra (Tappan) & Café Anello (Westwood) & Rugova (River Edge)
Savini: Italian; Allendale; 168 W Crescent Av; 22/20/$43; 201-760-3700; Beautiful setting in a country house;  Date-friendly; Menu includes Caprese, Smoked Salmon, Seafood Salad, Crab Cocktail, Rock Shrimp, Lobster Tails Fra Diavolo, Shrimp scampi, Crème Brulee. Enjoy dinner by the fireplace in winter; Lots of specials as well;  Lively bar scene;  Crowd is 30s-50s. 2014 Best of Bergen for best wine list, cocktails, & 2nd for Italian 
La FamigliaItalian; Bogota; 107 E Main St @ Palisade; 23/15/$33; 201-489-1713;Menu highlights include house-made pastas, traditional Italian appetizers, fresh fish and flavorful meats; BYO; Filled nightly with locals, staff will treat you like family; Extremely affordable classics are served. Calamari Fra Diavolo, Chicken Francese, Linguini con Vongole stand out. As authentic as it gets. Specials galore.
Gianna’s: Italian; Carlstadt; 843 Washington Av @ Moonachie; 21/18/$41; 201-460-7997; Been around since 2000 and they focus on huge family style portions; Thus, this place is great with a group of 6 or more; Individual portions available; Nice bar area;  Good bang for the buck if you go family style; Attentive staff; Some question the overall product.  Large menu; Excellent soups. Shrimp Scampi is great.
Il VillaggioItalian; Carlstadt; 651 Rt 17N @ Passaic Av; 24/23/$47; 201-935-7733; Upscale, mature setting; Classic Northern Italian dishes; The double cut Veal Chop and Crème Brulee stand out; Fairly large menu that is composed of both complex and commonly seen dishes; Excellent, reliable restaurant. Calamari fra Diablo; Mature date night or perfect for mature crowd; Great wine list. Endless specials… King Crab appetizer even. Truly a great place. Even has a large bar area. Function hall/ weddings too.  Full bar.
BucoItalian; Clifton; 953 Allwood Rd @ Rt 602; 22/17/$37; 973-779-3500; Popular old school Jersey Italian joint; Friendly service, large portions, and one of the biggest menus you’ll ever see; Tons of pasta, chicken, port and veal dishes; Great place to go with family and good for groups.  7 soups on the menu. Also, well spaced tables.  Romantic vibe for couples. Nice wine list (full bar). Mmm Seafood salad.

La Riviera Trattoria: Italian; Clifton; 421 Piaget Av; 24/20/$45; 973-478-4181; Rave reviews on Yelp; Stuffed Artichoke is a favorite; Closed Monday; Formal-ish; Chilled seafood salad; Bufala Mozz; Homemade pastas; Lots of specials served daily; Calamari Salad; Excellent antipasto; Chicken “Hunter” style; Calamari Costa Viola; Shrimp scampi. Amazing service. 


Matthew’s: Italian; Clifton; 1131 Bloomfield Av; 24/19/$38; 973-928-4300; Classy, cozy restaurant ideal for a date; Excellent service; Food cooked to order; Freshest ingredients; Restaurant that cares; Full bar; Young energetic owner; Very inexpensive overall; Shrimp cocktail, Stuffed Artichoke, Antipastos, Seafood salad, excellent soups, Stuffed Shrimp or scampi, Calamari Fra Diavolo stand out.


Bone Gusto: Italian; Closter;  534 Durie Av @ High; 24/15/$35; 201-784-9036; Charming BYO Italian; The menu is large and the list of specials even larger;  If you crave it – they will make it for you;  Suffers from cramp seating don’t go if there is more than 4 of you;  Food is outstanding here as is the service. Home cooked meals and staff are all knowledgeable about menu. Tons of regulars here. 


Locale: Italian; Closter; 208 Piermont; 21/21/$53; 201-750-3233; Italian-Med flavor; Exposed brick fire place décor and great bar area; Private functions; Great martinis, cocktails; Outdoor seating; Buffalo Mozz, Smoken Salmon, Shellfish platters, Escargot, Dozen pasta dishes, Long Island Duck, Zuppa di Pesce, Rib Eye Steak, Veal dishes;  Lots of effort and variety. 201 Mag: Top 3 outdoor dining. 


Rudy’s: Italian; Closter; 71 Closter Plaza; 24/14/$31; 201-768-8444; 201 Mag Best Pizza 2014 runner up. Incredible pizza; Homemade Lasagna; Try the Rudy’s Special “Sonya” salad with grilled calamari or chicken; Amazing cold and hot subs; Monster sized pasta dishes; Endless menu; Old school real-deal Italian cuisine; Huge take out business; Has full bar – dirt cheap martinis and house wine. 



Il MulinoItalian; Dumont; 132 Veterans Plaza; 22/18/$41; 201-384-8016; Reliable southern Italian from the owners of Café Italiano in Englewood Cliffs; Soft Shell crab in season is excellent; BYO policy always helps; Attentive staff and a relaxed, casual environment; Menu has something for everyone and always some daily specials to entice; Great family or date restaurant. Sauteed calamari.  
Brooklyn’s Coal-Burning Pizzeria: Italian; Ridgewood; 443 River Rd @ Edgewater Commons Ctr; 25/12/$20; 201-945-9096; No slices served; BYO except Hackensack location which has beer/ wine; Fresher than fresh coal over pizza; Truly melt in your mouth pizza; Crust is beyond outstanding. Plenty of tables and it’s ideal for a heavenly lunch.
Cassie’s PizzaItalian/ Pizza; Englewood; 18 S Dean St; 19/15/$28; 201-541-6760; Brick oven pizza – whole pies – is their specialty; There are a dozen or so pasta and meat dishes on the menu as well; Great salads; Very laid back, casual setting; Decent bar as well. Good for families or kids as it is a bit noisy and never formal; Has a full bar.  Enough food to easily share.  Near the Englewood PAC.  
Café ItalianoItalian; Englewood Cliffs; 14 Sylvan Av @ Irving; 22/18/$38; 201-461-5041; Great outdoor dining on nice patio in summer; Friendly, neighborhood restaurant; Reasonable prices and reliable fare; Speedy service and large menu. Family feeling and well made specials. They will take care of you with their drinks from their well stocked bar, if you are a local or friendly. Lunch or dinner.

GrissiniItalian; Englewood Cliffs; 484 Sylvan Av @ Palisade; 20/19/$60; 201-568-3535; Expensive but worth it- IF you get solid service; Huge menu with upscale Italian fare; Unique offerings plus classic standards; Try the Buffalo Mozz with Jersey Tomatoes followed by Linguine with whole lobster fra Diablo. Also a scene at night- people watching and great for a drink. Bring your expense account. Can have off Nights and locals heavily favored.  Recent service reviews are harsh. 


Davia: Italian; Fair Lawn; 6-09 Fair Lawn Av; 22/18/$35; 201-797-6767; I love their menu; It is typical of a trattoria that serves the usual Italian classics but they have so much more as well; Even Beef Wellington and many seafood entrees; Pastas – you pick the type and the sauce with 12+ preparations to choose from; Everything well described; Maybe an older scene – better for a weekday; Have a full bar.   


Franco’s Metro: Italian; Fort Lee; 1475 Bergen Blvd; 22/15/$35; 201-461-6651; Been around for 40+ years; Local classic Italian standby; Brick over pizzas; Early bird specials; Nothing fancy and more of a casual neighborhood local spot;  Food prepared with care;  The pizza and Pork braciole over pappardelle are amazing; Has an endless menu;  Full bar with lots of wines to pick from.  

GoodFellas RistoranteItalian; Garfield; 661 Midland Av; 23/19/$40; 973-478-4000; Family style Italian so less needed; Lobster tail fra Diablo and shrimp scampi; Zuppa Di Pesce; Hugely long menu with all the standard Italian classics included; Old world charm; “Sopranos” feel. Great for groups. Authentic as they come. Certainly an older crowd;  Full bar.  Great seafood salads.  Freshest Mozz.  Lobster tails. 

La Cambusa: Italian; Garfield; 517 River Dr; 24/18/$35; 973-272-8739; Lots of rave reviews for this spot; Homemade pasts; Freshest ingredients including top notch seafood; Imported stuffed Mozz; Pasta Fagioli is yum; Huge menu; Branzinol Zupa di Pesce; Poached salmon; Shrimp francese; Pork Chops; Homemade Tiramisu; Closed Monday; No Rez and it’s a small place so go early. 

RoCCaItalian; Glen Rock; 203 Rock Rd @ Main St; 23/18/$40; 201-670-4945; Connected to a Market to buy goods; Inventive, well prepared classic Italian dishes; Fair prices and generous portions; Family style available; BYO; Well spaced tables; Top shelf desserts. Market has incredible breakfast & lunch (especially sandwiches) selections to go; Closed Monday. Go on a Sat for dinner before 7pm to catch market open for business.  Chilled Seafood Salad; Homemade pastas;
Brooklyn’s Coal-Burning PizzeriaItalian; Hackensack; 161 Hackensack Av @ Rt 4; 25/12/$20; 201-342-2727; No slices served; BYO except Hackensack location which has beer/ wine; Fresher than fresh coal over pizza; Truly melt in your mouth pizza; Crust is beyond outstanding. Plenty of tables and it’s ideal for a heavenly lunch. 

Maggiano'sItalian; Hackensack; 70 Riverside @ Rt 4; 20/19/$35; 201-221-2030; For a chain- very high quality; Family style dining; Huge portions of well prepared food; Perfect for groups; High energy setting; Decent cocktail and wine menu. Endless menu. Perfect spot to go to with a crowd; Attractive setting. Consider them for a birthday party or anniversary with the family. 


Solari’sItalian; Hackensack; 61 River St; 21/17/$38; 201-487-1969; Live music on Saturdays; Absolutely huge menu, yet you feel they care for each dish; Affordable and higher end items to choose from. Active bar scene; Locals love the place- been around for 75 years and 3 generations; Fun time while eating. Not pretentious at all. Family run business; Try the Shrimp Scampi or Linguini with Clams. Bit of a scene at night later on.


Trattoria Saporito: Italian; Hoboken; 328 Washington St; 23/20/$38; 201-533-180; Red-sauce emphasis here at this classic local BYO; Very attentive service; Wonderful hot seafood appetizer; Fresh Mozz; Excellent soups; Giant selection of homemade pasta dishes; Specials always imaginative; Also, a great location close to the waterfront and local bars.




Dino’s RestaurantItalian; Harrington Park; 12 Tappan Rd @ Schraalenburgh; 20/20/$42; 201-767-4245; What a

gorgeous setting from the outside- country house feel; Inside, well spaced tables, gracious service and an excellent menu of classics and a few surprises; Pasta dishes stand out. Neighborhood  regulars; Closed Tuesdays. Gracious service.  Only issue is menu seems limited to me but they try hard.



Alessandro: Italian; Haworth; 157 Terrace St; 22/15/$42; 201-385-8544; Small neighborhood Trattoria; Filled nightly with locals; Lunch and dinner served; 10 or so tables so reserve;  It is BYO with liquor store next door; Try the seafood risotto;  Grilled calamari appetizer. They feature excellent pizzas; Slow but friendly service from the owner and his staff. 




Bottagra: Italian; Hawthorne; 80 Wagner Rd @ Thomas; 20/23/$48; 973-423-4433; Revolutionary era home remodeled into a gorgeous ‘Tuscan Villa’; Full bar; Owners are young and energetic and it translates into the food; Try something from the raw bar, the Italian Seafood Salad, or one of the many pasta, steak or veal dishes. Sea bass excellent.  The Antipasto. Large menu for all. Great for small-medium private parties.


Justin’s Ristorante: Italian; Hawthorne; 234 Lafayette Av; 21/16/$42; 973-423-4345; Nothing stands out as brilliant but everything they serve is reliable;  Mostly Italian classics served with care; Lots of specials; For instance, you can order shrimp either scampi, francese, marinara or fra diavolo;  Excellent fresh hot bread;  BYO;  Attentive service; Like you are in someone’s house.




Anthony David’sItalian; Hoboken; 953 Bloomfield @ 10th St; 25/19/$43; 201-222-8399; BYO with inventive, nearly perfect Italian selections; They have a formal dining room and more casual bistro setting; Desserts excellent; Daily brunch; Gourmet market next door for shopping. Fantastic artisan cheese plates. Known for desserts- especially doughnuts. Serve a wonderful brunch. Seasonal menu.  Order the Antipasto –pick 4-6 items;  Tuna tartare; Very small dinner menu. 


Augustino’sItalian; Hoboken; 1104 Washington Av @ 11-12th St; 24/16/$49; 201-420-0104; Cash only- 10 table classic; Make a reservation and be prepared to consume incredible food; Homemade specialties; Spirited staff; Old school Italian feel- terrific atmosphere; One of the best around.  Has a small bar. Truly an experience. No website sadly;  This place serves GOOD food.

Benny Tudino’s: Pizza; Hoboken; 622 Washington @ 7th St; 22/11/$12; 201-792-4132; $3 slices that can feed an elephant; Huge slices that keep the lines long on weekends; Gets packed during prime bar hours on weekends; They serve beer and wine as well;  Slices the same size as Manhattan’s famous Koronet’s.  Best for take out or a quick slice on the run. 


Bin 14: Italian; Hoboken; 1314 Washington @ 13th; 22/22/$41; 201-963-9463; Wine bar with Italian entrees and small plates; Sophisticated, date friendly space; From owners of Anthony David’s; Excellent wine list as you can imagine; Has wine tastings and events – see website; 80 wines by glass; Wonderful bruschettas and grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch; Brunch served with Bloody Mary bar $6/drink.


Grimaldi’s Pizza: Pizza; Hoboken; 133 Clinton @ 2nd St; 24/13/$20; 201-792-0800; All about the pizza at this Coal oven institution. The original and far more famous sibling is in Brooklyn;  No slices; Fresh mozz on the pies is fresh and perfect. Outdoor seating.  They serve wine and beer.  Has 2nd location in Hoboken now at 411 Washington @ 4th-5th;  Small pie – 6 slices is $14.75 but worth it. 


Margherita’s: Italian; Hoboken; 740 Washington Av @ 8th St; 21/16/$26; 201-222-2400; Family owned and run for years; They take pride in their food; Known for incredible pizzas;  BYO; Huge menu of the most classic Italian pastas, chicken, seafood and veal; No Rez policy;  Tight quarters; Some outdoor seating; Gets crowded in the summer and on weekends. Casual place.  Friendly service.


Napoli’s Brick Oven Pizza: Pizza; Hoboken; 1118 Washington St @ 12th; 24/13/$20; 201-216-0900; Known for outstanding brick-oven pies; BYO as well; Can sit down there and have dinner / lunch; Lots of pasta and other entrees too; But, this place is known for pizza; Super casual; Ideal for an early weekday dinner or weekend lunch. Fast service; Try their Bruschetta! Huge menu.  




Fontana di Trevi: Italian; Leonia; 248 Fort Lee Rd; 22/18/$42; 201-242-9040; First rate classy Italian; BYO; Old, welcoming setting; Try the Ossobuco, Linguini with little neck clams, or seared branzino; For me – the double think cut veal chop; Closed Monday; It is certainly a stand-out for the area; Make a reservation as it is popular. Reliable standards on the menu as a whole. Tableside Caesar salads. Homemade Mozzarella.  




Gelone: Italian; Lyndhurst; 650 Ridge Rd; 24/20/$45; 201-372-9200; Well spaced tables and somewhat pleasant décor;  More old school feel; BYO; Rigatoni with Spinach, garlic and Shrimp; Seafood salad; Caprese; Calamari salad; Brushetta; Great antipastos; Grilled calamari; Clams; Lots of pasta, Veal and Chicken dishes;  Great menu overall and affordable. Rave reviews online. 




Roxanne’sItalian; Mahwah; 150 Franklin Tpike; 23/15/$38; 201-529-0007; Attractive bistro setting with outdoor dining available; Brick oven turning out fabulous pizzas; Stylish red oak décor; Both individual and family style portions available; Tons of homemade pasts dishes to choose from and a large menu overall; Massive portions- and a full bar; Have whatever you want! $22-$25 bottles house wine.   




Arturo’sItalian; Midland Park; 41 Central Av; 23/20/$51; 201-444-2466; Like eating at home with huge menu of Italian mainstays; Tuxedoed service- classy atmosphere; For a special occasion; Slightly pricy but overall great. Closed Mondays; Massive selection of food.  Menu includes dishes ‘beginners’ will recognize. Lobster tails fra Diablo stands out. Calamari Salad; Smoked salmon; Tons of daily specials. Full bar.    


Fiona’s: Italian; Midland Park; 118 Godwin Av; 20/18/$43; 201-857-5800; Nice family restaurant with doting service; Nothing too fancy – mostly core Italian dishes in the usual array of sauces; Multiple Chicken, Veal and seafood dishes; Calamari salad; Fresh Mozzarella; Pork Chops; BYO; Open for lunch; Place best described as reliable. 




Ah’Pizz: Pizza; Montclair; 7 N Willow St; 21/15/$23; 973-783-9200; Brick oven brilliance; BYO; They serve tons of Italian specialties besides pizza including lots of salads and appetizers; Chicken and pasta main courses as well;  Get the “Ah’Pizz” Pizza;  Most individual pies are around $15.  Pricy for pizza but worth it. Ask about weekly specials. 


Corso 98Italian; Montclair; 98 Walnut St. @ Willow; 23/19/$45; 973-746-0789; Upscale quality in a comfortable setting; Osso Bucco is amazing; Friendly service and outstanding menu; Though a limited number of selections (25 or so) it is original and often changing; Quaint dining room feel – like at home; Pan Seared Tuna; Chilean Sea Bass;  Veal chop; See website to view well presented dishes. Get a pitcher of Sangria; Has own free parking lot;  BYO is welcome; Owners/service top notch.


FascinoItalian; Montclair; 331 Bloomfield Av @ Grove; 26/22/$54; 973-233-0350; BYO high end Italian; Desserts are fabulous; Unique, mouthwatering menu; Tasting menu available; Top shelf cuisine complete with smallish portions and impeccable presentation.  Perfect blend of traditional and modern. Smallish menu focused on masterpieces.  Romantic- aided by great service. Yellowfin tuna; Pancetta wrapped bronzini; Sea scallops; King salmon. Seasonal menu. Foodie joint.  Closed Sunday.  Spacious & romantic.


Salute Bistro: Italian; Montclair;  173 Glenridge Av; 24/17/$38; 973-746-2380; Their website says it all: “Dining at Saluté is a lot like going to a friend’s house for dinner, if your friend was from Tuscany, Umbria or the Marches, & inherited a rustic farmhouse with a menu that reflects honest regional fare” Large selection; Very charming place; Pizzas amazing; Sea Bass; Steaks; Dozens of pasta dishes; Short Ribs; Burrata Mozz; BYO; Open 7 days. Outdoor seating.


Aldo & GianniItalian; Montvale; 108 Chestnut Ridge Rd; 22/17/$38; 201-487-4220; Large menu – excellent classic selections- something for everyone; Fairly inexpensive; Uninventive décor but clear effort is made; Solid, if not inspiring choice for dinner; Food is excellent, however. BYO. Family feel. Welcoming. Enjoy a classic Jersey Italian restaurant. 

Bellissimo: Italian; Montvale; 12 S Kinderkamack;  22/17/$38; 201-746-6669; Lots of specials are the way to go including Lamb shank, short ribs and lamb chops; Salads are included and bread is fresh and warm; BYOB; All the pastas are homemade; Opened in 2008; Sauteed calamari fra diavolo; You can’t go wrong with a Veal dish. Décor is basic and uninspiring.


Momma’s Kitchen: Italian; Montvale; 15 W Grand Av; 22/18/$34; 201-746-9777; Family environment; BYO – wine or cake; No Rez;  Known for incredible pizza; Menu features as well delicious Pork Ribs; Italian Nachos; Bruschetta; Assortment of fresh salads;  Gourmet Meatballs – as an entrée or a Sub; About a dozen or so pasta dishes and chicken done your way – Marsala, piccata, parm, Milano. 


BazzarelliItalian; Moonachie; 117 Moonachie Rd; 21/17/$32; 201-641-4010; Gigantic menu. Shrimp scampi and lobster fra Diablo jump out at you. Fairly standard neighborhood setting. Tight seating but perfect stop for pizza or a red sauce classic. Ideal Meadowlands bound eating option; Family run business since 1971; Recently renovated post Hurricane Sandy; Try their pizza! Great soups. Choose a pasta and a sauce from huge selection.   
Sanzari New Bridge: Italian; New Milford; 105 Old New Bridge Rd @ New Bridge; 25/20/$52; 201-692-7700; Large, interesting menu with daily specials; Soft Shell crab in season is spectacular; Creative entrees and appetizers; Menu has the usual classics; Spacious setting and dining room; Bar area more lively and energetic; Well maintained; Great service. Fairly fancy evening overall; Ahi Tuna salad, Calamari Oreganate, Bufala Mozz, Smoked Salmon appetizer, Egg Ravioli.  Tons of seafood; Huge menu. Quality is top shelf. 




Lassoni: Italian; North Arlington; 602 Ridge Rd.; 24/17/$36; 201-998-0911; Truly authentic cuisine served in this non-descript spot with a nice bar; What makes it a hit is the large variety of appetizers, hot and cold including calamari salad and also the specials; Wonderful pasta dishes; Fresh ingredients and open daily; Extremely reliable for traditional Italian fare.



DiPalma Brothers Restaurant: Italian; North Bergen; 8728 Kennedy Blvd @ 87th; 22/20/$32; 201-868-3005;

You are actually eating in an antique shop; Buy while you eat! Cozy feel with all of ‘grandma’s’ recipes; BYO;

Rustic feel; Hearty Italian menu loaded with classic pasta selections; Unique experience Their meatballs are

delish.Family style portions; Love the affordable prices. Closed Monday.   

La Sorrentina:  Italian; North Bergen; 7831 Bergenline Av @ 79th St; 26/14/$27; 201-869-8100; Near perfection; Top of the line in quality; Brick oven pizza is heralded; Fried Calamari; Try the 4 cheese pizza; Linguini and clam sauce; Basically- nothing fancy- just top preparations. Great wine list. Family run. And, dirt cheap! Insane popularity on Yelp; Huge portions. Real old school Italian from cooks who can do it up right. Tons of specials.  



Dimora Ristorante: Italian; Norwood; 100 Piermont Rd; 23/20/$55; 201-750-5000; Old school family owned restaurant; Chef Gino will take care of you; Classic Italian menu- large selection to choose from; Very friendly feel, full of regulars; Not the cheapest place; Always crowded and busy- can be noisy. Full bar; Certainly overpriced for the area and genre but quality is there. Whole bronzino & Osso Buco.  

Ragazzi: Italian; Norwood; 530 Livingston St; 25/21/$33; 201-660-7950; What a wonderful addition to Northeast Bergen county;  Affordable Italian cuisine in a clean airy setting featuring a well spaced outdoor patio with extremely comfortable furniture; Full bar; Inexpensive wine list includes $15 bottles of red and white; Large portions of food fit for sharing; The Mixed Busschetta, Calamari Fritti, Chilled Seafood Salad, Pappardelle Carbonera, Shrimp & Scallop Risotto, Pork Chop special, and Veal Sorrentino all are favorites. Be sure to say hello to super friendly owners Anthony & Damiano. Whole staff is great.


Cafe L'Amore: Italian; Oakland; 455 Ramapo Valley Rd @ Rt 287; 24/16/$36; 201-337-5558; Often as many specials as items on the menu; Locals flock to this family owned traditional Italian. Incredibly flavorful sauces are the trademark for pasta dishes and meat dishes alike; Though few chances are taken, they are masters at what they prepare; Friendly service to boot. BYO as well. Sea Bass; Large portions.


Cenzino: Italian; Oakland; 589 Ramapo Valley Rd @ Franklin Av; 25/21/$53; 201-337-6693; Very consistent cuisine, expertly prepared by owners; Decent bar scene; Closed Sundays; Extremely good looking menu with mouth-watering selections to please anyone; Certainly a must-try. Ultra friendly service; Seared Ahi Tuna; Mozz Caprese; Lobster tails; Tons of pasta dishes; Has a full bar. Excellent service always.


Portobello’s:  Italian; Oakland; 175 Ramapo Valley Rd; 21/23/$41; 201-337-8990;  Huge place featuring different rooms & settings; From rustic farmhouse to a cozy library- something for everyone setting wise; Menu is a combination of Italian classics, steaks and even a raw bar. Certainly a different way of doing things- unique experience to be had. Menu is huge and even includes a sushi menu. Sunday brunch buffet $28. Full bar. Suggest lunch which is same menu but cheaper. Thurs-Sat features evening entertainment. 



Biagio’s: Italian; Paramus; 299 Paramus Rd; 20/19/$36; 201-652-0201; Popular high volume restaurant with a good bar scene- especially late;  Dining room & separate bar-lounge that serves food; The usual hugely long menu that will please most if not all palats; Great for catering or to host a birthday party; Service can be hit or miss if other large parties there; Reliable overall & a fun atmosphere. Blue crab ravioli; 




E & VItalian; Paterson; 320 Chamberlain Av; 23/16/$32; 973-942-8080; Seafood is excellent here; Warm, family environment- very casual; In existence since 1967; Family style dining options; Massive menu – whatever you want is there; Spacious; They care about their customers; Inexpensive but Cash only. Sell beer & wine only. Absolute diamond in the ruff. Bottles of wine under $20. Lobster or Calamari Fra Diovolo;   




Kinchley’s TavernPizza; Ramsey; 586 N. Franklin Tpke; 24/13/$21; 201-934-7777; Known for Thin Crust pizza; Friendly service; Bring cash; Extremely popular and been around for years;  Fans absolutely love their pies. No slices; Has other Italian dishes as well. Nice drink specials – pitchers of beer. Great relaxing place for friends or family. Endless varieties of pies to pick from.




Tutto a Modo Mio: Italian; Ridgefield; 482 Bergen Blvd; 25/15/$38; 201-313-9690; Classic menu of locals enjoying consistent cuisine; BYO; Chilean Sea Bass stands out; Very friendly service and the owners will take care of you. Grilled Calamari, Stuffed Artichoke, Stuffed Talapia, Bronzini, Veal Osso Buco, Bufalo Caprese and tons of pasta dishes. Huge assortment of specials;  They will alter any dish to fit your desires; Chef is absolutely outstanding;  Try this diamond in the rough.  




A Mano: Italian; Ridgewood; 24 Franklin Av @ Chestnut; 22/19/$31; 201-493-2000; Very attractive and date-friendly pizzeria that serves other basic Italian specialties. Wood burning oven; 30 foot high ceilings;  BYO; Salads and paninis also stand out. Ideal for weekend lunch. On your first visit – get the Margherita Pizza or A Mano Pizza (Buff Mozz & cherry tomatoes); One issue – service usually poor.  
Brooklyn’s Coal-Burning PizzeriaItalian; Ridgewood; 15 Oak St @ Ridgewood Av; 25/12/$20; 201-493-7600; No slices served; BYO except Hackensack location which has beer/ wine; Fresher than fresh coal over pizza; Truly melt in your mouth pizza; Crust is beyond outstanding. Plenty of tables and it’s ideal for a heavenly lunch. 


La Lanterna: Italian;  Ridgewood; 29 W Ridgewood Av; 21/19/$40; 201-444-5520; Try the Carbonara or the Scallops with Risotto;  Family run BYO Italian; Great service; Outdoor seating in summer; Closed Monday; Cute, welcoming scene; It does have a fairly limited menu but with Italian you can always find something; Run by Ridgewood locals. 


Rugova: Italian;  River Edge; 259 Johnson Ave @ Rt 4; 27/20/$46; 201-880-8445; From owners of Sear in Closter;  Upscale Italian in a warm setting featuring a full, active bar scene;  Spaciously placed tables;  Outstanding service & they are willing to adjust menu items as needed; Food wise – truly excellent quality; I sampled nearly 10 menu  items – all wonderful;  Stand outs include – Chilean Sea Bass, Rigatoni Bolognese, Shrimp Arrabbiata, Tuna Tartare, Grilled Veal Chop, and Soft Shell Crabs – in season;  Large menu and always several specials which I suggest. Top notch experience guaranteed.  
Sanducci’s Trattoria: Italian; River Edge; 620 Kinderkamack; 20/17/$30; 201-599-0600; Comfortable setting, casual; Huge menu full of Italian classics;  Numerous pizzas, pastas, chicken and seafood dishes;  Probably 20 appetizers to choose from including Grilled Calamari; BYO and they serve wine as well; Private parties, take-out orders;  Even have lunch & dinner buffet dining on certain days. No Rez.

Nanni: Italian; Rochelle Park; 53 W Passaic St @ Rochelle; 21/19/$41; 201-843-1250; Been around over 25 years; Old world Italian, mature crowd; Large menu full of classic standards; Good, reliable cuisine; Can eat at the bar; Seafood salad, Mozz Caprese, Smoked Salmon, Escargot, clams & mussels galore, Seafood Risotto, endless pasta offerings; Lobster tails, Osso Bucco.  Truly an endless menu.  Great wine selection. 


Paisano’s Restaurant: Italian; Rutherford; 132 Park Av; 22/20/$38; 201-935-5755; Favorite gathering place for locals; BYO; Back patio for summer; Very inexpensive overall; Lots of specials; Try the hot & sweet rub Rib Eye; Burrata; Bruschetta; Branzino; Endless pasta dishes; Stuffed Pork Chops; Last Thursday of every month is comedy night.

I Gemelli: Italian; South Hackensack; 268 Huyler St; 27/17/$41;  201-487-4220; Wonderful business ran by gracious Twin owners (thus the name);  The food (and I tried 8 dishes) is outstanding and expertly prepared;  The dining room is smallish and no Rez for under 5;  Service is attentive and excellent; Amazing specials; BYO policy; Grilled Calamari App, Seafood Salad, Fresh Mozz & Tomatoe; Osso Bucco falls off the bone;  Little Neck clams were perfect;  They will accomodate your special requests;  You are treated so very well here; Worth the trip.
Giostra: Italian; Tappan; 65 Old Tappan Rd; 28/20/$52; 845-848-2575;  Family run Italian by an immensely talented brother duo;  Large menu featuring daily specials; Knowledgeable and attentive staff; Food wise, you will be taken back to Italy;  Try the absolutely perfect Grilled Octopus; Numerous homemade pasta dishes served beautifully; Full bar; They cater and are available for private events; Closed Monday; Other menu highlights: Seafood Salad, Littleneck clams with crabmeat, Mozz Tower, Grilled Langostines, Braised Short Ribs, Veal Scallopini, and seasonal Soft Shell Crabs. Top 5 Italian in Bergen and neighboring counties.
Amarone: Italian; Teaneck; 63 Cedar Ln; 23/17/$41; 201-833-1897; Filled with locals; Large sized portions served with style in a consistently good eatery; Traditional setting – tables for four laid out with space; Average décor made up for by service and food.  They will work with you on adjustments to the menu- they will grill your calamari; Authentic Italian service. Neighborhood regulars. Always improving. Has full bar. 

BV Tuscany: Italian; Teaneck; 368 Cedar; 24/21/$42; 201-287-0404; Neighborhood Italian; Not a huge menu – 10 appetizers, 12 pastas; 15 entrees; Mouthwatering aroma and food; Food becoming great; Perfect for a weekday dinner in welcoming environment. Osso Bucco. Lobster Fra Diavolo; Benny the owner is all about his customers;  Ever improving restaurant. Good for special occasions.  Full bar. Sea Bass, Yellow Fin Tuna, Wild Boar – great menu.   


Vitale’s: Italian; Teaneck; 293 Queen Anne Rd; 19/17/$35; 201-836-1195; Interesting menu that features:  Tuesday night Buffet (10 hot dishes) for $16, and Sunday champagne brunch;  Sea Bass, Lobster Fra Diablo, Veal Stew, Striped Bass, Lamb Chops, Tilapia, Sea Bass all on menu;  Endless choices of Italian classics at a reasonable price. They cater, hold parties. Lunch buffet for $8.50. Can do private parties.  

Andreas Ristorante: Italian; Waldwick; 20 E Prospect St; 22/20/$45; 201-670-0275; Family neighborhood restaurant since 1984; Full bar; Signature Veal Chop; Lunch & Dinner; Large assortment of appetizers & soups; Mozz caprese; Entrees $20-$30;  More than 50 dinner entrees to choose from; They have daily specials and will work with you; Gracious service. 


Village Grill: Italian/ Seafood; Waldwick; 71 Crescent; 21/19/$41; 201-670-8200; What a fun menu with Italian, Seafood, American and even Asian items – focus on Italian; Nice bar area with martinis, cocktails, and a good wine selection; Specials and drinks of the week;  Weekday Happy hour;  Menu includes Tuna sashimi, Shrimp Scampi, Pad Thai, Stuffed artichokes, tons of gourmet salads, Grouper, Talapia, Steaks, Paella and Fish Tacos as well as dozens of pasta and more traditional Italian dishes. Endless choice!

Bacari Grill: Italian; Washington Township; 800 Ridgewood Rd @ Pascack; 24/21/$45; 201-358-6330; Vastly improved restaurant since 2012 renovation/ menu changes; Huge selection of appetizers and main courses; Try the build your own antipasto bar – amazing; Fish dishes and pastas are delish; Seared Ahi Tuna; Scallops over Risotto; Grilled shrimp; Slow roasted duck; Tons of specials nightly;  Classy service – healthy pours of wine; Great for private parties; Always packed so make a reservation.




Baci Italian Grill: Italian; Westwood; 36 Jefferson Av; 21/20/$44; 201-722-1900; Great bar scene –fully stocked; Classy dining area; Mozz and tomatoe special should be the go-to; Short ribs over orzo; Mixed reviews on dining room service;  Restaurant will provide you with a date-friendly experience and solid weekday meal or weekend spot for appetizers and drinks. Ahi Tuna carpaccio! 


Caffe Anello: Italian; Westwood; 429 Broadway; 28/21/$45; 201-786-8137; Tuscan inspired cuisine from hot new local chef John Vitale;  Known for the freshest ingredients including fresh pasta made daily; Fresh Mozz made daily; Also all vegetables from a local farm;  Cozy atmosphere and attentive service; Rez only and BYO; Try the Homemade Mozz, Antipasta, Roasted Clams, Bucatini Carbonara or ala Amatriciano; Chilean Sea Bass or Rib Eye. Amazing coffee/creperie connected to the property next door: Sogno Coffehouse. Owners feature a podcast called Butcher and the Chef via BoozyBurbs and both restaurants winners of several Best of Bergen categories.




Café Amici: Italian/ American; Wyckoff; 315 Franklin Av; 21/15/$28; 201-848-0198; Great for lunch or dinner; Friendly local spot; The menu is very simple and not huge but the quality of food is excellent;  Doesn’t try to be what it isn’t; Nothing fance – just a reliable spot for good red sauce Italian. It is also a BYOB; Come with expectations of an upscale diner & you’ll leave happy. Mozz Caprese w/ Prosciutto.