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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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SADDLE BROOK
  

Matsuya Steak House: Japanese; Saddle Brook; 490 Market St; 21/18/$45; 201-843-5811; Known for hibachi steaks and fresh sushi;  Large menu with many options; Delicious teriyaki options; Unless you come specifically for the sushi, get a Hibachi steak combo grilled at your table which comes with appetizer, salad, and soup. Fun experience as chef’s are entertaining.  Full bar. 

 
SADDLE RIVER
 
Saddle River InnNew American; Saddle River; 2 Barnstable Ct @ Saddle River Rd; 27/26/$61; 201-825-4016; High end elegance; Many French inspired dishes as well; Fancily prepared and presented masterpieces; New ownership and chef – but haven’t lost their touch;  More affordable than you think as it is BYO; Perfect service; Spectacular setting; Only drawback is possibly serving sizes and the limited menu. Extremely romantic. Reservations a must.    Closed Sunday & Monday. Tuna carppacio; Caprese; Crabmeat salad; Sea Bass; Yellowfin Tuna;  Lobster Risotto;  
 
SOUTH HACKENSACK
  

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.

 
TAPPAN
 

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.

 
TEANECK
 
AmaroneItalian; 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.   
 

Regina’s: Steakhouse; Teaneck; 827 Teaneck Rd; 23/18/$54; 201-862-1996; Surprisingly high quality food and setting; Full bar; Lunch, dinner and parties welcome; Menu is far more than steaks; Choices include Lobster Roll, Mozz & Tomato; Great chopped salads;  Filet, Rib Eye, NY Strip, Pork Chops, Brozino, Lobster, Seafood Black Fettuccine, Duck, Mahi Mahi, Swordfish and Ahi Tuna.  

 
Vasili’s Taverna: Greek; Teaneck; 365 Queen Anne Rd; 24/15/$41; 201-287-1007; Family owned Greek tavern; Huge menu and it’s BYO; Open Mon-Sat 11:30am-10pm; Grilled Calamari appetizer; About 10 charbroiled fish selections to pick from; Wonderful chef specials; They also have the classic Greek dishes you’d expect in this very casual find. Outdoor patio in summer. Will work with you on menu; Lamb souvlaki;  Try 5 different spreads for $14.  
 
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.  
 
Yakitori 39: Japanese; Teaneck; 252 DeGraw Ave; 22/19/$38; 201-692-0700; Yakitori, or grilled chicken on a skewer, done perfectly; Freshest chicken used; Beer & Wine served; Closed Monday; Besides chicken they have Lamb Chops, Pork Belly, Duck, a variety of vegetables and an endless selection of appetizers; You could order just 4 or 5 apps and share them and have a great meal.
 
TENAFLY
 
Axia TavernaGreek; Tenafly; 18 Piermont Rd; 24/23/$48; 201-569-5999; Upscale bi-level Greek house of goodness; Beautiful setting; Large, mouth-watering menu; As good as Greek gets; Live music on Tuesdays; Date or night out with the parents. They nail it- décor, food and service all tops. Reviews on Yelp and other sites off the charts. Try sautéed shrimp over risotto. Full bar. The fresh whole fish stand out.
 

Europe Café & Grill: Turkish; Tenafly; 1 Highwood Av; 20/21/$34; 201-569-4444; Very welcoming interior with tile floors, exposed brick and open kitchen; Lots of grilled specials; $12 lunch specials include 3 courses – I suggest this;  BYO; For dinner try the sizzling calamari then a Chicken, Feta or Meat Pide from their brick oven. Grilled lamb dishes great as well. 

 

Palmer’s Crossing: American; Tenafly; 145 Dean Dr; 20/18/$45; 201-567-4800; Weekend Brunch buffet – Free champagne after noon;  11am-2pm;  Happy Hour M-F 4-7pm w/ half priced apps & $3.50 beer, $4.50 wine & well. Bar menu for Apps is outstanding;  Great thin crust pizzas; Dinner menu features Lobster Quesadillas; Gourmet burgers; Meatloaf; NY Sirloin; Seafood pasta. 

 

Simply Vietnamese: Vietnamese; Tenafly; 1 Highwood Ave; 24/14/$32; 201-568-7770; Master chef Khanh “KT” Tran of Mo Pho fame has done it again with this Tenafly masterpiece; Creative, unique and most important delicious takes on Vietnamese dishes; The Pho soup, Curry Coconut shrimp, Chicken dumplings, Chili Garlic Shrimp, and Vietnamese spring rolls stand out; Just a delightful change of pace; The portions of the Pho soups are huge; Authentic as it comes. 

 

UNION CITY

 

Beyti Kebab: Turkish; Union City; 4105 Park Av @ 41st St; 22/14/$27; 201-936-0640; Extremely good Turkish restaurant; Great(ish) for dates or family; Baklava is epic; Very authentic cuisine; Kebabs solid- be prepared to eat lamb or chicken; BYO; Hummus and baba ghanoush outstanding. Belly dancers on Saturdays except Summer. Good bang for the buck.

 

Charrito’s: Mexican; Union City; 4900 Bergenline Av @ 49th; 22/17/$27; 201-863-0345; BYO, family run, and well maintained. Housing the usual fair and numerous varieties of combos and exciting dishes; Insanely good Guacamole; Not a huge place but always high energy and extremely reasonable prices.

 

Five Star ThaiThai; Union City; 324 29th St @ Palisade; 24/16/$32; 201-583-1800; Authentic, wildly flavorful dishes; Try the Thai dumplings, Spicy Shrimp Soup & Drunken Noodles; Pineapple fried rice; BYO; Large portions; Tons of options on the menu; Specials galore; Worth a try for sure. Off the charts ratings for the genre. Closed Tuesdays.   

 

Mi Bandera: Cuban; Union City; 518 32nd St; 23/21/$30; 201-348-2828; Generous portions of flavorful fare; Located above a supermarket; 20 years in business; Very solid service;  Amazing sangria; Famous for their churrascos; Nice port chops; Flavorful steaks; Tropical themed décor;  Staff makes an excellent effort; Fun energy and a great local option. Reliable for the genre.

 

WALDWICK
 

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!

 
WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP
 

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.

 

WEEHAWKEN
 
Charrito’s: Mexican; Weehawken; 974 JFK Blvd @ 47th; 22/17/$28; 201-330-1130;  Family run, and well maintained. Housing the usual fair and numerous varieties of combos and exciting dishes; Insanely good Guacamole, made tableside; Not a huge place but always high energy and extremely reasonable prices. Small in size. This location has full bar and amazing views.

Chart HouseSeafood; Weehawken; Pier D-T, Lincoln Harbor; 22/25/$53; 201-348-6628; Eye popping panorama view of Manhattan skyline; Excellent seafood delicacies; Masterful Champagne brunch buffet ($35). Seafood and Steak are ways to go; Good, spacious bar scene; Pricy- but worth it for the atmosphere. Ideal for a romantic date; Take a walk outside & gaze at Manhattan afterwards. National chain now. Lava cake dessert. Hummus Trio. Yellowfin Ahi Tuna; Mahi Mahi. Sea Bass 
 
Hi-So ThaiThai; Weehawken; 1903 Willow Av @ 19th St; 22/15/$27; 201-902-0991; Very popular local Thai restaurant with large menu and fairly priced cuisine; Pad Thai and the various noodle dishes stand out; Right near the Lincoln Tunnel and it is BYO. Nothing overly unique about the place except for its consistency.  Reliable Thai fair to be had before a night out in Hoboken. Cash only. Open daily 11:30am – 10pm. 
 

Ruth’s Chris SteakhouseSteakhouse; Weehawken; 1000 Harbor Blvd @ 19th St; 25/22/$64; 201-863-5100; Easily the best chain steakhouse in the country; Sizzling butter-topped steaks are especially juicy; Huge sides and large variety; Great view of Manhattan; Large menu of steak and non-steak items; Spot on service; Not as stuffy as some competitors. Juiciest steaks I’ve had. Large variety and a nice bar menu.  Specialty drinks & cocktails. Lots of seafood items as well.  Ahi Tuna; Lobster;

 
WESTWOOD
 
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! 
 

BiBi’z: American; Westwood; 284 Center Av @ Westwood; 21/20/$43; 201-722-8600; Also a lounge with Ladies night on Thursdays;  Sunday bottomless brunch – mimosa, bellini, bloody mary others for $13; Daily happy hour 3-7pm; Very interesting all-day menu including seared tuna, chicken, beef, lamb, pasta, sandwiches, salads – everything.  Only issue – mixed service quality. Lounge food is way to go over restaurant.

 

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 Boozy Burbs and both restaurants winners of several Best of Bergen categories.  

 
 
Mezza: Mediterranean; Westwood; 20 Jefferson Av; 24/19/$42; 201-722-8822; Owners take great pride in cliental’s experience;  Wonderful reviews and almost a certain positive experience;  BYO; Open daily for lunch and dinner;  Apps include 8 types of Mezza – dips; Tuna Tartar; Sauteed Bronzino; Glazed Duck;  Rack of Lamb; Hummus Bowls; Roasted Shrimp; Seafood Couscous and Hanger Steak. 
 
Sogno Coffee House: Creperie; Westwood; 425 Broadway @ Westwood; 29/20/$10; 201-497-3628; Unreal quality featured at this new Creperie/ Café/ Coffeehouse; Owners brew multiple brands of coffee in-house;  Freshest coffee you will ever have as the beans go straight from the shipward to their shop – no middlemen; Gorgeous décor, reminiscent of a true Creperie with Italian flair; Amazing cupcakes and other pastries offered;  Try the espresso and you must try one of the 20+ crepes – all big enough to share.
 

WOODCLIFF LAKE

 

Blue Moon Mexican CaféMexican; Woodcliff Lake; 42 Kinderkamack @ Prospect; 24/18/$35; 201-782-9500; Hip, Americanized versions of the Mexican classics; High energy and lively; Upscale Mexican serviced in a laid back environment- almost a club feel; Excellent margaritas; Mouthwatering appetizers including Guacamole; Unique main courses; Just better than the rest. Happy Hour 4-7pm $3 sangria, beer. 

 

WOOD-RIDGE

 

Martini Grill: American; Wood-Ridge; 187 Hackensack St; 20/22/$52; 201-939-2000;  Somewhat limited menu of New American dishes that includes lamb shank, duck, swordfish, salmon, tuna and filet mignon;  Nice appetizers including baked brie & shrimp, seared rare tuna.  Known for awesome Martinis;  Daily specials usually include Bronzini and a wonderful Risotto.  Upscale pricing is a complaint for some. Happy hour 4-7pm M-F;

 

WYCKOFF

 

Aoyama: Japanese/ Thai; Wyckoff;  319 Franklin Av; 22/17/$45; 201-847-9900; Half the menu is Japanese and half is Thai;  One of the biggest menus you’ll ever see; Known more for their quality sushi and special rolls; 100+ main courses on menu means anyone can be satisfied; Lunch and dinner served; It’s BYO as well. Great option when you have people with different tastes. 

 

Blue Moon Mexican CaféMexican; Wyckoff; 327 Franklin @ Godwin; 24/18/$35; 201-891-1331; Hip, Americanized versions of the Mexican classics; High energy and lively; Upscale Mexican serviced in a laid back environment- almost a club feel; Excellent margaritas; Mouthwatering appetizers including Guacamole; Unique main courses; Just better than the rest. BYO at this location. 

 

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.


 

*Locals: Nothing yest from: Teterboro; Upper Saddle River; Wallington;  - let me know!!