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Your favorite Italian restaurant in Bergen/Essex County?


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#1 E.L.A.

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 12:40 AM

There are plenty of well informed people here with quality opinions -- so I wanted to open a discussion here. I am a fan of Italian food, all types, and enjoy trying new places. That said, I haven't found a "great" Italian place in the Northern NJ area in a very long time, so I thought I'd turn to people who have an opinion that I respect. Big, small, BYO, doesn't matter.

So, please, tell me -- what's your favorite Italian restaurant in Northern NJ, let's say Bergen and/or Essex County?

My list includes:

Jerry's (E. Rutherford), although I haven't been there in a very long time. I believe it's still open, but I'll have to check.

Lunello's has long been one of my favorites (both the old and current location) and I've always enjoyed going there. A lot of flavor, some nice creative specials, great service, and a very good atmosphere.

Casa Dante (Jersey City) is another one I've always enjoyed. Unfortunately I haven't been back in several years, but I have plans to go and I am looking forward to returning.

Baci (Westwood) is another favorite of mine. Not very well known, but I've been there several times, and each time I've really enjoyed it. It opened a few years ago and I went right when they first opened. Very good food and the same each time I go back.

Cafe Italiano (Englewood Cliffs) -- another favorite. I used to go more often and always had very good meals. I remember that they used to do a daily risotto special -- and I like risotto. While that's not the easiest dish to do well, I always enjoyed it and it was always very good.

So how about you? I'd greatly appreciate hearing your opinion and some of your favorites.

Thank you.

Eric

#2 ghostrider

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 02:01 AM

Jerry's is still going strong. I drive by there every so often in the evening, running errands, & it always seems crowded. I guess we should try the place.
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#3 Rail Paul

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 12:47 PM

My go-to Italian places are Fascino in Montclair, and Basilico in Millburn. Passione in Montclair is also excellent. Avenue in Verona has a few Italian dishes on the menu, but I wouldn't call it Italian. Local, red sauce, inexpensive places for me include Due Nicola in Little Falls and Rusilo in West Caldwell.

I also like the Due Terri in Bernardsville, and hope to try the Due Mari in New Brunswick soon.

One place that has received good marks is Tomaso's in Weehawken, but I haven't been there. (Yet)


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#4 E.L.A.

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 06:46 PM

QUOTE(ghostrider @ Nov 8 2009, 09:01 PM) View Post
Jerry's is still going strong. I drive by there every so often in the evening, running errands, & it always seems crowded. I guess we should try the place.



Yes, Jerry's most often does look crowded. Good point. Thanks.

Eric

#5 OTB

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 08:35 PM

I don't have a favorite in Bergen, but if you're willing to go to Hudson County I would have to say Di Palma Brothers.

http://offthebroiler...palma-brothers/



Essex I've been really impressed with Arturo's Osteria in Maplewood.

http://offthebroiler...rturos-osteria/



And for Montclair definitely Fascino.

http://offthebroiler...dining-fascino/

That being said if you're going to bother to eat in Bergen County you might as well shoot over the Bridge to the Bronx and go to one of the more established places near Arthur Avenue, which is what we do.
Jason Perlow
Food Blogger, OffTheBroiler.com
Sr. Technology Editor, ZDNet / CBS Interactive
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#6 Rail Paul

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Posted 09 November 2009 - 08:36 PM

If anyone is interested in dinner at Fascino, I'm always up for that...


Fascino

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#7 E.L.A.

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Posted 13 November 2009 - 06:27 PM

How about Trovato's (the original location, in Elmwood Park)?

What about E & V? I haven't been there in so long. Is this just a "red sauce" place?

Thanks for all of the replies.

Eric

#8 Rail Paul

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 06:37 PM

QUOTE(OTB @ Nov 9 2009, 03:35 PM) View Post
(snip)

Essex I've been really impressed with Arturo's Osteria in Maplewood.

http://offthebroiler...rturos-osteria/

(snip)


Arturo's in Maplewood got a top rec from the NY Times this weekend.

QUOTE
The salad was followed by small white bowls of polenta made from New Jersey cornmeal, cooked with nothing more than water, a dab of butter and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, then topped with sautéed oyster mushrooms. It was January in Maplewood, but I felt as I did one recent summer, dining alfresco in a courtyard osteria in Tuscany: How are they going to top that?

There isn’t much flesh on the menu, but carnivores should not miss the cured meats — silken prosciutto from Emilia-Romagna; unctuous boar sausage; assertive coppa (pork shoulder); and house-cured duck prosciutto, burgundy-colored and salty-sweet.

On a crowded, drafty Saturday night, our first course was octopus pintxos. The term is Basque for tapas, but the presentation was Italian: bits of braised octopus napped with basil-scented tomato sauce and secured to little bruschette with wooden skewers. On that tasting menu, too, there was very little meat — just some supernally tender braised duck over polenta, and an accent of browned beef in the Bolognese sauce. There were earthy, chewy four-grain vegetable soup, house-made farm cheese, and handmade taglierini pasta with chanterelles and a dusting of black truffle.


Don't Miss It

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#9 OTB

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 06:34 PM

Really to happy to see Dan Richer get the recognition he deserves.
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#10 Rail Paul

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 07:53 PM

Dee and I had a quick dinner at Arturo's in Maplewood, and I remain impressed.

Quattro pizzete, which turned out to be one seven inch pizza divided into four sections, with an element for each season. One with artichokes and mozz, one with red peppers and fontina, one with shredded sausage, and mushrooms. Still has the excellent, papery thin crust, and the tangy cheese. The cheeses were sourced from Bucks County PA and Monmouth County NJ. There's an alternative of "New York style" crust, which seemed to be the thicker alternative.

There was an honor roll of suppliers on the wall, with eggs from one place, cheeses from several places, microgreens from somewhere else.

We went earlier than on our last trip, and got to see the family outing night for many young families. Plenty of kids, lots of booster seats, and the house was very willing to go off menu with healthy suggestions like mac n' cheese, grilled chicken strips with red pepper strips, etc. It was very nice to see the diversity of the Maplewood patrons.

Arturo's

180 Maplewood Avenue, at the corner of Baker Street

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#11 E.L.A.

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Posted 03 October 2010 - 10:19 PM

Thanks for the info.

What about Arturo's in Midland Park? Very good reputation/reviews from what I've been told.

What about Trovato's (the original location in Elmwood Park)? I know people who like this place very much.

Any opinions here? What about other places? I've recently had a few people tell me positive things about Savini's (Allendale). Anyone here have an opinion?

Thanks in advance.

#12 OTB

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 04:09 PM

Rachel and I celebrated our 15th anniversary at DiPalma Brothers in North Bergen last night. We hadn't been there for a while, but the food is still incredibly solid Southern Italian. They are apparently planning to start doing Sunday Gravy dinners shortly, which should be excellent.
Jason Perlow
Food Blogger, OffTheBroiler.com
Sr. Technology Editor, ZDNet / CBS Interactive
My Flickr Stream: Click Here for Food Photos

#13 Rail Paul

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Posted 23 October 2010 - 05:18 PM

Rachel and I celebrated our 15th anniversary at DiPalma Brothers in North Bergen last night. We hadn't been there for a while, but the food is still incredibly solid Southern Italian. They are apparently planning to start doing Sunday Gravy dinners shortly, which should be excellent.


happy anniversary!

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#14 Rail Paul

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Posted 28 April 2012 - 11:47 PM

Dee and I had dinner at Di Palma Brothers in North Bergen earlier this week. I'd agree with the thumbs up comments earlier in the thread. Lots to like.

It's a curious place, that's for sure. The restaurant doubles as an antiques store, pretty much everything is for sale. Mirrors, pictures of 19th century Italian statesmen, monkeys holding up lighting, bird cages, chandeliers of all sizes and colors, etc.

They were doing a land office business in the restaurant midweek, on a rainy night. Probably 3/4 filled, with people still coming in at 8.30pm. Decent amount of takeout, as well. I was impressed.

The food was good, and the service was attentive. The portions were huge. Dessert plate sized crab cake could easily feed 3 people, and that was an appetizer. The "Italian meat loaf" was a meat lasagna, with a layer of veal-pork-beef on the bottom, a layer of cheese and mushrooms, a layer of the meat mix, another layer of the cheese and mushrooms, topped by another layer of meat. Probably three inches high, three inches wide and five inches long. Topped with fresh tomato sauce, and served with a full side plate of cavatelli. Two pieces of meat loaf to a plate for $16. Very fine grind of meat, good flavor, not at all greasy.

Dee had a stuffed eggplant entree, which featured two good sized eggplants. As promised, they were stuffed and baked with sausage, cheese, and onions. And, served with a full side plate of cavatelli. Based on my taste, they were excellent.

One of our companions had the same eggplant entree, while the fourth person had the broiled sole, served with the plate of cavatelli.

BYO, friendly service, good prices ($120 pre-tip for 4 people), and an eclectic atmosphere. Jason Perlow wrote and illustrated his experience there several years ago. Little has changed, other than bumping up the prices a buck or two, but the place still resembles the 1960s. Tiny parking lot adjacent, or ample street parking in the area. Plan on bringing a lot of stuff home. Portions are huge.

Di Palma

8728 Kennedy Blvd, North Bergen, NJ (on the southeast corner of 88th)

“Jazz musicians just get better and better as the years go by. I think chefs are the same way. You know who you are.”

 

...Jonathan Waxman


#15 E.L.A.

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 12:34 AM

By the way -- I've had some very good meals lately at Savini's (Allendale) and La Vera Cucina (Suffern). I've always enjoyed these places.

And for those stuck on formality -- Savini states "Northern Italian" in their tag-lines...so proceed with caution. LOL.

I also had a nice meal recently at Bacari Grill (Washington Township).