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Turtle + the Wolf
Photograph: Courtesy Angie McCaffrey Turtle + the Wolf

The best Montclair restaurants

These Montclair restaurants are worth the trip to New Jersey for their Italian, Ethiopian or Tex-Mex food

By Alyssa Ammirato

In Montclair, restaurants rise to NYC standards without those high city prices. Better than your stereotypical Jersey diner, these places are perfect for weekend getaways to NJ, with everything from casual to fine dining. After you eat, check out the city’s multiple music venues, the Montclair Film Festival in NJ, the Yogi Berra Museum and plenty of other things to do in New Jersey.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in New Jersey

Best Montclair restaurants

Laurel & Sage
Photograph: Courtesy Cathy Miller

1. Laurel & Sage

Restaurants Contemporary American New Jersey

A relative newcomer to the Montclair dining scene, Laurel & Sage has quickly made itself into a must-try spot for dinners and events. The taste bud–delighting experience starts the moment the bread reaches the table and doesn’t quit until you’ve had your fill of appetizers like lobster bisque and entrees like the pomegranate molasses short rib or wild mushroom risotto.

Pig & Prince
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Christine E.

2. Pig & Prince

Restaurants New Jersey

Sidle up to the bar for a classic or inventive cocktail and a menu of filling apps and entrees, or settle into a romantically lit table—indoors or out on the patio—in this self-described gastro-lounge. Garden State culinary explorer Michael Carrino promises a fresh and flavorful brunch, dinner, dessert or snack made of everything from bone marrow with herb butter to pan roasted duck breast.

Fusion Empanada
Photograph: Courtesy Chris Marksbury

3. Fusion Empanada

Restaurants New Jersey

You haven’t seen Spanish food like this before. Fusion Empanada brings all the flavor of traditional Spanish and Tex-Mex cooking, but it kicks it up a notch from simplicity and creates an atmosphere of intimate fun. Go family-style with plates of empanadas to share with the whole table or opt for mouthwatering entrees including braised short rib, Maine lobster and red snapper.

Photograph: Courtesy Noce77

4. Noce77

Restaurants Italian New Jersey

A perfect date-night destination, Noce77’s romantic ambiance creates a lovely setting whether you’re there for your first date or 50th anniversary. Old-world Italian fare from game meats and pasta comfort food keep company on the menu with inspired renditions of contemporary American classics. It’s a BYOB restaurant, so make sure to pick up a bottle of red to complete the experience.

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Ilson G.

5. Samba

Restaurants New Jersey

Authentic Brazilian food has never been so accessible in the suburbs. For lunch, dinner or dessert with satisfying spice and bona fide South American flavor, Samba is the only destination you should consider. Ease into the cuisine with a panini for lunch, or dive in with fork and knife to dinner favorites like camarão ao alho e óleo, a shrimp dish with more flavor and texture than you’ll know how to describe.

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/G H.

6. Mesob

Restaurants New Jersey

Just about as traditional as dining can get, Mesob is an authentic African-Ethiopian dining experience from start to finish. A modern, comfy visual vibe blends well with family-style, eat-with-your-hands entrees that suit any palate, whether it belongs to an adventurous carnivore or a veggie lover. Even gluten-free diners have plenty of options on the menu full of beef, chicken, seafood and vegan dishes.

Turtle + the Wolf
Photograph: Courtesy Angie McCaffrey

7. Turtle + the Wolf

Restaurants Contemporary American New Jersey

In the heart of Upper Montclair is the newly opened Turtle + the Wolf, the result of a culinary mind raised on the eclectic and delectable Montclair dining scene. Lauren Hirschberg brought his experience in Manhattan restaurants home to his suburban roots to introduce neighbors to delicacies like chicken liver mousse and braised brisket to Spanish octopus.

Photograph: Courtesy Villalobos

8. Villalobos

Restaurants New Jersey

At this BYOB Mexican restaurant, fresh ingredients and authentic flavor reign supreme. Chef Adam Rose and business partner VJ Moscaritola brought the most beloved pieces of their Mexican travels straight to the New Jersey suburbs, where Rose serves up the best takeout and dine-in tacos and other Mexican restaurant favorites.

Salute Brick Oven Bistro
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Ashlee B.

9. Salute Brick Oven Bistro

Restaurants New Jersey

The dollar slices in NYC can put the rest of the country’s pizza to shame, but there’s something special about sitting down with a classic brick-oven pizza. Take your party here for a special occasion and enjoy endless essential Italian options like pork chops, baked eggplant and anything you can imagine that’s covered with cheese or sauce.

De Novo
Photograph: Courtesy DeNovo

10. De Novo

Restaurants New Jersey

Traditional European gastropub fare meets contemporary customizations at De Novo, where there are enough varied menu items to please any crowd on any occasion, from date nights to family dinners to catch-ups with friends. Simple rustic decor is the backdrop for an eclectic and fresh menu of flavorful starters, salads and flatbreads plus ambitious pastas, fish and beef entrees.

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