Best Montclair restaurants
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Heading to Jersey City?
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Fans of boozy brunch will want to try outSons of Essex. It has a speakeasy vibe, thanks to the deli counter out front: skip the sandwich and walk right by to enter the bar and restaurant. The brunch menu offers comfort food mashups like Cap’n Crunch–crusted challah french toast ($15) and lobster benedict ($21) alongside carafes of mimosas, bellinis and bloody mary’s (all $25). Consider adding a side of the truffle mac and cheese ($16), a fan favorite from the dinner menu. Other evening entrees include a mushroom pizza ($18), braised short ribs ($30) and fried chicken brined in sweet tea ($29). To drink, there’s a wide variety of signature cocktails, plus wine and spirits by the glass or bottle. Whether you come for breakfast, dinner or drinks, you’ll notice the party atmosphere—a DJ always seems to be spinning hip-hop jams from the ‘90s and early ‘00s.
Venue says WHISKEY WEDNESDAYS! Half Off Jameson and $1.00 Whiskey Wings.