Dining Out in Montclair: A Local’s Guide to Montclair Restaurants
Less than 20 miles from all of New York City’s finest restaurants is another hub where chefs are showcasing their skills in almost every conceivable cuisine. Montclair restaurants are not only continually voted some of the best in the state, but their chef-centric attitude to their menu and dishes make them a unique place for foodies to gather.
Whether you’re dining casual or looking for a new date night destination, you’ll find a Montclair restaurant that will not only suit your needs, but will also delight your tastebuds. Now, it’s just a matter of making time to visit them all!
The Ultimate Local’s Guide to Montclair Restaurants
Peace. Love. Pancakes. With a motto like theirs, it’s hard not to fall head over heels for Toast. Serving all your favorite breakfast, brunch, and lunch options, along with house favorites like their Huevos Rancheros, Bella Nutella pancakes, and Lobster Cobb Salad, you may want to extend your time there by bringing your own bottle of bubbly for MYOM (Make Your Own Mimosas!)
If you’re looking for a blow-your-mind burger, look no further than Broughton Grill, where the burgers (and sandwiches) are bigger than your face and tastier than anything you’ve ever had before. We’re partial to the The Upper Mountain burger topped with pastrami, Russian dressing, and Swiss cheese. Add on a milkshake, and things couldn’t be better!
“Out of this world.” “Best darn burger of my life.” “Best of Montclair.” “Best healthy burger E V E R.” If you don’t take our word on it, listen to the public. Stuffed Grass-Fed Burgers serves up only grass-fed, antibiotic-free burger meat that’s then stuffed and topped with all your favorite (and soon to be favorite) fixings. Dan Campeas, who operated a burger food truck in Austin before moving back to his Montclair roots, conjured up menu favorites like their Bacon Jam Burger, a French Toast Burger, and the Reuben burger (a burger that was recently named one of the best burgers in America).
In the search of the perfect taco joint? Look no further than Mezoco Mexican Taqueria, where every taco is authentically delicious. Add on one of their many salsas (seconds are welcome) and it’s your favorite new lunch/dinner/snack place no matter where you live because it’s worth the drive. They also get bonus points for being so friendly – I mean if you ate tacos all day, you’d be pretty happy too!
Set inside a railroad car diner, Plum on Park is a restaurant that has revived the Montclair weekend brunch scene with dishes like their Jelly Donut Fritter (with house made plum jelly, of course) and specials like their Turkish Eggs (which is a must order) – all masterminded by chef and owner, Natalie Colledge’s. It’s also home to a world-class gluten free bakery and a restaurant that serves up everything you could want for a great lunch or dinner, from a crispy Crackling Pork Belly to Tacos, a Mexican Seafood Martini, Beets and Burrata… ok you get the point.
Yet another must-visit brunch (and dinner) scene, this Montclair restaurant has a bit of a different flavor. Uncle Momo is a Lebanese French Bistro that combines the two traditions into a taste explosion. Imagine the sophistication of French cuisine with the freshness of tabouli, hummus, and homemade labne cheese. Their drink scene is also on point, specializing in combinations like Karcade Hibiscus Flower and a citrusy Loomi drink.
Specializing in Northern Italian cooking (yes, we’re going butter here instead of olive oil), Corso 98 is a BYOB Montclair restaurant that has been making traditional, homemade dishes since 1999. Not only will you find the chefs in the back, but you’ll even find Mama Suriano making fresh pasta every week. They even are home to Cucina 98, a convenient store that’s packed with packaged foods and Italian baked goods to go.
Known by many for serving both “adventurous and tasty” food, Halycon Brasserie is not only decadent because of its dishes, but also for the ambience it delivers. Head there for a date night out to enjoy some of the freshest seafood in Montclair, or check out their brunch menu that has this sweet and savory beauty (pictured above) on it.
You know the sound you make when you bite into that crispy crust, with gooey cheese, the perfect amount of sauce, and maybe a kick from the hot pepper? It goes something like Ah’Pizz, you’re my only friend. Ok, maybe we exaggerate a bit, but seriously, the wood-fired brick oven pizza (along with a long list of pasta, meats, and fish that are also quite swoonworthy) is one of the best outside of Naples (and dare we say it… in Naples?)!
With two New Jersey locations, Raymond’s has been a Montclair institution since 1989. Imagine subway tiled walls, expansive windows, comfortable booths, a chatty bar, and intimate tables where you can sit back, relax, and eat everything from breakfast to dinner, complete with dishes like their succulent BBQ short ribs (I mean, look at that!).
At Mesob, they stand by their motto, “Ancient Cuisine with modern appeal.” Honestly, one bite in and whether you’re a vegan or a full fledged carnivore, the Ethiopian cuisine will have you begging for more. Entrees are served in large trays that are lined with injera, a traditional Ethiopian bread (if you’re gluten free, give them a call 4 hours prior to your visit and you’ll hook you up), which is then topped with anything and everything from tender pieces of lamb, marinated chicken breast, prime beef tartare, shrimp, to collard greens, green beans, and lentils.
Simple, casual, and real good food, that’s what Egan & Sons is all about. This Irish Montclair restaurant and pub will have you dining on updated pub favorites like fish ‘n’ chips, pizza, while washing it down with frosty cold beers and refreshing cocktails. If you’re having a little get together, go ahead and book the snug – a private little room that seats 6-10 people and is reserved for those looking for a little bit of privacy (because you don’t want your boss to see you hanging out at the bar).
If you have yet to experience the soul of Vital through Chef Kwame Williams’ dishes, you’re truly missing out. Vital is not only a family affair (Williams two sisters, Nataki and Kanika are key components of the operation), but it’s delicious thanks to a focus on the Ital lifestyle, which features Jamaican cuisine including many vegan and non-vegan dishes. Yes, they have jerk chicken, but with options like Jerk Portabella and Escovitched Fish, you may have to stray from what you think Jamaican food is and experience the Ital difference.
When you’re feeling fancy and searching for an elevated take on Italian dishes, look no further than Fascino a restaurant that has become synonymous with celebrating special occasion thanks to Chef Ryan DePersio’s dishes “without borders.”
Created by restaurateur Demtri Malki (of D’metri’s and Table 8), De Novo European Pub is styled after Europe’s casual, family style pubs. The menu is full of everything from charcuterie to salads, burgers, house-made pastas, and late-night bar bites. They’re also home to some of the best parties in town.
When chef and owner Lauren Hirschberg (who worked as the culinary director for Tom Colicchio’s restaurants) and longtime friend Matt Trevenen decided to open up a restaurant in their hometown, Turtle + the Wolf was created. Yes, their seasonal dishes are stellar, but it’s their family style meals that keep us going there time and time again. Reserve your table to get a chance to eat an entire roasted pig or some of Chef Lo’s fried chicken, both served with salad, three side dishes, buttermilk biscuits, sauces, and desserts.
If you haven’t noticed, Peruvian dishes were a big thing these past few years. At Costanera Restaurant (511 Bloomfield Ave, Montclair (973) 337-8289), they’ve been serving up ceviche and tiradito (fish served sashimi style with aji chilis) for seven years and counting. So, if you’re still behind the times and have yet to see what all the hype is about, Costanera is the first, and only stop.
He may look young, but Chef James De Sisto of Laboratorio Kitchen knows his way around the kitchen. He’s worked under culinary greats from Emeril Lagasse to Tyler Florence, and now brings that expertise to dishes that will exceed your expectations. Everything on the menu is worth a look, but it’s the Prime NY Strip Au Poivre that Chef De Sisto nails every, single, time.
What do you get when you combine the traditions of Texas style BBQ with Korean BBQ flavors? Kimchi Smoke House II. Yes, they broke the internet when they introduced the Chonut – featuring smoked brisket, smoked kimchi, Fatboy sauce, cheese, bacon, and scallions on a glazed donut – but, they’re also home to hickory smoked ribs, smoked pork shoulder, and Korean Redneck Tacos. Count us in.
From the culinary masterminds of brother and sister, Executive Chef Michael and Pastry Chef Sally Cetrula, and Chef Anthony Jugan, Scala Del Nonna is high end Italian food (because can you ever really get enough of it?). From the homemade fusilli that’s tossed with pancetta, onions, and pepperoncini and topped with mascarpone cheese to the butterflied shrimp that’s prepared Franchese style, we could imagine eating these dishes almost any day of the week.
With handmade ravioli, fresh seafood, and a warm and cozy atmosphere, Osteria Prime 15 is not only a feast for your senses, but also for your soul – because good food goes right to your heart, right?
There are many things we could tell you about Laurel & Sage, from where Chef and Owner Shawn Paul Dalziel has worked (world-renowned restaurant, Aqua) to what he loves (everything from good wine to his dog Lola and his family – especially his two daughters which the restaurant is named after), and how many positive reviews he’s received, but it all comes down to his food – it’s simply delicious.
If you can stop from looking up for just a moment at the incredible ceiling to your menu, you’ll find that what is served will leave you equally fascinated. We’ve become partial to Fig & Prince Restaurant’s Ostrich Tartare (yes, you read that correctly) and their Single Steer Burger. As for those looking for a bit more bite, reserve the Chef’s Tasting that’s designed just for your party.
A selection of menu items that bring you to the shores of the Mediterranean, Mishmish Café is the brain child of Meny Vaknin, who has been making waves in the culinary world for quite some time. Whether you’re coming for brunch, lunch, or dinner, Chef Vaknin’s Shakshuka Bar, Hummus Bowls, and entrees will give you countless reasons to return.
Skip customs and head straight for Cuban Pete’s, where you’ll get all the flair and cuisine that Cuba has to offer right down the street from your house. Bring your own for a booze, or take on their famous sangria!
A self-proclaimed happy place, Bistro 18 brings everything to the table – exceptional service, delicious dishes, and a cozy atmosphere. If you’re unsure of what to offer – you can never go wrong with the fresh pasta.
Enter into Palazzo Restaurant and you’ll be transported to a long lost era, where classic and traditional décor invite guests to linger, while jazz musicians tickle the ivories, and Chef John Giglio illuminates your taste buds.
It’s not so hard being trendy, especially if you’re Red Eye Café. Everyone knows their name! Stop in for a quick coffee or stay for a bite. Think pickled veggies, soft runny eggs, and big bowls of Bibimbap!
A Mediterranean Montclair restaurant that specializes in Turkish cuisine – that’s what Zeugma Grill is known for. From Middle Eastern pita sandwiches to creamy hummus, and grilled octopus, these dishes are hitting all of our tastebuds, well just the good ones!
Since 1988, Dai-Kichi has been Montclair’s sushi restaurant, winning countless awards and accolades for unique sushi rolls that have become a local favorite.
When you think of Chinese food, fried, greasy, and well… not so healthy dishes come to mind. Equally as delicious, but packed full of flavor and healthy ingredients, T S Ma Chinese Cuisine turns your favorite take out dishes into exceptional classics.
Trendy Thai? That’s SLA. Simple, Love, Authentic (SLA), this hip Montclair restaurant from two Northern Thailand chefs brings together fresh herbs and all the flavors of spicy, sweet, sour, and salty to their dishes, just like those found in their home town.
Two years in and Noce77 Ristorant is still making waves. Voted best of Montclair in 2016, they’ve been winning diners over with their seafood dishes, fresh takes on pasta sauces, and sumptuous desserts.
Looking for the best wings in Montclair? Head to Ruthie’s where you’ll find an assortment of Bar-B-Q and pizzas that are all smoky, sweet, and rich. (There are salads, but seriously… why would you do that unless it’s as a side?)
Dishes that are (almost) too pretty to eat,Salute Brick Oven Bistro is home to fire roasted dishes and cool classics like the gorgeous and delicious Inslata Di Pesce with chilled shrimp, clams, mussels, scallops, and first press olive oil.
If their menu read like their Instagram page, you’d probably order one of everything. At Fresco, they use only the best ingredients, successfully capturing what other countless chefs yearn to.
6 S Fullerton Ave.
It may be small, but Villalobos packs a punch with their flavorful dishes. Handmade tortillas and a killer “Take Out Taco Tuesday Package” will make your night feel a little more like a fiesta.
Subway tile is still in style and so is a locally sourced ingredients. Luckily at Le Salbuen Café you’ll get both, with a side of Braised Duck, Seafood Mixto Pasta, and Duck Tacos.. so yes, you can have the duck!
Turns out, if you want traditional Turkish cuisine, Montclair is your destination. Visit Four Seasonsfor their take on hummus to babagannush, falafel, and yes… kebabs.
Open for two of our favorite meals – brunch and dinner – Uptown 596, aptly named for their location in upper Montclair, features American dishes that will make you well… proud to be an American.
Let Fin Raw Bar & Kitchen bring the flavors of the sea to you. From raw oysters that will turn naysayers into converts, to shrimp and even short ribs for those land lubbers, it’s difficult to figure out why you’ve never tried this Montclair restaurant before now.
We all have our favorite Mexican restaurants, a place where we can sit back, enjoy some margaritas, tacos, guacamole, and even live mariachis music (every Sunday!) Casa Piquin is that place in Montclair. We guarantee it.
Curries, grilled meats, seafood, and pad thai, Thai Chef is that laid back, BYOB Montclair restaurant that always delivers and is nothing like your normal takeout. Time to amp it up!
Just down the street from the main strip of Montclair restaurants is Cocina Candela, an authentic Spanish Caribbean restaurant that brings together the warm, spicy, and complex flavors of the Caribbean to your plate. No traveling required.
With it’s sister restaurant in Jersey City, Ani Ramen is known for its infamous slurping. A Japanese noodle house that bares the name of the college snack, but is really anything but, it’s like going to graduate school… for your tastebuds.
Gordon Ramsey overhauled Leone’s menu, kitchen, and well everything, flipping it into a dining destination featuring pizza cooked in a wood burning oven, salads, and countless menu items that will make you thankful for Ramsey’s wrath.
Memphis-inspired BBQ off of Montclair’s restaurant strip? Yes! Bluff City BBQ has all of your BBQ fixins from Mac ‘N Cheese to salads, beans, and of course the main event – pulled pork, smoked chicken, brisket, and spareribs.