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Outdoor dining in Bergen County...

Good evening all -- so with some very nice (not humid! LOL) weather we've been having, and hopefully we'll have more, I wanted to ask about outdoor dining options in Bergen County -- nice outdoor dining options, meaning nice settings and nice food.

I haven't been in years, but I used to very much enjoy Rebecca's (Edgewater) -- but that was before it was sold. I haven't been there post-sale. They had a beautiful "rock garden/patio" in the back -- a nice patio, along "the cliff" so the rock wall created the back wall of the patio and went all the way up. Very nice.

Anything new and exciting in Edgewater? Along the water? Where else in Bergen County? What are some of your favorites?

Thank you in advance.

2 days ago
ELA in New Jersey

Taste of Greece...River Edge

No one has been here? It's not that much of a hidden gem, LOL.

Well, if the Bergen County people haven't been there...try it.

Aug 26, 2015
ELA in New Jersey

Oceanos ...Fair Lawn

Two bad trips...sorry to hear that. As far as the room, personally, I like the room. For what it is. It's not premier fine dining. I don't go there for that. However, I like that the tables are not close to each other, the sound is absorbed very well, the service is very good, attentive, etc.; and I always sit on the perimeter of the room, and it's very comfortable. Room likes, dislikes, in the eye of the beholder, LOL.

I've been to TM twice. I like it. It's good. It's popular, and plenty of people like it. It's just for my tastes, likes, etc. -- I am not a raving fan. I look at TM as more of an upscale, nice, "Greek" cuisine kind of place. Sure, there's variety, I get that, and I like that about it. They have fish and do that well. I just like Oceanos better for fish, but that's just me.

If I want "upscale" Greek, and I am in that area, sure, I am there. It's good food. If it's more fine-dining, fish, more seafood, a little Greek-flair, I would go with Varka. Also, being that I've enjoyed Oceanos every time I've been there -- if I was looking for fish, I'd go there as opposed to TM.

I view TM as a different type of place than let's say a Varka. While different, I think Varka is a "nicer" and "better" restaurant. If I wanted more "Greek" and not as much fish, etc. -- sure, TM. It's that kind of place to me. I also only go to TM for a change of pace. It's not a regular place for me. Obviously that's just me. Plenty of people rave about the place. I enjoyed it both times, but it just didn't get me really charged up.

Aug 26, 2015
ELA in New Jersey

Oceanos ...Fair Lawn

A well known, long time staple of Bergen County...

I've been there for dinner several times over the past few months -- each and every time, very good food! From the drinks and appetizers, to the entrees and dessert, including the service -- I have never had a "not very good" meal or experience here. Known or their fish -- high-quality, fresh, and excellently prepared -- Oceanos is a popular place with a strong following.

I had a special for dinner -- a coconut encrusted mahi mahi...it was prepared perfectly...very flavorful, well balanced, served with some grilled vegetables and a basmati rice...it was excellent. Once, shockingly I wasn't in the mood to order fish (I know, I went to a place that is well known for their fish! LOL) -- so I ordered steak. I am a steak guy -- and I am picky about my steak. I won't just order steak anywhere -- but I did here because I know it's going to be good...and it was!

Excellent service, excellent ambiance -- and excellent food.

Aug 24, 2015
ELA in New Jersey

Taste of Greece...River Edge

Here is a previous review of mine from April 2015...

Had dinner the other night at Taste of Greece...I have not been there in quite some time, so I was pleased to see they had redecorated, updates, etc. Some nice, basic redecoration -- nice walls, paint, brick/stone, new tables, chairs, etc. Of course it's still small, and the tables are a bit tight, but it's not offensive or even uncomfortable. The place was booked solid and if the food is still as good as it has been in the past, rightfully so, this place will continuously be booked solid.

Starting off -- the service was good. Our waitress was on top of everything, had a very good handle on the menu and the specials. She was able to add her own personal insight, and explained things very well. She had to scramble a bit and I think a more formal process with her help actually helping her with some of the more trivial tasks would make her even better, but she was very good.

On to the food -- excellent! I was very happy to see -- and taste -- nothing has changed! This is still a little, almost hidden, unknown gem of a place, serving some of the best Greek food in Bergen County in my opinion. The greek meatballs appetizer was very good -- a lot of flavor and taste inside these bite-sized meatballs. Very lightly fried, but not even noticeable, the seasoning was very good, and not overpowering, so you were able to get all the flavor from the meatballs. Nice size portion, I enjoyed them. The lollipop lamb chops special was very good -- served with garlic, lemon, fingerling-type potatoes, and a very nice side of fava beans in a light and very tasty tomato sauce. The gyro platter was very good as well, accompanied with Greek fries, and some very nice grilled vegetables -- they were excellent.

For dessert -- just get the baklava cheesecake...'nuff said. LOL. I don't know where he gets this from -- but it was excellent!!!

The place was crowded -- reservations booked the night. They ranged from a party of two to a party of eight and everyone handled it very well. The chef/owner takes a lot of pride in his work and food, escaping from the kitchen to quickly say hello, check and see if everyone likes the food, etc. An occasional leaning out from the kitchen and a quick question to the customers asking if they like the dish they are eating. While the place is small, and the tables are tight, it's OK -- you don't find it overly offensive or uncomfortable. I wasn't sitting in a bad spot -- we had a table for two, right on the wall. A few of the other tables might have been or had a customer a bit adjacent, or next to the neighboring table. It didn't seem to be a problem for anyone. It's packed, but it's almost quaint, LOL.

For me -- nothing changed, but now the place is a nice, little, bistro type place, BYO...and of course...the food! That's why people go here. Sure, you can go to Varka, Axia, Oceanos, Taverna Mykonos, and maybe a few others -- and while I enjoy Varka and Oceanos very much, they are different -- but this place is putting out excellent Greek food. I enjoyed it a lot. It's a more everyday, get it to go, go for dinner, etc., kind of place. An excellent, local place where you can go for excellent Greek food, that again, in my opinion is one of the best in Bergen County.

Aug 24, 2015
ELA in New Jersey

Taste of Greece...River Edge

Had dinner at Taste of Greece in River Edge -- very good as always! Although they didn't have the baklava cheesecake (a special dessert there -- and it's excellent), everything was very good. The food here has a lot of flavor, a lot of taste. They take a lot of pride in their dishes. Ownership is very hands on -- between the chef/owner, Themis, and his wife/co-owner, Catarina -- they are on-site, on the job every single day.

Taste of Greece is still a bit of a hidden gem to some -- and if you haven't been there in a while, they have redecorated and re-done the place -- and it came out very nice. It's no longer a basic, no frills, plain walls and tables kind of place. It's now more colorful, theme, decorative, and while it has more ambiance -- note it's a small, nice little place. Some may say it's crowded, OK, it's a small space and there's not a lot of tables, but it's nice. Also -- BYO.

Bottom line -- they do a very good job.

Aug 24, 2015
ELA in New Jersey

Brick House..Wyckoff

Had dinner here recently, again, and once again...excellent.

Let me preface my comments in saying that I've been going here for years and have always enjoyed the food and the experience.

I started out with the the Sicilian potato chips and the "Asian" calamari -- two of the more popular appetizers. I am finicky when it comes to calamari. Everybody does it, but few do it well in my opinion, at least not for my likes, tastes, etc. I think many places just throw 'em in and fry 'em up, and even places that don't, I think it's somewhat common that they are "over-cooked" so to speak. Even when they are not -- I don't like that thick breading/batter, crunchy enough to break a tooth style, LOL. So I think the calamari at Rudy's (Cliffside Park) is the best in Northern NJ -- one of the best in the state -- but I've also always enjoyed the calamari at the Brick House.

More done in a "lightly fried" fashion and the calamari is never rubbery, chewy, over-cooked, over-salted, etc. Aldo offers the traditional kind, and also the "Asian" version. Both are very good in my opinion and I like them.

Yes, it's all about the sauce too, LOL; but if the calamari isn't prepared well, the sauce ain't gonna change that, LOL.

I also had a wedge salad, and yes, I know what you must be thinking -- "it's a salad, what could they possibly do with a salad to make it excellent, it's just a salad, etc." -- but it was an excellent wedge, good balance, nothing over-powering anything else, fresh, excellent ingredients, and just an excellent salad. I also had the skirt steak -- a lot of flavor, taste, done perfectly to order. Everything here was executed perfectly.

Aldo has been doing his thing for a very long time, both at the Brick House and at Aldo's, and he does it very, very well. I've never had a sub-par experience, and never not had a very, very good meal at either of his restaurants. Been there for lunch, dinner, drinks, late night/bite to eat, a repass luncheon, etc. -- always excellent.

Aug 24, 2015
ELA in New Jersey

Premium prices at Ben's Deli in Scarsdale

I can't speak to the suburbs specifically, except for my own experience, likes, etc. However, this is an age-old debate. The same thing is said about Northern NJ and NJ in general all the time -- that there are no "great" restaurants in NJ/NNJ and if you want "great" you have to go to NYC.

I think "great" is an overused word, but that said, I think there are plenty of very good, excellent, and to some people "great" restaurants outside NYC. Sure, NYC is the restaurant capital of the Northeast -- it's the "great" capital of the Northeast. However, there are plenty of poor restaurants in NYC. And, there are plenty of very good/excellent restaurants outside NYC (Northern NJ and NJ in general).

Sometimes I hear a Northern NJ resident say they can't find an excellent restaurant in Northern NJ. Simply my opinion, but I don't think they've looked hard enough, tried enough and the bias is already factual in their mind.

Stick your two cents in...but only a penny for your thoughts...so where is the other penny? LOL.

Aug 24, 2015
ELA in New York State (exc. NYC)

Premium prices at Ben's Deli in Scarsdale

I think Katz's and Carnegie -- for my likes, tastes, etc. -- are the two best, and compared to some of the others here, these two are light years ahead. I do very much like Pastrami Queen, and while it's "one of the best" in my mind, for me, it's a bit different.

Mile End -- is very good. I like it a lot. They serve (their version) of "smoked meat" which of course is the Canadian parallel of pastrami.

Aug 22, 2015
ELA in New York State (exc. NYC)

Premium prices at Ben's Deli in Scarsdale

If it's coupons for Ben's...maybe that can overcome the $1 premium...LOL.

Aug 22, 2015
ELA in New York State (exc. NYC)

Good food in Northern NJ?

I recently had dinner at a variety of different types of restaurants in Northern NJ -- and all of them were excellent.

The Brick House (Wyckoff), Taste of Greece (River Edge), Oceanos (Fair Lawn), Varka (Ramsey), Rudy's (Cliffside Park), St. Eve's (Ho Ho Kus), and the River Palm (Edgewater).

Aug 18, 2015
ELA in New Jersey

Cannoli Cake in Northern NJ

Absolutely (Palazzone) -- top notch. I don't find my way out there much anymore, but if I do, and I need pastries et al...then I am there.

Aug 18, 2015
ELA in New Jersey

Cannoli Cake in Northern NJ

Been to Rispoli's/Emerson as well -- leave the gun...take the cannoli -- they were very good.

Aug 17, 2015
ELA in New Jersey

Cannoli Cake in Northern NJ

I too had it from Carlo's -- but I got it at the Ridgewood location. It was very good.

Actually, every cake I've gotten from there (Ridgewood) has been excellent. I am probably going on 6 or so cakes from there. It's now my go-to for birthday cakes.

Aug 17, 2015
ELA in New Jersey

Good food in Northern NJ?

It is now Lan Garden 88...prior it was Phoenix Garden Too...and prior to that it was China 46.

There is plenty out there on the history, changes, re-opening, etc.

I have not been there since it has become Lan Garden 88.

Aug 17, 2015
ELA in New Jersey

Fresh oysters from market in Northern NJ

Glad you enjoyed your lunch...I've never had sub-par meal or purchase there.

So what kind of oysters were they?

Aug 15, 2015
ELA in New Jersey

Fresh oysters from market in Northern NJ

Thanks. I'm familiar with Forty North, and I've actually been to their facility. Very interesting stuff.

I was saying there are none in Northern NJ, referencing the original poster's question.

Aug 14, 2015
ELA in New Jersey

Fresh oysters from market in Northern NJ

Peter's Fish Market in Midland Park. It was referenced in a below post. Here is the website:

http://www.petersfishmarket.com/

I don't think the Seafood Gourmet takes reservations. It's small, and first come first serve I believe. They have about 10 tables or so. And, they get busy, LOL.

Aug 14, 2015
ELA in New Jersey

Fresh oysters from market in Northern NJ

Unless I am mistaken -- and it wouldn't be the first time, or last, LOL -- or I totally missed it, I don't think there are any oyster/fishing farms in Northern NJ. The only ones I know of, and some have closed, are further south, along the Jersey shore.

I suspect you are not buying a large or massive quantity. That said, based upon what you are looking for, the convenience factor, etc. -- going and finding a "farm" to buy direct from (if they will sell to you) and doing all that; how much are you going to save? Rhetorical question. You also have the selection factor.

My opinion is to find a top notch direct/dedicated fish "market" -- even better if it's one that is a "wholesaler" (distributor), ie: Peter's. If you are talking about $2.50 retail -- maybe you'll get them for $2 or something. Again, moot point. The places mentioned on this thread are your best bet. I'd start with Seafood Gourmet, then International, and probably end up at Peter's. Call each place, see what they have, offer, etc.

Peter's is a third/fourth generation business. They are well known and well respected. The Scalfani family takes a lot of pride in their business/work -- and they buy top notch, fresh, high quality, every single day. They buy direct from both local and foreign waters, and also deal with the largest importers in the US, and every single day they are at the New Fulton Fish Market/Hunt's Point. They supply many of the top local restaurants in Northern NJ and further.

Last time I was there -- going on memory -- they had Blue Points (from Long Island), Hog Islands (VA), Wellfleets (Maine, I think, I don't remember if they had them), Collville Bays (from PEI), and a few others. They also had several West Coast varieties -- Kumamotos (WA), Humboldts (CA), Hunter's Points (WA) and a couple of others.

Have a great time and enjoy!

Aug 14, 2015
ELA in New Jersey

Dinner and breakfast recs, Mahwah

I don't know that there are many very good breakfast options, but between a Sunday brunch and Monday morning -- if you are looking for something other than a diner, then I would head into Ridgewood.

The Country Pancake House is very popular, long time well known, and offers a very good breakfast...and of course the pancakes. They are monster pancakes. Some like, some don't, some love 'em. Personally, I like 'em. I find them not too dense or heavy, not too "light" or flimsy either. Very extensive menu. If it's the diner route -- you like State Line, stick with it. If you want to try another -- as I said Kingsbridge is my favorite for breakfast.

Sunday brunch -- local, go with the Mason Jar.

If you are looking for Mexican food -- there's two options right in downtown Suffern. The first is Hacienda Don Manuel -- not fancy, no frills, but a nice, casual place...and the food is excellent. The ambiance isn't bad -- not at all, but it's more of a casual, no tablecloth, go for the food kind of place. I like it a lot. Authentic Mexican food -- and they make guacamole table-side, made to order.

The other is Tequilla Sal Y Limon. It's a bit "nicer" as far as ambiance, smaller, more quiet, I always say "better for a date" LOL. I don't think the food is as good -- easily second place to HDM, but still a nice place.

There's also a good Greek place -- Greek City, right on Rt. 17 North in the Ramsey Square shopping center (Stapes, Panera, Kohl's -- I think Kohl's is still there).

Plenty to choose from...Enjoy!

Aug 13, 2015
ELA in New Jersey

Fresh oysters from market in Northern NJ

It's (Seafood Gourmet) excellent. I've been there for lunch countless times, and before they had the small restaurant, I would do take-out and bring it back to my office. I've also bought a lot of fish there to BBQ/grill/smoke, or simply cook for dinner -- and I always like the high quality and freshness.

I've been there with friends/people in the seafood business, chefs, etc. -- and they all think very highly of the place.

Enjoy.

Aug 13, 2015
ELA in New Jersey

Fresh oysters from market in Northern NJ

I agree -- fresh and quality are both very good driving factors. Personally, when it comes to fish/seafood -- I exclusively look at fresh and quality as the only factors. I tend to not order "raw" seafood/fish, and sometimes none at all, if I don't know where I am ordering it from.

There's a place here in Northern NJ that used to offer $1 oysters, and other specials, for happy hour -- and I wouldn't touch it. Not that it wasn't good -- I just didn't need to take any risks, LOL.

Aug 13, 2015
ELA in New Jersey

Dinner and breakfast recs, Mahwah

Sunday brunch -- check out the Mason Jar. Quality, variety, good buffet brunch. While it's not on 17, try the Kingsbridge Diner (on Franklin Turnpike) -- very good breakfast. I actually like it better than State Line for breakfast.

If you are looking for a casual, more take it easy kind of meal -- if you like thin crust pizza -- try Kinchley's (also on Franklin Turnpike). Very popular, strong following, and widely accepted to be some of the best thin crust pizza in Northern NJ. Also, check out A Mano (in Ridgewood). They are putting out some excellent "by hand" (hence the name A Mano) authentic Neapolitan style pizza, wood ovens, etc. Excellent pizza.

Enjoy.

Aug 13, 2015
ELA in New Jersey

Dinner and breakfast recs, Mahwah

For dinner, I would check out Sangria (in the same shopping center as Nagoya). It's a new, casual, modern-twist, flair on Spanish, offering tapas dishes and entrees, and a selection of...sangria! LOL. Check out the website and menu.

I would also consider heading into Suffern, which borders Mahwah. You can try the Craft House, La Vera Cucina, and Sutter's (Mill). The CH is a new, gastro-pub, interesting place. LVC is an off the beatin' path, under the radar, Italian place, with a bit of a flair/twist on some of the dishes. Sutter's is a nice, casual, pub grub kind of place, but offers better than pub grub food. Also, if you get onto 17N and head into Sloatsburg, you can go to Rhodes Tavern North.

If you are willing to drive a bit, about 15 minutes -- head into Ridgewood -- and you have options galore! Just before Ridgewood, check out the Ho Ho Kus Inn. In Ridgewood -- check out Masago (for sushi), and bring cash...they offer 50% off if you pay cash (30% off kitchen items).

Breakfast -- in Ridgewood, is Raymond's and the Country Pancake House.

For a nice dinner -- but still "casual" -- and not sure if you want to bring kids there but I've seen kids there often, check out St. Eve, also in Ho Ho Kus...one of the best restaurants in Northern NJ in my opinion. The chef has been a superstar everywhere he's gone -- all three of his places were top rated and top notch.

If you want to consider a change of pace and a fine dining option -- check out Savini in Allendale. Very good Italian food.

Good luck and enjoy your visit.

Aug 12, 2015
ELA in New Jersey

Fresh oysters from market in Northern NJ

How about the Seafood Gourmet in Maywood? Call them first as I don't know/remember if they carry fresh oysters. They offer high quality and fresh seafood.

Although I haven't seen it years -- what about the International Fish Market in Hackensack? If they are open, an option -- I cannot speak to quality or freshness.

Aug 12, 2015
ELA in New Jersey

seeking special restaurant in NJ within 30 minutes of Millburn

Chakra is very good -- and Thomas Cizak has really turned the place around and is doing excellent things. He's putting out excellent food and interesting dishes.

Aug 12, 2015
ELA in New Jersey

seeking special restaurant in NJ within 30 minutes of Millburn

Very nice place.

Aug 12, 2015
ELA in New Jersey

seeking special restaurant in NJ within 30 minutes of Millburn

I am agreeing with that! Still sad that it is closing.

Aug 12, 2015
ELA in New Jersey

Where Can I Get Good Fresh Mozzarella in Bergen County?

Vitamia -- already mentioned.

Dante's -- is going to be your best bet! Very close to you, and they make it fresh and take great pride in it. Excellent sandwiches too.

Morano's -- Ramsey, a bit further north, but fresh, very good, and great prepared, deli, etc. dishes.

Jerry's -- already mentioned.

Aug 08, 2015
ELA in New Jersey

Donahue's Restaurant on ret-23 wayne

Still there, still crowded and doing very well.

Aug 05, 2015
ELA in New Jersey