A melting pot in an already diverse state, Bergen County is known for its wide array of ethnicities and cultures. As one of the wealthiest counties in the U.S. and the most populous in New Jersey, Bergen County unsurprisingly known for its culinary contributions. From European to Kosher and everything in between, the over 246 square mile expanse offers something for everyone. With so much to choose from it can seem like an overwhelming prospect when it comes to picking a place to dine. Luckily we have done the legwork, i.e. eating, for you and have come up with our list of best eateries in the area.
Fine Kosher cuisine is a reality and Nobo Wine & Grill, located at 1400 Palisade Ave in Teaneck, proves it with every dish. From exotic fare to favorite staples, Nobo does an excellent job in both its preparation and wine pairings. Throw out everything you have known previously about Kosher food, because Nobo offers a true journey of the palate. Best known for an intimate night out on the town, Nobo offers pieces of choice meat grilled to perfection. Chef Josh Massin’s menu is inspired by seasonal selections and a refined palate. Massin’s motto, ‘Always respect the food,’ is presented in every ingredient, making each visit a culinary adventure to remember.
Certified Glatt Kosher by Vaad Harabanim, the rabbinical council of Bergen County, with a Mashgiach Temidi on staff, Nobo is serious about its roots. However, its adventurous menu is one that appeals to all restaurant goers. Their hardy cast-iron steaks and savory veal sweetbreads are a thing of beauty, while their charcuterie starter plate and sustainably, 36-hours out of the water, fresh fish are worth a repeat visit. The addition of a liquor license in 2009, a first for a Kosher restaurant in Bergen county, really upped the ante. Their Kosher wine list is impressive, boasting over 40 vintages from vineyards around the world. The atmosphere is one of cozy elegance, with exposed brick, rustic wood and even better conversation.
If fish is your protein of choice then Varka Estiatorio is a must. Located at 30 North Spruce Street in Ramsey, Varka prepares their Mediterranean-inspired seafood flawlessly. Picture yourself dining al fresco on an outdoor patio, devouring freshly caught swordfish kabobs, loup de mer or dover sole. With selections spanning the globe, there is something for every palate. The owners contract with specially selected fishermen and exporters, guaranteeing the quickest route between net and plate.
From blackened sea bass to charcoal grilled octopus, the menu captures the pristine sun-soaked beauty of the Greek islands. Upon entering the inspired space with its cool undertones and wide plank floors, you are treated to a display of seasonal fresh fish, giving the diner the opportunity to chose their own fish of the day. Known as a special occasion establishment, Varka’s is just to good to visit only once a year. Going head to head with popular Greek spots in Manhattan, Varka’s offers an experience to travel across the ocean without ever having to leave your backyard.
Latour, at 6 East Ridgewood Avenue in Ridgewood offers a romantic night out, amidst tasteful furnishings and Chef Michael Latour’s ‘showstopping’ French cuisine. Ranked #1 in Ridgewood by Trip Advisor, Latour is known for its reputation for excellence and quality. With an ever-changing menu, you can be assured that all ingredients are fresh and in season. A typical night out at Latour could include a creamed Lobster Bisque, a succulent Beef Wellington and sugar spun concoction for dessert. The menu’s cornerstone is basic French cooking done well, offering consistent excellence that you can rely on.
Latour is the perfect place for a special occasion, with an intimate setting and an attentive staff that treats good service like an art form. The welcoming atmosphere extends to frequent table-side visits from Chef Latour himself. Its BYOB format, also gives you the chance to be your own sommelier, making the experience an affordable indulgence. Outdoor seating is available, but space is limited so reservations are highly recommended. Gratify your senses and satisfy your inner palate with an evening out sure to be remembered.
For some of the best Italian in the region, Il Villagio Ristorante located at 651 Route 17 North in Carlstadt, is an experience worth indulging. The atmosphere is one of simple opulence, harking back to a time when dining out was an education of the senses. For over 34 years, Il Villagio has been offering elegant dining known for their emphasis on creating a holistic experience. Their menu specializes in classic northern Italian dishes, with a variety of fresh fish and vegetarian plates. Dining out here is a celebration, consisting of mouth-watering dishes like their premier escargot and homemade pappardelle pasta cooked to perfection.
Paired with the menu is a refined wine list, ask the staff for recommendations on pairing, to take your meal to the next level. This upscale eatery enforces a strict dress code, adding to the sophistication of the establishment. The warmth and personal service, in conjunction with the served delicacies, has made the restaurant a popular spot with diners. Whether you are there for dinner or a catered private event, Il Villagio knows how to make each guest feel special. Extra touches like valet parking and a grand marble entrance makes a visit here one sure to create lasting memories.
For the ultimate in nostalgia, The Fireplace in Rutherford, is a great choice for the whole family. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, the varied menu offers something for everyone. Serving fan favorites like hamburgers, roast beef and milkshakes, the restaurant has become a staple for locals since 1956. Not much has changed over the last 60 years, providing a consistency diners have come to appreciate. If good food, reasonable prices and quick service is what your after, there is nowhere better.
While their classic hamburgers made them famous, their breakfast options should never be overlooked. Enjoy a full stack of delicious buttermilk pancakes, a slice of delicate french toast or a hardy egg sandwich to get your day moving. Specialty sandwiches like their sliced steak and grilled cheese, paired with a side of onion rings and a coffee shake is the final word on comfort food. Freshly made pizza and calzones are available daily for unbeatable prices. The Fireplace is perfect cure all for a bad day or a casual meal out with your favorite people.
Corinne Casella is a Jersey City-based writer and editor specializing in color features, reviews and first-person narratives. She has over ten years of professional experience and her work has been featured in the The Huffington Post and Elephant Journal.