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The Foodie's Guide to Montclair: A Culinary Tour of the Area's Best Restaurants

The Foodie's Guide to Montclair: A Culinary Tour of the Area's Best Restaurants

Montclair, New Jersey, is a vibrant town known for its eclectic dining scene, where culinary delights await around every corner. Whether you're a resident or a visitor, Montclair offers an array of restaurants that cater to every palate and preference. From cozy cafes to upscale eateries, embark on a culinary journey through Montclair with this comprehensive guide to the area's best restaurants.

Exploring Montclair's Culinary Gems

Ani Ramen

For lovers of Japanese cuisine, Ani Ramen offers an authentic dining experience with a modern twist. Explore their extensive menu featuring a variety of ramen bowls, including vegetarian and vegan options, alongside flavorful small plates like Gyoza and Bao Buns. For a complete culinary journey, remember to sample their craft cocktails and Japanese-inspired beverages.

Bar Franco

This spot is a bespoke Italian aperitivo bar with a trendy atmosphere. The bar is led by award-winning mixologist Luca Cinalli, whose team is responsible for Bar Franco’s one-of-a-kind drinks menu. Come for the live music, and stay for the fantastic cocktails and Italian dishes. Bar Franco is undoubtedly one of the most happening bars on Bloomfield Ave.

Cafe Giotto

This cozy eatery boasts rustic decor, a warm ambiance, and a menu featuring traditional Italian dishes made with fresh ingredients. They are famous for authentic house-made pastries, bread, paninis, pasta, gelato, and other specialties. The cafe is open Wednesday through Sunday and is a local favorite for lunch.

Egan & Sons

Embrace the Irish spirit at Egan & Sons, a beloved gastropub renowned for its welcoming atmosphere and hearty pub fare. From traditional Irish classics like Shepherd's Pie to modern interpretations of comfort food favorites, Egan & Sons offers a menu that delights the senses and leaves you craving more.

Fresco de Franco

This is a sister restaurant to Bar Franco but with a larger space and a more formal setting. They serve classic Italian pasta, pizzas, and entrees in an elegant atmosphere. As you might expect, the drinks menu is incredible, sharing favorites with Bar Franco. You can also rent the restaurant for a fully catered, unforgettable special occasion.

Gioia Mia

Further south along Bloomfield Ave., this family-friendly restaurant offers a warm and inviting atmosphere perfect for a casual Italian dinner. Gioia Mia sources ingredients from local farms, fishermen, and select purveyors. Small plates like oysters, charcuterie boards, and Spanish octopus set the tone for various seafood pasta mains. Gioia Mia is a BYOB restaurant.

La Fontaine Cafe

La Fontaine Cafe offers a cozy atmosphere with mostly French-inspired cuisine (think crepes, croissants, and delicious coffee). The menu also has Turkish accents — guests love the baklava, and breakfast and lunch sandwiches are served on organic Turkish round bread. Check out this unique cafe next time you’re near Glenridge Ave.

Laboratorio Kitchen

Elevate your dining experience at Laboratorio Kitchen, an intimate restaurant known for its seasonal menus and innovative approach to Italian cuisine. Led by acclaimed Chef James DeSisto, Laboratorio Kitchen offers an ever-changing selection of dishes crafted with locally sourced ingredients and a commitment to culinary excellence. From handmade pasta to inventive seafood creations, every meal at Laboratorio Kitchen celebrates flavor and craftsmanship.

Le French Dad

Montclair is renowned for its delicious baked goods, and Le French Dad is a prime example. This family-run bistro serves naturally leavened French bread, rustic macarons, and sweet desserts (including pain au chocolat, pistachio escargot, cinnamon rolls, and much more). Order ahead to save time and make things easier for the staff.

Le Salbuen Café

Start your culinary adventure at Le Salbuen Café, a cozy bistro known for its warm ambiance and delectable brunch options. Indulge in their signature dishes like the Croque Madame or the Belgian Waffles, crafted with locally sourced ingredients that elevate every bite.

Luiginos

Owner Luigino “Luigi” Tripodi graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1983 and started Luiginos after working at some of the top restaurants in New York City. The menu at Luiginos is filled with Italian favorites like antipasti, paninis, insalata, and pasta. Luiginos is a popular local choice for private events and catering.

Montclair Bread Company

Start your day on a delightful note at Montclair Bread Company, a beloved bakery known for its artisanal bread, pastries, and delectable breakfast options. Indulge in their freshly baked croissants, cinnamon buns, or the crowd-favorite avocado toast paired perfectly with a cup of locally roasted coffee.

Nami Nori

Craving Japanese cuisine? Nami Nori is a casual temaki bar specializing in open-style sushi hand rolls (you might have heard of this restaurant from its West Village or Williamsburg locations). Guests enjoy the open-style dining area, and the restaurant’s menu accommodates vegan preferences. Nami Nori is a BYOB establishment.

Pineapple Express

Pineapple Express is a restaurant and beer garden at Montclair’s historic Lackawanna Railroad Terminal. The menu, which is entirely gluten-free, includes smoked heritage meats sold by the pound (mainly brisket, ribs, pulled pork, hot links, and wings). The former terminal’s lofty ceilings and natural lighting create a highly enjoyable dining experience.

Raymond's

Experience the epitome of fine dining at Raymond's, a sophisticated restaurant renowned for its impeccable service and exquisite cuisine. Situated in the heart of Montclair, Raymond's offers an elevated dining experience focusing on seasonal ingredients and innovative flavor combinations. From elegant seafood platters to perfectly grilled steaks, every dish at Raymond's is a masterpiece crafted to delight the senses and elevate the dining experience.

Samba Montclair

Experience the vibrant flavors of Brazil at Samba Montclair, a lively restaurant that celebrates the rich culinary heritage of South America. Indulge in their Rodizio-style dining experience, where succulent cuts of meat are carved tableside, or savor traditional Brazilian dishes like Feijoada and Moqueca.

Scala Del Nonna

Transport yourself to the streets of Italy with a visit to Scala Del Nonna, a charming trattoria known for its authentic Italian dishes and warm hospitality. From homemade pasta to savory seafood specialties, every dish at Scala Del Nonna is crafted with love and tradition, ensuring a memorable dining experience.

Tinga Taqueria

Transport your taste buds to Mexico with a visit to Tinga Taqueria, a vibrant eatery specializing in authentic Mexican street food. From tacos and burritos to refreshing agua frescas, Tinga Taqueria captures the essence of Mexican cuisine with bold flavors and fresh ingredients. Indulge in their mouth-watering Carnitas Tacos or the flavorful Barbacoa Burrito for a true taste of Mexico in the heart of Montclair.

Turtle + The Wolf

This upscale restaurant offers an innovative and seasonal tasting menu experience. The menu comprises savory dishes like rosemary focaccia, beef tartare, roasted scallops, and ricotta meatballs. Expect a focus on local ingredients and creative dishes in an elegant setting. Reservations are highly recommended, and this restaurant is a BYOB establishment.

Zeugma Grill

Born in Turkey, executive chef and owner Can Alp studied gastronomy and culinary arts in Istanbul and interned in Paris for nine months before arriving in New York several years ago. Alp’s cooking style infuses the menu with Mediterranean and European flavors ranging from mezze to kebabs and other delicious entrees.

Savor Every Moment

In Montclair, dining is more than just a meal — it's an experience that engages the senses and fosters a sense of community. From quaint neighborhood eateries to upscale dining destinations, the culinary landscape of Montclair reflects the town's vibrant spirit and diverse culinary traditions. Whether you're an enthusiast or simply seeking a memorable dining experience, Montclair invites you to explore its vibrant restaurant scene and savor the world's flavors in your backyard.

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*Header photo courtesy of Samba Montclair




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