Where Does the BC the Mag Team Eat?
From upscale dining to casual faire, Bergen County has a tremendous amount of scrumptious restaurant offerings. Here, the BC The Mag Team narrows down their favorite restaurants, which appear in alphabetical order, to frequent when their stomachs start rumbling.
While we still find ourselves sometimes missing the old Aldo’s/Pane e Vino, Aldo’s newer spot on Wyckoff Avenue does not disappoint. Italian classics line the menu, paired with Chef Aldo Cascio’s incredible hospitality.
Alt Eats Cafe
Simple, quick, vegan and gluten free, Alt Eats Cafe, since opening a little over a year ago, has exploded in popularity due to their niche audience and exciting menu. The menu is complete with a wide range of teas and coffees as well as delicious smoothies and simple fare perfect for a light lunch.
Walk into Andiamo Restaurant and be warmly greeted with a big hello by owners Don or Alan Dickstein. Then, sit down and be treated to an incredible meal by Chef/Owner Linda Dickstein with the warm, family friendly atmosphere you’d expect at your neighborhood Italian joint where everyone knows your name. Looking for something a bit different, they host a hilarious comedy night a few times a year.
Another quaint Italian spot, this one on the other side of the county, Aumm Aumm has been awing eaters for a couple years now as the pizzeria and wine bar has perfected the art of simple yet quality dining that elevates your pizza experience to new levels. The 150 different wine options don’t hurt either.
Bacari Grill Restaurant
An extensive Mediterranean menu with specials changing daily, Bacari Grill Restaurant in Washington Township is no longer one of Bergen County’s best hidden gems. Now, it’s one of its best restaurants. A bar that will be three deep on any given weekend only adds to the allure, and you’re sure to run into old friends while enjoying a classic cocktail and maybe a bar pie and sushi roll.
Places like Benny’s used to be a dime a dozen, but very few have been able to withstand the test of time. However, the tag team of Diana and Pamela Stella has brought the magic of old school luncheonettes back with their 60s inspired shop in Fair Lawn. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, a traditional menu is combined with some over the top sandwiches – and don’t get me started on their milkshakes.
Big Papa Smoke’m
In the past few years, the emergence of some great BBQ places have taken Bergen County by storm. Big Papa Smoke’m, helmed by Mario Chape, is exactly one of those spots. You may have tasted his incredible BBQ while tailgating at MetLife before a N.Y. Giants game, but now you can stop in and drool over some slow cooked brisket every day of the week.
The winning chef/owner combo of Robert Vicari and Carlo Carbonaro have made Bottagra a Bergen hotspot without technically even being within the confines of county. Perfectly prepared Italian dishes round out most of the menu, with steaks, chops and seafood consistency cooked perfectly. A beautiful crowd eating late into the night, Bottagra is the place to be. Be sure to check out their brunches; you won’t be disappointed.
Callahan’s Hot Dogs
Although in recent years you’ve probably seen the food trucks all over the place, Owner Dan DeMiglio and Chef Daniel Fabian have brought their BC eatery to viral heights, garnering fame for some of their uniquely delicious hot dogs, burgers and anything else this dynamic duo dreams up. Maybe you want a chicken sandwich fried in Captain Crunch batter? If so, I have news for you: there’s only one place you’re finding it.
The Capital Grille
Located right in the heart of Bergen County and within the confines of its busiest mall, The Capital Grille is only one of two chain restaurants you’ll find here. Between the consistently great steaks, impeccable service and a crowd that’s never dull, it’s easy to see why Capital Grille would make this list year after year.
With the Vitti family firmly at the helm, Cenzino Ristorante has once again become an Italian powerhouse in northwest Bergen County. With an extensive menu complete with old world traditional favorites and some innovative dishes by Executive Chef Filomeno Vuoccolo, you’re sure to find something new you’ll love visit after visit.
Chit Chat Diner
There are a lot of great diners in Bergen County, but one stands out above the rest due in part to being different than them all. Of course you’ll find the normal diner staples on Chit Chat’s menu, but you’ll also find items such as short rib hash and eggs and crispy peanut butter and chocolate French toast that is sure to start your day off on a high, albeit a sugary one.
We didn’t include many fast casual chains on here, but EONS simply could not be overlooked. A fast casual Greek concept, EONS has been an impressive feat from Day One with its perfect combination of convenient location, delicious traditional and simple Greek dishes and reasonable prices that unsurprisingly make this a bustling lunch spot for Bergenites working up and down the Route 17 corridor.
New Milford and Paramus
What can we say? We never thought we’d love donuts as much as we now do. You’ll find us taking a dozen to just about every family affair, and with the many unusual and fun flavors you can always find something every family member will love. Helmed by the Hazou family and continuing to expand, there’s sure to be a Glaze near you soon enough. I highly suggest you give it a try.
Our only other restaurant chain making this list, Houston’s is always a crowd favorite. Order up the spinach dip and the burger and you’re set. Their exciting bar scene harkens back to the glory days of Bergen’s social scene. We just hope you can find parking.
Another retro eatery, we don’t find ourselves eating out of those old school converted train cars very often anymore. A full interior renovation plus a traditional menu mixed with some drool worthy specials keeps you coming back to Jack’s time and time again.
Reilly’s Rib Cage
If you’re looking for another finger-licking good restaurant, Reilly’s, celebrating their second year in business, is just the place for you. This tiny spot may seem easy to pass by from the outside, but the line out the door during lunch on any given day will make you realize quickly that this is one of Bergen County’s best BBQ joints.
River Palm Terrace
Edgewater, Mahwah and Fair Lawn
Although we tend to favor the Edgewater location, there’s no doubt you’ll walk into any of their three great spots and walk out having had one of Bergen County’s best steaks. As a top rated restaurant group year after year, there’s rarely an empty seat at the bar and the dining room books up days in advance.
Saddle River Inn
Though the original topped Bergen County’s charts year after year, Chef Jamie Knott, since taking over, has brought Saddle River Inn to a whole new level – often on lists that include some of the best restaurants in the entire country. Bergen’s fanciest BYOB, we challenge you to have a bad meal there. It simply cannot be done.
Sanzari’s New Bridge Inn
When construction magnate Joseph M. Sanzari took his first leap into restaurants, everyone was a bit skeptical. Fast forward years later, and he’s more than proven his restauranteur acumen with the success of New Bridge Inn as well as The Stony Hill Inn in Hackensack. Both restaurants offer menus that are predominately Italian and predominantly delicious.
When S. Egidio first opened a few years back, we could not get over their brick oven pizza. Having brought over a chef from Italy, Owners Tim and Rocco immediately struck gold with their quaint Italian eatery. While seats on a busy weekend night may be hard to come by, this intimate restaurant isn’t just about pizza. Their extensive antipasti menu is perfect if you’re looking for a lighter bite.
In our opinion, Sofia is Bergen’s sexiest restaurant. From the interior design to the exquisite and extensive cocktails, it’s not rare to see a gaggle of models strolling through the doors to enjoy a dinner out. The steaks are great, as are the many whiskies available to wash it down. Looking for a spot to smoke your cigar indoors? Be sure to check out the cigar lounge at Sofia.
If some fine Greek dining mixed with exciting ambience is what you’re after, this Ramsey hotspot will not disappoint. Well known for their grilled octopus, you can’t go wrong with any of their menu’s seafood items. Looking for something simple? The zucchini and eggplant chips with tzatziki are perfect for lounging by the bar and taking in the scene.