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Rosie's Favorites of 2002-What are yours?


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This was very hard. These are my favorite restaurants of 2002 in alphabetical order. My list changes daily so I may be amending this. :smile:

What are your favorite NJ restaurants for 2002?


An American Grill--Randolph


Bernard's Inn--Bernardsville

Blue Sky Café--Montclair

Cinque Figlie--Whippany

Corso 98--Montclair

Dining Room at Anthony David's--Hoboken


Hunan Cottage--Fairfield




No 9--Lambertville


Rat's --Hamilton Township

Scalini Fedeli--Chatham

Sogno-Red Bank

Tapas de Espana--North Bergen

Rosalie Saferstein, aka "Rosie"


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Let's see, my favorites for this year, in the order that I thought of them:

Saigon Republic - Englewood

Tapas de Espana - North Bergen

China 46 - Ridgefield

Wondees - Hackensack

Bennies - Englewood

Umeya - Cresskill

The Dumpling Restaurant next to Han Ah Reum - Ridgefield

El Gran Mexicano - Bogota

Fink's Funky Chicken & Ribs - River Edge

America - Tenafly

Koreana - Fort Lee

This list reflects our preference for more casual and local places (and almost every variety of Asian cuisine). Also, some of my other favorite places in the state are ones we didn't get a chance to visit this year, living so far north and all. If this were Zagat's I suppose I'd still include Cinque Figlie, Trattoria Toscana, Garlic Rose, Pierre's, Nikko, Sagebrush Steak Cantina, Sono, Saigon Cafe, Little Saigon, Miss Saigon, Hunan Cottage, Penang.

Off my radar, now that we've discovered Tapas de Espana, are Casa Vasca and Seabra's Mediteranean Manor - unless we're just off a plane and hungry, or for some other reason needing to eat in Newark. Off my list completely is Spanish Sangria (too many dissapointments), Mona Lisa (eh), La Familglia (blah), La Posada (closed :sad:).

So, anyone else care to go through your credit card end of the year summaries and let us know which places keep you coming back?

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I'll keep my list to just places that I was at during 2002...my top 5 in no particulair order :

Cafe Abbraci - Metuchen

Nikko - Whippany

Serenade - Chatham

The Bernards Inn - Bernardsville

Vincenzo's - Middlesex

Rock -

Your thoughts on Nikko vs Kyoto in Florham Park? I know there was some discussion about the two a while back

And, have you tried Suki Hana in Madison (near Staples)?



Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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My list is small:

No 9 in Lambertville, a gem!!

Joel's Malibu Kitchen, Ridgewood, very interesting!

Saigon Republic, Englewood

Cafe Boulevard, Fort Lee

P.S. Rachel, conspicuous by its absence from your list is It's Greek to Me. The Englewood branch I have found quite good, especially the Greek Salad and the wonderful Imam Baldi (eggplant dish). It would seem to fit in with your other choices. Have you been there?

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Yes. I like the Englewood and Cliffside Park branches of It's Greek to Me. The only other one I've been to is the Fort Lee location. I like the Englewood and Cliffside Park branches. I just didn't think of it, as I said above, my list is in the order that I thought of them. :raz:

They do fish well, and I love the fries with lemon and herbs. Zesty!

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My list of new places?

Not many in NJ. With respect to Atkins (took off 30 pounds) and an interest in visiting a lot of NYC places:

Kyoto in Florham Park

Pierre's in Harding Twp

Mie Thai (thanks Mark for the eGullet dinner)

77 Walnut (two very delightful meals)

Adagio (bistro side only)

Visits to old favorites:

Rebecca's in Edgewater

Restaurant Serenade

Montclair group (Blue Sky, Corso, Liberte, Epernay)

My resolution for 2003? More attention to NJ places

Edited by Rail Paul (log)

Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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Rock -

Your thoughts on Nikko vs Kyoto in Florham Park? I know there was some discussion about the two a while back

I actually wanted to limit my list to just 5 restaurants and as I mentioned just those that I was actually at in 2002. The only time I was at Kyoto was for the egullet lunch get together and I thought it was outstanding. I would rather give a better eveluation after I return there for a "regular" dinner. I find Nikko to have the best sushi and some of the best rolls I have ever had - very consistant and always very very good.


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My faves this year are mostly my go-to establishments:

Kyoto in Florham Park

Trattoria Toscana in Whippany

Verjus in Maplewood(although i really do mean to try Jocelyne's after all of Rosie's raves)

also have been meaning to try basilicos in milburn. oh well, guess they'll have to wait till the new year.

and i have tried ?uki Hana in madison(by staples, and i think it may be Yuki) and gave Kyoto the nod over them. they have similar rolls, and i was told that one of the old sushi chefs from Kyoto(Chris i think) had left and went to yuki hana(either helping start it, or very soon after it opened), but i think Kyoto has better quality fish.

Yield to Temptation, It may never come your way again.

 --Lazarus Long

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Working all of the time I didn't get out much in 02 but the new places I did get too and hope are around for a while are:

The Babylon in River Edge

El Gran Mexicano in Bogota

oh, yeah and

Fink's Funky Chicken and Ribs in River Edge :laugh:

The best part of the Guiniea Pig? The Cheeks! Definately the cheeks!!

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In no particular order:

Wondee's, Hackensack (thank you, Tommy, Rachel and eGullet)

Freelance Cafe Piermont, NY (only a mile or so over the Rockleigh line)

28 Oak

Midaglia(sp) Cuban shop in Bergenfield

Namaskaar RiverEdge (?)(I like it)

Napa Valley Grille, Paramus

Fink's, River Edge

Hiro, Teaneck

American Grill, Randolph (nice steak sandwich)

America, Tenafly

River Palm Steakhouse, Edgewater

As with Finker99, I don't get out much. These are places that I either have or would return too.


Edited by ngatti (log)
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My top restaurants for 2002:

Marcello's - Ridgewood

Jimmy's Restaurant - Asbury Park

Aldo's - Wyckoff

Napa Valley Grille - Paramus

Beacon Street Grille - Neptune

Chengdu 46 - Clifton

Also very good, not in New Jersey, but just across the border:

El Bandido - Spring Valley, NY

Martio's Pizzeria - Nanuet, NY

The Man, The Myth


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These things are always very difficult. Especially considering that I don’t do a whole lot of dining in NJ. But a list of places that I returned to again and again might be indicative of something. So here goes:

Fink’s – River Edge

China 46 – Ridgefield

La Carbonaia – HoHokus (now closed)

Legal Seafood – Paramus (primarily for oysters and wine in the summer months)

Wondee’s – Hackensack. The best thai around.

The Chef’s Table – Franklin Lakes. Old-school French, but pretty damned good.

Anthony David’s – Hoboken. A welcome addition to that culinary wasteland.

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After 12+ hours in the kitchen I read the post wrong, but I would like to see a thread started about crappy places you wouldn't return.  Or are we affraid to offend people?

Read back thru a few of the old threads. Lots of places got creamed, usually with detailed descriptions of the carnage. The fire was often returned, too.

Angry restaurant owners, angry restaurant reviewers, angry posters bashing each other.

Even got a visit from the eminent Steve Plotnicki, who saw fit to call a few of us shitheads...

Edited by Rail Paul (log)

Apparently it's easier still to dictate the conversation and in effect, kill the conversation.

rancho gordo

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I like the on my list / off my list format,

Please note that this is not even an attempt to catalogue the BEST, as much as my "Favorites". To me a "favorite" is a place that you return to as often as possible (or plan to return to), whereas a "best" list can include places which may not be as geographically or financially convenient for you.

on / off

on - Tapas De Espana / off - La Posada (closed), Casa Vasca (too crowded), Seabra's Mediteranean Manor (only worth it for the Rodizio)

on - Wondees / off - (although it hasn't been "on" since 2000) Bangkok Garden

on - Saigon Republic / off - Saigon Gourmet (previously owned by the same people but now run by a cousin)

on - The Dumpling Restaurant next to Han Ah Reum in Ridgefield / off - Light House, also in Ridgefield, NJ BBQ (closed)

on - El Gran Mexicano / off - virtually every other Mexican place in the area except MAYBE El Bandido in Spring Valley, NY

The Cliffside Park branch of "It's Greek To Me" has ALWAYS done it for me. And the little Equadoran place three doors down (El Idolo) isn't bad.

Rebecca's in Edgewater and Blue Sky are both great experiences, but one is a bit too formal for frequent eating and the other a bit too far from me. River Palm Steakhouse is pretty good, but I'd sooner head into the city for steak if I'm reaching for that niche. I like the Sagebrush Steak Cantina (when my friends the Perlows lived near it I inevitably bugged them to go there all of the time whenever I came down) but have little reason to visit that area since they moved.

I have a big weakness for the silly conveyor-belt atmosphere of East, in Teaneck, but the quality is too spotty for even a "favorite" list as oppossed to a best list. But its so fun. I've had much better sushi, of course, but that's not the point here.

China 46 is always "on", but I don't really have an "off" because I don't consume much other Chinese food (with the big exception of the midtown, West-side, Grand Sichuan in NY) and the occasional foray to Khan's Mongolian in Blauvelt, NY. Ditto for Indian food and Kinara, in Edgewater. I don't eat Indian as much as I used to, and when I do its usually Kinara. So no "off", and even Kinara isn't frequented enough to really be on a "favorites" list.

With Italian food I still spread myself around quite a bit, so no clear "favorite".

Napa Valley Grille is one of those places I keep meaning to try and never actually get to. I like the Legal Seafood in the Palisades Mall quite a bit, but haven't made it to the one in Paramus yet. Speaking of the Palisades Mall, to be completely honest the place I eat most at there is the Johnny Rockets'. I have a weakness, although it can never fully replace White Manna in Hackensack. I get the same thing every time--the #12 burger with a Coke mixed with either chocolate or vanilla syrup, or more rarely an Orange soda with vanilla or cherry syrup.

Fink is in the mix as well, but he's actually pretty far from me (I have to go through both nasty Fort Lee AND Paramus/Hackensack traffic to get to him). By the way Fink, I'm not trying to compare you to Johnny Rocket's (my liking for them is just a quirk--I realize they aren't really that great), but if you ever get a soda fountain please also think about the idea of adding supplemental syrups to your fountain sodas. Its cheap, easy to do, and kind of neat.

Edited by jhlurie (log)

Jon Lurie, aka "jhlurie"

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A few questions/comments about your list:

Is Lighthouse off your list b/c of a bad experience, or do you just like the dumpling place THAT much better? I haven't tried the dumpling place yet, but think the Lighthouse is amazing, but if you think the dumpling place is that much better i will certainly give it a try (i ask b/c it would be hard for me to be that close to Lighthouse and not end up there!)

I agree on Sagebrush Cantina. I was looking for something different one day and we ended up there (about a 40 minute trip for us) and thought it was quite good, although not worth a 40 minute trip. However, the bathroom was one of the filthiest i've ever seen. Shortly thereafter i read "Kitchen Confidential" where the author states, "I'd never eat in a place that has a dirty bathroom. If they don't keep the bathroom tidey and the customers DO go there, i can only imagine what the kitchen looks like as the customers DON"T go there." This place is also billed as a steakhouse, and i remember asking a question to the waitress who replied, "I don't know, i don't eat meat." (i just found that humorous)

Lastly, in Palisades Mall, have you ever tried the Don Pablo's Mexican restaurant there? This is mostly a small southern chain (i know, the dreaded "c" word) of Mexican restaurants, and although i've never eaten at the one at Palisades Mall, the others i've been to have been well above average. I'm not saying you think you were transported to Mexico, but the food was very good, a great value for the money, and MUCH better than their chain restaurant counterparts (ie- Friday's, Houlihans, etc).

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