Chef Ryan DePersio and Chef Ariane Duarte

It’s one of the perks about living in Baristaville—great food. NJ Monthly thinks so too. The magazine just released its Top 25 Restaurants in New Jersey and has named three Montclair, one Bloomfield and two Maplewood restaurants. That’s about 25% of the list!



Here are the local restaurants named:




So tell us…Which local restaurants would make your list?

23 replies on “Montclair, Bloomfield and Maplewood Restaurants Make NJ Monthly’s Top 25 Restaurants”

  1. DePersio’s overextended himself. He needs to spend more time at Bar Cara; the food there is slipping.

  2. Spice Thai Cuisine, Belleville Avenue, Bloomfield. YUUUMMY!

    As far as I’m concerned (and a few others but I’ll speak for myself here) Orange Squirrel is over rated.

  3. Congratulations to Culinariane and Fascino – well deserved. As for Blu, the food may be good, but I didn’t appreciate being asked (rudely) to leave as we lingered over or wine and coffee. Apparently they have a two-hour time limit (!). I haven’t been back since. I really don’t need to feel stressed out over a meal.

  4. Was there a restaurant in New Jersey that wasn’t mentioned in the readers’ poll? And ‘Tinga’ as best Mexican? Give me a break! NJ Monthly runs pages of restaurant ads and reviews, and in many issues its hard to tell who wrote the ad and who wrote the review. You don’t think… nah, they couldn’t be that blatant.

  5. Isn’t it common sense and courtesy that if you have an earlier reservation that a popular busy restaurant will be turning over the table in 2 hours or so?

  6. My faves in no particular order are:

    Spice Thai – consistently overachieves
    Fascino – have never had a bad meal there
    Village Trattoria – great byob casual italian
    Bloomfield Steak & Seafood – been impressed with them the last 2-3 times I went although their salads suck (hate the hard as rocks croutons they are using and waaaaay too much salad dressing on the salad
    Bar Cara for certain things – their eggplant puree, proscuito, arugula pizza is outstanding. So is their truffle mac & cheese and their lobster rissoto
    Orange Squirrel for certain things – their skillet chicken pot pie is great fall/winter comfort food
    Mes Reves

  7. First off, unless you rented a room, you really shouldn’t be hanging out in a restaurant for more than 2 hours.

    Secondly, the Orange Squirrel might be one of the worst restaurants on this list. The food is awful and the owner is worse. (The guy thinks he’s a chef). The chicken pot pie looked great but It tasted like hot dish water. Even Oliver Twist would say, “No more”. The menu is crap, using a thesaurus to make the dishes sounds fancy but let’s be honest, “Herb Potato Fries Beef Jus” is just another name for french fries with gravy. It reminds me of a Penn & Teller episode where they served everyone water from a hose and told them that it was from a glacier in Antarctica and everyone loved it

  8. I absolutely love Orange Squirrel, the food is amazing every time. I have eaten here many times and I have never been disappointed. The entire staff from the owner on down have always been professional. I guess that’s why there are so many restaurants, something for everyone.

  9. The Orange Squirrel in Bloomfield is absolutely delicious. Went there last week and made plans to return next week with a group of friends. Good stuff!

  10. @sammerlow & slawch,

    Welcome to Baristanet. Its nice to meet two people with such a refined palate. Besides the fact that you either work there or have a friend who works there, do you really think for the money you are getting a great service/meal in comparison to other restaurants in the same price range? I ate at Limani Seafood this weekend. Let me note some differences and similarities:

    1) Same price

    Limani’s decor didn’t come out of an Ikea catalog.
    Their fish is fresh, not frozen
    They have professionally trained chefs
    Their waiters are professionals & take pride in their culinary knowledge
    The food had taste & it was delicious.

    Now I understand that it isn’t fair to compare a nice eatery in Westfield to a dump under a Freeway overpass, so lets compare apples to apples:

    Orange Squirrel is the Oak Tavern with a clean floor.

  11. Jimmytown — I’ve been to a Limani on Long Island — wonder if same owners. Lots of Greeks in Westfield area.

  12. Liz, I am not sure if they are the same, but I have mistakenly made a reservation on Open Table for the L.I. one a few times!

  13. to each his/her own, right? I am actually a fan of Orange Squirrel – and am headed their tonight for dinner (and no, I don’t work there nor am I related to any one who does :). I love their mussels – an order of that with another appetizer makes for a wonderful meal. I also like the “dirt” for dessert – mostly, sometimes a flavor is a little too funky for me. And, I think the owner/chef is very personable. I’ve had many conversations with him and, while I have yet to take him up on it, he has offered to help organize a fundraiser for my non-profit organization.

  14. @jimmytown I neither work there or know anyone that does I just enjoy the food whenever I am there. I also enjoy the laid back atmosphere. I guess we will just have to agree to disagree.

  15. I agree, Orange Squirrel is overrated. I don’t mind paying hansomely for a nice meal, but the food is mediocre and the staff, while attentive, seems perpetually annoyed. I do enjoy the dirt dessert, and they mix a nice drink, but that’s not enough to get me back there again.

  16. I’ve arrived at an age when I can no longer make out my dinner companions’ conversation in a noisy restaurant, and I now need a flashlight in a really dimly lit restaurant. So although I found the food good at Fin and Orange Squirrel, I’d have to bring an ear horn next time.

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