Home CultureAAPI-owned Romantic Restaurants for Date Night in the Montclair Area

Romantic Restaurants for Date Night in the Montclair Area

by Samantha Impaglia
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With the wide array of Montclair-area restaurants to choose from, it can be hard to focus on just the right one for date night — but who’s complaining? Since there are a plethora of gems in the area that should be on your radar, we decided to create a guide for the must-visit romantic restaurants in and around Montclair for first dates, anniversary celebrations, and everything in between. Read on to see our Essex County restaurant picks and why we love them

Allegory Restaurant | 690 Bloomfield Avenue

allergory restaurant alto rooftop bar montclair mc hotel food

Photo Credit: David Pelle

Located inside The MC Hotel, Allegory is known for its delicious appetizers and twists on traditional Mediterranean dishes — not to mention it’s also home to the only rooftop bar in town, Alto, which features signature cocktails, small bites, and a stunning view of the New York City skyline. Highlights from the menu include the Salumi + Formaggi (Chef Copeland’s hand-selected charcuterie board featuring meats, cheeses, olives, giardiniera, nuts, house honey, mostarda, + grilled sourdough); Tempura Fried Calamari; Chef Copeland’s own Pomodoro Braised Short Rib Ragu; Sliced Sirloin with roasted sweet and sour onions over a potato puree; Valhrona Chocolate Cake; and Walnut Cheesecake.

Bloom | 648 Bloomfield Avenue, Verona

 

 
 
 
 
 
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This cheerful spot serves up a wide range of French and Korean-style food along with a menu of fun drinks. Bloom is open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday, and for brunch on weekends. The cute, bright interior is great for an upbeat date. There is also a romantic, outdoor bubble dining during colder months complete with lights and lots of greens. The brunch menu includes classic brunch dishes like Eggs Benedict and a “Bloom Waffle” with mixed nuts and berries, along with special plates and sandwiches like Korean fritters and cured salmon toast with honey lemon ricotta. The dinner menu has appetizers including rock shrimp and bulgogi tacos as well as main courses like Korean glass noodles (gluten-free), short rib, and scallops with kimchi puree and mushroom risotto.

Da Pepo | 54 Fairfield Street, Montclair

da pepo italian restaurant montclair

Da Pepo serves traditional Italian food with a casual, comforting vibe. The recipes are learned from Italian ancestors and have been recognized by news outlets like New Jersey Digest Magazine, Montclair Local, and North Jersey Media Group. The interior is filled with bookcases and literature to further up the cozy vibes. The small plates include “Pepo’s Board” of salumi, cheese, olives + fig jam, melanzane, and broccoli rabe, and there’s a selection of simple salads, paninis, and pasta to choose from.

Read More: Valentine’s Day Date Ideas in Montclair That Aren’t Dinner

De Novo European Pub | 275 Bellevue Avenue

 

 
 
 
 
 
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De Novo is a European-inspired gastropub that provides just the right vibe for a date night. The spot is located directly next to the Montclair train station, and serves up lunch, dinner, wine, cocktails, and beer. Some highlights from the menu include Tuscan Lentil Soup, Grilled Octopus, Chilean Sea Bass, Lamb Ossobuco, Burrata Ravioli, and Hangar Steak, among other dishes. De Novo also recently expanded to include a full sushi bar, led by the former chef at the now-closed Daikichi in Montclair. Desserts include Stracciatella, Gelato, Blueberry + Passion Fruit Creomoso, Tiramasu, and more. The restaurant has another location in Edgewater, NJ.

Gioia Mia | 331 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair

gioia mia

Photo Credit: Zack Pearl @thebacyard

Formerly known as Fascino, Gioia Mia is a new Contemporary American restaurant that took over the space. The team behind Gioia Mia is no stranger to Montclair or the restaurant business, as the concept was created by Mary Cumella (General Manager) and Logan Ramirez (Chef De Cuisine) of Fascino. The restaurant focuses on seasonal, farm-to-table ingredients — with dishes ranging from house-made pastas, pork chops, and chicken live mousse to Asian-inspired dishes and a chicken dish with Peruvian sauce.

Faubourg Restaurant + Bar | 544 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair

Faubourg

Faubourg serves French-inspired cuisine and also has a selection of wines and cocktails. There is a bright, indoor dining room equipped with large windows — great for both day and night dates. The place brings some industrial style to Montclair with the already subtle, romantic vibes. It is a bi-level space with an upstairs cocktail lounge, and there’s also outdoor dining with a retractable roof just installed for the winter months. Faubourg has both a plant-based menu as well as regular options, including dishes like salmon and fig, grilled shrimp, and seafood spaghetti. Faubourg also has an extensive dessert menu, with cranberry maple crème brulée, pear and hazelnut cheesecake, assorted macarons, and more to choose from.

Halcyon | 114 Walnut Street, Montclair

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Named as one of the top 20 restaurants in Montclair by New Jersey Digest Magazine, Halcyon has one of the only raw bars in the area. It focuses on American, brasserie plates, and offers a Sunday brunch. The modern, upscale vibe is good for any type of date, especially if the mood calls for a more formal spot. Halcyon also has an upstairs lounge where patrons can enjoy house-made cocktails. The raw bar has East Coast oysters, colossal lump crab cocktail, and jumbo shrimp cocktail as well as classic sushi rolls and spicy tuna tacos. The dinner menu has flatbread pizzas and salads, along with entrees like veggie risotto, filet mignon medallions au poivre, and miso soy Scottish salmon.

 


 

Laboratorio Kitchen | 615 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Laboratorio serves up healthy, hearty, American cuisine from locally sourced ingredients. They were named in the top 20 restaurants in Montclair by New Jersey Digest Magazine and have a small, intimate, cozy dining room with a heated outdoor area. The food there is upscale as well, good for a romantic date. Diners can pair an appetizer like fig and gorgonzola crostini with entrees like day boat scallops and local mushroom risotto or pasta like fresh pappardelle and hand-rolled ricotta cavatelli.

La Couronne Restaurant | 23 Watchung Plaza, Montclair

La Couronne is a cozy MTC eatery that serves up a variety of classic Italian dishes — including cold + hot antipasti, pizza, soup, pasta, beef, chicken, veal, seafood, and more. A few highlights from the menu include Clams Casino, Sausage + Peppers, Pasta e’ Fagiolli, Penna Vodka, Chicken Frances, Oven-Roasted Duck, Veal Marsala, and Grilled Atlantic Salmon, among other dishes.

La Rocca Osteria | 23 Midland Avenue, Montclair

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Another classic Italian place in the area is La Rocca Osteria. It’s a bit more casual, but that makes it good for a simple date, especially with the large doors that blend the indoor and outdoor dining spaces. La Rocca is another one of New Jersey Digest Magazine’s top 20 restaurants in Montclair and has a chic, straightforward vibe. The menu includes a big selection of antipasto, salads, and authentic Italian dishes like gnocchi, orecchiette, and pollo al limon.

Luigino’s Parmigiana | 173 Glenridge Avenue, Montclair

luiginos parmigiana montclair

Photo Credit: Cindy Blanco

Luigino’s Parmigiana is a “funky traditional” spot that is bringing a taste of the Amalfi Coast to Montclair. The menu boasts traditional, Southern Italian dishes with a modern twist. There’s a choice selection of traditional Italian dishes (including an entire section dedicated to the namesake, Parmigiana) to more explorative Roman-style pizzas + paninis. Perhaps the most exciting, though, is the “Dalla Dispensa” portion of the menu, which includes an array of specialty meat and cheese boards.

Luna Wood Fire Tavern | 223 Franklin Avenue, Nutley

luna wood fire tavern nutley nj

Luna Wood Fire Tavern is a go-to neighborhood spot to watch the game with a slice of wood-fired pizza and a craft cocktail. But it’s more than that — it’s a family-owned and operated restaurant that serves homestyle Italian meals and makes you feel at home the moment you walk in. Ranked as one of the best spots to get pizza in the area, expect each pie to be made fresh from the wood-fired oven and, on top of that, the fresh mozzarella is made on the spot. Gluten-free options are also available. Other popular menu items include rice balls, mezzaluna, Margherita pizza, steaks, and seafood. But mezzaluna, one of the signature pies, is the one to get. It is a half calzone, half Margherita pie, basically the best of both worlds. For dessert, we recommend the soft and fresh chocolate chip cookie cup served with ice cream.

MishMish Cafe | 631 1/2 Valley Road, Montclair

 

 
 
 
 
 
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MishMish is a Mediterranean cafe, where chef/owner Meny Vaknin creates his Moroccan-inspired food. He graduated from the French Culinary Institute and eventually went on to win Food Network’s Chopped before taking his family-learned Mediterranean recipes to MishMish. The spot has both indoor and outdoor dining and has a casual setting good for a quick bite. As for the menu, Meny has included dishes like fried breaded flounder fillets tacos, lamb meatball shakshuka, and a burrata salad in MishMish’s favorites.

Nami Nori | 2 South Willow Street, Montclair

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Nami Nori is a temaki bar specializing in open-style sushi hand rolls. The menu is full of classic temaki options as well as updated twists and even a vegan specialty menu. Everything on the menu at Nami Nori is also gluten-free. Also on the menu are Japanese-inspired snacks and appetizers in addition to beer, sake, and wine.

Pappardelle Ristorante | 77 Walnut Street, Montclair

Pappardelle Ristorante serves up delicious and traditional Italian dishes with a modern touch in a cozy and romantic atomosphere. Tuesdays are Pasta Night featuring a delicious selection of pasta combinations and three courses for $24.95. The menu also features appetizers, salad, soup, chicken, fish, and veal dishes like Cold Antipasto, Minestrone, Chicken Cacciatore, Salmon Dijon, and Pork Chop Murphy. For dessert, Pappardelle serves Ricotta Cheesecake, Tartufo, Cannoli, Carrot Cake, and more.

Popolari | 1047 Broad Street, Bloomfield

Popolari

Popolari was featured in Best of New Jersey for its pizza, pasta, and other Italian dishes. The team has created a fun, retro vibe in the space. The menu includes appetizers like Popolari meatballs, and calamari fritti as well as both classic and gourmet pizza options like penne vodka and spinach ricotta. There’s also a wide range of sandwiches, pasta, and entrees like pork chop and peppers or shrimp scampi.

Samba | 7 Park Street, Montclair

samba montclair

Samba Restaurant serves homestyle Brazilian cuisine and is a certified gluten-free restaurant. The place has a lively, rustic interior with tons of foliage — good for an energetic date that’s not too fancy or casual. Samba serves brunch, lunch, and dinner, with every item conforming to the gluten-free menu. The brunch items include an omelet with eggs sourced from local farms, Brazilian avocado toast, and more. The entire menu is gluten-free and there are several vegan options as well.

Scala Del Nonna | 32 Church Street, Montclair

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Scala Del Nonna’s bright, chic vibe makes the space so inviting. The Ricotta Gnocchi con Salsiccia e Porcini is one of the favorites here, and there is endless robust Italian pasta to choose from besides that — including Linguini al Carbonara, Lasagnette con Vodka, and Spaghetti al Bolognese. Other dishes here include Portobello Milanese, Veal Limone, Bistecca Giambotta, and a Tuscany Salad. Coming from the chef’s Italian cooking background, the dishes here are perfect in their simplicity.

SLA Thai Restaurant | 596 Valley Road, Montclair

 

 
 
 
 
 
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SLA Thai Restaurant has a warm, simple dining room that’s perfect for a casual date. It’s in the category of top 20 restaurants by New Jersey Digest Magazine and has an original Thai menu with a selection of vegetarian options. The menu offers many small plates, including neur tod (crispy beef with chili sauce), veggie dumplings, and chicken sate. SLA Thai offers unique greens like duck salad and som tum (shredded green papaya salad), along with dishes like pad thai and pad kemoa. There’s also a selection of Thai desserts and soft drinks.

See More: Fun Date Night Spot Ideas in Hoboken + Jersey City

Turtle + the Wolf | 622 Valley Road, Upper Montclair

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Turtle + the Wolf is an industrial-style eatery, with a chic vibe that’s welcoming. On the upscale menu, the restaurant has family-style meals as well as individual dishes. The owner grew up in Montclair, so naturally, was ecstatic to open a place here. For family meals, the choices include whole roasted suckling pig or Lo’s famous fried chicken, and the other meals include dishes like Spanish octopus, local burrata, and “brick” chicken with Parisian gnocchi, creamed Swiss chard, and more.

Uncle Momo | 702 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Lebanese-French fare is offered at Uncle Momo, a restaurant that is known for its brunch menu. The space aims to capture the vibes of a French bistro in a classic atmosphere, although the outdoor dining area is a bit more vibrant. Along with dishes like French toast, Uncle Momo also serves non-traditional dishes like Tunisian eggs.

Zeugma Grill | 44 S Park Street, Montclair

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Zeguma Grill is known for its selection of gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian options. It offers brunch and dinner as well as indoor and outdoor dining. A unique part of Zeguma is that it has a mezze bar, which includes a bunch of different Mediterranean dips and small bites to choose from. There’s a big selection of wine and a clean, fresh vibe in this restaurant.  The restaurant uses its Turkish background to combine flavors of the Mediterranean, including European and Middle Eastern influences. The menu includes hearty salads like beet yogurt and quinoa, as well as entrees like organic chicken shish, beef shish kebab, salmon artichoke, and a pistachio steak burger.

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