Montclair’s Tosca Sings In Prime Spot

BY  |  Tuesday, Jan 18, 2011 4:30pm  |  COMMENTS (19)

Location, location. If you want to have dinner and get to your movie at the Clairidge on time, there’s probably no closer, faster option than Tosca, Church Street’s new Italian featuring brick oven pizzas, pastas, paninis, and salads for lunch as well as more substantial fare (think osso bucco) for dinner.

On two recent visits to Tosca, (one lunch, one dinner) the place was packed with shoppers, families, movie goers and others, getting out from the snow to enjoy a meal. Tosca takes the space formerly occupied by Cianci (which you’ll remember was formerly Suzette — if you remember what was there before that, tell us in comments).

Tosca took away the stark white interior of Cianci. Underneath all that white were original walls of brick, now exposed, as well as original window openings that allow you to look into the arcade of the Hinck Building as well as out onto Church Street. Mounted to the brick walls are rustic shutters flanking the windows — the overall effect is a much warmer space that seems to invite lingering over a bottle of wine (BYOB of course). Adding to the warmth is the centerpiece of the restaurant — a brick oven stove that churns out picture-pretty pizzas that taste as good as they look.

Among the favorite dishes we tried: Tosca’s namesake salad featuring red and yellow beets, shaved fennel, gorgonzola dolce, pignoli nuts, dandelion greens and champagne vinaigrette and the fettucine pepe — a homey bowlful of black pepper fettuccine, butternut squash, cauliflower and shallots in a broth redolent of white truffle oil.

Favorite pizzas (priced between $9-12) were the Rustica – assertive with smoked fresh mozzarella, arugula, calamata olives and parmigiano — and the Diavola — studded with tomato, fresh smoked mozzarella and soppresata. Pizzas are sized to be a meal for one person – or you can share a salad and a pie with your dining companion and feel somewhat virtuous. Another hit was the insalata di mare – a cold salad of calamari, shrimp, mussels, blood oranges, chick peas, dandelion greens tossed with a blood orange vinaigrette.

Tosca, located at 15 Church Street, Montclair (973-337-5724), is open for lunch and dinner.

19 Comments

  1. POSTED BY huh_wha  |  January 18, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

    At some point in the mists of history, that storefront was a used-goods store that walked (and often crossed) the thin line between valuable vintaqe merchandise and basement castoffs. I guess eBay has mostly ended that sort of business.

  2. POSTED BY baristagem  |  January 19, 2011 @ 7:50 am

    Sounds like a winner! At one point in time that space was a women’s boutique that sold trendy clothes, jewelry, and lingerie.

  3. POSTED BY profwilliams  |  January 19, 2011 @ 9:02 am

    I went last week and was not impressed with the food. The place and folks working were top rate, which is why I will return.

    BUT, the scallops were oily and bland (the sear was more of a sauté) and the pizza was undercooked, too chewy and the sauce had no flavor. (For the life of me, I cannot remember what else we got… not a good sign…)

    They were slammed with people, and mrs. prof and I are easy going so we didn’t mind spending a few more minutes talking and laughing while we waited. But the wait staff kept us informed and were apologetic, which is all you can ask for.

    We hope the food issues were just opening week jitters.

  4. POSTED BY 3rdwarder  |  January 19, 2011 @ 9:17 am

    I had the same experience as Profwilliams. My server was wonderful and accommodating, really on top of his game, but the food was just flavorless. I had a simple pasta with red sauce that was really overcooked and bland, and my girlfriend had a risotto that was more like rice soup. I’ll give it another shot, but for the price, I prefer Salute.

  5. POSTED BY thebusiness  |  January 19, 2011 @ 11:21 am

    Can we get something other than a pizza/italian restuarant in Montclair? How many does this make within a five mile radius? How about a Korean restaurant or high end Mexican. Something other than pizza!

  6. POSTED BY tommysalami  |  January 19, 2011 @ 11:56 am

    The service is great but the food is hit or miss. I liked the tapas style “small bites,” perfect for pre-movie snack or late bites.
    Good:
    the pizzettes. Not better than Ah’Pizz, but very good.
    the veal meatballs.

    not so good:
    homemade mozzarella. Very tough. They should get it from one of the many providers in the area who do it well.
    tomato sauce- on the eggplant rollatini, very bright and sweet, didn’t taste homemade.

    Yes I’m picky, but they aren’t cheap.
    I would go there again, the menu is interesting, the service excellent, and the location is extremely convenient.

  7. POSTED BY tommysalami  |  January 19, 2011 @ 11:58 am

    I agree that I’d like to see different choices in town, but it’s tough to take a chance in this economy. Korean, Vietnamese, or tapas would be nice.

  8. POSTED BY gg1974  |  January 19, 2011 @ 12:06 pm

    I have to say I have been there twice and enjoyed my pizza as well as the sea bass, which was seasoned to perfection. The atmosphere is warm and inviting and I enjoyed the many different options on the menu! The fried calamari appetizer is very good as is the Tosca Salad. I liked the pizza much better than Ah’Pizz. Church Street is amazing and I will definately be back!

  9. POSTED BY ajtwo2008  |  January 19, 2011 @ 12:35 pm

    Love this place! Of course, I think they have only been open for about 4 weeks, my lunch and dinner were both great! I especially like the exposed brick and warm colors throughout the entire restaurant! Tha pannini for lunch was just filling enough and I enjoyed the Puccini Salad and the Homemade pasta for dinner. I had the cream cheese flan for dessert and ate every bit of it.
    I can’t wait to return sometime at the end of the month!
    Welcome to Montclair Tosca!!

  10. POSTED BY Howard Beale  |  January 19, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

    gg1974 & ajtwo2008 sure sound like shills to me. The comments by prof, 3rd warder & tommysalami are balanced and honest.

  11. POSTED BY stu  |  January 19, 2011 @ 1:03 pm

    I think gg1974 is Mayor Fried and ajtwo2008 is Councilor Demming-Weller.

  12. POSTED BY jinx  |  January 19, 2011 @ 4:43 pm

    ok, possibly trollish, but that is v funny, stu

  13. POSTED BY appletony3  |  January 19, 2011 @ 11:26 pm

    Can we get something other than a pizza/italian restuarant in Montclair?
    OK, we do have a lot of Italian restaurants, but in the area we also have:
    Several Greek restaurants
    Indian
    Ethiopian
    Turkish
    Bistro/Brasserie
    New American
    Locavore “slow food”
    Cuban
    Mid-scale Mexican
    Japanese
    Barbeque
    Chinese
    Thai
    Peruvian
    French
    French-ish
    Vegetarian
    Seafood
    Pub fare.

    For a suburb, we’re really spoiled for choice!

  14. POSTED BY cdellaterzo  |  January 20, 2011 @ 9:35 am

    been here twice, my first experience was when they 1st opened, the service was good, my dinner needed a little more flavor (i had the chicken cacciatore). i went back this past weekend and was happy with my meal. (i had the homemade gnocchi) and the tosca salad. my dessert was along the lines of a chocolate mousse, and was very good. i am hoping the kinks get worked out as time goes by, since i enjoy shopping on church street and visit the area often because of friends who live nearby.

  15. POSTED BY Jimmytown  |  January 20, 2011 @ 4:19 pm

    How to be a shrill and not sound like it: “I went there opening night without a reservation and had to wait over 30minutes for a table! The place was ok, if you like exposed brick, organic homemade dishes served by overly knowledgeable staff promoting fancy specials at prices no different than your favorite restaurant. The desserts were so tempting that I think the owner (who introduced himself to our table and apologized for the wait) is trying to give us diabetes. A restaurant like this is going to put other restaurants out of business. This is going to do to pizza joints what home depot does to hardware stores”

  16. POSTED BY njdane123  |  January 21, 2011 @ 10:01 am

    Yummy! It was a pleasure to dine in a restaurant wher ethe servers were friendly, attentive and knowledgeabke! I must say the food was outstanding too. Good food good service! Keep up the good work!

  17. POSTED BY njdane123  |  January 21, 2011 @ 10:17 am

    We were pleased with the fine service and the excellent food on our visit!
    Great food and Great Service is what make a restaurant memorable!
    We will be back!

  18. POSTED BY riley  |  January 24, 2011 @ 7:59 am

    We went to Tosca on Saturday night with 2 other couples. The space has been opened up and nicely done. The service could not have been friendlier. The menu offered a nice variety of options depending on whether one wanted a full dinner or just small plates, pizza, salads, etc. It is nice to have a place where one can stop in after a movie which it appeared a number of people were doing as the evening wore on. The food was good, especially the pork shank special. They screwed up the order of one of the couples we were with but were extremely apologetic, did their best to make it right and then took the charge off the check (without being asked or even expected to do so since the error was pretty tasty). Overall a good experience and a welcome new addition to Church St.

  19. POSTED BY sheepy  |  August 17, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

    The spirit of Cianci’s live on! I went to Tosca’s last Sunday because Raymond’s was just too packed. What a mistake, I should have waited for a table at good old reliable Raymond’s. My friend and I ordered off of the lunch menu and were charged the diner price for one of the entries. We brought the error to the attention of our waitress. After looking at our bill she told us that the price was higher because we added chicken to our meal, this was not true and after showing her the bill she realized that I had not added chicken to my Paparadele Bolagnese. The waitress then went in to the back to find out why I was charged $7 more than the menu listed, she came back to tell me that I was served a diner portion. I told her that I had ordered off of the lunch menu that she herself had given me and that on the bill it even says “lunch”. I told the waitress that the portion I was given was in no way a diner portion and that I wanted a refund for the difference in price, she apologized and said that there was nothing she could do. I left with out saying another word, what would be the point? To the management; my receipt is #15816, maybe you have a good explanation as to why this happened, but to hide behind a waitress and not handle a complaint directly is just cowardly and reminds me of the Cianci’s that used to be here. Management wouldn’t respond to me in person, I’m curious to see how they handle it here.

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