Now that the heat wave is over, it’s time to ditch the air conditioner and sit outside. Here are some of our top picks for al fresco dining in Montclair and the surrounding area.
Baristaville is known for its fantastic Italian food options. Bar Cara is no exception. The diverse menu includes pizzas and entrées such as Prosciutto Con Melanzana and Granchio (a crab burger). The alfresco dining experience is cool and laid back, perfect for a warm summer night. 1099 Broad Street, Bloomfield. (973) 893-3681. Lunch: Tues- Fri 11:30 am – 2:30 pm. Dinner: Tues – Thu 5 pm – 9:30 pm. Fri and Sat 5 pm – 10:30 pm. Sun 3 pm – 8 pm.
Bloomfield Steak and Seafood House
Sometimes you just need a steak. Walk past the colonial decor of the restaurant to the outside terrace and try the 10 oz NY Strip or Shrimp Scampi. The steakhouse has some loyal fans, including Keith W. who says, “Never had a bad meal.” 490 Franklin Street, Bloomfield. (973) 680- 4500. Tue- Thu 11:30 am – 9 pm. Fri 11:30 am – 10 pm. Sat 2 pm – 10 pm. Sun 2 pm – 8 pm.
Score an alfresco table and savor one of the restaurant’s stellar crepes. Bonjour Montclair’s patio is perfect for a Sunday brunch with friends. 254 Park Street, Montclair. (973) 655-1300. Mon- Sat 8 am- 9:00 pm. Sun 8 am – 6 pm.
Craving tandoori chicken or a samosa? Head to Chatni’s bamboo-enclosed back patio retreat (the Baristas did!), an outdoor sanctuary away from the bustle of Bloomfield Ave. Sample Chatni traditional Indian fare or a fusion dish from the new Indo-Asian menu. Bill Courson calls the naan a “bread lover’s dream.” 381 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair. (973) 337-5753. Tues- Sun. Lunch 11:30 am – 3 pm. Dinner 5 pm – 10 pm.
Serving since 1933, Cloverleaf Tavern is a charming restaurant with good ole pub – a.k.a. comfort — food (loaded nachos anyone?). Order one of the many steak, seafood, burger, or sandwich options at the pretty back patio. 395 Bloomfield Ave, Caldwell. (973) 226 – 9812. Mon- Thu 11 am – 11 pm. Fri and Sat 11 am – 12 am. Sun 10 am – 10 pm.
Egan & Sons
Find an extensive beer menu and robust nightlife on Egan’s back patio, and according to Larry, “the best burger in town.” Try the prime Angus Filet Mignon and the Sesame Encrusted Ahi Tuna. 116 Walnut St, Montclair. (973) 744-1413. OR 104 Harrison Ave, West Orange. (973) 736-3355. Mon- Thu 3 pm- 2 am. Fri- Sat 12 pm – 2 am. Sun 3 pm – 12 am.
Fitzgerald’s secluded alfresco dining provides a peaceful spot for a tasty repast. Try the Lobster Mac & Cheese or T-Bone Steak. 13 Herman Street, Glen Ridge. (973) 748-4702. Brunch: Sun 11 am – 2:30 pm. Lunch: Tues-Fri: 11:30 am- 2:30 pm. Saturday: 11 am – 2:30 pm. Dinner: Sun-Thu: 5 pm -9:30 pm. Fri- Sat: 5 pm-10 pm.
Enjoy alfresco dining with a front row seats to live music performances on Church Street. With ample outdoor space, Fresco diners can taste Italian dishes such as the Pollo Franchaise and Penna Puttanesca while soaking up the sun. Who knows — you just might see a celeb or two. 15 Church Street, Montclair. (973) 337-5100. Mon-Thu 11 am-10 pm. Fri 11 am – 11 pm. Sat 10 am – 11 pm. Sun 10 am – 9 pm.
Fricassée French Bistro
In the mood for French cuisine? Sample the Duck Confit or Poached Salmon while sitting outside on Park Street at Fricassée, newly opened by former Epernay owner. Under a red awning and a rooster’s watchful gaze, the outdoor seating is quaint and reminiscent of a true French bistro. J’adore. 6 Park Street, Montclair. (973) 744-2191. Mon-Sat 5 pm- 10 pm.
Ciao! Giotto’s scrumptious Italian food has long made it a Montclair favorite. Enjoy a sultry summer night while feasting on Risotto del Giorno or Tonno alla Griglia (or try Peter King’s favorite: lasagna). 21-23 Midland Ave, Montclair. (973) 746-0111. Closed Tuesdays. Mon, Wed-Fri 12 pm- 2 pm. Mon, Wed 5 pm – 10 pm. Thu 5 pm – 10 am. Fri- Sat 5 pm – 11 pm. Sun 4 pm – 9 pm.
Bask in the sunshine and enjoy delicious Greek delicacies such as the Kalamari Gemisto and Katsikisio. Anna recommends the “homemade” spanakopita and shrimp saganaki. 292 Bloomfield Ave, Montclair. (973) 746-2280. Lunch: all days 11:30 am – 3 pm. Dinner: Mon- Thu 3 pm- 10pm. Friday-Sat 3 pm – 11pm.
You’d be hard pressed to find a more elegant outdoor setting or a better view than the Highlawn Pavilion’s. Have lunch under umbrellas or dinner under the stars, with the twinkling lights of New York City’s skyline. Eagle Rock Reservation, West Orange. (973) 731-3463. Lunch: Mon-Fri, 12 pm – 3 pm; Dinner: Mon-Thu, 5:30 pm – 9 pm; Fri, 5:30 pm – 10 pm; Sat, 5 pm–10 pm, Sun, 5 pm– 9 pm.
Live music, draft beers, and casual fare (burgers with Disco Fries!) are the big draws at Just Jake’s, and you can enjoy all from their outdoor patio, enclosed by a white picket fence. The upbeat vibe of Just Jake’s is hard to pass up on a summer night. 30 Park Street, Montclair. (973) 655-8987. Sun 11 am- 12 am. Mon-Tues 2 pm- 2 am. Wed- Fri 11:30 am- 2 am. Sat 11:30 am- 2 am.
In the mood for red sauce style Italian food? After a baseball game at the Kaveny Field directly across the street, stop at Marzullo’s to lounge on the shaded patio. Taste a wide variety of Italian courses from Penne Primavera to Grilled New York Rib Eye Steak to Tri-color Salad. 117 Grove Street, Montclair. (973) 744-6663. Mon- Thu 11 am – 11 pm. Fri- Sat 11 am – 12 am. Sun 12 pm – 10 pm.
Did someone say hookah? A mix of lounge and restaurant, Mediterranea offers kebabs galore – chicken, kufta, lamb, filet mignon, swordfish. The outdoor terrace’s brightly colored lights conjure a magical Middle Eastern vibe. 578 Bloomfield Ave, Montclair. (973) 744-1300. Mon- Thu 4 pm -10 pm. Fri and Sat 4 pm – 12 am. Sun 1 pm – 10 pm.
Want a spectacular view? Dinner or drinks at McLoone’s Boathouse sprawling outdoor patio, overlooking a picturesque reservoir, feels like a mini-vacation. Try grilled swordfish or selections from the raw bar. 9 Cherry Lane, West Orange. (862) 252-7108. Mon- Thu 11:30 am – 10 pm. Fri – Sat 11:30 am – 11 pm. Sun 10:30 am – 10 pm.
A Montclair institution, family-friendly Raymond’s has been serving Montclair since 1989. With tables on Church Street, Raymond’s is great for people watching and running into old friends. Sample their famous French toast and a cappuccino on a balmy summer morning. 28 Church Street, Montclair. (973) 744-9623. Mon- Sat 8 am – 10 pm. Sun 8 am – 9 pm.
Looking for authentic, slow-smoked BBQ or delectable pizza? You’ll find at Ruthie’s BBQ, where on weekends their charming outdoor patio is the perfect place to chow down on honest-to-goodness comfort food (including their incredible mac and cheese) while listening to live bands (Al Gold) on weekends. 64 Chestnut Road, Montclair. (973) 509-1134. Mon-Fri 10:30 am- 9 pm. Sat 11:30 am- 9 pm.
Salute boasts an extensive outdoor patio shielded by a red awning. Serving traditional Italian cuisine, Salute offers brick oven pizzas (available with whole wheat and gluten free bread), crostini, formaggi e salumi, pasta, and salad. As Mitch Lopatin raves, “Service, quality, decor… all winners!” 173 Glenridge Avenue, Montclair. (973) 746-2380. Tues- Thu 11 am – 10 pm. Fri- Sat 11 am – 11 pm. Sun 11 am – 9 pm.
Munch on authentic Brazilian food such as the Bifa a cavalo and the Moqueca de Bacalhao com pirao at Samba. The outdoor seating has just a few tables, so make sure to secure a spot. A combination of innovative food and “rustic charm,” as Mitchl describes, makes Samba a new Montclair favorite. 7 Park Street, Montclair. (973) 744-6764. Lunch: Mon-Thu 11 am- 4 pm. Fri- Sat 11 am- 3 pm. Dinner: Mon- Thu 5:30 pm-9:30 pm. Fri – Sat 5 pm- 10 pm. Sun 3 pm- 8 pm.
Not many restaurants offer fusion Creole cuisine – as in, a combination of Haitian, Cajun, Spanish, Dutch, and Portugese Creole. The restaurant’s sweet and savory dishes range from the traditional Arroz Con Pollo to the adventurous Saveur Creole Goat. With cooking classes and a quaint outdoor seating area, Saveur Créole is sure to please. Guillermo says, “Leave space for the soft glory of the Sweet Potato dessert with ice cream.” 131 Grove Street, Montclair. (973) 744-3506. Tues-Sat 5 pm -10 pm. Sun 2 pm – 8 pm.
Taste delicious, authentic Greek cuisine on Stamna’s outdoor patio where the blue and white decor evokes a Grecian vibe. Try seafood and meat dishes such as Bakaliaros and Brizoles Hirines. And don’t forget the traditional honey dessert, baklava. 1045 Broad Street, Bloomfield. (973) 338-5151. Everyday 11 am – 10 pm.
Craving sushi? Go to Sushi Hana’s casual outdoor courtyard to sample a wide selection of Japanese-style courses where the offerings range from the “meat-free zone” menu for those veggie-lovers to meat-centric hibachi style entrées. 5 North Fullerton Avenue, Montclair. (973) 746-3900. Lunch →Mon- Fri 12 pm to 2:30 pm. Dinner → Mon – Thu 5 pm – 10 pm. Fri- Sat 4:30 pm- 10:30 pm. Sun 4:30 pm- 10 pm
A favorite among teens and families, Tinga is famous for its boisterous atmosphere and generous portions. The outdoor seating on Bellevue Avenue connects dinners to Upper Montclair’s convivial atmosphere. You’re bound to bump into someone you know. 215 Bellevue Ave, Upper Montclair. (973) 509- 8226. Open 7 days lunch through dinner.
12 West Restaurant & Bar
In February, 12 West replaced the Montclair Train Station Restaurant to serve brunch, lunch, and dinner. 12 West combines an upscale restaurant and a casual bar/lounge, featuring everything from Ginger-Soy Lacquered Chilean Sea Bass to Seared Filet Mignon Medallions to a Grilled Chicken Wrap, which you can enjoy on the restaurant’s side patio. 275 Bellevue Avenue, Upper Montclair.
(973) 337-5813. Kitchen: Sun- Thu 12 pm – 11 pm. Fri – Sat 12 pm -12 am. Bar: Everyday 12 pm – 2 am
Here’s a look into your future alfresco dining plans: Pig & Prince plans to opens its long-awaited outdoor patio in mid-June. Missed your best outdoor spot? Leave your favorite alfresco find in comments.
Editor’s note: Baristanet welcomes Danielle Charpentier, who joins us as our summer intern. A graduate of Montclair Kimberley Academy, she plans to attend Cornell University in the fall.