Baristanet Guide To Al Fresco Dining

BY  |  Wednesday, Jun 05, 2013 11:30am  |  COMMENTS (14)

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.

Bar Cara

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 Steakhouse

Bloomfield Steakhouse

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. 

Bonjour Montclair

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. 

Chatni

Chatni

Chatni

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.

Cloverleaf Tavern

Cloverleaf Tavern

Cloverleaf Tavern Restaurant & Bar

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. 

Baristanet Guide To Alfresco DiningCuban Pete’s
Diners forget they are in Montclair once they step into Cuban Pete’s tropical courtyard, filled with palm trees, festive lights, and a waterfall. Sample Pollo Cubano, Bahama Coconut Fish, and tapas. Bring wine to spike the sangria! 428 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair. (973) 746-1100. Mon– Thu 12 pm – 11 pm. Fri- Sat 12 pm – 12 am. Sun 12 pm -11 pm.

Egans Montclair

Egans Montclair

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.

Fitzgeralds 1928

Fitzgeralds 1928

Fitzgerald’s 1928
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.

Fresco

Fresco

Fresco

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 two15 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.

Giotto

Giotto

Osteria Giotto

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. 

Greek Taverna
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.

Highlawn Pavilion

Highlawn Pavilion
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.

Just Jake’s
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.

Marzullo’s Restaurant and Cafe

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. 

Mediterranea

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. 

McLoone's

McLoone’s

McLoone’s Boathouse
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.

Raymond’s
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.

Ruthie's BBQ

Ruthie’s BBQ

Ruthie’s BBQ
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 Brick Oven Bistro

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.

Samba

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. 

Saveur Créole Restaurant

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.

Stamna

Stamna

Stamna Greek Taverna

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.

Sushi Hana

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

Tinga Taqueria

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.

14 Comments

  1. POSTED BY jerseygurl  |  June 05, 2013 @ 12:20 pm

    Four Seasons Kebab on Valley in Upper Montclair also has a lovely courtyard, and Uptown has a small outdoor space next to the restaurant.

  2. POSTED BY ccc  |  June 05, 2013 @ 12:38 pm

    Do the black bears seat themselves?

  3. POSTED BY Annette Batson  |  June 05, 2013 @ 12:39 pm

    Great roundup Danielle!
    I’m going to print out as my reference sheet for the summer. I can never remember all the cool patios when I need them!

  4. POSTED BY Moondancer  |  June 05, 2013 @ 1:22 pm

    Bloomfield Steak House has the best steaks, love the crab stack, and the patio is wonderful—the firepit is nice if there’s a bit of a chill in the evening. Love them!

  5. POSTED BY Conan  |  June 05, 2013 @ 2:13 pm

    “Do the black bears seat themselves?”

    Anywhere they want, as the old story goes… Glad to see that you included the Cloverleaf in your list, Danielle — that is a great patio and a pretty darn good bar, too.

  6. POSTED BY dmz1  |  June 05, 2013 @ 4:28 pm

    Egan/Halcyon’s patio is disgusting unless you’re a chainsmoker.

  7. POSTED BY Jimmytown  |  June 05, 2013 @ 6:27 pm

    Until we get the shooting under control, I think I’d skip the alfresco at pig & prince

  8. POSTED BY ritu  |  June 05, 2013 @ 7:20 pm

    We have been to Chatni Restaurant last week and as surprise they offered us to seat in patio on a hot day. It was wonderful experience. Nice and open space. This is definitely extra mile on Bloomfield Ave. The food was fabulous as always.

  9. POSTED BY stonebridgemfa  |  June 05, 2013 @ 9:13 pm

    The Lobster Mac & Cheese is the one thing I would not recommend at Fitzgeralds. It’s a great place, pleasing the eye and the palate. The Highlawn Pavillion is definitely my favorite. Osteria Giotto is a close second. Egans gets nothing but love, and I do enjoy the food and drink at Cloverleaf, I just wish I did not have to drive clear up into the Caldwells to visit. Bloomfield Ave feels so much more narrow up there, and it’s certainly treacherous trying to cross the street.

  10. POSTED BY nonfatwithwhip  |  June 05, 2013 @ 9:19 pm

    Cuban Pete’s is great, but the portions are a bit small for the price. I’d love a Puerto Rican restaurant like this where we can have some Sofrito flavored food in town. I’ve eaten at every place on this list. 12 West is really, really loud. Raymond’s is too bland, and the seating is just annoying to me. It’s subjective. Lots of people love it, clearly. Marzullo’s has a wonderful owner, awesome cappuccino, out of this world sandwiches, and the specials are really good. Osteria, Egans, Fitzgeralds are all places I frequent, but Cloverleaf has Murphy’s Stout!

  11. POSTED BY Gail  |  June 08, 2013 @ 5:59 pm

    McLoone’s boathouse in W.Orange – I have eaten in more restaurants than I count in Baristaville and McLoone’s was possibly the worst meal I’ve had in this area.

  12. POSTED BY Gail  |  June 08, 2013 @ 6:00 pm

    …than I can count…

  13. POSTED BY ladydee  |  June 14, 2013 @ 12:46 pm

    Most of these restaurants are great and have nice outdoor areas … but I agree with Gail on McLoone’s. On a recent visit, our meal was shockingly bad. I really could not believe how tasteless and/or badly prepared the food was, especially considering the prices. Great view, but not worth it if so little care is invested in the meal.

  14. POSTED BY bloomingmom  |  June 18, 2013 @ 8:00 pm

    Love Egan & Sons, but you can’t eat alfresco there. They do not allow any food on the patio because it’s a designated smoking area. It may be different during the lunch hours, but I have been told on several nights that it’s not allowed. I even got yelled at once for taking a to-go pizza out there and eating at the tables.

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Sad. Let's hope that this is not its "Last Tango." One of the most beautiful and iconic buildings in town. Valentino, Garbo, Keaton must have played there.

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