The phrase al fresco composed of two words is borrowed from Spanish for “in the cool /fresh [air].” This is our favorite kind of drinking atmosphere and a great cocktail enjoyed with a summer breeze is our version of heaven. As you might know, most of Montclair is BYOB, so this list is important to us because sometimes (most times) we just want to sit and be served a perfect cocktail!
This blog post will cover all the spots you can enjoy a margarita or a specialty cocktail outdoors around Montclair, NJ!
Faubourg: You should’ve expected this one to come first. This is our top Al Fresco spot. They have spicy pineapple margaritas, fancy (and delicious) cocktails with an oasis of an atmosphere. Make sure you book a reservation!
Halcyon: The Halcyon Brasserie is a favorite neighborhood restaurant offering a raw bar, chef-prepared entrees, and brasserie plates. Ask for an outdoor table, order some food, and pair it with a perfectly crafted cocktail. Enjoy!
Alto Rooftop: An incredible view with an incredible experience enjoying an incredible cocktail. It’s the perfect combo and has our Foodie names written all over it. We enjoy this rooftop with friends and on special dates. The ambiance is great & cocktails are always made perfect.
Egans & Sons: A one-hundred-year-old Montclair family and a Dublin publican walked into a bar and Egan & Sons was born. Egans focus on sourcing from local farms and pastures, their seasonal list of house-brewed ales, the thirty-four classic and craft brews on tap and the list of over one hundred rare and cornerstone beers. Egan & Sons has been voted Best Bar in Northern New Jersey each year since opening for proper reason. Go enjoy a drink on their beauitful outdoor patio!
De Novo: We love this European pub in the heart of Upper Montclair! Great food, every time; classic & creative cocktails on the menu; great outdoor seating – this spot checks all of our needs. Spend your Saturday night at De Novo, you won’t regret it!
Verona Inn: The Verona Inn is now serving its fourth generation of customers and will celebrate its 66th year in the summer of 2021! It’s served so many people over the years, leaving each one with a special story. They have a side alleyway, a back patio, and drinks al fresco! Enjoy your time!
Jose Tejas: Some of the best Tex-Mex, Cajun & Margaritas you’ll have in New Jersey! Enjoy your meal, enjoy the patio – you’re going to have a great time here!
The Barrow House: The Barrow House is a Colonial-Era Farmhouse located in Clifton, NJ with a long beverage list! Sit al fresco, enjoy your company, and sip down on a cocktail!
We had the absolute pleasure of enjoying a meal at Corso 98, the sister restaurant to one of our favorite bakeries in Montclair, Cucina 98. We’re not surprised it was so unbelievably good, anything attached to the Cucina is destined to be delicious. We love how we got to end our dinner with one of our favorite desserts ever: their Lavendar Brownie. Omg.
We are so happy that Corso 98 finally reopened after being closed throughout Covid-19 in Montclair. Beverly is the new chef working with the Suriano family. The new menu is similar to the traditional dishes that made up the old but with a little umami flare added here and there 🙂
Note that all dishes can be made vegan if needed 🙂
We have a lot to munch through, so come along and enjoy a 10/10 meal with us.
We started with the beet salad, pea & ham arancini, and the caramelized onion & pignoli ricotta.
Beet salad: roasted beets, white romesco, beet chips, toasted almonds, ricotta salata, and microgreens
Pea & Ham Arancini: english peas, prociutto and fontina
Whipped Ricotta: caramelized onion jam, toasted pignoli, and grilled raisin fennel semolina bread
First of all, the answer to whipped ricotta is always YES. Add in Pignoli and caramelized onions? Even bigger yes. This starter is a must! (You won’t see this plate in the appetizer section though, it is in the “sides” section on their menu.
One of the reasons why we love arancini so much is because every place has its own special recipe. We love this dish because it wasn’t greasy, it has a perfect bite, and even though peas can be a bit bland & boring, in this dish they were crucial and elevated the flavor combination. We love it.
We’re not like many: but we’re obsessed with beets. When a restaurant treats this vegetable as a delicacy and finds innovative ways to enhance its unique flavor & texture, we admire it so much.
If we had enough room in our stomachs we would’ve ordered the arugula salad, artichoke hearts, and warm fresh mozzarella!
Let’s move on to the entrees!
Porcini Pappardelle: wild mushrooms, black garlic, miso and pancetta (right)
Bell & Evans Pan-seared Chicken: cauliflower puree, sun-dried tomatoes, romanesco cauliflower (left)
Seriously pappardelle is one of the superior pasta shapes! And don’t get us started when it’s HOME-MADE pappardelle… we’re in heaven. Then if you mix in specifically porcini (just like pasta shape, mushroom type is very important) we are happy foodies! Talk about a perfect dish! We love a fresh plate of light pasta. Yum.
And this chicken dish! The cauliflower puree (with more cauliflower on top) might deter some away, but let us tell you it’s less about the vegetable and more about the flavor and texture when you eat it with this crispy chicken. We love that there were two kinds of meat: breast & high, and the extra elements of this dish were absolutely necessary and nothing overwhelming.
Next time we absolutely want to try the Fava bean & Mint Ravioli Cacio e Pepe (I mean come on, just the sound of that…) and we’re interested in their scallops, filet and eggplant piccata.
Meatballs & Grilled Asparagus with Calabrian chili and gochujang
We can’t cook asparagus to save our lives, so we really appreciate a good asparagus side. The Calabrian chili is a fun & unique addition. The meatballs were perfect! The sauce, the taste of the meats, the cheese… we couldn’t ask for anymore more!
Vegan Lavender Brownie with a dark chocolate drizzle and vegan vanilla ice cream on top
We need to take a moment… because we get overwhelmed by how much we love this brownie. Not because it’s vegan or whatever, but because it is hands down one of the best brownies we have EVER had. We genuinely keep 2 in our fridge at all times. The dark chocolate drizzle gives the brownie a bit of a bite, the crust is ideal and the inside is perfectly fudge-y with hints of the lavender flavor. It really is so good, you HAVE to try it!
And that’s it! An absolutely perfect and extremely enjoyable dinner at Corso98. We truly recommend this place for dinner, you will enjoy yourself and eat some of the best food in Montclair. The ambiance is perfect for a double-date, a night out with friends or a family dinner. Bring a bottle of wine and enjoy your time.
If you liked this blog post, please share with someone you want to go to Corso 98 with, and thank you for your constant support!
May is agreeably the best month to come throughout the year, don’t you think?
Flowers, the sun, warmth… we go on walks with our friends and enjoy one of our favorite things: OUTDOOR SEATING. In May, we also celebrate “National Mimosa Day” (May 16th) and Memorial Day Weekend (May 31st)
In this blog post, we will show you the best ways to enjoy May with Mimosas & celebrate MDW in Montclair!
Mimosa Brunch in Montclair, NJ:
– Le Salbuen: Fresh squeezed orange juice plus your favorite champagne, add in your favorite brunch dish from this “always delicious” spot and that equals a perfect way to celebrate Mimosa Day! We love Le Salbuen, we always recommend people to go here and enjoy themselves 🙂
– Faubourg: Of course, this French spot serves mimosas, how could it not?! Every single cocktail drink in their menu is perfect, and we often have hard times deciding which one to order… but not today! We know what we’re ordering this time. Best news is that on Sundays your brunch entree includes one free drink.
– Halycon Brasserie: This place has mimosas right at the top of their brunch menu! Right where you can see them because they know what you came here for 😉 Halycon specializes in seafood, and you won’t be disappointed with the delicious flavor combos that are revealed to you between every bite and sip. Yum!
– Sweet Kitchen: Another byoc (bring your own champagne) spot where all you have to do is ask for some O.J. and you’re all set! Sweet Kitchen presses their orange juice every morning so if you have a great bottle of champagne, you know this drink is about to be BOMB!
– Toast: Pancakes and mimosas… say no more. It’s the perfect combo! Bring your bottle of champagne, order an orange juice, mix and enjoy.
– Sayola: An elegant, post-modern Spanish Restaurant is a treat! So get a little dressed up, bring your champagne, order fresh-pressed O.J. from Le Salbuen, Sweet Kitchen, Jackie’s, or Green Point Juicery (Verona), and enjoy yourself!
If you’re wondering where to eat for MDW in Montclair? Here is your list:
1. Red Eye Cafe: Guys, we loveee this place! Pancakes are always perfect, they have great daily specials and, of course, great coffee. We think a morning-breakfast date over Memorial Day Weekend at Red Eye Cafe is a lovely way to start your day.
photo credit: @sellaeatz
2. Samba: Because MDW is often times spent with family, we’re suggesting Samba because they can cater bigger parties, and it is easier than other restaurants to get larger seatings here. And of course, the food is delicious. If you are Gluten-Free, Samba is also a great option for you as they are the only officially certified GF restaurant in NJ. If you are not gluten-free, don’t worry about the food tasting any different. Take the perspective that Gluten-Free means your food is as clean, unprocessed, and not filled with useless/unnecessary ingredients as possible! We really love Samba so much!
3. Stuffed Grassfed Burgers: What’s a Memorial Day Weekend without a burger? Hmm… probably not the best one. This weekend CALLS for some delicious meat! We loved Stuffed because it is customizable to whatever your heart desires. They also have veggie burgers and milkshakes (dairy and dairy-free) so it’s a one-stop shop for everyone. Don’t forget the fries!!
*Pictured: Two custom-order burgers (both enjoyed bacon, clearly)
4. Raymond’s: Located on Church Street, we love the energy and ambiance of this place! Filling meals that are always great when shared with a friend, Raymond’s is always a solid choice!
photo credit: @repoleanna
5. Jackie’s Grillette: The perfect lunch spot! Grab a juice or a drink, order a big sandwich or a mezze platter. Always consistently delicious & family-owned, Montclair Foodie absolutely loves Jackie’s! Our favorite sandwich from here is the Jackie’s Special: Roast Beef, Swiss, bacon, coleslaw, Russian dressing on a long roll (same kind of bread/roll as the photo below). It just hits the spot everytime. We genuiely crave and enjoy this sandwich.
*Pictured: The ‘Big Bang’— BBQ chicken, bacon & melted mozzarella
6. Mr. Dino’s: Pizza is 100% part of the MDW menu. There are many pizzerias in Montclair, but we have a special place in our pizza heart for this one. Mr. Dino’s has been family-owned & serving the Montclair community for over 40 years.
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Montclair, you have the munchies… and you’re too baked to make a decision, no worries, we’ll figure that out for you.
We put together a list of the 10 best munchie spots in Montclair. All of these options have easy, take-away, quick food options so you don’t have to spend a “forever-seeming” amount of time in a store thinking about how awkwardly high you’re acting. The display boxes at some of these spots allow you to simply point and smile at what looks good, just in case you’re a little too stoned to speak words. Otherwise, you can order ahead of time online!
1. Tacoria: If we can’t make a decision on what to eat, tacos always win. Tacoria is the better version of Chipotle and we’re always psyched when we remember how underrated it is we have one of their locations right here in Montclair. We definitely recommend ordering a burrito bowl, some tacos or a cheesy quesadila. Don’t forget guacomole and a few pieces of their street corn. Tacoria is truly one of our favorite quick-bite spots in town!
2. Marcel Bakery: Empanadas, bourekas, Shakshuka Foccacia and baked goods all lay beautiful in Marcel’s display case. We highly recommend the Bourekas, the flaky-ness and flavor makes this treat one of our favorites from Marcel, and they are the perfect grab-and-go snack.
3. Brick + Dough: PIZZA. EVERYWHERE. Step up to the case and choose your player! Cheese & Tomato, Pesto + Cheese, Pepperoni, etc. So many delicious options (gluten-free, too) you might have to think about this one for a bit. Our suggestion is just to point and pay for a few and take a bite out of each of them. Any slice you choose will be delicious and the perfect munchie-fix.
4. Vesta: If you’re craving calls for chocolate, hit up Upper Montclair and explore Vesta. They have brownies, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate bars and so many other delicious options, you will definitely find something your hungry tummy loves!
5. APEM: GELATOOOOO! And seriously, some of the best we’ve ever had (comparing their gelato to some that we had in Italy and it’s just as good). We love APEM, located in Bloomfield. The flavors are always changing and are always fun and creative! But most importantly the texture of Apem’s gelato is what really makes this place stand out and we can confidently say that your stoned head will appreciate having these ice cream on your tongue!
6. Stuffed Grass-fed Burgers (milkshakes & fries): We can’t think of a better high-snack other than a hamburger, milkshake and fries. Stuffed Grassfed Burgers is a great option when you’re super hungry but don’t want a stomach ache after, because the meat is Grassfed, you can guarantee you are ingesting high-quality, great-tasting meats. Their milkshakes are all made to order and we love their fries! Enjoy.
7. The Cookie Connect: We think cookies are one of the best munchie snacks! If you’re feeling lazy and hungry, call up The Cookie Connect and they will deliver right to you. They have the most creative and delicious cookies around!
8. Sweet Kitchen: Walk into Sweet Kitchen and face the giant display case filled with treats and goodies to satisfy your munchies. If you have some extra time, order up a sweet toast: Peanut Butter Strawberry or Banana Nutella, you’ll be sooo happy you ordered these perfect combinations. Grab some fruit-infused water to amplify the whole experience and enjoy!
9. Playa Bowls: If you’re in the mood for something fruity, Playa Bowls is a delicious option for those sweet-munchies!
10. Cars: The Montclair home for FAT sandwiches that will absolutely stuff you UP if you’re STARVING! Enjoy onion rings, mozzarella sticks, chicken wings & more as a side, or put them in your sandwich! They also have fried oreos, cookies, and more! Enjoy.
Montclair, let us know what your favorite munch spot is by commenting below!