10 Restaurants in NJ Perfect for Holiday Dining

Restaurants  / 

On the last day of Christmas my true love gave to me… a candlelit dinner for two, a delish meal that I didn't have to cook myself, cocktails out on the town, and an evening kid-free! If you can indeed swing such a delightful holiday season outing, you’ll want to hit up a fab and festive restaurant ... and you won’t have to look far. Here are our 10 favorite restaurants in NJ for holiday dining – from upscale eateries with blow-out tasting menus to cozy neighborhood Italian joints –  to squeeze in before the year is over. Forward this onto hubbs so he can make reservations. It’s the best gift of all!

Ivy Inn

If you like your holiday dining with a side of history, check out the Ivy Inn in Hasbrouck Heights. The circa 1870s stagecoach inn served as a way station for weary travelers who would eat at the tavern below and then stay in one of the six guest rooms above. It was also a speakeasy during the Prohibition. Now a local favorite fine dining destination, the Ivy Inn is bringing the holiday cheer with festive decorations, intimate dining nooks and a crackling fireplace. They've got a special menu for Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve and their catered events. (26 Terrace Avenue, Hasbrouck Heights, 201.393.7699)
 

The Hill

If your goal is to get you and yours into the holiday spirit, look no further than this gorgeous (and very buzzy!) new restaurant with a farmhouse feel that’s been done up with elegant and understated decor, candles, Christmas greens, poinsettias, and of course, a roaring fireplace this season. And did we mention the kitchen is helmed by Michelin-star chef Ben Pollinger? The seasonal menu is full of dreamy dishes that are as attractive as they are appetizing. Think tricolore beet salad with pistachios, blistered shishito peppers with yuzu mayo, and a squid ink fettuccini. All we want from Santa is for chef Ben to move in ... (252 Schraalenburgh Road, Closter, 201.899.4700)

 
 

Saddle River Inn

Snag a table at this Bergen County favorite – which made OpenTable’s 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in America list this year -- and expect the perfect setting with cozy upscale barn decor along the banks of the Saddle River. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu, but our absolute faves include the tuna carpaccio, local black sea bass in lobster broth, and Asian-style duck breast with crispy rice. If you want to take it up a notch, go for one of the decadent chef’s seasonal tasting menus and leave all your decisions in the hands of talented chef/owner Jamie Knott.  (2 Barnstable Court, Saddle River, 201.825.4016)

Liberty House

You can’t beat the location of this elegant restaurant that boasts breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline. To add to the ambiance, the restaurant brings in jazz musicians Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. And chef Ken Trickilo’s seasonal menu is as impressive as the backdrop with luxe oyster offerings and super creative dishes ranging from Guinness-glazed chicken lollipops with blue cheese to roasted monkfish with cranberry bean-black currant relish. If you want to skip cooking on Christmas Eve, Liberty House will be offering a prix-fixe menu of family-style starters and desserts and individual entrees. It’s also a hot spot to ring in New Year’s Eve(76 Audrey Zapp Drive, Jersey City, 201.395.0300)

 

Sofia

Glam is the word at this Italian farm-to-table steakhouse with valet parking set on Englewood’s Engle Street. Whether you reserve a table to devour pastas and steaks or linger at the bar over one of their signature cocktails, put this spot on your hit list. Bonus: If you decide to do a nightcap here after a holiday party or movie night, expect a solid late-night menu served until 1am most nights plus half-price Champagne bottles after 10pm. (That deal alone can be what you celebrate.)  Keep an eye out for their New Year’s Eve offerings, too. (36 Engle Street, Englewood 201.541.8530)

Restaurant X

This Rockland County restaurant is worth the drive to sit by the fire and enjoy a cocktail and Peter Kelly’s award winning American classics -- everything from braised short ribs to prime aged sirloin to a massive ribeye for two. For lighter fare, there’s plenty of seafood options including a glazed King salmon and grilled center-cut swordfish. Top the whole thing off with one (or two!) picks from their killer dessert selection and the evening will warm your heart no matter how chilly the evening. (117 N Route 303, Congers, NY, 845.268-6555

 

Viaggio

We’ve been loving this cozy Italian joint since it opened a few years back. Batali alum Robbie Felice serves up innovative farm-to-table fare like burrata with delicata squash and cauliflower fritti with romesco along with perfect pastas including foie gras orecchiette and linguine with clams and house-cured pancetta. Even entrees skew local like the chicken cacciatore made with poultry from Lancaster, PA and Barnegat Bay scallops accompanied by sunchokes and grapefruit. During the week, the $55 four-course menu is quite the deal. The place is also BYOB, which means there will still be money left over for last-minute gift grabs. (1055 Hamburg Turnpike., Wayne, 973.706.72

Sidewalk Bistro

Can’t make it to Paris for Christmas dinner at a little French bistro? Experience the next best thing here at home. This lovely little neighborhood eatery is the perfect place for a festive romantic date night- with the whole spot lit up with red Christmas lights and the quaint town of Piermont decorated with your holiday dreams in mind, it's a must-stop for holiday dining. The menu is classic brasserie with escargot, an endive salad, goat cheese tart, haricots verts, mussels, orange duck, and a strip steak served with perfectly done fries. The restaurant rolls out a tapas menu on Monday and Tuesday nights and you can BYO every Wednesday. (482 Piermont Avenue, Piermont, NY, 845.680.6490)

 

Mangia Italian Trattoria

If you’re in the mood to keep it casual and kick it old-school, you’ll want to head to this homey storefront spot with its red checker tablecloths, and classic dishes of spaghetti and meatballs, penne ala vodka, chicken parm, and stuffed artichokes. And don’t miss the homemade desserts (it’s not January yet!) with goodies like tiramisu, cannoli, and a Nutella-and-banana crepe. (276 Old River Road, Edgewater, 201.945.3334)

Molos

TBH, the views of the city from our side of the Hudson always put us in a festive mood and between that and the amazing food, a dinner at Molos always feels like a celebration. But they've made it even better this holiday season with decor to match your party vibe. So take your time, eat slowly and savor every bite while you gaze at the twinkling lights both inside and outside the windows! (1 Pershing Road, Weehawken, 201.223.1200)

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