We’re not sure what’s in the water in Franklin Lakes but some great new restaurants have opened their doors in town and we couldn’t be more thrilled. The latest to start serving is Pazza, a family friendly Italian and pizza joint owned by veteran restaurateurs Anthony and Sonny Esposito of Esposito’s in Mahwah fame.
Step into Pazza and find an unexpected and totally fun atmosphere. Located in a strip mall, the restaurant’s giant mural on the back wall, neon over the bar and upbeat oldies soundtrack set a lighthearted tone. Plus, Pazza seems to have avoided the pitfall of many new restaurants with a welcoming, professional staff and impeccable service right out of the gate.
Sure the bread basket has fallen out of favor because, carbs but we still have a secret love for it and so were delighted to see one appear with perfectly crispy Italian bread and a dish of oil for dipping.
Appetizers on the extensive menu include zucchini fritters, a mound of fried shoestrings with a roasted pepper chipotle dipping sauce and, perhaps somewhat incongruously, chicken dumplings, served fried or steamed, and accompanied by a tangy sauce that makes them seem right at home on a primarily Italian menu.
Lovers of charcuterie will be happy to hear that the menu offers a variety of meats and cheeses so your board can be made just the way you like it. And for those of us who haven’t yet fallen off the eating right resolution bandwagon, the Pazza salad game is strong. For those of us who have, how shall we say, given ourselves a little leeway on the diet goals, Pazza offers sandwiches and pizza. Try the buffalo mozzarella pie, served atop a tin can, like the kind tomatoes come in. The Chicken Scarpariello was also well prepared with tender chicken, sweet sausage, potatoes and peppers in a sauce that was done exactly right. The side of Brussels sprouts is also worth a try. And save room for dessert. You’ll have a choice of lava cake, cheesecake, cannoli or tiramisu.
Pazza is great for families and groups but it is also great for a quick date night if you don’t want to venture too far from home. Just remember that it’s BYOB so grab your favorite bottle before you head out the door.
Pazza 201-848-5050 794 Franklin Avenue Franklin Lakes