Enza’s in Hawthorne: A Family Affair

It is not often that you find a special little restaurant like Enza’s.  What makes their fans like us who have been going for 25 years love it so much, is the owner/chef Santo Occurso who is always busy in the kitchen cooking everything to order with passion and dedication.  From the minute you walk in you will feel like you have stepped into a special little trattoria on a side alley in Italy.

Even though I make many Italian dishes at home, I often crave Enza’s because no matter how hard  I try to make a red sauce , nothing comes close to Santo’s.  His sauces alone, are reason to go to his restaurant.  He gets special tomatoes from Italy and uses an ancient food mill  to make the sauces the perfect consistency.  Each of  them vary depending on the entrée.  His simple marinara is not to be missed, nor is his light but flavorful meat sauce.

You will be greeted by a pleasant family member and seated.  His daughter and his sisters wait the tables and make the experience even more fun.  The room has maybe 20 tables and is immaculate.   Be prepared for the experience.  Bring some friends and a couple of bottles of wine, sit back and relax, everything is made to order.

We usually start with either the fish salad, which is a nice combo of shrimp, calamari and scungilli over romaine with some olives and roasted peppers. The seafood is still slightly warm because it is made right then and there for you.  Very fresh with just the right amount of herbs and lemon.

If you like fried calamari, you’ll love it here. Try the mild , medium or hot , take your pick.   All of your favorite appetizers are here, pick a few and share.

Next,  the entrees.  His many parmagiano dishes whether its chicken, eggplant, or shrimp are delicious, and perfectly portioned. Most entrees are served with a side of pasta.  His shrimp and fish dishes are excellent quality. The shimp marinara and the spicier shrimp fra diavalo with clams are winners.  His flavorful shrimp scampi is not what you expect, made with mushrooms and sherry.

I recommend you get a plate of  broccoli rabe, broccoli, or amazing escarole.  There are daily specials.  My personal faves are the chicken rollatine with red or white mushroom sauce or the cavatelli with shrimp and escarole or broccoli rabe.

He also offers many pasta dishes, the homemade lasagna, manicotti, stuffed rigatoni or baked ziti with eggplant are all popular choices.

Then try either his homemade cheesecake or cannolis for dessert.

Take a look at the slide show and see for yourself what the food looks like.  But keep in mind that Santo is in the kitchen, doing what he does best  with a smile, six days a week for lunch and dinner.

Going to Enza’s is like going home, to your little Italian family.

If you go on Tuesday night you will get a free vegetable or appetizer.


Enza’s Family Restaurant

266 Warburton Av.

Hawthorne, NJ


LauriLee has been passionate about food her whole life. She spent many years in the travel business and always enjoyed dining out at many ethnic restaurants here and abroad. She is a self motivated foodie who has been cooking for over 30 years. Her recipes are based on fruits, vegetables, herbs, vinegars, various healthy oils, citrus , seafood and organic chicken and turkey.  LauriLee also cooks for her daughter who is a Vegan, so we can look forward to some healthy vegan/vegetarian dishes from her kitchen. To learn more about LauriLee’s cooking classes and personal chef service, visit her website at LauriLeesHealthyCooking.net and Like her page on Facebook for great recipes and cooking tips.