Breakfast, lunch, brunch, or dinner, dine your way around the world, all in Montclair, NJ!
At downtown Montclair’s Mishmish Café, Mediterranean cuisine is calling. Owner Meny Vaknin brings Moroccan culture to the table of every customer through flavorful dishes such as shakshuka bowls, house-made hummus, and moussaka. The restaurant offers several seafood options, and the Moroccan Grandma’s Fish Stew is a hearty dish worth indulging. If you’re looking for a more meaty option, the chicken shawarma over hummus and lamb meatball shakshuka are definitely worth a visit.
Billed as “ancient cuisine with modern appeal,” Mesob on Bloomfield Avenue is the area’s go-to spot for Ethiopian dishes—and it’s not to be overlooked. Even if you’re not vegetarian, give the vegetarian sampler a try. Served on injera—a spongy, thick, crepe-like bread—it’s packed with your choice of several options including dinich wet (potatoes simmered in a spicy sauce), azeefa (whole brown lentils seasoned with onions, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and jalapeno), and ye’shimbra asa (handmade chickpea biscuits in a spicy sauce).
Dine on spicy, piquant Thai cuisine at Sla Thai, a hidden gem tucked in Upper Montclair Plaza, off Valley Road. The main dishes like pad Thai and pad Kemoa let you chose your level of heat, so anyone in the group can pick their kick. The sweet chili chicken wings, known as gai tod, are an ideal combination of sweet-meets-spicy. The modern interior has Thai touches and an Asian-American balance, but it only seats about 30, so if you’re dining on a weekend, arrive early.
T.S. Ma is not your average Chinese takeout place. Located on Bellevue Avenue in Upper Montclair, the restaurant offers a sit-down dinner with takeout available as well. The General Tso’s chicken is a must-try: lightly breaded, not too heavy, and the steamed dumplings will have you making your return plans before you even leave.
Upper Montclair is also home to Dai Kichi, an authentic Japanese restaurant known for its fresh, creative sushi rolls. Dishes like the spicy tuna tartar Napolean and the wide selection of dumpling options are must-tries. Plus, the restaurant offers dozens of special rolls for those looking to try something new. The special rolls are reasonably priced, ranging from $8.95 to $12.95. Try their sushi sandwich: an outside-the-box take on a sushi roll, with rice substituting bread and tuna, avocado, tempura, spicy mayo, and seaweed in between.
INTERCONTINENTAL COMBO! Taste of Philippines and West African Cuisine, located on Bloomfield Avenue in downtown Montclair, combines both Filipino and West African cuisine into one exciting menu. While the menu is largely Filipino and offers options such as Filipino sweet sausage with fried garlic and various meats marinated in sweet and spicy, Filipino-style sauces, the restaurant also offers daily West African specials and features West African options on its menu, including okra stew and cassava leaf.
At De Novo in Upper Montclair, enjoy a French appetizer like escargot or a Spanish treat like grilled octopus. Find a few Italian options, including some zuppa di pesce or the broiled branzino. The restaurant also offers several flatbreads and fresh pastas, plus a robust lunch menu.
After dinner, head downtown to Le Petit Parisien to indulge in house-made fresh macarons. The French-inspired café sits right on the corner of South Fullerton and Church Street, in the heart of Montclair Center. Sample nearly a dozen different types of macarons, including salted caramel, pistachio, and honey lavender. The café serves other French favorites, such as galettes, quiches, and crepes, plus sandwiches and salads. Stop in and get something to go or hang out in the charming sit-down area.
If you’re looking for American fare with old-time charm, visit Raymond’s, a staple that has been serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner on Montclair’s Church Street since 1989. Indulge in breakfast classics like French toast with fresh fruit, or stop by for dinner and try the buttermilk fried chicken or avocado BLT stacked with more bacon than you can likely imagine. The baked macaroni and cheese, which can be ordered as a side or meal, is another can’t-miss dish. Raymond’s is BYO (stop by their neighbor, Amanti Vino, to take care of that!), and brunch is served on weekends. Reservations are not accepted, so a wait is almost guaranteed at peek brunch and dinner hours.
For an upscale American dining experience, Upper Montclair’s Turtle + the Wolf is a buzzing BYO spot that’s open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner and serves weekend brunch. Indulge in the Berkshire pork or smoked beef short rib, and be sure to order a side of the rosemary focaccia. The restaurant also offers “large format” meals meant for several people, such as a whole roasted pig or fried chicken. Dinner reservations are accepted.
On South Fullerton Avenue, in the heart of downtown, is Villalobos, a modern yet rustic Mexican spot perfect for couples or small groups. “Montclair is a thriving food community; it has a successful history of sustaining international restaurants,” says Villalobos owner Adam Rose. “We thought our mix of modern and traditional Mexican cuisine would interest the dining community here.” So far, Rose has been spot on. Start off sampling several salsas, from mild to spicy, and pair them with one of their house-made guacamoles. (For a sweet and spicy kick, try their habanero pineapple or chipotle honey salsas.) At $6 each, their tacos may seem a bit pricey, but they’re filled to the brim with meat, seafood, or vegetables and stuffed into handmade tortillas, made on-site daily and worth every penny. If dessert is in the cards, don’t skip out on the churros.
Over on Park Street is Samba, a small, sit-down restaurant with authentic, well-portioned Brazilian dishes. Yuca, a woody shrub native to South America, appears in several of Samba’s dishes, including its savory starter, mandioca frita com linguica calabresa (fried yuca with Brazilian pork sausage). Entrees include several traditional beef and chicken options, but for those looking for seafood, the camarao na moranga pairs squash with shrimp and cheese in a hearty cream sauce that verges on addicting. “Montclair is a diverse town with great taste and style,” says owner Ilson Goncalves. “I thought it would be a great place to introduce farm-to-table Brazilian cuisine.” The restaurant has a few small tables outside in the front, but they fill up quickly in the nice weather, so if you’re looking to sit outside, visit during off hours.
30 Church Street
608 Valley Road
275 Bellevue Avenue
Le Petit Parisien
10 Church Street
515 Bloomfield Avenue
28 Church Street
7 Park Street
Sla Thai Cafe
38 Upper Montclair Plaza
Upper Montclair, NJ
199 Bellevue Avenue
Taste of Philippines and West African Cuisine
148 Bloomfield Avenue
Turtle + the Wolf
622 Valley Road
Upper Montclair, NJ
6 South Fullerton Avenue
Montclair, NJ 07042
Photos by Juila Mullaney unless otherwise noted.