Feels Like Déjà Vu: A Mediterranean Experience in Garfield, New Jersey

When you walk into Déjà Vu, in Garfield, NJ, you immediately notice the large bar and lounge area. So when a server comes around, you’ve surely already perused the selection of wine, cocktails, and beer (no draft pints). And right away, popular appetizers stand out. These include the signature Déjà Vu shrimp: lightly breaded, fried, and crispy, and served with a spicy garlic-mayo sauce.

Deja Vu Garfield NJ

Experiencing Déjà Vu

Combining American, Macedonian, and Serbian cooking styles, the menu features Déjà Vu’s own take on Mediterranean cuisine. At this restaurant, you’ll find fresh, ground meat on skewers cooking over a hot grill, lounge seats around a big bar with cold cocktails and live entertainment.

Fried Shrimp with Garlic Mayo Sauce

Sipping drinks, popping shrimp, and taking in the restaurant’s ambiance provides ample time to coordinate entrée orders. You may find a well-designed flyer with top choices along with the full main menu. Along with skillful recommendations from knowledgeable waitstaff, these flyers will walk you through options you may not have tried in the past.

“For those experiencing our establishment for the first time, we highly recommend the Déjà Vu sofra,” notes co-owner Monika Aleksoska. “This delightful option provides a sampling of dishes, allowing newcomers to experience a bit of everything we have to offer.”

For the past two years, Aleksoska and her business partner, Ivana Vanev, have run the Déjà Vu show. As the owners, they have maintained and expanded the 25-year-old restaurant’s menu, staff, customer base, marketing efforts, and already stellar reputation.

The Personal Side

Aleksoka and Vanev were born in Macedonia and Serbia, respectively. They met after they each moved to the States in the late 90s, and have been friends ever since.

In more recent years, they’ve built their lives in New Jersey. Professionally, they’ve been successful in their careers in corporate banking and human resources. Running Déjà Vu has been a passion project for them, and they’ve clearly pulled no punches in hiring a great team, and in sourcing products to build their menu.


Shish Kebab

About the Menu

“The menu primarily focuses on meats and salads, with less emphasis on pasta,” says Aleksoka. “I would describe it as Mediterranean cuisine.”

“The Déjà Vu sofra stands out as one of our most sought-after dishes,” says Aleksoka. “This generously sized platter is designed to satisfy two or three individuals and features a variety of delectable components. Included are kebapi, a savory sausage made from a blend of ground beef and pork, as well as makedonka, a succulent ground beef and pork patty stuffed with provolone cheese.” And that’s not all for this platter, which also showcases grilled pork or chicken rolls filled with provolone cheese and enveloped in bacon. This is just the beginning.

There’s also the bread bowl, which Vanev, Déjà Vu co-owner and graphic designer, describes as a unique creation, filled with flavorful ground beef and provolone cheese. “We take pride in crafting it fresh with the finest quality meat,” she says.

Bread Bowl
Bread bowl

Deja Vu Burger

The variety of meat options reflect the Mediterranean-style cooking that characterizes this spot and the roots of the people who built the restaurant. Vanev notes that her own favorite item is the Déjà Vu burger.

Guests can rest assured that the drinks are strong, the desserts are rich, and the entrees are satiating—and high in quality protein.

milkshakes on table

In the Kitchen

“We take pride in making everything in-house, starting from sourcing certain meat directly from farms, grinding it, seasoning it, and shaping it ourselves. We never purchase [already] ground meat, which is something our customers find intriguing. It’s a labor-intensive and time-consuming process. While we face supply challenges from local farms at times, this meticulous process ensures that we consistently serve our customers the highest quality meat when preparing their meals.”

“When introducing new items like the quinoa bowl, we conduct a trial period during which we gather feedback and carefully document the presentation. Based on customer response, these items may potentially become permanent additions to our menu.” 

The kitchen runs with two main chefs at the helm plus a hardworking crew, all to create Déjà Vu’s signature Mediterranean meals: Chef Vinny Miovski and Chef Aleksandar Mitkoski.

“Chef Vinny Miovski, by design, joined Déjà Vu six months before we acquired the restaurant,” says Aleksoka. “Chef Vinny’s extensive experience in launching new establishments from the ground up has proven to be instrumental in our success.”

Chef Aleksandar recently joined the team. Originally from Macedonia, Chef Aleksandar brings over 30 years of kitchen experience to the restaurant. 

Grilled Chicken Sandwich

That’s Entertainment

Déjà Vu has been known for live music on Saturday nights since even before Aleksoka and Vanev took ownership. This weekly party is an ode to the Balkan American community in Northern New Jersey.

People Dancing at a Bar

“We’ve offered consistently, the Balkan Band on Saturday nights. We’ve now come up with a diverse base of bands like jazz on Sundays, or a modern-pop duo on Fridays,” says Aleksoka.

“Tonight, we have a six-member band performing inside, and we strive to maintain consistency in our offerings. We believe in sticking to what works well for us but plan to provide different entertainment options. We have invited talented individuals like DJ Chelli, who has a substantial following, and we also intend to introduce karaoke on Wednesday evenings. Our goal is to become a comprehensive destination for live entertainment.”


While Aleksoka and Vanev have made some notable changes, at Déjà Vu, guests who’ve visited before won’t notice much of a difference. Instead, the goal has been to broaden Déjà Vu’s audience.

“We’re fortunate to have been attracting a new crowd for both lunch and dinner. On certain days, it genuinely feels like we’re running a completely new restaurant. However, we value our longtime customers just as much as our new ones. When we spot unfamiliar faces, it gives us a sense of accomplishment, motivating us to strive even harder to ensure our customers’ satisfaction. We have great confidence in our offerings, and we are committed to expanding and further improving our services.”

Since finishing a major renovation in 2021, the restaurant is just as appealing to the eye as it is to the tastebuds. Guests either come here to recall homestyle cooking from their own childhoods, or to try food that they may have never had before. And now there’s also updated outdoor seating in the patio area. The result? A crowd from lunch all the way to dinner.

Outdoor seating in the patio area

Déjà Vu is currently open daily from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. (Hours are subject to change.) Head to the website to see what’s on the menu and head to Instagram for updates about entertainment and weekly events.

Déjà Vu
50 River Drive
Garfield, NJ