Great Dining from French to Italian


One of the best parts of the upcoming holiday season is indulging in all of the great food while forging lasting memories with family and friends. Instead of spending a day or two in the kitchen, consider dining out at some of New Jersey’s best restaurants to spend more time with your loved ones.

 For a French affair, try Chez Catherine in Westfield, which is open on Thanksgiving and serves a traditional turkey meal. Or consider branching away from the holiday classics and indulge in some of Chef Didier Jouvenet’s specialties. Try the duck confit, roast chicken or smoked salmon and end your meal with the Grand Marnier soufflé. Verjus in Maplewood is another great option for amazing French fare. Boeuf Bourguignon, roast chicken with tarragon and baby-back ribs with pomegranate bergamot glaze are just some of Verjus’ dishes that will tantalize your senses. If a festive brunch is your way to celebrate, Verjus’ has a $25 prix-fixe, two-course Sunday brunch featuring omelets and apple pancakes.

 If a hearty Italian meal is more your style, try Fascino in Montclair. Chef Ryan DePersio takes great pride in his menu with favorites like the pancetta-wrapped branzino, ricotta gnocchi with sweet-sausage Bolognese, and seafood risotto. Chef DePersio works at two other New Jersey Italian hot spots, including Nico at NJPAC in Newark and Battello in Jersey City, which offer equally amazing dishes for a tasty family affair. Known for its wood-burning oven and excellent pizzas, visit Osteria in Morristown. With both thin crust and thick crust options, Osteria offers unique topping combinations like the Polpo which features octopus, tomato, red chili flakes and smoked mozzarella, as well as classics like the Parma which features mozzarella, fontina, arugula and prosciutto. For hearty servings of classic Italian dishes that are sure to keep everyone happy this holiday season, check out Scala del Nonna in Montclair. The ambience and charm of Scala del Nonna make this BYO a great spot to spend time with family and friends.

 For holiday gatherings and special occasions that feature American food at its finest, reserve a table at Nicholas in Red Bank. Known for hosting wedding, anniversaries and birthdays, Nicholas is top of the line when it comes to guest service. With tasting menus and prix-fixe meals, Nicholas is great place to celebrate any time of year. Drew’s Bayshore Bistro in Keyport is another great option for holiday cheer and terrific American food. The menu features comfort classics with an edge like the bacon and green chile mac n’ cheese, chicken and waffles and the cherry jubilee bread pudding, a perfect meal to share with your loved ones this time of year.