Start with an avocado salad served with sliced avocados, romaine lettuce, red onions, peppers, and tomatoes in a light dressing and one of the tasty flavored margarita options. Try the Tavern margarita, a huge margarita glass filled with 32 ounces of margarita, two shots of tequila, and two whole beers. The Cantina also has a huge selection of appetizers, like the freshly made nachos, which are loaded with melted cheese, refried beans, jalapeños, pico de gallo, guacamole, and sour cream. Also, be sure to have the bunuelo, a fried donut ball, for dessert.
Taste the slow-cooked, smoky flavors of Mighty Quinn’s melt-in-your-mouth meats. The small chain sources high-quality ingredients, and head chef Hugh Mangum, a native Texan, prepares the barbeque with a touch of salt and spice to add a hint of savory flavor. Mangum takes his favorite parts of Texas and Carolina’s traditional preparation methods to create his own recipes. Those with insatiable appetites should try the brontosaurus rib, a full beef short rib, a whole pound of smoked tender meat falls right off the bone and into your mouth. Numerous side dishes star on the menu, like baked beans with burnt ends, sweet potato casserole with maple and pecans, and buttermilk broccoli salad.
Matthew’s Italian Restaurant, a modest-looking joint, has some of the best Italian fare in the area. The dimly lit interior gives the restaurant a romantic atmosphere that is perfect for dates. The owner, Matthew Tyahla, is present and engaged with diners, and the service is exceptional. Although it’s not much to look at from the outside, the food is perfectly prepared and presented with care. Try the popular hangar steak served with broccoli rabe, Italian long hot peppers and potatoes or the veal marsala served with mushrooms and brown sauce.
Sample some Mediterranean Cuisine at Toro’s Restaurant, a small chain with a location in Clifton. Babaganus, pureed smoked eggplant with garlic and sesame oil, is a great starter before entrées of falafel, kebabs, and more. The staff is accommodating and helpful with recommendations, and the food is prepared with the freshest ingredients. Colorful Turkish décor makes the interior atmospheric and authentic. Try a traditional Turkish dish like hunkar begendi, a classic meal made with baked chunks of lamb or chicken served on eggplant puree.
If you’re in Clifton, New Jersey, you’ve got to stop by Rutt’s Hut. The home of the Ripper, a deep-fried hot dog, opened in 1928 as a simple roadside hot dog stand. The yellow-tinted signature relish is made with a blend of mustard and secret spices. Aside from their Ripper dogs, Rutt’s Hut has a selection of burgers, sandwiches, and side dishes, but their Rippers, deep-fried until they split down the middle, are their claim to fame.
Enjoy gourmet burgers and fine wines at Zinburger, an upbeat restaurant that brings together two fantastic food items. Gourmet burger options include the eponymous Zinburger with manchego cheese and Zinfandel braised onions or the breakfast burger, made with a fried egg, applewood smoked bacon, avocado, and American cheese. The restaurant also has fresh salads packed with high-quality toppings. Although it is a simple premise, the restaurant has a classy feel because of subtle touches like its extensive local beer selection and food and wine pairings. If wine isn’t your drink of choice, try one of Zinburger’s specialty milkshakes.