Big Boy BBQ, Caulfield South | Image courtesy of Big Boy BBQ
Proving you needn’t travel into the big city just for first-rate food, West Orange’s diverse dining scene offer local foodies everything from casual barbecue to fine New American dining with New York City skyline views, and we’ve lined up 10 of the New Jersey suburb’s best restaurants to try.
Diners will be whisked away to the warmer climes of the Mediterranean with a night at Sefarat, a casually elegant restaurant opened in 2012 that serves an eclectic mix of Greek, Turkish and Middle Eastern fare. A number of hot and cold appetizers are offered including falafel, kibbeh and baba ghanoush followed by a wide range of kebab entrées and other traditional main dishes like manti (meat ravioli with yoghurt, garlic and tomato sauce) and lahmacun (bread topped with a mixture of spiced ground lamb and tomato served with parsley and lemon). Sefarat’s desserts are equally authentic, choose from options like baklava or kazandibi.
Looks like it's closedHours or services may be impacted due to Covid-19
Located within the lovely Wilshire Grand Hotel, Primavera Ristorante has been a staple of the West Orange dining scene for over a decade with its traditional Italian cuisine amongst some of the best in the area. Start with appetizers like Primavera’s signature antipasto (a selection of prosciutto, cheeses, roasted peppers, Italian meats, mixed olives and artichoke hearts) or the broccoli rabe with sweet Italian sausage, hot cherry peppers and potatoes, followed by one of the restaurant’s hearty main dishes, lobster ravioli with seared sea scallops, crabmeat, asparagus and creamy vodka sauce or the veal saltimbocca are just two tempting options.
First founded way back in 1932 in neighboring Newark, Jimmy Buff’s is a local dining institution and its signature ‘hot dogs with an Italian twist’ are practically legendary. Forget your run-of-the-mill dog in a bun effort. The hot dogs at Jimmy’s are epic. Crusty Italian pizza rolls are crammed with all-beef dogs (choose from one or two) and topped with sautéed onions, peppers and potatoes and a choice of sauces (mustard, marinara, fiery onion relish and ketchup). Other fare like Italian sandwiches, cheesesteak and burgers are also served and beyond its West Orange location, Jimmy Buff’s also boasts a restaurant in nearby Kenilworth.
Mouthwatering barbecue is given a Peruvian twist at Pepe’s BBQ, a tiny, casual neighborhood joint that opened its doors in 2010. Dishes like pollo a la brasa (rotisserie chicken Peruvian style), beef ribs and pork chops are cooked up with sides like yellow rice, black beans and Pepe’s popular homemade hot sauce while appetizers include the likes of Colombian chorizo, sweet plantains and empanadas. Plenty of other classic eats abound on Pepe’s menu like the tilapia ceviche with sweet potato and Peruvian corn or lomo saltado and to finish, how about a slice of tres leche?
A cute and cozy little joint serving possibly the biggest range of sushi in the area, Kim’s Sushi is the place to head in West Orange for your fix of authentic Japanese eats. Choose from simple sushi and sashimi varieties like octopus, red snapper and sea urchin alongside classic rolls and signature rolls like the New Jersey (with tuna, salmon, yellowtail, avocado and masago in soybean paper) or the French Kiss (shrimp tempura, cucumber, crab, salmon, avocado, lemon and Kim’s special sauce). No alcohol is served, but Kim’s Sushi offers a free-of-charge BYOB service and a number of non-alcoholic beverages like green tea and Japanese Ramune soda.
Boasting one of the best locations in West Orange, Highlawn Pavilion is located within the bounds of the beautiful Eagle Rock Reservation and offers gorgeous views of the Manhattan skyline from its elegant dining room and charming patio. Executive chef Mitchell Altholz has crafted a menu of inventive New American cuisine with distinct European flair with standout dishes like the venison strip loin with heirloom carrot puree, butternut and acorn squash, truffle-honey port reduction and pistachios and the branzini with Provençal vegetables, basil-infused couscous and roasted red pepper sauce while Highlawn Pavilion’s bar menu offers more casual eats like pizza, flatbread and paninis.
Mark & Julie’s Homemade Ice Cream has been serving its signature brand of gourmet frozen treats for over 20 years. Over 52 flavors of ice cream and frozen yoghurt are served, ranging from the familiar (vanilla, chocolate and strawberry) and the fancy (bubblegum, Swiss chocolate almond, rum raisin) to the seasonal (pumpkin pie, peppermint stick) and specialty flavors (coffee mud pie, chocolate raspberry truffle) alongside no-sugar-added, fat-free and low-fat options. Mark & Julie’s menu doesn’t end there though, guests can also choose from a number of other sweet treats like sundaes, banana splits, ice cream sodas and brownies.
Classic American barbecue is the name of the game at SuzyQue’s BBQ, a casual roadside place opened by owner Susan Hoffman in 2011. All of SuzyQue’s meats are slow-cooked from anywhere between five and 14 hours in the restaurant’s state-of-the-art smoker resulting in mouthwatering meaty options like beef short ribs, hand pulled pork, crispy chicken wings and St Louis ribs. Four sauces are offered, the tomato-based Kansas City-style sauce, Carolina-style with vinegar and Worcestershire sauce, the Texas (with molasses) and SuzyQue’s signature orange habanero sauce, alongside sandwiches and entrées like beer-battered catfish and chicken jambalaya and, to wash it all down with, a range of beers and signature cocktails.
Bar, Pub Grub, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, American, Fast Food, $$$
Nestled in the heart of downtown West Orange, the Oak Barrel Pub is a cozy, family-friendly restaurant serving up tasty American pub grub since late 2013. Choose from juicy burgers, hearty sandwiches and pizzas like the signature OAK pie topped with bacon, caramelized onions, black pepper and bleu cheese or opt for entrée dishes like beer-battered fish and chips or grilled skirt steak with a honey balsamic and rosemary marinade, sweet potato fries and tomato salad. Late night munchies served include chicken wings and mozzarella sticks while OAK Barrel’s 12 beers on tap and seasonal rotating craft beers are bound to please any fans of ale.
Driving up to The Manor, you know you’re in for a special evening. A driveway leads up to the stunning mansion surrounded by 20 acres of beautifully manicured gardens and fronted by Italianate fountains, while inside an elegantly traditional dining room beckons guests to sample the restaurant’s signature New American fare with a French twist. Dine on decadent dishes like Long Island duck breast à l’orange with leg confit, walnut spätzle, diced carrots and orange-brandy sauce or Chatham cod with brandade galette, braised savoy cabbage, clams and roasted shallot cream, but make sure you leave room for one of The Manor’s desserts, choose from indulgent offerings like eggnog cheesecake or bananas flambé.