For family-run restaurants serving authentic, home-cooked dishes from across the globe, Paterson in New Jersey, USA has an array of options to suit everyones taste. From great Peruvian restaurants in fashionable Downtown neighbourhoods to fancy Middle Eastern cafes, fine-dining steakhouses and American fast food joints, Paterson has it all. The only difficulty is deciding which country’s national dish to try first.
Said to be one of the best Middle Eastern restaurants in the western hemisphere, Al-Basha Restaurant is renowned for its Al-Basha Platter. Comprising of a selection of the restaurant’s signature dishes, the platter is a mix of shish kebab, kofta kebab, chicken kebab, shawarma and lamb chops. Al-Basha is family-run and the menu is based on the types of dishes that the father grew up with as a child. Walls are adorned with authentic artwork and Middle Eastern lamps, transporting diners to a completely different world. All the dishes are cooked using the freshest ingredients and the salads are loved just as much as the tender meat dishes. Offering such excellent service Al-Basha has more than its fair share of regular returning customers all of whom will advise new visitors not to leave without trying the chef’s special hummus.
Serving world famous Kobe beef and USDA Prime beef dry-aged for 28 days in the restaurant, Hamilton & Ward Steakhouse definitely is the top restaurant choice in Paterson for red meat lovers. For those that aren’t too keen on a big, juicy slab of meat, Hamilton & Ward also serves impeccable seafood too – the ahi tuna is incredible. The prices can be a tad on the pricey side but are more than justified by the quality of the food. However, for those on a budget a lunch sitting is advised as prices are slightly cheaper at midday than at dinner, but menu options are much more limited.
Owned by Italian Chef Giuseppe Staiano, the menu at Giuseppe Restaurant showcases perfectly his absolute passion for beautiful food and exquisite wines. In a celebration of authentic Italian cuisine and the contemporary cooking techniques Giuseppe has mastered in the 25 years he has been working as a chef, the dishes on offer are all mouth-watering examples of true finesse. Begin with the fried calamari or Panko wild shrimp appetizer, order either the grilled octopus, the monkfish with clams or the veal scallop with porcini mushrooms for main course and cleanse your palette between courses with an innovative frisee salad of strawberries and almonds. A separate private room that can seat between six and eight people is available for reservation for special celebratory meals complete with a specifically designed three course gourmet tasting menu.
Serving fine foods in the restaurant, top end liquors by the bottle in the lounge and Brick Oven pizzas on the terrace, the Riverside Manor is a great dining option whatever the occasion. There are a range of promotional offers on throughout the week to attract new customers and cater for all budgets. Head there for a meal for two between Wednesday and Sunday and pick from a special three course set menu including dishes such as arancini, broiled cod with bacon and mussels and chocolate brioche pudding. On warm summer evenings the outdoor terrace is a beautiful spot for supper and live bands will often entertain you on weekend nights.
Run by the same set of brothers for 46 years E&V Restaurant is an Italian restaurant that has successfully stood the test of time. With a menu brimming with fine, home-style Italian classics and beautiful seafood dishes, the restaurant’s atmosphere is casual and family-orientated. The Chef’s favourite dish is the fish soup, but the aubergine parmigiana and broiled lobster tails are well worth a taste too. The brothers pride themselves on offering exceptional service and serving up food of the highest quality at good value. Credit cards aren’t accepted but there is an ATM on site.
For a restaurant with all the atmosphere of a bustling Mexican local, head to La Hacienda. The wood panelling, brightly coloured table cloths and mural wall paintings immediately transport diners away from North America and straight into the heart of Central America. For a real feast opt for the Todo Mexicano appetizer consisting of a chicken quesadilla, grilled shrimp, empanadas, fried calamari and wings, and follow with the Hacienda Combo entree of a cheese enchilada, beef taco and chicken tostada served with sour cream, guacamole and pico de gallo. On weekends the adjoining bar is open until 1am and shows all the major sports events and puts on live Mariachis performances every Sunday. The mojito made with fresh sugar cane juice is not to be missed.
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Hidden away in Downtown Paterson, Griselda’s Restaurant serves truly authentic Peruvian food. The menu is written completely in Spanish and the staff speak little English so be prepared to practice your Spanish or simply point to a random dish on the menu and hope for the best, chances are it will be delicious. This is a family run restaurant serving up huge portions of food to a primarily local crowd but tourists are welcomed in with open arms and made to feel right at home too. Go for the seafood soup or the paella with a pisco sour or for a cheaper alternative ask for the menu of the day, just like they do in Peru. For those who can fit anything else in after one of these giant meals, the chocolate cake and alfajores are great too. Credit cards aren’t accepted.
Despite being one of Paterson’s newer Italian restaurants, Casa di Calabria is already well-known for its outstandingly friendly service where every guest is treated like a member of the owner’s family. There is a separate lounge and dining room enabling guests to enjoy a pre or post dinner drink in a more relaxed and comfortable environment, especially great when there is a queue of people waiting for a table. Bare brick walls and carpeted flooring creates a cosy and casual atmosphere which is reflected through the menu choices. Overall splendour aside, it’s worth going just for the homemade sangria.
Still serving fast food to the masses after 80 years, Libby’s Lunch is situated along the Passaic River by the Paterson Great Falls National Historic Park. For those who want a true American diner experience, Libby’s is absolutely perfect. Order the hot dog ‘all the way’ with fries, gravy and a milkshake for the complete experience. Make the trek out here especially or stop by for lunch before or after visiting the beautiful falls.
For fresh and full of flavour Turkish and Middle Eastern cuisine head to Toros Restaurant. Succulent meat skewers, spicy vegetables, crisp salads and homemade hummus are just a few of the tasty treats on offer here. Start with the sampler of appetizers to share and dine like a true Turkish family would. The dishes are very reasonably priced and there is a special three course lunch special too that works out even cheaper. Turkish bread is freshly baked in the bakery across the road and complimentary Turkish tea or coffee makes for the perfect end to the meal.