When I’m visiting Tina, I somehow always happen to be there, just when Tina and J are having their weekly date night. I don’t want to disturb their kids-free couple time, but they always insist that I come along, so over the years, I have gained a pretty good knowledge of nice datenight spots within driving distance of South Orange, which is where Tina and J live.
In this guide, I have put together a guide of some of the nicest places I have been to, as a datenight crasher. These are all places with amazing food, great cocktails (important) and a nice, romantic vibe.
Common Lot serves up innovative, globally inspired food The menu changes with the season ensuring that you’re always treated to the freshest, locally sourced, produce. When we were there, I also found a lot of Nordic references in the food as well as in the stylish, but cozy, interior. The restaurant has the same vibe as many of the modern Nordic restaurants in Copenhagen, and maybe that’s why I like it so much. This is my favorite among the places on this list.
Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen
Step back in time at Jockey Hollow Bar & Kitchen, located in a beautifully restored historic mansion. The grandeur of the old building, combined with the restaurant’s contemporary design elements, creates a unique and charming setting. Jockey Hollow boasts several dining spaces, each with its distinct character, and the menu highlights locally sourced ingredients, with an emphasis on seafood and Italian-inspired flavors
The pasta dishes at Jockey Hollow are amazing and not to be missed. Unfortunately the Thai-style octopus isn’t on the menu anymore, but that dish was so good and that octopus so perfectly cooked, I wouldn’t hesitate ordering anything octopus from Jockey Hollow.
Set in a beautiful, vintage building, Summit House has you covered with its white-cloth dining experience and inviting atmosphere. The restaurant’s refined menu, showcasing modern American cuisine, uses locally sourced ingredients to create delicious, tasty, dishes.
Really classy place. I was super jetlagged when we were there and I wasn’t particularly hungry, so I just wanted the loaded fries, but we also shared a couple of meat dishes and salad, and they were delicious. While the other places on this list would be great for a girls’ night out too, Summit House felt more like a purebred date night spot, or somewhere you would go for family dinners.
Faubourg brings a touch of France to Montclair with its French brasserie menu and elegant outdoor seating area, perfect for warm summer evenings. Always bustling with people, this is a fantastic spot to enjoy your meal while soaking up the vibrant atmosphere. As you savor the exquisite French cuisine, you’ll be surrounded by lush greenery and, later in the evening, twinkling fairy lights, creating a magical atmosphere. Definitely best during the summer season when you can sit outside.
The snail and chicken oysters is not on the menu, but seems to be a frequently recurring specials item. It’s a delicious dish with perfectly cooked snails and chicken oysters (the tender, circular pieces of meat at the back of the chicken thigh, near the backbone), served on a bed of spätzle.