December Dine Out: 3 Resident Reviews

Why should we have all the fun? You deserve to take a break and eat out—then tell us about Bergen’s best eateries.



Dining—particularly with good company—is something that can literally be savored for hours. These BERGEN readers share their holiday dining experiences, from tempting appetizers to mouth-watering entrees (there’s no fruitcake here!). There is plenty to “unwrap” and discover at these eateries.

Janice Is Just Right

From the front, Just Janice is nondescript— it blends in with the other storefronts along Sheridan Avenue in Ho-Ho-Kus. But inside this hidden gem is sensory overload, specifically for your olfactory organs and taste buds. Owner Janice Tinari has operated the restaurant under different names over the years, but many of the offerings have remained constant. Though the menu boasts various seasonal options, other selections provide the perfect warmth and comfort typically associated with a holiday dinner.

Mahwah resident Melissa Seiden, 44, recalls a dinner she enjoyed with her husband last December. They split two appetizers, Parmesan truffle fries and a Caprese salad that Seiden describes as “divine.” “The fresh mozzarella was complemented perfectly by the savory prosciutto,” she says. The entrees, however, were the stars. From the menu that also included seafood, chicken and pasta dishes, Seiden and her husband went with the pork osso buco and a perfect medium-rare ribeye. “The osso buco was fall-off-the-bone delicious, and it was served with a creamy vegetable risotto that was to die for,” she says.

Reservations at Just Janice are recommended, and the restaurant is BYO. “Carlo Russo’s Wine and Spirits is conveniently nearby,” Seiden says, “so it’s easy to pick up a bottle if you want to wine and dine.”

Just Janice, 23 Sheridan Ave., Ho-Ho-Kus, 201.445.2666, justjanice.net

Bibi'z: The Place to Be

With a melting pot of dining options in downtown Westwood, Bibi’z Restaurant & Lounge is the cream of the crop. It’s a popular destination for the happy hour crowd (there’s a cozy and chic bar area), but the food is truly what sets it apart from others. Owner Ida Assaf crafted a healthful menu that combines the best of light Mediterranean fare and rich, flavorful decadence. “You can start with something light like stuffed grape leaves, then follow it with a hearty rack of lamb,” notes Khalid Durian, 39, of Westwood. He dined with his girlfriend at Bibi’z during the holidays last year, taking advantage of the restaurant’s Christmas Eve specials.

The couple started with lamb meatballs and sesame-crusted tuna. Both dishes were gluten-free, ideal for Durian’s girlfriend, who has Celiac disease. “The plates were perfect in size and shareable,” he recalls. “We didn’t want to fill up before our entrees arrived.” For their main course, Durian had a juicy ribeye while his girlfriend ordered the pan-seared scallops with mushrooms and Brussels sprouts. “It was one of the best steaks I’ve ever had,” he recalls. “It came with a sweet potato that complemented the rich, buttery flavor of the meat.”

Reservations at Bibi’z are recommended. The restaurant offers Christmas Eve brunch and dinner menus as well as a New Year’s Eve special and party.

Bibi’z Restaurant & Lounge, 284 Center Ave., Westwood, 201.722.8600, bibizlounge.com

That's L'Amore!

Locals love Café L’Amore because it dishes out some of the area’s best pizzas from the front of the restaurant. In the back, however, diners come from all over Bergen for fine Italian dining. How well-liked is it? The always-packed parking lot speaks volumes. Inside the cozy dining room is a mix of longtime fans and first-timers, enjoying a range of dishes—pastas, steaks, seafood and pizzas. “I absolutely love the assortment,” says William Hester, 35, of Ridgewood, who visits Café L’Amore regularly with his parents.

When they dine, the Hesters always start with an order of fried calamari and grilled Portobello mushrooms. “The mushrooms are large, and the size of the order is generous,” Hester says. “And the burgundy sauce gives them a zest that really hits your taste buds.” For one dinner around the holidays, Hester recalls ordering from the specials menu. “I had an amazing wild salmon that was stuffed with crab meat,” he recalls. “It was covered with a tangy wine sauce that just gave the dish an extra oomph.” Though it’s easy to fill up on apps and the main course, saving room for dessert is a must. “The choices from the dessert platter are all so tempting,” Hester says. “The cannoli is a can’t-miss, but you also can’t go wrong with a slice of carrot or chocolate cake.”

Reservations at Café L’Amore are recommended, and the restaurant is BYO. Valet parking is provided.

Café L’Amore, 455 Ramapo Valley Rd., Oakland, 201.337.5558, cafelamore.com

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November 2018

Every year, hundreds of artisans and crafters from around the country offer unique holiday decorations and unusual gifts items for sale. Many of these are one of a kind and cannot be found...

Cost: $8

Where:
The Hermitage Museum
335 North Franklin Turnpike
Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ  07423
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Sponsor: The Hermitage Museum
Telephone: 201-445-8311
Contact Name: Leslie Naghshineh
Website »

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Solo exhibition of new work: November 5, 2018 - November 20, 2018 Opening reception Saturday, November 17, 2018, 4:00-8:00 pm At Art Lines Gallery 121 Railroad Ave, Hackensack, NJ 07601...

Cost: Free

Where:
Art Lines Gallery
121 Railroad Ave
Hackensack, NJ  07601
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The Bergen County Historical Society will be sponsoring a day of living history and scholarly presentations to celebrate the 242nd Anniversary of the British Invasion and American Retreat at...

Cost: $12 adults, $7 students, BCHS members free

Where:
Historic New Bridge Landing
1201 Main Street
River Edge, NJ  07661
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Sponsor: Bergen County Historical Society
Telephone: 201-343-9492
Website »

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Robed in magnificent costumes and playing traditional Tibetan instruments, the Loseling monks perform the multi phonic chanting temple music and dance for world healing. 

Cost: Admission: $15

Where:
Shea Center, William Paterson University
Wayne , NJ


Telephone: 973.720.2371
Contact Name: Phillip Sprayberry
Website »

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Life may take you across the country or the globe, but you never forget your home. Join Si-Yo Music Society Foundation and Leonia United Methodist Church for this free...

Cost: Free

Where:
Leonia United Methodist Church
396 Broad Avenue
Leonia, NJ  07605
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Sponsor: Si-Yo Music Society Foundation / Leonia United Methodist Church
Telephone: 347-305-0060
Contact Name: Si-Yo Music Society Foundation
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Based on testimony of Newtown, Connecticut community members, Ulloa's play explores gun violence and a small town shaken by horrific event.  November 13-18 Tuesday-Saturday @ 7:00 pm Saturday...

Cost: Admission: $15, $10 students, senior citzens, WP faculty, staff, alumni

Where:
Hunziker Black Box Theater
Wayne , NJ


Telephone: 973.720.2371
Contact Name: Phillip Sprayberry
Website »

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Solo exhibition of new work: November 5, 2018 - November 20, 2018 Opening reception Saturday, November 17, 2018, 4:00-8:00 pm At Art Lines Gallery 121 Railroad Ave, Hackensack, NJ 07601...

Cost: Free

Where:
Art Lines Gallery
121 Railroad Ave
Hackensack, NJ  07601
View map »

More information

Premiere of Ringing Changes: 50 Years of the New Jersey Percussion Ensemble, a documentary by Payton MacDonald.   Monday, November 19 @ 7:00 pm, 9:00 pm

Cost: Free Admission

Where:
Hobart Hall, Room 140A
Wayne , NJ


Telephone: 973.720.2371
Contact Name: Phillip Sprayberry
Website »

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Solo exhibition of new work: November 5, 2018 - November 20, 2018 Opening reception Saturday, November 17, 2018, 4:00-8:00 pm At Art Lines Gallery 121 Railroad Ave, Hackensack, NJ 07601...

Cost: Free

Where:
Art Lines Gallery
121 Railroad Ave
Hackensack, NJ  07601
View map »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Every year, hundreds of artisans and crafters from around the country offer unique holiday decorations and unusual gifts items for sale. Many of these are one of a kind and cannot be found...

Cost: $8

Where:
The Hermitage Museum
335 North Franklin Turnpike
Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ  07423
View map »


Sponsor: The Hermitage Museum
Telephone: 201-445-8311
Contact Name: Leslie Naghshineh
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Every year, hundreds of artisans and crafters from around the country offer unique holiday decorations and unusual gifts items for sale. Many of these are one of a kind and cannot be found...

Cost: $8

Where:
The Hermitage Museum
335 North Franklin Turnpike
Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ  07423
View map »


Sponsor: The Hermitage Museum
Telephone: 201-445-8311
Contact Name: Leslie Naghshineh
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Every year, hundreds of artisans and crafters from around the country offer unique holiday decorations and unusual gifts items for sale. Many of these are one of a kind and cannot be found...

Cost: $8

Where:
The Hermitage Museum
335 North Franklin Turnpike
Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ  07423
View map »


Sponsor: The Hermitage Museum
Telephone: 201-445-8311
Contact Name: Leslie Naghshineh
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Every year, hundreds of artisans and crafters from around the country offer unique holiday decorations and unusual gifts items for sale. Many of these are one of a kind and cannot be found...

Cost: $8

Where:
The Hermitage Museum
335 North Franklin Turnpike
Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ  07423
View map »


Sponsor: The Hermitage Museum
Telephone: 201-445-8311
Contact Name: Leslie Naghshineh
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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