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Essex Readers Say "Mangia" at a Host of Delicious Restaurants

Over a thousand votes show that readers like to eat Italian food from North Newark to downtown Millburn.

From intimate bistros to elegant dining rooms and homey pubs, Essex County has got some delicious places to eat.

As Patch readers weighed in on some of their favorite Italian restaurants this week during the first-ever Best Of poll, they highlighted popular eateries as well as hidden gems.

Montclair readers said they loved the cozy atmosphere and delectable food at Osteria Giotto in Midland Avenue. Chef Luca Valerin, a native of Italy, serves up seafood and pasta dishes in a stylish restaurant with wood and glass accents.

In North Newark, near the Belleville border, readers picked a mainstay of Italian food, located right on Bloomfield Avenue by voting for the Belmont Tavern, a modest eatery decorated with pictures of celebrities, well-known for its signature dish, Chicken Savoy.

Sofia's Ristorante in North Caldwell garnered votes from readers in all three Caldwells, praising the warm, homey atmosphere owners Joe and Susie Cicchino provide for their customers, along with the generous portions of pasta.

Millburn diners praised an elegant favorite by voting for Basilico, a popular spot with elegant polished wood floors and signature seafood dishes along with a generous selection of antipasto entries. Owner Mario DeMarco has re-opened his restaurant twice after floods.

The 40-year-old family owned Bella Napoli, with intimate table service along with party rooms was the reader favorite in Bloomfield. Owner Sal Siconolfi, who comes from a family of restaurant owners, is active in the community but still has time to prepare such classics as chicken francese and veal marsala.

In Belleville, it was Alberto's Restaurant and Pizzeria that was a crowd favorite. The family-friendly eatery on Washington Avenue includes pizzas and sandwiches along with its restaurant fare.

Maplewood/South Orange readers loved Arturo's Osteria and Pizzeria on Maplewood Avenue, carefully tended by owner and chef Dan Richer, who prepares tasting dishes and brick-oven pizza for his customers. 

Panevino Ristorante was the winner for Livingston readers, who praised the restaurant on West Mount Pleasant Avenue, known for its Neapolitan Pizza, wood-burning oven, and outdoor patio with bocce courts.  

Diners in West Orange praised Due Amici Ristorante, a family-friendly restaurant on Main Street that serves traditional dishes in a comfortable atmosphere.

Cedar Grove and Verona readers clamored for  Toscania Trattoria, a noted restaurant praised in NJ Monthly and the project of celebrated Chef Jose Velez, who serves elegant meals at his restaurant on Stevens Avenue.

Want to check out these restaurants and our runners-up? Be sure to let us know how you liked them by adding your comments and ratings on our Patch pages.

Next week you'll get to vote again in a new Readers Choice category starting Monday. So stay tuned. . . . 

Wayne Robbins March 03, 2012 at 10:19 PM
The Readers Choice poll sure did ring a bell...I've always thought one of the best ways to "check out " a restaurant, besides word of mouth, was to actually watch the owners/chefs prepare one of their culinary delights. That's why I moved my cable show Inside Montclair to an online format - that being said, in a few days, I'll be visiting the winner in Montclair's poll - Osteria Giotto - to "see " their award winning creations . Look for the video here on Montclair Patch very soon.
Crafty Spiker March 03, 2012 at 11:05 PM
The current Bella Napoli on Broad Street is not actually related to the original that started out in Clifton. The original location is now Matthew's Italian Restaurant which I wholeheartedly recommend.
jasper5245@aol.com March 04, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Me and my wife started visiting Angelos pizzeria/restaurant in bloomfield a few years ago. this dining experience is to die for. The staff is great. our steady waitress Barbara treats us like family. she takes care of us like no other. the food is incredible. the ever changing specials are top notch and delicious. the prices are very reasonable, not to mention they are on restaurant.com where you can print out great coupons. this place is so good, we have a hard time trying new places. And no, I am not the owner, I really am a loyal customer because of everything they offer. great food, great service, an all around great experience. Dont take my word for it. Give this place a try just once and like us, you will be hooked.

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