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. . . .