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5 Amazing Restaurants in Montclair

Montclair is a hot spot in New Jersey for high-quality restaurants; college students and people in the surrounding suburbs alike seem to be consistently drawn to this area for good eats. If you’re hungry and feel like treating yourself, here are five fantastic places to eat that are within 15 minutes of Montclair State University’s campus.

1. Cuban Pete’s

This place is always full of an energy that seems incapable of being surmounted by the surrounding restaurants; every time you pass Cuban Pete’s on Bloomfield Avenue, its recognizable sea-foam green exterior stands out immediately. You can hear the Cuban music and low rumble of chatter from within. Cuban Pete’s is always extremely busy on the weekends – good for families, friends, and dates. High-quality Cuban food is served, with most of the dishes having a meat as a protein base usually with rice and beans. If you go, a must-try is their homemade sangrias or mojitos! It’s BYOB, but extremely worth it. They mix the sangria right at your table!

2. Ani Ramen

The atmosphere is the first notable part of this restaurant in downtown Montclair. Upon walking in, you are immediately drawn to the white-on-black line art drawings of a street scene on one of the walls. The light bulbs hanging from the ceiling give the atmosphere a distinct, almost antique vibe. Food-wise, it’s also great; there isn’t much variety on the menu, but what do you expect from a place that literally has the word “ramen” in its name? There are a few selections of ramen, as well as some appetizers and other entrees. The only downside to this restaurant is that it’s a bit small for its popularity, making it a very busy spot on the weekends. But it’s still completely worth checking out! Just make sure to go on the earlier side.

3. Toast

This restaurant is my personal favorite; it has a homey feeling to it and has a great variety of menu options. The staff is extremely friendly, and the entire place has a light and open vibe. Toast is mostly a brunch hotspot, although the menu ranges from breakfast to lunch items. Everything there is pretty healthy (save for the various stuffed French toast options, but hey, treat yourself right?) and there’s bound to be something on the menu to please everyone. There are also a lot of vegetarian options, as well as some vegan options! Definitely, a place to check out if you are ever in downtown Montclair.

4. Uptown 596

This restaurant is in – you guessed it – “uptown” or Upper Montclair. The interior has a sophisticated yet cozy feeling to it, and there is even seating outside the in the small alley next to the restaurant (weather-permitting, of course). The food is fantastic on both taste and health fronts, covering breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu items. The staff is very accommodating and friendly, and there is even a wonderful make-your-own-salad part of the menu. Yes, you can add avocado, and yes, they give you a very generous amount of it. Truly a millennial’s dream.

5. Mesob

If you’re looking for something different, Mesob is the place to go. This Ethiopian restaurant in downtown Montclair is unconventional (compared to the other restaurants on this list) in terms of the way its entrees are to be eaten; in many of the meals, they give you a large sourdough flatbread with meats, beans, vegetables, etc. in the middle. You have to rip off pieces of the flatbread and grab/wrap the food in the middle with it. Utensils are needed near the end of course, but it’s fun to eat with your hands at the beginning. Also, the atmosphere of the restaurant is elegant and relaxing, featuring warm, dim lights and beautiful interior decor.


Photo Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Lauren Wisnewski is a photographer and artist, and she is currently studying graphic design at Montclair State University.www.laurenwisnewski.com
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