The Best Restaurants in South Orange

The birthplace of the Sloppy Joe and so much more.

Bistro D'Azur
Experience the cuisine of Southern France at Bistro D'Azur. Photo courtesy of Bistro D'Azur

South Orange’s downtown has a smattering of restaurants of varying cuisines, from a modern American spot run by celebrity chef David Burke to a popular Ethiopian restaurant to the deli that’s the birthplace of the famed Sloppy Joe sandwich.

Most are within walking distance of the train station, making things easy for commuters who want to grab a bite after returning home from work or diners from other parts of New Jersey who don’t want to drive to experience a great place to eat. South Orange shares a school district with nearby Maplewood, and the two towns have a lot of New York City transplants used to good dining.

Below are our top picks for the best restaurants in South Orange in alphabetical order.

Why should you trust this list? Put simply, New Jersey Monthly knows New Jersey’s dining scene. Our editors and restaurant critics spend endless amounts of time traversing the state to dine at all types of establishments, from fine-dining restaurants to pizza places, old favorites to new restaurants bringing their own flavor to New Jersey’s culinary scene.

Enjoy!

Bistro D’Azur

Bistro D'Azur

Photo courtesy of Bistro D’Azur

When New Jersey Monthly reviewed this artisanal French-Mediterranean restaurant just a few months after it opened, we wrote of the “excellence to be found on the menu and the uplifting beauty of the space.” Now, a couple of years later, Bistro D’Azur has earned multiple accolades in NJM‘s annual readers’ poll (for French restaurant and romantic restaurant) and lots of local fans. The restaurant solely offers a prix fixe option, with two courses for $74 per person and three for $89 per person. The menu changes almost daily, but diners can expect entrées like roasted lamb rib chops, grilled swordfish and pan-seared scallops. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, a special five-course chef’s tasting menu from executive chef Richard Krug is $69 per person. The restaurant uses locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. BYO. —Julie Gordon 

The Fox & Falcon by David Burke

Since opening in 2018, the Fox & Falcon has been a South Orange favorite for great food and a fun atmosphere, but when celebrity chef David Burke took over operations in 2023, he brought his own flavor to the place. Burke’s (Red Horse, 1776, The GOAT) modern American menu includes some of his signature items, like the popular Clothesline Bacon, as well as entrées like EVOO chicken parm, surf & turf and a falafel burger, a sizable sushi menu, Burke’s famously delectable desserts, and a full bar. Also check out the Snug, the restaurant’s cozy Irish pub located downstairs. —JG

Jackie & Sons

Eggs at Jackie & Sons in South Orange

Photo courtesy of Jackie & Sons

Delicious, fresh fare is on the menu at Jackie & Sons for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner to go. Dishes range from American classics to Mediterranean-inspired food to authentic Palestinian dishes, with a variety of platters and kebabs, omelettes, pitas, wraps, greens and the popular “meze heaven” offerings, where you can choose any three for $15 or four for $18 with options like cauliflower tahini, tuna salad, lemon parsley potato salad,  falafel and beet salad. The smoothies and coffee drinks are also great.

Miti Miti Latin Street Food

Tasty Latin street food is the star here, with everything from  chips and nachos to a variety of empanadas, quesadillas and burritos to Dirty Birdy Chicken Wings with several sauce options. A full breakfast menu is also available. Enjoy your food either inside or on the back patio. —JG

The Order

Opening just months before the pandemic began, the Order, a family business, has created a welcoming gathering place serving top-notch coffee drinks, plus a truly terrific seasonal menu for breakfast, lunch and early dinner. Dishes include a variety of delicious “Eggies,” as the Order calls them, plus burgers, sandwiches, salads and bowls. It’s a great place for a laidback meal catching up with a friend or two. —JG
50 West South Orange Avenue, 973-313-1333

Reservoir Restaurant

This old-school Italian restaurant (in its current location since 1965, in operation is New Jersey since 1935) is known for its fantastic pizzas, which are great sans topping or with a variety of meat or veggie options. Reservoir also serves up hearty Italian dishes, pastas and more in its casual, family-friendly space. —JG
106 Wesst South Orange Avenue, 973-762-9795

Town Hall Delicatessen

What’s more Jersey than a Sloppy Joe? (No, not the goopy meat sandwich you remember from high school cafeteria days, but the deli sandwich that anyone with a Jersey driver’s license should know about). Town Hall Deli is the birthplace of the Sloppy Joe (dating back to the 1930s), and it still serves a mean one with the customer’s choice of two meats plus Swiss cheese, three slices of rye bread, dry coleslaw and Russian dressing. Note that they come in a half or whole sandwich size; the whole is large and feeds 2-3 people. The small, busy lunch spot also serves other types of sandwiches, soups and more. Order at the counter, then grab a table. In celebrity trivia, this spot is a favorite of actor/director Zach Braff, who grew up in South Orange and Maplewood and raved about it to NJM when we interviewed him in 2023. —JG
74 First Street, 973-762-4900

Village Hall

A 2022 addition to the Landmark empire (think Maddy Rose at Liberty House and Felina Steak in Jersey City; Stone House in Warren) Village Hall fits the bill with a spacious dining room, event space and indoor/outdoor beer garden, housed in a 1894 historic building. The diverse menu delivers a range tempting starters, including burrata and fig salad and grilled oysters; complemented by mains like a hearth-roasted salmon with glazed carrots and charred scallion vinaigrette; and family-style pizzas. —Deborah P. Carter
101 South Orange Avenue, 973-996-8969, .

Walia Ethiopian Restaurant 

A decade strong, this Ethiopian restaurant serves authentic cuisine and caters to diners who are familiar with it as well as newbies who are trying Ethiopian food for the first time. The staff is always helpful with recommendations and help navigating the menu. The menu is large (entrées come with two side dishes) and includes a lot of vegetarian options.
11 Village Plaza, 973-762-2186

MORE LOCAL DINING GUIDES:
The Best Restaurants in Maplewood
The Best Restaurants in Morristown
The Best Restaurants in Montclair

 


No one knows New Jersey like we do. Sign up for one of our free newsletters here. Want a print magazine mailed to you? Purchase an issue from our online store.