459 Mt. Pleasant Avenue
Open: Lunch & dinner, daily
Style: A comfortable neighborhood spot with mauve banquettes, white tablecloths and nailhead-trimmed leather chairs serves a wide range of Italian food, while the pitchers of red or white sangria provide endearing Spanish flair. A small partition divides the bar from the dining area.
The Scoop: Chef/owner Julio Rodriguez, of Spanish, Peruvian and Italian (on his mother’s side) heritage, has quite a devoted following in West Orange. He spent 23 years on Ashland Avenue—a side street near the Edison factory—then four years on Northfield Avenue before moving in 2010 to his current location, in the strip mall anchored by the large Metropolitan Plant Exchange.
The Menu: The broccoli rabe with hot peppers and sausage (left), though a $13.95 appetizer, is hearty, delicious and plenty big enough to share. Rodriguez makes fine red sauces, used in his winning eggplant parmigiana, lasagna and specialties such as Stuffed Peppers Julio’s (with chopped meat, onions, olives, raisins and mozzarella). Entrées include all manner of shrimp and veal dishes, other seafood, chicken and pork, plus 11 salads and 11 pastas. The most expensive item is the 16-ounce New York sirloin steak (also available pizzaiola) for $29.95.
Heads Up: The mall has lots of free parking.Click here to leave a comment
What's a Quick Bite? Short takes on casual, affordable dining.