Restaurants in Clifton

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Raised by her grandmother in a small mountain village near Genoa, Italy, Maria Leonardi grew up eating and cooking classic North Italian cuisine. After moving to the States, Maria worked in restaurants before opening a small shop to sell house-made pastas, sauces, and soups in 1953. For 35 years, Maria appeared in her neatly pressed apron nearly every day, pausing between batches of fresh dough to share friendly conversation and cooking advice with visitors.

Three generations later, Maria's descendants keep her memory alive by honoring her original recipes in that same shop, now named Nonna Maria's Homemade Pasta. A large interior window looks onto pasta machines as they meld fresh eggs, dough, and cheeses into products such as manicotti, ravioli, and baked ziti. Fresh pasta is cut to order behind the counter, and jars of sauce bottle classic flavors, including that of Nonna Maria's specialty genovese pesto sauce.

1132 US Highway 46
Clifton,
NJ
US

Bensi co-owner Genci Previzi helms an immense menu of classic Italian cuisine, including hearty homestyle dishes with roots in Calabria, Italy. Entrees, joined by a house salad or cup of comforting housemade soup, range from spaghetti and meatballs to gluten-free grilled chicken in a lemon-garlic marinade served over a veggie medley. The chefs also prepare an array of specials such as pignoli-crusted goat cheese and arugula salad, barolo-braised veal osso buco, pan-seared Chilean sea bass with eggplant caponata, and nutella chocolate pizza with fresh strawberries. The dishes are served in a modern dining atmosphere where minimal table settings and simple dark-wood furniture keep the focus on the vibrant cuisine.

352 State Rt 3
Clifton,
NJ
US

When the big game spills into overtime, the last words you want to hear are "last call." That's why Pub 46's bartenders stay on the safe side by whipping up mixed drinks and pouring beer until 3 a.m. every night. The kitchen closes at midnight, ending its daily feasts of American bar food staples such as handmade sausage-and-pepper pizzas, hot turkey sliders, and buckets of fried or broiled wings. Feasts unfold on the pub's outdoor, smoke-friendly patio or indoors amid more than 30 HDTVs tuned to everything from baseball and ultimate fighting to the reality hit Coolest Referee Coin Flips.

1081 U.S. 46
Clifton,
NJ
US

Gold-leaf writing inscribed across the towering red portico at the entrance to The Shannon Rose Irish Pub announces what one might expect to find inside: “Premium Stouts,” “Irish Whiskies,” and other culinary staples of the Emerald Isles. Behind this imposing entryway lies a series of dining rooms that have a markedly different effect; chandeliers create a sense of intimacy as they illuminate Gaelic artwork and aged hardcovers resting on lofty bookshelves.

98 Kingsland Rd
Clifton,
NJ
US

The Carlino family serves authentic, home-style Italian fare as well as gluten-free versions of Italian favorites to satisfy pasta-craving customers. Diners commence with a small plate of stuffed artichoke or white anchovies with green olives and capers. Postantipasti, forks delve into plates of pasta with broccoli and baby shrimp or backflip into a ball pit of tender veal meatballs with house-made tomato sauce. Hearty entrees furnish equal parts meat and Old-World nostalgia, with seafood risotto and chicken cacciatore served with mushrooms, pancetta, and herbs splashed with a white-wine sauce to conjure memories of Nona's kitchen. A gluten-free menu accommodates the wheat-weary by carefully editing Italian staples, swapping regular pasta for gluten-free penne, topping eggplant parmigiana with gluten-free breadcrumbs, and outfitting the restaurant's resident angels with synthetic wigs instead of their traditional edible strands.

421 Piaget Ave
Clifton,
NJ
US

A fresh take on cooked-to-order burgers, Smashburger combines all the comforts of a well-stacked meal with the modest luxuries of expedient service and ample sit-down space. The menu boasts more smashes than two monster trucks playing tennis; Smashburgers (starting at $4.99 for a 1/4 lb.), grilled and crispy Smashchickens (starting at $5.99), Smashsalads ($4.99–6.99), and Smashsides such as the Smashfries fire up the hearts and bellies of all gracious guests. The Smashburger—100% Angus Beef plus quality veggies and cheeses on an artisan bun—takes center stage during most meals, while non-secret specialties, such as the Häagen-Dazs shake, keep mouths grounded, cool, and smiley.

700 State Rt 3
Clifton,
NJ
US

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