When my Aunt suggested we try a favorite restaurant of hers in Cliffside Park, New Jersey, I was a bit surprised. She lives about 25 minutes away and her bar is set high. She has traveled all over the world and dined at many of the finest restaurants, so I was more than a little intrigued that she suggested one in my area. We moved to the New Jersey Waterfront (River Road) from Manhattan recently, so I am still getting familiar with the best restaurants in Bergen County. Giulia's Kitchen is certainly one.
Giulia's Kitchen is a hidden gem tucked away on Anderson Avenue in Cliffside Park. I must have passed by it many times on my way to the George Washington Bridge from River Road, but I somehow missed it.
We heard about the history from the lovely, Thi-Bay Miradoli. Her brother opened the restaurant in 2013 and named it after his two-year old daughter, Giulia. Mattia Miradoli was a passionate chef, a graduate from Johnson and Wales College of Culinary Arts and a family man. Tragically, he died not long after opening the restaurant, but his spirit and passion lives on at Giulia's Kitchen.
They call the cuisine "contemporary comfort food" and the description is spot-on. The dinner menu has a wide variety of choices, including appetizers like: Bacon and Cheese Rice Balls, and Beets Carpaccio, entrees from Beef Bourguignon, to Paella and Day Boat Scallops and all homemade desserts like Lava Cake and homemade ice cream. Everything they serve is incredibly fresh and locally sourced when available.
Our dinner was exceptional. They had us at the bread – it arrives fresh and warm and the aroma makes it impossible to resist. The taste-as good as the smell, and we were eager to see what was next.
Our appetizers arrived shortly thereafter, they were beautifully plated and we knew we were in for a treat. First up: one of the special appetizers: Burrata with Prosciutto-wrapped asparagus dressed in a Balsamic Fig reduction and sprinkled with Soppressata, and Tipsy Shrimp: pan seared with lemon zest-wine reduction and served with a creamy, whiskey-infused dip. Both were outstanding choices.
We enjoyed our wine while anticipating the entrees and we knew we would not be disappointed. Our oven-roasted, Orange-Ginger Salmon was served with a walnut-pomegranate salsa that melts in your mouth, accompanied by grilled asparagus and fingerling potatoes. The Cod Persillade was to die for. Thi-Bay confided this was her brother's favorite recipe and I can see why. The cod is encrusted with garlic breadcrumbs and herbs perfectly served with a purple cabbage and leek Mechouia that was outstanding.
It's hard to believe you can get a table at this wonderful neighborhood gem – it's the best kept secret in Bergen County.
Giulia's Kitchen is located at 696 Anderson Ave.,Cliffside Park, NJ 07010