NJ’s best spots for a romantic Valentine’s dinner by a fireplace
It’s pretty easy to get a really good meal in New Jersey; what with the plethora of unbelievable restaurants we have in the state and our amazing cuisine. Some of the most sophisticated, award-winning restaurants in the Northeast reside right here in New Jersey, as you know.
But Valentine’s Day hits different. On Valentine’s Day, you want a different vibe, and it’s got to be something really special. Romance is in the air, and as trite as it sounds you really need to make an impression.
That’s why I feel there’s nothing more romantic than a beautiful meal by a cozy fireplace on a cold Valentine's night. There are so many restaurants in New Jersey with fireplaces, but some of them are casual wing spots or have a very “sports bar vibe.”
The below restaurants are the perfect place for an elegant Valentine’s Day meal with a perfect ambiance for love by the fire.
The Barrow House, Clifton
The Barrow House is a Colonial-Era farmhouse located in Clifton, NJ, on the site of a former farm. Modeled after a traditional hall & parlor house, the space is comprised of seven unique rooms. Guests can enjoy American farm fare like chicken Milanese, wild mushroom pasta and filet mignon, 100-bottle curated wine list, handcrafted cocktails, and a huge selection of craft beer. This country, rustic bar/restaurant is so warm and welcoming, and the unique decor invites you to get comfortable,
The Cranford Hotel, Cranford
This is one of those historic properties that New Jersey is famous for; and on a cold winter night, nothing is as warm and cozy as this beautiful eatery. Built in 1882, the Cranford Hotel has been serving up warm vibes in the Cranford community for almost 140 years with their intimate lighting, casual bar, wood booth seating, and brick fireplace. Reviews of the food and staff here are glowing. Great for an intimate, romantic meal with that special someone.
Filomena's Lakeview, Deptford
Filomena's does Italian like no one else in the area. A stagecoach stop in the 1700s, Filomena's Lakeview, named after the owner's mother, is now one of Gloucester County's best-known Italian restaurants. There are fireplaces in both the upstairs and downstairs dining rooms, and you absolutely must try the gnocchi; made by the restaurant's 85-year-old namesake.
Tabor Road Tavern, Morris Plains
With its soaring vaulted ceilings and double-sided fireplace, you could almost be at a chic chalet in the Swiss alps. I could spend all winter at the ski lodge-like bar, and the menu runs from hummus, samplers, tomato braised meatballs, and spicy shrimp egg rolls to Niman pork chops, pan-seared vermilion snapper, and house-made penne. Tabor Road specializes in local, seasonal food, and award-winning wine and spirit offerings. It’s beautiful, but not at all stuffy; and great for casual light fare or an elegant dining experience.
Ivy Inn, Hasbrouck Heights
Opened in the 1870s as a stagecoach inn, travelers in horse and carriage along Polifly Road (later named Terrace Avenue) stopped here to eat and drink in the tavern below, and sleep in one of six guest quarters above. With its Brick walls and live piano music, you’ll be brought back to a different era when dining out was a special occasion. The fireplaces in the dining rooms make it extra special, and Chef Jack Zaorski is a brilliantly accomplished chef whose dishes get raves.
Metuchen Inn, Metuchen
The Metuchen Inn has served fine food in its charming, historic atmosphere since 1843. This famous landmark features a world-class wine list, 3 working fireplaces, and private rooms to make that special occasion truly memorable. It's pretty, but not stuffy, and cozy, but elegant, too. Its website gives its very simple mission statement, 'Serve delicious, affordable food that guests will want to return to week after week.' And according to their rave reviews, they do.
The Grain House, Basking Ridge
Voted one of the 12 prettiest restaurants in New Jersey, and also twice voted “The best coziest spot for drinks” by New Jersey Monthly Magazine, The Grain House has become something of a legend. With an ambiance dating back to the 18th century, The Grain House offers casual dining in a unique setting. Picture original beamed ceilings, impressive fireplaces, and warm rustic décor. Plus, the Grain House’s Organic Garden provides organic produce and herbs for their delicious recipes.
Gladstone Tavern, Peapack and Gladstone
Delicious American comfort food in a gorgeous setting. Where every single thing is made from scratch. Every dessert, every loaf of bread. Everything. But what makes Gladstone Tavern so special is its atmosphere. An upscale tavern set in a beautifully restored 1847 farmhouse; it’s chic but friendly, with an unbelievably varied menu that has everything from duck confit to an Impossible-meat burger. There’s a kids menu too. Enjoy dinner with the family, or a romantic evening. Either way, it’s a cozy night out by the fire. And, as if that’s not enough, there is live music every Friday night.
Stonehouse at Sterling Ridge, Warren
This is luxury. Stonehouse at Sterling Ridge is, in a word, exquisite. Set in the shadow of the Watchung Mountains, Stone House has a western lodge feel with stone walls, beams, and a copper fireplace. The Stone House bar has comfy couches and a great selection of cocktails and wines by the glass. But it’s not just the crackling fire that brings energy to the place, they also have monthly cocktail classes, live music, and jazz brunch on Sundays. Its website calls it a blend of “rustic cabin & city chic.”
Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.
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