This upscale Italian restaurant is smack in the middle of New Jersey's capital, Trenton.
The atmosphere is romantic, with leather-backed chairs and garlands of fresh flowers lit up with Christmas lights. Dress is elegant casual. Cuisine is traditional Italian, with appetizer choices such as antipasti plates with olives, salami, ham and pickled vegetables or shrimp cocktail. Entrees include many pasta dishes, from cheese-stuffed ravioli to pasta puttanesca with a tomato sauce with capers, garlic and anchovies. There is a long wine list. Amici Milano 600 Chestnut Avenue Trenton, NJ 08611 609-396-6300 amicimilano. com
Highlawn Pavilion Restaurant
This elegant restaurant opened in 1986.
Not far from New York, this West Orange restaurant's highlight of is the stunning view of the Manhattan skyline. The decor is upscale, with scalloped window designs, white tablecloths and attentive waiters. Dress is formal. Outdoor seating is available on a terrace decorated with plants and fresh flowers. The cuisine is "nouvelle American," cooked with the freshest ingredients; examples include orecchiette pasta with duck bolognese and truffle oil and an organic veal chop with potato gnocchi. The restaurant has a long wine and spirits list. Highlawn Pavilion Restaurant Eagle Rock Reservation 1 Crest Drive West Orange, NJ 07052 973-731-3463 highlawn. com
Located in the North Jersey town of Hoboken, this intimate restaurant offers fine dining at a reasonable price.
Housed in an old brownstone, there are three dining rooms with fine linen and fresh flowers, as well as a plant-filled patio for outdoor dining. The food is elegant American, with choices from a salad with watercress, endive, pears, bleu cheese and walnuts to entrees such as shrimp with basmati rice in a mustard chive sauce. The restaurant features an early-bird special, a discounted prix-fixe meal for those who arrive to dine before 5:45 p. m. A long list of specialty cocktails includes infused daiquiris. Amanda's 908 Washington Street Hoboken, NJ 07030 201-798-0101 amandasrestaurant. com