Where have all of the Italian restaurants in Clifton gone?


I know what you’re probably thinking… Clifton practically has an Italian restaurant on every corner… or does it?

A quick Google search for ‘Italian restaurants in Clifton’ will give you about 19 different options; however, all but one of those are pizza restaurants. I know that many of these pizza places offer really good food in addition to pizza, but the only Italian restaurant that is not also a pizza place is Matthew’s on Bloomfield Avenue. While Matthew's has been a long-time Clifton favorites, we are still left with a shocking lack of Italian restaurants in Clifton.

Don’t believe me? Over the course of the last several years, the following Italian restaurants have all closed in Clifton:

  • Aurora’s
  • Avenue Bistro
  • Bucco
  • Daltos
  • La Riviera
  • Milanos
  • Sergio’s

Some were full-service restaurants with bars, and others were quaint BYOB establishments. Each was unique in its menu offerings and ambience, but all offered great food and perfect date-night vibes where you could enjoy a glass of wine and freshly made pasta, crusty bread, linen tablecloths, and tasty Italian specialties.

The reasons for each closing varied, there were tragic fires, owner retirements, loss of leases, and COVID shutdowns, but the one common thing that all of these restaurants share is that none were replaced with another Italian restaurant.

It could be the changing demographics in Clifton, and that our newer residents may not be as interested in Italian restaurants as had been the case in years past. However, considering that Italian is always in the top 3 of any rankings of ethnic food in the U.S. I believe that restaurant owners are truly missing a huge opportunity.

As someone who dines out about once a week and even writes about restaurants for The Clifton Times, I would much rather be able to have dinner at an Italian restaurant in town, rather than having to head to Montclair, Totowa, Rutherford, Nutley, or Lyndhurst for an Italian meal, but sadly that’s really the only option available.

It certainly could change, but for now, let me know if you need a recommendation for a good ‘date night’ Italian restaurant… outside of Clifton.

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