Bitol Cantina: Inventive Mexican Cuisine and Craft Cocktails is a Must-Try in Clifton

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There are restaurants with great food, and restaurants with a great vibe. The very best restaurants can boast both. Bitol Cantina is one such place. Located in the Styertowne Shopping Center (at the site of the former Four Seasons Restaurant), Bitol Cantina is Mexican cuisine with a very modern twist. If you think you’re going to have basic tacos, or nachos and salsa, get ready for something very different.

The decor is colorful, with interesting art and retro neon signage throughout. They offer both indoor and outdoor dining, although plexiglass partitions between tables might make some COVID-wary diners feel at ease dining indoors (not to mention the unintended benefit of lowering the noise level in the room). You’ll definitely want to make a reservation, particularly on the weekend, because Bitol Cantina is getting a very good reputation through word of mouth and it’s sometimes difficult to get a table during peak times.

The crowd spans the gamut of families, date-night couples, and groups of hip singles and there’s something for everyone on Bitol’s expansive menu. A few must tries include:

Starters:

Flautitas De Pollo — Crispy rolled-up mini corn taquitos, pulled chicken, avocado mousse, creamy black bean, and chipotle aioli. It’s a small-bite dish that’s every bit as good as it sounds.

Sikil-P’ak (Mayan Dip) — Toasted pumpkin seeds, roasted tomatillo, lime, jalepeño, queso fresco, pomegranate seeds, and Homemade Mexican Flatbread. The blend of flavors and textures is incredible!

Main Courses:

Steak On A Stone — This entree is exactly what it sounds like: your choice of New York strip steak or filet mignon cooked on a hot lava stone right at your table. Served with truffle sauce, papalo, chimichurri, and bitol fries, it’s one of the most favorite choice among diners, as evidenced by the sizzle and incredible aromas, you’ll enjoy all around you.

To go with all of that delectable Mexican cuisine Bitol Cantina offers an assortment of craft cocktails that are as visually creative as they are tasty. Served in decorative vessels, with inventive flavor combinations, and fresh ingredients, the cocktail menu goes far beyond the expected margaritas — although they offer 11 exotic margarita options both frozen and on-the-rocks. And if you like tequila, they have no less than 29 different tequila or mezcal brands to choose from.

Our one — and only — criticism is that the restaurant’s mood lighting is so dramatic that we, along with many other patrons at the restaurant, needed to use our cell phone lights to read the menu. Turning up the dimmer a notch or two will solve that and make this the perfect dining excursion for any Cliftonite.

Open for brunch, lunch, dinner, and private parties, check out their website for the full menu or to reserve a table online www.bitolnj.com.

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