Restaurants & Bars

Clifton/Paterson is a Mecca for cooks

pappysmom | Jun 25, 201105:10 AM     2

When I moved to Clifton in 1986, from my sweet little beachfront hometown of Santa Cruz, Calif. I was heartbroken & HATED living here.I thought it was ugly, boring & uninspiring. Little did I know ! Being a woman who has always loved to cook (especially ethnic foods) & loved to eat, I slowly learned my way around town & found that there's absolutely no ingredient for any type of food that you can't get right here. Of course, we have Corrado's Specialty Foods market which offers all sorts of ethnic & exotic spices, foodstuffs, an excellent meat & seafood dept., as well as a bakery & flower shop in-house. The next joyful surprise was the Paterson farmer's market, on the border of Clifton & Paterson, on E. Railway Av. This is the real deal. No trendy, yuppie forest-green awnings, cutesy displays & sky-high prices. It's a whole street of produce & specialty markets ( my faves are El Rancho mexican market & Spinella's, which offers many Italian ingredients & any of the middle-eastern markets). Plus, the prices on their produce are at least 1/3 to 1/2 the price of the same thing in a chain supermarket. There is a charm about the Farmer's Market, too. On weekends, especially, you will hear every language spoken & see all manner of national dress. There's an awesome fish market; go all the way to the end of E. Railway Av. & make a right....it's on the left-hand side. This fish market also offers many Asian cooking ingredients & has just opened a really good, very casual, fish restaurant next door. If you go down Main Av., from Clifton, into the first 8 or 10 blocks of Paterson, you'll find a vibrant Middle Eastern business community. Most shops offer Palestinian, Arabic & Turkish ingredients, as well as Halal butcher shops. There are some very good ethnic restaurants ( I like the sidewalk cafe's the best). For fresh middle-eastern breads you can't beat Fattal's Bakery; right on Main Av., which offers pita, nan, lavash & many other breads; many times still warm from the oven. On Hazel Street ( across from the Corral diner), you have Taskin Bakery, which is open 24 hrs. a day & has wonderful, brick-oven baked whole wheat bread with no fat, no preservatives & no cholesterol. They also offer a variety of breads, as well as freshly made baklava & other mid-eastern sweets.
AK Market, on Crooks Av. (just past the farmer's market) sells spices, fruits, nuts, coffees & teas in bulk, from charming wooden barrels. They have THE best paprika there!
I could go on & on, but you get the idea. No need to shlep into NYC for some exotic ingredient you can't find.....you'll find it in Clifton/Paterson, for sure!

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