At Leone’s The Squid is Hot

19 S. Park St.
Montclair, NJ

When you sit down at Leone’s you know you’re in Montclair. It’s not just the fact that you probably spent a good half-hour circling for a parking spot, but when you walk into Leone’s you are generally surrounded by locals. People who know consistently good Italian food.

What Leone’s lacks in pizazz it more than makes up for with hearty food, friendly service and a lively atmosphere. We took in Leone’s this past weekend after finding out our original destination Al di Li was no longer in business, at least it wasn’t that night. We sort of ended up at Leone’s. This happens often and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. I can think of at least 10 other spots in the area that serve better food, but the combination of price and quality really make the Park Ave. local tough to beat.

We started our meal at Leone’s with the Calamari Arrabiata. Our server double checked to make sure we like balsamic vinaigrette and he wasn’t off base here. This tasty starter is drowned in it. Not overly spicy, it’s more of a sharp taste and those who are not fans of balsamic vinegar should probably stay away. However, we agreed it was a refreshing alternative from the usual breaded and fried version of the fish.

For a main course, I opted for the Orecchiette Bolognese and wasn’t disappointed. It’s a pretty standard dish off of Leone’s menu so I wasn’t worried but I was surprised by how tasty the Bolognese sauce was. It’s a filling dish so be prepared to skip dessert or bring a home a doggie bag.

C went with a house special. Scallops and shrimps over a bed of fettuccine in pesto sauce. I tried a bit and thought the pasta was on the soft side but the sauce was excellent.

Leone’s dining room is big, with high ceilings and it gets loud as the restaurant fills up and fill up it does. The only knock we give to this restaurant is that they don’t offer prices with specials. It’s up to you to ask, which is always fun when you’re with a group. It’s a best practice that we don’t see enough of at restaurants and it’s starting to get on our nerves. However, we give props to the place for not even hesitating about opening our wine from home even though they are one of the few resteurants in Montclair offering a wine list. Anyone over at Senorita’s in Bloomfield reading this?

We’ve eaten at Leone’s several times and we’ve had a few clunkers. The pizza is good but not spectacular, sometimes the pasta could have a little more zing, but all in all Leone’s is comfort food at its finest.



2 Responses to “At Leone’s The Squid is Hot”

  1. Drew, Mayor of Montclair Says:

    Very nice review, for a related but slightly different take see:

  2. Ahem, Bad Pizza in Montclair? « JerseyCool Says:

    […] we can list our favorites for Joel: Naunas, Mama Leone’s, Villa Victoria, Marzulla’s but JC thought our readers should have a crack at this one. So […]

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