Websites like Yelp! have empowered the everyday eater to become their local neighborhood's New York Times food critic, praising and damning behind the anonymity of a computer screen.
Some peeved restaurateurs have argued Yelp! is little more than a "forum for the uninformed," a digitally-savvy clan of unsophisticated palates with little-to-no culinary education.
True or not, the reviews listed on the website unquestionably impact popular perception. Will you dine at a place one newspaper critic gave a dazzling review to if the same restaurant was scorned by the unwashed masses? Maybe. Maybe not.
So how does the average joe review the multitude of restaurants in Montclair?
Based on Yelp!'s star ranking, we count down the highest rated Italian restaurants from #5 to #1. (Click here for the top five reviewed restaurants.)
In the case of ties, the restaurant with the greater number of reviews is ranked higher.
Osteria Giotto, 4.5 Stars, 103 Reviews
This is one of my favorite restaurants...period, said B.T.'s profile. It's friendly, with attentive but non invasive service.
I usually order fish here, because it is prepared in a fresh style, with very little oil and no breading. The salads are fantastic, and they dish out the best linguini with clam sauce !
The portions are large, so I often take home enough for lunch the next day...yum. It's also BYOB, so you'll save money on wine too ! And you have to try the Panna Cotta for dessert...Whoa !
Fascino, 4 Stars, 68 Reviews
Fascino is fabulous, said Justine H. I have only been here once, but I still dream about their ricotta gnocchi. Light, fluffy, and smothered in a delicious meat sauce. Everyone in my party loved Fascino. I was, however, so into my gnocchi that I can't remember what other dishes they had. Guess I have to go back to do some more taste testing.
Make a reservation to guarantee a seat. The setting is dark and intimate thus perfect for a date.
BYOB to guarantee some bow chicka wow wow time. This food is definitely delicious and romantic.
Corso 98, 4 Stars, 32 Reviews
I arrived on time and was seated immediately, said Robert B. It was my wife's birthday and the kitchen prepared a Pistachio salmon which I requested. This dish is not normally served by the restaurant but they made it just for us.
The service is exceptional. When the waiter accidentally threw out my wifes doggie bag which was destined for my son at home, they replaced it with a fresh cooked entree at no charge and gave us free deserts while we waited! When is the last time that happened.
You feel like a valued customer and not a stranger. The waiters are very well trained and everything is supervised by the owner who is on the floor all night long. Not hiding in the back like most places.
Salute Brick Oven Bistro, 3.5 Stars, 46 Reviews
Great ambiance, said Missy B. Good food-Crostini's are great along with Veal Meatballs. Nice and casual neighborhood BYOB. Recommend for groups or date night. Definitely recommend reservations on weekend nights.
Leone's, 3.5, 40 Reviews
Holy MARGARITA!, said Judy S. Pizza perfection in my opinion. Oh that light charred dough with the cheese that strings on for days and the perfect portion of basil to tomato sauce! Makes me a happy girl. I'm all about the local place so I will continuously be a supporter of Leone's. So grab a bottle of wine and head over there...like now!