March 16, 2012
336 North Avenue
Garwood, NJ 07027
  • Cost: $$$
  • Credit Cards: All Major
  • Alcohol: BYO
  • Parking: Street
  • Take Out: Yes

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March 16, 2012


We first noticed this tiny restaurant after dropping off our daughter at a Sweet Sixteen party nearby. On the basis of the nondescript, well-worn awning that screams Jersey Italian, we decided to stop for dinner (without any research!).

Chicken Calabrese

Unfortunately, all the tables were reserved.  The small dining room looks like a VFW hall. While the gracious server apologized, we caught a whiff of some excellent Italian gravy and saw nice-looking plates of pasta. Oliver’s went on my list of Italian places to try.

Rigatoni Bolognese

We made it back for dinner and enjoyed an unhurried meal of Italian-American dishes. The peppery fried calamari is a good starter. For pasta, we tried a decent penne vodka and a rigatoni bolognese. Chicken Calabrese featured balsamic vinegar, cherry peppers, sausage and broccoli rabe.  A homemade chocolate mousse rounded out the meal.

Turns out Oliver, the chef and owner, hails from Portugal. His relaxed BYO spot has been serving Garwood families for two years. If you like simple Italian-American standards in a cozy dining room, you’ll like Oliver’s.