NJ Dining: Di Palma Brothers

Di Palma Brothers Restaurant
8728 Kennedy Blvd, North Bergen, NJ
(201) 868-3005

For North Jersey residents, Italian food is something of a paradox. Certainly, when you think of this state and the ethnic makeup of the area, especially if you aren’t from around here, one would think there were a ton of quality Italian and Italian-American restaurants (especially if you watch The Sopranos).

The the reality is that while there are many, many Italian eateries in Jersey, most of them serve the same sort of mediocre Italian American red sauce cuisine using canned goods and SYSCO-type ingredients. Italian cuisine as represented in most of our restaurants is plentiful, but it sure isn’t good. Many North Jersey residents looking for the real deal are often made to head into the Bronx or Manhattan if they want a quality Italian dining experience.

One place that is the exception to this rule is Di Palma Brothers, in North Bergen. The family has been running the restaurant out of this location for a very long time, and the building was established as a business by the family since 1907. The atmosphere is unique — the entire place is plastered with antiques (all of which are for sale) and curios, so you are literally eating in an antique store.

The cuisine, while heavily focused on red sauce Italian American, is the finest example of its type. Di Palma is using top quality imported ingredients and cooking just about everything from scratch. The portions are also very large — your average couple would do fine with sharing an entree and an appetizer, otherwise you’ll find yourself taking a lot of food home.

Storefront on Kennedy Blvd.

Antique vanity in the entrance which divides the main dining room.

A view of the right side of the main dining room

The menu which changes fairly frequently.

Everyone gets this complimentary salad — there is no salad on the menu.

Complimentary Bruschetta with Tomatoes and Garlic as well.

Stuffed Pepper appetizer, with sausage, cheese and pasta.

Arancini, rice balls made out of risotto.


Meatballs, plated

Eggplant Rollatini

Seafood Pasta a la Cartoccio. Seafood was cooked perfectly and the sauce had a nice spicy bite to it.

Spinach Fagottini, a type of fresh stuffed pasta crepe similar to a Manicotti.

The restaurant is BYOB but I thought I would show you how nice the wine is presented.

Chicken Parmigiana

Chicken Parmigiana, plated

The non-pasta dishes all come with full plates of pasta.

Italian Meatloaf, Stuffed with Cheese and Mushrooms

Italian Meatloaf, Plated

The left side of the main dining room, as seen from the rear by the restrooms.

Honey Pecan Zeppoles, which was served complimentary that evening. This went great with the perfectly made Illy Espresso.

The restrooms are also decked out in antiques.

27 Responses to NJ Dining: Di Palma Brothers

  1. Randi says:

    I’m surprised they don’t have baked ziti. When I go home to Ft. Lauderdale, I always get ziti at my favorite italian place.

  2. Annette DiPalma says:

    was wondering what part of Italy your family comes from.

  3. Rosie says:

    I recently dined here and this place is a gem. Thanks for telling us about this restaurant Jason. Lowell and I can’t wait to return. BTW–reservations for 6 or more only.

  4. jimbo says:

    Di Palmas is one of the finest restaurants west of the Hudson. The pace of not being rushed, with large portions and BYOB makes this place very unique. Do yourself a favor and eat at Di Palmas you’ll find yourself going back!!! Al cartoccio is the best!!!!!

  5. Kalliope says:

    The atmosphere is spectacular! The food is divine, especially since Mama is cooking it, in the kitchen. The staff is so nice & hospitable. You really feel like your eating at home with family. It’s an experience, that won’t be forgotten…

  6. Valerie says:

    What a great experience! All of my senses were enticed and satisfied. Superb evening and topped with the honey glazes zepolles, what a treat. I have already sent many friends and will be retuning this weekend for my daughter’s birthday dinner.

  7. Bob River Edge says:

    Have eaten here on a few occasions and have never been disapointed. My family came from the other side (italy) I was brought up on Italian cooking. DiPalma’s does not offer specials but who needs them. My wife and I and our friends love this place, the food is great.

  8. Bonnie & Angel Diaz says:

    The place is amazing! We had our wedding rehearsal dinner at Di Palma’s and everyone in our party was amazed with food and service! The dishes are typical homemade Italian food, which is what you want when you go to an Italian restaurant (instead of some fancy imaginative terribly-tasting stuff), the portions are huge, the prices are fair, and the atmosphere simply special (always checking out new antiques). We love it!!!

  9. Steven and Anna says:

    We just had my mother’s 80th surprise party their on July 21, 2007. Besides giving my mom the special day she deserved, we also were treated by Di Palma’s with all out class. As usual the food was fantastic, with large portions, and my whole family went home happy and full. I want to thank Di Palma’s once again for all they do.

  10. Sam Juliano says:

    It is small wonder that Di Palma Brothers won ‘Best Family Resturant’ and ‘Best Bang For Your Buck’ in the August issue of “New Jersey Monthly.” It is frankly on balance the best Italian Restaurant in northern New Jersey in terms of the staggering portions and the homemade Italian sauce. The antiques that are displayed throughout the modestly spacious one-floor building give it a unique ambiance, and the free garden salad and biscotte really get the appetite going. Perhaps the most spectacular dishes are the old staples–Di Palma’s have the best chicken parmigian in the state and you are served a platter with three or four extremely large chicken breasts with what seems to be a half-pound of pasta. The veal parmigiana, chicken francaise, spinach faggotini, grilled artichoke hearts, cavatelli-sausage-broccoli rabe combo and fried calamari are quite superb as well. This place is culinary heaven and a sure place for repeated visits. I take my family and friends there several times a month.

  11. […] it happened about a week ago I was talking with Daniele, owner of DiPalma Brothers in North Bergen, and asked him where he liked to eat pizza. Daniele and his family are from Naples, […]

  12. davey. says:

    Tried this last night….although the portions are HuGe…I just didn’t the marinara was that tasty. The meatballs were pretty bland as well. I had the chicken parm and though the breading was lacking. It almost tasted as if it was a chicken breast deep fried. My wife had the meatloaf and I thought that was pretty good. Overall….a decent place. The owner did come over and chatted with us regarding our choice of wine. Nice guy…however the waiters and bus boys were not the most friendly dudes. Worth a second try….

  13. Marinara not tasty? No friggin way. Do you smoke? I happen to find their sauce very well seasoned.

  14. Natale says:

    I have been to DiPalma’s on at least twenty different occasions. I’ve been for two New Year’s Eves—I’ve been for three Thanksgivings. There is no doubt—–DiPalma’s is unrivaled for Italian food in the Hudson/Bergen County area. I’m Italian myself——and I don’t go out for Italian food much because I’m fussy about how things are made.

    I don’t ever hesitate to go there.

    And to the person from Ft. Lauderdale who wanted Baked Ziti?? What would someone from Ft. Lauderdale know about Italian food in the first place.

  15. Gina says:

    I have been going to this place for at least 5 years now & I adore it!!! Never, ever have been disappointed by the food. Fun, charming atmosphere. The two brothers who run the place are gentlemen. FANTASIC

  16. angel says:

    yeah i worked there for like 4 years nice place,,nice people,,and the food wow,,to tell u the thruth i used to worked there just for the food and the DESSERTS,,good thing i play soccer everyday,,jajaj

  17. Daniel says:

    I just recently found this site, so I am not sure if you still do restaurante reviews, or if you even still live in the area, but if the answer to both questions is “yes”, I’d be curious to hear what you think of GP’s in Guttenberg (69th and Bellevue) and how it rates against Dipalma’s. Which do you think is better? It is hard to find quality Italian in the area.

  18. NC says:

    DiPalma Brothers is the best restaurant in Italian especially if you are in Shrimp Parm…they might not have it on their menu but you could request it and they make it for you and best of all they give the huge shrimps with tons of cheese…yum, yum…I go to Tutta Pasta in Hoboken, NJ when I can’t make it to DiPalmas and believe me, they shrimp parm doesn’t even come close besides the salad and bruchetta that you get as a compliment at DiPalmas is double the price at Tutta Pasta or any other Italian restaurant that I’ve been too.
    I recommend this place for the great food, the feel-at-home atmosphere, and the reasonable prices and lest not forget, the huge portions of food!

  19. Miguel says:

    The complimentary salad and bruchetta are the best. I started going to this place thanks to my wife and I love it. My recommendation if you like to drink is to “byow” and have a bit of patience when waiting for your food.
    Great place-great food

  20. Bill McGoey says:

    Growing up in a Sicilian household, I can appreciate a great Italian meal. This place is the best kept secret in NJ. Not a bad selection on the menu. The meatballs are very close to mama’s, the eggplant balls wonderful, the cavatelli and broccoli de rapi outstanding as was the Chicken Francese, Parmigiana, and the desserts fabulous with a great cup of cappucino to cap off a terrific evening. i would recommend this place to anyone.

  21. Mo says:

    Can I say Di Palma’s food is orgasmic without offending anyone? The eggplant, which is hard to prepare well, is like butter! I love this place! Who ever heard of a restaurant serving artichokes that are not out of a can? Everything, from the Bruschetta to a Cappucino, is the finest! Not to mention a very romantic ambiance!

  22. Kristin says:

    Went here for a rehearsal dinner a few years ago. My Italian mama raised a discerning eater of Italian cuisine, and this place was fantastic. There may be a great number of Italian restaurants in NJ, but the number of good eateries is quite small. DiPalma’s is one not to miss.

  23. Jim says:

    I bring clients, friends and family and have never been disappointed. Very good food and the red sauce is fantastic!!

    Casual and fun atmosphere. You can take your time and a great value (you can bring your own)

  24. barry scott says:

    Love DiPalma but service can be pretty poor. Last night, we had no waiter and were taken care of by the 2 busboys.

    • Charlie says:

      I think Di Palma on today’s market is one of New Jersey best table ,the service i think is fine for what they charge and my answer to barry scott is if you think you are so good as critic next time that you go, bring your “own”waiter if you think that 2 bus boys are not good for your huge EGO.

  25. jose says:

    dipalma brother is the best restaurant of nj good food and good service

  26. Jerry says:

    I live 7 blocks away and go at least once a week. I have friends that drive an hour from Staten Island just to eat here. You won’t regret it!

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