After I got word that Chef Anthony Bucco’s restaurant was coming to Bergen County, it’s been a true test of my patience as I awaited its arrival. There was an intense renovation, a stretch of speculation and on my behalf, a decent amount of investigating via Instagram. He finally gave us a name, a location, culinary point of view and it felt as if no one anticipated Felina’s opening more than me. Except for maybe Chef Bucco, and, as it’s been seen in the past weeks, most of Northern New Jersey.
On January 4th, after months of talk and teasing the public with #felinaandfriends pop-up dinners, Felina finally opened its doors and much to my delight, it’s every bit as good as my imagination made it out to be.
For some, if you’ve visited well-reviewed establishments like The Ryland Inn or Restaurant Latour, Chef Bucco’s cuisine will be familiar. For others, including myself, Felina will be a first-time encounter and what you can expect is a modern, Italian twist on seasonal ingredients. The interior is industrial and the dinner menu, as Bucco described it, is “deceptively rich” with house-made ricotta, hearty pastas and locally-sourced proteins. The cocktails, crafted by renowned mixologist Christopher James, keep with that same Italian infusion with a variety of “shaken & famous” iterations and “bitter is better” offerings.
The now operational 120-person dining room is just one part of Felina’s reach, Bucco explained to me. Still to come is an adjacent event space—which occupies the former Fish restaurant, and before that, a once Bank of America branch—along with a rooftop cocktail bar.
For more on Felina, visit their website and keep an eye out for Felina’s full feature in the Spring Issue of VUE.
Felina Restaurant and Bar
54 E Ridgewood Ave
(restaurant entrance on Prospect St.)