PARSIPPANY — Parsippany can boast of having several outstanding Italian restaurants. Notable among them, the extremely popular, Zagat rated Eccola Italian Bistro. Situated in a small strip mall located right off Route 46 west, nestled between a bank and an Indian Market, Eccola has been in business since 1990, making it a staple among the area’s finer restaurants.
A family-owned and operated business renown for serving delicious, innovative, authentic old-world style “house-made pasta”, as well as an extensive menu of Northern Italian and creative Italian American cuisine in a warm, cozy, casual, yet classy setting. Let me be blunt, you are not going to be around for 31 years if you are not doing something right! Do not be deceived by the relatively plain, unassuming, laid-back strip mall exterior, as a pleasant and impressive surprise awaits you within.
Once inside you will encounter a surprising ambiance, that in my opinion is part elegant and part casual, giving off a friendly, relaxing vibe in an upscale looking, beautifully appointed dining room with tasteful décor throughout. If you are looking for a romantic evening out this would be a restaurant to consider. Eccola’s commitment to cleanliness and excellence is also evident throughout. From their tasteful décor, wooden accents, recessed lighting, well-spaced tables, open kitchen, gorgeous wooden bar, and wood-burning over (both of which unfortunately is presently unavailable) this is a return visit location.
We were immediately welcomed and offered our choice of several tables.
Everyone was pleasant and extremely gracious. Our waitress, Estella, could not have been nicer or more accommodating. We were made to feel very much at home from start to finish. Service could not have been better, prompt, professional, and friendly. Our table was set up beautifully with sparkling glassware, nice white linen tablecloths, and plenty of fresh, cold water and hot, crispy bread and butter. As we pondered our appetizer selections, our choice of wine, recommended by Estella, was brought out, professionally uncorked, and tasted. It was clear we were in for a pleasant dining experience.
As a side note, I know some people are curious and confused about the name of the restaurant. I have one friend who tells me he has passed Eccola a hundred times and always assumed it was an Indian restaurant based on the name and the fact that it is attached to an Indian Market. Simply, Eccola is an Italian word that translates to “Here She Is”. And, for those interested in such things, Eccola has been frequented in the past by celebrities such as the Jonas Brothers and Britney Spears.
On this visit, Chef Nino Tabmurin was unfortunately not available, but I was fortunate to have an opportunity to meet with the very pleasant and personable co-owner, Janet Tabmurin, who told me that Eccola’s loyal, longtime customers and staff are like family and it is only with the continued support that they have been able to survive through these hard times. After a brief conversation, it was evident that Janet’s sincere appreciation for both her customers and staff was clearly heartfelt. Janet explained it is her husband, Nino, who takes care of the front of the house and serves as the Head Chef and face of Eccola, while she often serves as the pastry chef behind the scenes. Nino and Janet’s culinary journey began in 1971 when Nino’s career started off in a Livingston area pizzeria which then eventually led to the Chessman Bistro, which Nino took over in 1974. As mention, in 1990 Eccola was opened and the rest is history. In those 50 years, Nino and Janet’s kitchens and dining rooms have served as the training ground for some of our areas now most well-known and admired chefs and restauranteurs.
At 73, and after 50 plus years in the food industry, Nino reportedly still retains his great love and passion for what he does, and does so well, and finds serving his customers with great food and top-notch hospitality very gratifying and rewarding. What is evident is that all his long time, regularly returning customers and staff clearly agree.
For our appetizers we started off with one of Eccola’s Daily Specials, House Made Italian Meatballs (Marinara Sauce and Dollop of Fresh Ricotta Cheese). The meatballs were so savory you could taste the fresh ingredients, along with a great texture and delicious marinara sauce that perfectly complemented the meatballs it was clearly a great choice. The Melanzane Alla Griglia & Gorgonzola (Grilled Eggplant Topped with Gorgonzola Cheese over Tuscan Crostini, Garnished with Roasted Peppers and EVOO) was perfectly executed, well prepared, and seasoned exactly right, and the evident taste of Gorgonzola was a treat.
The menu offered one tantalizing dish after another, but I finally ordered as my entrée, the House Made Linguini with Seafood Fra Diavolo (Jumbo Shrimp, Calamari, Sea Scallops, St. Peters Fish, Clams and Mussels in a Zesty Marinara Sauce over al dente pasta). Outstanding dish loaded with flavor. An abundant portion of fresh, assorted seafood served over an ample serving of house-made al dente linguini pasta, all extremely tasty, beautifully prepared, and presented.
The House Made Gnocchi (Topped with Pan-Seared Filet Mignon Tips, Sauteed Mushroom and Onion finished in a Barolo Red Wine Demi Sauce Garnished with Crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese) was also mouth-wateringly delicious. The gnocchi, which I had to try in addition to my own meal, met all my expectations and more, and it certainly deserves two thumbs up.
Yes, I know, I am a gavone. I had planned on trying one of Eccola’s highly praised desserts, but I could not eat another bite, so we finished off a great meal with a nice cappuccino and put it in the books as another fantastic dining experience.
If you have not visited Eccola yet I would suggest you give it a try.
And please come out and support all our small, independent local businesses in any way you can.
COVID 19 Health and Safety Measures Strongly Enforced, Dine-In, Takeout, Curbside pickup, Small Strip Mall Parking Available, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options.
Eccola Italian Bistro is located at 1082 Route 46, Parsippany. For reservations or additional information call (973) 334-8211 or click here.
Reservations are required and limited due to regulations mandated by the state of New Jersey.
Walk-ins are welcome and will be accommodated by table availability.