Vanillamore in Montclair
This eclectic Bloomfield Avenue restaurant specializes in presentation, delicious small plates and incredible desserts, and they do it really well. On a recent midday, we stopped in for a taste to see what everyone was talking about. Chef/owner Risa Boyer studied art in college. What she learned there has been amplified in designing an interesting space with interesting food and incredible house made desserts.
You will not be disappointed with what Boyer has created here. The food presentation is superb, and the atmosphere throughout is relaxed and upscale. The eclectic space features exposed brick, large windows that bring in plenty of light, Edison bulbs for the evening, and a large horseshoe shaped bar that faces the food preparation area. The horseshoe bar dominates the space, and sets the tone that this is a place to really savor your meal. There are tables for couples and groups near the entrance for those so inclined to people watch.
This is a friendly café. Chef Boyer greeted us after being seated. The staff is super attentive, maybe even a bit too attentive at times. But you will savor every bite. The food is prepared fresh, and the desserts are made in house.
The food presentation sometimes features double tiered plates of varying shapes and sizes. I usually prefer single tiered, but the look is an artistic statement in itself. It all seems to encourage diners to slow-down and savor the food, turn off your phone, and enjoy your conversation and the atmosphere.
I was thoroughly satiated with a small salad, and a taste of the special “Afternoon Tea” selections with my Earl Grey tea and some flavored seltzer water. So, I had to spend some time afterward doing some research on yelp.com. I found that the venue started out with an emphasis on desserts. That is still evident at the take out section. But since adding a more varied menu including entrees, Vanillamore has become very popular with a 4.7 rating on Yelp.com, and a dedicated following of some real foodies.
“I was wowed by the beauty of the desserts,” said Anne-Marie Caruso, at NorthJersey.com in a review. “When the small plates are this good, you graze. The desserts are something to behold—or post on Instagram. They’re stunning.”
A happy diner said, “This place is amazing! We’ve been there twice for dinner before seeing a show at the Wellmont Theatre and went once for dessert after a show. The food is amazing and so is the staff.”
From another customer, “Such wonderful people who own/operate this restaurant. Treated a special occasion as such.”
Vanillamore also serves coffee drinks and seasonal small plates like charcuterie, crostini, salads and toasts. The restaurant is BYOB for those so inclined. There is also that incredible take-out area I mentioned with plenty of deliciousness to take home.
Open 11am to late evening. Lunchtime and dinner salads/small plates: $9 to 12. Dinner entrees: $20-30. Desserts: $9 to 12.50 with a shareable Charcuterie’ featured at $25 that is a special creation itself.
Vanillamore also features a luxurious “Afternoon Tea” for two from 2 to 5pm Tuesday-Sunday at $35/person by reservation.
Vanillamore is at 349 Bloomfield Ave., Montclair, Phone: 973-707-5373.