Highlawn Pavilion Restaurant, West Orange, NJ:
A Restaurant Review

Highlawn Pavilion Restaurant, West Orange

Highlawn Pavilion Restaurant
Eagle Rock Reservation
West Orange, NJ

Highlawn Pavilion Restaurant Highlights

Fare: New American


Food Quality:
Well-executed inspirational, approachable menu.

Professional, well trained, and attentive

Upscale, with stunning scenic views of the New York City skyline and Eagle Rock Park.

Overall Rating:
3 Stars -- Classified as an upscale "Chef-Inspired Fine Dining" restaurant. (* Note - See below restaurant classification for details)

Note:  Four star Rating System from 1/2 Star = poor to 4 stars = Best in Class

Noise Level:  Moderate - High

Dress: Upscale Casual

Recommended For:   Diners who enjoy creative well prepared American food in an upscale destination restaurant with scenic skyline views.

Not Recommended For:  Budget minded diners who prefer casual dining in a less formal setting with lower menu prices and larger food portions.

Recommended dishes: When available, The Miyazaki prime sirloin steak; The grilled Branzino; and the 24-hour Bolognese

Broad selection of wines and specialty cocktails. Bar scene is vibrant.

Restaurant Review

The Highlawn Pavilion is one of Northern New Jersey's top restaurants offering diners an exceptional scenic view with outstanding food.

Its striking view of the Manhattan skyline is only the beginning of an exceptional dining experience. The impressive view fits in with Highlawn Pavilion’s creative, well prepared American fare. It is a turn-of-the-century Florentine-style pavilion that’s been beautifully restored to European grandeur.

The Highlawn Pavilion is a fine dining experience with all the amenities and without the stuffy atmosphere.

This is a restaurant to choose as a place to bring visitors from out of state, or to celebrate a special occasion, or for a romantic dinner for two.

The dining room is exceptionally large, and at times noisy. If planning a romantic dinner, ask for a table near the window.

During the warmer summer months there is outdoor dining on the patio with scenic views of the New York City skyline and Eagle Rock Park. Enjoy lunch or dinner under the stars.

Now under the ownership of the Frungillo family, known for their commitment in preserving and enhancing historic upscale restaurants. In taking over the Highlawn Pavilion in 2021, they invested in extensive renovations and upgrades.

The kitchen is run by Executive Chef Sam Hazen. Chef Hazen received his formal culinary education at The Culinary Institute of America (CIA). He later honed his culinary skills working in the kitchens of Fine dining, upscale Michelin-starred restaurants including La Côte Basque, the Quilted Giraffe, Terrace on the Sky, Cascabel, and Tavern on the Green in New York City, and Le Gavroche, le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons, and Waterside in England.

Under the direction of Chef Hazen, the menu has become more approachable, with a lot of primed, dry-aged meats. As an example of their new, approachable menu, the steaks are prepared on a part-wood, part-charcoal Argentinian grill, where more subtle flavors are added to the steaks than the traditional steakhouse.

The menu at the Highlawn Pavilion is inspirational. attractively presented, --- prepared using fresh farm-to-table locally sourced ingredients.

The Highlawn Pavilion is open seven days/week serving Brunch Saturday - Sunday; Lunch Wednesday - Friday; and for dinner seven nights/week

Open on holidays; Valentine's Day, Easter, Mother's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve.
* Description of Restaurant Classification - Chef-Inspired Fine Dining:

  • "Old World" with sophisticated and romantic décor.
  • Priced higher than other upscale restaurants to cover the cost of the added amenities.
  • They are chef driven by chefs with impressive credentials including formal culinary education and skills honed at award winning restaurants.
  • Committed to high quality food ingredients such as imported items not available in the supermarket, with emphasis on local seasonal farm-to-table produce, wild caught seafood, & meats without the use of antibiotics and growth hormones.
  • The wait staff is rigorously trained --- professional, knowledgeable, and attentive. Has an alcohol menu with high end wines and specialty cocktails and with a staff knowledgeable in wine pairings.
  • Additional amenities include linen and fine China table settings, carpeted flooring, chandeliers, and complimentary sorbets, dessert chocolates, etc.
  • Patrons tend to be older, more formally dressed, with high incomes.

The most popular upscale restaurants in New Jersey, classified into three categories include; Chef-Inspired Fine Dining, Chef-Inspired Casual Dining, and Contemporary Casual.
learn more about the three types of upscale restaurants and how reviews are created.

(updated: December 2021)