Restaurant Spotlight: Berta’s Chateau

What started as a summertime getaway for two Italian immigrants living in New York City is now a local dining institution with an impressive wine list

Restaurant Spotlight: Berta’s Chateau
The historic Berta's Chateau in Wanaque, N.J., has held its Restaurant Award for decades. (Courtesy of Berta's Chateau)
Jan 28, 2021

A long-standing winner in Wine Spectator’s Restaurant Awards program, Berta's Chateau is a family-owned northern Italian restaurant in Wanaque, N.J. Its story traces back to 1925, when Santina and Pietro Berta bought a vacation property that was soon converted into the restaurant. The destination earned its first Award of Excellence in 1987 before earning a promotion to Best of Award of Excellence in 1991, a title it’s held ever since.

Now run by the founders’ grandson, chef-owner Peter Bernstein, Berta’s offers a lengthy, largely classic menu with dishes like eggplant parmigiana, veal medallions and shrimp scampi. There are also specialties such as a dry-aged Berkshire pork chop with local apple brandy and Asian pear, and sole stuffed with lobster, lump crab and dayboat sea scallops.

Since taking over the establishment in 1986, Bernstein has also managed and grown the wine list to its current iteration, which boasts over 1,300 selections. Naturally, the list spans the various wine-growing regions of Italy, but has particularly strong selections from Piedmont and Tuscany. There’s a notable selection of Champagne too, and still French whites to round out the selection. The restaurant is now offering takeout, with wine available to-go as well. But it’s also open for indoor dining, and the 3.5-acre property has plenty of room for dining outdoors in the warmer months.

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