This past weekend I planned a friend's birthday at the new AMC Dine In Theater at Essex Green theater in West Orange. These types of theaters allow you to eat dinner while you enjoy a movie. The have two offerings: Fork & Screen and Cinema Suites. Fork & Screen have tables in front of you and there are more seats in these theaters. Cinema Suites have large La-Z-Boy style seats that recline and there are less seats in this theater–allowing an experience very close to a home theater. We picked the Cinema Suites experience. 

First, you have to order your tickets online–you get to pick your seats on a chart and pay by credit card. Fork & Screen costs $20 ($10 is the movie price and $10 goes towards your dining. If you go over that amount they will give you a bill at the end of the movie). Cinema Suites costs $25 ($10 to movie price and $15 towards the food). The night before there were about 38 tickets available in the CS theater but by the morning there were only about 10 tickets left. So, I suggest you order ahead of time if you can. When you get to the theater you pick up your tickets at the Guest Services desk. 

I had the Asian Chicken Salad and it was very good. There were crispy wontons on top and a good variety of toppings. It was a bit hard to eat because you can't quite see what you are eating but I got used to it after awhile. I also ordered a pomegranate martini which was excellent (there is a full bar in the lobby). It was a bit on the strong side, which didn't deter from the movie watching experience if you know what I mean! 

Most of the items on the menu are standard chain restaurant fare–burgers, salads, pastas, etc. And, knowing that movie theaters haven't traditionally offered such culinary options–the most adventurous being nachos and cheese!–I had low expectations. But, I and most of our party of 6 people were pleasantly surprised at the quality. 

I liked it so much that I would definitely go back. In fact, I can't wait to try it again! Though it might seem pricey for a whole family I think if you were to split it up (dinner & movie) it would run you about the same price. And, if you consider it for date night with hubby you will save time and perhaps not have to pay the sitter as much. Or, it's a great idea for a mom's night out, too. Just be sure to order your tickets ahead of time so that you can sit together. 

And, print this coupon below for a sweet treat at the end, courtesy of MiraBest!

Free Dessert
Note: There are also theaters in Menlo Park and Bridgewater.