One size doesn't fit all. Rather than give you a specific place, try exploring. Hoboken is very trendy. If trendy is not your thing, to the west of the Garden State Parkway north of I-78, you'll find some really friendly as well as picturesque towns, like Maplewood and Irvington. Further north, there are the towns of North Arlington and north of Rte 3 there's the Rutherford area. These towns have thriving town centers with a Main Street type and lots of neighborhood places. There are more great towns in Bergen County too just off Rte 4. Try searching online first and then taking a drive. Also, consider a drive along River Road from Weehawken north of the Lincoln Tunnel up to the George Washington Bridge. Aside from the spectacular views of Manhattan there are hidden gems waiting to be found!
As always, TJCNewYork provides excellent advice!
Also, you will find some excellent Spanish and Portugese restaurants in downtown Newark. And, you'll be very close to NYC with some of the best restaurants in the world! You don't even need to drive... you can take NJ Transit trains to both Newark and NYC from the airport!
Have a great time!
If you opt to head into the city with the car, bring a roll of quarters and plan to arrive between 6 and 7 pm. From the Holland Tunnel follow the signs Uptown on Sixth Ave/Avenue of the Americas. Take a right on Bleecker St and head east. Scrutinize the signs for the time and side of the street that parking is permitted, FREE. Some streets may have Munimeters. Park, stroll around and you'll find a pub/restaurant that suits your fancy.
If you take the Lincoln Tunnel, follow the signs to go Uptown on 8th Avenue and go east on 46th, 48th or 50th. This will be the Midtown grid that is teeming with great places. Look up St. Andrews. Also, check out the Algonquin. Lest I forget, my all time favorite NYC pub/restaurant is Keen's on W36th St. My wife and I have gone there for 3 decades. There are munimeters between Broadway to Fifth Avenue on both sides of the street from the mid-30s to the mid-50's. You can loop around for 20 minutes until you find a spot and scrutinize the signs very carefully. Some signs specify Commercial Parking only.
Make sure to bring a designated driver!