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Apr 1, 2004 12:19 AM

Best restaurant in Connecticut?

  • s

Per my message immediately below, my wife and I are leaving Connecticut for California this summer. We've eaten at lots of great places in this state, but there are a lot more we haven't tried. Would the kind readers of this board please nominate their one favorite (or two favorite, if you really can't decide) restaurants in all of Connecticut? I guess I'm thinking more upscale here (country inns and such), but any picks would be appreciated, even your neighborhood pizza joint with the red sauce to die for.

Thanks, and cheers.

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  1. Here is my list:

    Italian/Pizza - Roseland Apizza - Derby (huge portions, fair prices) I realize being from New Haven you've already had the best pizza on the planet but this place is very good too and you probably won't have to stand on line

    Cheeseburgers - Ted's - Meriden - Steamed Cheeseburgers, You cannot leave without having one of these. It's a CT speciality. I assume you have already experienced Louis' Lunch.

    BBQ - Wood's Pit - Litchfield - great Barbeque - It beats Uncle Willy's by a mile.

    Mexican - Coyote Flaco - Hartford - The best in the state and that's no exagerration

    Fancy Schmancy - The Bee and Thistle - Old Saybrook

    Looks like you have some travelling to do before you go! Happy Eating!

    4 Replies
    1. re: erika

      BTW. Bee And Thistle is actually in Old Lyme, on the other side of the Connecticut River from Old Saybrook. Some people swear by it. Others claim it's over-rated and over priced.
      My recommendations;
      Cafe Routier-Westbrook
      Old Lyme Inn-Old Lyme
      Azul-West Hartford
      Billy Grants-West Hartford
      Max Downtown-Hartford
      The Grist Mill-Farmington
      Piccollo Aranchia-farmington
      The Cottage-Plainville
      Anthony Jack's Wood-Fired Grill-Southington
      Bricca's-West Hartford
      The Elbow Room-West Hartford
      Aleia's-Old Saybrook
      Union League Cafe-New Haven
      Zinc-New Haven

      1. re: Far Far

        I don't understand the people who like the Bee & Thistle. We stayed there one night and had one of *the* *worst* dinners ever! Plus, our room was totally lacking in pleasant decor and comfort.

        The upscale Homestead Inn, in Greenwich, is a member of the Relais & Chateau group, and its restaurant, Thomas Henkelmann, has been awarded Relais Gourmand status. We haven't yet been there, but we've heard nothing but glowing reports about it.


        1. re: RGR

          I ate there several years ago and it was fantastic. Perhaps the place has gone downhill since then

          1. re: erika

            My wife and I travel from Fairfield to Old Lyme each year for a romanitic anniversary or birthday dinner at Bee and Thistle. Great atmosphere, fine food. We are going again in two days.

            I've eaten at Homestead a few times. It is quite ordinary.

            Oh--a nearly unknown place in Milford which we recently enjoyed very much for its fine food--Jeffrey's. It has been around for years, but no one seems to have heard of it.

            Best lobster deal--BBQ in Milford.

            Best pizza--either Sal or Pepe's in New Haven. Been going to both since 1959!!! (obviously, I'm ex-Yale)

            Best Thai--the lunch buffet at Pan Thai Asian in New Haven. And it's unbelievably cheap for the buffet!

            Other restaurants we have enjoyed over the years: Apricot in Farmington. Union League in New Haven. Christopher Martin in New Haven. Tapas in New Haven. King and I in Bridgeport. Saint Tropez in Fairfield. Carmine's in Woodbridge/Westville.

    2. t

      I am going to recommend places in my neck of the woods that nobody ever talks about:

      French/Swiss- Ondine's in Danbury. Good food, attentive service and european charm to boot.

      Hamburger- The BIGGEST secret in Connecticut, some people in town don't even know it, but those that do...Ahhhh... The Carriage House Cafe in New Fairfield (Candlewood Corners)is a darkly lit dive type place... But Bernie serves up an incredible burger. Get it with the most perfectly carmelized fried onions. (You can also get cheese, mushrooms, bacon etc...) The crinkle cut fries are just right cooked to a very good golden brown... The onion rings are just so so. But the burgers are wowwweee. Don't like the scene? Get your order to go and have a picnic at Squantz Pond State Park on Candlewood Lake.

      Ice Cream- After the burger why not stay in New Fairfield for a terrific ice cream? Sprinkles in Heritage Plaza (across from Shaw's) serves up a wide variety of good homemade stuff. They make the waffle cones right in front of you.

      Italian- Portofino's in New Fairfield. They have pizza and such which is very popular but they excel at italian specialties like Chicken Val.

      Pizza- Carminuccio's in Newtown...pretty darn good stuff.

      Cherished Chowhound Joint- Goulash Place in Danbury. 1. Make a reservation. 2. Bring the right number of people or risk the wrath of Magda. 3. Enjoy homemade hungarian cusine like stuffed cabbage and well.. goulash. 4. You won't pay a lot for this muffler, but bring cash no credit cards allowed.

      1 Reply
      1. re: TrishUntrapped

        These places are great to know. My parents have a house in New Fairfield and I wind up spending most summer weekends there.

        We'll definitely have to check out the burgers.

      2. Have you been to "The Place"? Yes, that's the name of the restaraunt. It's an outdoor barbecue place, that has THE BEST lobster and clams special ever. It's my favorite place in Connecticut, by far and away, and I've sampled practically everything in New Haven. The problem is, at the moment, I'm blanking on the location. I know it's off of I95 and I think it's even exit 58, but for some reason I cannot come up with the town right now. My perfect meal there is a couple grilled lobsters with amazing butter, which I never use anywhere else, a few clam specials (the cocktail sauce is heavenly), and a grilled corn on the cob or two. This place is fantastic, if you haven't gone yet, DO NOT leave connecticut without trying! Oh, and it's BYOB as well :)

        5 Replies
        1. re: eating out

          The " Place" located in Guilford Ct on Rt 1. Why anyone would want to eat there is another story. It has a limited menu of shellfish and corn..all grilled...and the portions are miniscule....appetizer at best...with entre prices!! Its BYOB and sit on stumps under a tarp.....and most people bring their own salad.....which you need to do or you will go away hungry!! If you like to eat on a stump..under a canvas....20 feet from US 1 with car exhaust fumes and be served grilled clams and corn at exhorbitant prices..THE for you!!

          1. re: John

            I have to disagree. I love the range of "BYOB" I see there--couples who bring wine and wine glasses, strawberries, and little tableclothes to big groups of students drinking beer from the bottle. It's just a fun place to eat some simple, good, grilled food--kind of like having a barbecue, but without having to worry about the grill or cleaning up. And there's an Ashley's down the road! I don't think the portions are too small, though for some reason, the big pieces of steak have left me a little hungry. Probably it's the lack of carbs available, though you can always fill up on buttery corn.
            In any case, it's unlike any other place, so it's worth going and checking out for yourself.

            1. re: AppleSister

              The CORN is the reason to go there. I'm a native CTer who currently lives in the midwest (grilled corn capitol of the country), and I do believe that The Place is the only place that mass produces tasty grilled corn in CT!

              And the portions should be small...when you're done, you'll still have room in your stomach to justify walking across the street to Ashley's!

              1. re: annie

                you can get GRILLED CORN at LYMAN ORCHARDS in middlefield...
                in season of course...

            2. re: John

              If you left The Place hungry, there's something wrong with you. You didn't order enough food. I've been eating there for about 40 years, have a big appetite, and have NEVER left hungry.


          2. Lets see here.... I've lived in every corner of CT and here are a few personal favorites.

            Arugula in West Hartford. Small quaint, v. good Mediterranean restaurant. Harry's Pizza was also good, I liked how they give you a small, palate-cleansing scoop of lemon sorbet after your pizza.

            Pasta Fresca in Mystic. The BEST eggplant grinder I've ever tasted. Divine.
            tip: They cook the eggplant on Sunday - its gone by Monday. The locals all know....

            Mamoun's Falafel House in New Haven. I really miss this place. The falafel was SO good, accompanied by the Tamarind Juice. I usually got my baklava and turkish coffee to go.

            What else do I miss....? The hibachi grill at Sakura in Westport was pretty good. I can never get enough hibachi fried rice. Unfortunately, the Gausthaus Edelweiss in Brooklyn CT closed (I heard throught the grapevine). Too bad, they had the best rouladen. Hands down, the best German food I've ever had in the US.

            When last I lived in CT, South Norwalk had a few promising places, such as Barcelona (ostrich fillet was v. yummy).

            Hope that helps. Not all fine dining, but tasty and memorable.

            1. I mention this gingerly because I have mostly just traveled THROUGH Connecticut, but is there any reason the Silvermine Tavern hasn't been mentioned?

              We haven't been to many places in CT but this one was quite memorable.

              I recommended it one other time on this board and it got no response... am I overrating it?