Help! Just relocated from NYC to Hartford area
I just moved to Manchester (CT) from NYC and am looking for some recommendations for great places to eat in the area. Ive been lucky enough to experience places like Hama-Ko, Kabuto, Yuet Lee, Ton Kiang, Yank Sing and Boulevard in S.F. and Sripraphai, Lombardis, Grimaldis, Ouest, Jackson Diner, Gennaro, Picholine and Chanterelle in NYC, and made a yearly omakase pilgrimage 2 hours away to Shumi in N.J. Ive mapped out places to try in the Hartford area, and would love any input on what Ive listed below or any other suggestions. And if anyone knows of a gourmet grocer like Fairway, Zabars or Citarella, that would be helpful too. Thanks!
Sushi Murasaki (W. Hartford), Toshi (Avon)
Vietnamese Lotus (Vernon)
BBQ-Little Marks (Vernon), Dannys Little Taste of Texas (S. Windsor)
Chinese Great Taste (New Britain)
French/Italian Caveys (Manchester)
Thai Sukhothai (Manchester), Basil Garden (Glastonbury), Sawadee (South Windsor)
Indian Ambassador (Glastonbury), Bombay (Manchester)
Pizza Randys (Manchester)
Deli Reins (Vernon)
Welcome to Manchester, As that is where i live also. I see by all the posts that everyone is sending you all over the place. But we have some good places to eat in Manchester believe it or not(IN MY OPINION). There is a new place on Main St. almost across from the Library. Called Corey's Ketchup and Mustard. Nice place for a drink and some light fare. No dinners.(http://www.catsupandmustard.com/) Also for Pizza we have been going to CJ's pizza on Broad st. The crust is on the thicker side not thin like NY. style. For breakfast there's Pastrami on Rye, on Center st. at the Green near the VFW hall. Also there's a place called Cinnamon's on Oak st very good for breakfast. Theres Cavey's at the center of town. They claim to be an Italian restaurant but I personal dont find it to be very Italian.Never heard of an Italian restaurant that only serves pasta one day a week,and rarely serves any triditional Italian dishes thru out the week. There are a lot of different places in the manchester area you can try . We highly recomond a place called Afesco's in East Hartford just over the manch. EH boundry line. Headed into EH on Burnside Ave. Very good Italian dishes. Reasonably priced.(http://www.alfrescosrestaurant.com/in...) take a look, hope this helps.
A great local spot in Manchester is Shady Glen, a great dairy/sandwich bar. Their homemade ice cream is very nice (not earth shattering). But they are best known for their cheeseburgers.....they use a special extra large slice that melts onto the grill and gets all crispy on the edges. Fries and slaw also very good. There are two locations.....E. Middle Tpk, east of the Manchester Green, and in the Parkade Shopping Center on the other side of town.
CT will never compare to some of the great restaurants I've been to in Upstate NY (Utica) and New Jersey, but there are some diamonds in the ruff.
I lived in Manchester and there just aren't any good pizza places that deliver. Randy's Wooster St. Pizza in Manchester is the only thing that comes close. Harry's in W. Hartford was probably my favorite in CT. By the way, New Haven pizza is old hat if you've had good NYC pizza. You have to stand in line for an hour + to get seated at the best place and it's not worth the time. Spend that hour driving back to your favorite NYC pizza parlor and see some familiar faces. I guess you have to experience New Haven pizza once, but I won't wait for it.
Italian -- go to Franklin Ave in Hartford. The neighborhood gets a little sketchy for some, but if you're used to NYC it's nothing new. I had my best Italian meal in CT at Carbone's on Franklin Ave in Hartford about 5 years ago. Restaurants change from year to year, so I don't know if it is still all that.
Never found good Buffalo wings in CT. Started at theory that the further you get from Buffalo, the worse the wings get, but that changed when I moved to NJ - they know how to eat here - you don't see any skinny people The Sopranos.
Not a huge Asian food person, so can't help you there. Butterfly in W. Hartford is pretty good.
Giant grinder shop on Franklin ave is over-rated. The quality of their turkey on a sandwich was terrible, wet, processed, crap. One the other hand, their meatball, sausage combo was good.
Rein's deli is pretty good. Closest thing to an NYC Jewish deli you'll find. A little expensive, but huge overstuffed sandwiches.
Max Downtown is very good. I've also been to their Max's Oyster Bar, and was very impressed with the quality for the food and service, and atmosphere. Bring your significant other to either of these places and she'll spoiled for any other dining experience in the Hartford area. I also had a good Italian meal at their place in Avon on rt. 44. This place is not as fancy, but has good food.
Luna and Harry's, both in West Hartford, practically next door to each other. Indeed, West Hartford has become somewhat of a dining Mecca. Within about a four square block area you can find enough excellent restaurants of various types and ethnicities to keep you happy for weeks.
You did not mention Caribbean food, but Hartford has a sizeable West Indian population and a number of authentic Jamaican restaurants.
For pizza, try harry's bishop's corner in w. hartford, especially for the tomato-basil pie which will soon be in season.
For italian groceries, d&d market on franklin avenue is as good as anything you'll find in nyc. try mozzicato's (also on franklin avenue) for great cannoli and cookies.
baton: you have established your bona fides by listing sripraphai as a favorite restaurant. since you obviously know what the good stuff is i can tell you that you will not find a comparable thai restaurant in connecticut. east/west grille is run by a very nice lao woman and she will make her food spicy if you ask; by sripraphai standards it's a little expensive. i like typhoon on main st., middletown better. the chef at typhoon makes her own chili pastes; at most thai restaurants curry is made from canned paste.
what i really reccomend is that you make a trip to boston to go to a spectacular thai restaurant, dok bua, on harvard ave in brookline. if you check the boston board you will find plenty of threads about dok bua. it's about my favorite restaurant in the world.
one more reccomendation for hartford: go to china pan, on new britain ave, on the w.hartford/farmington line, past west farms mall(in same strip mall as borders). china pan specializes in shanghai cuisine. you can't go wrong if you order little steamed juicy buns(soup dumplings), vegetarian goose meat(bean curd sheets wrapped around chopped black mushrooms&bamboo shoots)in brown sauce, whole pan-fried flounder, sticky rice in lotus leaf, house special rice cakes, sauteed bean leaf tops, spicy shrimps in the shell, anchovies su chow style. we've been going to china pan for about 10 years and have never had less than a very good meal.
thanks for the info. I see that you've been giving expert advice on Asian food in this area for a while, and have previously (like others) raved about A Dong. Is the dim sum restaurant next to it still around and still good? And the Shanghai place sounds amazing.
Since my brother lives in Boston, I will send him to Dok Bua immediately, and will hopefully make it there myself. It's now closer than Sripraphai.
you're welcome. the dim sum place next to a dong closed 4-5 months ago, reopened under new management as a take-out place and, in most recent incarnation, recently reappeared as a dim sum restaurant. i haven't eaten at the new place but the menu looks great.
a dong has pretty good produce, excellent selection of frozen dumplings, and really great barbecued meats, particularly the red-cooked pork.
I've heard the Bidwell Tavern in Coventry has good hot wings but I have also heard the service stinks and the owner is a real jerk. Never ate there so I can't tell you if the wings are worth it.
Also if traveling to the Springfield Mass Area - Great German Food at the Student Prince.
In West Hartford I really like the Mexican Food at Coyote Flaco - Very authentic (NOT TEX-MEX). I find people either love it or hate it. service can be slow (it's a small family run place). Might be worth a try if you like authentic mexican.
Also regarding New Britain - When eating in this City you must eat polish food - it's the best here as there is a huge polish community. Try Starpolska on Broad Street or Fatherland on east main St. Don't be scared off by the crappy neighborhoods, the food is truly delicious.
Let me add my welcome to Connecticut. As a lifelong resident, I hope it's all you hope it to be.
I'd have to second most of the previous poster's recommendations (I haven't been to some of them, but I'm making notes). I'd add:
Cavey's (French cuisine upstairs, Italian down--or is it the other way around) in Manchester
Black-Eyed Sally's (Cajun/barbecue)in downtown Hartford.
Any of the Max group of restaurants (Max Amore in Glastonbury, Max Downtown and Trumbull Kitchen in Hartford), Max's Oyster Bar in West Hartford and Max-a-Mia in Avon)
The dining scene in West Hartford (Grant's [continental], Bricco [Italian], Azul [brazilian/south american], The Elbow Room [imaginative american], The Back Porch [same]and others)
Piccollo Arancia [italian]and the Grist Mill [continental]in Farmington
Finally, based on all reports, you can't miss The Federal in Agawam, Mass.
Good luck and enjoy!
I know this is a New England food board, but you just made me miss NYC food so much. Gennaro is one of my favorite "unknown" restaurants of all time, and Lombardi's is, well, just one of my all-time faves.
Fortunately, I'm going to Chanterelle tonight. :)
Re your list, I'll second the moderately positive review of Great Taste. Holy Smokes in Northampton is probably worth the trip for BBQ.
There's a very good Asian market in West Hartford -- can't remember the name, but you should be able to find it.
Last, you might want to check out Bambaleo (sp?) in Glastonbury for Cuban/Carribean food in a big Cheesecake Factory-type setting. It's not great, but it can be a welcome change.
Wanted to let folks know that Holy Smokes is in Hatfield, not Northampton.....take the exit after the Rt. 9 exit, (sorry don't know the #)... go left off the exit and right on Rt. 5...it's a little way up the road on the right. There's lots of good places to eat in the Northampton/Amherst area for all kinds of food, many wriitten up on this board. Also, I highly recommend The Federal in Agawam, tel: 413-789-1267. On thursdays and fridays from about 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. they pass around free hors d'oeuvres in the bar....friday is usually less crowded.
Holy Smokes burned down a while ago, at least a year. For sushi, try Ginza in Bloomfield and Feng in Hartford. Others mentioned are good, but IMO theses two are better.
High end, agree wih The Federal and Cavey's, Italian up, French down :), and would add Peppercorns in Hartford. Also love O'Porto, just past Prospect over The WH line and Costa Del Sol in Hartford.
Agree that Sudent Prince in Springfield is great and a real trip back in time. Great German Food. Also agree that Franklin Grinders is highly overated.
Great Taste is okay, but Boston is only two hours away. Check the Boston board for recs. You won't be disapointed.
Have Fun Exploring
Hello...and welcome to greater Hartford.
You have a great list going...let me add some suggestions!
Cheeseburger: Shady Glen in Manchester
Mediterranean...and the best greek salad ever: Tapas in W. Hartford
Thai/Lao/etc.: East West Grille in West Hartford (excellent food/BYOB)
I've tried both of the barbeque joints on your list but last night tried another, The Cookhouse in East Hartford...I thought it was very good, at least the brisket was.
that'll do for now!
I've lived in Hartford area for more than 25 years. You do have a great list going...a few to add are:
Timothy's, Hartford - he uses only the freshest ingredients, small regular menu because many, many daily specials
Casa Mia in the Italian South End
Agee about doing Polish rather than Chinese in New Britain (although I do like Great Taste) but I think the food is better at Cracovia on Broad St. than at the other ones
Pho Boston for Vietnamese - it's as good as East West Grille
Best chicken burritos are at a hole in the wall place in Newington but the name is escaping me this moment...Taco something
Breakfast at Mo's in Hartford...nothing beats their fresh fruit pancakes. My husband loves their homefries too, tho they're not my favorite. Always a line.
and don't forget you're only 45 minutes from New Haven...look back on the boards for recommendations there.
enjoy!! and do report back!