Danbury CT RULES!
Danbury, CT is one of the most exciting chow towns I know of. It's a wonderland. I am seriously considering moving there.
There is amazing stuff to eat there from many, many countries. And if you count Bethel (sort of a "suburb"), there's some of the best ice cream in the country. In general, Danbury is like Jackson Heights with clean air.
I'll provide a few random quick tips to get discussion started, and may archive the best of our postings to a permanent Danbury Tip Sheet.
Goulash Place 42 Highland, 744-1971
everybody has read Jane/Michael Stern's review of this place, but they didn't rave enough in my opinion. The place serves really true, loving grandmotherly Hungarian, which is something that's VERY hard to find (even in New Brunswick these days, I believe). Nothing sophisticated, just what you'd expect from a good Hungarian grandma cook, with all the positives and negatives that implies. You're eating in the living room of a nice (though slightly cranky) old Hungarian couple, in their house in a residential nabe. It's worth a trip for the chicken paprikash alone.
There are also Italian, Indonesian, Portuguese, Brazilian, Egyptian, Mexican, etc etc places. The ice cream in Bethel is another Stern favorite (as I've often said before, they're very reliable when covering their home state of Connecticut): Dr. Mikes 158 Greenwood Ave, 792-4388; get chocolate lace flavor. Oh, and also in Bethel there's a drive-in so old-fashioned they still make cube steak(!!). Homemade root beer, too. It's the sycamore 282 Greenwood Ave, 748-2716
Another tip from this board: Wendy J liked La Mexicana (137 White St (203) 790-9962) for "wonderful, warming, simple posole... decent mole poblano, and refried beans that have a lovely lardy quality to them"
Wendy also raved about Son Atlantic Market 135 Main St (203) 830-3068, a "good feeling" source for all Asian ingredients, terrific exotic produce, uncured bacon. On weekends: roast pork, duck, sticky rice, noodles and sweets. Great helpful owners.
A list of some local Brazilian places:
Pantanal/Nosso Restaurant & Deli 87 Main St (203) 748-0444 (has earned raves on this board from Andrew Reibman...try the feijoada and the fried pork)
Banana Brazil Luncheonette 91 Main St (203) 748-5656
Bam Brazil 296 Main St (203) 778-2270
Brasil Total/Antonio's Restaurant 15 Center St (203) 744-0699
Dimitri's Pizza 141 1/2 White St (203) 798-9898
Mina's Carne & Deli 36 Osborne St (203) 797-9800
Sounds like a field trip to me; or, shall I ask, how accessible is it to get around on foot? Is there any public transportation to speak of? For instance, I know by train I would take the New Haven line to Stamford, and then transfer for the New Canaan connection, but I have no frame of reference; is it like Hartford in size? Middletown? Hamden? Madison?
Although I was born in New Haven and have lived a good part of my life in Connecticut, I don't think I've ever even been to Danbury. I would try to get there on a good day in January and take buses - if there's a bus system in Danbury. If the distances are walkable, I'd probably prefer to walk off some calories while I'm up there.
Does anyone want to - tentatively - plan a field trip?
re: Frank Language
You can take the train to Danbury! There is a trunk line just like the New Canaan line that connects through the South Norwalk station. It takes about 2 hours from the city. Once there, Danbury has a fairly extensive & navigable bus service (my friend's 11-year old uses it to get around with his buddies). Alot of the places mentioned are clustered in the general downtown area in and around Main Street, which is several miles long. If you don't mind walking, it's possible to get around on foot. You can even get to Bethel using the Danbury buses, but I am not sure which bus it is.
Danbury is a small city (smaller than Norwalk and more focused), with the main drag being the old town, and lots of "sprawl" in the surrounding areas. The town center has the feel of an old New England mill town. Lots of charming brick buildings and character galore.
Bethel is best in the summer, on a Saturday night, when the Sycamore drive in hosts hot rod nights complete with music, and then a cone over at Dr. Mike's. It's a lovely little town, that still is dominated by independently owned businesses.
Come on up! I'd be happy to be field trip chauffer.
re: Frank Language
Beth, I've spent a lot of my life in CT too, although mostly working and shopping there (plus four years of college--any particular reason you mentioned Middletown?).
I do much of my food shopping in Danbury, at Stew Leonard's. I've also recently found that the wine/liquor store in the new shopping center by Exit 2 off I-84 (next to Starbuck's) carries Magic Hat beer.
I must confess, though, that I have no idea where downtown Danbury is. Clearly it's not along Rte. 6, which is pretty much where I've ventured. If you'd like to try a trip, perhaps some of us in the Westchester area could meet you at a more-highly-scheduled station than Danbury and proceed from there.
re: Frank Language
To get to Danbury, you DO NOT take the New Canaan line from Stamford. You take the Danbury line from Norwalk instead. Danbury is the end of the line, and there's even a train museum there. Not too far from the station, there's a very big, well-known Brasilian nightclub/restaurant, Sierra Dourada, that is so authentic you'll feel as if you're in Brasil. Go early if you want to skip the entertainment and just have dinner. Portions are absurdly enormous. Four of us went there and ordered two appetizers and two entrees; there was no possible way we could have finished all the food. Most of the appetizers are easily big enough for 3 or 4 people. The steaks are brought out on a big skewer and served with a knife to cut off individual portions, sort of like a Churrascaria except that you serve yourself. Great caiprinhas, too. I don't know whether the bus goes near the place, but I have a feeling it might. A taxi might be a better bet, it's very near the station. Brush up on your portuguese (Brasilian) before you go.
Theres a lot places that I go out to eat. For Chinesse, I go to Panda House on Mill Plain Road or Century Buffet in the North Street shopping center. For pizza, I like Bambino's on Mill Plain Road, First & Last Cafe on Padanaram Road or Soho pizza on White Street. For take out sandwitchs, I go to Roma's on Mill Plain and Nimer's on the Brookfield border on Candlewood Lake Road. I like Windmill Dinner on Mill Plain Road for breakfast.
Where is the Egyptian place and what are they known for? What exactly is Egyptian food? Have you been there more than a few times, that is how I decide if it is worth it or not, I go at least 4-6 times to realize the truth. Is it clean, that to me is the MOST important thing about any restaurant.
I've had several delicious meals in the Danbury area recently. On the more expensive side, I've dined at the wonderful La Zingara restaurent in Bethel. The food, atmosphere and service are all delightful. I had dinner at the bar,as many do, and met several interesting people.
Last week I went to La Mexicana (Panchos) and had a meal of five different tacos. The tacos cost $1.50 each and were good. Down the street from La Mexicana is El Ranchero and their food is also tasty and reasonably priced.
About 3 weeks ago I had dinner at Bombay and loved it. I am by no mean an expert on Indian food but the food was very tasty, reasonably priced and well served.