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Dinner in Mystic

  • Stew Aug 29, 2006 04:20 PM
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will be in Mystic, CT tomorrow, any ideas
for non-touresty eats?

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  1. If you want fresh lobster and clams I recommend Abbotts. It's not in Mystic proper but just down the road in Noank. Not fancy, but excellent and a pretty good value. Search the web for Abbott's lobster in the rough. You'll need the driving instructions.

    1. I'd have to say Abbott's is about as touristy as it gets.

      1. Using that logic, every place in Mystic will be touristy. It is after all a touristy place.

        The food is still great.

        1. I see your point but I don't agree w/it. I found Abbott's EXCEPTIONALLY touristy.

          1. When we're in Mystic (our family lives there) we go to the Seahorse Restaurant in Groton for fine seafood.
            They're at 65 Marsh Rd. and if you put them on your computer you should be able to pull up their site or some good information about them.
            This place is right near the water and has a bar on one side that locals hang at and a restaurant(where we usually go) on the other side.
            They have great lobster thermidor,crab cakes and our kids love the huge salt water aquarium in the place.(so do I)
            Call first about their hrs.;we haven't been there since around Hannukah last yr.
            Their tel. # is 1-860-536-1670.
            Also Abbott's is a great place also.
            Abbott's is touristy but the food is very good and the location is fun as you watch the boats go by.
            Just don't turn your back on the Sea Gulls or they'll steal your food!!(been there,done that).
            Catnip

            1. Seahorse is a good recommendation - where the locals eat; Abbott's should be avoided - over-priced, very touristy; Bravo Bravo is good for downtown Mystic (locals in the off season), sister restaurant Olio in Groton is excellent; I hear there is a 3rd restaurant in this group on the other side of the drawbridge from Bravo Bravo which I'm sure will be/is good. Personally, I'd drive a few miles to Stonington Village and go to either Noah's, Water Street Cafe or Skipper's Dock (if you really want to be on the water and don't mind it being a bit touristy).

              1. Im not sure I see the point about Abbott's being touristy. Yes, there are scores of tourists there, but that, as odd as it might sound, does not make the restaurant touristy. Let's review:

                When you are sitting at a table looking out over the water, is the ocean touristy? No. It looks like the ocean, because....guess what....it IS the ocean.

                When you gaze at the boats moored off the shore, are the boats touristy? How about the islands? Are they man-made Disney-fied pieces of concrete designed to look like islands? No. They are the real thing.

                How about the food.

                Are the lobsters real lobsters? Yes. Do they come fresh out of the ocean? Yes. Are they the same lobsters that are served in other places in the area that are not, by your definition, touristy? Yes. And the prices? About average for what you should spend on a 2 pound steamed lobster.

                How about the wine list? Do they have a list with a huge mark-up designed to soak tourists? No. It is BYO.

                So don't let the presence of tourists fool you into thinking that a place is touristy. I have lived in several areas with touristy restaurants (including Williamsburg, where every other place is named "Ye Olde This", Or "Ye Olde That".) Abbott's ain't in the same league, and it sure isn't Rainforest Cafe.

                2 Replies
                1. re: FoodieJim

                  For me, Abbotts fit the definition of "touristy" because it was A) loaded w/tourists, B) seemed to thrive on its reputation on being 'out of the way' despite the fact that scores of tourists obviously were able to get ther and C) I thought the food was mediocre at best and overpriced. Chowder was nothing special, lobsters overcooked, etc.

                  1. re: JaneRI

                    We simply have different definitions of "touristy". By your criteria, under (A), any place that isn't kept a secret, or any place that others hear is good and go to, is touristy. That is the antithesis of the purpose of this board. I don't live in Maine, but if I scout out this board and learn of a place there that locals love, and I go there as a tourist, has the restaurant instantly morphed into a touristy place by the very essence of my presence? 99% of all restaurant diners in Hawaii are tourists. Is every restaurant in Hawaii "touristy"? How about the French Laundry? Almost everyone there is a Napa tourist.

                    As for (B), it is "out of the way" any way you slice it. The fact that people can find it speaks more to the navigation skills of the human race than to the touristy nature of the restaurant. Would it be better for the place to be so secreted that it is virtually impossible to get to? In any event, I don't see how "hard to get to" ever factors into the definition of "touristy". I've never seen the two linked before. The location of and view at Abbott's is spectacular, irrespective of how you feel about the food.

                    And as to the food, which is (C), it's not the best meal on God's green earth. I, too, have had an overcooked lobster or two there. But mediocrity is not the hallmark of "touristy". I think menu gimmicks are. There is nothing gimmicky about the menu choices. No stupid names for the dishes. Nobody comes to sing to you on your birthday. No kareoke nights. No waitresses in 18th century garb. They don't try to be anything that they aren't, which is an outdoor lobster pound that is actually on the shore. If you dug it up and moved it to Des Moines without changing a thing, then you might have an argument. To me, a touristy restuarant is one that is striving to be something that it isn't, or that is out of place in its surroundings. Stake out a table at "Medievel Knights", root for the "Blue Team", and then tell me about touristy restaurants.

                2. I guess all I can say if that you and I have different definitons of touristy. I don't think a restaurant has to have a theme to be considered touristy.

                  You say they don't try to be anything they're not......well, shouldn't cooking lobsters well be part of that? You and I have both had overcooked lobsters there (I've only had one, since i wouldn't go back), you admit they're mediocre, yet based on your arguments on behalf of the place, can I assume you're telling the original poster it's a good choice for his dinner? I can't imagine why.

                  And another poster on this thread agreed w/me about the level of "touristy" at Abbotts, so I know I'm not completely off the mark.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: JaneRI

                    No self respecting "No-anchor" would eat at Abbott's. We're all too aware of the skunks and other vermin that enjoy the left-overs! But if I didn't live in Noank I'd might be tempted to pay the ridiculous prices for the mediocre food just for the view!

                  2. I'm sure by now the original poster has left Mystic and since I was the original recommender for Abbotts I thought I'd leave with this comment.

                    I was a tourist. Abbott's was recommended to my girlfriend and myself by locals (more than one). We went and enjoyed the food and the view. I thought the original poster might enjoy it as well.

                    1. I keep hearing about the view and I don't recall being that impressed.....I remember thinking it was "nice", no more than that. But I spend a lot of time in Newport, maybe I'm spoiled on pretty ocean views.

                      1. To me, a "touristy restaurant" means a restaurant can serve mediocre to bad food because the tourists will come and eat it anyway - usually over-priced as well. I grew up in the Mystic area and, other than going to Abbotts a few times with my parents or their out of town friends on a bad suggestion, never went there with any friends or would recommend to anyone or had anyone recommend it to me. In fact, I remember Abbott's as being flooded with gulls and having a garbage stench the last time I went - which was a while ago. As I said in my original suggestion, if you want touristy, why not go to Skipper's Dock in Stonington - it's the same view of the same water with a bit better food and less stench. If you want chowder, go to the Seahorse or Seamen's Inne (same receipe as Steak Loft). If you want better food, go to Bravo/Bravo, Olio, Noah's or Water Street Cafe.

                        1. DPI (Daniel Packer Inn) on Water Street has good food as well as the late 18th century atmosphere and believe it or not far enough away from the main drag that most tourists cannot find it. Azu a new edition on Main Street is excellent as well.

                          Evan
                          thenewenglandcoast.com