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Sep 7, 2006 03:07 AM

Downtown Hartford Dining

Has anyone been to Morty and Ming's?

Is it me or is Max's Downtown good but not great or spectacular for the money? I went once and spent 200 dollars for a really good dinner for two. I wanted Spectacular for that money. Am I just cheap or unrealistic in my expectations or stupid for spending it? We also went for taste of hartford. Again, it was good for that price, not spectacular.

I went to Vivo's in the Marriott and had a great meal and brunch. I sent friends and they had a terrible experience? Any other feedback?

I think we need a locally owned local-organic upscale grocer in downtown. ANy thoughts? I went to one in Portland Maine and was very jealous we did not have one. It was kind of a non-corporate whole foods lite.

Off Topic: I went to Barcelona in West Hartford for my birthday and thought it was great.

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  1. Yes - Max's is overhyped for what it is. Upscale chain restaurant. I feel like the creative touch to food just isn't there. It's consistent good food, but not standout.

    Morty & Mings is fine. Nothing amazing, not bad.

    Hartford doesn't have any grocery stores in the downtown (nevermind narrowing it to organic/local), perhaps cause there arent many people living in downtown. Catch-22. Its a ghost-town at night. Closest thing to a grocery store that I've seen is Rose's Deli on Pratt St.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Jestner

      I figure with all the apartments opening up (at least 400 new units) in the next year that one will show up. Someone is likely to start servicing that market.

      1. re: Jestner

        saw on the news last night..

        bliss market is going in to the ground floor of the hartford 21 condo highrise in downtown..

        for those who don't know..


      2. I don't think you are cheap, but perhaps a bit unrealistic. Max Downtown, as you concede, is very good. But the price charged is on par with what you are going to spend in any of America's "Second Tier" cities for a very good meal. Within the past few months I have dined in Indianapolis, Kansas City, Orlando, Northern New Jersey, Baltimore and a few others that I am forgetting, and each time I have gone to a top restaurant in the same league and on the same scale as Max's. Some were a hair better, some were about the same, and some were a hair below Max's in terms of food/service/decor. But in every instance, I paid the same, or more for my meal and wine. In my opinion, ALL of these places are overpriced for what you get. But after a while you are forced to concede that the market is what it is, and you have to stop using the term "overpriced". The market price for a nice meal for 2 in a second tier city is now firmly in the $200 range. Max's is no different. No better, and certainly no worse.

        Add me to the list of people who have had a simply miserable dining experieince at Vivo at the Marriott.

        4 Replies
        1. re: FoodieJim

          well said. What are your favorite $200 dinner locations in or around Hartford?

          1. re: hokiefan

            Piccolo Arancio and Cugino's, both in Farmington. As for Vivo, I've only been there once, last Thanksgiving weekend and had a great meal. The two drawbacks were our waiter seemed very uncomfortable/nervous, maybe because they had just recently opened and he was new. The other being the atmosphere, there was none. The main dining area is a huge open cavernous space.

            1. re: hokiefan

              I haven't been in while (year or so) but I always liked Carbone's and would chose it over Max's anytime (though the truffle fries I could eat every day)

              1. re: hokiefan

                Hokiefan: Most of the time my money is spent at Cavey's, (both upstairs and down), Peppercorns, (and occasionally Picolo Arancia), Max Downtown, Max's Oyster Bar, Grant's, Acqua and Pazzo (Glastonbury). I am looking forward to trying Glas when it opens in the next week or so.

                The post above mentions Carbone's. I find the menu and decor too dated for my taste. Every time I am in there, I expect to see Sammy, Dino and Frank at a booth in the corner. I guess it's OK if that is what you like, but I perfer a lighter hand and more modern touch from the kitchen. Tableside flambes and after dinner drink carts are too old school for me.