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Where to eat in Darien, CT?

Moving there soon...just wanted to get a good (up to date) idea of what the best options are in town etc.?

Have tried Chings Kitchen...wasn't blown away. Was ok. Nothing great...my one bugbear...if a modern Asian type place is offering "szechuan" dishes on its menu then please make sure its actually "szechuan" style...I mean like you know can I get even the smallest hint of chili? Please, I'm not scared...go on...add some chili... 99.99% of "szechuan" dishes in "stylish" Asian joints are bland to the point of "why did I even bother ordering that..." That again was my experience with Chings...big *yawn*...

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  1. I only like one spot in Darien proper: Coromandel. Truly delicious Indian food.

    1. I hear you on the szechuan deal... when was the last time a "szechuan" dish out here in the burbs actually had a szechuan peppercorn in it. I've never seen it. lame.

      Anyhow, I'm interested in this topic. After living in Stamford for the better part of 7 years, I just realized I don't think I've ever had dinner in Darien. Maybe that's saying something, or maybe I'm missing out?!

      I hope the culinary pinnacle of darien food isn't just Trader Joes and it's proximity to Stamford and Norwalk.

      I remember once someone saying they found good pizza in darien... I think it was near the corner of the post road and Old King's Highway?

      I did go to Post Corner Pizza once on a recommendation. It was ok, but nothing special. Very similar to Hope Pizza in Stamford. Greek influenced, I think.

      1. I also forgot to mention that Tenga should be opening soon in the goodwives shopping plaza. I have been to the greenwich branch and it is very good japanese fusion and sushi. Lets hope the Darien outpost is good!

        1. rory's on the post road has good burgers. the bar is eccentric/cozy/friendly. parking can be real tough.

          1. I was in Darien last month to celebrate a birthday. We had a reservation at The Melting Pot. It's a great and fun place to go with a good-sized group of friends. The fondue is pretty reasonably priced, and yummy.
            There are some other things there, but I haven't tried them.
            This is a good place to go for a special occasion, or not, however you want it to be.

            3 Replies
            1. re: chabela007

              Thanks guys...I will take note and explore! Good news on Tenga opening...I enjoy the one in Greenwich.

              1. re: chabela007

                I've lived/worked in Norwalk/Stamford for over 25 years and agree with all the posts here except for this recommendation for the Melting Pot. This is a theme chain, wildly overpriced for what you get, which is very mediocre to poor food that you cook yourself in a pretentious atmosphere. The bread for the cheese fondue is one step up from Wonder. The chocolate for the dessert fondue is one step down from Hershey. The meat/fish for the other fondues end up as boiled blandness saved somewhat by the variety of dipping sauces that come right out of jars. Great place to take your twelve year old daughter and her friends for a birthday meal--they will feel very sophisticated and then dissolve in giggles as they cook their food and share everything. Maybe okay for a moms night out where the cocktails are sufficient to make the food irrelevant. Otherwise, avoid at all costs.

                1. re: MommaJ

                  My husband and I have been to the Melting Pot on a few occasions and always enjoyed ourselves. We get the oil rather than broth for cooked the entree, so it doesn't seem boiled, and you can fry things in batter. No complaints about anything else.

              2. Oh Boy another Chower hits the 'hood. Welcome, welcome. Unfortunately Darien is not the best for food, sorta like the hole in the middle of the donut. People love Coromandel, but I am not a Indian food lover (long story there do not ask) so no opinion and Little Thai on my list to try but not there yet. Ching's Kitchen received a Good from Patricia Brooks of the Times so it must be pretty bad. But enough with the unhelpful start.

                Rowayton - One of the best seafood resto is in Rowayton, Rowayton Seafood. Some think it is part of Darien but its really Norwalk. Real tough to get a reso in the summer but better this time of year.
                Stamford - Best by far is new place called Napa and Co. Could be the best in FFD county. Menu changes a lot but the found never gets below perfect. Places open all the time on lower Atlantic Ave. For fish there is Ocean 211, which is fairly consistent, for Italian, I like Mona Lisa around the corner, but its a little old fashioned.
                Greenwich - My favorite is Rebecca's, off the Merrit, not 95. Top five in Jfood-land. Another is the Oyster Bar betweeen Lillian August and Aux Delice (Ponzak's place). No resos allowed here tho. Valbella on Post Road in G'wich gets good reviews by many on this board, I won't walk into the place. Never had a good meal. Gor fun there is Baang, next to McD's on Post rd in G'wich near the STM border.
                New Canaan - Sole has a new chef and not crazy about the product since Luis left. He started a new place down the street and needs to work out the kinks before I give him a decent review, not impressed so far. Ching's Table is the best Asian in the area but the staff treats you like fried dumplings. Aloi is better in the summer when the doors are open and you can sit outside. Best veal bolognese you will ever eat.Chef trained by Luongo Savvy gets good reviews but crap in my book. I may give it another try but i am sceptical As soon as they rebuild (hopefully by summer) Cherry Street has the best burger around.
                SoNo - My faves are Ocean Dr and Barcelona. OD is better in the summer when they get better fish and do a better job with it, plus the whole front of the resto is a big garage door that they open ot the street. The miso glazed Cod is to die for. Over the bridge towards Westport is Harbor Lights. Sitting on the deck with some pretty good food is worth the trip. Barcelona (also one in G'wich) is a high energy good food place, most close to a NY atmosphere. Also in SONO is the best bakery around, SONO Bake Shop. Bring your tread mill with you because you will buy and eat everything.

                That's sorta my radius for dinner foods.

                Hope this helps.

                21 Replies
                1. re: jfood

                  Thanks jfood - great post. I have been in Greenwich for the past year or so and know the town's eateries pretty well but not so anywhere else really. Looking forward to exploring. SONO in particular seems packed with interesting options. Only time I ate there was at Knipschildt's (probably wrong spelling) chocolate joint which was very good on the hot chocolate front. He must have got a bump up in interest since appearing on Flay's throwdown...the place was jammed...and it aint big...but worth going back I reckon.

                  1. re: Scotty100

                    The Jfoods are dedicating a good portion of this spring and summer to the SONO eateries. Just be a little careful as the atmosphere on the streets changes about 930PM on weekends.

                    Just keep those posting coming.

                    1. re: Fairfield Foodie

                      Valencia Luncheria on Rte 7 in Norwalk is great. It's "Argentinian Beach Fare". This is Michael Young's place - he was the chef at Habana & Ocean Drive years ago and opened up this place when he left. It's teeny tiny with just a few tables, BYOB, and they only take cash or check. All that aside, the food's delicious.

                      www.valencialuncheria.com

                      1. re: amanda3571

                        That's a new one and its in the 'hood. will definiteluy have to try

                        1. re: amanda3571

                          I agree - Valencia is great. Wonderful arepas done in both traditional and contemporary ways.

                          Just as a point of clarification, though, it's Venezuelan, not Argentinian. Else they'd be doing traditional and contemporary empanadas, and not arepas! :) (which, by the way, would be wonderful... how can we persuade someone to run with that idea too??)

                          Anyhow, Valencia is definitely worth a visit. I really like it.

                          1. re: adamclyde

                            whoops :) thanks for the clarification adam.

                            1. re: amanda3571

                              I think it was a freudian slip! You are just keenly in tune with the fact that we NEED some good argentine places around here. I'd kill for a great argentine (or chilean) empanada right now...

                              1. re: adamclyde

                                There is a great authentic columbian deli/diner in SONO, can't remember the name but it is on South Main Street, about 2 blocks down from the corner of Washington, same side as Chocopologie, pretty sure they have empanadas

                          2. re: amanda3571

                            jfood and a buddy went here for lunch last week. whether it was an off day or something but the food was horrible. jfood threw himself at the mercy of the order-taker who recommended the pulled pork burrito. an enormous wrap showed up and jfood wondered what was inside. this thing was mostly rice and lettuce with three small pieces of pork. and the pork tasted like it was brought up on a slow boat from south america. it was over-overcook, and tasteless. the only thing that allowed jfood to eat it was the green sauce on the table to give it some moisture. jfoods buddy had two empanades, one was OK and the other was pretty bad.

                            On a scale of 1-10 unfortunately jfood needs to give this place a 1. Will try again since the weather is so nice, but if the choice is this place or The Lime a few doors down, forgetaboutit, jfood is having his favorite blackened chicken wrap at the Lime. Hands down a 10 over there.

                            1. re: jfood

                              jfood, are you talking about Valencia? what a shame!
                              the chef of this restaurant is the guy who brought Ocean Drive to local fame...
                              i can only hope you had an "off day" as it's been a couple months since i've been there and the food was truly outstanding.

                              1. re: amanda3571

                                A

                                its the place directly across the street from Dairy King with the "beach" reference to their food. Given jfood is a HUUUUGE fan of OD he is hoping its the wrong place or the chef was onthe beach.

                                Also looked to try the new Brazilian place caddy0corner to this one and on a busy friday 1230pm there was noone in the place, never a good sign. went to The Lime and had the blackened Chicken wrap. This was one of the best sandwiches jfood has eaten in years. He can still taste it three days later.

                                BTW The Lime now serves chicken and hamburgers (yes, made from beef) so it is hard to classify this treasure as veggie-only now.

                                1. re: jfood

                                  jfood, not to quibble, but the Lime has been serving meat and chicken (and fish) pretty much since they opened.

                              2. re: jfood

                                Valencia, or the place I'm thinking of, is very venezuelan... main thing on the menu are arepas - lots of variations, from traditional, like chorizo con queso to contemporary, like brie and bacon or something like that. I loved the place then. But don't remember it even offering stuff like that. It's been a couple of years, admittedly. Small place.. maybe 5 tables, bright colors. Same place?

                                1. re: adamclyde

                                  yup, the arapas were the dish jfood's buddy ate. jfood thinks it must have been an off day since everyone raves about it. will give it another try when The Lime is too crowded.

                                  1. re: jfood

                                    Usually everything is fantastic at Valencia. I go there about once every week or two and the only time I had something I didn't care for was when I got a burrito. The chicken liver empanadas and the spinach and cheese empanadas are a nice treat, they make a great salad, and I love the various vegetarian arepas.

                                    1. re: sherijo

                                      OK guys, with these reccos jfood will write it off to bad day bad pick and give it another whirl.

                                      thanks for the feedback.

                                      1. re: jfood

                                        I work in SoNo, Chocopologie is not one of my favorites. I had a disgusting meal there a few weeks ago, it was almost inedible. Strada 18 is worth checking out for lunch.

                                        http://www.strada18.com/

                                        Match is also very good for dinner.

                            2. re: jfood

                              Jfood-it seems u have a wealth of experience in these neighborhoods but this post is years old...we are contemplating an overnight or two to Delamar in Greenwich. Can u share some options or validate those that u posted years ago?

                              1. re: smilingal

                                smilingal,

                                JFood has moved on, and hasn't posted here in years. Try CTBites, and there may be a link to reach him there.

                            3. I just read thru all the responses, and there are a couple of places in the area that I feel need mention. For Sushi/habachi/japanese you shoudl try Sakura in Westport. It's got the best suchi in the area and I prefer it to Kazu in SoNo any day of the week.

                              For a great, but different pizza, check out Colony in Stamford. It's an old dive and the only food is pizza, but definately worth the trip. There's one size, I'd equate to a medium, get it with stingers & hot oil. Grab a pitcher of Schaffer while you're at it.

                              I also like Burger Bar in SoNo, it's relatively new, but they have the best burgers in the area. They changed the meat since they opened and I must say it's for the better.

                              I'd skip Morton's in Stamford. It's a chain, yes, but we were there last week and had a terrible experience. That's the second time in a row there...

                              Oh, and try Match in Sono.

                              And a side note, Habana in SoNo had taken a drastic turn for the worst, but recently changed ownership. Hopefully they get it back to what it used to be. Ocean Drive also was purchased by the same people. Both restaurants were perviously owner by the same guy as well. Well see what happens there...

                              Good luck!

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: sfoss17

                                since you asked about Darien specifically I'll suggest Roadhouse - it is a BBQ joint and the food is good and the atmosphere great if you have kids.....

                                1. re: KarenNYC

                                  Where is Roadhouse?

                                  I'm familiar with The Cookhouse on the Post Rd in the old Red Lobster location, but I've not heard of Roadhouse...

                              2. jfood wandered back to to Valencia Luncheria on Main St in Norwalk since many of you rave so much about it.

                                He ordered three Arepas, Carlo (dulce w chicken and avocado), Jenny (chicken cheese and spinach) and Pernil (roasted Venezuelan pulled pork).

                                The Carlo was excellent, a nice mild kick to the meat, the Jenny was also very good and jfood would go back for and recommend these two. The Pernil on the other hand was inedible and he threw it out. The pork was about as dried out as anything jfood has eaten in year. he should have read his own post as that is what he ordered last time and did not like it.

                                So if jfood would highly recommend the place but be very careful what you order and stay away from the pulled pork.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: jfood

                                  jfood - glad to hear this experience was better than the last....should you go again, make sure to try the Valencia bread pudding...it is sooo good.

                                2. Has anyone ever tried the Black Goose Grill?

                                  We've wondered about it, but haven't found anyone who's been there...

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Zobot

                                    Nice bar, food OK. Nothing bad, nothing great. Worth hanging out in the tap room in back, especially in winteby the fire, ordering from the bar. But not a dining destination, per se.

                                  2. Jfood, try Valencia for dinner, bring a bottle of wine, arepa with crabmeat app.....mmmm...
                                    I also noticed Brasitas is opening nearby, love the one in Stamford. Ayone go to Los Mexicanos, corner of Wall and Main ?

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: suzyrose

                                      Is that El Mexicano? Did they change owners? Used to be great...

                                      1. re: suzyrose

                                        Did Brasitas ever open in Norwalk?

                                        1. re: vconroy

                                          Have not opened yet. They're working on a space in 600 block of Main, in the same plaza where Roly Poly is...

                                          1. re: vconroy

                                            They're open now but have not tried it yet. www.brasitas.com