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Top 5 Restaurants in Norwalk and Stamford?

NOT EXPENSIVE. Why and what to order for appetizer, entree and dessert?

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  1. Mexicana restaurant on court st. in norwalk......some of the best authentic mexican food i've ever had (even better than the food in mexico).......great homemade spicy salsa.....great mexican beer.......tortillas with shreadded chicken or pork at excellent............portions are huge........they will roll you out of there.......and you'll spend under $40.......

    1 Reply
    1. re: southlake

      In Norwalk I recommend a Peruvian place called Fiesta Limena. I don't know the area well enough to tell you how to find it but it's pretty close to Rt 1 I believe. Near exit 17.

      In Stamford I've heard good things about Napa.

    2. I don't know the Stamford scene at all, but as I work in South Norwalk, I have a reasonably good handle of the Norwalk scene.

      Not expensive? OK. Here are my picks:

      Valencia Luncheria. It's hip, it's tiny, and it's not in the most fashionable part of town, but the food is amazing. I'm personally partial to the ham, mango and Brie arepa, but everything is good. I also recommend the dulce de leche and banana arepa for dessert. http://www.valencialuncheria.com/

      The Lime. A few doors down from Valencia. It veers a bit into expensive territory (some things are >$20, but not many) for dinner, and I've only been for lunch, but it's great. My personal favorite is the salmon burger, but they have good falafel and hummus as well.

      Burger Bar, in SoNo, across from the Crown movie theaters. Best burger around, I prefer mine with gorgonzola with sweet potato fries.

      I'm primarily a luncher in Norwalk, so my apologies for not as much detail as you want, but I'm sure for dinner these places will perform as well as they do for lunch.

      1 Reply
      1. re: redfox697

        La Paella Tapas Wine Bar & Restaurant


        Any tapas and the lemon meringue pie is outstanding.

      2. The best sandwich in Stamford is at the Summer Street deli! Italian combo! Everything about this sandwich makes me smile.

        1. The hard part is keeping the price in line with the request of NOT EXPENSIVE snd staying in STM and Norwalk. When Jfood goes for dinner this is not the pacing item, but he has eaten in several places for lunch that he really likes.

          1 – Barcelona – You can have dinner for 2 for $50-60. Jfood loves the SONO location
          2 – The Lime – Although Jfood has only been there for lunch he loves it and will try for dinner in the future. IJHO (In Jfood's honest opinion) there is no comparison with the Valenzia place five doors down. The Lime is faaaar superior.
          3 –Giovanni’s 2 or 3 – Not the steak place, but for lunches in a very low key, 3 table type place. This is on the corner of North and Franklin in Stamford, if coming down atlantic make a right at Planet Pizza and up on the left.
          4 – Colony Pizza – does not get better and not an expensive as this fabulous pizza place. Hot oil and sausage and it’s heaven
          5 – And on the off chance this may not appear on other reco’s how about City Limits Diner. Jfood has eaten some pretty good lunches there over the years..

          9 Replies
          1. re: jfood

            In Stamford, top 5 Bangs for the buck:

            Brasitas - Great South American food. Try the Pollo Caribeno con Salsa Curry.
            Colony - Hot Oil & Sausage
            Royal Guard - Fish and Chips
            Brennan's - Bacon Cheeseburger and Waffle fries go great with a pint of Guinness.
            Smokey Joe's-BBQ Heaven. Try the pulled pork or the rib sampler. Great sweet potato pie.

            1. re: Foodie Fairfield

              good call on brennan's bacon cheeseburger. i like to sub the onion rings for the fries.

              1. re: Foodie Fairfield

                Brasitas is not cheap at all!!!!! every plate is 25 to 30+
                Its a great place, with amazing food, just NOT in the inexpensive catg!

                1. re: nkmontero

                  Agree. it's pretty pricey. Good, but pricey. For good colombian, I'd recommend La Sorpresa in Norwalk.

                2. re: Foodie Fairfield

                  Have to respond to most of these
                  When Brasitas First opened - it was fine, similar to some very good Colombian food in the Queens but it definitely went down hill in many ways, so I won't go back.
                  Royal Guard should be closed .
                  Smokey Joe's - When it was Busters , it was authentic, but smokey Joe's is typical northern impersonation of great southern food.
                  City Limits never impressed me in any way.
                  I have actually never been to Brennan's - for reasons that I don't have a clue about and I like Colony pizza

                  1. re: whitemist


                    Could you please post your favorite 5? Jfood thinks that would be constructive.


                    1. re: jfood

                      sorry for not being constructive so here it goes
                      I like Mona Lisa for Italian- not cheap tho - but anything is good
                      Fin II for Lunch and Japanese tho I also like Kotobuki
                      Athens (pizza and, I think) fits the cheep and good - mostly greek food Slovakia or gyro platters are good to me
                      I also like one hole in the wall for simple Mexican ... tho I won't say it is the best in the area - Tacos Guadalajara - but it sticks with me as being unpretentious and tastey
                      pizza would be colony - but i like stingers on mine
                      I think that is more constructive, I hope

                      1. re: whitemist

                        thanks W, couple of new names from your list are very helpful.

                3. re: jfood

                  corned beef hash at city limits is very good. their coffee is up to snuff, too.

                4. Norwalk Top 5 Bangs for the buck:

                  1. Fat Cat - nice thin-crust pizza, great wine and beer list. Try the broccoli rabe pie with garlic.
                  2. Lime - Lunch is MUCH better than dinner. Get the salmon burger or try the falafal.
                  3. Post Road Diner - Recently renovated interior takes you back, great menu, amazing value for the prices paid. Try the meatloaf, open-faced roast beef or turkey. Good calves liver & onion too!!! Great milkshakes.
                  4. Diamond Corner Deli - Best egg sandwiches on the planet. Try a ham, egg, and cheese on a wrap with fried onions. It's intense. It's insane. It's delicious. It's on Rte. 123 in Broad River.
                  5. Overton's - Great fried clams, good dogs, burgers, and fries. The adjacent deck has picnic tables and offers the same view as Harbor Lights for about $50 less.

                  I think it's only open in the summer, so in the meantime...

                  5b. Swanky Franks - See above...open all year, but no view.

                  16 Replies
                  1. re: Foodie Fairfield

                    Double F

                    Keep forgetting that side of norwalk for Swankies, jfood agrees on that inclusion
                    Add the blackened chicken wrap to the salmon burger and falaffel at Lime

                    And 2 questions:

                    1 - Diamond Corner Deli is the place just north of the strip mall with A&S? Never would have thought to stop there. Sounds like a stop on friday morning.
                    2 - Fat Cat is on 123 where route 7 comes over across from the subaru place? The pizza is good enough for you to place on this list? But Broc Rabe, jfood expected better, like sausage or pepperoni.

                    And jfood always watched smiling faces at Overton;s but always forgets this place. Then you can walk over for some ice cream.


                    1. re: jfood

                      Hi Jfood.

                      Diamond Corner is in the first strip mall on the left as you enter Broad River on Rte. 123 coming from New Canaan. Same strip mall as La Taverna and Li Bros. I'm there every Saturday AM with my son in tow...it's where I pick up my Advertiser.

                      Fat Cat is NOT my favorite pizza joint, Colony and Letizia's are better overall, but I have a thing for their broccoli rabe and garlic chip pie. Their salads are fresh and the wife really likes their wine list and cheese selection. And it's relatively cheap, so I thought of them as a good bargain destination.

                      1. re: Foodie Fairfield

                        always looking for another pizza place. jfood really likes Joe's in NC and their bacon and tomato is great when lorenzo makes it, perfect crust.

                        and with liz sue xharging $175 for a buttered bagel, jfood snagglepussed and went exit stage left. Will have to see how the bacon/egg/cheese on a roll at DC conpares to Veggie Barn, where they do make a good BEG on a roll.

                        1. re: jfood


                          I've been going to Veggie Barn since I was a wee lad, and DCD blows them away.

                          Try your Bacon Egg and Cheese on a WRAP...trust me on this one.

                          If you MUST go with a roll, specify double egg and/or add home fries to your sandwich. Tell Anna that Cooper's dad sent you.

                          1. re: Foodie Fairfield

                            Double F

                            Jfood just finished the BEC Wrap. That is quite a breakfast my man. And jfood appreciates it given he was just booked in back 2 back meetings through 4PM so that was b'fast and lunch. As you know it can handle it.

                            The people there are great. The guy in the back is busy frying about 100+ chicken breasts, some are already out of the oven in their Parm state (at 8AM) and he probably has 3 more hours of frying ahead of him. the blonde woman couldn't be nicer as well.

                            The sandwich was more a bacon cheese with an egg thrown in. Lots of bacon, lots of melted cheese and a fried egg. a second egg may have been a good idea. Also the wrap itself could have been heated to release some of the flavor. A cold wrap tastes a little too lard-y for jfood. And jfood was a little surprised by the price of $6.50. He felt it's a little steep, but it is a full meal.

                            So jfood would say it is a very good wrap, be prepared for some extra lipitor and ask for 2 eggs and heat up the wrap on the next visit.

                            Thanks again for the reco.

                      2. re: jfood

                        Wow - did they move Fat Cat from Wall Street? I didn't realize that. I'd also like to add Wild Rice, which is just east or the Stop N Shop center on Main Avenue. It's where Panda Pavilion used to be and the food is fantastic. Very fresh, not gloppy - them have real, home made spring rolls! Really excellent asian food and very, very good sushi.

                        1. re: divamon

                          jfood also would place Wild Rice on the list of good value food in the area. Nice choice divamon

                          1. re: divamon

                            Fat Cat is still on Wall. Jfood, are you thinking of G&G Pizza? Next to Duchess?

                            1. re: Foodie Fairfield

                              So there is a Fat's Pizza at 4 New Canaan Ave and Fat Cat Pie Co. on Wall Street. Now jfood understands. Isn't there also a Fat something pizza on Flax Hill?

                              Jfood is glad he goes to Joes in NC.

                                1. re: Foodie Fairfield


                                  Is "PHAT" good or bad? or does it have another meaning?

                                  Jfood is good for 2-3 Joes per month

                                    1. re: Foodie_Fairfield

                                      Glad you think Joe's is PHAT. It was a zoo on Sunday and the new pie maker needs a little more TLC in placing the extras on top. He was very chintzy with the sausage (Lorenzo is off on Sundays). May have to whisper in Lorenzo's ear that the pie was really good but seeing two lonely sausage pieces on a couple of the slices was a little disappointing.

                                2. re: jfood

                                  Fat's Pizza used to be on Flax Hill at the corner of Soundview; they moved over to New Canaan Ave. and Jordan's II took over the Flax Hill location.
                                  Fat Cat Pie Co. is a completely different place. Love that place.
                                  I also highly recommend the Post Road Diner (or the PRD or, as we call it, THE Diner). They have a Buffalo Chicken salad that I love, and buckwheat pancakes and great omelets and great hand-made on-the-premises pies made by the lovely Olga and...well, I love the place, love the people who own it.

                            2. re: jfood


                              Fat Cat is on Wall St. off of Main Ave (across from the old Meson Galicia/Meigas). Take Main Ave. to the ens and make a left.

                              1. re: tito

                                Thanks Tito. Yup, the question was from 2007. and jfood went to Fat Cat last year and enjoyed the cracker crusted pizza. You should also try Strada 18 in SONO. very good pizza.

                          2. A few additional inexpensive Norwalk recommendations....

                            1) Falafel Inn (Westport Ave. across from the Jeep dealership) - great chicken shwarma wraps, similar in style to Leyla's.

                            2) Jordan's (also on Westport Ave.) - for Greek food - chicken souvlaki, gyros, deep dish pizza, etc.

                            3) BJ Ryan's (Main St.) - burger and fries

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Mopsik

                              I can't believe no one has suggested Ole Mole and Kit's Thai Kitchen in Stamford. Both provide good food at an excellent price.

                            2. My Big Fat Greek Deli in Norwalk is also very good ...esp if u want salads...they have many to choose from and they have the best lemon olive oil dressing!! Of course I get it on the side so I can use it for dipping hehe!! Really good food and not too expensive either!!

                              1. "Best bang for the buck" goes to City Limits. Especially their holiday and special occasion menus. The Livanos family who run this upscale diner, own such renowned restaurants as Oceana and Molyvos in Manhattan and their chefs bring that culinary creativity to CL's special menus. On site bakery only second to Sono. Family friendly. A great bar ... with an amazing array of international beers. Stamford, not Manhattan, prices.

                                Speaking of Sono Bakery, one of founders has opened Margot's at Bullshead. Tasty, creative, and inexpensive. Innovative breakfast and lunches, and now open for dinner on Thur, Fri, Sat.

                                But the greatest bargain in area is Costco Hot Dogs ..jumbo hebe nationals with all the works and a drink for buck fifty.

                                Also the garlic burger at Tiernan's. And the reasonalbly priced Italian offerings at Pizza Bistro. Their pork osso bucco is tastiest buy in town.

                                Think that's 5.

                                1. Is Jeff's Cuisine (Norwalk) not around--I dont think I saw this place on any list so far.
                                  Luna Pizza (Stamford) (for a simple NY style slice--closed for renov at the moment though)
                                  Rinaldi's Deli (Stamford) love the chicken cutlet
                                  Ole Mole (Stamford)--flautas, chicken taco
                                  Barcelona (Greenwich) $13 lunch special is great--you pick 3 tapas

                                  1. Must mention Ash Creek Saloon for some decent BBQ and not too exensive. On Cross street by the autozone and the abandoned riverview plaza.

                                    Wife and I agree that Little Thai Kitchen is best so far. Papaya thai is a fake. ok for beginners. Thai spice on Main ave is OK but also fake. I am a snob because boston has The Similans/Brown Sugar restaurants. look at the menu and I bet you'll drive 3 hours for it if you love thai.

                                    Still looking for Vietnamese food..HELP US!!!

                                    For indian food, Coromandel in Sono is decent. nice atmosphere. better to try the lunch buffet on saturday or something. Bangalore in fairfield is much better, but light on ambiance. Indian buffets are much safer bet for price and quality.

                                    I would say that restaurants around norwalk seem to be expensive and marginal quality unless you find a good ethnic place. Check for actual native eaters!!! Would a peruvian eat at the peruvian place?

                                    Maybe just hop a train to NYC and eat right. 2 months here has already proved difficult for eating out on the cheap.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: boston.watchmaker

                                      Fiesta Restaurants are always full of Peruvians.

                                    2. El Acapulco Restaurant in South Norwalk (84 Washington St, #203-853-6217) -- family-run (they are so wonderful & nice!) -- their special nachos with chicken are amazing & quickly addicting! Affordable & delicious!

                                      Sweet Ashley's (248 East Ave, Norwalk, #203-866-7740) -- the owner is an ice cream wizard - I can't remember all the wonderful flavors I've had there but here are a couple of great ones - Double Chocolate Fudge (sorta a wonderful pudding kinda ice cream), Cinnamon, Swamp (awesome), & Pumpkin (and that coming from a former anti-pumpkin girl). He takes suggestions as well!

                                      Famous Pizza (23 N Main St, Norwalk, 203-838-6100) - awesome pizza!! My 1st time having eggplant on pizza was here - delicious!

                                      Coromandel, also in South Norwalk (86 Washington Street, #203-852-1213) - great lunch buffet and friendly staff!

                                      Someone's already mentioned Village Gourmet in Norwalk - great place! The eggplant, scallop, and shrimp dish is fantastic.

                                      Colony Grill (pizza) in Stamford, tapas at Barcelona in Sono, great stuff :)

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: cheesecake5

                                        El Acapulco could go down as one of the worst restaurants I've ever eaten at. I don't make that charge lightly.

                                        1. re: UWStoSONO

                                          UWStoSONO: Just read your comment about El, so what do you think it is a good latin restaurant in Norwalk/

                                          1. re: nbermas

                                            El Acapulco is more Mexican than Latin. And as for their Mexican food, it's basically kraft cheese singles melted over a tortilla. For latin/tapas etc, I'd go with La Paella in Norwalk. For better Mexican than El, I'd go with anything from Sierra Grille to Rio Grande.

                                          2. re: UWStoSONO

                                            I've always had a great/delicious experience there and continue to do so; I'm sorry to hear that it wasn't the case for you. (I'm not meaning this to be sarcastic).

                                          3. re: cheesecake5

                                            cheesecake5: Question about El Acapulco : How do they make the chicken? We have a place called Casa Villa in Stamford that has the most delicious whole roasted chicken, I don't know how they do it but mosit yummy and also addciting. Thanks

                                            1. re: nbermas

                                              Hi, I'm sorry, I'm not sure. I can ask them the next time that I'm there.

                                          4. Okay, I can't swear on the pricing but Quattro Pazzi for Italian and Bobby Q's for barbecue are both in Norwalk and both fantastic.

                                            1. Valencia Luncheria takes you right off the busy Norwalk streets into a Latin American beach town.

                                              The Arepas, their delicious handmade Venezuelan corn cakes, come fried or skillet-roasted, then stuffed with tantalizing combinations like spinach and bacon, Venezuelan pork roast, queso blanco and avocado, or the sweet option... dulche de leche and banana. We ate several. They were all very tasty.

                                              We sampled several of the dinner options, including: plaintain-crusted tilapia, which was light and fresh; camarones al ajillo-- a big bowl of sizzling shrimp with garlic; and seafood paella which is apparently one of their specialties, and worthy of distinction. The shrimp tacos with "slapped guacamole" are a must if you are there when they are on the "specials." Also worth the trip is the adobo-rubbed steak al parilla and the chopped salad with olives, roasted red peppers, and mozzarella, which made me want to go back the next day.

                                              No matter what you order, be sure to try the green sauce in the squeeze- bottle, which tastes great on pretty much everything-- I would have drunken it straight from the bottle if no one was watching! Other items of note are the Mango Batidos--a sumptuous blended concoction of fruit, milk, and ice-- and the Chocolate banana bread pudding.

                                              Since it was featured in "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" on the Food Network, it isn't easy to get one of their highly-coveted eight tables at night, so it's easier to sit down if you stick to parties of four or less. But if you do have to wait, ask the chefs to whip up one of their fresh margaritas-- you bring the tequila or beer/wine if you prefer... it's BYOB. And keep in mind, they only seat until 9pm--even on Saturday nights.

                                              It is some of the best food I've had in Fairfield County...not to be missed!

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: ctbites

                                                I agree 100%, we have been about 4 times in the last few months and we have sensitive stomachs and have never been sick but just smile with the excellent quality and tastes of all there food. I haven't had breakfast there yet but curious how that is?