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CT: looking for a new place!

I know the New Haven, CT restaurants really well and have become a bit bored with them - don't get me wrong, there are delicious places (as well as others that are less so), but i would love to hear any suggestions people have in the area - any places in Milford, Branford, Guilford, West Haven, Hamden that people really love? Any type of cuisine goes, i'm just a bit bored and would love some suggestions!

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  1. well-- what are you bored with?? B4 I suggest!

    1 Reply
    1. re: madisoneats

      I'm not bored with anything in particular - i just know all the restaurants downtown, having been around for quite a while, and dont get excited to go to them anymore. i don't need to be AMAZED, just need something new. I got a recommendation to SARAY in West Haven and must say i liked it quite a bit - wasn't floored, but will definitely go back!

    2. According to the Advocate, La Cuisine Café & Market is a new restaurant in Branford which sounds interesting. It used to be a caterer with a tiny restaurant downtown, but closed there and has now reopened at 750 E. Main St., Branford.

      3 Replies
      1. re: DonShirer

        I've had take out form there. Disappointed with the cheese selection after they billed themselves as scouting out the best artisan cheese around. False...not to mention prices are stupidly way off. I don't call having 4 cheeses aselection. What did we have??? Grilled lemon chicken breast...good not mind blowing. They have a little seating area where you take your meal and sit and watch the Rt 1 traffic go by. I mean I dunno if it's gotten any better since then. Please correct me if it has.

        1. re: vino5150

          Been wanting to comment re: La Cuisine for days--
          it is a wonderful addition to that stretch of Rte 1 in Branford, no doubt about it. May not impress those looking for a good sit-down meal, but that's not where it's at, for now. Imagine being able to walk in, select from beautiful, well-prepared entrees and sides visible in the large display case, get as much or as little as you need. And get this: it's often locally-sourced, healthy, but decadent too! I had a small helping of their stunning braised winter greens: deep green, purple, fantastically flavorful. I would cook this way for myself (and do) if I could find these ingredients. Terrific vegetable sides. Don't miss the extra-satisfying "wild & nutty" rice. Highly recommend a stop for food-lovers in the area, you'll find something to bring home, I promise. Cheese selection has expanded, bakery items are worth the indulgence, giant casserole of potato gratin is a work of art and should be photographed for their web site. I should stop now, you get the idea....

          1. re: Julie S

            Good to hear and I will make it a point to stop by.

      2. Bistro Basque in milford

        have you tried Caseus in new haven yet?

        1 Reply
        1. re: EastRocker

          I'll definitely have to try Bistro Basque out - thanks! I've tried Caseus and was a bit underwhelmed - to be fair, it was about 10 days after they opened, and for lunch, but i don't know that i would go there for a meal again - for wine and cheese, SURE! (last i checked they were a BYOB but were getting their license) i got the french onion soup, which certainly wasnt enough, but it also wasn't SO amazing. it was decent. i think i make better, frankly. my tablemate got the souffle and salad - it was tiny, and salad was just greens (oh so french). She had to stop at Gourmet Heaven on the way back to the office to feel like she had had lunch - which is never a good sign. have you had a good experience? i really want to like the place! maybe i should give it another shot

        2. Have you tried Lalibela, across from the Omni in New Haven? Fosolia = heaven.

          1 Reply
          1. re: redfox697

            Yah, it is really good. i'm just looking for something outside of downtown new haven

          2. Try "Crave" in Ansonia. I am heairng lots of good things about it. It's a surprise to us all.


            1. Not a recommendation, but...
              Have you tried Marius? It just opened this month. From the look of the place (cheesy), the fact that it's run by the same folks as Nikkita, and the lack of a website or any press online, it's the kind of place I would usually ignore. I live right by it though, and would love for it to be good. I just can't find anyone who has eaten there. It has looked pretty empty most nights since opening...

              1. Come to Wallingford and try Michael's Trattoria and Fratelli's for Italian and Laskara for Meditarranian.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Babs

                  Perhaps you noticed that I just reviewed Los Mariachi's in Wallingford. I researched Michael's and it had mixed reviews, with a little more positive than negative, but that indicates inconsistency. What do you know? What do you recommend (they have a pretty large menu!)?
                  Please don't get me wrong, (I don't know Connecticut that well), but in Fratelli's case, when Pizza comes before Italian food, I worry that it's a "pizza place" that also has Italian food (as a sideline). Like, "Hey, let's sell Italian food, too, 'cause we got all these ingredients". Is this often the case? I just don't want "average" Italian food; I can do that myself.
                  Of all, Laskara looked the most interesting and unusual. Looked like some Greek and Spanish food interspersed in the menu (along with Italian).

                2. Foe in Branford once it moves down the street. Cafe Grounded by the green in Guilford I would def recommend for breakfast. The place is so unique that u have to see it. They started dinners recently, but I haven't been. Evryone in North Branford raves about Nataz, but still haven't been.

                  1. I have a related question and list to discuss... specific to Milford. This is a new area for us to explore. Does anyone know of or want to comment on any of these:
                    Beach House Restaurant, Citrus, Stonebridge Restaurant, Rainbow Gardens,
                    and for Mexican:
                    Ola Mexico (or Ola Cafe?), El Torero, Acapulco's

                    Any suggestions not on my list? We're looking for good food/service is all but not lite fare (like a sandwich shop/coffee house).

                    We have eaten at Bin 100 and liked it a lot. Johnny Ray's was fairly disappointing. I am heading to Bistro Basque today for dinner.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Scargod

                      Beach House - good (not great), little pricey
                      citrus-also good
                      stonebridge- I wouldn't bother, food is OK, but the environment turns real nightlife/club real fast on weekends

                      interested in your opinion of bistro basque, it is my favorite in Milford, and the only one I would bother to drive from New Haven to go to. I haven't Bin100 yet.

                      1. re: EastRocker

                        My comments on Bistro Basque here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/46772...
                        We liked it....

                        We went to "Stone House" in Guilford yesterday and we were disappointed, in general. Some of the food was good. I'm going to do a write-up on it seperately, since it's a different Town/area.

                      2. re: Scargod

                        I'll second what EastRocker said about Stonebridge. The food isn't bad and I went to a wine dinner there and the food was excellent so they can pull it off but most weekend nights, it's more of a pick-up joint than a restaurant.
                        el Torrero isn't bad, you might want to give it a try. Definitely more authentic than Chili's and it has been around for years. Prices are decent and you usually get your food fast.
                        I believe Acapulco's is actually in Stratford and I've heard positive things about it though I have never ventured there myself.

                        1. re: Scargod

                          Beach House - Ridiculously priced, think they are NYC in residential Milford.
                          Stonebridge - I love them for lunch and they have the best profiteroles; however, the other day when I went, I found out "the chef didn't make the whipped cream yet today," so I said forget it--the whole thing is good and the fresh wc is what makes it--how can you not whip up some cream--I felt like offering to do it myself.
                          Bistro Basque - I just thought it was OK, but felt the owner is really trying hard; that impressed me.
                          Rainbow Gardens - Chick place for lunch; I am not a fan of the food at all.
                          Ola Mexico - I think you are thinking of the place in Orange that used to be called Martini's and now has a new restaurant downstairs called Ole Martini that is getting rave reviews--I have not yet been. (search Chowhound because there are posts on it). A lot of people confuse it with the original bar, but from what I understand it has completely changed. SO take those who quickly bash it for not realizing it has changed.
                          Others in Milford beside those you mention and know read about in the myriad of threads on the subject (Bridge House is my fav) are:
                          Jeffrey's - www.jeffreysofmilford.com and
                          Scribners - is a great locals homey place that always has incredible fish dishes---located in the middle of a neighborhood www.scribnersrestaurant.com.
                          Pietra's - You may like if you like family-style traditional italian.
                          Il Forno - Not a big fan. Empty, then packed, small portions for big price.
                          Gusto's - Always good, also warm inviting atmosphere www.gustotrattoria.com -Lighting is nice; can be loud.

                          1. re: cheereeo

                            Ate at Jeffrey's a week or two ago, and heard that Jeffrey has retired and sold the place. The new owner was in; he said he's keeping the chef and staff, but putting in a bar area to the left of the entry and bringing back piano music and possibly live music. If my eavesdropping skills are still good, I think the waitperson said the new owner also owns Beach House (Milford, not Fairfield). However, we still had the old Jeffrey's entrees, which were excellent as usual. (I had an improbably good special of beef tips plus shrimp over pasta with a creamy tomato sauce; the hubby had a duck and tenderloin combo.) Still, I have the feeling the menu will be tweaked eventually, so if you like Jeffrey's a lot, I recommend getting there soon. (I wish I'd known Jeffrey was retiring; I'd have liked to say thank you and goodbye.)

                            Haven't eaten at Citrus in about a year, but every time I've been there it's been both good and interesting.

                            Stonebridge is surprisingly good; I always figure that with their meat market reputation, the food is going to suffer one of these days, but so far that hasn't happened. Maybe I've just been lucky.

                            Rainbow Gardens -- I don't get it. The other women in the office make a big deal of it, but it doesn't float my boat.

                            1. re: cheereeo

                              must add that my FAVORITE sushi place in CT (and i am somewhat of an addict) is in Milford (or is it Orange, right on the town line in any case)... WASABI - unrelated to the wasabi in north branford (any opinions on that one?) but this one is spectacular. Not particularly authentic sushi, but really interesting combinations - truly a revelation. recommendations include: double tuna roll, summer roll, out of control roll, the tuna martini appetizer is to die for - also 3 rolls no longer on the menu (but they'll make em for you): golden tuna roll (with peaches!), green kiwi roll (surprise! Kiwis!) and the snow white roll.... just incredible. despite the increasing number of sushi joints in new haven (and the all you can eat place in Hamden), i drive out to this place all the time cause it is AMAZING

                          2. try Chester, CT. Nice in the summer downtown restaurant du village and the river tavern. Both excellent. esp. river tavern. chef jonathan rapp into sustainable and local ingredients

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: danplawrence

                              You should try Biagios Osteria Stratford CT it is right off the merrit parkway, the food is excellent so is the service. I go out to eat alot exspecially in the city and in boston when i am on business and this place is a hidden gem. Also try Luigies in fairfield CT, great prices with friendly average service the menu is a little old school but the food is fantastic it seems like places like Luigis are going extinct resturants today day either try to hard and miss it or dont try at all and dont deliver any thing but Luigis is from the old school, just take a look at the cooks in the kitchen all Italian who know what Italian food is. Biagios is a rare find becuase it has the whole package. The food and service compete with each other and you cant tell whats better. The decor is top notch with a romantic cosy feel and again the chefs and even most of the front staff is Italian so it gives you that being in Italy experience.

                              1. re: lisatizano

                                Lisa, What street is this Biagio's on? Thanks

                                1. re: javaandjazz

                                  It's right next door to where you work!

                                  Biagio's Osteria
                                  (203) 375-9071
                                  88 Ryders Ln, Stratford, CT 06614


                                  1. re: Jimmy Cantiello

                                    LOL.....that's how much I pay attention! Thanks Jim!

                                2. re: lisatizano

                                  Ditto - It continues to be excellent. Didn't think of it here--more Tri State (Fairfield County), but so close. . . Here's their site: www.biagiososteria.com

                                  1. re: lisatizano

                                    Sorry; I'm blind. Didn't see the link two posts up! Can't delete.

                                3. We did our second trip to Bistro Basque for dinner on Thursday night. This time we had another couple with us (and the wife had been there previously; several times for lunch).
                                  We had wines by the glass and I can recommend the slightly sweet, Spanish white. Others had the rioja and Malbec. No complaints on the house wines! In total, we had six glasses of wine @ $8 each.
                                  We shared tapas and had the wild mushroom flan, piquillo peppers stuffed with crab meat salad, baked goat cheese with toast and grilled tomatoes and toast with marinated pork tenderloin, tetilla cheese, piquillo pepper and black olives. They were all delicious. The bread they serve is just to our liking and comes with a flavorful olive oil. It was great for helping polish off the warm goat cheese (yum!) and the mushrooms.

                                  I had a perfectly cooked monkfish special. It was served over seasoned rice and had a nice (cilantro?) sauce over it. My partner had the osso bucco. I'll tell you how it was when we polish off the leftovers for lunch today! She liked it...
                                  Our friends had tapas cazera (duck confit) and ? We each shared a flan for desert and were served a complimentary anise flavored liquor, which went well with the flan. We had a cappuchino, another coffe drink and an espresso. The bill was $190 before tip.

                                  The owner came by and said hello. Service was very good. The restaurant never had more than six tables occupied (at any one time), plus a few people at the bar, this Thursday evening. Virtually all were in pairs. It was a very relaxed and enjoyable two hours.
                                  Next time I am going to try something off their "bistro" menu. I see sea bass, scallops or rack of lamb in my future! I am a big fan of the Spanish flavor influences. I heartily recommend it.

                                  1. I would recommend Bistro Basque (Milford), Crave (Ansonia), Darbar, Som Siam (Guilford), Aniellos (East Haven), Luce Ristorante (Mt. Carmel), Coromandel (Orange) for a start. It would help if we knew what you like... (and what are your go-to places in downtown NH).

                                    5 Replies
                                    1. re: Scargod

                                      Trying Bistro Basque for the first time tonight. I tend to like ethnic food (Coromandel is one of my favorites) - I had a mediocre experience at Luce when it was Raffaello's and was under the impression that nothing had really changed but the name, so havent even thought of it - that was some years ago, i suppose..... what would you recommend there?
                                      I would LOVE to try a good tapas place - the way cafe pika tapas was - though i'm not such a fan of Ibiza (not so much because it isnt good, but rather because the menu is limited for me - i dont eat pork or shellfish) cafe pika tapas used to be my favorite in new haven (barcelona is good, but i just dont find many of the dishes to be amazing). that's part of why i am so excited to try Bistro Basque tonight....
                                      I eat a lot of fish and lamb - i could live on sushi (easily - wasabi in milford/orange is my favorite, see above). I really like Pacifico (though the last time i went was a big fat failure - i am waiting to get over it to go back) downtown. Kari in westville (malaysian) is another favorite, though i think it has gone downhill a bit since they opened...

                                      1. re: foodislove_soeat

                                        Do tell about Pacifico. I like it and haven't ever had a significant issue to complain about; that's saying something! Mostly we have lunch there.

                                        1. re: Scargod

                                          I went to Pacifico twice. Both times for New Haven Restaurant Week! The first time the food was delicious! The second time, my steak arrived and resembled a piece of charcoal. I called over the waiter and he said I will be right back. He never returned until the desserts were served and said Oh Well Too Bad and walked away! I then went to look for the manager and he said he would gladly make me a new dish and I said I would wait even though everyone else at my table already finished their meal. The manager then came over with a doggie bag with my steak inside and threw it at me and yelled at me. As I left the bag on the table, he calmed down and said he would take care of the bill. When I got my charge card back, he charged me for the whole thing! The next day I complained to the owner who was in Portchester NY and he apologized and sent me dinner for two. I have not returned as of yet because I am still angry!

                                          1. re: catbxny

                                            I had a meal here several years ago and it came only slightly warm and wasn't very good. I have never been back!

                                        2. re: foodislove_soeat

                                          SO was at Luce this week for lunch with daughter. She had blackened salmon over risotto and loved it. Often she gets the "double" veal chop, if available or osso bucco, which I like as well. I am a sucker for unusual seafood, or seafood, period, so I think I have had Skate there. I often have what's not on the regular menu. We really like the food and service (as do the grown kids) but seldom go there since it is much farther away from us, now. I used to be a regular at Mt. Carmel Wine and Spirits (next door) ... and recently did one of their hosted, wine dinners at Union League Cafe. If you are into French wines they are a must do.

                                      2. Figured it was time to revive this conversation with a new round of suggestions. I'll start it off:

                                        TATA’S RESTAURANT
                                        104 Quinnipiac Street
                                        Wallingford, CT

                                        Went there for the first time last week. Tata's is a small Cuban/Puerto Rican restaurant with a very cozy, family run feeling. It has maybe 8 tables , but they are expanding the dining area soon. Service was extremely friendly, but a little slow. We had some beef empanadas, and cod fritters for apps. The empanadas were good but basic, the fritters were quite tasty and came with a fresh avocado salsa on top. They also sent out a plate of house made plantain chips with a wonderfully garlicky dip. For entrees we had a seafood dish, the name escapes me, that had a nice combo of fish and shellfish in a mildly spicy sauce. We also got the pork mofongo, which was filled with a pulled pork and came with fried chunks of pork on the side as well, both of which were delicious. The prices were extremely reasonable, i think our tab came in around $30. And they are BYOB.

                                        1. Bistro Basque on River ST in Milford, CT was a big hit with our party of four. We sat in outside in a patio setting with a clear roof so you were protected from the rain, etc. We had Seafood Risotto, Lamb Shank, Scallop dish, Salmon dish, Mousse and Flan for dessert - each one different and each one equally good. Would go back in a heartbeat. Very impressed with the wait staff - funny, polite, interacted with everyone there. Service was prompt. Would not blink or hesitate to recommend this place. The owner, which you'd never expect to meet, was out there watching his people/staff, presentation and saw him check each table at least twice if not more and as you left - checked again... "Bon appétit!" VERY PROUD! thanks Janice and Jim for suggesting our night out in Milford, CT

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Judy B

                                            We ate at Bistro Basque, maybe our 4th or 5th trip since it''s opened. To begin with let me say the place was absolutely packed, every table taken and quite a few large parties. We had 8:30 reservations and were seated by 8:40, and I have to say we ended up with one of the best tables in the place, the very last table on the patio, very private and cozy.

                                            We ordered our meals, I got the Lobster risotto and my wife ordered the chicken entree (pepper sauce, spinach, etc.) and then, we waited. And waited. There appeared to be some serious serious breakdown in service last night. Maybe it was the crowds, maybe it was the seclusion of our table (but I doubt it.) It took about a half hour for the appetizers (a beet salad and an order of lamb ravioli.) Tasty as usual but sort of a long-time to wait. The entrees arrived in about 15 minutes after our appetizer plates were cleared and, while not being our favorite things we've has there, were perfectly fine. Huge portions as well.

                                            And then, we were forgotten once again. We enjoyed our meal and waited for quite awhile for anyone to show up (besides our nervous water-filler guy) to inquire about dessert, coffees, the check, etc. I had to flag someone down (and still waited) to get the check. A table of four near us waited, seriously, over twenty minutes for their coffees and, when they arrived they were cold. So at least it wasn't just us.

                                            We paid with a gift certificate someone has given us and that didn't go so well either but I'll spare you the details. I am just wondering if all the extra table and dining space that the restaurant has added has resulted in poor service due to being overwhelmed.

                                            Or maybe it was just a bad night.