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New Haven area rec for a nosh and chat

  • h

Hi all,

I'm pulling together a get-together for between 5 and 8 women, mid-30s. Musts: not laden with college kids, nice wine/drink selection, good selection of small plates/apps, and able to hear each other without yelling. Decent seating where we can have a couple of tables to chat without feeling rushed, but not be crammed against a bar in a line of seats. Reasonably priced food/drinks (e.g. no need for $100 caviar).

Open: cuisine and location somewhere in New Haven county would be fine. Convenient parking would be nice but not a dealbreaker.

I thought of BAR, but that seems like it would be too yale-rific, plus the parking blows. Is there a tapas bar or anything like that which would be good for socializing in a small-large group? Maybe something on State St?

This is for mid-week so crowds shouldn't be an issue.

thanks in advance, guys!

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  1. Thali on orange street is a nice place for conversation and the indian food is excellent.
    I would normally not eat in most indian restaurants, but the food at Thali is elegant. And
    the mojitos are great! http://www.thali.com/

    1. Bar is great, but if you go on a thursday-saturday night it'll be rife with the DYP (dreaded young people). (Of which I'm a member, so I can make fun.) If parking is a concern, anywhere in downtown New Haven blows unless you want to drive around or pony up for a lot. My vote is for Bistro Basque in Milford. Yes, it does get a bit noisy on a crowded night, but it all depends on when you go. Ibiza has great tapas too, and while their wine is a bit on the expensive side, they give you a good healthy pour. Skappo (in Ninth Square) is another cute little that has Italian specialties from Umbria- no chicken parm here. Good wine list, and lots of charm. Noise levels unknown- I went there on a restaurant tour, so we were all quiet while the spiel was going on. You'd also probably do well at Zinc, and I don't think the noise level there ever gets too high.

      1. I'd try Bentara, if you are 5 or 6 ask for a booth. Great food, lots of stuff to pick on, great drinks and wine list.

        1. Ever been to the Blue Pearl on Court Street in New Haven (on that little street that runs behind the Giamo federal building)? It offers fondues and other simple dishes like moules frites and meatloaf that are good for sharing. It also has a nice bar where you can order all drinks in two sizes (good for a lightweight like me). The bar area has this kind of modular furniture so you can set up the place as you like. It's pretty quiet and not ever really busy that I've seen. It's popular with an after-office crowd and dates, but not lots of college students. It's also a little easier to find parking there.

          1 Reply
          1. re: shoes

            DO NOT go to the Blue Pearl. Unless you want to spend like 4 hrs "eating" when really you're starving cause the fondue you ordered is not filling enough (even though the waitress assured you that it is)

            http://www.chowhound.com/topics/454567 (a more extensive review)

          2. Check out "116" located at 116 Crown (between Church and Orange). They almost seem too trendy/cool but aren't. Great innovative food, warm and attentive service. I've seen tables of women having a great time for hours. You can even ask to be seated in one of the little cave rooms in the back - here's the trendy part: the room has a little dock for your personal iPod to play through the speakers. You can park at the open lot on George St btwn Orange and State, the indoor garage on George btwn Church and Orange or, midweek, maybe right on the street .

            1. Skappo and 116 Crown are both good choices. They are a both just over a block away from the train parking that replaced the Coliseum, which is free at night. Ninth square is also much easier to find street parking in than elsewhere downtown. Chow (same owners as Zinc) is another one to consider. Of the three, Skappo sees the least Yale traffic (though you won't see undergrads at any of the three, just grad students). Skappo has the best wine list, and 116 Crown has the best drinks.

              1. Ditto on 116 Crown...call ahead to reserve their private booth in back that can easily accomodate 10 people. The music is great, but not too loud. Small plates of food, ex: cheese plates, oysters, sliders, etc. Parking is either around back or across the street.

                1 Reply
                1. re: vino5150

                  We ate at Thali for lunch yesterday. They had only a handful of people there. The food was excellent, service spectacular and the music was light, jazzy and very easy to talk over. They have three private dining areas, and the smallest would have been perfect for your outing. Elegant place. Great Indian food.

                  BTW, I do not know 116 Crown. I'd sure like to hear more.

                2. 116 Crown has great drinks and fun small plates, and you shouldn't have problems getting tables on a weeknight.

                  Barcelona has a great wine selection and tapas

                  if it is warm L'Orcio has a really nice patio out back

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: EastRocker

                    Been to Barcelona a couple of times. It's OK, is all I can say 'cause it was a while back when we went.
                    Have you been to L'Orcio yet?

                    1. re: Scargod

                      Barcelona doesn't top my list for places for dinner either. But since she is looking for wine list, tapas, lounge-ish and a slightly older crowd, it seemed to fit the bill.

                      I have been to L'Orcio several times, I think it is the best Italian restaurant in town.

                  2. Again...tried to go downtown Saturday night with some friends for a few. If you want to stay away from the hords of college kids, then your best bet is to stay around the ninth square area....116, miso, bentara, etc...We were thinking about Barcelona, but suddenly someone threw something at our car from across the street, either playwright crowd or Blackbear crowd, not intended for us. Either way, @ 34 I'm not in the mood or maturity level to pick a fight with a bunch of frat boys. SO off to 116....great relaxing crowd. Too upscale for college kids looking for the thong song dance, but great for people that actually enjoy going out and having a good time with friends. I don't think they do Jager bombs at the bar....Have to ask for reference next time.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: vino5150

                      I agree Crown St. from Church to High St. is no place for anyone not 22 and looking for a drunk hookup on Friday Saturday night. 116 Crown is certainly a great option, but Barcelona should be fine mid-week as well.