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New Haven - looking for good lunch or brunch

I'm planning to visit over a weekend soon, and am particularly looking for someplace to eat at lunchtime on a Sunday. Preferably very close to Yale. Good atmosphere and not highly noisy is important. Thanks!

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  1. My SO and I took my son, d-in-l, and 6-week old grandson for a lovely quiet Saturday lunch (we requested, and got, a corner round booth large enough for baby in carrier) at the Asian fusion restaurant Kudeta, on Temple St. Service was attentive, food was very interesting, and moderately priced (delicious food, one drink each, $110). Check out www.kudetanewhaven.com. Highly recommended!

    1. a lot of places tend to be closed on sundays in new haven, but there are a couple nice options, depending on how close to yale you need to be. atticus bookstore and cafe is right on campus (chapel street, first floor of the british art center), and though the vibe can be a little busy, their food is quite good, and the location can't be beat. try their black bean soup. clark's dairy, in my opinion new haven's best diner, is over on the other side of campus, near whitney and audubon. not to be confused with clark's family restaurant, right next door, the dairy is a terrific spot for breakfast or lunch, and they make a pretty mean milkshake, too. the vibe is unmistakably diner-y. down in the ninth square, bentara is open for lunch and serves up some really good malaysian food. the vibe there is simple, but elegant. in keeping with the asian theme, you could also check out pot-au-pho, a vietnamese noodle place just across whitney avenue from clark's. a number of noodle places have landed in downtown new haven recently, but pot-au-pho's probably the best. the restaurant is quiet and a little dark, but definitely friendly. there are tons of restaurants in the chunk of new haven immediately surrounding yale, ranging from snack-y type places, to middle-of-the-road thai and indian places (howe street has three okay indian places, all with their own weekend buffets, but i'm not sure you want to do that to yourself if you don't have a bed to retire to immediately), to really pricey spots like zinc, bespoke, and the union league (all unfortunately closed for lunch on sundays). if you're able to venture a little further afield, i also like the pantry (at state and lawrence) for breakfast/brunch, where you might have to wait in line, and bella rosa (whalley avenue out in westville), a great little brunch spot out on new haven's west side.

      1. Almost everything is closed fro lunch on Sunday! I would suggest Stillwater American Bistro. It is on the river, scenic and usually pretty quiet. It might be nice enough to eat outside. We have had many enjoyable lunches there. It is fairly classy with excellent food. Chef & wife owned and operated. http://www.stillwateramericanbistro.c...
        Three miles, at the most, from Yale.
        Directions: > Head east on Grand Ave. as if you were leaving New Haven. (Elm passes the Green and becomes Grand Avenue
        )> Go over the Grand Avenue Bridge.
        > First intersection after the bridge, take a left, at light, onto Quinnipiac Ave.
        > At the very next intersection, take a left onto Clifton Street.
        > You will see us on the Quinnipiac River.
        Chow!

        5 Replies
        1. re: Scargod

          Scargod - thanks for mentioning Stillwater I'm gonna put it on my must try list. I just recently discovered that part of town. Have you ever done their Canoe trips? I saw it on their web site - they say you can go out for a canoe trip (seasonal) while they cook your meal.

          1. re: debvil

            Have not. If I did that I think I would be sure I had some OFF with me, just in case.
            My SO went there for lunch yesterday and they have taken over the restraurant that adjoined them; so now they occupy the whole, one story building. That expansion is almost complete. They are beyond making noise with saws and hammers, or anything like that.
            We have played bocce. Sometimes they have live entertainment like piano-sax, not wild and loud stuff. You can get on their email list for events. As you can see from their menu, they do a lot of seafood but have a good mix of offerings. Their crab and avocado appetizer and seafood bisque is great. The only thing I don't get thrilled about is their walnut salad dressing which is somewhat sweet and has allspice or nutmeg in it. My SO likes it.

            BTW, we really like Guadalupe La Poblanita on Chapel, just a short distance away. I think it's the best Mexican in town that I've had. I haven't done them all; like I haven't tried Mezcal, nearby.
            I don't know of much else restaurant-wise in the Fair Haven area that turns my crank. I do shop for Mexican/Latin food ingredients in the area.

            1. re: Scargod

              Stillwater will soon be changing it's name/menu/look but will still be the same owners, they are changing to Martin's Riverside. The part that used to be the japanese place will be for functions etc. I have only been a few times, but if i lived on that side of the river I would certainly go more often.

              1. re: EastRocker

                Martin's Riverside, 203-466-2200, www.martinsriverside.com, 3-5 Clifton Street, New Haven, CT.
                It says (on business card) Bar-Grill-Raw bar. "A private waterfront seting for special occasions-the perfect location for your event or private party, up to 100 people".
                Sounds like it is not going to be open for the public in general, like Stillwater. I would assume they at least share a common kitchen.

                Stillwater is one of SO's favorite lunch places, especially when the weather cooperates.

                1. re: Scargod

                  Went there yesterday for lunch. Great decor. Fabulous food. Attentive staff. The business card is two sided. One side is for the event space and the other is for the restaurant. Just like the building. One side for events and one side for public dining. Same Martin as in Martins on the Green that used to be in Guilford, so it's got a great pedigree. Our party had crabcakes, salmon, seafood scampi and an omlette. We were very please with everything. We shared a lobster quesadilla and calimari. Both of those were delicious. I'm not big on calimari, but my wife, who is, pronounced it the best she's ever had. Definitely worth checking out. Not a lot of seating, so reservations may be a good idea. I hear the word is getting out already. Almost forgot. Great martinis, too!

        2. I always have a great meal at Bentara. Great atmosphere, great food, great wine list, not noisy on a Sunday, ask for a booth.

          4 Replies
          1. re: chefstu

            Please elaborate about Bentara and how often you go there. I have a post elsewhere that mentions a couple of unfavorable reviews where they were quite dissatisfied (and often with service). This was less that 20% of the reviews I found (and may have been gilted college kids, but I wonder none-the-less. Bentara is highly-rated for consistency. Have you found that so?

            1. re: Scargod

              bentara has certainly slipped on service in the last few years. the word is there is some fighting/stress between the co-owners. but if you have never been I would still say it is worth checking out. it used to make my top 5 list, it would probably still make my top 10.

              1. re: Scargod

                I eat there as often as I can and always find the food and service consistent.
                My favorite dishes that always impress are Tofu Sumbut, Popia, Curry Mussels, Me Curry Soup, Hot and Spicy Whole Fish, Chicken Rendang and Nasi Lemak to name a few.
                I don't find the service slipping, but then again I'm never there when they get slammed on a Saturday night.
                Finally, Jeff and Bill have always had differing opinions on running Bentara
                but they have never allowed their differences to affect either the food or the service, if anything their differences make up for each others short comings.
                Still one of my top 5 places to eat in NH. Always good food and wine.

              2. re: chefstu

                Had lunch at Bentara yesterday. It was quite good. I had forgotten that I was there for someone's birthday celebration several years back.
                We had mussels with coconut curry sauce, onions and roasted red peppers for an appetizer; a couple of them were bad, and shouldn't have gone in the pot (didn't open). The good ones tasted fantastic. I wanted bread so I could sop up the curry.

                Son had soy beef. I had Asam Pedas, a bowl of seafood including cod, shrimp and calamari with tamarind sauce, chinese eggplant, green beans and fresh tomatoes. I really liked the fresh tomatoes stewed in the broth. The dish was a wonderfully combination of hot, sweet and sour. SO had chicken curry. We really love Asian food and we thought the food was quite good. It was well-prepared and seasoned nicely. For us, the "medium" heat was not so much; could have easily been hotter. Lots of great flavors though!

                Service was good till the main entrees were served, then they almost forgot about us; with us grabbing anyone within reach to get another glass of wine on several occasions. One waiter dropped a glass right next to us. They did nothing to clean off our table when they removed the dishes after the main course. They were fairly busy. There were only two or three waiters. There wre numerous two to four-tops and there were three, large parties, to boot... They were doing a good lunch business!

                I think Bentara's was very thoughful when they installed two Women's restrooms (to the one Men's). I don't particularly like the interior decorations of Bentara. For me it is stark, dark and sterile. There's a lot of dark, "dried blood" maroon used on many walls and columns. I think the wine bottles lining the high shelves are tacky.

                That didn't keep me from enjoying the food. Three of us had a very filling and satisfying lunch (with four glasses of wine) for $80

              3. I have heard from a friend that La Luna in Branford (not horribly far away) has an incredible Sunday Brunch (not lunch or dinner) http://lalunact.com/page/219-Brunch

                1. What are you looking for? Sandwiches? High end? Drinks?
                  When you say close to Yale, walking distance or driving?

                  Thali does a Sunday brunch
                  http://www.thali.com/brunch.html

                  Bella Rosa does a great brunch as well
                  896 Whalley Ave. New Haven, CT (203) 387-7107.