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New Haven, CT - Any "must eats"?

Looking for some new restaurants to try...like authentic food (no chains) and something not too spicy. Please let me know if you have any inside info. Thanks.

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  1. There is a relatively new place in New Haven call Foster's. I can not give you any advice about it, but maybe some one else viewing this post can, I just put in on because you wanted someplace new. (http://fostersrestaurant.com/) I hope this is some thing like you were looking for. Good luck Earle Ct.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Earle

      We had a pretty awful meal and had intention of returning. But now that I see some positive reviews paired with their wine special (Wed. nights bottles are 1/2 price I seem to recall), I'll give it another try.

    2. I just replied to your post but something must have happened - i don't see my reply, maybe it got lost.
      So, I'd recommend Foster's - good food, good service, and good ambience. They have a "Game meal" maybe once a month, not sure.
      I'll also recommend Barcelona (small plates - tapas) - I can't wait to go back. Great wine list, bread and olive dipping oil was to die for. The bread is made especially for their restaurant. You might check their website for further info.

      2 Replies
        1. re: EastRocker

          I agree that Foster's is excellent! My husband and I both love the creative food combinations that the chef creates for the menu. One of our all-time favorites is the fried macaroni and cheese. Their variation on the cesar salad is a great one to try. I've tried and loved their pork tenderloin and steaks, as well as their mushroom ravioli. The service is always friendly and the chef always comes out to see how we've like our food. I definitely recommend it!

      1. I don't know how new is new for you, but here are some of my favorites.
        Bespoke www.bespokenewhaven.com
        L'Orcio www.lorcio.com
        Thali www.thali.com
        Caseus http://caseusnewhaven.com/

        21 Replies
        1. re: EastRocker

          Let me add my 2 cents to EastRocker:
          Nini's Bistro
          While none of these are new, they are all consistently excellent.

          1. re: lsnhc

            Right on with Nini's Bistro. It's an excellent pre fixe BYOB.
            Also, Bentara is fantastic authentic Malaysian food. Although, Malaysian food tends to be spicy, they could tone it down to your preference.

          2. re: foodie00750

            In our half-dozen visits, or more, we have never been dissatisfied with either food or service.
            There's this: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/364078 and my own personal thread with photos: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/525816

            1. re: EastRocker

              We went to L'Orcio on Fri. for the Restaurant Week special. It was disappointing pretty much from start to finish. When we arrived, the woman at the door (who I assume is one of the owners) brought us immediately to our table. Then we waited at least 20 min. for our waitress to acknowledge us (the owner went by twice and said said she would be with us soon). Well, let's put it this way - service WAS NOT attentive. After we ordered our 1st glass of wine, I had to remind the waitress to pick up our order and deliver it to us. She had totally forgotten we placed a drink order. The restaurant was busy, but not THAT busy. There were a couple of empty tables after we sat down, so that can't be the reason for poor service. There was quite a long period of time after our appetizers and our wine glasses were empty and we didn't see our waitress. Again, we had to motion to her to find out where our entrees were and could we get another round of drinks (this is not a good thing!) We weren't in a hurry, but I was hoping that one or more of our entrees weren't just sitting in the back getting cold while one of the others was finished. I ordered the sea bass and when it arrived it was luke warm. It tasted good, but it wasn't hot. My husband got his favorite dish of all time (veal saltimboca) and it didn't look anything like veal saltimboca. He said it didn't taste that way either. I had the chocolate mousse for dessert and it was quite good. When we were leaving, I thought the owner would be at the door and ask us how everything was, but she just passed us and didn't say a word like "thank you for coming!" I had read lots of good things about this restaurant and was really looking forward to our visit, but we were all less than thrilled with our meals and the service on Friday night.

              1. re: joan mar

                Whoooa...watch out what you say about L' Orcio. Seems to be a sore subject with some of the Ch members in here.

                1. re: spork5150

                  I'm just saying it like it was - mediocre!

                  1. re: spork5150

                    I said here, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5660..., that the last, recent meal, at L'Orcio, was not perfect. The service was occasionally a little slow, but to be fair, the upstairs was virtually full, when we arrived. That is why I said service was very good, because, in general, it was.
                    If you read my reviews, I am not shy about dispensing criticism. I (with SO), have eaten at L'Orcio around four times and my SO, has eaten lunch there about a dozen times without me. We keep going back because the food and overall experience is worthwhile.
                    Though I am friends with some restaurant owners and chefs, I do not care whether they talk to me, suck up to me, or buy me a drink. I think I might know who the owners of L'Orcio are, but I cannot truly say. It is not relevant to me whether they ask how my meal was or not. I just haven't had a "bad" meal or "bad" service experience at L'Orcio. YMMV. It happens. Friday night, of New Haven Restaurant week, is a tough test of any restaurant's mettle.
                    If you order something and it doesn't look like, or taste like what you ordered, why wouldn't you question it? Could it have been chicken? SO had chicken saltimboca... it was delicious!

                    1. re: Scargod

                      If there is an owner present, I do expect him/her to ask how I enjoyed my meal or the service as I leave. I'm amazed to hear that you don't. It wasn't THAT busy at L'Orcio on Friday night. And, if it was, they should have prepared for that and had more waitstaff. Sorry, but I don't give them a "bye" because it was restaurant week. The veal saltimboca was not on the menu published on the internet, but it was VEAL. It just wasn't very good veal saltimboca. I'm thinking that they should be shining during restaurant week, if they want you to come back!!

                      1. re: joan mar

                        My husband and I went to L'Orcio about a year ago and also had mediocre service. We haven't been back since. That is to say, we've tried making reservations during this past year and were told rudely over the phone they had nothing earlier than 8pm. The way we see it, we'd rather spend our dinner out at an Italian restaurant with more selection and better ambiance and service. We are big fans of Cafe Goodfellas, which down the street from L'Orcio. They have excellent food and make us feel welcome whenever we go there.

                        1. re: bhayes

                          I wanted to point out the new review of L'Orcio in the Connecticut section of the NY Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/04/nyr...

                          Also, Jim Leff said, "The sublime Italian cooking at L'Orcio is worth a special trip to New Haven from just about anywhere".

                          bhayes: I am surprised that everytime you called to make a reservation they were rude! I just haven't had these experiences.....
                          To clarify, you said the service, a year ago, was mediocre, correct? They weren't rude when you were there, were they?

                          I've often thought of trying Cafe Goodfellas but thought I would find it too kitschy from what I see from their website. Do they still have big-screen TVs everywhere on the wall playing old gangster movies? I don't think I would enjoy seeing that and listening to Sinatra and Dean Martin repeatedly. The food would have to be awfully good. I do (as I have noted), really enjoy Tre Scalini, down the block.

                      2. re: Scargod

                        All restaurants are hurting from this economy, especially in New Haven. They should have been dropping prices way before restaurant week. Why should that week be a test of their mettle? I went to Bespoke on Tuesday and I was hungry going in, I was still hungry coming out. It doesn't take a genius to understamd that if they load you up on pasta, they will make their money back. I went to a private wine dinner at Basta Wednesday night and again mediocre food from an instituion that should have shined especially with a captive audience. The owners sitting on their behinds while the staff struggled to get the food out in a timely manner. It baffles me that one would wait for a high profile week such as that. I walked by Scoozi's a few nights and they were packed! I did not see them on the list and you generally do not hear a lot from them anymore, but packed. They must be doing something right.

                        1. re: spork5150

                          I agree with you mostly and have almost always enjoyed Scoozi but don't know if I would rate it in my top three, for Italian.
                          A friend recommended Basta as their go-to Italian place. Do you normally like it? It doesn't seem to get much exposure on CH, and when it does, it is usually unfavorable.
                          RE, mettle: I only meant that Friday nights are usually a busy, hectic night anyway (without "restaurant week").

                          1. re: Scargod

                            Personally, I think Basta is terrible. There are literally dozens of mediocre Italian places in New Haven, but Basta doesn't even reach the level of mediocrity. I'm not big on Claire's either. I will eat lunch there if need be, and I've had some fantastic desserts there. Even with a sort of low opinion of Claire's, I was shocked at how bad Basta was.

                            1. re: danieljdwyer

                              After that experience, it will be my last...serving an entree at 10:30PM while the two owners sit on their fat arses is disgusting. The best dish was the past with buternut squash/mascapone cream sauce. I wish they served more of it.

                              1. re: danieljdwyer

                                Last night, six of us went to Basta. This was my first time to step foot in the place. I've also not been into Claire's Cornucopia.
                                We had a reservation for 7:30PM and they were only half full. About 8 or so they got busy and completely filled up. For those not familiar, Basta is small! It will seat about thirty or thirty-five people, if they're not too big. The kitchen is very small. It can barely accomodate two cooks. They don't have a "bar", as such, and are very limited in mixed drinks they can make. They only offer Dewars scotch, and I think, one vodka. Still, my martini was very good. The wine list is decent and interesting. I ordered a bottle of Arneis, Fontanafredda, an almost dry white wine from Italy. It was $36, and I thought a good value. I've never seen it anywhere before.
                                I ordered two appetizers: Mussels and Clams “Zuppa” and Sicilian Calamari. I thought they were both excellent. When bread came, the one piece of bread I tried was really too hard to eat.
                                One guy ordered a ribeye steak which came with a handful of large, cheese stuffed and breaded, toasted olives. The olives were really nothing special.
                                I had Sicilian Style Sea Bass. It was good but not terribly hot and not a very big portion. The presentation sucked.
                                My SO had Pollo con Funghi (or something similar with risotto). It was swimming in about a third of a cup of olive oil! It did taste good and the chicken was very tender and flavorful. The guest of honor had Capesante Zio (garlicky pan-seared scallops), which I tasted and liked. They claim it is finished off in their "wood burning oven." This may be technically true, but it is a gas-fired oven! I saw a few, small scraps of unburned wood off to the side, inside the oven.
                                Baby bok choy was the vegetable du jour, which came whole, was not so baby-sized and seemed to have been boiled or very over steamed. It was mushy and nondescript.
                                I don't know anything about the other two entrees. I didn't hear any complaints and I didn't ask to try them.
                                Same for dessert. One creme brule and one slice of special cake, resembling a large piece of Tiramisu (but not), was passed around. The odd thing was the creme brule was in a small coffee cup! I was told that both desserts were good. Less tip, our bill was $300.
                                The service was good and the restaurant was warm and cozy. I would consider going back, though there were some significant flaws.

                                1. re: danieljdwyer

                                  I agree on both counts- Claire's is TOTALLY overrated (except for the Lithuanian coffee cake) and Basta is mediocre at best.

                                  1. re: GoodFoodie

                                    Sorry about this, but I intensely disliked the Lithuanian coffee cake. OTOH I'm in the minority on that.

                              2. re: spork5150

                                We ate at Scoozi last month for the first (and last) time. We thought it was awful across the board. The service was terrble, the waitress was absent and clueless and the food went from mediocre to bad. I couldn't understand the ingredient combinations of most of the dishes, seemed like they just threw anything they could find in. The only thing that was okay was my app, which was mussels and calamari in a tomato sauce with israeli couscous. Everything else was downright bad.

                                1. re: sibeats

                                  Oh! Sad... We have had so many decent meals there, but we have not been there in six moths or more.

                                  1. re: sibeats

                                    We had lunch at Scoozi recently and it was a disappointment in several respects.
                                    It took forever for a waiter to show up. I went to the front and complained and when I returned our waitsperson had arrived. I think they saw me going to the host station and scurried back there. After all, they only had a few tables occupied, so it was not like we weren't obvious. Also, the waiters were out and about, but ours ignored us. Service was a little slow at first and it took a while to get our drinks and bread with all the "goodies" rack.
                                    The Rucola arugula salad with a minuscule amount of Gorgonzola cheese, huge, whole, dried strawberries, sliced raw almonds, red onions and honey-lemon dressing with balsamic vinegar was good, but had issues. The strawberries and some of the arugula was too big. The whole, dried strawberries are too much for a single bite, IMHO.
                                    SO's chicken Panini (sandwich), was good, according to her.
                                    My Paella was not. It had way too much chicken, with a few compulsory bits of seafood and sausage. They say, on their website, "gulf shrimp, sea scallops, mussels, clams, chicken and pork sausage, peas, red peppers, saffron". They use pluralized words! There was no multiples of anything except sausage and chicken. There was lots of chicken! It was if they cooked some rice and added one of each. This is not the way to cook paella and it tasted it.
                                    I have had paella in Spain. I have made mixed/seafood paella numerous times. This was undercooked; the flavors were not developed. Paella is supposed to have a crispy, caramelized, toasted bottom crust (called socarrat or pegado). This paella was undercooked and so "al dente", and gummy, it stuck to my teeth (dentals), like chewing gum. I felt like the dish contained Elmer's glue mixed in with the rice.

                                    I kept trying to put my arms up on the seat back of the booth-like area where we sat, and I could not rest my arms there. All I ended up with was exercise and lint. The seat-back and trim area was covered in lint! I find this really odd, given the pretentiousness of the restaurant and the clientèle. Next to us were executives having a power lunch, with secretaries taking notes... The place almost filled up with middle-aged affluent people in suits.
                                    The dessert, Tiramisu, was very good.
                                    We spent $73. It should have been a lot, LOT better!

                        2. re: EastRocker

                          I've said it elsewhere, but I'll say it again, here and now: Thali is fantastic! We had lunch there again, today. Great service and incredible food. Garlic nan (Kulcha), lump crab Konkan appetizer, Andhra chicken, Mother's Lamb stew. And a great $9/glass Shiraz!
                          The rice was very fancy and delicious and we got a free dish of tasty lentils, too.

                        3. Foster's is very good. It is co-owned by one of the owners of Miso on Orange Street (the best Japanese I've had in Connecticut). L'Orcio is excellent (handmade pasta dishes; great gnocchi). Scoozi and Consiglio's also are good for Italian (sit outside at Scoozi). Not a big fan of Nini's Bistro (very musty inside).

                          1 Reply
                          1. Stowe's has great CT-style lobster rolls and is fairly inexpensive (as lobster rolls tend to get pricey). They have a whole selection of other stuff but the lobster rolls are the best item. They only have outdoor seating and may technically be in West Haven.

                            1. If you haven't tried Skappo on Crown Street in Ninth Square, you should. Outstanding (Umbrian) food in a place entirely run by a close family. You may well share a table with others (they have three or four small tables, and two long ones), and reservations are essential on weekends (a good idea other times). Great, and really interesting, list of unusual Italian wines. They have recently opened a deli around the corner where they sell some of the products available in the restaurant.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: linguist

                                I second linquist's suggestion about Skappo's. Fantastic place, warm atmosphere and most importantly, tasty, delectable food!

                                1. re: GoodFoodie

                                  Just like you've been transported to a villa in Umbria. Mark, one of the sons, comes out and sings. If you're lucky, Mama comes out and talks about living in Umbria when she was young. Good food, wine, atmosphere...A++

                                2. re: linguist

                                  Ah,tiny Skappo! I've looked at her from afar and tried to see into her dark interior on several passings. Today, we ate there for the first time...
                                  They are only open for lunch on Fridays. Skappo cannot seat more than fourty, elbow to elbow; basically, at two long tables. A couple of two-tops and a four-top, in the front window, makes up the balance for all there is.
                                  We were only the eighth or ninth customer to join them for lunch at 1PM, and having to wait fifteen minutes for anything was giving me pause. A table of four was essentially finished and mamma was talking their ear off. When she finally left their table, she spoke to us in passing. A woman came in and mamma showed her the needlepoint garments she had made herself (and had for sale). The daughter finally got to us and things started to move along. We got a good bottle of Rosso and started with a bowl of chicken-based soup, which had barley and a good amount of parmesan in it. Then a very good bread arrived, then water.
                                  SO had the beef, but instead of beans, it was with mushrooms. This was a very tender, cooked-down dish with mushrooms and onions. It came with some delicious, flavorful and perfectly cooked asparagus. It and the soup was a little too salty for our tastes. I had the pork sandwich. This was on a toasted flatbread with mozzarella and a creamy herbed sauce. It was really delicious!
                                  We skipped dessert. I found out that the whole family works there,which is about six of them. The kitchen is tiny. There is just one four burner stove. This may be deceiving because I do not know what else there is to cook with. The daughter was doing appetizers at the register, while she waited for us to finish. We were the last customer to leave.
                                  This is a very nicely decorated, cozy place. I understand the term "warm" being used. I can visualize a restaurant full of regulars, where everyone is conversing and even sharing food and drink; served by a family. I've heard it happens... We shall return one evening and see. We are excited with our new find.

                                  1. re: Scargod

                                    The family dynamic at the place is priceless. The daughter at the register always seems mildly annoyed that everything is moving so slowly, which never deters her mother's socialization. If you go for dinner, go late enough that you're there towards the end of service. Once he's done cooking in the back, the mother might goad her son into coming out and playing some Italian folk songs on his guitar (if she doesn't do it on her own, a simple, "I hear your son is quite the musician," will get the ball rolling). The father might even come out and lend his tenor to the mix, and you can count on the mother having a story for every song to go along with her abridged translation of the lyrics. The food is quite good, despite seemingly being made by hands that lack professional training (they seem a bit inconsistent with salting in particular). Still delicious. Their palette of dishes and techniques is quite vast, and really unlike any other Italian food around (unsurprising given that Umbrian cuisine, despite being among the oldest in Europe, is little known outside of its mountainous home).

                                3. Hummmm....... authentic food? Where have you been eating? Never tried chain, but it might be better spicy.
                                  On second thought, don't listen to me, I've been spittin' nails all day. Try the ones that have been suggested. All good, but I have yet to try Fosters, Skappo or Stowe.

                                  1. RICE POT on State Street for Thai
                                    IBIZA- it will remind of you Spain
                                    TALI TOO on Broadway - sibling of big Thali, vegetarian and MUCH LESS expensive
                                    CASEUS BISTRO on Trumbull- a bit overpriced though for what they serve
                                    L'ORICIO on State Street for Italian; skip Consiglio's and others on Wooster Street
                                    MODERN PIZZA on State Street; again....skip the Wooster Street pizzarias

                                    Bespoke is a disappointment. Roomba's was far superior. Never been to Foster's but I have heard good things about it. How much of a twist can you have put on meatloaf and mac 'n cheese? I would encourage you to go to the BLUE PEARL instead. Enjoy!

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: GoodFoodie

                                      We had lunch at The Rice Pot yesterday. It was quite good and the service was good, as well. I recommend it. It's a smallish place. Might seat around forty.

                                      1. re: Scargod

                                        I went back and ate lunch at the Rice Pot on Monday. The service was slow at times. There was only one waitress for about seven tables. I was very disappointed in the meal. I had Tom Kar Gai, which tasted good but there was some gristle with the chicken. I then had the grilled salmon, in red curry, special @ $18.00. While the salmon was warm, the vegetables were all cold. I should have sent it back but, because of the initial slow service, I did not have time to wait for anything to be done about it. I also had a glass of their cheap (by the glass), chardonnay (with too much Viognier in it); so it reminded me of sweaty gym clothes and flowers.
                                        This reminds me of the serious inconsistency the restaurant had when it was "Thai-Inter". I know Rice Pot and Thai Taste are connected. I certainly had some issues with Thai Taste as to inconsistencies and atmosphere. Now I can only recommend Bangkok Garden for Thai in the downtown vicinity.

                                        1. re: Scargod

                                          While this restaurant isn't in New Haven, it's close. For Thai food I highly recommend Thai's One in Branford. We had a great meal there and the service was spot-on.

                                          1. re: Scargod

                                            I had lunch at Bangkok Garden on Monday and was not impressed. The chicken/mushroom pot stickers (they all them something else), were not freshly made and just OK. It took two trys to get a glass of wine. My waitress did not understand English very well, it seemed.
                                            I had a special, Sea bass in red curry sauce and the curry was sickly sweet, with way too much sweet coconut and very little heat. It came with plain, unseasoned steamed broccoli and asparagus (and plain rice). The sea bass was cooked perfectly, however. It was an expensive lunch and just did not have much "Thai" anything to it. Just an expensive, unimaginative meal.

                                      2. I'm surprised nobody mentioned Kudeta! My boyfriend and I ate there the Saturday before Labor Day and we had a GREAT meal. Very much like an Asian fusion meal but so good. We shared some apps and then spit an entree (still turned out to be too much food, but sooo yummy)!!! I am sure they can tone down when necessary in order to comply with your not too spicey requirements. http://www.kudetanewhaven.com/dinner.asp

                                        Another one we at ate recently in New Haven is Barcelona but they are all over CT and not just in New Haven. Another great meal that probably can be toned down if too spicey.


                                        11 Replies
                                        1. re: Meghan_509

                                          here's my problem with Kudeta. I feel like everything that they do, someone else in town does better and for less $$$. Their sushi is fine, but Miso is better. The kitchen at Bentara, Pot au Pho, and many others turn out better/equal quality dishes. Kudeta seems to think that they can charge you $3 more a plate than anyone else because of their over the top (dare I say tacky) decor.

                                          1. re: EastRocker

                                            Probably the best assessment of Kudeta I've heard. I'll just add two things. There might be somewhere else in New Haven that does each dish better than they do, but I don't know of anywhere that does even a decent job the with variety of dishes they do. It's not ideal, but it can be a crowd pleaser. As to the decor, it is indeed remarkably cheesy. However, the first time I went in there I was taken aback by how reminiscent of a cheesy Tokyo late night karaoke sort of joint it was. Only with less flashing lights and sparkly things.

                                            1. re: EastRocker

                                              I COMPLETELY agree with you EastRocker about Kudeta. I don't enjoy mediocre, overpriced "faux Asian." I think you can get For Thai, I still maintain that Rice Pot is tried and true. Caseus is another wonderful place with consistently delicious food.

                                              1. re: GoodFoodie

                                                I'm not saying that you cannot have a wonderful meal at The Rice Pot.
                                                Rules, here, disallow discussing after-affects of eating at places.

                                                I was reminded of Caseus and my post, http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/4461..., since it just participated in restaurant week. I see no Chowhounder has yet to mention eating there last week. I see it as a great lunch spot but not on my "must eats" list. I would stop there for cheese or lunch if I was in the neighborhood.

                                            2. re: Meghan_509

                                              Kudeta: Never been but $48 for a peking duck is outrageous unless they give you one to go also. I am amazed at how expensive the noodles on the menu are. Too expensive won't be going I like going to New Haven to get some great ethnic food for some cheap great food not to spend alot. Went to Mamouns for the first time spent under 12 for two, that's what I am talking about.

                                              1. re: nbermas

                                                I keep wondering what I am missing about Mamouns? I guess it has a following... I've eaten there twice and both times was unimpressed.

                                                1. re: Scargod

                                                  I miss the Mamouns in Middletown. You know what I miss? It was cheap and tasty. With a kid at Wesleyan, no small consideration.
                                                  Beats the polar bear meat we get served up here in the icy far north too.
                                                  Did I say it was cheap?

                                                  1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                    With a kid at Wesleyan I, too, miss the Mamouns in Middletown. There is a falafal...truck? it's bigger than a cart, that moves around campus. Related maybe? Someone suggested a connection. It has a huge following. We last saw it Saturday night between the Athletic Center and the science library. They had a nice long line.

                                                    1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                      I miss Mamouns In Middletown as well
                                                      I would always look forward to stopping in for a quick falafela nd take home.....
                                                      I dont pass thru New Haven quite as much and parking in MT was easier.....

                                                    2. re: Scargod

                                                      What you are missing is something that you won't be able to find. It's simply that you didn't spend your youth in the area. Mamoun's is open 365, it's open late, it's cheap, and for many people like myself it is an old friend. I would go there after shows at Toad's when i was in highschool, I mean a restaurant that was open til 3am, with what seemed like exotic food to my suburban 16 year old mind? Amazing! In my 20's it was the place you went after the bars closed to soak up alcohol with $3 falafels. It is comfort food to me, but without the heaping helping of familiarity and nostalgia that comes with every meal, I imagine I might feel the same way you do.

                                                2. Great point on Kudeta. It is a very nice restaurant right downtown. Also, it has nice bar with a good selection. I recommend it.

                                                  Also, I have been reading the food Guy's blog lately about New Haven food and he has some good spots.


                                                  1. Have you been to Sally's Apizza in New Haven? It is like going back in time. I've eaten there since I was a little kid in the early 70's. Best thing to do is line up at 4:45 or you'll have a long wait. Flo has waitressed there for many, many decades. Bless her heart.

                                                    1. Speaking of inside information: I noticed Ambassador of India on the corner of Temple and Chapel. There are four in the Hartford area.
                                                      Is the one in New Haven any good or different from other Indian restaurants in the area? I have only Thali (wow!), at one end of the spectrum and Tandoor (so-so), at the other (speciffically in New Haven). I've been afraid to try Royal India. Any reason to try either?

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: Scargod

                                                        Ambassador isn't open yet. No reason to fear Royal, they are associated with Darbar of Branford. I like the lunch buffet at Sitar. And in West Haven, Swagat is a good affordable option.

                                                        1. re: Scargod

                                                          It doesn't look like Ambassador of India is going to open at all. The number they has listed is now disconnected (which used to say' we are opening soon') and on the website: http://www.ambassadorofindia.com/ it says all locations are closed. I walked by the place and it looks like it's abandoned now. I was really disappointed as I had heard great things about the ones in Hartford and Glastonbury. Does anyone know why or what's going on?

                                                        2. I read this thread with interest waiting for someone to come up with a really terrific restaurant we (outlanders) know in New Haven (well, in West Haven, but just), and ---- silence. Whenever we visit my sister in NH we try to get to Saray, the Turkish restaurant. It should fit everybody's bill: a real family place (if you come from an exotic family maybe) so it's attractive, the welcome is warm, the service is extraordinarily accomodating, the food is abundant and it's DELICIOUS, and the prices are moderate. What more could anyone want? Is it really unknown to those of you in the area? Do you not like Turkish food? Vegetarians should adore it, too. We took our son and DIL and three kids and they adored it too. Sincerely, Surprised in Stockbridge!

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: BerkshireTsarina

                                                            I actually am a fan of the Turkish Kebab house, right down the street from Saray.

                                                            1. re: EastRocker

                                                              Originally I had researched both, and the decision (based on what, I don't know) was to try Saray. My sister (separately) had also tried Saray, and it has been so satisfying that we are content staying with it. Lucky people in New Haven! We don't have one Turkish restaurant, let alone two, in the whole of Berkshire County. (And it's one cuisine I won't even attempt to cook.)

                                                              1. re: BerkshireTsarina

                                                                We actually have three :) The Istanbul Cafe is also quite good, but being right downtown it is often overrun with Yalies during the school year.

                                                                1. re: EastRocker

                                                                  Let me add my two cents about Saray. It has become one of our favorite "let's eat some wonderful food and not pay a fortune" destinations. It is actually right down the block from my office and, in my opinion, it offers the best food/quality/service/price ratio in the area. While the Turkish Kebab House is very similar (owned by members of the same family), I just prefer the ambiance at Saray. Additionally, the BYOB policy is a real plus.
                                                                  Istanbul is an obvious alternative, especially if you're in downtown New Haven, but the prices are significantly higher...

                                                          2. I have always loved Union League Cafe, consistently great food.