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Under $30 dinner for 2 in New Haven/Fairfield County Connecticut

I just moved to the area and I'm just getting started out so I don't have a lot of money to dine out but would like to find some places that have exceptional food so my girlfriend and I can still enjoy a night out for dinner once in a while. I seriously can't spend more then like $30 for dinner for 2. I would appreciate your help and would be forever in your debt.

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  1. I'd rather be fishing too. you should consider scoring the entertainment book, available @ entertainment. com. 20 bucks and free shipping i think, and has probably 100 2 for 1 restaurants. you can go to the site and check out the participating restaurants. they also have coupons for other stuff like ball games museums, ect. i get the new haven one every year and put it to good use.

    you need to click "see all books" to get linked to the ffld county book.

    1. In New Haven, try ethnic restaurants, which tend to be cheaper than the "fine dining" options. Pad Thai on Chapel St. is very good and offers fixed-price specials. Mammoun's on Howe St. offers inexpensive and filling Middle Eastern food. Some of the Indian restaurants also around Howe have luncheon buffets - they may do dinner, too.

      For more atmosphere, Chow on Chapel St. offers small plates of Asian Fusion food. You can get a salad or soup, some shu mai and other dim sum type bites for under $30 a couple, and even some sangria, although you definitely won't be stuffed when you leave.

      If you want to get outside the downtown New Haven area, Delaney's on Whalley Ave. in Westville Village is consistenly good and inexpensive if you stick with the salads and sandwiches - the dinners are not so hot and are overpriced, IMHO. The salads are particularly good - a big portion and a good value. We like the brisket sandwich, the French dip and the house-roasted turkey.

      1 Reply
      1. re: shoes

        I was thinking the same thing as shoes while mulling this over earlier. In New Haven, I like Bangkok Gardens for Thai.

        I don't know of Vietnamese restaurants in that area, but I know in Middletown, we have a great place (Pho Mai) downtown on Main Street. It's a little hole-in-the-wall, family-run place, but you can BYOB and the food is terrific. You could each have an appetizer and meal for under $30. I'm sure the New Haven/Fairfield County hounds can clue you in on good Vietnamese eats near you.

        My other suggestion would be to go out for lunch rather than dinner. It will give you more options and a chance to have some of the same fare that would not fit your budget at dinner time. Foster's in New Haven is a great example. I don't know if they're open for lunch on the weekends, but definitely keep it in mind:

        In Norwalk, try The Lime for lunch:

        Oh! And if having drinks is part of the plan, I'd do that at home either before or after your meal...but that's probably stating the obvious. Have fun!

        Foster's Restaurant
        56 Orange St, New Haven, CT 06510

        Pho Mai
        570 Main ST, Middletown, CT 06457

        Bangkok Garden Restaurant
        172 York St, New Haven, CT 06511

        Lime Restaurant
        168 Main St Ste 2, Norwalk, CT 06851

      2. I would suggest going out for appetizers. You could make a meal on many of the appetizer options at restaurants for $30. - course that would not include having a bottle of wine or other drinks. I'm not familiar with Fairfield County - but you could check online menus for many New Haven restaurants.

        1. Try Saray in West Haven get the mezze platter and another dish you will be full and under 30 for sure. Food is great and its BYOB Oh and if you dont like spicy stuff ask them to substitute on the mezze platter, they will replace it with another option...... enjoy

          1. Shanghai Gourmet in Orange & Village Gourmet in Norwalk are really good & you can BYOB or they offer a complimentary glass of wine with dinner :)

            I have to agree with the lunch or coupon suggestions otherwise.

            1. Also, Miso in New Haven's Ninth Square neighborhood has a lot of $5 - $6 vegetarian rolls and gyoza appetizers - tasty and a nice atmosphere.

              1. as long as you are not drinking you could have a delicious meal for 2 at any of the following:


                Turkish Kebab House


                14 Mechanic St
                New Haven, CT 06511
                (203) 782-4828‎

                1 Reply
                1. re: EastRocker

                  Not to mention New Haven's many fine pizzerias, where two can eat the best pies on the East Coast and drink a beer for $20.

                2. I know I'm just about the only person that thinks of Barcelona as inexpensive, but my wife and I have enjoyed quite a number of under $30 late night dinners there, and even just slightly over $30 including wine. We often go in just for some charcuteria y queso (a selection of 3 is $15 from the late night menu, or $17.50 earlier in the night), house cured olives for $3.50, and roasted garlic for $3.50, totalling either $22 or $24.50 depending on the time of day, which works out to around $30 after tax and tip. If you go late night, and stick to just the charcuteria y queso, you could even get a couple glasses of Bodegas El Coto at $8 a piece ($32 for a bottle) and spend $31 before tax and tip. This might not sound like enough food for a real dinner, but, the thing is, tapas are meant to be eaten with bread when eaten as a meal. Their bread is fresh baked, free, and delicious. I could make a meal of just the bread. If cheese and cured meats aren't your thing, they have plenty of other cheap, substantive dishes that go well with their bread. Some favorites of mine are boquerones $6.50, roasted chickpea puree $5, albondigas $6.50, spinach-chickpea casserole $6.50, caldo gallego $6.50, and sauteed chard $6. You don't have to worry about being looked on as cheap for only ordering three or four things for two people; that's the amount they'll recommend to you if you ask. People complain that this isn't filling, but they must not be eating much bread. I've only been to the New Haven location, and I hear the others don't have quite as nice an interior space. But, the New Haven location, at least, has the perfect atmosphere for dinner for two, unless you mind places that become a bit of a scene later at night for the young folks around.
                  I know some people will think this is a crazy suggestion, but it worked for me when the real estate market left me jobless and broke for a few months.

                  1. Thali Too is excellent and entrees go for around $10. Vegetarian, but so delicious and filling, you don't really miss the meat. I also really like Soul de Cuba. Fantastic food and pretty cute ambiance.

                    1. Aren't the Turkish Kebab House and Saray the same restaurant?

                      2 Replies
                        1. re: EastRocker

                          It is my understanding that they are owned by cousins. I would like to echo the recs for Saray. It has really become our favorite "spur of the moment" destination (it is also right down the street from my office!). The food is unfailingly wonderful, the prices almost ridiculously low, the service good, and it's BYOB! Most of the kebabs are in the $10 - $13 range and the servings are very, very generous, each coming with at least 2 sides. If you really want to "splurge," order the mixed appetizer plate first - a variety of wonderful dips and spreads that go so well with the delicious bread that arrives in copius quantities (warm from the oven), and kebabs as a main course. This might put you a little over $30, but you will have a feast that would cost far more at many other places.