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Mystic restaurant for college tour

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Mystic restaurant for college tour
We 2 moms and teen daughters will be in Mystic Monday, April 6th prior to a Conn College visit the next morning. We're looking for a place in Mystic for dinner - good food, casual atmosphere, I'm guessing seafood. Any ideas? Thanks so much.

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  1. I grew up in Mystic and would absolutely recommend The Steak Loft for a great, casual restaurant. It's affordable and comfortable and the food is good (not wonderful, but definitely good!)

    4 Replies
    1. re: lne

      Thank you for these great ideas and for the warning about the Seaman's Inn!

      1. re: lne

        I don't have the same warm fuzzy feeling about the Steak Loft. I think their meat is not especially good, and never cooked the way you order it. They do have a massive salad bar that is good.

        That said, it is better than the Seaman's Inn, where I have never had good food in 25 years.

        I haven't been to Go Fish in a while, but it was always good when I went. It's closer to the Aquarium.

        Or do yourself a favor and head to the next town up the coast and go to the Water Street Cafe in Stonington. Casual but nice and great food.

        1. re: thinks too much

          I recommend Azu in downtown Mystic, Olio just off I-95 in Groton and Noah's in Stonington Bourough.

        2. re: lne

          Steak Loft is, like the rest of JTK managment's restaurants, corporatized theme-parkesque dining. They had the corner on what chains are doing before there were applebees, fridays, etc. everywhere. The food at all of their restaurants is mediocre at best, sometime worse, as you will see in reviews across the web- but then, Ine, there is no accounting for nostalgia or bad taste, I would not suggest it to a traveler- look in Stonington for a great meal. Mystic like Newport has succumbed to Tourist oriented dining, there is little pride or culinary fervor- Sea Swirl, Bravo, some others stand out.

        3. Oh, absolutely Waterstreet Cafe! My parents go for dinner every week and love it. I had my wedding rehearsal dinner there :-) It's casual with good food.

          Also love Go Fish for a slightly fancier dinner.

          2 Replies
          1. re: lne

            I always think AZU has a good atmosphere, about as hip as Mystic gets, lol.

            1. re: lne

              Again, Ine, I would have to disagree- about how you use the word "fancier", perhaps you could replace fancier with pretencious, and discaimer that with "and a less dependable meal";

            2. Since you're from Cali, I'd say to go for a little NE atmosphere by going to Stonington Borough - the Water Street Cafe or the other restaurants on the main drag are nice. Afterwards, go down to the point to see Fishers Island Sound while you huddle in your car to keep warm.

              Westerly also offers some nice choices, but it's 25 minutes away: Up the River and 84 High Street are my preferred places.

              My vote is to stay away from the Steak Loft and other places in Mystic, although I do like Go Fish. Azu? Ecch, pretentious.

              6 Replies
              1. re: Trnrbrnr

                Noah's or Water Street are great suggestions (Stonington Borough) and I agree that it's a very quaint NE town. Also, I do like the food at Azu and don't find it pretentious. Mystic?...Pretentious? Nah. Nantucket, yes!

                1. re: ciclista

                  Thanks so much for everyone's advice. Noah's or Water Street sound great but Noah's is closed on Monday's. No website for Water Street but I'll check tomorrow by phone. Thanks a million.

                  1. re: ciclista

                    We ate at Noah's a few weeks ago and it was very good. We went early - around 6, so we didn't need reservations and there was no wait. My husband and I both had the milk broth clam chowder, which was a whole lot of clams and not much chowder - very good, and highly recommended. I was in the mood for either scallops or duck, and ended up going with the scallops, another excellent choice. They were VERY lightly breaded - barely a crust on them, just enough for some crispness, and perfectly cooked. The scallops were sweet and very fresh tasting, probably some of the best I've ever had. They were served with mashed potatoes and green beans. The potatoes were okay, but nothing special. They probably could have used a little flair - some boursin cheese or roasted garlic would have been nice, but the green beans were nice and fresh, and again, perfectly cooked - still green and crispy, but tender.

                    DH ordered the ribeye steak and thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the fresh tomato sauce on top. Normally I am not a fan of raw tomatoes, usually because they are watery, but this had a great flavor - much like the summer tomatoes my grandmother used to grow in her garden. I don't know where they got these tomatoes, but they were excellent. He also enjoyed the polenta on the side - I thought it was bland.

                    For dessert, I ordered the creme brulee and he had the bread pudding. Again, he loved his, and while mine was good, the presentation was lacking. It was just creme brulee in a custard dish and that was that, nothing special. It really could have used just a touch of the fresh whipped cream they were mixing up behind the dessert counter, a spring of mint, and a few of the gorgeous ripe berries also on display in the dessert case. Not a lot, just enough to dress up what was otherwise a very good dessert.

                    Overall, it was a good dinner, but don't be fooled by the website. Not everything they list is available, and since their menu is based on what's fresh at the time, selections might be limited.

                    1. re: jfritz

                      The scallops were probably Stonington Scallops. There is a very neat self serve scallop place in Stonington. They have a special way of freezing them. You can walk up anytime and get VERY fresh and wonderful seafood and pay with a charge, cash or check. There is a camera to be sure you are honest! Great town!!

                  2. re: Trnrbrnr

                    Westerly, 25 mins away? From Mystic?

                    1. re: lexyboo

                      Are there any water view restaurantsa in Westerly anyone would recommend? I was at the beach there yesterday(unfortunatly 61 degrees at the beach and 94 degrees in town) and most of the small beachside places were still closed for the season. I'd never been there before and didn't have a clue where to look. Both casual and more upscale suggestions would be welcome. Thanks.

                  3. Seahorse in Noank - for whole belly clam dinner. Other seafood items were good to. Whenever we're in Mystic we make it a point to go here. This was a few years ago, but they were the best I had in a long time.

                    7 Replies
                    1. re: michele cindy

                      Seahorse is very often recommended here and among my friends. I've never gotten it. I've had meals that were fine here, but never amazing; I'll also remark that I have never had bad food there (nor anyone else in my party). It's just a bar/restaurant for people with boats. Is there something I'm missing?

                      1. re: thinks too much

                        That's exactly what's nice about it - it is not pretentious, not gimicky, just decent food, and a nice crowd. Somewhere you'd go if you lived there on a regular night out regularly. Also - there whole belly clams were memorable. I don't get them much where I live, and the ones I've had in Norwalk were not even close the Seahorse's.

                        1. re: thinks too much

                          We just went there for the first time last week. I agree with you, it was okay, nothing great.

                          1. re: Alica

                            I haven't been there in a few years. I'd like to know if someone has had the fried belly clams more recently. I'm hoping they are still as good as I recall. BTW are belly clams seasonal? Thanks!

                            1. re: michele cindy

                              I have to say, my husband had the fried scallops. They were pretty good, the batter was very light, the scallops were tender and sweet. I bet the clams would be good also.

                              1. re: michele cindy

                                We went last weekend and had great chowder, great fries. good food. It also feels local which most of the in-town places seemed to be running away from being.

                                1. re: jim14th

                                  Glad to hear it is still good. I like it too because of the "local feel".

                        2. Why don't you consider the S&P Oyster Co in downtown Mystic? I'm not sure if it in your price range, but it is excellent. You can't beat the location- right next to the drawbridge with a lovely outdoor patio (which is probably not yet open for the season). Also excellent in downtown Mystic is Bravo Bravo- albeit more high end.

                          If you are staying in Mystic- Stonington Borough is only a few minutes drive away, and is definitely worth a trip. Very quaint New England town. IMHO Noah's is probably the best option- very local, fresh food.

                          Lastly, there are a few great options in Groton, which is halfway between the college and Mystic. Paul's Pasta is located on Thames Street in Groton, and Olio. Paul'sis basically a hole in the wall on the water with excellent, basic homemade pasta and fresh salads. Olio was also excellent- have only been once about a year ago, but they seemed to have a very inventive menu with solid choices for all palate ranges.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: aerin13

                            I'm glad someone suggested Olio. My wife and i go there often. They offer a good atmosphere... it doesn't seem that way from the outside but it is a solid place.
                            We live in the borough and waterstreet is one of our favorites. Don't be tempted by the "Dog Watch Cafe"(the old "Boom")... They have a fragmented menu and poor execution of classic dishes With a side of odd, if not rude, service.
                            Any interest in mexican? Milagro is right across from Waterstreet and is very good. The owner Martin(Mar-teen) is very hospitable.

                            1. re: Lausten14

                              Thanks so much for everyone's advice. I can clearly see we need to come back to Mystic. I'm filing all this away in case my daughter chooses an area college. i think we'll stay away from Mexican only because we live in LA. Thanks again.

                          2. As a graduate of Conn College, I can appreciate the need for a good off campus dinner spot. The places you try now could be the spots you go to again on parents weekends in the future. On a college student's budget, most of my off-campus meals were Chinese or pizza, so anything else was a luxury.

                            Paul's Pasta is in the CoCo off-campus go-to hall of fame. The fact that its still there 15 years after my college years is a testament to its quality. Try the spaghetti pie.

                            Go Fish is good. I recall the Daniel Packer Inn in Mystic to be very good, albeit pricey. If you want some cheaper local seafood, either Sea Swirl or Cove Fish Market might be open by that time of the year.

                            1. My daughter is a freshman at Conn College, and we've been exploring the food in the area. If you are in Mystic, I agree about Azu. Very yummy. We're having brunch there tomorrow. We also really like Rice, Spice, Noodles, both are on the main drag. Some fabulous dishes there. There's also a good breakfast place in Mystic called Somewhere in Time.
                              In New London, Muddy Waters has a nice casual breakfast and coffee drinks, decent lunch sandwiches, too. Also, there's a great Middle Eastern grocery called Saeeds on the road to Ocean Park. Still much to discover. I thought Paul's Pasta was only average. We plan to try North Indian Restaurant tonight.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: MangiaMuse

                                We love Brie & Blue cheese store on Bank St, New London. It is 1/2 a great wine store and 1/2 a cheese shop and very cute restaurant. We felt like we were on vacation there! We like Northern India! I am anxious to try Saeeds!

                                1. re: Alica

                                  Just wanted to check in and thank you all for your recs. We ended up in Mystic last Monday night in the rain and headed to the Water Street Cafe. It was fantastic. We saw 19 colleges in 5 days and the thing my daughter remembers most is her escargot pot pie at the Water Street Cafe!! Everything was delicious; from the perfectly cooked tuna to the berry tart. The service was warm and friendly and we had a great time thanks to your advice. The town was charming - or what we could see in the rain. My daughter loved Conn College so now she just needs to get in. After seeing the fancy dining halls at these unbelievable schools (from BC to GW) my line is "I've spent the last 17 years not spoiling my daughter and now she'll have her choice of latte bars in college." Her "plan" is to go to Conn College and then rent a house in Stoneington Borough as a junior. What a life! Thanks again.

                                  1. re: mocro

                                    My goal is to retire in Stonington. If your daughter can swing living there by the age of 20, more power to her!

                                    1. re: FoodieJim

                                      Re your last sentence, no kidding! ;)

                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                        I think she plans on living 12 to a house! She can dream. Actually we were chatting w/the waitress about real estate prices which I assumed were astronomical by the look of Stonington Borough and she said there were still some reasonable deals to be had and students sometimes live there which is what planted the seed in my daughter's mind. The cost of room & board at college is so high now, I think sometimes upperclassmen share an apartment and come out better. What a great restaurant that was though. Hope to return and also check out some of the many suggestions made on this board. Thanks.

                              2. Are there any water view restaurantsa in Westerly anyone would recommend? I was at the beach there yesterday(unfortunatly 61 degrees at the beach and 94 degrees in town) and most of the small beachside places were still closed for the season. I'd never been there before and didn't have a clue where to look. Both casual and more upscale suggestions would be welcome. Thanks.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: catsmeow

                                  Up River Cafe is great, Olympia Tea Room is a bit overrated but the view is wonderful. Does anyone know when they are opening this year. If you would like to venture out to Stonington, 15 min away, Skippers Dock has okay food with a GREAT view. Very nice for waterfront sunset. I heard Dog watch Cafe now has a deck to eat outside. That should be nice!!

                                2. I just posted elsewhere about a great dinner we had at South Side Bistro on Bank Street in New London. We also tried the Broken Yolk for breakfast over the weekend, and it was a great little breakfast spot. In New London on Montauk Road, heading towards the beach. Bean & Leaf has great coffee and tea, breakfast sandwiches and some lunch choices, as well as pastries. Service is a little slow (it is walk-up), but it is a very comfortable, artsy little place.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: MangiaMuse

                                    I'm just circling back as the original poster. It's so funny to see that a thread of yours is still "alive" after such a long time.

                                    We took 'thinks too much's' advice and went to the Water Street Cafe in Stonington. It was aptly named as it was pouring rain and we relied on our rental car's navigational sytem which took us on the most back-road's route in utter darkness. We expected the Bate's Motel at every turn!

                                    Please forgive my lack of specifics about the menu, but it's been 7 months. That said, my teen still talks wistfully about their Escargot Pot Pie. What I do remember was that the place and the staff were warm and welcoming; the food was inventive but not fussy and absolutely delicious. It was exactly what we hoped for - a casual place with great food and a very local feel. Thanks again 'thinks' and all you wonderful east coast Chowies!

                                    Water Street Cafe
                                    141 Water St, Laconia, NH 03246

                                    1. re: mocro

                                      Thanks so much for your feedback! Glad you enjoyed it.