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May 6, 2009 11:55 AM

The only place to go in Monroe, CT

Driving home with the family and wanted to stop for quick bite to eat, so we stopped at Carl Anthony's in Monroe, CT. Alway heard about it, but also heard it may be a bit pricy, but to be honest you are always going to pay for quality. The appetizer balsamic calamari is something that should be talked about, the mixture of the sweet and spicy taste was like something we never had before, not to mention the staff and the atmosphere was awesome. The food exceeded every expectation and the service was right on point and actually the menu was very reasonable all our entree's came with salads to my suprise. What was meant to be a quick stop turned out to be a fun and delicous experince. We absolutely will be going back to Carl Anthony's and recomend it to all.

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  1. No, Carl Anthony's is NOT the only place to go in Monroe. It is very good, BUT it is not great. They have a few great items, especially their fried spinach, but many ordinary items at high prices. These are the same people as Giove's Pizza (bad pizza at high prices).

    Just north of Carl Anthony's is Roberto's. Very good Italian food with larger portions at reasonable prices. AND they don't have a nose in the air attitude as they do at Carl Anthony's.
    Just a bit further north-all on the same side of the street-next to Starbucks is the Monroe branch of Julian's Pizza. With a wood burning brick oven, GREAT New Haven style thin crust Apizza. Also huge appetizers-my oldest girl always orders there chicken tender appetizer and it could feed 3. Interesting sandwiches salads. Not fancy, and NOT air conditioned. I no longer drive into Wooster Street New Haven for my fix of a true New Haven Apizza with sauce and grated Romano cheese.
    Now if Monroe could only come up with decent steak, chicken and Chinese......

    1 Reply
    1. re: bagelman01

      My experience at Julian's was terrible. The mushroom pizza was burt on the crust area, and soup in the middle. I'll never return. I have been to all good ones from Pepe's, Sally's Bar, Modern, Carminuccio's, Roselands,, etc., and I wouldn't recommend Julian's to anyone.

      I tried this place three times - all terrible.

    2. We go to Carl Anthony's ever few months. The food is usually very good and when I use a coupon, (they are on I feel like I getting a GREAT value.

      What about the Smithy for steak? I have to try Julian's one of these days, I keep hearing really good things about it. Don't forget, Monroe has really good mexician, El Coyote!
      I know it's not in Monroe, but New Wok in Newtown has really good Chinese (same plaza as Stop & Shop). We are suppose to be meeting friends at 707 on Main for dinner this weekend. We have never been there, any thoughts??

      11 Replies
      1. re: mom2

        When 707 first opened, which I guess is almost a decade ago now, it was not good at all. The established places in town didn't think it would last two years, but I think it got a lot of help from the closing of Clearwaters. The only time I've been there in the last five years was for a catered event, and the food had improved by leaps and bounds.
        I've always liked Carl Anthony's - as bagelman01 noted the fried spinach is fantastic - but I wouldn't call it a great value. It is head and shoulders above Roberto's though, which is a typical mediocre Fairfield County Italian joint. The only Italian in town that I've ever found to be a good value is Panino's. It's nothing fancy, and nothing spectacular, but it's good, and the prices are low.
        The Smithy has pretty good steaks, as well as a number of other good menu items and specials. The Smithy Burger is in my top 5 best burgers. I'd also say it's the best value in town, given that the prices for a prime steak are relatively low at around $20, depending on the cut, and that comes with a lot of extras. The owners and waitstaff are great people, even if they do have a bit of that old Monroe in them.

        1. re: danieljdwyer

          Also, forgot to add, even closer in Newtown is Kolam, which is one of the best Indian places in Fairfield County.
          And, I know it's crap, but I'll take SeƱor Panchos over El Coyote any day. Must be the nostalgia.

          1. re: danieljdwyer

            I live in Monroe but I rarely eat out there. I've been to just about all of the restaurants mentioned above but haven't felt compelled to return to any of them. Imo, most of them are decent but not so good that I'm chomping at the bit to get back.

            1. re: danieljdwyer

              We recently tried Senor Panchos for the first time since moving to Trumbull two years ago. The parking lot is always full, so we were expecting great Mexican food. What we got could've come from Taco Bell. At 2 AM. We were seriously disappointed. Especially after eating at Sloppy Jose's in Milford a few weeks prior.

              1. re: Ravac

                Senor Pancho's is crap.....................
                Even my 12 year old thinks Taco Smell is better......

                1. re: Ravac

                  Senor Panchos is no good, as I said. My point was that El Coyote sucks too. Neither one is worth eating at, but if I had to choose between the two, I'll take Senor Panchos, because at least it's the crappy Mexican I grew up with.

                  1. re: danieljdwyer

                    Travel a little further on 25 into Newtown to Mexicali Rose (in Ricky's Plaza, I think, across from Carminuccio's). Fresh, authentic Mexican and wonderful owners.

                    1. re: danieljdwyer

                      not sure how you can compare the two - El Coyote is good, fresh food. Senor Panchos is a party place.

                      1. re: Ima Foodie

                        I can compare the two because they both serve the kind of food that makes people think there is no good Mexican food in Connecticut. They might not get their salsa and guacamole out of a jar, but neither does Senor Panchos. I wouldn't necessarily call their produce fresh, and their meat is definitely not. I'd be surprised if they make their tortillas. The tamales and chiles rellenos are definitely pre-prepared and then reheated, probably several days worth at a time. The one thing I'll give them credit for is having a few decent tequilas, which Senor Panchos does not.

                        1. re: danieljdwyer

                          to each his own. Not sure what would give you the impression that El Coyote has reheated chile rellenos - in fact, that's my favorite thing on their menu. Shredded white meat only chicken (a rarity but my preference) simmered in a delicious sauce is so much better than the plain old cheese blend you'd find stuffed inside most other places peppers.

                  2. re: danieljdwyer

                    You longer can have Senor Pancho's
                    It is closed as of the end of July, and is being replaced by a sports bar.
                    I don't like Mexican food, but my kids do. With such a lack of restaurants in the northern Trumbull-Monroe area, I'm sorry to see them gone.

              2. Just had to concur--that balsamic calamari is incredible! Believe it or not, SBC makes a similar concoction called sticky calamari but CA's is incredible, I agree!

                1. Carl Anthony' SMOKE ALERT

                  Now that nice weather is here, Carl Anthony's has opened there outside tables. Un fortunately, they are right by the entrance to the restaurant. So, you can walk by the smoke on the way in and lose your appetite, or walk through the smake after you dine and lose your meal.

                  Very bad planning, and why anyone would like to dine al fresco adjoining concrete and a tar parking lot is beyond me.

                  We won't be eating at Carl Antghony's until the cold weather returnsz and the smokers disappear.