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Branford,Guilford or nearby CT

Best lunch on the water please? What to order and want clean food, not fried, thank you.

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  1. On the water: let's see. In Guilford there are really only two choices, and they're across the street from one another. Guilford Mooring is right on the docks, and has a nice view. They have all the fried stuff, but other things as well - it's not a clam shack. Food varies in quality (the onion rings are consistently good, but you said "not fried"), but isn't bad, Across the street, the Stone House has rather classier food offerings, but less of a view. Scargod has said he wasn't impressed with the food here, but my wife and I go reasonably often, and while we have never been blown away, we have had pretty consistent good food: fish, steaks, lamb, etc - no particular recommendations, apart from the general advice to go for one of the specials if anything there appeals to you. And essentially nothing fried here.

    I'll let others speak for Branford, where my favorite place near water is Lennie's, definitely a haven for fried stuff (though they also have lots that isn't fried). If by "on the water" you just mean "in a shoreline community," I would highly recommend Assaggio just below the Branford Green on Montwese St. This place occasionally gets mentioned (always positively) on this board, though I can't find a full review. Outdoor seating in summer (with a bit of street noise), consistently excellent food and a modestly interesting wine list. But the only water you'll see there is a puddle in the parking lot from all the rain lately.

    1. In addition to linguist's parsing of Guilford and Branford, there are a few shore places east of Guilford.

      In Clinton, Aqua is near the Sound but last time I was there I didn't see much of the water from an inner table. In Westbrook, Boom is in the middle of the marina and you can see boats going in and out, but it is not "on" the sound. Old Saybrook has several restaurants on the river, but it's not "near" Guilford, so I won't give details. Madison has "The Wharf", but has had mixed reviews for service in the past . Maybe new staff this year will help.
      Food is ok by the way, but none of these is 4 star.

      1 Reply
      1. re: DonShirer

        We haven't visited Aqua in Clinton this year, but last year they were really getting their act together food-wise. If it's water you want, ask the servers to sit you in the rear of the dining room, with a view of the patio, dock, and the Sound.

        If you're willing to go all the way to Westbrook, Bill's Seafood is not right on the Sound (it's on an inlet across from a large marina), but you can eat on a lovely patio and get the whole "seaside" experience. Warning: keep your ordering simple -- don't be lured by anything that's too complex from this kitchen or you'll be disappointed. However, their standard bill of fare is quite good for what it is.

      2. I'm confused by this and other posts where you have asked for restaurants meeting specific criteria. Previously you have asked for "clean' restaurants. Now you are asking for "clean food". Are these one in the same and you just don't eat fried foods?
        I can suggest this place:
        "The Place", Outdoor Restaurant
        BYOB primitive outdoor eating place famous for its ambiance and seafood. Steamed mussels, steamers, clams, grilled lobster, roasted corn, catfish and steak. BBQ pit. Sit on stumps and no "table" service!
        I don't believe much, if anything, is fried.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Scargod

          Whatever his sense of "clean," The Place surely doesn't meet the criterion of "on the water" unless he just means in a shoreline community. And even then it's no use for lunch, since they only do dinners.

          1. re: Scargod

            OMG, I can't believe that place is still there and operating. Been there FOREVER.

          2. I've been to both Guilford Mooring and Lenny's. We went to Lenny's with friends on July 4. It's not really on the water, but the outside deck backs up to the marsh. The seafood was decent, huge portions.

            Been to Guilford Mooring twice, both on a weekend. Very good clam chowder...went for a quick lunch on a rainy Saturday and then with friends on a Friday night. Very crowded on the weekends. I've heard people say not to go there during the week b/c the food is terrible.

            1 Reply
            1. re: mrsbuffer

              I've not been to Guilford Mooring, and I understand that your information is second hand, so please excuse me if I am off base. Your comment about Guilford Mooring is ironic to me. During the week , when they are not as busy, they serve poorer quality food? Then on the weekends, when they are stressed to the max, they serve good food? How can this be? Do they have a different set of people in the kitchen on the weekend?
              BTW, I intend to visit Lenny's very soon!

            2. I have been to Lenny's, the Mooring & the stone house and would not recommend any of them. Stone House & the Mooring were mediocre at best. Lenny's was better but did not impress.

              For seafood we go to Lenny & Joe's (madison or Westbrook - neither on the water)

              For an on the water VERY casual lunch we like Lobster Landing on the dock in Clinton. Lobster rolls, chips, hot dogs & sodas.

              good luck - I would recommend expanding your town criteria.

              4 Replies
              1. re: debvil

                What to say? I live here, and I go to all of these places regularly. No one would call any of the three (Stone House, Guilford Mooring, or Lennie's) a destination "qui vaut le voyage." But assuming you're starting in or around Guilford/Branford, going to Lennie's is at least as rewarding as going out to Westbrook to Lenny & Joe's. I like Lenny & Joe's in Westbrook, but the fact that you have to organize your own beverage service for the Madison location is a turnoff for me. YMMV. In any case, I do not think the food is significantly better at L&J's in either location. And we are not talking about gastronomic pilgrimages, so convenience matters.

                Guilford Mooring is a place that is perfectly acceptable if you're in the neighborhood: again, not worth going out of your way for, but a nice view of the water and perfectly OK waterfront food.

                The Stone House is actually pretty good much of the time. Again,not a place to go a long way way out of your way for, but quite acceptable for a "good" dinner (i.e., not fried stuff)) if you're in the neighborhood, And depending on where you sit, you might get a little bit of water view.

                For the nec plus ultra in lobster rolls, you should probably go to Clinton or Westbrook (or to Maine, really...). But you can still have a worthwhile dinner at Lennie's, Guilford Mooring or the Stone House.

                1. re: linguist

                  When I lived in Guilford, we used to call the Stone House the place for the Last Supper b/c it was always full of bluehairs!

                  1. re: Phurstluv

                    The Stone House has been through a number of incarnations over the time I've lived in Guilford (15 years now), some more successful than others. The current format seems pretty stable, and you have to be pretty picky not to find anything to your taste there. Hardly a young crowd, even in the bar, but I don't see wheelchair accessibility as a major issue....

                    1. re: linguist

                      Yea, it was the same when I lived there over 20 years ago! Some things never change.

              2. Hey, what town is The Place? I keep hearing about this Place.

                1 Reply
                1. re: kristiemoon

                  The Place is a nifty, rustic outdoor, seasonal place where they cook seafood outdoors on grills and you sit on stumps or segments of a tree and tables are cable spools. Corn on the cob, steamed and grilled seafood.
                  901 Boston Post Rd, Guilford, CT‎ - (203) 453-9276‎

                2. awesome. I want dirty food, not unfried, thanks.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: kristiemoon

                    You MUST go to Lenny & Joe's. And I'm only going along with "dirty" to mean "fried" as opposite of "clean/unfried." Allocate an extra $6 for the requisite L&J's t-shirt, so you get the full experience (been there, done that, bought the t-shirt). Need convincing? Here's a link to their scallop roll...along with plenty of other "dirty" (good!) recommendations from others on our board:

                  2. How about Jimmies of Savin Rock? Decor is way past its prime, but its on the beach and the food was great.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Spaizy

                      Still great after all these years? Loved Jimmie's.

                    2. sorry i'm comming in a little late on this - i go to all the places mentioned quite often and think all are just fine, maybe not great, but pretty consistantly o k. or better.
                      some can surprise me every once in a while like Aqua Grill (as recent as this weekend)which has new owners and even Guilford Mooring which has had some very good soup of the day specials.
                      i'm surprised a couple of places not mentioned - Sams Dockside which has new owners and the Blue Cottage which is just down the road and accross from Lennie's that just opened this season. both are much like the others and non-fried food is available. funny, i've heard complaints about all the places and i've yet to have a BAD meal in any of them...maybe i'm just lucky.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: ryone

                        It all may be a matter of taste. I know nothing of your age, dining experience or preferences.

                        For some of us, it is a value equation, where we feel that OK, or mediocre food is not worth the money spent, time, or effort it takes to go to a place that is only "so-so" or "never bad".
                        True, you cannot say an average meal is "bad". For some, a restaurant can also have redeeming qualities , like view, atmosphere, service, convenience, etc.

                        Partly, that is why it pays to read and get to know Chowhounds in your neck of the woods, who seems to have a similar preferences as you. Then add them to your favorites so they are easy to keep up with. It can also be enlightening to find a "lead hound" and elevate your sights a bit.
                        BTW, good to see you commenting on Chowhound.

                        1. re: Scargod

                          Say, what?
                          Just offering my humble opinion that any of the mentioned places while perhaps not being considered extraodinary by some, are what I consider an average dining expirience at the expected price points for this area. That the establishments continue to remain open I think shows they fill a market need.
                          If you want to save your money for fine dining only, then perhaps you should look elsewhere. As I said, I've heard complaints and compliments about all of them and take the opinions as I do with this board, with a grain of salt - no pun intended..
                          By the way, for on or near the water dining I neglected to add Nelli Greene's on the Branford Harbor. A resonably fixed price meal special with a bottle of wine, I believe on Wed. and half priced bottles of wine with diner, again I believe on Mon. or Tues., but please check with the establishment for actual specials.
                          And oh, I do dine around....

                          1. re: ryone

                            OK, easy sleazy, excuse me! I dine around, too! I still have no reference point for you, since I don't know your age, sex or preferences and you have seven posts. You should fill out the My Chow profile area. You have not given me anything to go on except that "you dine around".
                            Your humble opinion is fine. I do not think we are in any disagreement here, except that fine dining is not required to be discriminating. The idea I am trying to foster is to not accept non-bad meals. You want better than non-bad.; better than just OK!

                            Thanks for mentioning Nellie's I have not been yet. They even serve breakfast! http://www.nelliegreens.com/menus.html

                            1. re: Scargod

                              Yes, try Nellie's for breakfast - the pancakes have been consistantly to MY liking the three times I have had them. If YOU like them with a little crisp at the very edges (not at all burnt!) finish then you should enjoy them. Also, they are quite proud they serve real maple suryp. While not for breakfast, the beet and walnut salad is also very good. As for profiling, I enjoy food. Some males in their twentys have excellent pallets and some females in their sixtys can't boil water - I am neither. I'm sorry if you found my previous reply offensive. It was not intended to be and yes I understand your problem with my 'OK' and 'not bad' but I still recommend all of the establishments.

                      2. I always like Guilford Mooring - food is fresh and I've never had a bad meal there. They have a shrimp and lobster saute with linguine that is excellent. Also like The Blue Cottage in Branford, their food is also fresh - I've been there twice this summer. Nellie Green's in Branford is a fun place to go and the food is usually good - but i haven't been there this summer. Last time I went to Dockside in Branford I wasn't very impressed - it was just ok. Lenny and Joe's Fishtail has always been good - there are two locations, one in Madison and one in Westbrook. The Westbrook location is a sit-down restaurant. Places I haven't enjoyed are Stone House in Guilford and Lennys in Branford.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: Shoreliner

                          Welcome back (?) or just thanks for posting again. I always enjoy your comments. New places too, for me to consider! What is the Blue Cottage like?

                            1. re: linguist

                              Thank you. I guess I forgot, or meant to forget it. Several mentions of LOUD, a pet peeve, and opinions all over the place, which gives me total pause. Not that I disbelieve Shoreliner, but it seems to fluctuate a lot...and perhaps they will get it together if we collectively think positive thoughts. Never mind, y'all do it. ;')

                          1. re: Shoreliner

                            Sorry you didn't care for Dockside. They have new owners and personnaly I think the food has improved. I'll go out on a limb here and say if you are willing to try them again, the tuna (I like it with the blue cheese finish) while maybe not susi grade is very good. Just make sure they don't over do it.