Old Saybrook Area Recs.
Every year we go for a week to a beach in the Old Saybrook, CT area. We've done Lenny & Joe's, Johnny Ads, Bills, Luigi's, Pizza Works, Cuckoo Nest and Dragon Dogs. Read one post about Samurai and another about Terra Mar. Don't know if there is anything else thats a must try. For the record, liked all the seafood places and kids loved Pizza Works. Everything else was average. We don't want overly pricey, but appreciate all types of food. We will have transportation, so don't mind neighboring drives.
Just got back and tried a few new ones. Thanks for the recs...
1) Alfornio - Expensive, but great looking restaurant and menu. Service was great. Ordered Pizza with a Veal/Ricotta meatball. Everything was excellent except for the sauce. It seemed flavorless and watery. Cheese and crust were perfect.
2) Penny Lane Pub - Average. Tight quarters and an old Irish Pub feel. A little pricey. Food was decent but not memorable. A good place for a pub / drink, but we were with kids.
3) Samurai - Went on a Tuesday for the 1/2 price sushi. Decent sushi and well worth it for the price. Also ordered some other dishes off the menu. Generaltso's Shrimp which had ZERO spice and the shrimp with Walnuts which was decent at best. I also ordered Buffalo Chicken dumplings which were horrible. The service was confusing. Each dish arrived when it was done, which meant at different times. The shrimp dishes first. Five minutes later, the sushi. Then about 8 minutes after that, my son's Chicken Hibachi. The appetizer showed up 15 minutes after that. I noticed this going on at other tables as well. Also, the sushi came with NO dishes for soy sauce or side dishes for people to place their own personal choices off for themselves. No one, including the kids, were offered any utensils. One more thing. No assigned waiters, it was a free for all. When it comes to Asian food, I am spoiled by West Hartford.
4) Jack Rabbits - a new burger / dog place in Old Saybrook Center. Definitely one of the better meals of the trip. I had only 2 problems - we had a large group of 8 and had to eat outside, in back of a neighboring restaurant, in the parking lot. The other problem is a 75 cents charge for tap water. Other than those two things, the combination of condiments for both burger and dogs were great and put together well. The dogs are the same as Dragon Dogs, but my experience was better here than at the original Dragon Dog site from a few years ago. The burgers give you a choice of sliders or a regukar size. Fries were nothing to write home about. Definitely worth a visit.
5) Bill's Seafood - we go every year. Great all around and not a single food complaint, just hot as hell and the guy singing on the deck sucked. Food was plentiful and prepared perfectly.
Thanks again for the recs.
All of above are good recommendations. To which I might add Jack's Saybrook Steakhouse (he has lots more than steak). There is a Boom in Old Lyme also (but no marina like the one in Westbrook). If you get as far as Clinton, there is Taste of China. I would normally have added Pazzo in Westbrook, but they changed management recently, and I haven't been there since to check out the new staff/menu.
Taste of China is good, but I like Samurai even better since discovering it one night when we couldn't find a place to park at Taste of China. I really wish other folks would check it out for their Chinese/Thai offerings. We really like it!
I don't know for sure, but I'd guess Boom in Westbrook might have changed management as well. We walked out before we even ordered about a month or so ago since we had reviewed their menu online and found several interesting offerings...none of which were even on the real menu once we got there. Weird, huh?
The Back Porch is a great place in Old Saybrook - the ultimate summer restaurant with great seafood and a huge porch for outdoor dining. It's great for kids during the day and early evening (they have an ice cream parlour) and then around 8pm on the weekends they also have live music. That, plus a game room and fire pits outside make it a great playground for some adult time. They have a dinner for two give-away that you can enter on their blog. A friend of mine actually won last month!
BACK PORCH in Old Saybrook by the bridge marina area - is alot of fun on weekends - you can sit outside, watch the boaters and listen to the music on weekends - - food i s good, not awesome as are prices - but if you like some music while you eat and lots of activity - good place to go - but dont go HUNGRY on a weekend - the kitchen cant seem to keep up with weekend demands -(you think they would have worked that out after a year or so)
You want to try Liv's Oyster Bar for sure (Main St., OS)--very nice!
Same folks own Frankie & Gianni's, which is a great spot for panini at lunchtime.
Try Lobster Landing in Clinton for a killer lobster roll, your kids can have a hot dog or I think a sausage and peppers sandwich if they're not into lobster. Bring your own sides and a cooler and you can eat it all on the little dock overlooking the water. Ultra casual and lots of fun. They're open till 6 p.m.
Want to come up to my neck of the woods? About 30 minutes up Route 9 gets you to Middletown. Check out O'Rourke's diner for breakfast (I'd say try it on a weekday instead of a weekend when it's mobbed), or maybe go for lunch and have a regional specialty, the steamed cheeseburger. I think they're pretty hard to beat for the low price of $3.50 and you can grab a local Foxon Park soda to boot. Also on Main St. Middletown, Pho Mai for very inexpensive and tasty Vietnamese food. Or Iguanas Ranas for cheap tacos. Here is a link to my list of Middletown faves:
I've been trying to add Coyote Blue to the list (please search for my detailed review with pics)...skip Cuckoo's Nest and try Tex-Mex here. By the way, if you need an excuse to take a half hour ride north, let me tell you Portland (right across the bridge from O'Rourke's Diner) has a very cool park that would help make it worth the trip:
And while you're in Portland, there's nothing like a cutlet grinder from "The PR"...that's localspeak for the Portland Restaurant...right near the Hess station. It is totally unfancy, but a great spot for a hot grinder. And you can grab a lemon ice (or almond or cherry or watermelon) at Vechitto Italian Ice on your way back down to the shore. As you're heading back down Route 9, you'll see it just over the train tracks after you pass the railroad bridge. Best ice anywhere--I promise. Still hungry? You can grab Jamaican beef patties at Pattie Palace on Main St. in Middletown (try the beef and cheese).
While you're in OS, make sure you take a ride up 154 to Deep River so you can enjoy some really special baked goods at Patisserie du Glace. Their almond macaroons are outstanding as is their pear frangipane tart, oh and their croissants...EVERYTHING they bake is magic.
Enjoy your trip!