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New to Fairfield, CT from Manhattan - your favorite restaurants?

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  • MBrad Sep 5, 2009 05:43 AM
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Hello all!

My family and I just moved to Fairfield, CT from Manhattan and now we're on the hunt to find our new favorite spots. We're dying for a good burger - a good slice of pizza - and good Chinese food (to name a few!). It seems that all of the Asian food we've found so far has been just that... Asian - not Chinese/Thai/Japanese, etc. That concept bothers me as I feel that quality is lost when the menu broadens. I would love to hear what some of your favorite restaurants are - in town... in the area... we have a three year old that we like to bring with us to restaurants, but there are always special occasions when we'll leave her at home. What should we try first? Thank you for your suggestions!

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  1. Go to Bethel (probably sans 3 year old) and try La Zingarra - great Italian, but not red sauce - authentic. Good Italian wines too and excellent, knowledgeable wait staff.

    http://www.lazingararistorante.com/

    1. There are a ton of places in and around Fairfield. I would recommend searching this board, you will find many recommendations for specific types of places, about 1000 threads on local pizza and many on burgers.
      In Fairfield we like Osianna for a nice mediteranean style, small plates are the best. Paci is excellent italian (actually in Southport). Beach House Cafe is nice for casual fried cod sandwiches, fish tacos, salads, etc. Archie Moore's has the best buffalo chicken wings. 55 Wine Bar is pretty decent italian. I've heard good things about Wild Ginger, but I'm not sure what type of asian it is. Martel Bistro is a fairly new french bistro type place, very varied menu, no reservations, I know lots of people who love it. Barcelona is spanish tapas, very good and they have sister restaurants all around.
      In Westport, Le Farm is the newly anticipated place, soon to open by a well respected local chef. Aqua is pretty nice, we go for lunch, too loud at dinner. Cafe Manolo is a recent opening, spanish food, tapas, very good. Again, tons of places in Westport, depends what you are looking for, but I find the best food to be elsewhere (other than Le Farm I hope!)
      The Schoolhouse at Cannondale in Wilton is one of our favorites, farm to fork style of cooking, incredible food. Very small menu but very delicious.
      Harvest Supper in New Canaan, also a favorite with a much longer varied menu.
      South Norwalk (SONO) has lots of great places, Match, Wasabi Chi, Barcelona, Pasta Nostra.
      I could go on, but you should really do some reading here and you'll start to get a feel for the places you might be interested in and then be able to ask any specific questions you might have!
      As for the 3 year old, obviously it depends on her, but we see well behaved children at all of these places, even the nicer ones.

      1. Within Fairfield itself - Tuckers for the burger, Pepes for Pizza, nothing good for chinese (though Wild Rice is pretty good fusian). Branching to nearby towns, Burger Bar in South Norwalk has great burgers, and my current favorite Italian is Via Sforza in Westport.

        1. Ching's Table in New Canaan has what lots of people consider the best Chinese in the area. For straight Japanese, there's Kazu in Norwalk, or, for about three time the price there's Nuage in Greenwich; for Thai, there's Wild Ginger in Ridgefield; for Korean, try Edo (yes, I know it's a japanese name) in Norwalk.

          Don't write off the "pan-asian," though: some of the best restaurants in the county, including Tengda in Westport and Koo in Ridgefield, go that route.

          5 Replies
          1. re: apforz

            Wild Ginger had MAJOR health department issues this past year - was temporarily closed (don't even ask) - so I'm not sure I'd send you racing to Ridgefield for their food (which is fine but won't stack up against what you are probably used to in Manhattan). As for Koo in Ridgefield, it hasn't been Koo for several months...now called Jun-Mei (or something similar) and I don't recall anyone on CH reporting back since the change.

            No one ever suggests heading in the OTHER direction...you'll find lots of good ethnic food in New Haven, as befits a university town. Search the New England board as well as this one for detailed suggestions.

            1. re: apforz

              Edo - is that next to Michelle's in the strip mall? If so, I've been wanting to try. I got into Korean food out in L.A. and NYC this past year ( along with Korean spas but that's not the topic here).

              1. re: MasterofLightChick

                jfood went for lunch to Edos a few weeks ago. He had n idea what to order. He thought it was OK but he probably ordered the wrong dish. Would love to know what to do the next time.

                1. re: jfood

                  habachi or sushi?

                  1. re: jfood

                    I haven't been there for a while, but I went with a Japanese friend who grew up in Hawaii. He was loved the place and so did I, but he knew what and how to order. The food was great and very real, but as jfood wrote, it is a little difficult to navigate.

              2. you are lucky fairfield now has frank pepe for pizza-pies only, no slices and at times a wait to get in but excellent, also super duper weenie is nearbye ,good dogs,fries and burgers

                1. Though I haven't concentrated much on Fairfield, I have a few good places listed on my map and quite a few nearby. I'm not big on pizza and burgers so others will have to help there. http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&...

                  1. Sorry to burst your bubble, but Fairfield, and Fairfield County in general, is not foodie heaven by any means. That said, there are some real gems, but you should be willing to travel to other towns. Westport has almost no good food, surprisingly. Pho Mekong is very decent for Vietnamese. However, in Darien, there is an outstanding tiny Thai place called Little Thai Kitchen. They have a sister restaurant in Norwalk that is decent but not as good. Coromandel, also in Darien, is excellent for delicious Indian food...our Indian friends swear by it. There's also one in South Norwalk and Stamford, but I like the Darien interior best, if you can get past the fact that it's in a strip malled called Goodwives Shopping Center!!. The best lunch food around, for high quality organic salads and inventive and flavorful ingredients is a little hole in the wall called Nicholas Roberts. Not high on ambience, but the owner is a young chef who puts out some of the best food around. He also does dinners on some nights, BYOB. I'd say he's the most skilled chef around, although you'd never know it from the exterior, or the interior, although he's improving it bit by bit.There's no good Chinese around except for the excellent Wild Ginger in Ridgefield (southeast asian), and Penang Grill in Greenwich, which I believe is it's sister restaurant. The Wild Ginger in Fairfield is mediocre at best, and Ching's Kitchen in Darien is awful. Mediterranean Grill in Wilton has good food.In Fairfield, I hear good things about Martel, haven't been yet, and Quattro Piazzi is a great little Italian place, my son's favorite. Barcelona is good for tapas, the one in South Norwalk has better atmosphere but the one in Fairfield is fine once you get past the weird motel setting. Kazu is the best Japanese around, in Sono. Matsu Sushi is also good, in Westport. Pasta Nostra is good in Sono but way, way overpriced for what it is. Fat Cat Pizza is a fantastic pizza and wine place, very thin crust and high quality ingredients, nice wines, a simple and simultaneously sophisticated and down-home place, great for both kids and adults. Crew, in Greenwhich, has excellent tapas and larger plates. In Sono, Match is excellent, Chocopologie is a quirky little joint for breakfast/lunch. The Italian food at Paci is very good, and the space is great. But, the really good food is up in New HAven...there you'll find tons of great restaurants of all ethnicities.

                    1. Tough transition Good luck. Lots of places to eat.....but favorites are a challenge.
                      Fairfield Fave: Oceana: mediterranean well priced, fresh, great service, killer desserts my first choice when I don't know where to go. Pepe Pizza closest to NY Style, crowds a pain. SBC has a thin crust "pizza" Margherit I add goat cheese to. Fin for Sushi is fine but Tendga, Wesport more lively (several locations and all good). Difficult to mess up Sushi haven't found bad sushi in all of CT. Still looking for decent Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese (now cook myself at home) I have a couple of stand buys all others i choose to travel to surrounding towns.
                      Wild Ginger: sushi(hidden Greenwich/NY line)...sad about health department it was a fav...creative sushi :-( will miss. Not here but near: Agree Coromandel: Indian(Darien) ++. Elm Street Oyster House: Oyster/wine pairing(Greenwich). Penang : Malaysian(Greenwich)++BYOB&Takeout, fresh tasty ingredients. Will post the rest later when I have more time...

                      1. Welcome to the hood. Jfood does not normally head as far as Fairfield so if you are willing to expand the drive southbound, here are his thoughts.

                        Top of Class - Wilton - Schoolhouse; New Canaan - Bistro Bonne Nuit, Sole, Roger Sherman Inn;
                        Sushi - Duo in Stamford does some neat things; Kazu in SONO
                        Spanish / Mexican - Big Yellow Truck in Stm on West Main. Yes it is a truck, it is yellow and it has the best Mexican up here. That should reming you of NYC, Wait for Adamclyde to answer, he is the maestro of that cuisine up here
                        Vietnamese - forget about it....none
                        Thai...Ibid
                        Japanese - Let's try Asian fusion and suggest two places in New Canaan, owned by the same family - Chings Table and Sushi 25. Jfood likes the latter better
                        Indian - Jfood likes Thali in New Canaan better than the Caromandel chains that people have mentioned. There is a sister branch in Wilton in a dingy hotel which is so unappealing, not going there.
                        Pizza - Stamford - Colony is your best choice; New Canaan - Jfood likes Joe's but it is a schlep for a good take-away; Wilton - Leitizias is good but sloppy; SONO - Strada 18 and Match (this place holds itself out as high end but the only thing jfood likes there is the pizza), Fat Cat. Try Pepes if you want but jfood went there once and it was mediocre at best, the reputation far exceeds the pie.
                        Chinese - Wasabi Chi in SONO
                        Seafood - On the Water - FISH in Portchester, Rowayton Seafood in Roawayton, possibly Splash in Westport. Not on the water seafood - Elm Street Seafood in Greenwich
                        Hot Dogs - Super Duper Weenie - exit 24 of 95 in Fairfield is the best, followed by Swanky Franks in Westport and Norwalk (same name different owners)
                        Tapas - Barcelona - Locations in Fairfield (in the Hi-Ho hotel, jfood kids you not), SONO and Stamford.
                        Italian - Pasta Nostra in SONO but real hard for a reservation; a little place in Norwalk called Mikes is also nice and run by an elderly couple. Some people have recommended Sforza in Westport but jfood has no first hand knowledge.

                        Give us more info and we will help.

                        Welcome to the 'hood.

                        13 Replies
                        1. re: jfood

                          Could there be a restaurant that is more over-rated and more inconsistent that Rowayton Seafood? Place is as pricey as they get and for the kings ransom that they charge you would expect some sort of consistent food, yet it continually disappoints.

                          1. re: LVI

                            From digging around on the internet, I would say it is FISH. jfood or others: can you elaborate on these and why such mixed reviews?

                            1. re: Scargod

                              Got jfood, S, but you have to ask the people who do not like it. Jfood has been there on 3 occassions and enjoyed everything each time. The drive in to the restaurant is a bit, let's say, interesting, the location is not downtown greenwich or portchester, but once inside jfood likes the decor, the service and the food. The last time mrs jfood liked the goat cheese raviloi so much that she insisted jfood figure out the recipe and make at home.

                              Heck, jfood can't figure out why people like and dislike some of the restaurants jfood dislikes and likes, respectively. Different strokes for different folks. Take a look at the 400+ posts that Tarry Lodge garnered last year. Ouch.

                              1. re: jfood

                                Thanks jfood. I was wondering how many times you had been. Complaints seemed to be service based, mostly.

                                1. re: Scargod

                                  deb and i are "frequent fliers" at rowayton seafood. i docked my boat on the five mile river for a few years so i was a fixture at the bar after the days' maintenance was finished. the bar is pretty blue collar for lunch. service is friendly and the talk is pleasant.

                                  lots of folk like to show up on weekends. some make use of the silly valet parking and seem to develop a hearing problem shortly after they sit down. pity, the place is best enjoyed as a neighborhood joint.

                                  regulars can walk in wearing their foulies and get a good table near the fireplace if that's what they want.

                                  in short, rowayton seafood respects its regulars and tolerates a lot of gasbags. on a good day/night, the food can be exceptional. as a rule, the place is a safe harbor, albeit a pricey harbor.

                                  1. re: steve h.

                                    for the record, barcelona is average at best.
                                    it ain't no tia pol.

                            2. re: LVI

                              The last two times jfood was at RS tere were very different feelings:

                              First trip - jfood w only mrs jfood. A party of 8 at the next table. the jfoods were ignored, their food was an afterthought in the kitchen and it was very pricey. jfood decided to place on the DNR list.

                              Second trip (three weeks later) - friends realy wanted to go. As jfood looked at the menu it felt they had reduced their prices (maybe just wishful thinking). the service, food and cost was much better.

                              So yes the jfood have experienced consistency issues, were upset with the price, but the second trip was very different and for the positive.

                            3. re: jfood

                              We went to Pasta Nostra a couple of weeks ago and were pretty unimpressed. We have been there a bunch of times in the past, but hated the service and ambiance, so even though we did love the food, we hadn't been back in years. We decided that since the food had been so good, we should really go back. We were able to get a reservation for a friday night at 7:00 the same day, so perhaps the difficulties of getting a table are a thing of the past?
                              In any case, the ambiance was actually a little nicer than we remembered, unfortunately the food was just okay. Antipasti plate was alright, nothing special. I had a poached shrimp app with a fennel salad. The shrimp were cooked well, but the fennel salad had absolutely no flavor. The stuffed zucchini blossoms were pretty good. Tasted better than they looked, but very light on the filling. The tomato sauce was tasty.
                              We all had pastas for entrees. The gnocchi over meat sauce had a decent flavor, but the meat sauce seemed to be pureed, a very strange texture. Baked pasta with meat sauce and eggplant was dried out and somewhat bland. Spring pasta was okay, lots of veggies with romano and there was supposed to be pancetta which would have helped greatly but I couldn't find any. We shared a couple of desserts, they looked and tasted like packaged food.
                              All in all disappointing, don't think we'll go back.

                              1. re: jfood

                                I can help!!!
                                Westport - Splash, Dressing Room. Acqua for a shopping lunch. I used to go to DaPietro's -- not sure if still there, etc
                                Southport - PACI!!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE it!
                                Fairfield - used to drive their for Centro WAAAAAY back when from New Canaan. I still think it's the best branch of the chain. Oh, and Firehouse Deli....

                                Otherwise, agree with the above...plus, I DO love Bertucci's pizza. Carmelized onion, roasted zucchini, and fresh mozz? With pesto? YUM!

                                www.earthlyepicurean.blogspot.com

                                -----
                                Dressing Room
                                27 Powers Court, Westport, CT 06880

                                Centro
                                319 Post Rd, Darien, CT 06820

                                Paci Restaurant
                                96 Station St, Southport, CT 06890

                                1. re: jfood

                                  JFOOD - I love the Barcelona location at the Hi Ho too! It's so hip and retro and cool. I feel like I'm in L.A.. or in a James Bond movie. Much more interesting than any of the other locales, IMO. I go there for late lunch alot. Actually, if you can recommend more fine dining places to eat around the 3pm mark, please do share. It's limited pickings on that front around here and that's one of my favorite things to do a lunch/dinner thing. Biagios offers it which is why I go all the time.

                                  1. re: MasterofLightChick

                                    It reminds you of LA because it's up on a hill...?
                                    I like it too. Great spot and nice to sit outside.
                                    Now, the place in New Haven has the architectural thing really happening. Interior and appointments are way cool.

                                    1. re: Scargod

                                      LA because of it's hip, retro 70's vibe.

                                      The Barcelona in New Haven you are talking about? If so, I noticed no interior accoutrements as I was drinking non-stop and dancing on the little plateau thingy. The only thing I could see was another round of drinks heading our way.

                                  2. re: jfood

                                    JFOOD - Mikes is so on my list! I always forget about it but I can just tell from the outside it's good. I got restaurant karma from my mom. When the heck are they open though? Every time I've tried to eat there, it's been closed.

                                  3. I'll recommend a spot that is largely neglected on this board, Chez Jean-Pierre, a little bistro with a Latin flair (the manager's Brazillian) and excellent unpretentious fare, consistently very, very good.

                                    Additionally, lunch is very reasonable and the beautiful back room is open for dancing one night a week or so,

                                    A thoroughly enjoyable place, though not NYC, thankfully in this case.

                                    As for pizza, the Colony is heartily touted on this board and elsewhere, and is a local favorite, but why I have no idea. My experience has been not so sharp (a paucity of ingredients, canned toppings instead of fresh) but, admittedly, I have not had the hot oil, which is its claim to local pizza fame.

                                    Bradford's on Bedford offers decent bar fare in a friendly "Cheers-like" atmosphere, though they lost their top cook, who was a chef of some renown, and the food has become fairly ordinary. I'm told the chef is back on Sundays, and he makes the best soups.

                                    15 Replies
                                    1. re: dinerfan

                                      chez jean-pierre... is that the place in Stamford on the corner of spring and bedford? I thought it was straight french, no? (I haven't been, so really don't know). Or am I thinking of a different place.

                                      1. re: adamclyde

                                        It is absolutely straight French, it just struck me and a friend that the atmosphere and decor has a dash of Latin color, but that could have been the wine talking.

                                      2. re: dinerfan

                                        Judging Colony without having tried the Hot Oil & Sausage pie is like judging Peter Luger without having tried the Porterhouse.

                                        1. re: CTburgerlover

                                          Not that I have fish to fry in this, but if Peter Luger only had one good steak I don 't think I'd go very often. How many other steaks would you try before finding the porterhouse?

                                          BTW, I can't find this place! What is its real name/where is it? Does Colony use canned toppings?

                                          1. re: Scargod

                                            Colony is on Myrtle Ave. in Stamford...I don't know about their toppings other than the sausage, which is made right across the street.

                                            The answer to your Luger question is...None. No reason to get anything other that the "Steak for Two" (or Four, depending on how many you're going with).

                                            -----
                                            Colony Grill
                                            172 Myrtle Ave, Stamford, CT 06902

                                            1. re: Scargod

                                              Funny enough, the only steak Lugers sells IS porterhouse. Porterhouse for 1, for 2, for 3 or for 4. That's it. Gotta love em for that.

                                              They have other stuff on their menu, but when it comes to steak. It's porterhouse.

                                              1. re: adamclyde

                                                Oops! I've never been! I usually don't go out and pay for a high-dollar steak. I'd rather it be fish or duck...

                                                1. re: adamclyde

                                                  peter luger serves more than porterhouse.
                                                  here's a link to the menu.

                                                  http://www.peterluger.com/menu-bklyn.cfm

                                                  1. re: steve h.

                                                    I have been to Luger's a bunch, and that is the first time I have ever looked at its menu. While Luger's serves more than just steak, I see no reason to even think about eating any other entree while there. I heard a patron once asking a waiter "How's the fish?" The response was "I don't know, I 've never served it."

                                                    The bacon appetizer is great. It's just bacon.

                                                    Colony Grill, no thanks. I grew up in Stamford, and it's still a no thanks. I've been, I won't be back.

                                                    1. re: Captain

                                                      For every no thanks there are 50 yes pleases. I too have grown up in the area and while it is not the same as it was 20+ years ago it is still a very good pie. Granted it does not travel well and there are better pizza places now, there is still something to be said about sitting at the bar and eating a sausage stinger pie.

                                                2. re: Scargod

                                                  What put me off about the Colony pie is their paucity of ingredients, and the use of canned, rubbery mushrooms on the one and only Colony pie I ordered (mushroom & sausage).
                                                  But I was told that only putzs put mushrooms on pizzas, so that's that, I guess.

                                                3. re: CTburgerlover

                                                  OK, and thanks for putting up the link to Colony Grill. It's impossible to find unless you know exactly how to search for it. A ways from Fairfield...
                                                  There seems to be very mixed feelings about their thin crust-hot oil topped pizza.
                                                  What I was getting at is, if you didn't know that the "sausage with hot oil" was the only good thing they do how many tries would you give them if you didn't know what to order? How many tries before you stumble upon the magic combo? Helps to be on Chowhound!

                                                  1. re: Scargod

                                                    It took me a while to find the right combo. I used to order just the hot oil. Then I would order the hot oil with cherry peppers. then I noticed the DeYulio's Sausage factory across the street, and tried a hot oil, cherry pepper, stingers, and sausage. After I got out of the hospital, I dropped the cherry peppers and stingers and settled on Hot Oil and Sausage.

                                                    Others, including the late William F. Buckley, Jr., swear by the Hot Oil and Pepperoni.

                                                    1. re: CTburgerlover

                                                      hot oil with pepperoni is my goto dish. that, a sam adams and the financial times round out my typical lunch at the bar. a full napkin dispenser is required.
                                                      cash only.
                                                      i miss buckley, he was an accomplished sailor.

                                                      1. re: CTburgerlover

                                                        Personally, sausage/light onion is the only way to go. On the good china, that is...

                                                4. I moved about a month ago, but have been commuting back and forth for about a year. Here are some of the places worth checking out:

                                                  Frank Pepe's pizza is outstanding. Truly, mouth-wateringly outstanding. I think it's around Exit 22 off 95. Try the white clam pie and a traditional with fresh garlic and any other toppings - the edges of their pies are irregular (rather than being perfectly round) and nicely charred, and they slice the pies randomly, so you can grab big or little slices as your appetite demands.

                                                  Sakura of Japan in Westport on Post Road is excellent, though pricey.

                                                  Pho Mekong, a tiny hole in the wall on the right side of the Post Road as you're driving from Fairfield to Westport is outstanding and very cute - I really want to support them more. Vietnamese/Thai food.

                                                  Westfair seafood - also on the Post Road - someone called this place a "divey little gem," and I absolutely concur. Fantastic fried seafood, good steamers.

                                                  The Black Duck in Westport - best steamers and Clams Casino I've ever had in a restaurant. Lobster roll looks fantastic, all in this fun, very casual spot on the water in Westport. The place was reviewed on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

                                                  Quattro Pazzi - very solid Italian, great wine list, not too expensive by Fairfield standards.

                                                  Thanks for posting this question - I can't wait to try others' suggestions!

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Travels4Food

                                                    I have to concur re WestFair Seafood. In back of a little strip mall in Westport across from the Stop and Shop. Doesn't look like much, but the fish and the chowders are superb, and not outrageous in price. All done to order in front of you - cutting up the fish, breading and frying or sauteeing/broiling. All 3 chowders, NE style, RI style and Manhattan are great, though my favorite is the RI style, brothy, tasty, clam excellence. I drive about 40 minutes to get there for my fix.

                                                    1. re: DavidA06488

                                                      WestFair Fish and Chips is a fine stop for what most would consider fast food. It does not have lots of ambiance, but the food is certainly good for the price.

                                                  2. A couple Fairfield places I don't think were mentioned...
                                                    Cafe Lola - really cute french bistro near train station
                                                    Nauti Dolphin - take out/delivery pizza located at train station. I personally like this better than pepe's.
                                                    Coppia - italian - easy to miss, right past Bob's Store on Post Rd
                                                    Liana's - off the beaten path, good italian and Liana is always around talking to the patrons.
                                                    Cafe Madeline - we take our 3 and 5 yr olds. small plates, paninis etc. Madeline is always there and is really sweet to the kids. will make pasta with butter for my daughter and pepperoni pizza for my son.
                                                    Chef's Table - good soup, wraps, panini and also make stuff for the kids and serves beer and wine.
                                                    Firehouse deli - we like to go for breakfast and sit outside before going to the beach. too bad summer is over!!

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: foleyd7

                                                      I mentioned Firehouse too, among others...don't know what happened to my post.

                                                      Also, for great b'fast sandwiches...Try Country Cow on Black Rock T'pike. Best Bacon, Egg, & Cheese around.

                                                      2505 Black Rock Turnpike Fairfield, CT

                                                      Also, do not forget about Rawley's...great deep-fried dogs, try it with Bacon, Kraut, and their hot relish.

                                                      1. re: CTburgerlover

                                                        love country cow!

                                                      2. re: foleyd7

                                                        i'll second liana's only been once but was very impressed. and it never hurts having the boss go from table to table.

                                                        -----
                                                        Liana's
                                                        591 Tunxis Hill Rd, Fairfield, CT 06825

                                                        1. re: foleyd7

                                                          Firehouse Deli is a favorite quick time lunch stop for me.

                                                          Great salad bar and decent selection of sandwiches - all pretty quick.

                                                          Avoid the 1 PM summer lunch crowd!

                                                        2. Pretty decent burgers to be had at Flipside on Boston Post Road, though I have not yet decided if the poor management, interminable waits, and horrendous service are worth it. Might have to return during off-peak hours or a night other than Saturday.

                                                          1. Since you have a three year old child get familiar with Timothy's just over the border from Fairfield in Bridgeport. They have great ice cream. Also check out Captain's Cove in BPT. Kids love the mini-stores they have.

                                                            I wouldn't go to Stamford for pizza if you live in FFD. Head up to Roseland Apizza in Derby or Zuppardis in West Haven.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: JohnnyCT

                                                              For a casual/semi-casual"Hey, let's go out" kind of meal:

                                                              Pepe's - Fairfield/pizza
                                                              Thai House - Orange/Thai
                                                              Bangalore - Fairfield/ Indian

                                                              And of course, Isabella & Vincent's French Bakery in Fairfield for something sweet!

                                                              1. re: susant

                                                                Have you been to Bangalore recently and liked it? We used to go all the time but thought it went downhill with the new owners. Now we prefer trekking to Kolam in Monroe or Coromandel in Orange,

                                                                1. re: Ima Foodie

                                                                  I went the other day, for lunch, and it was pretty good. BUT, not as good as the draw dropping deliciousness I experienced when I went there for lunch on a Sunday a couple of years ago. I've been to Kolam - excellent!!! Wow, I'd forgotten about Kolam. Haven't tried Coromandel, but I will now. :-)

                                                            2. Welcome to town!

                                                              For burgers, I've heard good things about Tucker's but have never had a burger there. Otherwise, head down the coast to: Black Duck in Westport (though sometimes they over char it), Burger Bar in SoNo, Rory's in Darien (dependable, solid burger), and Burger's Shakes and Fries in Greenwich (on grilled white bread(!) but very, very good).

                                                              Pizza: Pepe's, end of story. I also do Luigi's if I don't want to deal with a line or a wait, or if Pepe's is just too busy to do takeout that day.

                                                              Chinese: There's really no good Chinese in town. I guess Panda Pavilion or Lilac House if you're really jones-ing for Chinese, but pretty much all Asian in Fairfield County boils down to either suburban take-out quality, or Asian fusion bistro of varying price levels.

                                                              Favorites: Quattro Pazzi has always been good for us, Paci a little bit more upscale Italian with interesting atmosphere in an old train station. Centro is good with the kids. Osianna for Mediterranean. St. Tropez for French. Chef's Table is good for a quick bite or for soups, but Liquid Lunch in Shelton and Milford are where I would go for truly standout soups and sandwiches. Firehouse Deli also has great sandwiches.
                                                              Senor Salsa for excellent fast food, take-out, Mexican. Parking is impossible, so sometimes you have to just bite the bullet and park on Route 1, or in the lots for Doughnut Inn or McD's.
                                                              Super Duper Weenie - for the specialty dogs and their condiments, and their fries. It's all about the homemade condiments at SDW. The dog/bun itself is merely ok. Dogs are split and then grilled. The New Englander and the Chicagoan tie for top honors in my book. N.B.: SDW's Chicagoan is not a true Chicago dog, but has similar flavor profiles.
                                                              Rawley's - for the classic hot dog joint vibe; their dogs are deep fried and finished on the grill. Bun is buttered and grilled. I get the mustard, kraut and bacon.
                                                              Isabelle et Vincent for their baguettes and chocolate croissants.
                                                              Pho Mekong (just over the line in Westport) is serviceable for pho/Vietnamese/Thai.

                                                              1. I'm a native Chinese who's been living in Fairfield county for 10+ years (in the town of Fairfield for the last 5 years). I've always been looking for authentic Chinese restaurants, but sadly I found nothing in Fairfield or nearby towns. There are, however, 3 authentic Chinese Szechuan style restaurants in CT, if you're willing to drive a bit further:
                                                                Lao Szechuan, in Milford (30 min drive from Fairfield): fish in hot spicy oil is the best!
                                                                Taste of China, in Clinton (1 hr drive from Fairfield): you'd never imagine an authentic Chinese restaurant in a quiet small town with antique stores, bingo, etc.
                                                                Szechuan/Tokyp, in West Hartford (1 hr drive from Fairfield): don't be fooled by their Japanese/AsianFusion menu/deco, ask for their Szechuan menu (yes they have a whole menu for that!), they're super authentic, IMHO it's even better than Flushing!

                                                                1. I haven't seen much mentioned about Liana's, but if you haven't found your favorite Italian restaurant yet, try this. Most of her food is home made, she's usually around and might stop by to see how you meal is. We've been enough times that we've worked out way through the menu and have never been disappointed. Her gnocci is light as a cloud and our favorite. We've taken our kids, but you'll notice there aren't many there! They aren't open for lunch and definitely make a reservation or you can just show up and eat at the bar. Welcome to the neighborhood!

                                                                  -----
                                                                  Liana's
                                                                  591 Tunxis Hill Rd, Fairfield, CT 06825

                                                                  1. Interesting in that jfood almost forgot to post about one of his Fairfield Faves. He just left Super Duper Weenie and with a kid this place would be a hoot for you to take the little one. One of the best hot dogs around (forget about that overhyped Papaya crappo in the City). The owner is a CIA grad, came up with his own recipe for dogs, makes his own toppings and then plays around on the side with his specials, like beef stew last week.

                                                                    Gotta try with the kiddie.

                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                    1. re: jfood

                                                                      Have you tried Rawley's? Good stuff there too...

                                                                      1. re: CTburgerlover

                                                                        jfood always forgets about this place. he gotta tryit at some point. thanks CT

                                                                        1. re: CTburgerlover

                                                                          Agreed Rawley's is great for a dog...also don't forget Swanky Franks down in Westport...I love their classic fried hot dog

                                                                          -----
                                                                          Swanky Frank's
                                                                          1050 Post Rd E, Westport, CT 06880

                                                                          1. re: ipo

                                                                            where is rawley's?

                                                                            1. re: poppy

                                                                              1886 Post Rd, Fairfield, CT

                                                                              West of the town center, next to a Dairy Queen.

                                                                              1. re: plien69

                                                                                I posted somewhere before regarding SDW vs Rawleys.
                                                                                Rawleys has the superior hot dog if you eat it 100% plain (no toppings, no condiments).
                                                                                SDW excels in every other facet - - - fries, other offerings (like their cheesesteak), and especially their toppings.
                                                                                I'm a guy that doesn't eat a naked hotdog, so I don't go back to Rawleys.

                                                                                1. re: foleyd7

                                                                                  Have to agree with you on that, though I do like the Works Dog at Rawley's...bacon, mustard, relish, & kraut. They also do a great hot sauce.

                                                                                  Milkshakes are better at Rawley's. Fries better at SDW.

                                                                      2. I can't believe no one on this board ever mentions Bond Grill on the Post Rd. in Norwalk. I'm not even from your area and we've been several times. Excellent sushi, great setting, what is not to like? Would go more frequently if we still had to drive all the way to Norwalk for Penzey's (now we can just drive to West Hartford).
                                                                        http://www.takeouttonight.com/menus/c...

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Bond Grill
                                                                        250 Westport Ave, Norwalk, CT 06851

                                                                        1. Odd, there are very few Norwalk restaurants listed. Expensive, with a great view and excellent fish Harborlights, If you want greek pizza East Avenue Pizza on Ft Point St, Italian pizza, no argument its Pepe's without exception. Need an excellent meal for a huge crowd? Norwalk Inn, I have had excellent luncheons and banquet style dinners there...I know I know, I was surprised too. The Chef (and he is an CIA trained chef) really takes pride in his stuff. Also just had an excellent meal at the Ischoda Club, yes its a club but yes your can come and eat, just sign in. Really great prices too. Also, Ambrosia gives you alot of bang for the buck...if you need to take the kids and Grandma out, you will not be disappointed. Someone above said that Mike's is run by an elderly couple...I think Mike would be depressed at that description...He can't be older than 55. But you will need reservations there, food is excellent but they only cook for reservations. Also if you are looking for a great bakery NY Bakery on Main St (next to Mikes) is the place for rye bread, hard rolls etc.

                                                                          -----
                                                                          East Avenue Pizza
                                                                          84 Fort Point St, Norwalk, CT 06855

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: jillcooks

                                                                            Hey Jill and welcome back. Harbor Lights has been mentioned favorably on the boards and thanks fro the refresher. That would be jfood who mentioned the age of the Mike's owners and jfood has a 5 in his age no no slight intended (BTW - they participate in Coupon.com, great deal). A couple of years ago NY Bakery was mentioned.

                                                                            And if you are referring to Pepes in Fairfield, best not to start that war. Many, including jfood, are not fans of the place at all. In your town you have 3 places that are better that jfood knows of...Fatcat, Leitizia and Strada 18. Others have mentioned the Johns location on 123 (jfood has never been).

                                                                            Keep posting and welcom back to the FFD sub-board

                                                                            -----
                                                                            Strada 18
                                                                            122 Washington St, Norwalk, CT 06854

                                                                            Harbor Lights
                                                                            84 Seaview Ave, Norwalk, CT 06855

                                                                          2. As a Stratford resident, we have a number of local restaurents we frequent. Outriggers always has some great items on the menu and I have always enjoyed a meal there. Paradise Pizza has just done a renovation and serves great pizza and some outstanding Italian dishes. Danny's Drive-In has some hot dogs and burgers on the menu that any Marine would love but are not for the faint of heart. New to the Stratford scene is Assagio Restorante in the Dock Shopping Center. It has an extensive Italian menu and also a wine list that is incredible.

                                                                            1. You're in luck! The Colony Grill (Stamford) is planning to open a second location in Fairfield, CT sometime in the Spring of 2010.

                                                                              18 Replies
                                                                              1. re: zackly

                                                                                what?!?

                                                                                1. re: zackly

                                                                                  do you know where????!!

                                                                                  1. re: millriver

                                                                                    Article in today's Advocate:
                                                                                    http://blog.ctnews.com/lunchbreak/201...

                                                                                    Location on 1215 Post Rd in Fairfield.

                                                                                    1. re: amanda3571

                                                                                      That is Pizzeria Molto's address (1215 post rd, fairfield). Something doesn't add up in the link above.

                                                                                      1. re: foleyd7

                                                                                        They corrected the address in the article. It will be in the 1500 block...

                                                                                        1. re: Eastonite

                                                                                          Maybe in the old Las Vetas location on the corner of Post and Sanford?

                                                                                          1. re: plien69

                                                                                            No I believe the new location is set for the OLD Fairfield Stationary location, hence the mix up since Molto and FFLD STationary's new location share an address.

                                                                                            1. re: ipo

                                                                                              That makes more sense, actually. The Stationery's old space is bigger than Vetas'.

                                                                                              1. re: plien69

                                                                                                Las Vetas barely had room, they are moving into the old "Where in the World" storefront next to the community theatre. Colony would work in the Fairfield Staitionary space, but there are a few pizza places in that little area already, albeit not very good ones..mike's and pizza works are right there...then a dominoes, nauti dolphin and avelinnos close by. I did a search to see what else is there and actually there is a phone listing already for colony @ 1520 post road..so whether you love it or hate it it's coming!!!

                                                                                                1. re: millriver

                                                                                                  Nauti Dolphin is best delivery pizza in fairfield. May even be best pizza, period. Their plain is the closest you can get around here for something that resembles "slices from the city".

                                                                                                  They also make a great specialty pizza called the SOW. It comprised of spicy sausage, hot peppers, and a touch of romano (no mozz). Really awesome.

                                                                                                  And while not on the menu, they also make the best white pie (with ricotta splotches) around.

                                                                                                  1. re: foleyd7

                                                                                                    Nauti is good..but Mikes and Pizzaworks and Dominos...ewwwwwwwww.

                                                                                                    1. re: millriver

                                                                                                      agree there

                                                                                                      if you think Nauti is just "good", what are your best pizza's in the area?

                                                                                                      1. re: foleyd7

                                                                                                        I am a transplanted New Yorker here in Fairfield County..and for years I felt there was NO good pizza..back in the day when I was a teen/college girl I enjoyed Arcudis sicilian ( the mid 70's early 80"s). During that time we also loved our occasional Colony Grill ( jimmy bo-bos!!), we dont get there too often but maybe once a year we go for a splurge. Does Fitzy still wear tons of cologne? Currently I like Luigi's on Post Road ( near Apizza Centre). The pizza is great and we always get the brocolli rabe appetizer too. When Colony gets here I will probably get an occasional pizza there but it wont be my "go to" pizza place. Now that I found all of you Chowhounds I will read your reviews with care and maybe branch out and try a few new places. But my hubby and I agree on Luigis so its a nice comfie place to go.

                                                                                                        1. re: millriver

                                                                                                          I'll second Luigi's pizza. They're our basic, go-to pizza place since they're so close to home. My Father-in-Law always requests Luigi's sausage pizza when he visits.

                                                                                                          1. re: plien69

                                                                                                            Sausage is our favorite too!!

                                                                                                          2. re: millriver

                                                                                                            Arcudis is back in Westport but the pizza is pretty subpar (I don't love sicilian though) and the service is pretty slow although it's a nice family-owned business

                                                                                                            1. re: wreckers00

                                                                                                              I have learned in life you usually can't go back..lol...its never the same. I am not a fan of sicilian pizza anymore, I eat less bread now that I am older. Its nice that the family has resurrected the business. They are really pushing this new Colony ..front page of the CTPost and a feature on News12. I wish them luck. I read that Fitzie retired 4 years ago.

                                                                                                              1. re: millriver

                                                                                                                Southport Pizza?

                                                                                  2. Harvest Supper in New Canaan - one of the best restaurants I have been to since I moved from NYC!! The food is amazing

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: CTBOGRAD

                                                                                      for special occasions I love Schoolhouse in Wilton. The food is really inventive and the atmosphere is pleasant.. My husband and I have enjoyed Martel as well, and Osianna is great too!

                                                                                    2. If you want great homemade Hungarian food, check out Bill's Crossroads on Tunxis Hill road near King's Highway. Someone just took over the kitchen there and has been making some great old fashion food. JayCt

                                                                                      1. Sorry to step on people's toes, but as a former Bronx boy who has lived in CT for 40 years now, it is amazing how provincial the recommendations - all except for a few are Fairfield and south!

                                                                                        There is lots of places north/east on I-95/Merritt/Wilbur Cross to explore. IMHO most places south are not as interesting as going north. Been there/done that/lived in Norwalk when Momma Vicki's staff kept changing because of the Migra's interference, the Abruzzi Kitchen was a local joint and East Ave Pizza had enough grease on it to make a bio-diesel car run for hours.

                                                                                        That said,

                                                                                        Bridgeport - some excellent real Brazilian/Cambodian/Laotian places, remnants of the Hungarian and Italian communities.
                                                                                        Stratford - good Spanish/Tapas, Mexican.
                                                                                        Shelton - my local wood-fired pizza joint Casa Nova on River Road near Stratford - decent pizza
                                                                                        Milford - Lao Sze Tuan for Szechuan influenced food - nothing to look at, but the food is great.
                                                                                        Derby - Roseland Pizza - in it's been there for over 60 years - no credit cards - bring appetite!

                                                                                        West Haven - 2 decent Turkish Restaurants on Washington St - one is Halal for sure

                                                                                        And there is always New Haven - just a little farther than Westport/Norwalk, but you can park & walk in downtown. Lotsa stuff from poor Vietnamese on Chapel St to good Ethiopian, Italian, Union League Cafe, Zinc, Caffe Adulis, Richters for beer, a nice little Korean grocery which serves Bim Bap to order on Orange St [home made Kim Chi].

                                                                                        Just off the Wilbur Cross in Westville on Whalley Ave near the Post office is a very nice Thai place which is also across the street from Akasaka - decent Japanese, been there for years & spawned Daido [Jerry's sushi house] on Rt 34 near Yale Bowl. Nice guy Jerry - been there for over 10 years.

                                                                                        And - probably the most contentious part is New Haven Pizza - Sally's, Pepe's & Modern. Try them all! Otherwise you have to get down to The Village or [gasp] Brooklyn for that type of pie.

                                                                                        Whatever floats your boat is out here too - just have to drive a bit.

                                                                                        Then again, it's only a little over an hour via Metro-North to GCT & the Number 6 train to Chinatown, or a quick walk to 34th & 6th for Korean.

                                                                                        A little further is the Petit Cafe in Branford - small place with a great chef & staff.

                                                                                        In Clinton at the foot of Commerce St is the Shack - Lobsta Roll - just the facts maam - 1/4 lb lobster and a buttered roll - outdoor seating - fun place.

                                                                                        OK, ok, gotta go.

                                                                                        Welcome.

                                                                                        -----
                                                                                        Union League Cafe
                                                                                        1032 Chapel Street, New Haven, CT 06510

                                                                                        River Road Cafe Restaurant
                                                                                        910 Andover St, Tewksbury, MA 01876

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: algct

                                                                                          Tawa in stamford for authentic Indian food is very good

                                                                                          -----
                                                                                          Tawa
                                                                                          211 Summer Street, Stamford, CT 06901

                                                                                        2. Any updates for fairfield CT as fas as places to try? My whole family will be in Connecticut in a couple of weeks, and would like to know where would we go eat?

                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Gracie916

                                                                                            I don't know when it's going to open, but I'm eager to try Elm in New Canaan as soon as it opens.

                                                                                            1. re: wreckers00

                                                                                              Try the Thursday night prix fixe at the Schoolhouse. $40 for four courses. Best deal around.

                                                                                              1. re: wreckers00

                                                                                                Also Strada 18 is opening a branch in New Canaan soon...can not wait for that!

                                                                                              2. re: Gracie916

                                                                                                I really like Liana's Trattoria in Fairfield. Good homemade Italian cooking.

                                                                                              3. 30 minutes or less from Fairfield (without traffic):
                                                                                                Norwalk/Southport/Orange: Coromandel (Indian)
                                                                                                Westport: Tarry Lodge, LeFarm, DaPietro's, Oaxaca Kitchen, Westfair Fish & Chips, The Whelk (new seafood joint)
                                                                                                Wilton: Schoolhouse
                                                                                                Fairfield/Norwalk/New Haven/Stamford: Barcelona
                                                                                                Milford: Lao Sze Chuan, Taste of Thai, Bridge House, Bistro Basque, Seven Seas, Bin 100, Jimmy's Apizza, The Corner (amazing breakfast/brunch), GotChef Gourmet Food Truck (rumored to be coming to Fairfield too)
                                                                                                Fairfield/Orange: Chip's (great pancakes!)
                                                                                                Stamford: Napa & Co.
                                                                                                Greenwich/Westport/Milford: Tengda Asian Bistro
                                                                                                Bridgeport: Epernay Bistro

                                                                                                Best burgers: Prime 16 (New Haven), Dive Bar (West Haven), Beach Burger (Norwalk), LeFarm (Westport), Plan B (Milford)
                                                                                                Best pizza: Frank Pepe (Fairfield, New Haven), Sally's/BAR/Modern (New Haven)

                                                                                                Love Super Duper Weenie in Fairfield.

                                                                                                There are tons of Asian restaurants in New Haven. In fact, it has easily the best restaurant scene in CT (Stamford being 2nd I suppose) and is worth the short trip from Fairfield. There are tons of restaurants worth noting, a search here will quickly reveal. Plenty of restaurants that could hold their own in NYC. For Asian my favorites are Miya's Sushi (inventive and UNIQUE sustainable/healthy sushi) and York Street Noodle House.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: Stylo

                                                                                                  Also, the Whelk in Westport just opened as did Carpe Diem in New Canaan. Waiting to open is Elm in New Canaan and a new Italian place going in the old Manolo spot in Westport.

                                                                                                2. Noone has mentioned going north of Ridgefield. Surprisingly, there is a very good Thai restaurant in Danbury, Bangkok (off exit 8 on I-84). It has been around for many years and is almost always packed, lunch and dinner. The food is excellent, cooked by the wife of the owner, a Thai herself. I've usually gone at lunchtime (5+ years) with colleagues, and we have our favorites, but the reality is that all the dishes are done well and are distinctive in their preparation. Well worth a drive.

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: DavidA06488

                                                                                                    Can anyone here comment on how Bangkok compares to Thai Elephant in Patterson, NY (right across the border from Sherman, CT)?

                                                                                                  2. Now that I think of it,there are some other good places to go north of Ridgefield. White Horse Inn in New Fairfield for Friday/Saturday night prime rib (some of the best I've ever had, including in NYC), otherwise, great pub food and a nice drive into the hills of Northwest CT, or to go further, the Hopkins Inn on Lake Waramaug for great Austrian food. The views looking out over the lake are wonderful, too. Been to both multiple times and the food is consistently excellent

                                                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: DavidA06488

                                                                                                      David, are you sure about White Horse Inn in New Fairfield? I live there, never heard of it.

                                                                                                      1. re: TrishUntrapped

                                                                                                        It's on Route 202, actually in the Marbledale section, and offically called The White Horse - A country Pub and Restaurant (They changed the name). Here's the website: http://whitehorsecountrypub.com/