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where to take WAY out of towners in their 20s: Shoreline or New Haven

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Hi we have to visitors from South America in their 20s and we'd like to take somewhere fun and not fancy - moderate prices ok. I originally thought Japanese Hibachi but we have a shrimp allergy among us and I am skittish of the communal cooktop with said allergy.

Any ideas? We will have 2 well behaved tweens with us too.

Italian
Asian
American but Not a steakhouse.

Willing to travel up to 20 minutes from Branford....in any direction.

Thanks for any ideas!!
debvil

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  1. The idea of Basta Tratorria really struck me as an interesting suggestion. It is small and intimate. It may be more than you want to pay. I like it for the intimacy and warmth I feel with a small Italian place. In this same vein and perhaps cheaper would be Skappo.
    Our favorite Italian, right now is L'Orcio, on State Street. If you do one meal, splurge!
    See my map for recommendations all around NH. http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?hl=en&...

    3 Replies
    1. re: Scargod

      Skappo is cheaper than Basta? I did not know this!!

      1. re: zoe p.

        Compare for yourself. I have only been to Skappo once so I cannot attest to differences in portion sizes. Basta's are fairly large.
        http://bastatrattoria.com/2ver/BastaM...
        http://www.skappo.com/menu.htm

        1. re: zoe p.

          Realistically, one orders (and spends) more at Skappo, because the dishes are all in the "small plates" category. But it's worth it: their food is a lot better, I think. And the wine list has a number of really interesting things on it that you won't find anywhere else. The unusual family-run atmosphere and even the likelihood of seating with others at one of the long tables should also be interesting and appealing to your guests. I'd pick Skappo as best for the purposes in New Haven.

          But if you want to stay in Branford, Assaggio is another good choice. As is Yooki Yama for very good sushi/sashimi and a fantastic sake list, right on the green.

      2. You're not considering clam pies at Pepe's? The wait gives you lots of time to chat with your visitors . . . Or Bar, for a more, well, bar-like atmosphere.

        For Asian, I'd recommend Bentara. I like larger parties at Bentara too, they let you eat family style if you want. Maybe a stuffier atmosphere than you'd like.

        I don't personally love the "creative sushi" thing at Miya's (and it can get pricey), but a lot of people do and it's off-beat and fun. Good for vegetarians.

        1. Just remembered the best Chinese Szechuan place! Lao Sze Chuan. Very authentic with a great menu. Get the owner's help if she is there! 16 miles from downtown Branford.
          Wild Ginger a really good Japanese and sushi place in just 2.7 miles north on same road or 11 miles from Branford. It's much fancier inside. Please go here before choosing Miya's!

          Go early to Pepe's and avoid a long wait. Pepe's is a hit for its clam pies.

          -----
          Wild Ginger
          111 Boston Post Rd, Orange, CT 06477

          Lao Sze Chuan Chinese Restaurant
          1585 Boston Post Rd, Milford, CT 06460

          1 Reply
          1. re: Scargod

            I heartily second both of these. WG is one of my favorite sushi places in CT and LSC is hands-down best Chinese. I only wish I lived closer to either one!