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Nov 2, 2009 03:09 PM

Thanksgiving dinner between New Haven and Hartford

Is this a hopeless search? A friend and I would like to find a sit-down, not buffet-style, restaurant where the food will be good to excellent. We've liked Colonial Thymes (?) but they are closed now. Grateful for anything you can send my way.

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  1. All the Carmen Anthony restaurants are open that day. They'd be reliably good, and there's one in Wethersfield, New Haven and Waterbury.

    1. Here's what one column says about Hartford:

      And while not directly between NH and Hartford, may I suggest the Essex area?
      Griswold Inn is having a Thanksgiving Buffet.
      And while the Copper Beech Inn in Ivoryton has not announced a Thanksgiving special, either their main dining room or Brasserie Pip can hardly be bettered any night.
      In Deep River, du Glace has excellent French food.
      Hope this helps

      Brasserie Pip
      46 Main Street, Ivoryton, CT 06442

      Copper Beech Inn
      46 Main Street, Ivoryton, CT 06442

      Griswold Inn
      36 Main St, Essex, CT 06426

      1. A couple of thoughts. First of all, if you are wedded to New Haven and Hartford as anchor points, they aren't so far apart that one should have to compromise on a holiday to force the issue and find an "excellent" place in between. It won't happen. That is not to say that the space between is devoid of acceptable Chow options. But for a nice, sit-down Thanksgiving dinner, I think not. So pick a spot in (or around) one of those anchor points. (I would include Farmington, West Hartford, Glastonbury, Hamden as being part of the anchor points.)

        Or second, you could pick a spot that is roughly equal distance from both, but not in beetween. Essex, Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, Chester, Ivoryton might work. And I would imagine that many of the quaint New England spots in that area could serve your needs. The Old Lyme Inn has a Thanksgiving menu posted on its website. You can check out the Bee and Thistle, The Griswold Inn, among others. Frankly, this is how I would play it. I am betting that a New England Inn will do a better job than a more "traditional" restaurant for Thanksgiving.

        Third, and this is really an off-shoot of number two above, I would stay away from traditional restaurants that transition over to Thanksgiving meals. It is not what they do best. Their best chefs and cooks are probably off that day with their families. You will be paying full fare for a pedestrian effort that will likely be rushed and phony. A country inn with its smaller staff on hand will probably give you a more authentic Thanksgiving experience. And I would imagine that all inns, B&Bs, etc. are open on Thanksgiving.

        To sum up, I would focus my attention on Inns between Branford and Mystic, including the river towns north of Old Saybrook like Deep River, Chester, Ivoryton and Essex. I am absolutely positive that you will fare better (pun intended) here than anywhere "between" New Haven and Hartford.

        Griswold Inn
        36 Main St, Essex, CT 06426

        1 Reply
        1. re: FoodieJim

          Thanks so much, everybody. I think we have enough to consider and expect to dine well on the T day. Will let you know where we went and what we experienced.

        2. The original comment has been removed
          1. I realize the OP has enough options, but for anyone else reading along who is undecided, here are a few more ideas!

            I noticed an article in Connecticut magazine about places to eat on Turkey Day and the one detail that stayed with me is the Flood Tide in Mystic. I have heard good things about this place, but have not yet been.

            I also just received an e-mail from J. Gilbert's:
            Traditional 4-Course Thanksgiving Menu
            11am - 8pm

            Adults $28.95
            Children (12 and under) $12.95
            Regular dinner menu will be available
            Call today for reservations
            185 Glastonbury Blvd | Glastonbury | 860-659-0409

            I recently enjoyed beef oscar there as my b'day meal ($25 toward your entree if you sign up for e-mails, which includes coupons throughout the year). I am a fool for their crab bisque (with a side of sherry!) and can't resist ordering it every time.

            Flood Tide Restaurant
            RR 1, Mystic, CT 06355

            1 Reply
            1. re: kattyeyes

              We ended up at the Old Lyme Inn for Thanksgiving. Had made a 2PM reservation and were seated in the bar area, a room with about 10-12 tables. Server appeared quite soon and we both ordered a glass of champagne as a good choice for such a varied meal. I had the lobster bisque which was moderately thick and on the strong side in the flavor category--that's not a negative comment, by the way. My companion had the butternut squash and sweet potato soup which was rated very good. Then we waited and waited, at least a half hour, before the turkey entrees we had both ordered arrived. The waitress appeared often but seemed to be overtaxed; don't know if she had other tables in various rooms (there are at least 4 other dining areas there) or things were just slow in the kitchen. She appeared to be doing the best she could. Entree plates included generous turkey and dressing, gravy, mashed sweet and white potato, homemade cranberry sauce, and very crisp Brussels sprouts and green beans (I personally think it's time the pendulum swung the other way in the vegetable area!). Dessert (we both had pumpkin pie with whipped cream) and coffee came very soon after we finished our entrees as did the bill. All the food was flavorful, well-seasoned and satisfying. With tax and tip, $51 each. Wouldn't hesitate to recommend dining here on a less busy day.
              (A plus: outside the entrance, an open wood fire burned so that the smell of wood smoke welcomed diners.)