Top 10 - Western & Eastern FFD County
- jfood Jan 24, 2010 03:56 AM
This has not been done in a while. Jfood would love to hear everyone's To 10 places to place on the list for Go-To Eats in 2010. This can range from the low- to the super-premium places; sandwiches to foie gras; stand ups and sit downs.
For towns lets try
Western = Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, New Canaan, Wilton & Norwalk
Eastern = The rest
Thanks in advance
Western FFLD County-
In no order, my personal top 10 list from a Stamfordite
(sorry Jfood, you will disagree with many of these)
Layla's Falafel - Stamford
Barcelona- Stamford (my fave location)
Capitol Grille- Stamford
Siena - Stamford
Myrna's - Stamford
Tutti Invitati Westport
Mario's Place Westport
Honorable Mention - Brasitas - Stamford
in no particular order, my tried and true favorites:
Super Duper Weenie (Fairfield)
Barcelona (Fairfield and elsewhere)
Valencia Luncheria (Norwalk)
El Coyote (Monroe)
Walnut Beach creamery (Milford)
Quattro Pazi (Fairfield)
Pepes Pizza (Fairfield & NH)
Kings (only have had breakfast/brunch there- Newtown)
I'm sure I'm forgetting others, so I reserve the right to add to my list!
Most of these places are in Fairfield, unless noted otherwise. Also, I've broken
down many by particular dishes.
Best bacon, egg, and cheese: Country Cow (on Portuguese Roll) (Firehouse Deli is
a close second).
Best pancakes: Blue Bird Cafe (Rte 58, Easton)
Best desserts: The Pantry
Best baguette: Isabelle Et Vincent
Best restaurant in need of a new location & setting: Coppia (Italian; excellent
quality ingredients, simple preparation.)
Best burger: I'm still looking for one that compares to my own backyard
rendition. (I recall Cherry St in New Canaan made a good one but I haven't been
there in 8 years to validate again).
Best take out pizza: Nauti Dolphin
Best specialty pizza: Nauti Dolphin's "Spicy SOW". (Sausage, hot peppers, romano
cheese, a touch of herbs). It's a great morning after cold breakfast pizza too!
Best lunch and best casual bistro: Cafe Lola
Best sushi: Fin (great prices too)
Best pulled pork sandwich: Wilson's Holy Smoke BBQ (also make a great pulled
chicken sandwich and an awesome black eyed pea salad).
Super Duper Weenie wins a few prizes: Best dog with fresh toppings. Best CheeseSteak. Best Fries (you have to eat them hot onsite - - they don't travel well).
Best Mediterranean: Osianna
Best Italian: Liana Trattoria (Fairfield), Pasta Nostra (SoNorwalk), Mona Lisa
(Stamford), Paci (Southport)
Best gnocchi: Liana's Trattoria
Best linguine & calamari: Liana's Trattoria (I have no idea how they keep the
squid so tender; best I've ever had.)
Best risotto: Mona Lisa (the black squid ink risotto is a must try if they are
Best pasta: Pasta Nostra (If you go in the fall/winter, try their housemade
butternut squash tortellini with prosciutto and toasted hazelnuts. If you go in
summer and they are offering their "raw tomato sauce", don't miss it.)
Not to disagree with you about Cafe Lola but to add a note a caution, I'll remark about the brunch I had there just yesterday. 3 out of 4 of the dishes were quite pleasant: eggs Benedict, Mom's French toast, and the croque madame. However, the French toast w/fruit was not a contender even for 2nd place on my list and just plain skimpy. Really not bad, don't get me wrong, it was superior to diner French toast, but that was about it. And, come on, it's a couple of little slices of fried bread with a few bits of fruit. There really should be more to it. A few leaves of salad, a bit of potato, a fragment of ham, something. (For reference, my points of comparison are Le Grainne Cafe, 183 9th Ave @21st St, NYC and Patisserie Salzburg, 77 Purchase St, Rye.) My wife thinks it's an outright ripoff; even on Mom's French toast the portion of bacon was miserly. But a good time was had by all, and we'd defintely go back to give dinner there a try.
57 Unquowa Rd, Fairfield, CT 06824
I have not tried much in Stamford, Gwich, Darien, NC
Honorable mention goes to:
Julians Pizza- Westport
Burger Bar- SoNo (although way over priced)
ps...barbeque kinda sucks in Ffield county and I think Wilson's is way overrated. their meat, especially brisket, always seems to be dry. i like their sides more than meat
Jfood, I've been zapped from this thread and so have others. You may have to exclude Westport since an unmentionable may be lurking there.
But I'll try again, in no particular order. Western Ct. Top 10
El Charrito Taco Truck
Nicholas Roberts -- in Norwalk strip mall
Coromandel- any location
Valencia Luncheria- Norwalk
Super Duper- Fairfield
Pasta Nostra- SoNo
Finalmente Trattoria- Westport
One question-- why does everyone love Country Cow's bacon egg, cheese---it's a fried egg with some skimpy piece of bacon and nasty american cheese on a store-bought portuguese roll. EVERY place in ffield county does this BEC. I make much better BECs at home
This is in reply to this post as well as your note above:
Wilsons (and BBQ in general) has VAST opions on what it should be: dry VS wet VS dry with SOS (sauce on the side)), etc. And for ribs there are VAST opinions if they should be al dente (stealing a pasta term) or fall-off-the bone.
Wilson's BBQ is in the dry smoked with SOS and his ribs are firm. He wins southern competitions so this style clearly has it's place
If you like wet BBQ (with sauces all pre-mixed in kind of like a gravy) and fall of the bone ribs, you will absolutely hate his place. If you notice, I didn't list his brisket or ribs as favorite... only the pulled pork and pulled chicken sandwich and a side.
Country Cow: If you are willing to sell me one of your sandwiches, I'll give it a try and rate it :). But in all seriousness, they make a crisp bacon and the portion of egg to bacon to cheese to port roll is perfect. That's what makes it. Also... I will ONLY eat egg sandwiches with LOL White American. Taseful? No. Creamy? Yes. I hate when places try to put yellow american or cheddar on an egg... just doesn't work for me.
To each his own, right? For example, I agree with many of your restaurant place like Paci, Past Nostra, etc. But I think Match is the most overrated restaurant in Fairfield County. Not worst... but overrated. Their food is overprepared with too many ingredients and they often try to be too fancy with their dishes.
fair enough Foley D, we all have our opinions...I personally just can't stand american cheese..one of the only things I actually don't like to eat.
I see what you mean about Match, but for some reason every time I've gotten something I've liked it a lot (although my fellow diners didn't necessarily agree). Maybe I just ordered the right stuff.
And to elaborate on Wilson's BBQ...I know bbq very well. I have my own smoker at home (it's a mini one). Is Wilson's better than Bobby Q's and Jeff's...YES. But I just think people over rate it a bit. I hate when bbq is slathered with sauce (Bobby Q's ribs), but Wilson's brisket is way too dry. Although I will say they are one of the top in FC but I just think it's overrated
I had a sampler of the wet and dry rub ribs from Bobby Q's last week. Your right, the wet rubs were drenched in sauce. The dry rub seemed delicious on my plate yet lacked alot of flavor on my girlfriend's plate. She had asked me if I thought they were previously frozen. I said I highly doubted it but it did make me wonder..
as someone who knows an employee...Bobby's as well as most bbq places (Wilson's, Jeff's) get their ribs frozen and they have to defrost them.
The ribs then spend time in the refrigerator and are kept in warming up during lunch/dinner service. Unfortunate I know since they charge so much for them
Yeah, jfood would never have imagined that a topic so to the core of the mission of this site would garner such actions.
He ate lunch at Nicholas Roberts yesterday and had a great conversation with Robert (the son of the Nicholas Roberts connection) while the lunch was being prepared. Local kid giving back to the area. Great thought in the food combinations, hands on preparation and delivery. Just like going to his extended house for lunch. Thanks for the reminder of this place and a good write up in a local food site, ctbites.com. He had a great sandwich (flank steak on Ciabatta with fries). The sandwich was fantastic and Robert is a heck of a nice guy. This will definitely be on jfood's power list going forward.
I think I need to start varying my restaurant routines, as I don't think I can get to 10, but here's a partial list:
Burgers Shakes & Fries
Layla's (but only for the Chicken Arabica)
Emme of Capri
We live in downtown Stamford, so we tend to frequent the downtown restaurants for dinner.
I'm also going to add Boxcar Cantina - I know it's not "authentic" and doesn't get a lot of love on these boards, but my husband and I still really enjoy the food and consistently have good experiences there.
jfood's Top 10 Western FFD County list includes:
Barcelona, Bistro Bonne Nuit, Coalhouse Pizza, Joe's Pizza, Lime, Rebecca's, Rowayton Seafood, SONO Bake Shoppe
Jfood's Top 10 Honorable Mention list includes:
Aloi, Big Yellow Truck, Colony, Elm Street Oyster, Giovanni's, Jean Louis, Mike's Restorante, Osetra, Pasta Nostra,Sole
Michael's- Italian- Norwalk- Near Lillian August. EXCELLENT
Barcelona- Spanish- HiHo Fairfield- Forget Norwalk one.
Marly's- Wilton- Great Kobe Burger.
The Black Duck- Westport- Hidden Dive Treasure. Burgers are HUGE, fresh & cheap. Whole Belly clams, etc. (was on Food Network, Dives, diners & )
Matsu Sushi- Westport-
SoNo- I find overpriced marginal food...usually with an attitude...especially at Pasta Nostra. hated that experience and vowed never to go back.
Otherwise I'm new to the area and can't recommend others at this point.
Now that CT has been reunited (until the powers that be figure out how to tie the FFld Co part of CT w/certain NY burbs) I'm glad you posted this question. Many of the restaurants I remember as faves when I lived in Westport/Norwalk/Ridgefield are no longer faves. Some are out of business and some just suck, now. So thank you for the updated list of places to try when I visit friends.
Here are some Eastern (or near Hartford) restaurants worth a visit:
*bin228 (Hartford) Italian food,wine bar
*Black-Eyed-Sallys (Hartford) Western CT does not have any "Southern-style" joints like this terrific one
*Firebox (Hartford) Fresh ingredients/Modern American food. I love it.
*Max Downtown (Hartford) Fancy, expensive, terrific. jfood will think he's still in Greenwich.
*Monte Alban (Hartford) Mexican. Small, inexpensive, authentic food in slightly dicey 'hood. Leave the Mercedes in Eastern CT.
*Churrascaria Braza (Hartford) Brazilian Steakhouse.
*Metro Bis (Simsbury)
*Max Fish (Glastonbury). Yum!
*Bosc Kitchen/Wine Bar (Avon).
*Barcelona (West Hartford). My personal fave.
*Besito (West Hartford) Excellent upscale Mexican dishes.
*Cocoa (West Hartford) The whole family likes this place.
*The Corner Pug (West Hartford).
*East-West Grille (West Hartford) Looks like a crappy diner, but great Thai food!
*Elements (West Hartford) Kid/family friendly
*Grants (West Hartford) My other fave!
*Max Oyster Bar (West Hartford). Go when nobody else is there- patrons tend towards the annoying "stock broker wanna bes". Face it guys, real brokers have already retired by your age! Also can have rude service to go along w/annoying clientele. But great seafood and bar.
*Pond House (West Hartford) Gorgeous setting in Elizabeth Park. Sit outside and enjoy the flowers.
*Bricco (West Hartford). Excellent Italian food.
Just a start-there are many more places I hope folks post!
JFood - OK here goes. This is not saying these are the best, but these are our favorites time and again . . .
1. Coromandel (Darien)
2. Cherry Street East (New Canaan)
3. Restaurant 121 (North Salem - yes I know is not FFD county but is just as close as some of the other places)
4. Valencia Luncheria (Norwalk)
5. Boxcar Cantina (Greenwich - yes I know is not perfect but we still go for good chips, salsa and lively atmosphere)
Then the list peters out and hits only specific dishes at specific restaurants. Wish there were more to say . . ..
I went to Boxcar Cantina for the first time in years. I was looking for a good Margarita and they had one. I find them increasingly hard to find. The food is fresh and tasty- Tex Mex. Nothing that I would think of as really authentic Mexican but it was absolutely fine. The place is cute- I like the darker room by the bar better and the service was a little confused but friendly.
We used to get Tex-Mex at Viva Zapata (when we lived in Westport). The food was OK, but you could sit outside or my the bar and the atmosphere was really fun. In Danbury (over by the lake) there was a good Tex-Mex place that had sawdust on the floor- they had good drinks and decent food, plus a cool vibe. Even further up Rt. 7 is another good tex-mex place, Panchos and Gringos.
My favorite is still Viva Zappata. I wonder if they're still there? I haven't found a place like it in Central CT, yet.
re: stuck in Hartford County
Yup, I remember those days too. You might be referring to the Bridge Grill that was downtown. Definitely for the kids.
Places like Viva Zapata and Boxcar Cantina are fine for what they are. A couple of decent Margaritas (used to love the V.Zapata ones served in the jars, occasionally took them with me back in the day). Cheesy nachos, basic stuff. Decent atmosphere.
Sort of on topic. There's an article on the woman who started CTBites.com in the March issue of Fairfield County Parent magazine. Can't seem to find an online version but it said she's looking to add kids reviews to the site which I think is a fabulous idea. Well, for those who dine out with their kids anyway.
Just a head's up for any CTBites followers who also happen to be breeders.
Sorry but I can't make 10...
Biagios, Stratford - #1
Liana's, Fairfield - #2
Then, in no order...
Asian place near Milford Mall (recommended by Liana above - next to B&O)
Pupusa place, Bridgeport near ferry terminal
Valencia (of course)
Pizza only with the imported mozzarella - Cantina Sforza, Westport (oh and deserts are homemade there)
Bistro Basque, Milford (and crepe place next door)
Have not tried Rebeccas, which looks promising....as does Martels.
and am not up to date on Stamford haunts
Places I'll go when in the mood and can't complain - Pepes, Colony, Rowayton Seafood and Milford Mall now has a grilled cheese place which is yummy. And speaking of mall food, I love those hot soft pretzel nuggets coated with sugar at the Trumbull Mall.
Is Joe's that little place on the side street? If so, I do like the slices there. Was in New Canaan today picking up fresh roasted coffee at Zumbach's.
I also like the slices at Westport Pizza. And do you know about Letizia's in Norwalk?
Pray tell, what do you like about the Lime? I wanna like it but everytime I go in it's stinky to me for some reason and I end up walking out,
Joes is the pizza place behind the firehouse. Leitizia is good but very sloppy. Jfood likes others better but is is definitely a good pie. The Lime is good in the summer when you can sit outside. Jfood always orders the blackened chicken roll up with avocado, salsa and mayo. It is just a great blend of flavors. He has never ordered a plate, just sandwiches.
You are so right on about the pizza being sloppy at Letizias. Though, I especially enjoy going there when I'm in the mood for a pie from Michele's afterwards. Sometimes I skip the pizza and head straight for the pies. My favorite is the walnut chocolate though every one is good with the heavenly crust she makes.
Though gone from Chowhound not gone from eating out and was totally aware of the Throw Down. You know, I'm not a 100% fan of the pumpkin - she said she didn't win, is that right? Do you have a fave flavor there? I had some leftover today and threw out to the animals in the yard - they will be having their own Throw Down tonight!
yum! Homemade apple pie with real whipped cream - you just can't beat that! (All our animals around here are also spoiled with knowing the difference of real whipped cream vs. canned) I bought the apple pie with cranberry for Thanksgiving and that was a winner at the table. The tiny walnut/chocolate is a good ratio, imo.
1. Nicholas Roberts - some of the best food around both in taste, invention and quality of ingredients...way above most food around here.
2. Coromandel in Darien - the best Indian food around, no question. My friends from India will only eat here.
3. Little Thai Kitchen - expensive but the food is amazing, only at the Darien location.
4. Penang Grill on Lewis St in Greenwich - excellent southest Asian.
5. Sono Bakery for coffee, atmosphere and their pancakes and lunches, as well as baked goods, of course. You don't feel like you're in CT here (a good thing!).
6. Fat Cat Pizza - for the energy and vibe, and simple, good food with interesting wines. Can get too loud, that's the only downside, but the place makes me happy to be there.
7. Rosie's - the best breakfast around—incredible huevos rancheros but also really anything else-fresh ingredients and great tastes, great coffee—nice huge lattes— and lunches as well.
8. Kazu - best Japanese food around in a beautiful open space.
9. Wild Ginger in Ridgefield, for the best southeast Asian food. They seem to be connected with some other Chinese restaurants but the others are always awful (Ching's table in Darien, for example, and there's another in New Canaan)—only go to the place in Ridgefield.
10. Bernard's, in Ridgefield, has truly wonderful upscale food in a lovely french interior with roaring fireplaces in winter—expensive. Now they have a less expensive and less formal upstairs restaurant called Sara's that has live music sometimes...haven't tried this yet but I hear it's great.
11. Quattro Piazzi for pasta.
12. Edo in Norwalk for Korean food — I usually avoid places that serve more than one type of Asian cuisine (Edo has Japanese as well), but this is a great place that has excellent food—I eat mostly Korean there except for my one most favorite Japanese appetizer in the world, which they do beautifully. This place has great energy—makes me feel like I'm eating in one of the great Asian places in Boston.
13. Pho Mekong in Westport is very good Vietnamese—it's not incredible the way Vietnamese food is in Boston, but it is really very good and I am thrilled that they are here, as there used to be none in the area.
14. Valencia Venezuelan Beach Shack in Norwalk - love the chicken/avocado/fennel arepa, and that green cilantro sauce on the table is just unbelievably delicious.
15. Chocopologie is an odd place, odd hours, but the food is actually excellent, and good coffee.
New Haven is really the place to go for pizza, coffee, asian noodles, Italian, Turkish, Thai, etc.
Little Thai Kitchen
4 West Ave, Darien, CT 06820
25 Old Kings Hwy N Ste 11, Darien, CT 06820
666 Main Ave Fl 1, Norwalk, CT 06851
461 Main St, Ridgefield, CT 06877
55 Lewis St, Greenwich, CT 06830
We are relatively small eaters (but not light!) so like places that make sharing easy.
Central FF faves:
Ossiana - Fairfield - Always get the mixed dips app, friend calamari, and one small plate.
Dressing Room - Westport - love the room's ambiance, can put together an interesting and tasty meal.
Valencia - Fairfield - ridiculously good and cheap.
Fat Cat - Norwalk - reasonably priced and very good, as long as you are in the mood for only salad and pizza.
Matsu - Westport - fine for the area. Nice little outdoor seating area.
Another newer Westport restaurant. - corn bread with bacon dessert...mmmmmmm
Pho Mekong - surprisingly good for fairfield cty.
Gingerman - excellent pub food and the best beer list around.
Places I don't quite get or have given up on:
Tengda - after many meals here I realized everything is mediocre.
Quattro Pazzi - Boring menu and overpriced. (surprising since I love ossiana)
Barcelona get a mixed mention - some menu items are great, some ok, and I think the norwalk one is much better than the fairfield.
Thali - too new to tell. Only ordered takeout. Thought the food was great (and my Indian friend agreed) but the portions were small and too expensive- too much sauce, too little meat/cheese/veg. Ordered $60 of food, thought it would last for 2 meals, barely was enough for one.
87 Main Street, New Canaan, CT 06840
27 Powers Court, Westport, CT 06880
Quattro Pazzi Restaurant
165 Fillow St, Norwalk, CT 06850