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My Fairfield County Italian Restaurant List - - - What's Next???

foleyd7 Apr 8, 2010 05:45 PM

This post has been a long time in the works. I wanted to ask everyone what Italian restaurants I should try next in Fairfield County. But I didn’t want everyone to recommend places I already visited. At the same time, I wanted you to know of the places I visited - - and how I liked them - - so you could appropriately gauge your recommendations for me.
Here is a list of al the Italian places in (or super close) to Fairfield County that I’ve visited over the last 5+ years categorized by how I like them.
I also have listed restaurants I intend to visit.
Here is what I’m looking for from you: Of my “intend to visit list”, what should I make a priority to attend, what should I skip, and what great places an I missing altogether?
Thanks.

Our Favorites
Pasta Nostra - Norwalk
Lianna's - Fairfield
Paci - Southport
Columbus Park Trattoria - Stamford
Mona Lisa (closed now, but was a Favorite)

Multiple Visits, Still Enjoy
Copia - Fairfield
Quatro Pazzi - Fairfield
LaZingara - Bethel
Tarantino's - Westport
Il Falco - Stamford (closed now)
Pasta Vera - Greenwhich
Spasi - Danbury
55 degrees - Fairfield
Aqua - Westport
Pane Vino - Westport (closed now)

Enjoy with kids
Centro - Fairfield (for dinner with kids, not adults only)
Avellino's - Fairfield (for dinner with kids, not adults only)

One Visit, Enjoyed enough to return
Café Roma - Bridgeport
Finalmente - Westport
Luca - Wilton
Tre Scalini - New Haven
Il Palio - Shelton
Strada 18 - Norwalk
Pizzeria Molto - Fairfield
Scoozzi - New Haven
Terra Ristorante - Greenwich
Café' on the Green - Danbury

One Visit, could go either way
Cava - New Canaan
Tuscan Oven - Norwalk
DaPietro's - Westport
Positano's - Westport
Zest Café - Westport (now closed)

Multiple Visits, but probably no more
Tuscany - Bridgeport
Via Sforza - Westport
Bella Sera - Fairfield
Cinzano's - Fairfield
V Restaurant & Wine Bar - Westport

One Visit, Will Not Return
Café Tavolini - Bridgeport

Intend to Visit Next:
Ralph 'n Riches - Bridgeport
Siena - Stamford
Cucina Modo Mio - Westport
Ferrante - Stamford
Aloi - New Canaan
Assagio - Stratford
Roberto's - Monroe
Mike's Ristorante - Norwalk
Biagio's Osteria - Stratford

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Strada 18
122 Washington St, Norwalk, CT 06854

Café Tavolini
3074 Fairfield Ave, Bridgeport, CT 06605

Biagio's Osteria
88 Ryder's Landing, Stratford, CT 06614

Ferrante
191 Summer St, Stamford, CT 06901

Aloi
62 Main St Ste 4, New Canaan, CT 06840

Pasta Vera
48 Greenwich Ave Ste 1, Greenwich, CT 06830

Scoozzis
New Haven, CT, New Haven, CT

Positano
233 Hillspoint Rd, Westport, CT 06880

Mike's Ristorante
50 Main St, Norwalk, CT 06851

Spasi Restaurant
39 Mill Plain Rd, Danbury, CT 06811

Mona Lisa Restaurant
160 S Main St, Newtown, CT 06470

Pane Vino Restaurant
1431 Post Rd E, Westport, CT 06880

V Restaurant & Wine Bar
1460 Post Rd E, Westport, CT 06880

Tarantino Restaurant & Bar
32 Railroad Pl, Westport, CT 06880

Centro
319 Post Rd, Darien, CT 06820

Cinzano's
1920 Black Rock Tpke, Fairfield, CT 06825

Tre Scalini Restaurant
100 Wooster St, New Haven, CT 06511

Pasta Nostra
116 Washington St, Norwalk, CT 06854

Il Falco
59 Broad St Ste 1, Stamford, CT 06901

Cava Restaurant
1615 West St, Southington, CT 06489

Paci Restaurant
96 Station St, Southport, CT 06890

Columbus Park Trattoria
205 Main St, Stamford, CT 06901

  1. w
    wineconsul Apr 8, 2010 06:18 PM

    La Villa in Westport
    Plus they have a killer Italian wine list that is priced to drink well!!

    1 Reply
    1. re: wineconsul
      foleyd7 Apr 8, 2010 06:46 PM

      i just checked out their website and this is definitely going on my "to visit" list. The wine focus (Italian) and prices alone are worth a visit. Viette Tre Vigne Barbera d'Alba for only $30? That's a steal that is begging to be tasted!
      Thanks!!

    2. jfood Apr 8, 2010 06:24 PM

      jfood bows to you and your list.

      Two are missing in Norwalk:
      - Marina d'Amalfi - Next to Valencia - not a keeper
      - Pasquale Osteria - up the street next to Bull's Head Market. Jfood has not been but hears good things

      On the to try list Aloi (the pastas) are a big winner and jfood likes Mike's

      www.ctbites.com

      -----
      Aloi
      62 Main St Ste 4, New Canaan, CT 06840

      Bull's Head Market
      467 West Ave, Norwalk, CT 06850

      3 Replies
      1. re: jfood
        foleyd7 Apr 8, 2010 06:29 PM

        How would you describe Mike's? Is it red sauce heavy / American Italian?
        What is good there?
        Of my "to try" list, Aloi might be first "on deck".

        -----
        Aloi
        62 Main St Ste 4, New Canaan, CT 06840

        1. re: foleyd7
          jfood Apr 8, 2010 06:42 PM

          mikes - red sauce
          Aloi just started her spring menu 10 days ago. if you like bolognese, could be the best and if she is making the osso bucco, probably not in the spring, it is beyond great.

          -----
          Aloi
          62 Main St Ste 4, New Canaan, CT 06840

          1. re: jfood
            foleyd7 May 18, 2010 12:22 PM

            I just looked at Aloi's menu online and it says Spring 2008.. can you tell me if the current menu is the same or similar?

            -----
            Aloi
            62 Main St Ste 4, New Canaan, CT 06840

      2. s
        sibeats Apr 8, 2010 08:48 PM

        I wouldn't bother with Cucina Modo Mio...very tight uncomfortable space, mediocre food. I think I posted more in depth about it somewhere on the old board awhile back.

        3 Replies
        1. re: sibeats
          foleyd7 Apr 9, 2010 05:16 AM

          We actually hit Modo Mio the other day for breakfast with the kids. My wife read that it started as a breakfast place before expanding to full out dinner, so we gave it a shot. It was actually a pleasant surprise (upgrade from all the diners that flood Fairfield) that made us hopeful for a dinner date. I'll have to search this board for (and the old TriState board) for some more info on this. I believe the NYT gave them a decent write up fairly recently.

          As for the space, it was very small but I don't have issue with that. We had a good table for 4 right under the large windows overlooking the river. The kids enjoyed the food as well as watching all the crew rowers flying by ever few minutes. I actually like those seating arrangements better than some places that are wide open spaces with tables and chairs simply lined up.

          1. re: foleyd7
            s
            sibeats Apr 9, 2010 06:07 AM

            I'm pretty sure they started as a dinner place...but I could be wrong. Here is the old thread...others definitely enjoyed it, didn't do it for us.

            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5483...

            1. re: sibeats
              foleyd7 Apr 9, 2010 12:18 PM

              Here is that NYT article:
              http://events.nytimes.com/2008/08/10/...

        2. louuuuu Apr 9, 2010 05:14 AM

          Salute! You've covered a lot ground in just 5 years! Solid, comprehensive list .

          If you and kids liked Centro in Fairfield, you might want to try their outpost in Greenwich near Rebecca's on Pemberbrook. Reason: the outdoor patio overlooking the waterfall makes wonderful al fresco dining in the spring, summer and fall. Ok, food isn't spills and thrills, yet very decent, esp. pastas. But the setting and splashing sounds are magic on a midsummers night, and the falling water also muffles adjoining table talk. Plenty of parking and easy access from the Merritt.

          Despite its nice space, I found Ferrante's dissappointing. Sure doesn't belong in the same breath with Columbus Park. I'm glad you listed the late Il Falco. Tho it had seen its best days, I miss it as an option, Italian or otherwise.

          -----
          Ferrante
          191 Summer St, Stamford, CT 06901

          Il Falco
          59 Broad St Ste 1, Stamford, CT 06901

          1. amanda3571 Apr 9, 2010 06:15 AM

            Would also add Cafe Silvium (www.cafesilvium.com) and Emme of Capri (www.massimoofcapri.com) to your list - both located in Stamford.

            -----
            Emme of Capri
            227 Summer St, Stamford, CT 06901

            4 Replies
            1. re: amanda3571
              s
              Scotty100 Apr 9, 2010 06:49 AM

              Would also add Tarry Lodge in port chester (obviously not ffd but very close in the spirit of the old tristate board RIP...and besides you have new haven etc on your list too). Great pizzas and decent pastas and a good wine list reasonably priced.

              1. re: Scotty100
                foleyd7 Apr 9, 2010 07:18 AM

                We have done Tarry Lodge within the last few months. I didn't list it here for fear that my thread would be moved out of CT!! :)
                I did do a formal review of them on the NY board:
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6839...

                1. re: Scotty100
                  jfood Apr 9, 2010 08:08 AM

                  jfood types this with extreme trepidation, but the sous chef from TL has just moved to Rocco's in NC. May do a take out pasta tonight on the way home from the airport. Hopeful? sorta.

                2. re: amanda3571
                  g
                  gillyweed Apr 9, 2010 08:19 AM

                  I would second Cafe Silvium and Emme of Capri (my personal favorite Stamford Italian) and also add Aria in Stamford to your "intend to visit" list. I've had a mixed experience, but based on others comments on this board I think it merits a visit.

                3. a
                  alexinct May 18, 2010 01:27 PM

                  Try Stanziato's in Danbury for fantastic Neopolitan-style pizza. It is the only one in the area that distinguishes itself from the rest of the pizza places in the area. Locally sourced ingredients and other top quality toppings (their prosciutto is from La Quercia for instance).

                  1. i
                    Ima Foodie May 18, 2010 02:26 PM

                    I agree with so many of your assessments - particularly Centro being good with the kids but not without :)

                    As for your next to visit, I would put Robertos at the bottom - have been a few times (not by my choice) and have never found it to be very good. Biagio's, on the other hand, it a real find.

                    -----
                    Centro
                    319 Post Rd, Darien, CT 06820

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: Ima Foodie
                      foleyd7 May 19, 2010 06:42 PM

                      Question on Biagio's: how long has it been in that location?

                      I ask because about 8 years ago we went to an Italian restaurant in that exact same location - - - but I don't recall the name. The food was average and the waitress argued with me over a spoiled bottle of wine that I wanted to return. I order wine at every dinner and I knew this basic chianti bottle was spoiled - - - yet they challenged me that "maybe I just didn't know what it should taste like." It was the only bottle of wine I've ever returned - - it was that bad. Anyway - - between the food and offputting service I had no interest in ever going back.

                      I'm just curious if it was the same Biagio's back 8 years ago that it is today. Based on recent reviews I'd be willing to give it a try again. I'm sure my experience could be attributed to many different factors including:
                      a different restaurant alltogether
                      a new chef
                      a new owner
                      just simply maturation of the establishment

                      Again... willing to give it another try but curious if it is really one in the same as my original encounter.

                      1. re: foleyd7
                        h
                        harrie May 20, 2010 04:44 AM

                        I don't know how long Biagio's has been there, but your prior experience doesn't compare in any respect with the food and treatment I have enjoyed there. According to the CONCORD database, the business registered in 2005; so I'd guess (and hope, to be honest) that these are different people.

                        1. re: harrie
                          foleyd7 May 20, 2010 03:54 PM

                          Thanks! I'm 99% sure that my visit was prior to 2004 (ie: before my son was born and we weren't able to dine out every week!) so chances are my experience was just a different restaurant that had the same location.

                        2. re: foleyd7
                          i
                          Ima Foodie May 20, 2010 09:03 AM

                          sorry, not sure how long it's been there. Your story reminds me of one I've been meaning to post in response to someone's recommendation of the Red Barn on a different thread. I was there (the Red Barn) once and was served a glass of wine that had clearly turned. I discreetly informed the waiter (discretion because it was a business dinner), who in turn brought over the manager. He took a sip from my glass, declared it fine, and then gave it back to me as if I should finish it. Bizarre.

                          -----
                          Red Barn
                          292 Wilton Rd, Westport, CT 06880

                      2. j
                        Johnct May 20, 2010 05:04 AM

                        Definitely try Siena in Stamford. It is consistently good - won't blow you away, but solid. The staff is accommodating and not pushy in any way. Wine list is primarily Italian.

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