Looking for a family restaurant near New Haven
Actually need 2 places for the seven of us, but didn't want to scare folks with that title! One for Saturday lunch, one for Saturday dinner
Within 20 minutes of New Haven
Bringing two older folks who don't much like anything "different", so can't be ethnic :(
There's an almost 1 year old involved
Dinner: Entrees priced $15-20 maximum
Since we're bringing a nearly 1 year old, so we need to be able to go to at 5PM, and get in and get out in an hour
Lunch: A good diner would be perfect (we love Town Line in Rocky Hill, but it's too far, we were not impressed with the "91 Diner" in New Haven
Outside option (seafood?) would be good.
Lenny's Indian Head in Branford should fit the bill for either lunch or dinner... Exactly what you'd expect - not necessarily GOURMET but definitely traditional shore food - fried clams, seafood, etc. Children's menu, high chairs, etc. and the two older folks will think it's great. The happy hour scene on the deck is loud on a summer weekend, but the dining room will be fine for the family.
Try the Athena II Diner in North Haven, 1/4 mile north of Exit 12, Rt 5.
Quick service, good food, actual diner prices, very family friendly.
L&J's is a great choice, but is about 30 minutes from New Haven. Guilford is less than 20 minutes away, and if you like diner menus, the Shoreline Diner and Vegetarian Enclave (despite the unfortunate name it also has non-veg entrees) might be suitable. I only visited it once, but it had a varied menu. My food was ok, but nothing special.
In Branford, Lenny's (as mentiioned above) is a good choice. The Parthenon Diner is another standard diner type. I haven't been there, but if it is like their Old Saybrook clone, it should be ok. The Chowder Pot III in Branford would fit the bill for lunch, but it is usually so noisy at dinnertime that I cannot recommend it then.
Parthenon Diner Restaurant
374 E Main St, Branford, CT 06405
We've always liked SBC in Hamden. Similar menu to such places as Fridays and Ruby Tuesdays, but a step up quality wise.
There's a restaurant called 'The Place' that's an incredible outdoor seafood restaurant. You sit on stumps and watch the cooks grill lobsters, fish, etc on giant grills. The clams, corn and lobster are to die for. It's a really unique, wonderful experience.
I had suggested The Place to my wife -- we went there last year (and I was there 20+ years ago with a prior gf), but we didn't know if it would be open yet, and it's not quite right for a 1 year old, and the grandparents SO would not have been comfortable on the tree stumps.
But it *is* a great place for us, and I recommend it to anyone who likes offbeat dining!