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Restaurants by Boat on the Southern CT River

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My husband and I are planning a boating trip down the CT River to Long Island Sound. We are probably going to launch in the Essex area. Any recommendations for lunch or dinner that we can go to by boat? We know about the Dock N' Dine in Old Saybrook, but are looking for other options as well. Thanks.

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  1. If you head upriver, there is the Blue Oar in Haddam (outdoor eating, very casual, BYOB) or the Harborside (I think) in Middletown.

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    Blue Oar
    16 Snyder Rd, Haddam, CT 06438

    1. The name of the Restaurant in Middletown that has boat axess is Harbor Park, its just below the Portland bridge.

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      Harbor Park Restaurant
      80 Harbor Dr, Middletown, CT 06457

      1. Now that I think of it, there are two restaurants, besides Dock and Dine, that are downriver from Essex and that have dockage facilities available. They are The Back Porch, just North of the Baldwin Bridge, and Terra Mar at the Saybrook Point Inn right next to the Dock and Dine. I haven't been to either one recently so I can't give you a useful review.

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        Back Porch Restaurant
        142 Ferry Rd, Old Saybrook, CT

        1. I've not gone personally (only for drinks), but I'd try the Terra Mar at Saybrook Point over Dock 'n Dine. They have a more casual menu for outside in addition to the regular lunch/dinner menu.

          Please don't go to Harbor Park (Earle is correct re the name). I live in this town and never go...except to maybe eat a lemon ice from Vecchitto's and look at the river. Honest.

          1. You neglected to mention how much water you draw. It might matter. ;)

            6 Replies
            1. re: Pipenta

              We draw 2.5'. We've had lunch on the patio at Terra Mar and enjoyed it very much. We'll look into the Blue Oar and the Back Porch. Thank you all for the recs. Any recs on LI Sound that you might be able to go by boat?

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              Back Porch Restaurant
              142 Ferry Rd, Old Saybrook, CT

              Blue Oar
              16 Snyder Rd, Haddam, CT 06438

              1. re: Maibock

                I'm sure that there are many, but the only ones that readily come to mind are:
                Skipper's Dock in Stonington
                Abbott's Lobster in the Rough in Niantic
                Boom in Pilots Point Marina in Westbrook
                several places up the Mystic River both before and after the drawbridge

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                Skipper's Dock
                66 Water St, Stonington, CT 06378

                1. re: FarFar

                  The best part of Harbor Park is the view, kattyeyes is 100% correct. I have eaten there once in 42 years.
                  I always like Abbott's in Noank.
                  Blue Oar is overpriced (IMHO.) These are both BYOB.

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                  Harbor Park Restaurant
                  80 Harbor Dr, Middletown, CT 06457

                  Blue Oar
                  16 Snyder Rd, Haddam, CT 06438

                  1. re: dennisl

                    We've stopped in to The Back Porch for drinks/apps.....pricey but good. We shared the calamari served with an amazing sweet'n'spicy dipping sauce and the tuna tartare which was lightly dressed in rice wine vinegar dressing and served over a cucumber/carrot/seaweed salad. Both were very good. They run a happy hour type deal on the weekday afternoons that we've been meaning to check out.

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                    Back Porch Restaurant
                    142 Ferry Rd, Old Saybrook, CT

                  2. re: FarFar

                    re: FarFar
                    Enjoyed a number of good dinners there and miss it but that area is not currently in our dining region. (Sold the boat, don't you know)

                  3. re: Maibock

                    There is also Marley's Cafe on Essex Island Marina. It had outdoor seating and is a BYOB place as well. Prices are higher than Blue Oar, but food is more upscale.

                2. Since it has been ignored, perhaps the Griswold Inn has fallen on disfavor with local dining folk. We have been several times and enjoyed the quaint feel of the place. It is casual and don't expect "excellent" but good and charming is there. Were we still in a sailing situation, we would be customers again.

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                  Griswold Inn
                  36 Main St, Essex, CT 06426

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: feelinpeckish

                    I like their wine bar, separate from the regular Gris, though haven't been this year.

                    ETA:
                    http://www.griswoldinn.com/Pages/wine...

                    1. re: feelinpeckish

                      My family and I used to go for the Sunday Brunch years ago, and it was great. We tried again last year, and there were literally busloads of people in there attacking the buffet as though the Apocalypse was coming. One rather portly fellow told me to "go F myself" when I politely pointed out that it's customary to go to the back of a line, not cut in as he sees fit.

                      And the food sucked. They used to have great fried chicken, and proper versions of New England classics. Now it's basically a sub-par diner menu displayed in hotel pans.

                      That said, it might be better at any time other than brunch, and the new wine bar looks very nice.

                      1. re: HungryInRowayton

                        Wow, so much for New England hospitality! I promise you the wine bar is a totally different scene. Or at least it was last year.

                        1. re: Scargoe

                          The wine bar at The Gris is great (haven't been this summer, but earlier in the year.) A totally different atmosphere form the other part of the Inn, and much better, IMHO.
                          I never liked the Sunday brunch, too greasy for me. It seems as though the 'regular' dining room has kept the same type of menu (game in the fall, for example) while the wine bar goes for upscale, better cuisine.
                          (The wine bar also had 1/2 price wine and buy 2 small plates, get 1 free on Wednesdays for Ladies night, which made a perfect excuse for my friends and I to get together!)