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Visiting CT over the Holidays and in need of advice

Am traveling from Portland OR to Hartford CT for the holidays and need advice about interesting places to eat. Please do not be offended by my qualifiers as to what you recommend.
Don't recommend because the portion sizes are huge, the same goes for chains. If I can eat it here, why would I fly that far to try it.

Please tell me about slavic places you enjoy, been to Starospolska in New Britain and enjoyed it. Any ideas for pierogies would be most welcome.

Small plates are a plus, as I want to sample as much as possible. If there is an actual New England cuisine I would love to find out about it. Last time out I discovered whole belly clams and fell in love.

One of my hobbies is charcuterie and I would enjoy finding out what is out there.
I also need a good bagel. All they have here are steamed and I am tired of making my own.
What is the state of Chinese food in CT? Do I dare ask about Mexican?

Thanks all,

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  1. Best restaurant but pricey and only sometimes open for dinner is ON20 http://www.ontwenty.com/
    For polish there is also Polish National Home in Hartford and Cracovia and Fatherland in New Britain. New England Cuisine means Indian Pudding for dessert- sometimes available at diners and Griswold Inn http://www.griswoldinn.com/. Newer are steamed cheeseburgers in Mediden at Ted's or Lamays. Pepe's for classic pizza.

    Rizzuto's in West Hartford offers a charcuterie plate and is part of their brunch. Try Lox, Stock for bagels http://www.loxstock.com/

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    Cracovia
    60 Broad St, New Britain, CT 06053

    Polish National Home
    60 Charter Oak Ave, Hartford, CT 06106

    Griswold Inn
    36 Main St, Essex, CT 06426

    4 Replies
    1. re: brookerme

      I just found out that smoking is allowed in the Polish National Home because it's a privtae club. Is that true?

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      Polish National Home
      60 Charter Oak Ave, Hartford, CT 06106

      1. re: javaandjazz

        Absolutely true re: the smoking. I have only seen people smoking in the bar area, not the side that is all tables, though I am not sure what the rules are (if any).

        1. re: mels

          Does the smoke migrate into the dining room and is it really a bother?

          1. re: javaandjazz

            I have never seen anyone smoking on the dining room side, nor have I noticed it smelling over there, so I am not sure if it is just chance that I haven't seen it or if smoking is only allowed in the bar area (there are tables around the bar too). The times I have sat in the bar area the smoke hasn't bugged me, mainly because there were just one or two guys smoking while sitting on stools at the bar, not out at the tables. If you are sensitive to the smoke, I would call ahead and ask what their policies are so there are no surprises.

    2. For charcuterie, try Brasserie Pip in Ivoryton. Here's an article to tell you more:
      http://www.starchefs.com/news/press_r...

      I think most on this board would agree Lao Sze Chuan in Milford's a top pick:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/686952
      Two and three for me are Samurai in Old Saybrook and Taste of China in Clinton. More suggestions than you can shake a stick at here:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5756...

      hotdoglover taught me hot dogs are not as big a deal in other parts of the country. Near me, I love Guida's in Middlefield. Everyone's favorites here:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/1612...

      Mexican--quick, delicious and not fancy--Iguanas Ranas in Middletown. Still casual, but less so than the Iguana, try Monte Alban in Hartford (parking is a bitch, tho') or Besito in West Hartford Center.

      You'll find multiple threads on all these places for more info. Happy grazing!

      -----
      Brasserie Pip
      46 Main Street, Ivoryton, CT 06442

      Monte Alban Restaurant
      529 Farmington Ave, Hartford, CT 06105

      Besito
      46 S Main St, West Hartford, CT 06107

      1. Drive 30 minutes south on I-91 to New Haven and sample the different places known for their pies (pizza). The three best known/most famous are Frank Pepe's, Sally's and Modern.

        Don't know Chinese reccs in Hartford area -I go to Lao Sze Chuan in Milford, CT and most chowhounders agree this is the best Chinese in the Fairfield/New Haven county area. However, there is a good Vietnamese pho called Pho Boston located in West Hartford. It's also right next door to a big Asian grocery store in case you want Asian groceries.

        4 Replies
        1. re: SeoulQueen

          Thanks so much for the tips. One more thing. I uses to live in Santa Cruz which is packed full of Italians. Are there any good italian restaurants in CT? I mean fresh seasonal and not just pizza and spaghetti and meatballs. Thanks again. Mike

          1. re: jmikey

            There's Biagio's Osteria in Stratford - a bit of a hike from Hartford, but IMO worth it.
            http://www.biagiososteria.com/

            Also, L'Orcio in New Haven gets lots of good notice here.
            http://www.lorcio.com/index.php

            Connecticut is also kind of packed with Italians, so you may end up with many good choices.

            -----
            L'Orcio
            806 State St, New Haven, CT 06511

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

            1. re: harrie

              Carbone's on Franklin Ave. is very good. Also great is Quattro in Guilford.

            2. re: jmikey

              Tre Scalini is good italian on Wooster St. in New Haven, east of the pizza district. Apps are enough to share, and it's fun to get a few.
              Whole belly Ipswich clams- Glenwood Drive-in in Hamden on Whitney Ave. (rt. 10). Onion rings are made to order.

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

          2. Thanks for all your help, It's good to see a healthy community in CT. With all your help I will drive my sister crazy with suggestions. One last thing, Oysters, any ideas on where to eat them or buy them in the Hartford area? I'm bringing my shucking knife, so a place that has a variety would be great.
            Also any ideas for "Only in CT places"?
            Thanks. Mike

            3 Replies
            1. re: jmikey

              Max's Oyster Bar http://www.maxrestaurantgroup.com/oys... nice restaurant

              City Fish http://www.cfishct.com/ fish market

              Italian: Bricco's in West Hartford http://billygrant.com/bricco.html or La Tavola in Waterbury http://www.latavolaristorante.com/

              -----
              Max's Oyster Bar
              964 Farmington Ave., West Hartford, CT 06107

              1. re: jmikey

                Not as a contributor, but reader, I agree with you, jmikey. These guys have put together a concise and comprehensive thread. CH shining..

              2. Sorry to hog the thread--one more place I'd like to share. Bet you've never had a calzone as good as they make at Napoli Pizza in Meriden. As a bonus, it's right down the hill from Hubbard Park, all decorated for Christmas with lit-up animals (pics attached). Bring a bottle of wine and enjoy! Again, not fancy, just DELICIOUS!
                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5871...