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Like La Zingara in Bethel, Ct but NOT La Zingara

Hope someone can help. I have been striking out lately with dining choices in CT and NYC.

Recently my son took my husband and me out to dinner at La Zingara in Bethel. We liked it very much. The quality of food was good.

Now, it is our turn to take him out for his birthday. I'd like to take him to a solid restaurant with great quality food in the Fairfield County area but not lower Stamford, New Canaan, Darien.

Right now I am thinking Nicholas Roberts Bistro in Norwalk. I like the food there, not so wild about the decor, would like a little more upscale but still casual and not formal. For now though it is my plan B.

No Mexican or Middle Eastern cuisine as they aren't his favorites. He loves Italian, steak and meats. Any thoughts?

La Zingara
8 P T Barnum Sq, Bethel, CT 06801

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  1. Biagio's Osteria in Stratford might fit that bill. The food is excellent, the waitstaff professional but not stuffy, and did I mention the food is excellent?

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

    1. Basso in Norwalk; added benefit = byob

      1. You may want to consider La Fortuna in Bethel. It's a little off the beaten path and doesn't get much press. We eat there about twice a year and always enjoy it. We have had some excellent meals there, some very good meals and some decent ones. We've never had a bad meal. Their specials are consistently good. If you go on a nice night, you can sit outside which adds to the experience.

        It's kind of like La Zingara, but not exactly.

        La Zingara
        8 P T Barnum Sq, Bethel, CT 06801

        2 Replies
        1. re: scapegrace

          It's a good thing they don't get much press, it's absolutely dreadful. Bad overcooked red sauce Italian, heavy on grease in a very dated dining room. They hope you drink enough not to notice how bad the food is.
          Based on the OP's comments of her recent experience at Sal e Pepe, she would find La Fortuna absoilutely dreadful.

          And if her son is less than 45 years old he would be out of place.

          La Fortuna Restaurant
          388 Wolcott Rd, Wolcott, CT 06716

          1. re: bagelman01

            La Fortuna used to be my absolute favorite restaurant about 20 years ago. I went for lunch about six months ago with my daughter and from start to finish the meal was terrible.

            I have to keep reminding myself that this was the same place that made a croquembouche that knocked my socks off.

        2. How about Il Palio in Shelton?

          1 Reply
          1. re: plien69

            Il Palio is wonderful, BUT the OP used the words casual and not formal, and that is not what I've found Il Palio to be. Sitting in the middle of a corporate office park and attracting many business people in suits, it tends to be more formal than I think she wants for her son'e birthday. It is bordering on elegant.

          2. Liana's in Fairfield is great, and the staff & owner are awesome. I feel the same way about Via Sforza on the Westport/Norwalk line on the Post Road. You really can't go wrong either way. Of course there are more expensive places, but I think these (2) are moderate, cozy, very friendly and have GREAT food! ENJOY...

            1. I made a reservation at Liana's.

              However, my radar is now up for Biagio's Osteria, Basso, Via Sforza, and Il Palio thanks to the posters on this thread. Since my son now lives in Bridgeport it's good to have some spots in that area of the state for go-to Italian. I'm sure we'll get to all of them! Thank you all!

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

              1. Follow Up:

                Went to Liana's Trattoria in Fairfield last night for son's birthday. Wonderful!!! Great food, great service. Indeed this is the type of Italian place I have been searching for but coming up empty in my neck of the woods — the greater Danbury area.

                My favorite dish of the night was the appetizer simply named "Eggplant." Thin slices of stacked eggplant with melted cheese and a light tomato sauce. I could have had two servings and been happy with that as my meal.

                My son was crazy about the ravioli of the night, in this case it was stuffed with ricotta and pepperoni. Again, with a nice light tomato sauce (You could also choose meat sauce). He also liked the pepper appetizer. It's nice that you can choose a half order of pasta.

                I enjoyed the meatballs that came with the tagliatelle. They were filled with raisins and pine nuts and it was the first time I had them this way. Something different, moist and tasty. Because I am cutting back on carbs my husband and son split the tagliatelle and loved it.

                The guys also each ordered the veal entree which was breaded, Milanese style and served with arugula, lemon and slices of fresh parmigiano reggiano. I took a bite or three and wow, a great veal dish, simple, but good fresh ingredients made it sing.

                No room for dessert, but enjoyed perfectly made cappucinos to finish.

                A bottle of 2009 Damilano Barbera d'Asti was easy to drink and paired well with our food.

                Overall an excellent dining experience. My son is glad it's just five minutes from his house.

                Great rec from you CHers. Looking forward to trying some of the others.