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Feb 12, 2012 10:49 AM

New Haven is CT's Culinary Capital


I'm not putting down food in other areas of CT. There are some formidable foodie scenes elsewhere. Westport, Milford, West Hartford, Middletown, Hartford, South Norwalk, Stamford, just to name a couple.

But nowhere else in the state has the concentration and sheer number of goodness as New Haven. It's almost as if the culinary influence is so powerful, it positively affects the communities around it (Milford, Hamden, Branford, etc.). And above all, I find that the hype is usually deserved, vs. some of the higher end eateries in southern FFC where the glamour and cachet outweigh the actual food.

Why New Haven? Besides having a well laid out, dense urban core and a diverse population: it's the higher education. It's our quintessential college town, and like Cambridge in Boston, you tend to have a huge concentration of restaurants and bars when you have so much young discretionary income walking about. The opening of Gateway downtown with 14,000 more students circulating the streets will only further the development of new eats.

Probably the most well known food aspects of New Haven are its pizza (Pepe's, Sally's, Modern, BAR) and its place as the originator of the hamburger (Louis' Lunch). Caseus and its truck have also achieved some notoriety on TV. But it goes beyond that to a long list of greats which have been mentioned on this board ad nauseum from a long and diverse list of cuisines. I'm not going to attempt that now.

The city keeps adding new restaurants every year and, compared to 15-20 years ago, it's made leaps and bounds. As long as crime is reduced in the next few years (which ironically happens mostly outside of the places we tend to eat) and development continues, we will have more goodness to look forward to in the future.

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  1. I love New Haven restaurants. I cannot wait until restaurant week next year. My favorite places aren't even the ones you've mentioned.

    I love...
    1. Heirloom
    2. Zinc
    3. John Davenport's
    4. Sushi on Chapel
    5. Miso
    6. Kudeta--mediocre but better than most comparable types of cuisine in other cities

    6 Replies
    1. re: chrissy1988

      If you like Sushi on Chapel and Miso, you must try Miya's if you haven't.

      1. re: Stylo

        Miso is good just overpriced--waaaay overpriced. Miya's menu looks funky-it turns me off. Sushi on Chapel is my fav right now :) 9 piece maguro, salmon, or shiro maguro sashimi for $12. Awesome! Their seafood soup is to die for as well!

        1. re: chrissy1988

          You should try Miya's if you haven't. Different, but it all works amazingly well. The miso soup is the best I've ever had and it's usually comped. The late night special is an amazing value. They have a page of more traditional rolls around $3-$4. I always leave trying something new and interesting and being amazed how little I've spent. Also, it's great to know the rice is super healthy.

          1. re: Stylo

            how is their rice different from any other?

            1. re: chrissy1988

              From their site/menu:

              "What’s unusual about the sushi rice? Our original whole multigrain recipe is toothy, tasty and super healthy. Historically, vinegar, salt and sugar were added to fish and rice, as a method of preservation, in a time when there was no refrigeration. Though there is no longer the practical necessity to add these preservatives, they remain elements in the contemporary cuisine of sushi. Sushi rice today is highly processed and sweetened, much like the Wonder Bread many of us grew up eating. Inspired by whole multigrain breads, my recipe for sushi rice is unsweetened and made from a brown rice centered multigrain mixture containing quinoa, amaranth, oat grains and flax seed. Quinoa and amaranth provide all the essential amino acids needed to be a complete protein. Whole oats have more fiber than any other grain and help lower high blood pressure. Ground flax seed supplies nearly double the amount of Omega-3 fatty acids per calorie than any food in the world. Since most of my sushi involves robust flavors, the hearty grain mixtures carry my recipes in a way that traditional sushi rice could not."

              1. re: Stylo

                oh wow. i must go now! so excited. this is on my to-do list for the week. I LOVE LOVE LOVE New Haven restaurants. It's my goal to go to every restaurant that was featured in this past Restaurant Week. I've been to several already but I want to visit them all.