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Mar 11, 2012 06:34 AM

Foodie driving through CT....what are some MUST try's ??

I want to take drive from NYC through Greenwich, Stamford, Bridgeport, New Haven & Norwalk.

I am very eager to try foods that are unique to Conneticut's local cuisine. I prefer hole- in- wall places that give a good , local feel of the town and area. Also places that are not really unique , but institutions in CT.

What are spots I should definitley hit ? Also suggested driving routes would be IDEAL , but i'll take whatever I can get.

I have seen posts on this topic but they were pretty outdated.

Thanks for any and all info !! Can't wait ...

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  1. Apparently Frank Pepe Pizza Napoletana in New Haven is America's 49th *best* restaurant.......

    1. the roadfood.com board would be a good place for suggestions for hole in the wall places

      1. It all depends on what you want. Obviously hole-in-the-wall means less fancy, so I do have some suggestions. It's kinda hard to find holes in the wall closer to Greenwich as they cater to a wealthy audience, and the places I know that are great there tend to be pricey. Although Burgers, Shakes and Fries in Greenwich is pretty good. Kinda like Shake Shack. IMO New Haven is a foodie's dream with the most varied, interesting and high quality food scene in CT and mostly without pretentiousness.

        Here's some suggestions:

        Greenwich - Burgers, Shakes and Fries
        Stamford - Colony Grill (I personally hate the pizza, but a lot of people love the hot oil topping with stingers, and it's a CT institution)
        Norwalk - Valencia Luncheria (Venezuelan beach food with a twist), Beach Burger, Jeff's Cuisine, Cactus Grill, Los Molcajetes
        Westport - Westfair Fish and Chips, Christie's Market
        Bridgeport - Merritt Canteen, Pho Saigon, Bloodroot
        Stratford - Gaetano's Deli, Danny's Drive-In, Salerno's Apizza
        Milford - Bobette's (known for mussels chowder), Mr. Mac's Canteen, The Corner Restaurant (superlative brunch in a quirky grandma's house setting), Seven Seas Restaurant (known for fish n chips and some of the best lobster rolls in CT), Scribner's Seafood, The Lazy Lobster, Walnut Beach Creamery (ice cream), Scratch Baking
        West Haven - Dive Bar (great, rare view of the sound and amazing burgers! great local place with a laid back fee)

        New Haven - Any of the famous pizza places: Frank Pepe (arguably CT's most famous institution), Sally's Apizza, Modern Apizza, BAR. Louis' Lunch (1896 - invented the burger), Prime 16, York Street Noodle House, Miya's Sushi (funkiest sushi ever and a Yale/New Haven staple), Zinc/Kitchen Zinc, Caseus, many food trucks (Tijuana Taco Company, The Cheese Truck, etc. etc.), Soul De Cuba, Mamoun's Falafel (although they're in NYC too), Kasbah Garden, Koffee, Libby's Italian Pastry Shop, Mezcal ('mazing Mexican dive). I could go on!

        There are a few CT institutions worth noting that might not be worth the trip. Archie Moore's is all over (Fairfield, Milford, New Haven, etc), they're all about the bar food and specifically wings. Southport Brewing Company (SBC) too (Stamford, Southport, Milford), thinking of them as a higher end Chili's type food, but they brew their own (not bad) beer. The beer at BAR in New Haven is better though. Plan B is another CT-specific chain that has an outpost in Milford. Tengda is an Asian group of restaurants in Greenwich, Westport, Darien, Stamford, Milford. They ain't a hole in the wall though. Neither is the Spanish tapas staple Barcelona in Greenwich, Stamford, Norwalk, Fairfield and New Haven.

        Roadfood.com is a great resource.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Stylo

          Amazing! ...I'm gonna try to hit up as much these as I can. Thanks !

          1. re: ItsMee

            I forgot Super Duper Weenie in Fairfield!

            Swanky Franks is also popular

            1. re: Stylo

              Monkey Farm in Old Saybrook is missing from your list. It's a classic roadhouse with surprisingly good bar food. Cash only. Sycamore Drive-in in Bethel is iconic, especially if you're a car guy. Go there for flattened burgers and house-made root beer.

        2. West Haven - Turk's and Chick's for split, griddled Hummel's hot dogs, fried clams, hot lobster rolls and onion rings. Zuppardi's for pizza.

          New Haven - Pepe's for pizza, Lucibello's for Italian Pastry, LIbby's for Italian Ice, Louis Lunch for a hamburger, Leon's for pork chops Sicilian, Adrianna's for the chilled seafood salad.

          9 Replies
          1. re: awm922

            Thanks ! Even though some places on there are kinda high end , table cloth, designer plates kinda place. LOL

            1. re: ItsMee

              Leon's yes, Adrianna's is not too bad, but still higher end then the rest. I did forget Richter's, New Haven's oldest bar and Humphrey's East. Both are New Haven musts.

              1. re: awm922

                Richter's closed about a year ago. The 116 Crown owners are reopening it soon though.

            2. re: awm922

              Totally second Lucibellos for pastry and cookies an Libby's for the ice. Don't get pastry at Libby's. For the ice get in the squeeze cups and the vanilla which has tiny nuts is the way to go. Pepe's or Modern for your pies, order all smalls and have a variety of toppings. I personally like clams casino I'd not burned.

              1. re: melpy

                Ew, no. Not Lucibello's. Gummy,cornsstachy paste passing for pastry cream. Pastry that can't be made with butter and spends too much time on the shelf refrigerated. Pass pass pass. It is an iconic New Haven tradition, but reality doesn't hold up to nostalgic associations.

                The only decent pastry in New Haven is Marjolaine... Chestnut Fine Foods, too, but that isn't their main business.

                1. re: The Lorax

                  Scratch Baking in Milford is a best-in-class bakery. Their eclairs are absolutely ridiculous. I love that place but if I go too often I'll become obese.

                  1. re: Stylo

                    Scratch Baking also makes an excellent cream puff - a shot of ganache lines each cut side of the pastry, with a generous dollop of whpped cream in between - and their chocolate pudding is to die for. They're great with non-chocolate stuff, too. (I *do* go there too often.)

                    1. re: harrie

                      Yes the cream puff is also amazing. Now I have to try the pudding. Lesli is very talented.

                  2. re: The Lorax

                    Overpriced cupcakes and brownies are not decent pastry, not a reason to stop there. I used to get the same stuff in High School at the pastry shop in the Hamden Plaza.

              2. Windmill in Stratford is about as local an institution as you can get. Hasn't changed in decades, except for no longer serving Miller's hot dogs (RIP).

                4 Replies
                1. re: LorenV

                  Good one. Old crusty awesome German place.

                  1. re: Stylo

                    Sorry but I could not recommend Seven Seas or Scribners in Milford. I was served a rotten piece of fish at the Seas and the bar crowd is low life. Scribners hasn't been good in so many years. Way overpriced and poorly executed dishes. Thinly sliced, dried out swordfish, broken hollandaise, that was it for me.

                    1. re: diakon

                      Admittedly I haven't been at Scribner's in years. Seven Seas though I've never had a bad meal, the lobster roll is the best I've had in CT - and I've tried many. You call it low life, I call it a good mixed, down-to-earth crowd. That's all subjective. It's a younger bar crowd that can get rowdy, but that's the same in any pub dive. You have to like dive bars and the dive bar crowd to like the Seas. I've taken many friends, mostly very educated and successful types, and they love it and the bar atmosphere there. I much prefer it to the Jersey Shore crowd at Stonebridge or the pretentious lower FFC crowd in SoNo, etc. Also, if you go before 9 - the bar crowd is a non-issue. It's pretty low key during dining hours.

                      1. re: Stylo

                        I grew up in Milford and spent part of my youth at the Seas. When I tried it much later on I found the food on par with most sports bars. And not only were there rowdy young drinkers at the bar but I swear some of the same old drinkers too. Now there is going to be a Mustang Sally's replacing Daniel St. With Archie Moore's, SBC, Stonebridge and the Seas and the latest opening, downtown Milford is living up to its' reputation as a party bar town. I would avoid it on Friday and Saturday nights, lots of drunk drivers.