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Christmas Present Dinner for Parents In Southern CT

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Hi Guys!
My siblings are trying to think of a nice place to get our parents a gift certificate for dinner in Connecticut. We live in Essex, but they wouldn't mind driving as far as an hour (so Hartford area, New Haven area, New London area are all game). There are three of us and we each have about 50 dollars to give. We'd love to find a place where they can get several courses and wine within that budget.

My mom loves Ina Garten type food, tasty and elegant but not necessarily avant-garde. My dad loves a good steak and potatoes, but he has been known to order the spicy squid at a Chinese restaurant. They are pretty adventurous (they recently loved a raw vegetarian restaurant that I look them too), but they have a limit.

Here are some restaurants that I know they have like: The River Tavern, Max Fish, Max Amore, Restaurant L & E, Cafe Routier, Lupo. Max Fish is definitely their favorite.

Thanks for the suggestions!

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  1. Would think any of the following would be a good choice: They are favorites of mine, and all offer great food and service.

    Bee & Thistle Inn in Old Lyme.
    Gabrielle's in Centerbrook
    Liv's in Old Saybrook
    Ibiza in New Haven
    Bar Buchee in Madison
    Quattro in Guilford

    3 Replies
    1. re: jdgall

      Good list from jd. I would add Pips at the Copper Beech Inn. They just changed chefs and Chef Jones seems like the perfect choice to replace Tyler Anderson. I was there a week ago and food and service in the front room were up to Pip's standards before the change.

      1. re: chowmensch

        Good to hear. Had heard that things went downhill after Tyler left. Will have to give them a try again. Have not been there since Tyler left. Thanks for the positive post.Have you been to Old Lyme Inn since it reopened?.

        1. re: jdgall

          Yes, I have...about a month ago. I liked it a lot and would add that to the birthday present list as well. I can't remember the whole meal but my entree was a perfectly cooked swordfish....not dry at all.... The new owner was moving about from table to table and we had a nice chat with him. He wants to bring in musical acts on the weekends. I hope it all turns out well for him. Seems like a nice guy who has spent a lot of money for renovations there....

    2. i just wanted to bump this. We're considering Bar buchee but we're still looking for suggestions!

      1 Reply
      1. re: luciaannek

        Oyster Club in Mystic. Farm to table, it has been open about a year, the chef was the chef at River Tavern for 7 years, and the owner started his career with the Max Rest. Group. They will not be dissapointed!

        www.oysterclubct.com