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Best Food and Neighborhood - Hartford

One night in Hartford. Have never tried to have a night out/dinner there. Looking for a great neighborhood for walking around, with several food options. Moderate price point. Suggestions?

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  1. Not trying to be snarky, but what you're looking for is known as "West Hartford Center".

    Hartford has a number of moderately priced restaurants, both Downtown and in other neighborhoods such as Park St. or Franklin Ave. But I wouldn't really consider them "walkable neighborhoods" due to safety issues and lack of anything notable to see after dark. Most people I know just go to their destination (restaurant/theater/etc.) spend time there and leave.

    3 Replies
    1. re: rbailin

      Do you have restaurant picks for West Hartford Center? I sort of thought that would be the case - everything downtown would be business-y or closed up at night.... Thanks for the tip.

      1. re: pattinyc47

        Agree with rbailin's assessment wholeheartedly. In West Hartford Center, I really like Bricco.
        http://www.billygrant.com/data/menus/...

        As to walking around, I recommend Elizabeth Park on the West Hartford line BEFORE you go to dinner--and bring your camera. Otherwise, you can stroll through WHC after dinner.

        I also like Besito, but haven't been in a few years.
        http://www.besitomexican.com/

        1. re: kattyeyes

          Thanks to both of you! Much appreciated. I was reading about Bricco and Grant's last night.

    2. in Blue Back Square, West Hartford center, Vinted is fun if you are willing to wait...you can call thirty minutes ahead and put your name on a list, or eat at the bar.
      if you do go to Elizabeth Park, you could have dinner at the Pond House. choice of large or small plates. last time we were there, we just ordered a bunch of smalls and had a great time.

      2 Replies
      1. re: rudysmom

        Thank you for these suggestions. Great to have some ideas prior to arriving. Never want to waste an opportunity to have a great meal!

        1. re: rudysmom

          I only went to the Pond House once for lunch, but really enjoyed it. This time of year, you can sit outside and the roses are quite beautiful!
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6293...

        2. Agree with others that what you want is West Hartford Center. (Downtown Hartford is a wasteland). We like to go to Bricco's. I think Grant's is also pretty good.

          1. It is amazing that people call Downtown Hartford a wasteland, even though I used to think that. On a recent evening, Trumbull Kitchen was packed with all the outdoor seating full. Salute was the same way. Bin 228 was full with a long wait if you got there early. Max Downtown is ALWAYS busy. There are so many choices in downtown Hartford!

            4 Replies
            1. re: jcanino

              agree that there are great choices downtown...but OP was looking for "walking around." unless you're strolling to an event after dinner, not much to see except the park.

              1. re: rudysmom

                Unless you are looking to shop, there is not much to see in West Hartford center either.

                1. re: jcanino

                  I don't mean to make a food fight out of this, but do you really think of downtown Hartford as a neighborhood? Or a place you like to walk around at night after a meal? I worked there for several years and I don't.

                  West Hartford Center definitely sounds more like what the OP requested. Alternatively, Hartford's Little Italy (Franklin Ave.) is a real neighborhood with lots of food options, but I wouldn't want to walk around there before or after dinner, either.

                  1. re: kattyeyes

                    We have walked around after a meal in downtown Hartford. It is all the people who work in downtown Hartford that abandon it at 5PM that make others think it is a bad area. Downtown is much more lively than it was 5-10 years ago.

            2. Gotta agree with rbailin...There ARE a few nice restos in Hartford, but without knowing the city, 'specially at night, you do NOT want to be walking around there, it's just not safe. Take a short drive or taxi ride to WHartford center. Brighter, safer, bars, restaurants, shops, parking, others like you who are to have a nice time, and not the element out wilding. It's a no brainer

              1 Reply
              1. re: BiscuitBoy

                Have to agree with all posters here. Spent many a day/evening in the Gold Building and after dark, you just want to get outatown. The primary places downtown CAN be business-y...Max's, etc. WH Center is your best bet. Even towns around WH (Farmington, etc.) have really good places, but nowhere to walk around.

              2. In WHartford, check into Besito (mexican) Bricco (italian) there's also a Cheesecake Factory, which has a love/hate thing on these forums. A couple blocks down is Black Bamboo (chinese, tho not really a sit down place). I've not eaten at, but hear good things about Grant's, and the Oyster Bar as well

                1. One more compelling reason to get to West Hartford Center (if you arrive before 6 and it's not Sunday), you'll have a chance to sniff and shop at Penzey's. A real treat, especially if you've never been. Here's where you'll find it:
                  https://maps.google.com/maps?ie=UTF-8...