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Aug 20, 2013 07:43 PM

Litchfield CT Restaurant recommendation

We are going to be in Litchfield CT on Friday and are wondering if anyone has a recommendation of a restaurant for dinner. We are thinking of a nice dinner out with cocktails.

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  1. I would certainly include the Seafarer on such a list. Also they have a covered patio which is so pleasant on a summer evening. Food has always been of high and consistent quality.

    2 Replies
    1. re: philbkr

      Sorry, I meant the Saltwater Grill.

      1. re: philbkr

        Thanks for the reply. We ate there the last time we were in Litchfield and enjoyed it. We thought we'd try a different spot. Thanks again.

      2. We live fairly close to Litchfield, and I'm not familiar with the Seafarer. I have been to West St. Grill several times and find it pretentious and overpriced. The Village is cozy but the food is nothing special. The last time we had dinner at @ the Corner, both the food and service were very good. But our currently favorite place in the area is the White Horse Country Pub in Marbledale. Comfortable place along a brook; nice indoor and outdoor seating.

        There is a seafood restaurant in Litchfield, Saltwater Grill. Three of us went for lunch recently and each of us was disappointed. I don't recall what the others had but I had a lobster roll and I got what I would take to be frozen lobster (small claws, knucles and chopped up bits, with a lot of celery in a roll). Though we love seafood and travel to several shore towns to get it, I'd not be inclined to return there.

        1 Reply
        1. re: junescook

          Thanks for a great recommendation. We ended up at the White Horse quite late (it's a long story). We decided to have cocktails, appetizers and dessert - all of which were quite good. We had each had a Tom Collins with Hendrick's gin and they tasted like they were made with fresh ingredients and the Hendrick's added a nice flavor. The coconut shrimp were nicely prepared and served with two tasty dipping sauces. The summer salad special with baked Brie was delicious, the greens were fresh and the pastry/Brie/fruit went perfectly with them. For dessert we had sticky toffee and pecan pie which were both delicious. The service was excellent and the setting was beautiful (we sat outside by the stream). Thanks for the suggestion.

        2. Curious that no one mentions Arethusa El Tavolo, the relatively new restaurant in Bantam (just outside of Litchfield) connected to the Arethusa Dairy (and owned by the shoe guy, Manola Blahnik [sp?]).

          We've gotten a cone @ the dairy (my husband: best coffee ice cream--and he's a coffee ice cream maven). But we've not yet tried the restaurant.

          3 Replies
          1. re: sundeck sue

            Funny, somebody asked me yesterday if I'd been to the restaurant but we haven't yet. We drive by often but haven't stopped in. Brousing, it looks like drinks and apps, and open on a limited number of evenings per week.

            But everything these two gentlemen have done, they have done to perfection. I have been to their farm where they had the three top dairy cows in the country, jersey, guernsey and hostein. The farm itself is a showplace. I took a class with their dairy manager just after they purchased the old Bantam fire house, now the location of their dairy. We have had their dairy products available for some time in our local stores, and though we don't have as much of a choice of ice creak flavors as you find in Bantam, the quality is excellent, as are the cheeses. The owners are also very active in local FFA student groups, and have taken groups of FFA kids to Europe to compete in dairy judging competitions.

            Anyhow, I don't think you'd be disappointed in the quality of anything you'll get at an Arathusa restaurant.

            1. re: junescook

              DINING OUT

              al tavolo brings a twist to Bantam

              BY JOHN MCKENNA


              AL TAVOLO

              828 Bantam Road, Bantam 860-567-0043
              What was once a desolate street corner in Bantam has come to life under George Malkemus and Anthony Yur­gaitis, the owners of Arethusa Farm in Litchfield and two of the largest stake­holders in Bantam’s com­mercial revival.

              First it was Arethusa’s creamery and retail store that put another jolt of life into Bantam’s newfound sta­tus as a destination for trav­elers in Litchfield County.

              This summer Malkemus and Yurgaitis have managed to do it again with the opening of al tavolo, a fine dining restaurant next to the cream­ery and retail store.

              Al tavolo, which means “at the table” in Italian, has been a success since the day it opened and routinely fills up with diners looking for a great meal and fine wine.

              “More than we ever antic­ipated,” Malkemus said of the volume of business that passes through the restau­rant during the four nights a week it’s open. “It’s scary opening a restaurant, espe­cially your first restaurant.”

              But Malkemus and Yur­gaitis, who achieved fame and fortune as dealers of the Manolo Blahnik brand of women’s shoes, have proven to be quick learners of the restaurant business.

              “We are learning on the fly, but we had a vision of how we wanted things done and that made it happen quite seemlessly,” Yurgaitis said of al tavolo. “We are what we wanted to be.”

              And that would be a bistro that reflects the character of an intimate tavern in Italy, where Malkemus and Yur­gaitis have traveled exten­sively.

              Dining plates bearing the Arethusa and al tavolo names were made in Puglia, Italy, as were the large china bowls lining the walls.

              The original plan was to have a wine bar featuring pre­mier Italian wines accompa­nied by appetizers and light fare, including Arethusa cheese. That all changed when Malkemus and Yurgaitis se­cured the services of Dan Magill as the executive chef.

              Magill, with experience in New York City, is too good at what he does to be limited to appetizers and light fare, ac­cording to Malkemus.

              The owners scored anoth­er coup by hiring Marwan Idris to be their general man­ager. Idris worked at the On 20 restaurant in Hartford and his bosses in Bantam call him an expert in wine and customer service. He also shares their vision of an al tavolo that is unique in what it offers diners.

              “We’re here not to com­pete with other restaurants, but to do something a little different than what people are accustomed to,” Malke­mus said.

              THE FOOD

              Al tavolo’s menu is new American in style with a Mediterranean influence and will change regularly to re­flect the season. What won’t change is the use of Arethusa Farm butter and cheese with the entrees and ice cream and yogurt with the desserts.

              Patrons can choose from appetizers such as Arethusa Farm’s deviled eggs, a Maine lobster and avocado salad, French kiss oysters from New Brunswick, Canada, a roasted beet and green apple salad, an heirloom tomato salad made with local toma­toes, crisp squash fritters and a beef crepe. Appetizers are price from $9 to $13.

              Entrees include prime strip loin that comes with po­lenta, broccoli rabe, hot house tomato chutney and mustard creme in a red wine sauce, and pan-roasted boat scallops accompanied by parsnips, sea beans, roasted cauliflower, bacon and almonds.

              Salmon, pork tenderloin, grilled yellow fin tuna, roast­ed rack of lamb, butter­poached Atlantic grey sole and roasted breast of duck are other choices. All entrees come with a creative assort­ment of fruit or vegetable.

              Prices for the entrees range from $25 to $31.

              The wine list is huge in featuring selections from Italy, Spain and California.

              Wine comes by the glass and by the bottle and patrons can spend from $11 for a glass of red, rose or white up to more than $1,000 for a bottle of aged red wine from France.

              There are seven varieties of domestic and imported draft beer, all priced at $6, and 10 selections of domestic and imported bottled beer, all priced at $7. Five lager beers, domestic and import­ed, are available for $5 to $7.

              All desserts are home­made using Arethusa Farm products and are $9.

              Choices include a honey yogurt panna cotta, Arethusa sour cream coffee cake, pas­sion fruit custard cake, a chocolate tart, and honey­roasted peaches with vanilla ice cream.

              INSIDER TIPS

               Mastercard and Visa ac­cepted

               Reservations recom­mended

               Outdoor deck open for dining.

               Vegetarian entrees available upon request.

               Valet parking

              WHEN TO GO

              Open Thursday through Saturday, 5:30 to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 5 to 9:30.

              HOW TO GET THERE

              al tavolo is located in the center of Bantam, near the intersection of Route 202 and Route 209.


              PHOTOS BY JOHN MCKENNA REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN Anthony Yurgaitis, left, and George Malkemus, owners of Arethusa Farm in Litchfield, have opened al tavolo in Bantam.


              Eggs from Arethusa Farm are turned into a deviled egg appetizer at al tavolo.