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Mar 3, 2014 08:47 AM

The best of Connecticut?

I would like some information on the BEST of the best food (could be markets, restaurants, stands, trucks, drinks, breweries/wineries, artisan food, whatever) in Connecticut. Places that are worth a detour. I drive through CT very often, barreling down the 95, and have only stopped a handful of times.

I've done some touristy things: I went to Frank Pepe's in New Haven and then stopped at a large Italian market near New Haven that I wasn't terribly thrilled by. I went to BF Clyde's Cider Mill and then had some oysters in Mystic. Went to a few wineries. Went to Schoolhouse at Cannondale in Wilton for a decent meal. Picked some fruits and veggies at Holmberg Orchards.

Would love suggestions.

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  1. Thali (amazing Indian) and Union League Cafe (terrific French), both in New Haven. Pepe's, Sally's and Modern Pizza are seriously addictive after you have had them a few times. Louis' Lunch for burgers. Thali Too, for vegetarian Indian. Willoughby's Coffee. Lots of good food (Italian, in particular) in this town.

    Restaurant L&E in Chester -- wonderful food, postcard river town).

    1. On20 in Hartford, millwrights in Simsbury, Mill at 2T Tarriffvillle.

      1. Taco trucks at Long Wharf, my favs are the red Ixtapa Truck and the black Mexacalli trailer.

        If your into cheese, try Liuzzi's in North Haven, 5 minutes from 91 exit 9 on State Street, great selection of imported cheeses, cold cuts, pastas and other Italian products.
        Their Liuzzi label imported DOP plum Tomatoes are the best.
        For breakfast I'm partial to the Waiting Station in Branford, 5 mins. from exit 54 off 95 north, on the Green in the center of town, omelets are killer, great weekend specials.
        Bishops Orchards is also a great stop off 95N, 2 minutes off exit 57, right off the ramp, lots of CT grown, cheeses and other gourmet products, plus their wine and cider.

        1. Are you barreling down 95 between Boston and NYC? I do that a fair amount too and there's very little in between that stretch that has fare that's worth going out of the way for as compared to what you can get in either of those cities. There's good stuff but most of it is not necessarily worth adding extra time or making a detour just to try it out as compared to what you can get at either end.

          What comes to mind to me is fried clams/scallops at the Clam Castle in Madison.

          The lobster roll and grilled clams at the Lobster Shack in Branford.

          There's The Place in Guilford. Food isn't the draw, I go more for the setting though I enjoy the grilled corn and clams.

          Le Petit Cafe in Branford is an outstanding value for the quality of the food but that's a dinner stop.

          Ibiza in NH has better Spanish than you could find in NYC until very recently.

          I agree that the trucks in New Haven off Long Wharf are worth a quick lunch stop. Better tacos than what I can usually get in NYC. Great value too.

          I prefer the pizza in NYC and there are much better raw bars in Boston and NYC to get a variety of oysters. Much better Indian in NYC than Thali in NH though Thali is pretty good.

          The market at Union Square in NYC is far far better than anything I've seen in CT.

          If you discover something else, please post.

          4 Replies
            1. re: Veggo

              That's too bad. I really liked the food there.

              ETA: Duh. Just saw the other thread about Ibiza.

            2. re: Bkeats

              Ibiza's chef M.Romero recently opened Olea at 39 High St. Menu described as "innovative interpretation of Spanish and Mediterranean cuisine".

              Lots more good stuff along shoreline, even if it doesn't equal the top restaurants (and prices!) in NYC and Boston.
              Add Som Siam (Thai) in Guilford and Old Saybrook. Union League Cafe and Thali in NH. Lobster roll at Lobster Landing in Clinton. Cafe Routier in Westbrook. Liv's Oyster Bar in Old Saybrook.

              (P.S. I think Lenny&Joes FishTail (Westbrook or Madison) is better than Clam Castle. )

              1. re: DonShirer

                Just saw a very flattering review of Olea in last month's CT Magazine.

            3. In New Haven--Union League, Bar, Caseus, Miyas. I love Bar Bouchee in Madison. Cask Republic for beer selection, 116 Crown for cocktails a cool vibe and food to go with it. For Fairfield County check out the blog.