Top 10 - Connecticut's Dining Favorites
Treat yourself to a night out and let someone else do all the prep work (and the cleanup!). Connecticut restaurants offer a vast variety of dining options for every palate, from casual and plentiful to gourmet, French to Asian to Mexican and everything between. But don’t take our word for it. Get the scoop straight from those who know Connecticut dining best – locals!
Following are just a few of the many fantastic restaurants voted the "Best" by the readers of Connecticut Magazine in its 2011 Reader’s Choice Awards. For more delicious dining ideas, check out the full list of nominees and winners! With so many fabulous choices all across the state, we think the real winner is you.
Union League Café , New Haven
Located directly across from Yale University and steps from the historic New Haven Green, the Union League Café has a collection of awards under its belt, including Overall Excellence and Best French Restaurant in Connecticut Magazine’s 2011 Readers Choice Awards. Called "Extraordinary" by the New York Times, the contemporary French brasserie offers masterfully combined flavors and an extensive wine list in a relaxed and lively atmosphere. After dinner, stroll along the shops on Chapel Street or enjoy a show at the Yale Repertory Theatre.
Still River Café , Eastford
Named the #1 Foodie Destination in New England by Boston Magazine and voted Best American Restaurant by Connecticut Magazine readers, the Still River Café is situated in a classically maintained150-year-old barn on the grounds of the North Ashford Farm. Its menu of seasonal new American cuisine is only complimented by the idyllic New England setting, where nearly 100% of the produce is organically grown.
Sal e Pepe , Newtown
For traditional Northern Italian flavors with a contemporary flair, head to Sal e Pepe in Newtown. Voted Best Italian Restaurant by Connecticut Magazine’s 2011 Readers Choice Awards, the bistro serves specialties such as pizzette and fresh pasta made with local ingredients in a casual, warm, Mediterranean ambience.
Feng Asian Bistro, Hartford
At Feng, the sushi is fresh, the atmosphere is fun and the sake is flowing… perhaps that is why this Hartford hot spot was voted Best Asian Restaurant by Connecticut Magazine readers. With inventive dishes like duck spring rolls, blue fin toro tartare and thai spiced rack of lamb, an extensive sushi menu (we like the Autumn in Connecticut roll), and a late night menu for an after-theatre crowd, Feng is a fabulous choice for all palates.
Besito, West Hartford
When the mood for Mexican strikes, Connecticut Magazine readers choose Besito as their #1 destination. Located in Blue Back Square, a shopping and dining destination, Besito serves contemporary cuisine with authentic techniques in a clean, modern setting. Try one of the unique entrees, like pescado con pipian y atole (Pan seared blue corn and crab crusted grouper filet with pumpkin seed pipian and sweet corn atole) and be sure to order guacamole, freshly prepared at your table.
Thali Regional Cuisine of India , New Haven
Voted Best Indian Restaurant by Connecticut Magazine readers, Thali’s several locations (in New Canaan, Ridgefield, New Haven and Westport) have transformed the Indian cuisine scene in Southern Connecticut. A mix of traditional and contemporary, dishes at Thali offer the familiar flavors of India in new, innovative ways. According to the New York Times, "Eating at Thali is like taking a crash course in the diversity of Indian cuisines, and it is tremendous fun."
The Red Barn, Westport
A cozy spot for a comforting meal, The Red Barn has been a popular destination for 30 years, since the barn’s careful restoration and transformation into an American eatery. Voted Best Continental Restaurant in Connecticut Magazine’s 2011 Readers’ Choice Awards, the restaurant offers vintage wines and traditional American fare in a classic New England setting. Stop in for its highly-touted, bountiful brunch, served on both Saturday and Sunday.
Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale, Westbrook
Fresh, fantastic Connecticut seafood is a must have for travelers and locals alike, and Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale, voted Best Seafood by Connecticut magazine readers, is the place to get it. At the family restaurant location in Westbrook, enjoy perfectly fried seafood dinners too plentiful to finish in one sitting, broiled and baked specialties, raw bar, and the famous Connecticut lobster roll (freshly picked lobster meat and melted butter on a toasted roll). Stop by the Madison Drive-In location during warmer months to enjoy more casual fair on picnic tables, soft-serve ice cream and a ride on the carousel.
Miya’s Sushi, New Haven
Think you know sushi? Unless you’ve been to Miya’s, think again. Chef and owner Bun Lai uses global inspiration to create sushi with innovative names and flavors and sustainable ingredients, such as the "the greatest sushi south of the mason-dixon" (fried catfish, okra, cheddar, spring onions, parsley and spice, fried in a cornmeal coating), or the "romping with the goats roll" (tempura tilapia, papaya, goat cheese & homemade african berbere mix). It’s no surprise this New Haven institution was voted Best Sushi.
Good News Café, Woodbury
Desserts are never just an afterthought at the good News Café in Woodbury, voted Best Dessert in the Connecticut Magazine 2011 Reader’s Choice Poll. With dishes like pistachio cheese cake with fresh sliced strawberries and candied orange, and key lime chiffon cake with pineapple mint salsa, you’ll want to eat yours before your meal.
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