Best Restaurants in Connecticut 2022 Last Updated: November 2023
Looking for the best restaurants in Connecticut? There are so many great spots to choose from, so we turned to the Connecticut Restaurant Association for the 2022 winners and nominees of its annual CRAzies Awards. The awards consider hundreds of contenders, select a short list of nominee finalists, and finally, award winners for the best restaurants in each region. In addition to naming the best restaurants, the awards recognize best chefs, best bartenders, best servers, and beyond.
The Connecticut Restaurant Association hosted more than 1,100 guests at Foxwoods Resort Casino to celebrate the restaurant industry. In addition to the record attendance, the association enhanced the event by adding a new nominating panel made up of media writers and influencers who, along with more than 11,000 online public votes, collectively helped the CRA hand out sixteen different coveted awards. Hope you’ve brought your appetite!
Northern Region Winner: The Charles
The Charles offers exciting cuisine in the historic village of Old Wethersfield — a vintage feel with a modern taste. Set in a restored space, enjoy the award-winning, chic interior you sip exceptionally crafted cocktails and try dining favorites from salmon and lamb sirloin to chicken & dumplings.
The Northern region represents Hartford and Tolland county restaurants. Other nominees in the region included:
Situated as the centerpiece of Hartford’s downtown business center, Max Downtown offers a trend-setting atmosphere for more than 300 patrons daily. Internationally inspired dishes and other regional and traditional fare create a menu unlike any other in Connecticut.
Experience the flavor of traditional Peruvian eats in an authentic family-run destination. With all dishes made in-house and without artificial preservatives, Coracora is devoted to high-quality ingredients; a warm and welcoming family-like experience; and top-notch customer service.
In this intimate white tablecloth bistro, sample a diverse menu with many vegetarian options, exquisite cocktails and wine. From land to sea, the flavors take your tastebuds on a journey and offer plenty of fresh, crisp textures alongside warming comfort foods.
West Restaurant winner: Kawa Ni
Kawa Ni was inspired by the small taverns, Izakayas, of Japan and created by Chef Bill Taibe and his team. Devour a flavorful menu focused on Nigri, Dumplings, Donburi and Ramen — your taste buds will thank you.
The Western region represents Fairfield and Litchfield county restaurants. Other nominees in the region included:
In the heart of New Canaan, experience a charming neighborhood restaurant, serving seasonal American dishes inspired by elm’s farmers and fishmongers, and on occasion, far away places.
Inside Greenwich's J House boutique hotel, find an upscale Italian Steakhouse & Bar dining experience, complete with a picture-perfect garden setting.
Swyft is a modern tavern in a historical setting, serving wood-fired, farm-driven pizzas, shareable small plates, an extensive drink menu, and seasonal entrees that aim to both comfort and inspire.
South Region Winner: Tavern on State
Award-winning chef Emily Mingrone thinks outside the box with her ever-changing, ever-inventive menu. The creative ambiance comes complete with a flamingo theme (including a signature neon flamingo that lights up the space) and alleyway sidewalk tables.
The Southern region represents New Haven and Middlesex county restaurants. Other nominees in the region included:
At Union League, old-world charm meets the new. Always using the best ingredients of the moment, the cafe's food combines French classical traditions and local ingredients with a more contemporary approach to flavors and dishes.
Passion, love and innovation fuel this locally sourced menu. At The Essex, experience Modern American cuisine that draws inspiration from the land, sea, and deep heritage of the Connecticut River Valley, alongside a legion of international flavors.
Enjoy Strega, an authentic Italian restaurant, pizzeria and bar set on a lively corner in the heart of downtown Milford. Expect deep history to be infused in every bite for an authentic Italian dining experience.
Overall & East Region Winner: The Shipwright’s Daughter
Located in the heart of downtown Mystic, The Shipwright's Daughter celebrates New England's fresh and flavorful food heritage. Executive Chef David Standridge introduces an inspired menu that changes daily, reflecting the unique character of coastal Connecticut.
The Northern region represents New London and Windham county restaurants. Other nominees in the region included:
Located right in historic downtown Mystic, this spot pairs local ingredients from land and sea with a charming seaside ambiance. Oyster Club believes their food has a story and through a partnership with local Stone Acres Farm, strives to tell that story from seed to harvest, bringing creativity and vision to every meal.
Stone Row Kitchen + Bar offers a great space including a patio level dedicated to "boozing and schmoozing." The menu features homegrown food and the restaurant works closely with regional farmers, foragers, and fishers.
This Insta-worthy hot spot offers a distinctive culinary experience in a sensational setting. Guests can choose from a selection of Asian-inspired specialties, focusing on delicious Chinese, Japanese, and Thai techniques and ingredients. When you've finished dining, head to the casino for plenty more fun!
Best New Restaurant
New Restaurant Winner: Materia Ristorante
With a focus on "la Materia prima" this new restaurant presents seasonal Italian cuisine and distinctive wines with the freshest, carefully sourced ingredients.
Other nominees included:
At this new spot, you'll find strictly salads and pizzas — but expect them to be top-notch. Try killer square and thin & crispy style pies with an exquisite bar program to boot. All in a vintage 70's/80's dungeon basement.
L’Ostal is a Provencal restaurant rooted in history and tradition celebrating the cuisines of Southern France and its boundaries.
Lifetime Achievement Winner: Jacques Pépin
This year, the Connecticut Restaurant Association honored Jacques Pépin for a Lifetime Achievement award.
Pépin is a French chef, author, culinary educator, television personality, and artist, well-known for his collaboration with Julia Child on their Emmy-winning PBS show, Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home.
Learn more about Jacques Pépin here.