Connecticut’s culinary scene has long been overshadowed by its neighbor, New York City, because of its proximity. Local chefs nowadays, however, are no longer restricted to merely drawing inspiration from the five boroughs.
Instead, the Nutmeg State is starting to capitalize on its natural assets, which include a profusion of premium local farms, an abundance of fresh seafood from Long Island Sound, and a determination to protect the state’s wildlife and scenic landscape.
Most Recommended Restaurants in Connecticut:
10. Restaurant Bricco, West Hartford
The restaurant was inspired by “Mom’s pasta carbonara,” but any straightforward, homey, traditional Italian dishes will satisfy. And every time, they strike the exact location.
According to Grant, one of the secrets of Bricco’s success is the team’s continuity; no fewer than seven kitchen crew members have worked for him for more than 15 years. Daily menu changes, but quality doesn’t alter. In the restaurant industry, 25 years is a lifetime—possibly more—and that doesn’t just happen.
The wood-fired, brick-oven pizzas are outstanding, the house-made pasta is expertly prepared, and the appetizers and entrées have something for everyone.
9. Oyster Club, Mystic
Oyster Club has been delighting diners with the tale of Connecticut cuisine for more than ten years. It was rated the best restaurant in eastern Connecticut by the Connecticut Restaurant Association and one of the top 25 oyster bars in America by Travel + Leisure.
Their complete and daily a la carte menus include local fish, shellfish, homemade pasta, and meat from partner Grass & Bone Craft Butchery. Additionally, they offer a unique four-course tasting menu called “Dinner Party” four evenings each week.
In recipes that can either explore inventiveness or offer the calming comfort of familiarity done very well, we admire the intense attention on the farm- and sea-to-table ingredients.
8. Millwright’s, Simsbury
The imaginative cooking that has garnered praise for Millwright and no less than seven James Beard nominations for its chef is still available to guests thanks to all the creative adaptation.
Although Anderson had training in traditional French techniques, his cuisine is a fusion of Italian, Californian, Spanish, and New England dishes. His method is complicated, but not in an arrogant way.
Clam chowder, which viewers saw Anderson prepare on Beat Bobby Flay, consists of a creamy soup topped with clams, bacon, and a tiny egg-and-tapioca custard that floats on top.
The pickling, preserving, canning, and jarring the chef prefers to use are all done in-house and are what he refers to as “grandma skills.” Since its debut, Millwright’s has offered delicious food that has been lovingly and skillfully prepared.
7. Metro Bis, Simsbury
Chris Prosperi, a chef, and Courtney Febbroriello, his business partner, have been delighting regulars with bistro food since 1998. Their menus feature a variety of culinary styles and utilize fresh, local products.
The restaurant has been located on a 1906 brownstone mansion’s sprawling bottom floor since 2019. One dining room, which used to be a study, has wood paneling, a mahogany fireplace mantel that has been intricately carved, and Art Nouveau light fittings that were taken from the Paris Métro.
The cuisine is prepared in a sophisticated environment by the kitchen. The substantial are preferred when it comes to entrées, such as a peppery duck confit or a flat-iron steak topped with a gorgonzola crust. Starters include such artistic marvels as cauliflower waffles.
6. Max Downtown, Hartford
With mahogany tabletop surfaces, lighted whisky shelves, and a glassed-in wine room, Max emanates a sleek, masculine air. There is meat available for every taste in the kitchen, skillfully run by Chris Sheehan.
The traditional tournedos Rossini, seared foie gras stacked on top of two fillet mignons in a truffled Madeira reduction, is one example of a chophouse special.
The accommodating waiter will bring all five sauces, from béarnaise to bacon marmalade, if the diner has trouble deciding to go with a massive cowboy-cut ribeye.
Although steak is the food of choice, there are also delicious options, like chicken, salmon, and scallops. Desserts include well-known favorites like baked Alaska and chocolate soufflé. Evenings here are impressive in every way.
5. Kawa Ni, Westport
Chef Bill Taibe’s tribute to a Japanese tavern is a unique restaurant that often ranks well on lists of the top restaurants in Connecticut, including this one and many others.
Ramen broths, the menu’s focal point, are just the beginning of the gastronomic treats offered here. Tonkotsu “pig bone” broth extravaganza with noodles and some of the greatest pork belly I’ve ever had can be found in the pork & garlic ramen.
The ramen is comparable to dishes from renowned ramen restaurants in New York City. The trout-made man, a chilled noodle dish without comparison in Connecticut, and a variety of bao and banh mi are further highlights of the menu.
4. House of Naan, New Haven
At Sitar, his family’s restaurant in New Haven, Chef Harinder Singh started with tried-and-true Indian classics but has now moved away from both at House of Naan.
The House began in late 2016 with a few allusions to the traditional methods, importing whole spices from India, crushing, roasting, and preparing them there. The ingredients are then used for craveable tikka fries, naanaco tacos, tandoors, and chaats with a modern twist.
In terms of unique twists, the House cocktail menu offers drinks like Howe Street Tea, which combines Bulldog gin with Asian botanicals, Darjeeling tea syrup, and chickpea water. This contemporary Indian restaurant is a gem of Elm City.
3. Grano Arso, Chester
The 2019 Connecticut Restaurant Association Restaurant of the Year and the 2018 Newcomer of the Year take home yet another victory from our panel of judges.
In a state with fierce rivalry in the market for Italian food, Grano Arso has persevered and thrived on providing some of the most inventive, delectable fare.
A cocktail created in collaboration with Essex’s Highclere Castle Gin and the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon was recently served in the former turn-of-the-century bank building’s unique private dining room fashioned from the vault.
Chef Joel Gargano uses fresh ingredients from Wellstone Farm in Higganum and the nearby farmers market, which meets just a few steps from the restaurant, in addition to bread and pasta.
2. Elizabeth’s Farmhouse, Putnam
The restaurant Heidi Hoenig Bouchard opened three years ago in a structure surrounded by historic mills and warehouses in Putnam, the county seat of Connecticut’s Quiet Corner, is best described as eclectic.
With only 13 candlelit tables, the tavern-like space is cozy. Ladderback chairs, stone flooring, and Barnwood painted black are contrasted by the unusual decor, such as a bronze pig wearing a pearl necklace.
The menu features American cuisine, which includes meals from all over the world. A menu with witty touches includes dishes like Kung Pao Brussels sprouts, Kentucky pimento cheese spread, pizza Margherita, German onion soup, Rhode Island stuffies (quahogs with chorizo, peppers, onion, cheese, and bacon), and a variety of pasta-chophouse-seafood entrées.
1. The Cottage, Westport
The New York Times has given The Cottage a review rating of “Excellent.” The cuisine constantly changes and combines American, Italian, French, and Asian flavors in the chef’s playground.
There are Day 1 dishes that a novice should not skip, even though you may not know what you’re getting into on any night. To start your dinner, wagyu beef steam buns that melt in your mouth are served with crunchy, sour kimchi napa cabbage.
Since The Cottage is where OKO was created, patrons may expect to find Lewis’ inventive Japanese small plates like hot scallop nigiri or a typically beautiful sashimi platter.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Connecticut’s famous food?
Visitors to the state must try our hot and buttery lobster rolls. This variation, which comes with mayo and celery, is frequently referred to as a “Connecticut style” lobster roll as opposed to the lobster salad roll commonly offered in other New England locations.
What candy was invented in Connecticut?
George Smith invented lollipops in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1908. They are a tasty, safe, and enjoyable treat.
What is Connecticut’s national food?
The wonderful snickerdoodle is the state cookie of the Constitution State, one of the few states without an official cookie. This cinnamon-sugar confection would go well with ice cream, the state’s official dessert.
What is New Haven known for in food?
The specialty pizza made in New Haven is called “apizza,” which is pronounced “a-BEETS” and comes from the original Italian dialect used by early Italian immigrants. This pizza is undoubtedly the city’s biggest claim to culinary glory.
What is Connecticut pizza?
It goes by the name of apizza and is available in New Haven, Connecticut. The traditional Neapolitan-style pizza known as “Apizza” first appeared in New Haven in 1925. A thin, chewy, crispy, charred crust known as the “apizza style” results from the coal-fired ovens used to produce it.
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