Hungry for restaurant recommendations? I have plenty. Let me help you eat your way through Connecticut with a simple guide to top notch cuisine from all over the state.
Grano Arso, Chester, CT
This upscale Italian eatery and bar has been nationally recognized for its locally sourced, seasonally inspired food. Grano Arso was featured in the "101 Best Restaurants in America" list, on The Daily Mail, "Best Restaurants in 2020" in Connecticut Magazine, and named "Restaurant of the Year" from the Hartford Courant. This is truly one of the best places to enjoy handmade pasta and extravagant cocktails in the quaint and beautiful town of Chester. However, I highly suggest you make a reservation in advance, they book up quickly, but it's worth the wait!
Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, New Haven, CT
Founded in 1925, Pepe's Pizzeria is known to be the top pizza destination in the country with several accolades to prove it. Pepe's signature pizza, the White Clam Pizza, has been named "#1 in America" by Daily Mail and definitely is not one to miss if your a pizza lover. After getting fresh clams, grated cheese, garlic, olive oil, and oregano, the thin crusted pizza is arranged strategically inside a coal-fired oven. If you sit inside, take a peek in the half-opened kitchen to see where the magic happens!
Liv's Oyster Bar, Old Saybrook, CT
If you're in the mood for a fine-dining seafood eatery, take a trip down to the shoreline and experience an exquisite meal at Liv's Oyster Bar. The restaurant focuses on the freshest, locally sourced ingredients and stunning seafood. The menu changes with each season, bringing guests a true variety of cuisine. Two of my favorite dishes off the menu include the Fennel and Pepper Crusted Tuna (which the restaurant recommended to us) and the PEI Mussels.
Louis' Lunch, New Haven, CT
Established in 1895, Louis' Lunch claims to be the first restaurant in the United States to serve hamburgers, still serving the burgers exactly how they were prepared in the late 1800s. The burgers are cooked in an upright gas oven, with a slice of cheese, onion, and tomato served between two slices of white toast. If you're considering taking a visit to this historical landmark, there is one important detail you must know: do not ask for ketchup. If you do, you are most likely to receive numerous death glares and a one way ticket out the door. Since they didn't use ketchup back then, they're definitely not going to use it now!
Oyster Club, Mystic, CT
Take a trip to the historic town of Mystic and experience world renowned food at the Oyster Club. This restaurant emphasizes their mission to share their story of food from seed to harvest, and everything in between, before reaching your plate. Even though walk-ins are always welcomed, I recommend you make a reservation so you can skip the long wait. The Oyster Club has earned regional and national attention as it has been named "The Best Upscale Restaurant in CT" by the Connecticut Restaurant Association and one of the "Best Oyster Bars in America" by Travel and Leisure Magazine.
O'Rourke's Diner, Middletown, CT
This quaint Irish diner has been featured not only as "Best Diner" and "Best of Connecticut" in Connecticut Magazine, but also on the popular Food Network show, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives with Guy Fieri. The friendly staff and comfortable setting makes you feel right at home as you enjoy comfort food with your whole family. The lengthy menu helps to satisfy any craving you may have, but I strongly suggest you try the classic Eggs Benedict on the breakfast menu.
The Blue Oar, Haddam CT
If you are looking for the complete summer waterfront dining experience, The Blue Oar is the place for you. The Blue Oar has been adequately recognized in several articles including, the New York Times, Yankee Magazine, and Connecticut Magazine. It is also known as "CT's Most Instagrammable Spots", and represents the perfect destination to relax, listen to reggae, and share vibrant, fresh seafood with the whole family. Feel free to pull up your boat to the dock, or drive down to the restaurant tucked into the marina for views that never disappoint. This is the perfect summer destination for a classic New England Hot Buttered Lobster Roll and Clam Chowder. Also, one of the many amazing aspects of the restaurant: it's BYOB! When you go, be sure to capture this picturesque scene.
Mecha Noodle Bar, New Haven CT
This cultural, modern restaurant is sure to lift your spirits. The atmosphere is funky, energetic, and just flat out cool! The menu features riffs on food that can be found in the streets of Southeast Asia from Vietnamese Pho to Japanese Ramen. The cocktails are exquisitely unique and the food is never short of perfection. I strongly encourage you to step a little outside your comfort zone and try this amazing cuisine. Even though I love everything on the menu, here are some of the must-haves: Korean Fried Chicken Steamed Baos, Herbed Edamame, Roasted Mushroom Dumplings, and the Spicy Miso Ramen.
Connecticut is home to some of the greatest foods in the country. With an immense variety of choices, I encourage you to broaden your horizon and experience the diversity of culture that is expressed through cuisine in America.
What are your favorite restaurants in Connecticut? Feel free to tell us your suggestions in the comments below!
This blog was written by Featured Wrighter, Isabel Hosley.