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The Best of the Connecticut Food Scene

Read our guide to Connecticut food and have fun planning your next gastronomic adventure!

connecticut food frank pepe

(Photo: Amy the Nurse / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0)

So, you’re a foodie looking for the perfect New England getaway. With gorgeous ocean views, forested mountains, historic towns and fascinating attractions, there’s already a lot to love about Connecticut. But have you heard about the Connecticut food scene?

From Hartford to Mystic to the tiny borough of Bantam, the Constitution State is experiencing a flourishing culinary revolution you won’t want to miss. With a wonderful roster of established gems, plus up-and-coming restaurants that are making waves, Connecticut is a foodie’s delight.

What’s for lunch?

If you’re hanging out in the New Haven area, pizza is the obvious choice. Boasting some of the best thin crust pizza joints in the country, Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, Sally’s Apizza and Modern Apizza are all must-visit spots for pizza lovers.

Pan-Asian fans and noodle slurpers should check out Mecha Noodle Bar, a local chain featuring adventurous pho and ramen, plus a variety of steamed bao and dumplings.

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The Tastiest Northeast Food Destinations

When you’re going on a trip, sometimes the best thing to do is to follow your stomach. In recent years, food tourism has become more and more popular.

If you’re on a hot dog pilgrimage, Blackie’s Hot Dog Stand in Cheshire has been serving up authentic Connecticut dogs since the 1920s. Or check out Super Duper Weenie in Fairfield, famous for its specialty dogs like the New Englander and the Chicogoan.

Need a sweet treat? Check out family-owned Donut Crazy, which has multiple locations around the state serving up over 45 varieties of donuts, with flavors ranging from traditional to full-on crazy.

From the sea

No trip to Connecticut is complete without indulging in some fresh seafood. Head down to Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock in New London and snag yourself a mouthwatering lobster roll. Served hot with drizzled butter or cold with mayo, you might have to try both to pick your favorite.

For an afternoon or evening by the water, check out Mystic’s Red 36 featuring a raw bar plus classics like fish and chips. Wait time during the summer can get long, so grab some drinks and relax on the enormous waterfront deck.

In New Haven, James Beard-nominated Miya’s Sushi has been serving up delicious, environmentally sustainable sushi since 1982. Creativity and adventure are queen at Miya’s, with Japanese small plates and sushi rolls featuring invasive species (and wax worms).

Crazy for bivalves? Check out Hummock Island’s oyster tour. Take a ride on the boat, then get a shucking lesson from the experts and enjoy a tasting of oysters fresh out of the water.

connecticut food

Gouveia Vineyards (Photo: David Brooks / Flickr / CC BY 2.0)

Farm-to-table

Get an upscale locavore experience at Arethusa Al Tavolo in Litchfield County. Ranked as one of the top 100 restaurants in America by users of OpenTable, Al Tavolo serves up gorgeous dishes using fresh ingredients sourced from the award-winning Arethusa dairy farm.

For your grass-fed, free-range fix, visit Grass & Bone in Mystic, a butcher shop and restaurant specializing in locally raised animals. Buy beautiful cuts of meat from the glass counter to take home or order the mouthwatering rotisserie chicken or roast beef sandwich.

Grass & Bone’s sister restaurant, Oyster Club, also in Mystic, specializes in “farm-and-sea-to-table.” The daily menu showcases locally sourced seafood and artisan ingredients from nearby farmers, bakers, brewers and cheesemakers.

For a sweet experience head over to Weston’s Red Bee Apiary for a tasting of single-origin honeys and to learn about the secret life of bees.

To drink

Embark on the Connecticut Wine Trail, featuring 25 wineries across the state. Visit Chamard Vineyards and enjoy the French bistro, live music and yoga, take a cooking class at Jones Family Farms, and stop by Gouveia Vineyards for the gorgeous views.

Hops more your style? The Connecticut Beer Trail includes an impressive 68-plus breweries, with more on the way. Check out the sour/wild program at Two Roads Brewing, sip a relaxing flight by the Branford River at Stony Creek Brewery, then visit New England Brewing Company for the most highly rated brews in the state.

Cider lovers can swing by New England Cider Company for a variety of styles (including hopped and barrel-aged), sample unique small batches at Spoke + Spy Ciderworks, and enjoy the amazing flavors at Crazy Cock Cider.

Fine dining

For a fancy night out, visit The Whelk in Westport, a cozy spot where you can choose from a beautiful array of seafood small plates and entrees. Or stop by Kawa Ni (also in Westport) for Japanese small plates and ramen in a warm setting.

Get your authentic Italian fix in Georgetown at family-owned Aranci 67. The pasta is handmade and the burrata is top-notch. Relax and sit back for a multicourse experience that will feed your senses and your belly.

For mind-blowing New American, check out the AAA Three Diamond Rated Millwright’s in Simsbury, which serves an elevated take on traditional New England flavors and dishes. The airy dining room is housed in the historic Hop Brook Mill and overlooks a rushing waterfall.

Plan your next Connecticut trip with AAA and check out www.ctvisit.com to locate more amazing Connecticut food.

What’s your favorite thing to eat in Connecticut? Tell us in the comments.

Comments
  • Steven S.

    Frank Pepe’s pizza…”how good can it be?”, I thought on my first visit. Trust me, it’s really really good!

  • Shannon B.

    If you are in Wallingford you have to try Michael’s Trattoria. We just stumbled upon it 2 weeks ago on a business trip and oh my!! Felt like I was back home in the North End of Boston!

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