Among Connecticut’s most popular and most-recommended restaurants are farm-to-table fine dining restaurants, and restaurants serving French, Italian & Polish food. There’s also a pizzeria with a long history, a fairly new multi-cuisine restaurant in a historical building, a noodle bar, and even an eatery serving Texas-style barbecue among the best restaurants in Connecticut.
1. Millwright’s Restaurant and Tavern
One of the most recommended restaurants in all of Connecticut is Millwright’s Restaurant and Tavern in Simsbury. It’s a place you can go to for a celebration or just for a fine meal in a fine location. Set up in 1980 in a sawmill that dates back to the 1600s, Millwright comes with views of a river & a waterfall.
As for the food, Millwright’s serves its regular menu & a tasting menu in its dining room that overlooks the falls. If you’d like a more casual meal of burgers & beer, you could eat at the Tavern.
Millwright’s food is known for being farm-to-table, cooked with care & beautifully presented. Another thing that’s attractive to guests is the seating on the bridge and the views from there.
Millwright’s service is known to be professional. And there’s both indoor & outdoor seating at this restaurant and Tavern.
2. Union League Cafe
Another one of the best restaurants in Connecticut for a memorable celebration meal would be Union League Cafe in New Haven. This place is just across the Yale University campus. And it’s a great place to go for French food & pleasant service.
The guest favorites here range from wines & cocktails to the Duck confit, mussels, braised short rib, octopus & filet mignon. You’ll also find some vegan food here. And there should be no leaving here without tasting some of the cafe’s delectable desserts! Ask for soufflé, eclair, or creme brûlée.
3. Staropolska Restaurant
For Polish food, go to Staropolska in New Britain, which has its own Polish community. This restaurant on Broad Street is a family-owned restaurant and is known for its home-cooked food made from family recipes.
If you’re trying Polish food for the first time, you might want to ask for Staropolska’s Polish Platter. It comes with servings of soup, Potato Pancakes, Pierogi (dumplings), bigos (hunter’s soup), kielbasa (polish sausages) & golabki (stuffed cabbage).
You can also ask for some Polish wine or Polish beer for a complete experience of the cuisine.
4. Arethusa al tavolo
Among the best restaurants in Connecticut is also Arethusa Al Tavolo in Bantam, which is known for some of the freshest food served in the area. It’s a farm-to-table, fine-dining restaurant, and some people say the best meal they’ve had in Connecticut was right here in Arethusa al Tavolo.
The quality of the food is the priority here. The meals are made with locally-sourced produce and the restaurant usually has alternatives for those with allergies & dietary restrictions. You might find it a bit difficult to get dinner reservations here, however when you manage to do so, it’s sure to be worth it!
This restaurant opened in June of 2013 in the building that was once the Village General Store and later, the Bantam Firehouse. Arethusa al Tavolo has its own dairy situated right next door. They make cheese, ice cream, butter & yogurt here. The dairy products are used in the restaurant and are available for purchase too.
5. Mecha Noodle Bar
It may not be too difficult to go get a meal at Mecha Noodle Bar because Mecha is in multiple locations. It’s a local chain with outlets in New Haven, Fairfield & Norwalk, but you still might find some locations busy.
The food here is South East Asian so you can hope to find things like Pho, Ramen, Bay, banh mi sandwiches, soups & rice. And of course, you can combine them with shrimp, lobster, meat & tofu. The dishes might vary with location, however, you might want to ask for their signature Pho King! Mecha serves cocktails, mocktails & boba tea, too.
Mecha Noodle Bar is a casual place; one you can go to for lunch or for dinner. These restaurants also try to take care of your special dietary needs, if any.
6. Viron Rondo Osteria
Viron Rondo Osteria is considered to be one of the best Italian restaurants in Connecticut. It’s located in Cheshire, CT. The restaurant’s food is known to be fresh & tasty. The ambience & the service are also much-liked.
Regulars also love the salads, hot rolls, the zucchini fry & the Calamari fritters served here. Also served here are Italian sandwiches & pasta. Viron Rondo Osteria has a lengthy wine & cocktail menu, too. There’s a menu with a list of gluten-free dishes, as well.
Viron Rondo Osteria has some outdoor seating and there’s even a bar, there, which is just another positive!
7. Bar Bouchee
Another reputed restaurant in the state is Bar Bouchee in Madison, CT. This place serves authentic French food in what you could call a classic yet comfortable bistro. It gives off 19th-century vibes and is good for celebrations, date nights, or a night out with friends.
The menu might be small at this upscale restaurant, however, the cocktail menu & wine list are extensive. Try the pan-seared chicken breast, Escargot, hanger steak, braised lamb shank & scallops.
If you’re dining there during the warmer months, you might even get to sit outside. Bar Bouchee has patio dining from spring to fall.
8. Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria
When you’re in Connecticut, you’re also not going to want to miss giving Frank Pepe’s pizzas a try! This local chain has restaurants in multiple locations: Danbury, Fairfield, Manchester, Mohegan Sun, New Haven, Waterbury & West Hartford,
Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria goes back to 1925 when Pepe and his wife started the business. Their original pizzas are both still available in their pizzerias across the state. What has kept people returning to these pizzas, and has kept the chain growing are the New Haven-style pizzas that are fired by coal. The favorites range from Margarita pizza to Mushroom pie & the clam one they make here.
Many of the chain’s regulars have been frequenting these pizzerias for years, and they say the crust is what makes Pepe’s pizzas stand apart and it one of the best restaurants in Connecticut. They also appreciate the prompt service of these pizza-places.
9. Hoodoo Brown Barbecue
Another place that clearly stands out in the Connecticut restaurant scene is Hoodoo Brown Barbecue in Ridgefield. Hoodoo Brown attracts foodies to its tables with Texas-style barbecue.
This place has been open since 2015 and has only grown in popularity. One of the highly recommended items here is the brisket. However, the ribs, the pork belly, the crispy chicken, the pulled pork, and even the sausages won’t disappoint.
Hoodoo Brown BBQ serves other things too. And that includes some great desserts!
10. The Charles
One more for the list of best restaurants in Connecticut is The Charles in Wethersfield. This restaurant, which opened in 2020 did so with the intention of serving modern food in a place that gave off a vintage feel and they seem to have succeeded.
Set in an 18th-century building, The Charles has a menu with items that range from prime rib to fish n’ chips, pork belly noodles to sandwiches, pastas to wraps and shrimp & grit to Korean bbq.
You can go here for lunch or dinner, eat at the bar, have a proper sit-down meal, or even a business lunch. You can even organize an event here if you’d like to bring people together to celebrate with the wide range of food cooked at The Charles.