Oct 13, 2011
08:05 AM
Discover Connecticut

Best of Connecticut Road Trip: New Haven Overnight


Although gas prices have come down recently, here's an overnight trip around New Haven featuring Best of Connecticut 2011 winners that should be a little easier on the wallet in terms of travel expenses.

The first thing to do is book a place to stay, and truly, there is nowhere better to stay in downtown New Haven than The Study at Yale. Great location, fine accommodations, good service and an excellent restaurant in Heirloom if you decide to stay in. And as comfortable and well appointed as the rooms are, you will be tempted to stay in, but come on—you're here to explore the Elm City a bit. Get your shoes on and let's go.

Speaking of exploration, chef Manuel Romero at Ibiza—only a block and a half down Chapel Street, then a few steps down High Street—has made a repuatation for his innovation in the kitchen. Infused with a heavy Spanish influence and lots of creativity, the menu here changes regularly, so it's a great place to let your taste buds be adventurous.

After dinner, you'll have to get in the car or hail a cab, and make your way down to Long Wharf, where you can enjoy the best piano bar in the state, Keys to the City. Featuring dueling pianists that seemingly know every rock 'n roll tune out there, it's a fun and often rollicking evening. Two bars make sure that you can stay well lubricated during your visit (maybe it's better to opt for the cab).

It's back to The Study for some sleep, and when you wake up, you might want to make your way over to Koffee on Audubon Street—you could drive, but we encourage you to walk so you can explore downtown a little better, including checking out the historic New Haven green. As you would guess by the name, there's an abundance of coffee here, all of it fairly traded and organic, perfect to go with their freshly made muffins—the favorite is the chocolate chip muffin, which is so big and full of chips that it's pretty much a meal in itself. Sugar and caffeine—the perfect start to any day.

And any trip would not be complete without some sort of momento to take home, but rather than waste your money on some useless trinket or bauble, get yourself some awesome Chabaso bread. Although it can be found in various stores around the area, we recommend visiting the bakery outlet on 360 James Street. Ciabattas, rolls and stix, baguettes, boules and loaves—it's all good, literally. It's also great to support a great local business like Chabaso, who always seems to be out supporting the community at every turn, giving away bread at road races, festivals and other charitable events. Great bread from great people.

Here are the full Best of Connecticut 2011 write ups:

City Hotel
The Study at Yale
New Haven, (203) 503-3900 (studyhotels.com)

One of the keys to a successful city hotel is location, and being on Chapel Street in New Haven, literally steps away from world-class dining, art, music and theater, The Study at Yale is situated better than most. Add in 124 guest rooms, each with great views, featherbed, leather chair, flat-screen TV and Italian linens—as well as award-winning restaurant Heirloom, featuring chef Carey Savona’s “coastal farm” cuisine—and the result is a hotel experience that’s among the best anywhere.

Manuel Romero, Ibiza
New Haven, (203) 865-1933 (ibizanewhaven.com)

It’s easy to imagine that Manuel Romero might spend every waking moment thinking up new ways to cook seafood. Having grown up on the rocky seacoast of Galicia, he knows seafood inside and out. But he doesn’t stop there. At Ibiza, where he is executive chef, every category—meat, vegetables, dessert, tapas, entrées, sides—is an ever-changing showcase of innovation. What chef Romero does not do is seek celebrity status. A true artist, he prefers to get better and better, delighting connoisseurs and newcomers alike.

Piano Bar
Keys to the City, New Haven,
(203) 624-6200 (terminal110.com/keys)

How fun could a dueling piano bar be? Answer: TONS of fun. Keys to the City, located in New Haven’s Terminal 110, features nightly performances by some of the best dueling piano players in the Northeast, who will dazzle you with their ability to spontaneously play, at your request, the top pop and rock ‘n’ roll hits. Combine with tasty drinks and delicious food and you’ve got one heck of a night.

Chabaso Bakery
New Haven, 
(203) 562-9007 

It was love at first bite when we tried our first piece of Chabaso bread, and it’s only grown stronger. The New Haven-based company makes all manner of bread, from ciabattas, rolls and sticks to baguettes, boules and loaves, all with the best natural ingredients, including the finest flours with no preservatives and little or no fat (trans fat is never used). We’re partial to the roasted garlic ciabatta, but that’s just us. Sample the two-dozen varieties and find your own fave.

Koffee, New Haven,
(203) 562-5454 (koffeefamily.com)

Here’s what we consider when looking for good muffins (in addition to the good flavor): 1. Are they fresh? At Koffee, muffins (and other goodies) are baked daily from scratch, right on the premises; 2. Is there variety? Yes, from corn to cappuccino, and numerous flavors in between; 3. Are they generous? A single Koffee chocolate-chip muffin seems to have more chips in it than an entire bakery, and can probably feed two (if you wanted to share—and we don’t!); 4. Do we want to try another? Yes, please.


Best of Connecticut Road Trip: New Haven Overnight

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