Best Restaurants 2013: Experts' Picks

Our dining experts pick their favorite places to dine out in 26 categories.

 

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BEST COCKTAILS:
116 Crown, New Haven
Geronimo, New Haven
G.W. Tavern, Washington
The Loft, South Norwalk
Scorpion Bar at Shrine, Mashantucket
HONORABLE MENTION:
Barcelona, New Haven
Pacifico, New Haven
The Cottage, Plainville
Luxe Modern, Westport
Rooftop 120, Glastonbury
Griswold Inn, Essex

PHOTO BY JULIE BIDWELL

116 CROWN, NEW HAVEN: "Be sure to order the Forth & Clyde! A magical mixture of gin, bourbon, elderflower liqueur, honey and lime juice--with flakes of Salemme pepper." - Sherri Daley, freelance writer

 

BEST OUTDOOR DINING:
L'Escale, Greenwich
Fresh Salt, Old Saybrook
Hopkins Inn, New Preston
L'Orcio, New Haven
The Fireside Tavern at Sharpe Hill, Pomfret
HONORABLE MENTION:
Blue Oar, HaddamRooftop 120, GlastonburyGelston House, East Haddam;
Sage, New HavenAbbot's Lobster in the Rough, Noank
L'ESCALE, GREENWICH: "The outdoor waterfront patio transports me to Provence and fools me into feeling as affulent as the setting. (And the people-watching is great, too.)" - Elizabeth Keyser

 

BEST SERVICE:
Ibiza, New Haven
Millwright's Restaurant, Simsbury
Thomas Henkelmann, Greenwich
Union League Café, New Haven
West Street Grill, Litchfield
HONORABLE MENTION:
Carmen Anthony Steakhouse, WaterburyFirebox Restaurant, Hartford
Max Downtown, HartfordMayflower Inn, WashingtonON20, Hartford; Brasserie Pip, Ivoryton
THOMAS HENKELMANN, GREENWICH: "Traditional-style service that transports diners back to a day when good service was quiet, unobtrusive and elegant." - Ronnie Fein, food writer, cookbook author and blogger

 

BEST VALUE:
Nataz, North Branford
Recovery Room, New London
Sans Souci, Meriden
Turkish Kebob House, West Haven
Valencia Luncheria, Norwalk
HONORABLE MENTION:
Mamoun's, New HavenBodega, FairfieldSal e Pepe, NewtownRooster Tail Inn, Warren
Los Portales, Norwalk;  White Horse Country Pub, Marbledale
VALENCIA LUCHERIA, NORWALK: "Billed as Venezuelan beach food, the restaurant indeed looks like a little place you might pop into after an afternoon of sun. Try the two homemade sauces on every table (a chipotle-based BBQ and a piquant guasacaca sauce) on the many choices of empanadas and the arepas (fried/roasted and stuffed corn cake). You can stuff yourself for under $15 a person." - Beth Levine

 

BEST VEGETARIAN/VEGAN:
Bloodroot, Bridgeport
Claire's Corner Copia, New Haven
G-Zen, Branford
Navaratna, Stamford
Six Main, Chester
HONORABLE MENTION:
Thali Too, New HavenIt's Only Natural, Middletown
Greenleaf Organic Bakery & Café, Wilton; 
 The Stand, Fairfield; Good News Cafe, Woodbury
G-ZEN, BRANFORD: "You'll forget you're not eating any meat--or dairy--when you taste the vegan specialties coming out of Mark Shadle's kitchen. The black bean veggie burger is a must, with sweet potato fries and housemade hickory ketchup." - Leeanne Griffin

 

BEST SUSHI:
Feng Asian Bistro, Hartford
Kotobuki, Stamford
Miso, New Haven
Miya's, New Haven
Sushi Red, Plainville
HONORABLE MENTION:
Wasabi, OrangeFin, StamfordMatsu, Westport; 
 Ginza, Bloomfield; Tengda, Westport; Kazu, Norwalk;
MIYA'S, NEW HAVEN: "Sustainable maniac Chef Bun Lai has virtually reinvented sushi for all of us. And made us laugh. Just read that menu. Just taste that menu."  - Todd Lyon
BEST FOR HOTEL DINING:
Artisan, Southport
Eleven14 Kitchen, Greenwich
Heirloom, New Haven
Mayflower Inn, Washington
Winvian, Morris
HONORABLE MENTION:
L'Escale, Greenwich
Octagon, Groton
John Davenport's, New Haven
Thomas Henkelmann, Greenwich
Paragon, Mashantucket
Fresh Salt, Old Saybrook
Water's Edge, Westbrook

PHOTO BY RAW PHOTO DESIGN

HEIRLOOM, NEW HAVEN: "At Heirloom, not only is the menu creative and service and setting sublime, but on a busy night in New Haven you really feel like you're someplace special." - Charles Monagan

 

Best Restaurants 2013: Experts' Picks

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