2014 Winter Dining Guide

 

Jeff Kaufman

If you ranked states on a fine-dining-options-per-capita basis, it’s not a stretch to think that Connecticut would rank near the top nationwide on the list of most savory places in which to reside—especially with the trend of having a destination-worthy hotspot on practically every corner accelerating in recent years.

From Greenwich to New London, New Haven to Hartford and Litchfield to Willimantic, no resident or visitor hungry for fare ranging from gourmet burgers and ethnic cuisine to the freshest seafood, most rarefied steaks and desserts to die for has to travel far to be satisfied.

How blessed we are was driven home once again this past fall when we conducted our Readers’ Choice Best Restaurants 2014 voting, and at the same time another trend came into sharp focus: The lion’s share of Connecticut’s restaurant scene energy, excellence and customer engagement appears to be concentrated these days in fine-dining-drenched Fairfield County, where it seems a lofty new place opens on a weekly basis.

Fairfield County establishments almost dominate the results presented here—worthy choices all—and we get the sense that the outcome stems not just from the demographics, concentration of population and proximity to New York City of our Gold Coast, but also in part from how we conducted the voting for the first time.

Call it a digital-age phenomenon. The voting took place exclusively online through a survey we posted on connnecticutmag.com. That platform simply clicked with the Fairfield County crowd, where many more of the restaurants there than elsewhere in the state seem to be wired—not just with polished websites but also with very active Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and more. We put out the call to name the statewide best of the best in 35 categories, ranging from most romantic to best “road food” and food truck, and the loyal “digital armies” of those beloved Fairfield County venues responded in force.

We give you the deserving winners here—along with some “side dishes.”

We thought it appropriate to embellish the Readers’ Choice results with some of our own favorite “best” places elsewhere in Connecticut, of which there are many. So enjoy—both what our readers selected for your dining pleasure, and what we salted that list with to make sure this “entrée” was fully rendered and executed to perfection.

We hope you visit all of the great places highlighted here for your dining pleasure. And remember, there are legions of other restaurants that could be added to either list, the readers’ or ours; for a taste of just how many, see our full dining guide.

 

Readers' Choice Best Restaurant Winners

2014 Dining Trends

Greater Hartford's Capital Dining Scene

Litchfield County's Quiet Sophistication

Central Connecticut is the Center of Great Dining

Quiet Corner Restaurants Make Noise

The Shoreline's Delicious Saltwater Style

New Haven Dining is In a Class of Its Own

 

2014 Winter Dining Guide

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