Central Connecticut is the Center of Great Dining

Middletown and Waterbury are foodie locales that don’t get the respect they deserve—and that means too many tasty, cool and often modest spots to mention here. Instead, here’s just a small array of “appetizers”:

Luce in Middletown is an under-discovered haven for traditional Tuscan cuisine with an amazing wine selection.

And what about the It’s Only Natural Restaurant, which serves up 100 percent vegan fare—unless otherwise requested—but sacrifices nothing in terms of flavor.

A bit south of Middletown in Durham is the cozy, charming Perk on Main. By day it’s a fine coffeehouse and community gathering spot whose tagline is “coffee, crêpes and much more.” That “much more” includes dinner with “sophisticated food, namely our famous crepes, wraps, burritos and salads, and a full line of espresso and coffee drinks, teas and chais.” Even better, there’s a sister spot, Perk on Church, in Guilford.

La Tavola in Waterbury (right). La Tavola means “the table” in Italian, and the words signify a culinary cultural experience more than a piece of furniture. In this case, that experience centers on the vision of chefs Nicola Mancini and Pasquale Salvatore, who turn out beautiful, classic offerings built on fresh ingredients and accompanied by the ideal wines. Simple but perfect. Does it get better than that formula?

What else is worth seeking out in Waterbury? We asked Maria Bruscino Sanchez—aka Sweet Maria—the owner and baker for nearly 24 years at the destination bakery Sweet Maria’s in Waterbury (her latest cookbook is Small, Sweet and Italian). Here’s what she had to say: “One of the things I truly love is our diversity of food. Whenever I have friends in from out of town, our usual stops are … Mikey’s for Jamaican beef patties and a stop at Hugo’s taco truck. We can have Turkish one night, great sushi at Mizu, or Portuguese at Lisboa.”

One of the new hotspots in the middle kingdom between Middletown and Waterbury is in Plainville, where executive chef Paul Obarowski oversees 50 West, a neighborhood bistro that offers local, seasonal delicious food sourced with integrity—and it sounds fun. A recent Tweet about lunch said this: “Steak & cheese w/ VT Cheddar & horseradish aioli, includes local squash bisque or NE clam chowder & an Avery’s soda!”
 

Central Connecticut is the Center of Great Dining

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