Get ready to bite into the restaurants judged the best of the best in Connecticut by our “experts,” who range from veteran restaurant critics and food writers to contemporary bloggers who track the trends as well as the hottest, newest places. Joined by some food-savvy Connecticut Magazine editors, it’s a group for which dining is a passion—and dining at the best places is an art that takes constantly having a collective finger on the pulse of the Connecticut dining scene. Together, our Readers’ Choice and Experts’ Picks provide a comprehensive view of the state’s tastiest places to eat well.

Best For Overall Excellence

Union League CaféNew Haven 

Max DowntownHartford 

The Restaurant at Winvian FarmMorris

South EndNew Canaan 

Bailey’s BackyardRidgefield 

Thomas HenkelmannGreenwich

West Street GrillLitchfield

Arethusa al tavoloBantam 

Millwright’sSimsbury 

Oyster ClubMystic 

The WhelkWestport

Community TableWashington  

Viron Rondo OsteriaCheshire - “To state foodies, Viron Rondo is no stranger. The former owner of the popular Da Capo restaurants in Avon and Litchfield, this veteran restaurateur left them and started anew [at this] “old world” style Italian restaurant . My favs? A kale salad with feta cheese, clementines, cranberries and drizzled with a honey, the brick oven roasted chicken, and of course, Rondo’s My Mother's Chips, a recipe from Rondo's Greek mother featuring paper thin slices of eggplant and zucchini, lightly floured, fried and served with a cucumber yogurt dip.”—Maryellen Fillo, Hartford Courant

Best New Restaurant

Atelier FlorianNew Haven 

Hoodoo Brown BBQRidgefield 

Brick + WoodFairfield

Mill Street Bar & TableGreenwich 

Shell & BonesNew Haven 

Rothbard Ale + LarderWestport

Elm City SocialNew Haven

Roots DownWoodstock (update: closed in early 2017)

Frank’s Gourmet GrilleMystic 

Best Italian

Carbone’s RistoranteHartford 

Bar SugoNorwalk   

Adriana’sNew Haven 

Liana’s TrattoriaFairfield

TrevaWest Hartford

Bricco, Glastonbury, West Hartford

RusticaChester

Upper Crust TrattoriaNew Milford

TazzaFairfield

GoodfellasNew Haven

Aranci 67Redding “This under-the-radar family-owned restaurant serves some of the best pasta dishes you can get on either side of the Atlantic and that’s  only the beginning of the Sorrento-style Italian food wonderland that is Aranci 67.”—Erik Ofgang, Connecticut Magazine

Best American

FireboxHartford 

West Street GrillLitchfield

CHARGreenwich

The Schoolhouse at CannondaleWilton

The SpreadNorwalk

MatchNorwalk 

Millwright’sSimsbury 

Community TableWashington 

Metro BisSimsbury

ZincNew Haven 

South EndNew Canaan 

River TavernChester - “Their Chef de Cuisine, Matt Wick, is just killing it. If you like inventive dishes made with ingredients from local farms then this is your place. Eat your way through the small plates, which change almost daily, try the ramen, and take advantage of half price wine on Mondays and Tuesdays.”—Alycia Chrosniak, CTeatsout.com

Best French

Union League CaféNew Haven

Luc’s CaféRidgefield - “The casually elegant food prepared with plenty of herbs like tarragon, rosemary and thyme and fresh produce, coupled with an effervescent, never stuffy team of energetic wait staff, and the Old World atmosphere make Luc’s one to remember.”—Donna Christopher, food writer and blogger formerly of Hearst Media. 

Thomas HenkelmannGreenwich

Da PietroWestport

OndineDanbury

Le Petit CaféBranford

Bernard’sRidgefield  

 

Best Mexican/Latin American

Iguanas Ranas Taqueria, Middletown 

BrasitasMultiple locations 

Valencia LuncheriaNorwalk  

Baja’sOrange 

Casa VillaStamford

BesitoWest Hartford

MezonDanbury 

BodegaFairfield 

OleaNew Haven

Tequila MockingbirdNew Canaan 

Monte AlbanHartford 

CevicheMiddlebury

SayulitaSouth Glastonbury 

 

Best Indian

ThaliMultiple locations

Chaat HouseWest Haven

Coromandel CuisineMultiple locations  

Tikkaway GrillNew Haven 

Amba Vilas PalaceDanbury 

 

Best Asian

Feng Asian BistroHartford 

Wafu Asian BistroSouthport

Mecha Noodle BarFairfield 

Taste of ChinaClinton 

Kawa NiWestport

Pho SaigonBridgeport - “You need to put the address in your GPS because this place is in the middle of nowhere, but it’s well worth the trek. I’m a pho junkie and this place has the absolute best in the state. There’s no fancy tablecloths, no modern décor done by an interior design team. There are tables, chairs and good food.”—Ken Tuccio, host of the Welcome To Connecticut podcast. 

Pho 501East Hartford

Lao Sze ChuanMilford 

 

Best Pub

Little BarnWestport

Bidwell TavernCoventry

The HideawayRidgefield

The Engine RoomMystic 

White Horse Country PubWashington

RepublicBloomfield 

Donahue’sMadison  

Blind RhinoNorwalk 

Little Pubmultiple locations  

Corner PugWest Harford

 

Best Craft Beer Haven

Local, South Norwalk

Eli Cannon’s Tap RoomMiddletown - “Connecticut’s original craft beer bar is still going strong with a curated tap list of rare IPAs, sours and sought-after Connecticut brews. With a laidback, unpretentious vibe it’s also something that’s all-to-rare in the craft beer world: affordable.”—Erik Ofgang, Connecticut Magazine

The Engine RoomMystic

Coalhouse PizzaStamford

Willimantic Brewing Co.Willimantic

Prime 16multiple locations

MiKroHamden

Stanziato'sDanbury 

Cask Republicmultiple locations “The go to place for hard to find craft beer along with your everyday favorites. Knowledgeable and well-trained bar staff.”—Kevin Mardorf, CTBeer.com and BeerFests.com

 

Best Cocktails

116 CrownNew Haven 

Ordinary, New Haven 

MatchNorwalk - “I chose Match in this category last year, and even though they've switched up bartenders, the quality is the same. Fabulous, inventive cocktails meet a great bar scene and excellent food.”— Adeline Crites-Moore, owner Adeline Jessica Social Media

ON20Hartford

Bailey’s BackyardRidgefield

Geronimomultiple locations

LuxeWestport 

Elm City SocialNew Haven

Kawa NiWestport 

The CottagePlainville 

Little River RestorativesHartford

 

Best Barbecue

Bear’s Smokehouse BarbecueHartford 

Walrus + CarpenterBridgeport

Bobby Q’sWestport 

The CookhouseNew Milford

Dinosaur Bar-B-QueStamford

Chester’s BarbecueGroton

Hoodoo Brown BBQRidgefield  - “Open for less than a year this big, bold and oh-so-delicious barbecue joint has already made its way into the hearts (and stomachs) of legions of barbecue lovers. One taste and you’ll see what draws the crowds.”—Erik Ofgang, Connecticut Magazine

Smokin’ with ChrisSouthington

(CTEatsOut.com)

 

Best Steak

The Capital Grille, Stamford, Hartford

David Burke PrimeFoxwoods 

J. Gilbert’sGlastonbury

Fleming’s Prime SteakhouseWest Hartford

Joseph’s SteakhouseBridgeport 

Washington PrimeNorwalk

Michael Jordan’sMohegan Sun 

 

Best Tapas

Barcelonamultiple locations 

Ibizamultiple locations 

OleaNew Haven  

Costa del SolHartford

MajorcaHartford

 

Best For Families

Rizzuto’smultiple locations

Lenny and Joe’sMadison 

Wood-n-Tapmultiple locations

Fat Cat Pie Co.Norwalk

East Side RestaurantNew Britain - “With lederhosen-wearing servers shouting ‘Ticki Tocki Ticki Tocki—Hoy! Hoy! Hoy!’ as they deliver enormous 1-liter steins of beer and an accordionist playing toe-tapping music, this place is so over-the-top, you just have to join in the fun.”—Connecticut Magazine staff

ConfettiPlainville 

FortinaStamford

Brazi’sNew Haven 

 

Most Romantic

ON20Hartford

Le Petit CaféBranford

OndineDanbury 

The Schoolhouse at CannondaleWilton

ArtisanSouthport

WinvianMorris  

ParagonFoxwoods 

Union League CaféNew Haven

Golden Lamb ButteryBrooklyn 

Bernard’s and Sarah’s Wine BarRidgefield

 

Best Desserts

The Schoolhouse at CannondaleWilton

The PantryWashington Depot

Community TableWashington

L’escaleGreenwich

OndineDanbury 

VespaWestport  

ávert BrasserieWest Hartford 

 

Best Brunch 

Mama’s BoySouth Norwalk 

Fresh Salt, Saybrook Point Inn, Old Saybrook 

Bella’s Café, New Haven

ApricotsFarmington 

FireboxHartford

HeirloomNew Haven

 

Best Sushi

Miya’s SushiNew Haven

ToroNewtown 

YokohamaNew Milford

KotobukiStamford

Shiki HanaFairfield  

Pink SumoWestport 

IchiroDanbury 

Sushi RedPlainville 

MurasakiWest Hartford 

 

Best Vegetarian/Vegan

Heirloom Food CompanyDanielson

Claire’s Corner CopiaNew Haven 

Hidden Valley EateryWashington Depot

It’s Only Natural RestaurantMiddletown  

G-ZenBranford 

BloodrootBridgeport 

Organic MarketWestport 

Shoreline DinerGuilford 

 

Best Outdoor Dining

Fresh SaltOld Saybrook

Hopkins InnWarren

Harlan PublickNorwalk  

BartacoWestport 

Morning Glory CaféOld Lyme

PalomaStamford 

L’escaleGreenwich

L’OrcioNew Haven - "Dining at L'Orcio feels like eating at a good friend's house, and their back patio is no exception. With plenty of room for tables and a wooden trellis canopy, the patio is tucked behind the restaurant's historic brick building on State Street away from the foot traffic and street noise. This spot is a hidden gem in New Haven where outdoor dining space can be hard to find."—Kate Hartman, Connecticut Magazine  

Madison Beach HotelNew Haven 

Lake ViewCoventry 

Red 36Mystic 

 

Best Hidden Gem 

IchiroDanbury

Staropolska, New Britain

The Blue OarHaddam - “Part cafeteria, part treehouse, a magical setting on the Connecticut River.”—Robert Rabine, food critic. 

RSVPWest Cornwall

Aranci 67Redding

Turkish Kebab HouseWest Haven

Coriander CafeEastford

Soul De CubaNew Haven 

 

Best Seafood

Fresh Salt, Saybrook Point InnOld Saybrook

F.I.S.H.Stamford

The Oyster ClubMystic 

Max’s Oyster BarWest Hartford 

Stowe’sWest Haven

Muse by Jonathan CartwrightWashington

Gaspar’sNew London

S&P Oyster Co.Mystic

AcquaWestport 

The WhelkWestport  

Lenny and Joe’s  Fish Talemultiple locations

 

Best Hotel Dining

ArtisanSouthport

Heirloom, The Study at YaleNew Haven 

WinvianMorris

Old Lyme InnOld Lyme

Fresh Salt, Saybrook Point InnOld Saybrook 

The WillowsBristol

Madison Beach HotelMadison

Harbour House Restaurant at the Inn at MysticMystic

The White HartSalisbury

Falls Village InnFalls Village

L’escale The DelamarGreenwich

Parallel PostTrumbull