Best Restaurants 2020: Readers' Choice

  • 9 min to read

Where do our readers like to dine out? Here are the results of our exclusive survey, with statewide and county winners in 40 categories.

For more great places to eat, check out our Experts' Picks and our writers' look back at their favorite places they visited in 2019.

Best For Overall Excellence

Statewide Winner: Sal e Pepe, Newtown

Statewide Runner-up: Union League Cafe, New Haven

Fairfield County: Sal e Pepe, Newtown

Hartford County: Millwright’s, Simsbury; Bistro on Main, Manchester (tie)

Litchfield County: Arethusa al tavolo, Bantam

Middlesex County: Chow, Clinton

New Haven County: Union League Cafe, New Haven

New London County: Rebeka Restaurant, East Lyme

Windham County: Willimantic Brewing Co. / Main Street Cafe, Willimantic

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Céntrico Taqueria & Tequila Bar, Bethel

Best New

Statewide Winner: Céntrico Taqueria & Tequila Bar, Bethel

Statewide Runner-up: Spice Indian Cuisine and Bar, Bethel

Fairfield County: Céntrico Taqueria & Tequila Bar, Bethel

Hartford County: Marlborough Tavern, Marlborough

Litchfield County: Cool Hand Duke's, New Milford

Middlesex County: Little Pub, Old Saybrook

New Haven County: Tavern on State, New Haven

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Best American

Statewide Winner: The Spinning Wheel, Redding

Statewide Runner-up: Little Pub, Fairfield, Greenwich, Old Saybrook, Stratford, Wilton

Fairfield County: The Spinning Wheel, Redding

Hartford County: Millwright’s, Simsbury

Litchfield County: Arethusa al tavolo, Bantam

Middlesex County: Chow, Clinton

New Haven County: Zinc, New Haven

New London County: The Irons, Mystic; The Engine Room, Mystic (tie)

Tolland County: Dog Lane Cafe, Storrs

Windham County: Willimantic Brewing Co. / Main Street Cafe, Willimantic

Best French

Statewide Winner: Union League Cafe, New Haven

Statewide Runner-up: Bistro on Main, Manchester

Fairfield County: Luc’s Cafe, Ridgefield

Hartford County: Bistro on Main, Manchester

Litchfield County: RSVP, West Cornwall

Middlesex County: Cafe Routier, Westbrook

New Haven County: Union League Cafe, New Haven

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Carbone's Ristorante, Hartford

Best Italian

Statewide Winner: Sal e Pepe, Newtown

Statewide Runner-up: Goodfellas, New Haven

Fairfield County: Sal e Pepe, Newtown

Hartford County: Carbone’s Ristorante, Hartford

Litchfield County: Lucia Restaurant, New Milford

Middlesex County: Luigi’s, Old Saybrook

New Haven County: Goodfellas, New Haven

New London County: Rebeka Restaurant, East Lyme

Best Indian

Statewide Winner: Kolam, Newtown

Statewide Runner-up: Coromandel, Darien, Orange, Stamford

Fairfield County: Kolam, Newtown

Hartford County: Indigo Indian Bistro, Manchester

Litchfield County: Tandoori Flames, New Milford

Middlesex County: Himalaya Cafe, Old Saybrook

New Haven County: House of Naan, New Haven

Tolland County: Utsav Indian Cuisine, Vernon

Best Chinese

Statewide Winner: Toro, Newtown

Statewide Runner-up: Shu, West Hartford, Fairfield

Fairfield County: Toro, Newtown

Hartford County: Shu, West Hartford

Middlesex County: Taste of China, Clinton

New Haven County: Taste of China, New Haven

Windham County: Oriental Cafe, Willimantic

Best Japanese

Statewide Winner: Toro, Newtown

Statewide Runner-up: OKO, Westport

Fairfield County: Toro, Newtown

Hartford County: Ginza Japanese Cuisine, Wethersfield

Litchfield County: Norimaki, Washington

Middlesex County: Hanami, Clinton

New Haven County: Miya’s Sushi, New Haven (scheduled to close at the end of 2020)

Best Thai

Statewide Winner: Thai BowL, Watertown

Statewide Runner-up: Thai Delight, Newtown

Fairfield County: Thai Delight, Newtown

Hartford County: Sukhothai, Manchester

Litchfield County: Thai BowL, Watertown

Middlesex County: Po’s Rice and Spice, East Hampton

New Haven County: September in Bangkok, New Haven; Ayuthai Restaurant, Guilford (tie)

Tolland County: Simply Thai, Vernon

Best Vietnamese

Statewide Winner: Pho Vietnam, Danbury

Statewide Runner-up: Mecha Noodle Bar, Fairfield, Norwalk, New Haven, Stamford

Fairfield County: Pho Vietnam, Danbury

Hartford County: Bui Vietnamese Cuisine, Manchester

Litchfield County: Mama Pho, Winsted

Middlesex County: Saigon City, Old Saybrook;

Po’s Rice and Spice, East Hampton (tie)

New Haven County: Pho Zaaap, East Haven

Best Pho / Ramen

Statewide Winner: Mecha Noodle Bar, Fairfield, Norwalk, New Haven, Stamford

Statewide Runner-up: Pho Vietnam, Danbury

Fairfield County: Mecha Noodle Bar, Fairfield, Norwalk, Stamford

Hartford County: Pho Boston, West Hartford

Litchfield County: Thai BowL, Watertown

New Haven County: Mecha Noodle Bar, New Haven

New London County: Pink Basil, Mystic

Tolland County: PhoLy, Vernon

Best Sushi

Statewide Winner: Toro, Newtown

Statewide Runner-up: Miya’s Sushi, New Haven (scheduled to close at the end of 2020)

Fairfield County: Toro, Newtown

Hartford County: Ginza Japanese Cuisine, Wethersfield

Litchfield County: Mix Prime, Woodbury

Middlesex County: Hanami, Clinton

New Haven County: Miya’s Sushi, New Haven

Best Vegetarian / Vegan

Statewide Winner: G-Zen, Branford

Statewide Runner-up: 21 Oak, Manchester

Fairfield County: Bloodroot, Bridgeport

Hartford County: 21 Oak, Manchester

Litchfield County: Hidden Valley Eatery, Washington

Middlesex County: ION Restaurant, Middletown

New Haven County: G-Zen, Branford

New London County: S&P Oyster Restaurant & Bar, Mystic

Windham County: Not Only Juice, Willimantic

Best Greek

Statewide Winner: Balos Estiatorio, West Hartford

Statewide Runner-up: Mykonos Mediterranean Restaurant, Newington

Fairfield County: Niko’s Grill and Subs, Danbury

Hartford County: Balos Estiatorio, West Hartford

Litchfield County: YiaYia’s Greek Kitchen, Torrington

Middlesex County: Pizza Palace, Old Saybrook

New Haven County: Laskara Restaurant, Wallingford

Best Latin American

Statewide Winner: Crave, Ansonia

Statewide Runner-up: Mezón Tapas Bar & Restaurant, Danbury

Fairfield County: Mezón Tapas Bar & Restaurant, Danbury

Hartford County: Rosita’s Latin American Cuisine, Manchester

Litchfield County: Zaragoza, New Milford

Middlesex County: Cuckoo’s Nest, Old Saybrook

New Haven County: Crave, Ansonia

Best Mexican

Statewide Winner: Cuckoo’s Nest, Old Saybrook

Statewide Runner-up: Puerto Vallarta, Avon, Danbury, Fairfield, Middletown, Newington, Orange, Southington

Fairfield County: Mexicali Rose, Newtown

Hartford County: Sayulita, South Glastonbury

Litchfield County: El Camion, Woodbury

Middlesex County: Cuckoo’s Nest, Old Saybrook

New Haven County: Taqueria Mexico, Wallingford;  Señor Panchos, Middlebury, Prospect, Southbury (tie)

New London County: Milagro Café, Stonington

Windham County: Taquitos Mexican Grill, Willimantic

Best Spanish

Statewide Winner: Olea, New Haven

Statewide Runner-up: Barcelona, Fairfield, New Haven, Norwalk, Stamford, West Hartford

Fairfield County: Barcelona, Fairfield, Norwalk, Stamford

Hartford County: Costa del Sol, Hartford

Litchfield County: Zaragoza, New Milford

Middlesex County: Bistro Mediterranean & Tapas Bar, Westbrook

New Haven County: Olea, New Haven

Best Middle Eastern/Mediterranean

Statewide Winner: Zohara Mediterranean Kitchen, West Hartford

Statewide Runner-up: Noujaim’s Bistro, Winsted

Fairfield County: Hanna’s, Danbury; Sesame Seed Restaurant, Danbury (tie)

Hartford County: Zohara Mediterranean Kitchen, West Hartford

Litchfield County: Noujaim’s Bistro, Winsted

Middlesex County: Bistro Mediterranean & Tapas Bar, Westbrook

New Haven County: Saray, West Haven

Best Seafood

Statewide Winner: Westbrook Lobster, Clinton

Statewide Runner-up: Shell & Bones Oyster Bar and Grill, New Haven

Fairfield County: Lucas Local, Newtown

Hartford County: Max’s Oyster Bar, West Hartford

Litchfield County: Mix Prime, Woodbury

Middlesex County: Westbrook Lobster, Clinton

New Haven County: Shell & Bones Oyster Bar and Grill, New Haven

New London County: S&P Oyster Restaurant & Bar, Mystic

Tolland County: Elmo’s Dockside, Vernon

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Lucas Local Oyster Bar in Newtown.

Best Barbecue

Statewide Winner: Hoodoo Brown BBQ, Ridgefield

Statewide Runner-up: Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ, Hartford, South Windsor, Windsor

Fairfield County: Hoodoo Brown BBQ, Ridgefield

Hartford County: Bear’s Smokehouse BBQ, Hartford, South Windsor, Windsor

Litchfield County: The Cookhouse, New Milford

Middlesex County: Chow, Clinton

New Haven County: Bear’s Smokehouse at The Stack, New Haven

New London County: Chester’s Barbecue, Groton, Clinton

Best Steak House

Statewide Winner: David Burke Prime at Foxwoods, Mashantucket

Statewide Runner-up: The Capital Grille, Hartford, Stamford

Fairfield County: The Capital Grille, Stamford

Hartford County: Carbone’s Prime, Rocky Hill

Litchfield County: Mix Prime, Woodbury

Middlesex County: Brushmill by the Waterfall, Chester

New Haven County: Cast Iron Chef Chop House & Oyster Bar, New Haven

New London County: David Burke Prime at Foxwoods, Mashantucket

Best Pizza

Statewide Winner: Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, all locations

Statewide Runner-up: Roseland Apizza, Derby

Fairfield County: Letizia’s Pizza, Norwalk

Hartford County: Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford

Litchfield County: Bohemian Pizza, Litchfield

Middlesex County: Chow, Clinton

New Haven County: Roseland Apizza, Derby

New London County: Angie’s Pizza, Mystic

Tolland County: Camille’s Wood Fired Pizza, Tolland

Best Burgers

Statewide Winner: Heibeck’s Stand, Wilton

Statewide Runner-up: Little Pub, Fairfield, Greenwich, Old Saybrook, Stratford, Wilton

Fairfield County: Heibeck’s Stand, Wilton

Hartford County: B Restaurants (Plan B), Glastonbury, West Hartford

Litchfield County: The White Horse, New Preston

Middlesex County: Haywire Burger Bar, Westbrook

New Haven County: Knuckleheads, Wallingford

New London County: The Irons, Mystic; The Engine Room, Mystic (tie)

Best Appetizers

Statewide Winner: Little Pub, Fairfield, Greenwich, Old Saybrook, Stratford, Wilton

Statewide Runner-up: Vue 24, Foxwoods, Mashantucket

Fairfield County: Little Pub, Fairfield, Greenwich, Stratford, Wilton

Hartford County: ON20, Hartford

Litchfield County: Zaragoza, New Milford

Middlesex County: Chow, Clinton

New Haven County: Union League Cafe, New Haven

New London County: Vue 24, Foxwoods, Mashantucket

Windham County: Willimantic Brewing Co. / Main Street Cafe, Willimantic

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Willimantic Brewing Company

Best Beer Bar

Statewide Winner: THC The Hops Company, Derby

Statewide Runner-up: Little Pub, Fairfield, Greenwich, Old Saybrook, Stratford, Wilton

Fairfield County: Little Pub, Fairfield, Greenwich, Stratford, Wilton

Litchfield County: Cool Hand Duke’s, New Milford

Middlesex County: Chow, Clinton

New Haven County: THC The Hops Company, Derby

New London County: Jealous Monk, Mystic

Windham County: Willimantic Brewing Co. / Main Street Cafe, Willimantic

Best Bistro

Statewide Winner: Bistro on Main, Manchester

Statewide Runner-up: Sal e Pepe, Newtown

Fairfield County: Sal e Pepe, Newtown

Hartford County: Bistro on Main, Manchester

Litchfield County: Noujaim’s Bistro, Winsted

Middlesex County: Bistro Mediterranean & Tapas Bar, Westbrook

New Haven County: Bar Bouchée, Madison

New London County: NuNu’s Bistro, Colchester

Best Breakfast

Statewide Winner: King’s, Newtown

Statewide Runner-up: Bella’s Cafe, New Haven

Fairfield County: King’s, Newtown

Hartford County: The Angry Egg, Manchester

Litchfield County: Arethusa a mano, Bantam

Middlesex County: Whistle Stop Cafe, Deep River

New Haven County: Bella’s Cafe, New Haven

New London County: When Pigs Fly, Waterford; Grass & Bone, Mystic (tie)

Windham County: That Breakfast Place, Willimantic

Best Brunch

Statewide Winner: The White Horse, New Preston

Statewide Runner-up: Cuckoo’s Nest, Old Saybrook

Fairfield County: J. Lawrence Downtown, Bethel

Hartford County: Carbone’s Prime, Rocky Hill

Litchfield County: The White Horse, New Preston

Middlesex County: Cuckoo’s Nest, Old Saybrook

New Haven County: Library Wine Bar & Bistro, Wallingford; Bella’s Cafe, New Haven (tie)

Windham County: Cafemantic, Willimantic

Best Lunch

Statewide Winner: The White Horse, New Preston

Statewide Runner-up: Heibeck’s Stand, Wilton

Fairfield County: Heibeck’s Stand, Wilton

Hartford County: ON20, Hartford; Bistro on Main, Manchester (tie)

Litchfield County: The White Horse, New Preston

Middlesex County: Chow, Clinton

New Haven County: Union League Cafe, New Haven

New London County: Grass & Bone, Mystic

Tolland County: Rein’s Deli, Vernon

Windham County: Willimantic Brewing Co. / Main Street Cafe, Willimantic

Best Cocktails

Statewide Winner: Bella’Gio, Cheshire

Statewide Runner-up: Vue 24, Foxwoods, Mashantucket

Fairfield County: Washington Prime, Norwalk

Hartford County: ON20, Hartford

Litchfield County: Zaragoza, New Milford

Middlesex County: Chow, Clinton

New Haven County: Bella’Gio, Cheshire

New London County: Vue 24, Foxwoods, Mashantucket

Windham County: Willimantic Brewing Co. / Main Street Cafe, Willimantic

Best Desserts

Statewide Winner: Arethusa a mano / al tavolo, Bantam

Statewide Runner-up: Union League Cafe, New Haven

Fairfield County: Sal e Pepe, Newtown

Hartford County: Bistro on Main, Manchester

Litchfield County: Arethusa a mano / al tavolo, Bantam

Middlesex County: Cafe Routier, Westbrook

New Haven County: Union League Cafe, New Haven

New London County: Rebeka Restaurant, East Lyme

Windham County: Willimantic Brewing Co. / Main Street Cafe, Willimantic

Best Hotel Bar

Statewide Winner: Mayflower Inn & Spa, Washington

Statewide Runner-up: High George, New Haven

Fairfield County: Terra at Hotel Zero Degrees, Danbury

Hartford County: Porròn & Piña, Hartford

Litchfield County: Mayflower Inn & Spa, Washington

Middlesex County: Water's Edge Resort and Spa, Westbrook

New Haven County: High George, New Haven

New London County: The Irons, Mystic

Best Pub Grub

Statewide Winner: The White Horse, New Preston

Statewide Runner-up: Little Pub, Fairfield, Greenwich, Old Saybrook, Stratford, Wilton

Fairfield County: Little Pub, Fairfield, Greenwich, Stratford, Wilton

Hartford County: J. Timothy’s Tavern, Plainville

Litchfield County: The White Horse, New Preston

Middlesex County: Little Pub, Old Saybrook

New Haven County: Next Door, New Haven

Windham County: Willimantic Brewing Co. / Main Street Cafe, Willimantic

Best Late-Night Restaurant

Statewide Winner: Celtic Cavern, Middletown

Statewide Runner-up: Midnight Ramen, New Haven

Fairfield County: J. Lawrence Downtown, Bethel

Litchfield County: Zaragoza, New Milford

Middlesex County: Celtic Cavern, Middletown

New Haven County: Midnight Ramen, New Haven

New London County: The Irons, Mystic; Engine Room, Mystic (tie)

Windham County: Willimantic Brewing Co. / Main Street Cafe, Willimantic

Best Hidden Gem

Statewide Winner: Bistro on Main, Manchester

Statewide Runner-up: Rebeka Restaurant, East Lyme

Fairfield County: Heibeck’s Stand, Wilton

Hartford County: Bistro on Main, Manchester

Litchfield County: Zaragoza, New Milford

Middlesex County: Chow, Clinton

New Haven County: THC The Hops Company, Derby

New London County: Rebeka Restaurant, East Lyme

Tolland County: Camille’s Wood Fired Pizza, Tolland

Best Value

Statewide Winner: Heibeck’s Stand, Wilton; The White Horse, New Preston (tie)

Fairfield County: Heibeck’s Stand, Wilton

Hartford County: Bistro on Main, Manchester

Litchfield County: The White Horse, New Preston

Middlesex County: Chow, Clinton

New Haven County: Goodfellas, New Haven

New London County: Rebeka Restaurant, East Lyme

Windham County: Willimantic Brewing Co. / Main Street Cafe, Willimantic

Best Outdoor Dining

Statewide Winner: The White Horse, New Preston

Statewide Runner-up: Heibeck’s Stand, Wilton

Fairfield County: Heibeck’s Stand, Wilton

Hartford County: Zohara Mediterranean Kitchen, West Hartford; Bartaco, West Hartford (tie)

Litchfield County: The White Horse, New Preston

Middlesex County: Cuckoo’s Nest, Old Saybrook

New Haven County: Bella’Gio, Cheshire

New London County: Red 36, Mystic

Windham County: Willimantic Brewing Co. / Main Street Cafe, Willimantic

Best Fine Dining

Statewide Winner: Union League Cafe, New Haven

Statewide Runner-up: Goodfellas, New Haven

Fairfield County: Sal e Pepe, Newtown

Hartford County: ON20, Hartford

Litchfield County: Arethusa al tavolo, Bantam

Middlesex County: Cafe Routier, Westbrook

New Haven County: Union League Cafe, New Haven

New London County: Vue 24, Foxwoods, Mashantucket

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ON20, Hartford

Most Romantic

Statewide Winner: Union League Cafe, New Haven

Statewide Runner-up: Goodfellas, New Haven

Fairfield County: Sal e Pepe, Newtown

Hartford County: ON20, Hartford

Litchfield County: Winvian Farm, Morris

Middlesex County: Chow, Clinton

New Haven County: Union League Cafe, New Haven

New London County: Vue 24, Foxwoods, Mashantucket

Best Wine Selection

Statewide Winner: Union League Cafe, New Haven

Statewide Runner-up: Vue 24, Foxwoods, Mashantucket

Fairfield County: Thomas Henkelmann, Greenwich

Hartford County: ON20, Hartford

Litchfield County: Mayflower Inn & Spa, Washington

Middlesex County: La Foresta, Killingworth; The Essex, Essex (tie)

New Haven County: Union League Cafe, New Haven

New London County: Vue 24, Foxwoods, Mashantucket


For more great places to eat, check out our Experts' Picks and our writers' look back at their favorite places they visited in 2019.

This article appeared in the January 2020 issue of Connecticut Magazine. You can subscribe here, or find the current issue on sale hereSign up for our newsletter to get the latest and greatest content from Connecticut Magazine delivered right to your inbox. Got a question or comment? Email editor@connecticutmag.com, or contact us on Facebook @connecticutmagazine or Twitter @connecticutmag.