Best Restaurants 2013: Experts' Picks

Our dining experts pick their favorite places to dine out in 26 categories.Late last year, we sent out ballots to a group of 89 dining-out experts we’d put together from among reviewers, food writers and editors, cookbook authors, bloggers, and other avid diners we know to have a wide knowledge of Connecticut restaurants. We asked them to name their favorite restaurants in 25 dining categories. They responded—hungrily—and we are happy to present the results of their votes. The Top 5 finishers in each category are listed in alphabetical order and are all entitled to call themselves “Best” on our behalf. The accompanying comments come from the panelists. The runners-up—excellent, all—are included for you to perhaps try out and assess yourselves. Many other worthy establishments received votes, too, but not enough to be included. One thing is clear, however: The dining-out firmament in Connecticut is as rich as ever.

PHOTO BY STEVE BLAZO

UNION LEAGUE CAFE, NEW HAVEN: "She's a grand old dame, but Chef Jean-Pierre keeps her menu fresh and exciting, without gimmickry. Impeccable service. I can't imagine a better restaurant for special lunches and/or dinners on special occasions." - Todd Lyon, veteran food writer

MILLWRIGHT'S RESTAURANT, SIMSBURY: "Tyler Anderson and his team are working magic in the old Hop Brook Mill. The beautiful rushing waterfall outside will captivate you, but the fresh, seasonal and immaculately prepared dishes will divert your attention from the view quickly. Maître d’ and sommelier Brent Bushong is intent on providing old-fashioned service, making himself available for any questions or needs." - Leeanne Griffin, dining blogger and food writer, Hartford Courant

PHOTO BY MATT BRANSCOMBE

Best Restaurants 2013: Experts' Picks

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

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PHOTO BY JULIE BIDWELL

PHOTO: ©2013, CHUCK DORRIS, EDINING.US

MISO, NEW HAVEN: "Friends once invited us to eat at the sushi bar at Miso and it continues to set the bar by which I judge sushi in Connecticut." - Amy Kundrat

Best Restaurants 2013: Experts' Picks

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

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PHOTO BY JULIE BIDWELL

THE WHELK, WESTPORT: "These restaurants--The Whelk and Oyster Club--buy local, sustainable fish, and that's very important to me. Of course, the chefs at these restaurants also know how to cook fish perfectly." -Elizabeth Keyser

DAVID BURKE PRIME, MASHANTUCKET: "There's a reason the prime rib leads off the menu at David Burke Prime. It's the best I've ever had." - Charles Monagan

PHOTO BY JULIE BIDWELL

Best Restaurants 2013: Experts' Picks

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

• • •

FIREBOX, HARTFORD: "Short rib eggs Benedict, roasted beets with fried pork belly and brioche French toast are some of the innovative offerings you'll find on Firebox's farm-to-table brunch menu, along with your choice of fresh-squeezed mimosas. Try your bubbles with grapefruit juice." - Leeanne Griffin

WOOD-N-TAP, WEST HARTFORD: "From mini-burgers to New York strip, there's something for everyone at these pubs." - Leeanne Griffin

Best Restaurants 2013: Experts' Picks

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

• • •

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

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

(This article was originally published on a different platform. Some formatting changes may have occurred.)

This article appeared in the February 2013 issue of Connecticut Magazine

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