(See our 2019 Experts Picks and the results of our 2019 Readers' Choice poll.)


The results are in! We’re revealing the best places to dine out in the state, as chosen by readers and a panel of food experts. The response we received was excellent, and our lists are bigger than ever, with more categories and more winners.

Our Reader's Choice winners are below, and for more great places to each check out our Expert's Picks. Dig in! 


Spinning Wheel

Best for Overall Excellence (1st place), Best American (1st place) & Best Clam Chowder (2nd place): The Spinning Wheel, Redding

Best Restaurant for Overall Excellence

1st: The Spinning Wheel, Redding

2nd: Sal e Pepe, Newtown

Best New Restaurant

1st: Friar Tuck’s Tavern, Mystic 

2nd: Rebeka Fresh Pasta Restaurant, East Lyme

3rd: Red Rooster Pub, Newtown

Best for Fine Dining

1st: Union League Cafe, New Haven

2nd: Bella’Gio, Cheshire

3rd: Sal e Pepe, Newtown

Best Fast Casual

1st: Heibeck’s Stand, Wilton

2nd: Westbrook Lobster, Clinton/Wallingford

Best Romantic Restaurant

1st: Union League Cafe, New Haven

2nd: Sal e Pepe, Newtown

3rd: ON20, Hartford

Best Late-Night Restaurant

1st: Friar Tuck’s Tavern, Mystic 

2nd: Red Rooster, Newtown

Best Chef for General Excellence

1st: David Pottie, Friar Tuck’s Tavern, Mystic (t)

     Jean Pierre Vuillermet, Union League Cafe and Bar Bouchée, New Haven/Madison (t)

3rd: Ferdinand Plaku, Rebeka Fresh Pasta Restaurant, East Lyme

Best Chef (up and coming)

1st: Kelment “Frank Jr” Loga, Bella’Gio, Cheshire

2nd: Ferdinand Plaku, Rebeka Fresh Pasta Restaurant, East Lyme

3rd: David Pottie, Friar Tuck’s Tavern, Mystic 

Best Bartender

1st: Korab “Kory” Loga, Bella’Gio, Cheshire

2nd: Graham Andrews, Sal e Pepe, Newtown

3rd: Jeff Mastroianni, Chow Food and Beverage Co.,Clinton

Best American

1st: The Spinning Wheel, Redding

2nd: The Cottage, Westport

3rd: Chow Food and Beverage Co., Clinton

Best French

1st: Union League Cafe, New Haven

2nd: Bar Bouchée, Madison

Best Italian

1st: Bella’Gio, Cheshire

2nd: Sal e Pepe, Newtown

3rd: Rebeka Fresh Pasta Restaurant, East Lyme

Best Chinese

1st: Toro, Newtown

2nd: New Wok, Newtown

Best Greek

1st: Pontos Taverna, Norwalk (t)

     The Greek Guy, Wallingford (t)

     Caffe NV, Waterford (t)

Best Japanese

1st: Toro, Newtown

2nd: Midnight Ramen, New Haven

3rd: Kawa Ni, Westport

Best Thai

1st: Thai Delight, Newtown

2nd: Thai Spice, Norwalk

3rd: Spice Club, Niantic

Best Vietnamese

1st: Pho Vietnam, Danbury

2nd: Bui Vietnamese Cuisine, Manchester

Best Mexican

1st: Cuckoo’s Nest, Old Saybrook 

2nd: El Coyote, Brookfield/Monroe/ New Milford

3rd: Puerto Vallarta, Middletown/Orange/Danbury

Mezon

Best Latin American (2nd place), Best Spanish (2nd place­ — tie): Mezon, Redding

Best Latin American

1st: Crave, Ansonia

2nd: Mezon, Danbury

Best Indian

1st: Indigo Indian Bistro, Manchester 

2nd: Kolam, Newtown

3rd: Coromandel Cuisine of India, Newtown/Orange/Darien/Southport/Stamford

Bistro Mediterranean

Best Middle Eastern/Mediterranean (2nd place): Bistro Mediterranean, Westbrook

Best Middle Eastern/Mediterranean

1st: Mamoun’s, New Haven

2nd: Bistro Mediterranean, Westbrook

3rd: Lebanese Cuisine, Bethel

Best Spanish

1st: Barcelona, New Haven/West Hartford

2nd: Olea, New Haven(t)

     Mezon, Danbury (t)

Best Barbecue

1st: Hoodoo Brown BBQ, Ridgefield 

2nd: Chester’s Barbecue, Clinton

3rd: Chow Food and Beverage Co., Clinton

Best Seafood (casual)

1st: Westbrook Lobster, Clinton/Wallingford

2nd: Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale, Madison/ New Haven/Westbrook

3rd: Flanders Fish Market, East Lyme

Best Seafood (fine dining)

1st: Shell & Bones Oyster Bar & Grill, New Haven

2nd: Westbrook Lobster, Clinton/Wallingford

3rd: S&P Oyster Co., Mystic

Best Raw Bar

1st: Shell & Bones Oyster Bar & Grill, New Haven

2nd: Liv’s Oyster Bar, Old Saybrook

3rd: Washington Prime, Norwalk (t)

     Max Oyster Bar, West Hartford (t)

Best Clam Chowder

1st: Westbrook Lobster, Clinton/Wallingford

2nd: The Spinning Wheel, Redding

3rd: Flanders Fish Market, East Lyme

Best Fried Clams

1st: Westbrook Lobster, Clinton/Wallingford

2nd: Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale, Madison/New Haven/Westbrook

3rd: Heibeck’s Stand, Wilton

Best Lobster Roll

1st: Westbrook Lobster, Clinton/Wallingford

2nd: Heibeck’s Stand, Wilton

3rd: Lobster Landing, Clinton

Best Sushi

1st: Toro, Newtown

2nd: Pink Sumo, Westport (t)

     Kotobuki, Stamford (t)

Best Steakhouse

1st: The Capital Grille, Hartford/Stamford

2nd: Washington Prime, Norwalk (t)

     Barbarie’s Black Angus, Danbury (t)

Best Burgers

1st: White Horse Country Pub and Restaurant, New Preston

2nd: Heibeck’s Stand, Wilton

3rd: Red Rooster Pub, Newtown (t)

     Haywire Burger Bar, Westbrook (t)

Best Pub Grub

1st: White Horse Country Pub and Restaurant, New Preston

2nd: Red Rooster Pub, Newtown

3rd: Friar Tuck’s Tavern, Mystic 

Best Bistro

1st: Bar Bouchée, Madison

2nd: Sal e Pepe, Newtown

3rd: Le Penguin, Westport

Best Roadside Spot

1st: Heibeck’s Stand, Wilton

2nd: Denmo’s, Southbury

Best Food Truck (savory)

1st: Chow Food and Beverage Co., Clinton

2nd: Mercado, Hartford/Glastonbury (t)

     Brick & Basil, Norwich (t)

NoRA

Best Food Truck (Sweet) (2nd place – tie): NoRA Cupcakes

Best Food Truck (sweet)

1st: Sugar, Clinton/East Haven/Madison

2nd: NoRA Cupcake Company, Middletown/Canton (t)

     Cocoanuts, Norwalk/Stamford (t)

Best Vegetarian/Vegan

1st: It’s Only Natural, Middletown

2nd: Claire’s Corner Copia, New Haven

3rd: G-Zen, Branford

Best Outdoor Dining

1st: Bella’Gio, Cheshire

2nd: White Horse Country Pub and Restaurant, New Preston

3rd: Heibeck’s Stand, Wilton

Best Deli

1st: Rein’s Deli, Vernon

2nd: Gaetano’s ,Monroe/Stratford/Westport

3rd: Butcher’s Best Country Market, Newtown

Rise

Best Breakfast (2nd place), Best Brunch (2nd place): Rise, Mystic

Best Breakfast

1st: Mystic Depot Roasters, Mystic

2nd: Rise, Mystic

3rd: The Shack, East Lyme (t)

     Cristy’s, Madison/Westbrook (t)

Best Brunch

1st: White Horse Country Pub and Restaurant, New Preston

2nd: Rise, Mystic

3rd: Washington Prime, Norwalk (t)

     Cuckoo’s Nest, Old Saybrook (t)

Best Lunch

1st: White Horse Country Pub and Restaurant, New Preston

2nd: Heibeck’s Stand, Wilton

3rd: Sal e Pepe, Newtown

Best Appetizers

1st: ON20, Hartford

2nd: Union League Cafe, New Haven

3rd: Sal e Pepe, Newtown

Best Desserts

1st: Union League Cafe, New Haven

2nd: Rebeka’s Fresh Pasta Restaurant , East Lyme

3rd: Sal e Pepe, Newtown (t)

     ON20, Hartford (t)

Best Beer Bar

1st: The Hops Company, Derby

2nd: Westbrook Lobster, Clinton/Wallingford

3rd: Red Rooster Pub, Newtown

Best Brewery

1st: Two Roads Brewing Co., Stratford

2nd: Stony Creek Brewery, Branford 

3rd: Thimble Island Brewing Co., Branford

Best Cocktails

1st: Bella’Gio, Cheshire

2nd: ON20, Hartford

3rd: Chow Food and Beverage Co., Clinton

Best Wine Selection

1st: Union League Cafe, New Haven

2nd: Nouveau Monde Wine Bar + Bistro, Sandy Hook

3rd: ON20, Hartford

Best Hotel Bar

1st: Water’s Edge, Westbrook

2nd: Madison Beach Hotel, Madison (t)

     The Irons: Hilton Mystic, Mystic (t)

Best Dive Bar

1st: Monkey Farm, Old Saybrook

2nd: Scottish Dave’s Pub, Clinton (t)

     John’s, Mystic (t)

Best Sports Bar

1st: Sliders, Berlin/Southington/Wallingford/Plainville/Middletown/West Hartford (t)

     The Blind Rhino, Norwalk (t)

3rd: Cover Two, Sandy Hook

Best Value

1st: White Horse Country Pub and Restaurant, New Preston (t)

     Rebeka Fresh Pasta Restaurant, East Lyme (t)

3rd: Heibeck’s Stand, Wilton

Best Hidden Gem

1st: Rebeka Fresh Pasta Restaurant, East Lyme

2nd: Heibeck’s Stand, Wilton

3rd: Chow Food and Beverage Co., Clinton

Best BYOB

1st: Heibeck’s Stand, Wilton

2nd: The Place, Guilford

3rd: Nostrano Italian Eatery, Monroe (t)

     Half Moon Coffee & Grille Cafe, Wallingford (t)

Best Cheap Eats

1st: Heibeck’s Stand, Wilton

2nd: Sycamore Drive-In, Bethel

Best Chicken Wings

1st: Dew Drop Inn, Derby

2nd: J. Timothy’s Taverne, Plainville

3rd: Archie Moore’s, Fairfield/Milford/New Haven/Wallingford/Derby

Best Chili

1st: Cuckoo’s Nest, Old Saybrook 

2nd: Heibeck’s Stand, Wilton (t)

     Chow Food and Beverage Co., Clinton (t)

Best Doughnuts

1st: Neil’s Donuts and Bake Shop, Meriden/Wallingford

2nd: Beach Donut Shop, Clinton/Branford

3rd: Flanders Donut, Bagel & Bake Shop, East Lyme (t)

     Donut Crazy, Stratford/Shelton/ New Haven/Westport (t)

Best Fries

1st: Heibeck’s Stand, Wilton

2nd: Chow Food and Beverage Co., Clinton

Best Grilled Cheese

1st: Heibeck’s Stand, Wilton

2nd: Caseus, New Haven (closed as of July 21, 2018)

3rd: The Whey Station, Middletown

Best Hot Dogs

1st: Heibeck’s Stand, Wilton

2nd: Blackie’s Hot Dogs, Cheshire 

3rd: Super Duper Weenie, Fairfield (t)

     Johnny Ad’s, Old Saybrook (t)

Best Ice Cream

1st: Ferris Acres Creamery, Newtown

2nd: Heibeck’s Stand, Wilton

3rd: Arethusa, Bantam/New Haven

Bar Sugo

Best Meatballs (1st place) , Best Pizza (1st place): Bar Sugo, Norwalk

Best Meatballs

1st: Bar Sugo, Norwalk

2nd: Spiga, New Canaan

3rd: Savoy Pizzeria & Craft Bar, West Hartford

Best Pizza

1st: Bar Sugo, Norwalk

2nd: Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, New Haven/Danbury/West Hartford/Fairfield/Manchester/Waterbury/Mohegan Sun

3rd: Modern Apizza, New Haven

Best Pies

1st: Lyman Orchards, Middlefield (t)

     Bishops Orchards, Guilford (t)

3rd: The Drunk Alpaca, Shelton

Best Ramen

1st: Mecha Noodle Bar, Fairfield/New Haven/Norwalk

2nd: Midnight Ramen, New Haven

3rd: Kawa Ni, Westport

Best Bakery

1st: Sift, Mystic (t)

     The Drunk Alpaca, Shelton (t)

3rd: Flanders Donut, Bagel & Bake Shop, East Lyme

Best Cheese Shop

1st: Fromage Fine Foods & Coffees, Old Saybrook (t)

     Caseus, New Haven (t) (closed as of July 21, 2018)

3rd: Cato Corner Farm, Colchester (t)

     109 Cheese & Wine, Ridgefield (t)

Best Fish Market

1st: Number One Fish Market, Hamden (t)

     Flanders Fish Market, East Lyme (t)

     Atlantic Seafood, Old Saybrook (t)

Best Butcher

1st: Butcher’s Best Country Market, Newtown

2nd: Grass & Bone, Mystic

Best Coffee Shop

1st: Mystic Depot Roasters, Mystic

2nd: Cheshire Coffee, Cheshire

3rd: Cafe Xpresso, Newtown

Best Wine Shop

1st: Amity Wine & Spirit Co., Hamden/New Haven

2nd: The Wine Thief, New Haven (t)

     Cask’n Keg, Mystic (t)


This article appeared in the January 2018 issue of Connecticut Magazine. 

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