A monthly look at what’s new and exciting on the Connecticut dining scene.
Old Heidelberg, New Haven
1151 Chapel St. (at the Graduate hotel), 475-207-7070, graduatehotels.com/new-haven/restaurant/old-heidelberg
Before closing in the early 1990s, the original Old Heidelberg had been a favorite watering hole in the Elm City for more than 200 years. Now, that almost-ancient spot has been revived in its original location. It is situated beneath the newly opened Graduate New Haven hotel, and with its cherry-red barstools and polished wood bar, it’s ready to entertain guests once more.
The Tavern at Rebel Dog, Plainville
393 Farmington Ave., 860-793-8809, rebeldogcoffeeco.com
Rebel Dog Coffee Co., a popular Connecticut coffee shop with locations in Plainville, Farmington and one slated for later this year in East Hartford, is getting into the bar-and-restaurant business with The Tavern at Rebel Dog. The Tavern occupies the space in the same building as the Plainville Rebel Dog Coffee Co. that was most recently JV’s Taproom of Plainville and before that was home to Confetti Restaurant. Confetti and JV’s owner Peter Lemnoti is a co-owner of Rebel Dog and hopes to build on that brand with the new restaurant, which will offer craft cocktails, with a speciality in coffee-flavored cocktails, as well as favorite dishes from both JV’s and Rebel Dog such as premium-cut steaks and wood-fired pizzas. There will also be new menu items.
52 ½ Pembroke Road, 203-942-2096
Saray and Noemi Ruiz, the twin sisters who own Gaudí Tapas and Wine, have opened a second restaurant next door that specializes in Colombian cuisine. The little, take-out-friendly restaurant, which is open for breakfast and lunch, has hit the ground running with a variety of mouthwatering arepas, including the pabellón, a winning combination of black beans, sweet plantains and cheese. Other highlights include empanadas, fresh soups and Colombian-style burgers and hot dogs.
Hot French Chix, Chester
59 Main St., 860-322-4102, hotfrenchchix.com
Billed as a French chicken and burger place with “je ne sais quoi,” Hot French Chix is owned by chef Everett Reid. It occupies the space previously home to Reid’s twin restaurants L&E French and Good Elephant in downtown Chester. In addition to the burgers and chicken specialties, the menu includes global options like pho, French North African salad and Saigon curried steamed mussels.
La Fortuna, Stratford
7365 Main St., 203-923-2300, lafortunact.com
At the newest restaurant from the same family that owns Adriana’s in New Haven and La Lupa Ristorante in North Haven, the speciality is quality ingredients used to create classic Italian dishes like saltimbocca, braciole, lasagna, cacio e pepe and brick-oven pizza. These dishes and many others are served in an upscale atmosphere designed to be reminiscent of a New York restaurant.
Phoenix Vietnamese Cuisine, Derby
49 Pershing Drive, 203-751-9572, facebook.com/PhoenixVietnameseCuisineCT/
In Derby’s ShopRite Plaza and with seating for about 60, this new restaurant serves Vietnamese dishes such as pho, spring rolls, egg rolls, vermicelli noodle bowls and fried rice. Owner Nam Nguyen told the Valley Independent Sentinelthat the restaurant specializes in healthy Vietnamese cuisine with an emphasis on vegetables and preparation that uses less oil than many restaurants.
Mangia Apizza, North Haven
244 Quinnipiac Ave., 203-678-9626, facebook.com/MangiaApizza
Co-owner John Mongillo III was a longtime waiter at the legendary Sally’s Apizza. Now, along with business partner Steve Galluzzi, he has opened a pizza joint which specializes in New Haven-style “apizza.” You’ll find local New Haven-area specialties on the menu like clams casino and mashed potato as well as unique options such as the “Steve G,” a pie featuring apple, cinnamon and cheese. Beyond pizza, the menu includes classic Italian staples.
Kaliubon Ramen, West Hartford
54 Memorial Road, 860-906-1678, kaliubon.com
The original Kaliubon Ramen opened in 2018 in Wethersfield. Its popularity led its owner, the Ginza Restaurant Group, to open a second location in West Hartford’s Blue Back Square. The new spot features the same housemade noodles and slow-cooked bone broths as the original restaurant.
Notch 8 Wood Fired Bar and Grill, Bethel
1 Front St., 203-917-3458, notch8bar.com
A popular new restaurant and bar, Notch 8 features wood-fired pizza, wings, burgers, salad and creative dishes like Korean chicken and waffles and chimichurri steak fries. This food is offered alongside craft beer and craft cocktails. It has a roomy, lively atmosphere and is owned by the same team that runs Note Kitchen, located just down the road.
Chez 180, Westport
180 Post Road, 203-557-8885, chez180.com
This French pastry and cake shop is the latest culinary endeavor from Carlos Perez, who ran La Palette Bakery in Watertown for 13 years. He also served briefly as executive chef at 4 Eat & Drink in Farmington and has worked at a number of other restaurants. His new bakery features fresh-baked breads, pastries and artisanal coffee. The pictures we’ve seen online have us craving cake.
Know of a new Connecticut restaurant? Email Erik Ofgang at firstname.lastname@example.org.