Our food writers, Erik Ofgang and Mike Wollschlager, visit a lot of places over the course of a year. Here they take a look back at their favorite spots they visited in 2019.

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Strega in Branford

Strega, Branford

“Made in Italy” is the mantra of owner/pizzaiolo Danilo Mongillo. Luckily for us, everything is prepared and served in Branford. My favorite restaurant of 2019. 

Issue it was in: August

The dish that did it: Rigatoni alla Genovese — MW

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The Darkness at Tiger Belly Noodle Bar in Granby.

Tiger Belly Noodle Bar, Granby

The restaurant’s signature ramen dish, The Darkness, is a pork-bone broth that is slow-cooked for about 18 hours and served with a pickled egg and thick chunks of pork belly. It is every bit as good as it sounds.

Issue it was in: December

The dish that did it: The Darkness — EO

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Los Charros Cantina, Essex

A salsa flight representing the seven regions of Mexico is a perfect way to kick off a culinary tour of authentic Mexican cuisine led by talented chef Colt Taylor. 

Issue it was in: February

The dish that did it: Wheatberry esquites — MW

The margarita pie and the shrimp burrata and basil pie

The margarita pie and the shrimp burrata and basil pie at Sasso's Coal Fired Pizza in Torrington.

Sasso’s Coal Fired Pizza, Torrington

One bite of the thin-crust, coal-fired pies here convinced me that you didn’t have to be in New Haven or a nearby town to enjoy New Haven-style pizza. The place also has a cool, craft beer bar feel. 

Issue it was in: January

The dish that did it: Margherita pizza — EO

Bistro on Main, Manchester

Owned by the Manchester Area Conference of Churches and helmed by chef and pastor Ben Dubow, Bistro on Main is dedicated to providing transitional employment and training. But don’t let its charitable intentions give you the wrong idea — Bistro on Main is an amazing restaurant serving casual French cuisine. 

Issue it was in: January

The dish that did it: Bouillabaisse — EO

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Smoke plate (sliced brisket, pulled pork, chicken thighs, pinto beans, rice, Texas slaw and Texas toast accompanied by three sauces) at TexiKo Tequila Bar in Hamden

TexiKo, Hamden

The smoke plate is the epitome of what TexiKo is all about — sliced brisket, pulled pork, chicken thighs, pinto beans, rice, Texas slaw and Texas toast served with three distinct styles of barbecue sauce. 

Issue it was in: June

The dish that did it: Smoke plate — MW

Olmo, New Haven

Everyone was sad to see Caseus go, but Olmo helped dry those tears pretty quickly. 

Issue it was in: March

The dish that did it: Brussels sprouts with cider syrup, pickled cumin seeds and kale-kraut. — MW


High George is the rooftop bar atop The Blake hotel in New Haven.

Hamilton Park and High George, New Haven

The Blake hotel offers a top-notch Tyler Anderson 2-for-1 with the upscale Hamilton Park, adjacent to the hotel lobby, and High George, a year-round rooftop bar. 

Issue it was in: October

The dish that did it: Lamb loin with tapenade and eggplant — MW

Peter Chang, Stamford

From the outside this looks like the corniest of chains, but it is the only Connecticut restaurant owned by legendary Sichuan chef Peter Chang, whose Maryland and Virginia restaurants have been praised in The New York Times and The New Yorker. The Stamford location lives up to the hype.

Issue it was in: February

The dish that did it: Scallion bubble pancake — EO

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.

The senior writer at Connecticut Magazine, Erik is the co-author of Penguin Random House’s “The Good Vices” and author of “Buzzed” and “Gillette Castle.” He is also an adjunct professor at WCSU’s MFA Program and Quinnipiac University

Mike Wollschlager, editor and writer for Connecticut Magazine, was born and raised in Bristol and has lived in Farmington, Milford, Shelton and Wallingford. He was previously an assistant sports editor at the New Haven Register.