Our recent list of 30 Places We Love in Connecticut received some great feedback. We’re glad so many people enjoy (and agree with) some of our favorite spots. I thought about including some of our favorite places to eat, but decided food needs its own post!
This is by no means a comprehensive list. Our suggestions below are definitely Fairfield and New County heavy, as that’s our home base. If you’re looking for a larger variety, check out this recent list from Connecticut Magazine. I subscribe to Connecticut magazine and always save this annual issue- so many great suggestions. One of my other favorite guides for dining in Connecticut is CTBites.com. They offer weekly newsletters with updates, special events, and holiday menus. You might also be interested in this guide to eating gluten free in Connecticut and this guide from Mommy Poppins, which includes peanut free spots.
We went back and forth with edits about how to organize this list, but figured we’d share some popular food categories (sadly, not the healthiest list), our go-to spot, and then other popular options throughout the state. In no particular order:
1. Pizza: If you’re in CT and you want pizza, you MUST go to New Haven, the “birthplace” of the “apizza”, which is typically made with a thin crust and cooked in a coal fired oven. There are so many types of pizza that it would take a whole separate post to share the varieties JUST in Connecticut, but for this post we’ll stick with the apizza. Our top choice might cost us a few readers, as people are very divided with their choice here in Fairfield and New Haven Counties, but our top spot is Pepe’s Pizzeria.
CT locations: Danbury, Fairfield, Manchester, Mohegan Sun, New Haven, Waterbury, West Hartford
Other popular spots; Sally’s Apizza in New Haven, Modern Apizza in New Haven, Colony Grill, and Bar Pizza
2. Chicken Wings: A must for any football game in the fall and good all year long! Back in our college days, we frequently went for Happy Hour at Archie Moore’s and the spot has remained our favorite for wings, nachos, and lots of burgers and sandwiches. Plenty of great kid sized options, too.
CT locations: Fairfield, Milford, New Haven, Wallingford
Other popular spots: Dew Drop Inn in Derby and HooDoo Brown BBQ in Ridgefield.
3. Tacos: #TacoTuesday became a tradition during the pandemic and it’s become a weekly event ever since. We make a wide variety of tacos at home, but enjoy Bar Taco even more! It’s the perfect spot for families (kids get their own tray and sides) and it’s a good choice for group date nights too- fun atmosphere and much more reasonable in cost than fancier restaurants ( the adults drinks are super yummy!)
CT locations: New Haven, Stamford, West Hartford, Westport
Other popular spots: Bodega (Fairfield and Darien), Tequila Mockingbird (New Canaan), East Coast Taco (Niantic)
4. Ice cream: There are so many spots for ice cream in Connecticut that groups created numerous trails, like this one and this one. It’s hard for us to pick just one spot- this summer, we tried a different shop each week. But some of our favorite ice cream treats can be found at Rich Farm in Oxford, Ferris Acres in Newtown, and Plasko’s Creamery in Trumbull.
Other popular spots: Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream in Mystic, Arethusa Farm in Litchfield and New Haven, UCONN Dairy Bar in Storrs, and Milkcraft in Bridgeport, Fairfield, New Haven, and West Hartford
5. Hot dogs: An easy lunch choice, especially when you’re on the road and don’t have much time to stop, or if “hangriness” sets in and the kids are short on patience. In Fairfield County, we have a good variety of choices, but our top choice is Super Duper Weenie in Fairfield. It’s even been featured on the Food Network.
Other popular spots: Rawley’s in Fairfield and Blackie’s in Cheshire.
6. Lobster rolls: As the adage goes, when in Rome New England, you must have a lobster roll at least once or twice during the summer season. Over and over, Abbott’s in the Rough in Noank has received numerous, well deserved awards for their lobster roll- made with hot butter. As all good lobster roll locales go, Abbott’s is an unassuming spot on the banks of the Mystic River. It’s got beautiful views and space for little ones to explore. Abbott’s also offers delicious clam chowder and a wide variety of seafood specialities, and they do have the staples for the kids (hot dogs, mac and cheese, grilled cheese etc).
Other popular spots: Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tale (Madison, New Haven, and Westbrook) and Seven Seas in Milford.
7. Noodles: A few years ago, our daughter started an obsession with noodles; she would ask for them nightly. We discovered Mecha Noodle Bar and she was hooked. They offer a variety of pho and ramen add on options, and will make dishes as spicy (or not) as guests prefer. The steamed baos are also kid favorites.
CT locations: Fairfield, New Haven, Norwalk, Stamford, West Hartford
8. Tapas: At first glance of the menu, kids might not be excited to try a variety of different types of food but Barcelona Wine Bar has great flavors, and the small plates set up make it easier (more economical, and less wasteful) to try different flavors. The Fairfield location is our favorite, with its outdoor seating and canopies right next to the large garden. Bonus: there’s always pancakes or chicken fingers to fall back on.
CT locations: Fairfield, New Haven, Norwalk, Stamford, West Hartford
9. Donuts: Admittedly, we’re not huge donut people. Donuts aren’t on our weekly list, but once in a while we get a craving, and if we’re on the road early in the day, we’ll grab a few donuts for later on in the drive. The best variety and most creative toppings? Donut Crazy.
CT Location: Branford, New Haven, Shelton, Stratford, West Hartford, Westport
Other popular spots: Doughtnut Inn, Neil’s Donuts in Wallingford, and Flander’s Donute and Bake Shop in East Lyme.
10. Brunch: My personal favorite meal! Brunch has become popular everywhere, and whenever we get a chance, we like to try different locations. But hands down, the best brunch, with the largest variety we’ve seen, is at Water’s Edge Resort and Spa in Westbrook. Special occasion brunch, like Easter and Mother’s Day, book up months in advance. There are dozens of both breakfast and lunch options, and so many items are made to order right in front of guests. We also enjoy taking a walk down to the private beach at the resort and exploring the beautiful grounds
Other popular spots: Check out this list, and this list, and this list for tons of other suggestions (perhaps one of our goals for 2021 should be to try them all!)
Looking for ways to build up an appetite? Check out our CT food trails: cupcakes, chocolate shops, cookies, hot dogs, crepes, tacos, and bakeries. And follow along on our adventures on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.