Foodie’s Guide to Eating in Central Connecticut
I hope your bellies are ready because they’re about to get hungry! I grew up in central Connecticut and for some reason, I have never shared the delicious treats around the area. Now, I am by no means a food blogger… but I love to eat. So if you loved the best places to eat in New York’s capital region you’re in for a treat. Make sure you put your little bibs on! (Also, I’m not a breakfast person so that is not included in this list…)
Taino’s Smokehouse (Middletown)
This is first on my list because it is by far the best restaurant in all of Connecticut. I kid you not, my family actually has to make an effort to not go here. Tainos does an incredible job making delicious smoke meats and consistently runs out of their pulled chicken because it is that good. During the warmer months, Tiano’s opens up their back seating area that is covered in vines. Stop by on a Tuesday night (trivia night), order pulled chicken, and enjoy the vibe.
Bar Taco (West Hartford)
Bar Taco was really close to winning my number one spot as well. If you like tacos with a little bit of a flare this is definitely the place to go. The steak, cauliflower, and chicken tacos are always my go to. I highly recommend getting three tacos and a few starters. We always end up getting chips and guacamole, corn off the cob, and fried plantains. I never was a fan of fried plantains until Bar Taco so
Ion actually stands for It’s Only Natural. This is a completely vegan restaurant that does an incredible job with their menu. Each item has an alternative to dairy (for example, the nachos come with vegan cheese). I try my hardest to order something new but I always end up with a black bean burger and sweet potato fries! If you’re curious about vegan food definitely give this place a go!
Osa Restaurant & Bar (Middletown)
Okay, this is where you can definitely tell I’m not a food blogger. I’m not a sushi person. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s cold or the texture of the fish, but it just isn’t for me. With that said, I still absolutely love Mikado. I end up getting sweet potato rolls and stir fry in a pineapple. The sweet and salty is an amazing combination. For the sushi lovers, my boyfriend attests to Mikado being a real winner for good, real sushi as well.
Eli Cannon’s (Middletown)
If you’re a beer drinker, Eli Cannon’s is the place to go. Both my brothers are really into beer (one is actually a brewer), and they love this place. There is always an extensive line of fun beers to try and amazing food for the nonbeer drinkers (aka me). Item to get: Cajun fries or garlic fries.
Frank Pepe’s Pizza (New Haven)
Alright, New Haven technically isn’t central Connecticut but this pizza is too good not to include it on this list. Plus, when you live in Connecticut you’re pretty much 30 minutes from everything. New Haven is home to Sally’s, Pepe’s, BAR, and Modern Apizza. Personally, Pepe’s is by far my favorite. Very thin and loaded with all of the good stuff. Bar Stool Sports actually said New Haven is the pizza capital of the world so definitely check it out just for that (or for a really good slice).
Speaking of pizza, a less popular pizza in Connecticut is
Celtic Cavern was rated of of the best bacon burgers in Connecticut! Smoked Gouda, bacon chunks, and a little bit of sunshine. You can sit outside while you’re feasting on incredible comfort food. What more could you want?
If you’re looking for a good place to sip on unique cocktails, this is the place for you! I actually went to a blogging event here and absolutely loved it! The decor of this place is straight out of a Pinterest album. Plus, on the first Sunday of the month, Conspiracy puts on a drag show! If you’re interested in what that looks like check out my Connecticut Highlight tab on Instagram. It is beyond entertaining!
New England Cider Company (Wallingford)
This little cidery is the cutest little thing located in a very strange place. Once you find your way over, you’ll fall in love with this gem. I recently tried their blueberry cider and literally wanted to swim in it. You can bring your own food and have a good ole’ time.
Donut Crazy (New Haven)
Okay, if you’re from Connecticut, you’ve probably seen these donuts plastered in every corner of Instagram. I love these insane donuts that make you feel like you need to run screaming to Orangetheory
Milkcraft (West Hartford)
I’ve wanted to have
Nora’s Cupcakes (Middletown)
Nora’s Cupakes is an adorable little shop located in the heart of Middletown. Their cupcakes can be found sprinkled throughout Connecticut in a variety of different shops because they’re that good. I love their rich buttercream or cream cheese frosting. You can get any flavor and be the happiest camper. The little store has a funky decor with vintage paintings. Looking at these photos again makes me want to go right after work today!
Lyman Orchards (Middlefield)
If you live in Connecticut and haven’t heard of Lyman Orchards by now, you’re doing something wrong. Lyman Orchards is spread across hundreds of acres where you can pick your own fruit (when it isn’t -1°F). They have an adorable little shop filled with life-altering pies, donuts, pastries, and more. You can even get sandwiches! If you need to stock up on the good stuff and treat yourself with a donut, this is the place to go!
Mozzicato Bakery & Pastry (Middletown)
New to Middletown, is the incredible bakery, Mozzicato. They have a few locations sprinkled around Connecticut but this one is right in my backyard so I’m a big fan! Italian rainbow cookies are high on my list of favorite sweets and Mozzicato knows how to make me happy! They have rows upon rows of incredible sweets that are sure to make anyone happy. During Christmas, we bought a cannoli cake that was incredible! I also brought a tray of cookies to Rob’s family and they were phenomenal.
Moon Rocks (New Haven)
If you’re looking for a good cookie, Moon Rocks is the place to go. After having these cookies for the first time back in October, I’m hooked. They are made with natural ingredients (no artificial sugar here) and taste like pure happiness. The daughter of the company told us that some people do not like the cookies because they are used to the artificial sugars. So do keep that in mind when you try them! I recommend trying the chai first because it is out of this world!
If you’re looking for chocolate that will blow your hat right off, take a stroll through Munson’s. We always have a box of the dark chocolate sea salt caramels in the house. They have a rich creamy flavor that will have you wanting more!
Main Street Creamery & Cafe (Wethersfield)
Once the summer comes out again and the temperature gets a little bit warmer, you need to travel over to Wethersfield to grab a few scoops of ice cream. They have such a cute little shop in adorable Wethersfield.
Durham Fair (Durham)
It wouldn’t be a real list if I didn’t include the Durham fair in this post! The Durham Fiari s near and dear to my heart mostly because the food is so good! From loaded nachos to the best gyro in Connecticut, you need to stop by just for the food! The fair happens the last full week of September and this year will be the 100th one! Talk about a celebration!
Places I Need to Try:
- Zohara Mediterranean Kitchen (Cauliflower appetizer)
- Roost (All natural chicken sandwiches)
- El Pollo Guapo (Tapas)
- Fussy Coffee (Coffee)
- Tastease (Donuts)
- The Juice Box (Smooth Bowls)
- Spectra Wired (Coffee and Bar)
- Perkatory Coffee Roasters (Donuts & Coffee)
- Vinted Wine Bar & Kitchen (Insane dessert options ex: Raw cookie dough and milk)
Places I’ve Been to But Don’t Have Pictures
- Dakotas (Smokehouse)
- Barcelona Wine Bar (Tapas and drinks)
- Plan B Burger Bar (Burgers)
- Max Burger (Burgers)
- Froyoworld (Frozen Yogurt)
- First & Last Tavern (Italian)
- Esca (Steaks and wine)
- Puerto Vallarta (Mexican)
- Amici Italian Grill (Italian)
- Perk on Main (Crepes)
- Haveli (Indian food)
Have you been to any of these places in Connecticut? What am I missing on my list? Let me know in the comments down below.
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This is SUCH a good guide! Every meal looks incredible omg I want that pizza right now!! We have Bar Taco here and I loooove it!
Thank you so much, Molly! Bar Taco is insanely good! Seriously one of my favorite restaurants as of right now ☺️
Excellent guide! So many places I need to try! Love how you included Conspiracy – such a great venue and I’m happy I discovered it through blogging! I’m so hungry now! Lets do brunch sometime!
I love Conspiracy! So many wonderful drinks and treats. We definitely should do brunch sometime girly!
Tara at Beach Expressions
So many great places on this list. I want to try the taco place you mentioned. Pepe’s in New Haven is one of my favorites. If you haven’t been to Bar in New Haven yet you have to go there. They have an amazing mashed potato pizza.
Oh my gosh, that sounds amazing! I love mashed potatoes so I’m literally sold! Definitely going to make the trip out. 😊
Tara at Beach Expressions
They just got listed as the top place in the nation for mashed potato pizza too!
Oh my goodness, even better!
Meghan @ megmcsharry.com
Bartaco is forever my favorite <3 so glad they're expanding so much. I'll have to try these places if I'm ever mid-state!
Bartaco is my favorite too! Whenever my boyfriend comes to town I try to make him go with me. The fried pllaintains are out of this world!
ah yes! try Vinted, it’s amazing!!
It is high on my list! The dessert is enough reason to give it a try!
This list is amazing!!! I have a few new places I need to go… thank you for sharing!!!
Thank you so much Michelle! You’ll have to let me know which ones you try out!
Omg I haven’t been to half those MIddeltown restaurants but always wanted to go! Now I must!
Great ideas! I love Bar Taco and NoRa too. My favorite restaurant is Flora in WH. YUM!!