Creme brulee is one of the simplest and creamiest, yet also most elegant of desserts. A rich milk custard with a burnt sugar top, usually served in a ramekin, it is a light, but not too light, treat that goes down gently and warmly at the end of a fine meal. Here are just five of the best restaurants that serve the top creme brulee desserts in Connecticut.

Max Downtown
City Place
185 Asylum St.
Hartford, CT 06103
(860) 522-2530

The banana foster brulee at Max Downtown in Hartford is a sinful pleasure, but it is a sin worth committing. The dessert even comes with a ginger snap, and that tangy, crunchy treat is a lovely counterpoint to the warm, creamy, soft, melt-in-your-mouth and slide-down-your-throat creme brulee. Max Downtown and its sister restaurants have many other great desserts to choose from, of course, including a brownie Heath Bar caramel cheesecake and a cookie plate, which is especially nice to share over coffee.

Bernard’s Restaurant
20 West Lane
Ridgefield, CT 06877
(203) 438-8282

Bernard’s creme brulee trio of banana, apricot and vanilla bean is a wonderful twist on an old classic. Then again, so are many of the other amazing desserts at this delightful French restaurant in Ridgefield. The pineapple and white polenta upside down cake with blueberry maple compote and vanilla ice cream is at the top of the dessert menu for a reason. As terrific and as different a treat as it is, however, there are many other equally fine delights on that list, and those who take the time to read the dessert menu will find the treasure buried there, namely, the creme brulee trio.

Da Pietro’s Restaurant
36 Riverside Ave.
Westport, CT 06880
(203) 454-1213

Creme brulee a la vanille is the fancy French way of announcing the vanilla custard cream dessert that leads off the list of after-dinner sweets at Da Pietro’s Restaurant in Westport. The dish comes with a burnt sugar topping, and while very similar to the creme caramel that bookmarks the other end of the dessert menu, the extra vanilla really sets the creme brulee a la vanille apart and makes it so memorable. At $11, the dessert is quite pricey, but as every little bite is meant to be savored, the price is worth it.

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The Mayflower Grace
118 Woodbury Road
Washington, CT 06793
(860) 868-9466

The Mayflower Grace is one of the most luxurious inns and spas in Connecticut. A member of the vaunted Relais and Chateaux association of fine hotels and restaurants, The Mayflower Grace has a wonderful menu, and the chefs who prepare the dishes are held to the highest standards. That standard applies to desserts as much as it does to entrees, and the Mayflower’s creme brulee is a top notch delight, an artistic vanilla and lavender infusion with berries and orange. In the fall, when pumpkins are in season, the kitchen also produces an exquisite pumpkin version of the classic creme brulee.

Union League Cafe
1032 Chapel St.
New Haven, CT 06510
(203) 562-4299

The Tahitian vanilla bean creme brulee with vanilla tuile is a remarkably warm and creamy way to end a night of fine dining at New Haven’s Union League Cafe. A Parisian-style brasserie, which offers both elegant and relaxed dining options, Chef Jean Pierre Vuilermet’s restaurant offers a menu that reflects his passion, his art and his commitment to providing food which he says “combines classical French traditions with a more contemporary approach.”

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Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at