Picking out the best restaurant to celebrate Father’s Day can be trying. Some dads love steak; others prefer seafood. Beer and dads traditionally go together, at least in moderation. While some dads want a formal restaurant with linen tablecloths and uniformed waiters, others want to relax in a pub atmosphere or let loose a little in a country place or sports bar. Here are five very different, but quality Connecticut restaurants to take dad to celebrate Father’s Day.
Blackstones Steakhouse
181 Main St.
Norwalk, CT 06851
(203) 840-9020
www.steakhousect.com

Blackstones Steakhouse in Norwalk serves a New York strip that will make any father who loves steak very happy on Father’s Day, especially if someone else in the family is picking up the check. Blackstones is classy and old-school and offers both a warm, traditional, formal steakhouse atmosphere without being pretentious. The steaks are the main attraction here, but diners should save room for some of the wonderful sides, especially the half-and-half, a pairing of a half order each of fried onions and cottage fries. The creamed spinach and garlic roasted mashed potatoes are also superb.

The Black Sheep
247 Main St.
Niantic, CT 06357
(860) 739-2041
www.theblacksheepniantic.com

If your father is of Irish heritage or dreams of having a pint and a meal in a place steeped in Irish atmosphere, an afternoon or evening at The Black Sheep in Niantic is a great way to say “thank you” to dad. With its hardwood floors, smooth dark mahogany bar, picturesque tin ceiling and, in chilly weather at least, a crackling fire, The Black Sheep is as elegant as an Irish bar and restaurant can get and still have the flavor of the old country. The restaurant serves both a filling lunch menu with burgers and the like and has a dinner menu, which includes a variety of fresh seafood, including excellent lump crabcakes and Ahi tuna, as well as beef and fowl, pasta and salads.

Willimantic Brewing Company
967 Main St.
Willimantic, CT 06226
(860) 423-6777
www.willibrew.com

If your dad appreciates good, local, craft beer, Willimantic Brewing Company is the place to go. While it has won many awards for its beer, the brewing company has also been similarly honored for its pub food, which makes Willimantic Brewing Company more than just an extension of the brewery. Reservations are strongly suggested for any day, but especially for weekends and special occasions. There are always at least six or seven of the house brews available (such as the Willibrew Scotch Tapped or Mail Carrier Maybock), as well as a good sampling of craft beers from the competitors.

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Elmo’s Dockside Restaurant And Pub
48 Hartford Turnpike
Vernon, CT 06066
(860) 646-3474
elmosdockside.com

Connecticut has a lengthy seashore and is famous for its fresh seafood. Although Elmo’s Dockside is deep in the heart of the state in Vernon, the kitchen and the selection of seafood the chefs prepare will make any dad think he hears waves crashing on the beach while he dines. The soups, salads and homemade breads are very good, as is the Angus beef prime rib that is served on weekends, but the stars of the show here are those that come from the sea, and if dad likes fish or shellfish, Elmo’s is the place to take him for Father’s Day.

BarBQ Stamford
261 Main St.
Stamford, CT 06901
(203) 316-0278
www.barbqstamford.com

For those who want a really fun Father’s Day, the southern-style barbecue and country/sports bar atmosphere of BarBQ Stamford is a great place to go. The bar has several types of ribs, from dry rub to sticky, and from sweet to peppery, as well as other barbecue favorites, including shrimp, chicken, brisket and a special treat known as “burnt ends.” The restaurant has a great country vibe, without being cheap or trashy, and offers good fun, good music and good food for the whole family.

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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 Examiner.com.

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