Max’s Oyster Bar
964 Farmington Ave.
West Hartford, CT 06107
A premier dining and drinking spot in West Hartford Center, this oyster bar is one of the Max Restaurant Group’s most popular properties. Gather your fellow shellfish lovers and feast on its raw bar with mussels, oysters, shrimp and more. Besides a smaller sampler, it offers a shellfish high-rise or, for larger parties, a skyscraper that feeds six to eight people. If you just want to order an individual dish, try its Blue Hill Bay Mussels with wine, garlic and saffron mustard.
2316 Post Road
Fairfield, CT 06824
This intimate Fairfield bistro prepares American classics with a French twist. For instance, you can have its steamed mussels plate with vermouth and a side of frites – extra thin and crispy fries. For a smaller portion, go for the Mussels Au Gratin with garlic butter. Martel also offers its mussels as part of an iced seafood platter and in its delectable seafood soup.
Abbott’s Lobster In The Rough
117 Pearl St.
Noank, CT 06340
Abbott’s Lobster In the Rough, located on the banks of the Mystic River for nearly 70 years, is the perfect destination for anyone who enjoys a picturesque New England summer picnic. Open from May through October, Abbott’s is an informal establishment that happens to serve some of the best lobster and shellfish in the state. Grab a seat on the dock and watch the sailboats while digging into a big bowl of steamed North Atlantic mussels or Marty’s Mussels in garlic wine sauce. It doesn’t serve alcohol but you’re free to bring your own beer.
S & P Oyster Company
1 Holmes St.
Mystic, CT 06355
For a Mystic River experience that’s available year-round, head over to S & P Oyster Company. Treat yourself to its Prince Edward Island mussels prepared with sauteed leeks, white burgundy and garlic. Other choice options are the bouillabaisse made with mussels, lobster, salmon, tuna and shrimp calamari or the S & P Seafood Pasta which brings together mussels, shrimp and Stonington sea scallops with tagliatelle pasta in a savory white wine garlic sauce. Your meal will be made extra special by the scenic view of downtown Mystic, including the drawbridge.
220 College St.
New Haven, CT 06510
Chef Rafael Palomino’s Pacifico Restaurant has made a name for itself with its contemporary Latin-American take on seafood. Try its Mejillones al Vapor – steamed mussels with chorizo (a Spanish sausage), sofrito and white wine garlic sauce. Mussels also taste delicious in the Paella Palomino along with shrimp, clams, sea scallops, chorizo and saffron rice. If you go with friends, Pacifico’s raw bar features Rhode Island mussels as part of its Seafood Plateau which comes with a side of chipotle cocktail sauce. Whatever you order, make sure to accompany it with one of Pacifico’s acclaimed mojitos.
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Joshua Palmes is a freelance writer covering all things Connecticut. His work can be found on Examiner.com.