Top Restaurants In Connecticut Worth The Hype

July 19, 2014 7:00 AM


If you’re in the mood for eating out somewhere other than at a typical fast food or casual dining chain, Connecticut has plenty of options. But you also want to be sure you get your money’s worth, and don’t end up paying for disappointing food and unprofessional service. Here are some of the state’s restaurants that have consistently earned high marks from diners and critics. From American comfort food to fine French cuisine, their dishes are fully deserving of their praise.

Max Burger
124 LaSalle Road
West Hartford, CT 06107
(860) 232-3300

The Max Restaurant group has several offshoots throughout the greater Hartford area. One of its most popular spots is Max Burger in West Hartford Center. Patrons can’t get enough of its specialty burgers, which include the Fatty Melt – eight ounces of Angus beef between two grilled cheese sandwiches that serve as buns – as well as patties made from turkey, shrimp and tuna. The delicious hand-cut fries are a perfect complement, and if you enjoy a brew with your burger, there is an impressive rotating selection of local, domestic and imported beers.

Tavern On Main
150 Main St.
Westport, CT 06880
(203) 221-7222

Westport’s Tavern on Main has long been talked about as one of Fairfield County’s most inviting classic New England-style restaurants. In the fall and winter, the brick fireplaces provide a comforting atmosphere, and in the spring and summer, the outdoor patio opens for customers to take in the sights on Main Street as they drink and dine. Start out with one of its unique martinis or cocktails and a tempting appetizer like mushroom ravioli or filet mignon empanadas. Entrees include classic American fare like New York strip and grilled pork chops and a number of sandwiches from the salmon BLT to the house burger with bacon-onion marmalade.

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

If you’re looking for a great French restaurant in the state, it’s hard to go wrong with New Haven’s Union League Café, which has racked up a ton of great notices. Notable appetizers include duck foie gras with rabbit confit and Prince Edward Island mussels, while the entrée menu stars Nova Scotia lobster and beef tenderloin with French green beans. Manager Jean Michel Gammariello is a wine expert, so unsurprisingly, Union League’s wine list is well above average. Make sure to leave room for dessert to enjoy the vanilla crème brulee or ice cream with chocolate-espresso mousse and chocolate sauce.

Related: Top Tasting Menus In Connecticut

Good News Cafe
694 Main St. S.
Woodbury, CT 06798
(203) 266-4663

Woodbury’s Good News Café seems to be well-named based on the number of positive reviews it has received over the years. Owner and chef Carole Peck opened the restaurant in 1993 and since then, it has won raves from reviewers and customers for its creative American dishes made with organic, farm-fresh ingredients. The generous menu includes plenty of poultry, pork, vegetarian and seafood entrees (with the lobster macaroni and cheese being a popular favorite) as well as the crispy onion bundle with homemade ketchup. The restaurant also includes an art gallery that displays the work of local artists.

Firebox Restaurant
539 Broad St.
Hartford, CT 06106
(860) 246-1222

The food at Firebox is a product of the farm-to-table movement, meaning nearly all of its ingredients are grown and harvested in New England, mostly from Connecticut. Local publications have been impressed, with Firebox winning accolades from everybody from Connecticut magazine to the Hartford Advocate. Its menu can vary based on seasonal availability, but it always includes dishes that are elegant and sumptuous such as the duck breast with grilled scallions. It also serves up a fantastic brunch with eggs benedict, buttermilk waffles and decadent versions of hot chocolate and cider.

Related: Top Restaurants That Pair Beer With Food In Connecticut

Joshua Palmes is a freelance writer covering all things Connecticut. His work can be found on

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