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Glastonbury - Essex - Newington - Manchester - Hartford


Glastonbury Top 10 Restaurants Bricco Trattoria - This place is always crowded. But that’s because they feature simple yet artfully prepared Northern Italian fare served in an atmosphere warmed by wooden floors and brick-accented walls — and frankly, it’s all so authentic, it never ceases to impress. Try one of the dozen uniquely different artisan pizzas. The pasta entrees are amazing. And seafood lovers will find the Crabmeat Stuffed Jumbo Shrimp a delight.
124 Hebron Ave., Glastonbury
860-659-0220

Max Fish - Happy Hour is daily from 4 to 6, so take a seat at the white marble bar or the often-crowded raw bar. The specials there go well beyond the drinks, with dollar-and-a-quarter oysters and Buck a Shuck clams on the half shell. Dining in? Market price seafood comes just the way you like it — or choose a “From the Chef...” offering. The Bouillabaisse with fresh fish, shrimp, clams, mussels, roasted tomatoes, and saffron rouille is superb. Prefer a steak? Check out the Chop House Entrees. They never disappoint.
110 Glastonbury Blvd., Glastonbury, 860-652-3474

Spicy Green Bean - Imaginatively decorated — and equally creative in the kitchen, this little place takes pride in “exciting the palate.” Breakfast includes all the Benedicts, omelets, and hot-off-the-griddle greats you’d hope for. For lunch, order a Fire in the Hole patty melt, featuring a burger on grilled rye topped with caramelized onions, mushrooms, Jalopena bacon, melted Swiss and American cheeses, pickled Jalopenas, and their secret sauce. For dinner, try the Bad to the Bone short ribs. You won’t be disappointed. Catering is available. BYOB. And make a note that the owner has opened another fun place called the Shad Row Restaurant at the Rocky Hill Ferry landing!
103 New London Tpke., Glastonbury
860-657-3500

Char Koon - Best described as a tiny hideaway, this Asian-fusion restaurant is a little gem. Cozy and mellow, it offers surprisingly good food at very affordable prices. The vegetables are always fresh — and the Thai soups nice and spicy. There are vegetarian plates, as well as unusual and flavorful noodle dishes, including an excellent Pad Thai. Traditional favorites are always a good choice — but for something different, try their South East Asian specialties, like the Orchid Crispy Shrimp, with jumbo shrimp, honeydew melon and a fruit glaze. Enjoy a nice selection of good wines at reasonable prices.
882 Main St., Glastonbury,
860-657-3656

2 Hopewell - This charming country bistro — once a general store — serves contemporary American dishes with a decidedly creative flair. White tablecloth presentation can be enjoyed upstairs, along with a menu that changes with the seasons. The Point Judith Scallops, with tri-colored cauliflower, shaved brussel spouts, snap peas, capers, lemongrass butter, and fried potato skins, are awesome. The Tavern Menu, offered Sunday through Thursday only, has some lighter-fare delights of its own, including a lovely Lobster Roll. And dessert is hard to pass up. (Try the Fruits of the Forest Trifle, featuring vanilla cake, lemon curd, four-berry compote, whipped mascarpone, fresh strawberries, and candied lemon peel.) Downstairs, there’s a cool bar room with good music and good folks. Just right for South Glastonbury.
2 Hopewell Rd., South Glastonbury 860-633-9600

J Gilbert’s Wood-Fired Steaks - They describe their fare as “honest Midwestern cuisine.” But we just call it delicious. Top-of-the-line mesquite-grilled steaks — their signature offering — have won this place a loyal following, and small wonder. Prime, aged cuts of Black Angus come with a choice of sides and extras, like the Poblano gratin potatoes or wild mushrooms with truffle butter. The Grilled Vegetable Platter is terrific. They do seafood equally well. Indeed, the Seafood Mixed Grill, with shrimp, scallops, salmon, jumbo lump crab cakes, Yukon gold potatoes, and grilled asparagus is beyond great. And you’ll find its elegant décor makes it a perfect choice for business and birthday dinners alike.
185 Glastonbury Blvd., Glastonbury
860-659-0409

Adriatik’s Family Restaurant - Adriatik’s is just the kind of place where there is never a wait, the portions are large, the prices are reasonable, and the food is great. Pasta dishes are a standout — each made to your liking with whatever shape and sauce you prefer, then served with a salad and fresh-baked bread. The Penne Basciola, featuring sausage, fresh mushrooms, and spinach all tossed in a light tomato sauce and topped with Parmesan cheese, is fantastic. The Fisherman’s Platter is just right. And the Veal or Chicken Parmigiana rich and satisfying. The beer and wine selection is small but nicely inexpensive. And you’ll be glad to know that they offer catering.
30 Welles St., Station 35, Glastonbury
860-633-0599

Bollywood Grill - Authentic and rich, this is Indian cuisine at its best — and perfect for those nights when even the thought of your kitchen is exhausting. Choose from an excellent selection of vegetarian, chicken, lamb, and seafood entrées, along with Tandoori and Bollywood specials. (Order the Lamb Curry, the Seafood Masala, or the Chicken Patia. Or ask the waiter for his favorite. You won’t be let down. And be sure to try the breads.) The atmosphere is tranquil. The staff friendly. The house wine nicely affordable. And both take-out and delivery are available. What could be better? Nothing.
2333 Main St., Glastonbury
860-734-0001

The Diamond Pub & Grill - This one-of-a-kind sports bar is nothing short of a Glastonbury institution. Featuring plenty of big-screen TVs, a spacious horseshoe bar, and an unusually multi-faceted menu, including entrees like the Kabob Trio, which features chicken, steak, and shrimp skewered with onions, mushrooms, and zucchini and served over rice. They also offer some seriously good comfort food, including fresh soups, juicy burgers, made-to-order sandwiches, pub-style fish and chips — and one really terrific classic meatloaf dinner, complete with gravy, steak fries, veggies, and a side salad. And there are fifteen beers on tap, with plenty more available bottled.
195 Hebron Ave., Glastonbury
860-659-2002

Min Ghung Asian Bistro - This little treasure, nestled in a corner of the Glen Lochen Mall, managed to remain a well-kept secret among the Glastonbury crowd for a while. But the word is out — and small wonder. They offer fabulous sushi, sashimi, and other artfully prepared fresh-fish creations too good to miss. A modern, dressed-up dining area and neon-lit sake display provide unexpected ambiance. Eat in, take out, or order delivery within a 4-mile radius.
39 New London Tpke. #311, Glastonbury
860-659-2568
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Ken’s Corner - This much-loved neighborhood landmark is the place to go for breakfast and brunch, with pancakes the name of the game — and the fresh raspberry and blueberry flapjacks loaded with berries grown just down the street. Even the potatoes that go into the home fries are local, making farm-to-table their signature style. And although the Southwest Breakfast Wrap may not be inspired by local farm produce, it gives you that down-home, honest-to-goodness, good-for-you feeling you need to start the day off right — like most of Ken’s food. Just be sure to bring your glasses (and a good appetite) because the menu offers not only standard favorites but a whole lot of new creations and seasonal specials you won’t want to miss.
30E Hebron Ave., Glastonbury
860-657-9811

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Bin 228 Gastropub - Conveniently located in Glastonbury’s vibrant center, Bin 228 features a classic Vinoteca Toscana, or Northern Italian wine bar — indeed, the perfect place to gather with friends. Whet your appetite with the Carpaccio, or try the fig jam and prosciutto bruschetta, adding lots of bread to these small plates. Any of their reds by the glass are outstanding, or choose a bottle of Le Volte Super Tuscan. And if you’re having dinner, try the Paella, featuring chorizo sausage, sweet peas, greenlip mussels, little neck clams, calamari, and red peppers. It’s superb. You’ll agree with me on everything.
63 Hebron Ave., Glastonbury
860-430-9699

Rooftop 120 - Restaurants, like true love and great art, need a je ne sais quoi that sets them apart. And here, as you might guess from the name, that je ne sais quoi is the outdoor ambiance of the roof — where enjoying a cocktail while dining on something from their Nosh, Rooftop Bar, Happy Hour, or Dessert menus is about as good as it gets. With its great food, trendy design, and four-season patio, Rooftop 120 provides a joie de vivre others can’t match. Très bon.
120 Hebron Ave., Eric Town Square, Glastonbury,
860-430-9989

Sakura Garden Japanese Steakhouse - Craving some authentic Asian cuisine? Then come here. There’s an expansive sushi bar area, with a menu both creative and fresh, as well as an extensive selection of maki, nigiri and elegant new-style sashimi. The spacious hibachi features chefs turning fresh cuts of meat and seafood into fine art in an elaborate tableside show that tastes more amazing than it looks. The cocktails are lovely to behold — and sip. There’s a nice wine list. And as expected, they offer an impressive assortment of sake.
120 Hebron Ave., Eric Town Square, Glastonbury,
860-430-5600

Thai House Restaurant & Sushi Bar - As culinary options in South Glastonbury have grown, the addition of great Thai food, especially since it includes excellent sushi, is a welcome one. Try the Mango Curry, Avocado Curry, Seafood Amazing or the Glastonbury Chicken. Ordering from the sushi menu, you can’t go wrong. On top of the great food, the service is friendly and inviting.
875 Main St., S. Glastonbury,
860-430-9500

Plan B Burger Bar - If Plan A involves dining out, then move directly to Plan B, where the burgers, bourbon, beer, or whatever are guaranteed to please. But don’t let words “Burger Bar” fool you. The menu at Plan B is both delectable and downright international — with everything from the Philly Steak Burger and the Cuban to the Mediterranean Beef Bowl and the Baja. And the drink menu is extensive, too, with over 60 varieties of single-barrel, small-batch, and Kentucky straight bourbons…craft beers on tap with regular specials…and a two page list of bottles featuring over 50 varieties in order from light to dark (including “brews for two” and “mini kegs.”) Need help deciding? Suggestions are on the house.
120 Hebron Ave., Glastonbury
860-430-9737

Tisumi - Tisumi Sushi. Ever notice that some words sound just the sound they describe? You know, like buzz or clank or tweet. Well, Tisumi Sushi, the signature dish of an elegant little restaurant called Tisumi Sushi, strikes me as sounding exactly like what Tisumi Sushi would sound like if it had a sound — all those soft consonants and mellifluous vowels reflecting its sublime freshness, delectable simplicity, and exquisite design. Same with all of the other lusciously named delights they serve, like Sashimi, Teriyaki, Tempura, Katsu, Pad Thai, and Hibachi. But they all make a very different sound. Indeed, the sound most often heard when someone takes that first bite of any meal at Tisumi Sushi is yummmm. Imagine that. Better yet, go see for yourself! Open every day. (Thank goodness.)
2850 Main St., Glastonbury
860-430-2826

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The Black Seal - The Black Seal is an Essex favorite, serving lunch, dinner, and a terrific Sunday brunch. And while it looks a little like an old ship that’s battled through rough seas, it serves up jolly good chowder, delectably fresh fish, savory salads, and some great hot sandwiches with the steady hand you’d expect from an experienced captain. You’ll find an equally steady flow of jolly good cheer from a bar that’s homeport for boaters and their mates, so stop in. But prepare to linger a while, relaxing over whatever your pleasure might be and listening to good seafaring conversation. It’s that kind of place.
15 Main St., Essex, 860-767-0233

The Griswold Inn - Referred to by locals and those in the know as simply The Gris, this is one of very few colonial New England restaurants that has succeeded in remaining not only relevant but unfailingly popular. The dimly lit tavern, with its good old-time music, and the period dining room bring you back to the days of river captains and deep-water schooners. Classic Gris entrées include a Roasted Cod Filet and Prime Rib of Beef. Seasonal entrées, like the Seared Sea Scallops, are superb. And the Hunt Breakfast is legendary.
36 Main St., Essex, 860-767-0330

Gelston House - Come by land, river, or sea — but come, because the stately Victorian Gelston House, set next to the Goodspeed Opera House and just above the river in East Haddam village, is a shoreline tradition. The restaurant menus and all of its dining spaces have been polished up, bringing back the elegance and joie de vivre of its glory days, while the casual al fresco dining option is decidedly popular in season. Regular entrées, like the Lobster & Shrimp Scampi, are impressive. The Prix-Fixed menu features several wonderful options, including an intriguing Norwegian Salmon. And for those feeling a bit more casual, a menu of “Hand Helds,” all served with fries, is ideal. This is a lovely spot!
8 Main St., East Haddam, 860-873-1411

Copper Beech Inn. - Elegant, inside and out, Copper Beach Inn — once the haunt of Connecticut’s power brokers — has undergone numerous transitions over the years. Now under new ownership and featuring both a new look and a new menu, it’s the kind of place where guests can savor superb seasonal entrees and upscale ambience in the main dining room or more casual fare in the beautiful Oak Room. But it’s all good because it’s all excellent. An exceptional experience.
46 Main St., Ivoryton
860-767-0330

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Middletown restaurantsRuth’s Chris Steakhouse - Maybe the steakhouse trend came. And maybe the steakhouse trend went. But Ruth’s Chris doesn’t care, because it’s definitely here to stay — and that’s because their signature prime beef is legendary, as are their perfectly cooked rib eyes, their tender Porterhouse for two, or their full-bodied New York Strip. Fact is, everyone knows that when it comes to beef, Ruth’s Chris does it best. Just follow the sizzle.
2513 Berlin Tpke., Newington
860-666-2202

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Middletown restaurantsON20 - There isn’t a lot of New York style haute cuisine in the Greater Hartford area, largely because Greater Hartford isn’t New York. But there is one downtown restaurant that is rather hauty without being haughty — and it’s called ON20, because it’s on the 20th floor of One State Street, which the venerable Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company calls home. The service is polished and unobstrusive, while the culinary team, led by Chef Jesse Powers, prides itself on serving an innovative menu that changes constantly but is well known for such amazing entrees as a 50-day Dry-Aged Côte de Boeuf and a piquant Confit Filet of Arctic Char. Needless to say, the view is extraordinary.
400 Columbus Blvd., Hartford
860-722-5161

Feng Chophouse - Since 2006, when Feng Asian Bistro opened, sushi lovers have known exactly where to go for amazing sushi. But when it closed in the fall of 2017 for “major renovations,” who could have guessed that an elegantly updated bar and cocktail area, its new wine room, a private dining space featuring conference-level conveniences, and the introduction of windows offering superb streetscape views would not be the only changes — nor the best. Finally realizing his longtime dream, owner John Chen added a room lined with bricks of Himalayan sea salt for dry-aging steaks and fish — a process that makes the finest cuts of beef even more tender and flavorful, while giving exceptional edomae sushi a uniquely savory umami flavor. And so, Feng Asian Bistro reopened as Feng Chophouse, where a deliciously reimagined menu of sushi and steak, plus many other entrees, such as citrus Salmon, house-made pasta, and the taste of Korean BBQ challenge diners to make even more difficult decisions than before. Fortunately, Feng Chophouse serves nothing but the best, so order with confidence. Of course, you’ll want to return so you can try everything. But then it’s good to have a goal.
93 Asylum St., Hartford
860-549-
3364

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