A Taste of Stamford
The ultimate guide to wining, dining and unwinding in Stamford, covering everything that is new, classic and great in our ever-growing dining scene
Patrizia's Fioretti Boscaiola, four-cheese pasta with Portobello mushrooms, prosciutto and peas
Photography by Bob Capazzo
Take a look around. Stamford has become a full-fledged dining mecca. Just as a new place opens, rumors of the next big thing make the rounds. This is suprising, since only twenty years ago restaurants were restricted by a zoning law that disallowed businesses with liquor licenses within 500 feet of one another. Thanks to Stamford Downtown, that is all in the past. Today our choices are endless, and we are always hungry for more. So here is our take on what the food scene is delivering today. Enjoy and start making reservations.
By this time next year, there will be new players vying for our attention.
Whether you are out with a crowd or dining à deux, the right table can make all the difference. So we turned to the experts at 5 of the hottest restaurants in town for the lowdown on the best seats in the house. And if you can't book one of these, rest assured: We know there are plenty of other great tables.
Table 18 • main room – A popular round table in the corner that seats four to six and has a view of the room and the patio
Table 21 • main room – An intimate deuce by the window
Wine Table – Often booked for birthday dinners and executive lunches, this glassed-in room seats up to twelve around a long Renaissance-style table beneath a wall of wine.
1297 Long Ridge Rd., 203-322-8870; madoniarestaurant.com
Napa & Co.
Table 18 • dining room – A convivial round table that seats six but is also perfect for a quiet business lunch for four
Table 5 • dining room – A see-and-be-seen two-top by the window on the Summer Street side of the room
Table b1 • bar side – Everyone knows it’s John DiMenna’s table (founder of Seaboard Properties, owner of the Marriott Courtyard).
75 Broad St., 203-353-3319; napaandcompany.com
Barcelona Wine Bar
Table 46 • dining room – Watch the action from this big round corner table that seats up to eight.
Table 1 • bar room – With a view into the kitchen, and a location near the bar, this six-seater gets lots of requests.
Table 101 • patio – This corner table under an awning on the patio is comfortable even in the rain, and can seat up to six.
222 Summer St., 203-348-4800; barcelonawinebar.com
Table 17 • dining room – A cozy two-top corner banquette with a view of the plant-filled patio
Table 71 • dining room – A banquette that seats six, with a view of the dining room, patio and nearby bar
Chef's table – The place to watch Chef Stephen Lewandowski prepare his American gastro pub cuisine
121 Towne St., 203-883-8000; harlansocial.com
The Capital Grille
Table 99 • board room – Round table that seats fourteen in a mahogany-panelled private room
Table 14 • dining room – Facing the wine kiosk, this cozy corner table seats two or four.
Chef's table – Perfect for celebrations, this table seats twelve and has a prime view of the dining room and the open kitchen.
230 Tresser Blvd., 203-967-0000; thecapitalgrille.com
Not in the mood to cook? Want something else besides pizza? Here are 9 places where you can buy yummy food and claim you made it yourself.
1 Ole Mole
This is one small joint—three tables and a couple of seats at the counter—making it a perfect spot for quick, affordable Mexican. People who love it (ahem) have been going for years. Try the enchiladas suizas or any of the burritos. And don’t forget a side of guacamole.
1030 High Ridge Rd., 203-461-9962; facebook.com/olemolect
2 Station Eats
Grass-fed burgers and organic fries are a big draw at this hip, sustainable-food restaurant. The hot dogs are also made from grass-fed beef, and are nitrate-free as well. The build-your-own philosophy means lots of topping choices, all on a grilled potato bun. This second Station Eats is much bigger than its New Canaan sister, with 100 seats, which means that if you feel like grabbing a chair and slurping down a high-octane, spiked shake for adults (the U-turn has bourbon, chocolate ice cream and oreos), you can find a seat.
60 Atlantic St., 203-588-0960; stationeats.com
3 Reddi Rooster
Craving fried food and need it quick? Reddi Rooster (born Garden Catering) is returning to its roots with golden fried chicken nuggets made from chicken breast, potato cones—deep fried balls of mashed potato—and fries shaken with special seasoning. They’ve been satisfying cravings for generations (the High Ridge location opened thirty-eight years ago). In a hurry? The in-and-out service is super speedy.
877 High Ridge Rd.,203-461-8095; 1053 E. Main St., 203-323-4931; facebook.com/reddirooster
4 Kit's Thai Kitchen
With its colorful exterior, and its cheerful and friendly staff, it’s a pleasure to pick up some drunken noodles or a Massaman curry for dinner. The fresh, sweet, sour and spice-filled flavors of Kit's Thai offer plenty of choices for vegetarians and alternative diet folks. Dine-in option includes an outdoor patio that makes the best of busy High Ridge Road.
927 High Ridge Rd., 203-329-7800; kitsthai.com
5 Kiku Sushi
No “same-old, same-old” at Kiku. Sure, you’ll find tempura and California rolls here, but the menu is creative and contemporary too, and offers popular pan-Asian dishes like sea bass in chili sauce. Not to mention thirty special sushi rolls. How does Stamford Roll? With tuna, yellowtail, salmon and three kinds of tobiko.
1074 Hope St., 203-609-0388; stamfordkikusushi.com
6 Layla's Falafel
A beloved storefront that is the place to go when craving that glorious falafel, a warm pita filled with balls of fried, mashed chickpeas or fava beans, and lettuce, tomatoes and tahini sauce. Succulent shawarma keeps meat lovers happy too.
936 High Ridge Rd., 203-461-8004
7 Pat's Hubba Hubba
It’s chili, dogs, burgers and fries all the way at this pink and turquoise 1950s-themed, crowd-pleasing roadside diner on the East Side. Insiders tell us it’s a popular place to pick up burgers before going to the beach. And the staff is super friendly, whether you’re calling in an order or picking it up.
820 Cove Rd., 203-325-9928
8 K&S Top of the Hill
Jerk chicken is the signature food of Jamaica and the jerk here gets its spicy smokiness from Scotch bonnet peppers. Located near Stamford Hospital, K&S does a big lunch business. Native Jamaicans rave about the oxtail stew, flavored with thyme and those fiery Scotch bonnets.
114 West Broad St., 203-975-8795
9 China Pavilion
Where “Chinese” fits before “takeout” like few other places. With its big menu, and great variety of options, an entire family can find something to love, and have plenty remain for leftovers the next day. Local fans of Chinese food give points to China Pavilion for the freshness of the veggies and the brown rice option.
67-69 W. Broad St., 203-978-1533; chinapavilionstamford.com
Things We Love
The sleek, Las Vegas-glam atmosphere at HUDSON grille, plus their orange-coconut crème brûlée
128 Bedford St., 203-883-8600; hudsongrillect.biz
The Roman-sidewalk café mood at Capriccio Café, where Italia soccer fans can always find the big match on TV
189 Bedford St., 203-356-9819; capriccio-cafe.com
The Power Hour specials at Morton’s Steakhouse
377 N. State St., 203-324-3939; mortons.com/stamford
The large Italian wine and craft beer menu at Aria
1033 Washington Blvd., 203-324-2742; ariacuisine.com
The daily fresh flowers, crisp white tablecloths and quiet elegance of Ferrante
191 Summer St., 203-323-2000; ferranterestaurant.com
The “let us take care of you” family-style dinner at Patrizia’s
249 Main St., 203-348-8000; patriziasofstamford.com
The $2 happy-hour beer options and all-day breakfast at Sundance Café
105 Broad St., 203-252-2333; thesundancecafe.com
The gluten-free and wheat pasta options at Siena
519 Summer St., 203-351-0898; sienaristorante.net
The hip and modern, red-and-black Chinese Mirch dining room, and how it’s become two restaurants in one, also serving Persis’s Indian menu.
35 Atlantic St., 203-969-7000; chinesemirch.com
The regional pastas of Italy and the fluffy ricotta cake at cozy Piatto in Glenbrook
245 Hope St., 203-504-8815; piattostamford.com
The glowing Venetian plaster walls at Quattro Pazzi, and its patio with views of the Avon Theatre
269 Bedford St., 203-324-7000; quattropazzistamford.com
The crispy and addictive tater tots at Grand Burger
15 Bank St., 203-323-3232; stamfordgrand.com
The choice of authentic Mexican cuisine and Tex-Mex favorites at Casa Villa, and the margaritas too, of course
182 West Main St., 203-323-1721; casavillearestaurant.com
The order-as-much-as-you-want system at the Mex beach shack Bartaco, and the top-shelf tequila too
222 Summer St., 203-323-8226; bartaco.com
The fresh-from-scratch New American cooking at Olio, a new Springdale gem
934 Hope St., 203-817-0303; oilostamford.com
The reliable and quick service at SBC Restaurant & Brewery especially when you have movie tickets in hand
131 Summer St., 203-327-2337; sbcrestaurants.com
The beer, of course, but also karaoke night at Monster B’s Bar and Grille
489 Glenbrook Rd., 203-355-1032; monsterbs.com
Market-catch, hand-fileted fish cooked the way we like it at Mitchell’s Fish Market
230 Tresser Blvd., 203-323-3474; mitchellsfishmarket.com
The handmade mini cavatelli with shrimp, beans, spinach and garlic at Café Silvium
371 Shippan Ave., 203-324-1651; cafesilvium.com
Knowing that by the time you read this, Boca will be open
245 Bedford St.
The gothic look of the Dragonfly Restaurant & Lounge, with a patio that is the best-seat-in-the-house for the Parade Spectacular
489 Summer St., 203-357-9800; dragonflyloungect.com
5 great places where you can take the kids—and not worry if they spill the milk—that also offer gourmet options to grown-ups.
1 City Limits Diner
This big, shiny, upscale diner does it all and more. The kids menu ranges from PB&J to a six-ounce. strip steak with broccoli and fries. The adult-friendly menu here is huge, and it forays into New American cuisine. Mom can order a Washington State Riesling and a sesame-crusted tuna salad. Dad can order a Belgian ale and grilled pork chops with caramelized onions and chili peppers. Plus City Limits has an on-site bakery. Dessert is a must!
135 Harvard Ave., 203-348-7000; citylimitsdiner.com
2 Mackenzie's Bar & Grill
North Stamford families were happy when this casual American pub opened on High Ridge, where eight TVs stream live sports in the tavern. The restaurant stays open from lunch onward; it gets lots of after-school traffic too. After 5 p.m., it is filled with families ordering chicken tenders and sliders for the kids, who get free ice cream and one free soda with every meal.
970 high Ridge Rd., 203-322-9888; mackenziesstamford.com
3 Bobby V's Sports Gallery Café
With fifty HD TVs circling the room, every member of the family can watch a different game while enjoying wings, nachos or burgers. This is the place to relax and get real (go ahead, Dad, order a Bud). Sports legend and Stamford native Bobby Valentine displays his collection of sports memorabilia at this lively sports bar. This place has been around for twenty-seven years because everyone’s welcome, no matter what team you root for.
225 Main St., 203-348-0010; bobbyv.com
4 Lucky's Classic Burger & Malt Shop
This joint is hopping with kids and families. Lucky’s is a retro Back-to-the-Future restaurant with doo-wop music, a soda fountain and tabletop jukeboxes. Put the kids in one of the red booths and the adults in another and order up burgers, dogs, fries and shakes. Kid meals arrive in cardboard models of classic 1950s cars. With a seasonal patio, Lucky’s also serves breakfast on weekends.
209 Bedford St., 203-978-0268; luckysclassic.com
5 Bar Q
This new finger-lickin’ eatery serves up tapas-sized, à la carte portions of barbecue and fixins’ in casual, friendly digs (behind the Black Bear Saloon). It’s rough-hewn cozy with wood walls (only fitting in a place that smokes meat over oak) and cowhide fabric. Kids love the mini waffles and chicken—just ask the chef to hold the spice. The mac ‘n’ cheese is creamy, and the collards so soft and mild, even kids will eat their vegetables. Grown-ups mightwant to come back without the kids to enjoy the big selection of craft beer and bourbon.
261 Main St., 203-316-0278; barqstamford.com
From happy hour to the late hour, The City That Works turns into Party City. Here is the straight up on 6 see-and- be-seen hot spots abuzz with people laughing, mingling, eating and drinking.
1 Kona Grill
This Asian-American bar and restaurant in the outdoor Stamford Town Center restaurant plaza draws a lively after-work crowd of professionals who enjoy the open air vibe, the mojitos, the creative bar menu and, of course, the sushi. It’s a bustling singles scene, with the crowd growing as diners stop by for an after-dinner drink (or two) and a late-night snack.
230 Tresser Blvd., 203-324-5700; konagrill.com
2 Butterfield 8
The action starts at five around the fifty-foot granite-topped bar, with four flatscreens tuned into the games of the day. It’s a vibrant scene; If you come alone to eat at the bar, you won’t be alone for long. Every night there’s a different special on mixed drinks, wine and beer, and American comfort food made for sharing, like nachos and fried mac ‘n’ cheese. Tuesday is craft beer night, Wednesday is half-priced-wine night, and Thursday is Girls Night Out (cosmos are $7). On weekends, a line forms down the street as the lounge transforms into a dance club.
112 Bedford St., 203-504-8123; butterfield8stamford.com
3 Lola's Mexican Kitchen
A warm brick and reclaimed-wood interior gives Lola’s a cozy and contemporary feel that doesn’t cry out “Olé!” Yet the fiesta begins at happy hour with fresh fruit cocktails like Skinny Girl Margarita, a citrus-tequila-Cointreau concoction. Habanero edamame is a favorite appetizer, and we've heard raves about the roasted pork carnitas. With seventeen Mexican beers and forty-two tequilas on the menu, the vibe grows clubby after 10 p.m. on weekends, when the deejay gets to work.
135 Bedford St., 203-674-5652; lolasstamford.com
4 Zaza Italian Gastrobar
Being at Zaza can make you feel like you’re an Italian movie star from the 1950s. This lively, red-banquetted restaurant with a long, white marble bar offers a big menu of Italian tapas, pasta, pizza, and wines by-the-glass, which include “interesting whites,” “interesting reds,” and the “owners selection.” They also call themselves a mozzarella bar: try the sampler and experience the different tastes and textures.
122 Broad St., 203-348-2300; zazagastrobar.com
5 Plan B Burger
The fifth addition to this Connecticut chainlet (soon to expand to Chicago, Boston, D.C. and Atlanta) specializes in burgers, bourbon and beer. They make twenty kinds of burgers from verified humane beef; yes, they serve a veggie and salmon burger too. At the bar, cicerones (certified beer servers) explain the flavors and styles of the big American craft beer list. This giant restaurant brings a funky flair—meat-hook lamps, and patches of the faux adobe walls worn to reveal brick—to the Stamford Town Center plaza. Come hungry.
230 Tresser Blvd., 203-964-8353; planbburger.com
6 Bar Rosso
The menu of this hip, bi-level restaurant is now contemporary Italian. At happy hour, the long, fifty-foot bar starts to fill with locals sipping from the all-Italian wine list (thirty by the glass and 120 by the bottle). Everyone grazes on complimentary small plates of bruschetta and pizzette, or orders artisan pizzas. The feel is trendy and lively, with a deejay playing music on Thursday nights. There’s a late-night menu too, served until midnight every night.
30 Spring St., 203-388-8640; barrossoct.com
10 destinations where you can savor rich flavors from around the world. With so many culturally diverse choices, from classic and inventive, to homey steals and deals, you won't
have to travel far for good food.
Vegetarian dishes are deeply spiced at Navaratna, a relaxed, reasonably priced vegetarian Indian restaurant downtown that is named after the nine ancient sacred gems. The room is spare and understated, but its dishes represent the continent’s varied regions and ethnic influences, from street snacks to curries, breads and rice dishes. Dishes are made to order at the busy open kitchen and brought to the table by friendly servers.
133 Atlantic St., 203-348-1070; navaratnact.com
This brand-new venture from the owners of Zaza is a spot by Stamford Harbor that boasts red-leather seating, a white Carrara marble bar and festive tavern look inside, but here the windows roll away to a waterfront deck with views of the water. The menu is a blend of Cuban classics and Italian cucina—word on the street is that the ropa vieja is a must-try—and wash it down with any of the rum cocktails bound to put you in a dolce vita mood.
78 Southfield Ave., 203-817-0700; dolcecubano.com
Greek food goes modern in this downtown favorite that evokes the feeling of the Aegean through stark white décor and a blue beachside evoking light. The food is simple, fresh and tasty, such as grilled meats and fish with rosemary, thyme and lemon. Half of the wine list is Greek, and patrons discover how these light wines pair well with the flavors. Eos offers lots of choices for vegans, vegetarians and those on a gluten-free diet. Get in the mood with live Greek music on weekends.
490 Summer St., 203-569-6250; eosgreekcuisine.com
Step into Latin America at this fun, colorful, lively location that has won the hearts of locals (and plenty of folks from nearby towns) with its creative pan-Latin cuisine that takes its cues from Spain, Colombia, Mexico and the Caribbean. Being here just makes people feel great. Brush up on your Spanish and put this on your next must-order list: grilled steak with chimichurri sauce, black beans, yellow rice and fried plantains. Hungry yet?
954 E. Main St., 203-323-3176; brasitas.com
Much closer than Cuzco, this casual and friendly downtown location (with its sister Fiesta Cove) satifies cravings for the fusion of native Indian, Spanish and Chinese that defines Peruvian food. The “national dish” is lomo salteado, a stir-fry of strips of beef, bell peppers and potatoes, served here with French fries. Like it hot? Spice it up with aji amarillo, a puree of hot yellow chili peppers. Purists favor the ceviche here, and if you have a sweet tooth, top off your meal with alfajores, just like abuelita used to make.
83 Atlantic St., 203-323-4300; fiestaatlantic.com
This popular, hip Morrocan-Mediterranean joint is as vibrant as its deep red walls and flickering candles. Bartenders shake up cocktails made with house-infused spirits and pour glasses of wine from the large selection. The Mediterranean tapas menu makes it a great place for sharing spice-filled, aromatic dishes with friends. Tap into its energy with live jazz and blues during the week.
227 Summer St., 203-324-3391; thefez1.com
Chef-owner Judith Roll brings a deft hand to Mediterranean food inspired by her travels in Israel, Egypt, Greece and Turkey. The small and cheerful restaurant offers fresh, veggie-forward food that fills you up and makes you feel healthy. Vegetarian “chopped liver,” made with black-eyed peas, walnuts and hard-boiled eggs, comes showered with caramelized onions on crisp herbed pita triangles. Insider tip: Chef Roll was a pastry chef at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago and makes wonderful American cakes and cookies and Middle Eastern desserts. Try the rich, creamy sesame halvah ice cream.
59 High Ridge Rd., 203-504-8888; tabouligrill.com
Start with a traditional caipirinha, then eat all you can eat at this authentic Brazilian churrascaria, where servers dressed as South American gauchos will serve you tableside from skewers of juicy and tender rotisserie-grilled meats. If that’s not enough, there’s plenty of cold and hot fixins’ at the salad bar. Leave room for dessert!
5 Broad St., 203-964-9177; rodiziogrill.com
Not content to rest on its laurels, the celebrated Tawa is evolving. Yes, you can still get Indian-style tapas, breads and cocktails at the Bread Bar on the ground floor. Upstairs in the dining room, the buffet lunch draws foodies, but new to the menu are Hakka-style stir-fry dishes (influenced by the Chinese) and British-style curries. Whoever can eat the Five Alarm Curry wins a beer (order one anyway; you’re going to need it!)
211 Summer St., 203-359-8977; tawaonline.com
Talk about a prime location. This two-year old Mexican eatery, on the corner of Summer and Main, boasts a mirrored, black-and-yellow décor with a South-of-the-border nightclub feel. It is known for hearty portions of authentic Mexican and yummy Tex-Mex, but if you must choose, the chiles rellenos are the house specialty. There for happy hour? You'll get a kick out of the jalapeño margarita and chicken wings with chipotle sauce.
20 Summer St., 203-588-9400; rivieramayact.com
Since pizza is such a full-fledged food obsession in Stamford, with pizza tours, rumors of stolen recipes and bloggers posting reviews, we thought we'd add our two cents to the chatter with
a brief look at 10 pizzerias you need to check out.
Springdale family-owned, full-service restaurant offering classic Southern Italian cuisine
921 Hope Street., 203-357-0836; amorerestaurantstamford.com
A blues-themed joint in Bulls Head that spotlights house-made ingredients and craft beer
85 High Ridge Rd., 203-977-7700; coalhousepizza.com
Around since 1935, this mostly take-out place with a cult following is known for its no-frills setting.
172 Myrtle Ave., 203-359-2184; colonygrill.com
Family-owned Glenbrook restaurant now in its thirty-third year
230 Hope ST., 203-325-0660; hopepizza.com
John the Baker
Family-owned Bulls Head staple, remembered for many a childhood birthday party
30 Long Ridge Rd., 203-325-0707; johnthebakerrestaurantct.com
Mario the Baker
Thirty-two-year-old institution offering pizza, plus a full Italian menu
864 High Ridge Rd., 203-329-0440; mariothebakerstamford.com
Remo's Brick Oven Pizza Company
Offering Napoletana and New York-style pizzas that got a thumbs-up from actor Robert DeNiro
35 Bedford St., 203-973-0077; remospizza.com
Ten-year-old establishment serving New York-style pies beloved by thin-crust lovers
2801 Summer St., 203-323-7777; ridgewaypizzastamford.com
New, convivial multilevel restaurant serving Neapolitan pie topped with fresh, local and house-made ingredients. Extensive wine list offered.
1980 W. Main St., 203-324-5900; rizzutos.com
Tried and True
In a sea of new restaurants, there are several that have stood the test of time, and beckon us to go back again and again. Here's the dish on 9 institutions that know exactly how to do it right time after time.
It is known for its lunch specials, which draw a hefty business crowd, but to describe this Japanese bistro in a word, it would have to be: Hibachi. Bring friends and have fun watching the chefs show off their knife skills as they prepare their grilled specialties. A great deal, too: a hibachi meal includes the grilled steak and shrimp, plus fried rice, vegetables and miso soup.
84 West Park Pl., 203-357-0281; kujakustamford.com
Columbus Park Trattoria
The fresh pasta made every day has a well-deserved reputation at this family-run, high-end Italian hot spot featuring the best of Italian cooking made with high-quality, imported ingredients. The family is steeped in Italian tradition, and runs their restaurant group (Applausi Osteria in Greenwich and Tarantino’s Restaurant in Westport) with an air of professionalism; they still greet regulars by name. Come hungry and be prepared to mangiare!
205 Main St., 203-967-9191; columbusparktrattoria.com
A recent renovation has brightened the interior of this twenty-two year-old waterfront American restaurant at Stamford Landing, with views of the Stamford Harbor and eleven slips for transit boaters. This is a big restaurant, seating almost 300, one of the few places where you can walk in with a group of fifteen and be seated. Crab Shell gets a lot of families; kids love the big salt-water fish tank. And everyone feels youthful on the waterfront, boardwalk patio sipping rum punches and swaying to the beat of the cover bands.
46 Southfield Ave., 203-967-7229; crabshell.com
The Pellicci family has been feeding generations of locals with hearty portions of Southern Italian food since 1947. Today the grandchildren of the late Nonna Pellicci are in the kitchen, making red sauce just the way she did, with plum tomatoes imported from “It-ly.” Longtime customers call it “our place,” but even new customers are greeted like friends. And the recent renovation of the main dining room—the circa 1955 knotty pine has been replaced with beige hues and lots of glowing mirrors—has everyone smiling!
96 Stillwater Ave., 203-323-2542; pelliccis.com
Kotobuki Japanese Cuisine
Masa Soto calls himself a Japanese food stylist, one of the many indications that Kotobuki is no ordinary Japanese restaurant. Soto is a classically, strictly trained sushi chef (that’s fifteen years of training). Quality and details are paramount to him; one taste of the rice and you’ll know, plus the fish is absolutely fresh every day. Kotobuki has been open since 1985, and has a loyal following—waiters are known to bring regulars their favorite drinks without asking.
457 Summer St., 203-359-4747; kotobukijapaneserestaurant.com
The flavors of the Isle of Ponza (lots of fresh herbs) fill this bright, twenty-nine-year-old eatery, one of Stamford’s best-kept East Side secrets. Serving a menu filled with family recipes, this locale is as sunny as the Mediterranean and as intimate as Nonna's Sunday dinner.
812 East Main St., 203-348-7742; villaitaliastamford.com
Fine dining lives at this thirty-five- year-old French favorite of the older set (Sunday dinner starts at
4 p.m.). And with a recent facelift, this Brittany dowager has brightened up. La Bretagne serves traditional French cuisine—homemade pâté, escargot, sole meunière, bien sûr— but the pièce de résistance is duck à l’orange, carved tableside as the waiter flambés the orange sauce. After dinner, he’ll roll the dessert cart to your table. Such sweet and attentive service.
2010 West Main St., 203-324-9539; labretagnerestaurant.com
Tigín Irish Pub & Restaurant
Tigín means cottage in Gaelic, and this wood-walled Irish pub is filled with little nooks where people of all ages and nationalities (think international soccer fans) gather for an all-day Irish breakfast, some fish and chips and a perfectly poured pint of Guinness from St. James Gate in Dublin. Appetizers are yummy, too—like mini burgers flavored with Smithwick’s ale—and perfect while you watch the match.
175 Bedford St., 203-353-8444; tiginirishpub.com
This French mainstay reminds everyone of that little corner bistro in Paris. The wood floors are worn, but the tablecloths are crisp and white. The colorful Impressionistic mural of friends (including Jean-Pierre himself), enjoying lunch overlooking a river, says it all: relax and enjoy food with family and friends. Classics like onion soup and steak au poivre take a proud place on the menu, but the menu isn’t stuck in the past. There’s a little bit of California and the Mediterranean in chef Jean- Pierre’s most vibrant dishes.
188 Bedford St., 203-357-9526; chezjeanpierre.com