New Haven, Mystic, and the Coast Restaurants

We’ve compiled the best of the best in New Haven, Mystic, and the Coast - browse our top choices for Restaurants during your stay.

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  • 1. Abbott's Lobster in the Rough

    $$

    If you want some of the freshest lobster, crab, mussels, or clams on the half shell (there are also non-seafood options), head down to this unassuming seaside lobster shack in sleepy Noank, a few miles southwest of Mystic. Most seating is outdoors or on the dock, where the views of Noank Harbor are magnificent.

    117 Pearl St., Noank, Connecticut, 06340, USA
    860-536–7719

    Known For

    • Fresh seafood by the seaside in the fresh air
    • Lobster dinner, lobster roll, lobster bisque---all delish
    • Perfect coastal atmosphere

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Columbus Day–Apr. and Mon.–Thurs. early May and Sept.
  • 2. Atticus Bookstore Café

    $

    Come to this independent bookstore, café, and bakery to buy a book, have lunch (or breakfast), or have breakfast (or lunch) and buy a book. "Nourishment for mind and body" is the approach here—in the style of a European neighborhood café.

    1082 Chapel St., New Haven, Connecticut, 06510, USA
    203-776–4040

    Known For

    • Sandwiches, salads, soups, and a few "plates & bowls"
    • Delicious homemade breads and pastries
    • Congenial atmosphere all day long
  • 3. Breakwater

    $$$

    Enjoy fresh-caught New England seafood (and more) dockside at Breakwater, midway along Water Street in Stonington Borough. Dine inside or outside on the deck in warm weather; the roomy bar is a popular gathering place in winter months.

    66 Water St., Stonington, Connecticut, 06378, USA
    860-415–8123

    Known For

    • Takeout and boatside delivery
    • Amazing sunsets
    • All-day dining

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon.-Tues.
  • 4. Frank Pepe's Pizzeria Napoletana

    $$

    Pepe's may serve the best pizza in the world, as so many people claim. Try the justifiably famous white-clam pie (especially good topped with bacon), but just thinking about the original tomato pie (with mozzarella) makes your mouth water.

    157 Wooster St., New Haven, Connecticut, 06511, USA
    203-865–5762

    Known For

    • Long line for a table—often an hour or more—but takeout is quicker
    • Thin-crust pizza baked in a coal-fired brick oven
    • Pies cut in odd-shaped pieces—great for kids

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Reservations not accepted
  • 5. Union League Cafe

    $$$$

    In a gorgeous Beaux Arts dining room, this lively brasserie wins high marks for its updated French cuisine. The knowledgeable staff are happy to recommend wine pairings to complement whatever dishes you select—perhaps potato-crusted halibut with fennel compote and ratatouille, a grilled beef filet with fingerling potatoes, or the plat du jour.

    1032 Chapel St., New Haven, Connecticut, 06510, USA
    203-562–4299

    Known For

    • Prices are steep but worth the splurge
    • Elegant atmosphere and impeccable service
    • Always great food and exemplary service

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Sun. and Mon. No lunch.
  • Recommended Fodor’s Video

  • 6. Ashley's Ice Cream

    $

    Right in the town center, a hop and a skip from popular Hammonasset Beach State Park, Ashley's has flavors of homemade ice cream to tempt every tastebud. The business that began in New Haven in 1979 was named for the owner's champion Frisbee-catching dog, Ashley Whippet, who's favorite flavor was chocolate banana; if you're inclined to buy a pup-size treat—and even though Ashley Whippett loved it—chocolate is not recommended for dogs!

    724 Boston Post Rd (U.S. 1), Madison, Connecticut, 06443, USA
    203-245–1113

    Known For

    • More than 100 possible flavors and always adding more
    • Ice-cream pies and cakes to go, too
    • More Ashley's are in New Haven, Hamden, Branford, and Guilford
  • 7. Barcelona Wine Bar

    $$

    There's no need to take a transatlantic flight to Spain when you can feast on authentic Spanish cuisine right here in New Haven. There are "large plate" entrées and salads on the menu, but the tapas are the best bet—rich, tasty, and full of flavor.

    155 Temple St., New Haven, Connecticut, 06510, USA
    203-848–3000

    Known For

    • More than 30 tapas on the menu
    • Charcuterie and cheese menu
    • 2,000-bottle wine cellar

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: No lunch Mon.–Sat., Reservations essential
  • 8. Café Routier

    $$$

    Grilled hanger steak, cioppino, and pan-roasted duck breast are among the favorites at this bistro, which specializes in New England favorites and seasonal dishes. Check out the Mood Lounge for excellent cocktails and smaller plates meant for sharing.

    1353 Boston Post Rd. (U.S.1), Westbrook, Connecticut, 06498, USA
    860-399–8700

    Known For

    • Ecclectic menu that changes seasonally
    • Prompt but unobtrusive service
    • Outdoor dining in nice weather

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: No lunch
  • 9. Captain Scott's Lobster Dock

    $$

    Don't be put off by the long line waiting to order classic fare like lobster rolls (hot or cold, small or large), steamers, fried clams, homemade clam fritters, "chowda"—plus foot-long hot dogs. This outdoor restaurant on Shaw's Cove—where you eat at picnic tables (BYOB) alongside the marina—is a great place to eat and a great place to spend time on a hot summer day.

    80 Hamilton St., New London, Connecticut, 06320, USA
    860-439–1741

    Known For

    • Picturesque waterfront spot
    • Everything made on-site and to order
    • Ed's hot fudge sundae

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed mid-Oct.–mid-Apr.
  • 10. Claire's Corner Copia

    $

    Claire's has been a New Haven institution since 1975, and it remains a popular destination for vegetarians and vegans. The large menu offers sandwiches, quesadillas, burritos, gluten-free dishes, kosher food, salads of every sort, and breakfast items (some served all day).

    1000 Chapel St., New Haven, Connecticut, 06510, USA
    203-562–3888

    Known For

    • Organic, sustainable ingredients
    • No alcohol
    • Try the signature Lithuanian coffee cake with or without frosting

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Tues.
  • 11. Dog Watch Café

    $$

    Seafood is the draw at this harborside restaurant—clam chowder, oysters or clams on the half-shell, "dogwiches," fish-and-chips, bouillabaisse, roasted cod, Stonington scallops, and more. Alternatively, choose a grilled chicken sandwich, flat-iron steak, burger, or soup and salad. Sit inside or outside and enjoy the view. Dog Watch Mystic, a sister restaurant, has a similar waterfront location and menu at 20 Old Stonington Road in nearby Mystic.

    194 Water St., Stonington, Connecticut, 06378, USA
    860-415–4510

    Known For

    • Great food, of course
    • Lawn games and live music in the "Dog Pound"
    • The ice cream tent
  • 12. Hallmark Drive-In

    $

    En route to or from the beach—or to or from anywhere, for that matter—stop at this seasonal roadside stand for a bite to eat (burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, grinders, fish-and-chips) or just a summertime treat. Arguably the best ice cream around, whether in a cup, on a cone, or in a milk shake, root beer float, or sundae.

    113 Shore Rd. (Rte. 156), Old Lyme, Connecticut, 06371, USA
    860-598–9680

    Known For

    • The ice cream, of course
    • Picnic area with a view of Long Island Sound
    • Occasional live music in the evening

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Labor Day–late Apr.
  • 13. Heirloom

    $$$

    This isn't your typical hotel restaurant: Occupying half of The Study at Yale hotel lobby, this contemporary American eatery has a casually refined decor. The seasonal menu emphasizes the freshest locally sourced ingredients, with highlights like a warm local ricotta appetizer with thyme and truffle on a crostini, lamb cavatelli pasta, and Connecticut grass-fed beef burger.

    1157 Chapel St., New Haven, Connecticut, 06511, USA
    203-503–3919

    Known For

    • Fresh, bright, and contemporary
    • Innovative farm-to-table cuisine
    • Enjoy a pre- or post-dinner cocktail at the bar
  • 14. Lenny and Joe's Fish Tale

    $$

    At Lenny and Joe's Fish Tale, kids of all ages love to eat their lobster rolls or fried seafood served indoors or, better yet, outdoors near a hand-carved Dentzel carousel with flying horses (and a whale, frog, lion, seal, and more), which the restaurant runs from early May through August (sometimes later) and donates all proceeds to charity. Most of the menu involves fish of one kind or another, but Lenny and Joe's also serves burgers, franks, and chicken sandwiches or dinners.

    1301 Boston Post Rd. (U.S. 1), Madison, Connecticut, 06443, USA
    203-245–7289
  • 15. Louis' Lunch

    $

    This family-owned luncheonette, opened since 1895, is recognized as the birthplace of the "hamburger sandwich." Its first-rate burgers are cooked to order in an old-fashioned cast-iron grill (that dates back to 1898) and served with a slice of cheese, tomato, and onion (the only accepted garnishes) on two pieces of white toast. Add potato salad or chips and a slice of pie, and you're all set!

    261 Crown St., New Haven, Connecticut, 06511, USA
    203-562–5507

    Known For

    • No ketchup allowed
    • All-day (afternoon and evening) dining
    • Open until 1 am Thursday–Saturday

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Sun. and Mon., August
  • 16. Michael's Dairy

    $

    The local go-to place for authentic, old-fashioned, New England-style ice cream, Michael's Dairy has been a fixture on the campus of Mitchell College since 1943. The 39 flavors (plus sherbet, sorbet, frozen yogurt) range from old favorites like butter crunch, orange pineapple, and black raspberry to more modern flavors like salted caramel chocolate pretzel, campfire s'mores, and birthday cake. We love frozen pudding ice cream, found only in New England!

    629 Montauk Ave., New London, Connecticut, 06320, USA
    860-443–2464

    Known For

    • A few tables and chairs inside and out
    • Scoops, sundaes, milk shakes, floats—plus pints, quarts, and half-gallons
    • Sugar-free and vegan offerings, too

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed mid-Sept.–Memorial Day
  • 17. Modern Apizza

    $

    It's not what Modern Apizza has that sets it apart from the rest but what its signature pie doesn't have: toppings. The pizzeria's "plain" pie is a thin crust with a layer of tomato sauce and just a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese. If you want "mootz" (mozzarella in New Haven–speak) or any other toppings, then you have to ask. But why mess with a classic? Modern Apizza has been serving its "plain" pies since 1934, and business is still booming.

    874 State St., New Haven, Connecticut, 06511, USA
    203-776–5306

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon.
  • 18. Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream

    $

    Sit inside or outside at this classic ice-cream parlor, right next to the Mystic River Drawbridge, and enjoy homemade ice cream and other soda fountain favorites—maybe a New York egg cream or an ice cream shake. This ice cream has half the air whipped into it compared to other "homemade" and mass-produced products, making it richer, creamier, and more flavorful.

    2 W. Main St., Mystic, Connecticut, 06355, USA
    860-572–7978

    Known For

    • Drawbridge original flavors—Mystic Mud, Mystic Turtle, and Seaport Salty Swirl
    • Espresso, pastries, and smoothies, too
    • Close up view of the drawbridge opening and closing to allow boats to pass through
  • 19. Oyster Club

    $$$

    In the Oyster Club's rustic, barnlike dining room, start your meal with a selection of oysters and clams from the raw bar or a cup of the raved-about quahog clam chowder—New England (creamy) or Rhode Island (clear) style—before moving along to either fresh-from-the-sea surf or prime turf for your entrée. In summer, the open-air Treehouse offers another lively spot to enjoy a casual meal or a drink—weather permitting.

    13 Water St., Mystic, Connecticut, 06355, USA
    860-415–9266

    Known For

    • Menu changes daily
    • Ingredients sourced from local farms and waters
    • Happy hour at the Treehouse summer afternoons

    Restaurant Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Tues. No lunch Mon.–Thurs.
  • 20. Sally's Apizza

    $$

    This place has been a rival of Frank Pepe's since 1938, when Salvatore Consiglio, Pepe's nephew, decided to break away from his relatives and open his own place. The result of this family feud is two competing pizzerias and a divided city: those who believe Frank Pepe's serves the best pizza and those who are devoted to Sally's.

    237 Wooster St., New Haven, Connecticut, 06511, USA
    203-624–5271

    Known For

    • Plan to wait—for a table and then for your pizza
    • Hand-tossed pies baked in a coal-fired brick oven
    • Sal's family sold out in 2017, but new owners vow to continue the tradition

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