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Top 10 restaurants on the Conneticut Shoreline
Top Ten Western Shoreline - Top Ten Eastern Shoreline - Branford - Guilford - Madison - Clinton - Westbrook - Essex - Old Saybrook - Old Lyme

We've divided the Top 10 Best of the Best Shoreline Restaurants into two Sections: Branford, Guilford, and Madison — the larger towns on the West, or New Haven County side, of The Shoreline in area code 203; and Westbrook, Clinton, Old Saybrook, Old Lyme, and Essex — the smaller towns to the East, or Middlesex County side, of The Shoreline in area code 860. And we've picked the Best of The Best on the basis of the place's success in doing what they're aiming to do, rather than any hierarchy of style.

Connecticut Shoreline

Eastern Shoreline

Quattro's - Guilford
Lenny & Joe's - Locations in Madison and Westbrook
G-Zen - Branford
9 East Hibachi & Asian Kitchen - Branford
Assaggio "A Taste" - Branford
Lenny's Indian Head Inn - Branford
Bar Bouchee - Madison
Le Petit Cafe - Branford
Elizabeth's Cafe - Madison
La Luna - Branford

Listed in random order

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Western CT Shoreline

Liv's Oyster Bar - Old Saybrook
Fresh Salt at Saybrook Point Inn - Old Saybrook
Cafe Routier - Westbrook
Lenny & Joe's Fish Tale - Locations in Westbrook & Madison
Alforno - Old Saybrook
The Chestnut Grille at the Bee and Thistle Inn - Old Lyme
Hanami - Clinton
Lobster Landing - Clinton
Westbrook Lobster - Clinton
Copper Beech Inn - Ivoryton (Essex)

Listed in random order

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Branford Restaurants

Donovan’s Reef - Located in the old Yale Lock Company, Donovan’s Reef is a Branford tradition, with a menu that ranges from your basic burgers to fancy dress fish, pasta, and meat dishes. Grab a seat at the bar for a casual meal — or settle in for a candlelit dinner with a nice bottle of wine. Rock bands and big-screen pro football draw loyal fans on weekends.
1212 Main St., Branford, 203-488-5573

Parthenon Diner - While the Parthenon recalls all that made diners so popular “way back when,” this diner offers a thoroughly modern version of that beloved tradition with plenty of pizzazz, a wide-ranging menu, and portions you never saw in those little old boxcars.
374 E Main St. Branford, 203-481-0333
809 Boston Post Rd., Old Saybrook, 860-395-5111

Le Petit Café - This place is a little jewel, where Owner/Chef Roy Ip’s devotion to “unfussy, uncluttered cuisine” has shaped a crowd-pleasing prix fixe menu rich with authentic French flavor for more than two decades. Duck dishes are a specialty, with superb organic country bread made from scratch daily and a carefully chosen wine list rounding out every meal. Reservations are a must. Open Wednesday through Sunday, with seatings at 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. on Saturday.
225 Montowese St., Branford, 203-483-9791

Lenny's Indian Head Inn - Got a craving for some rich, flavorful seafood bisque…a savory clear-broth clam chowder…or generously portioned fresh-from-the-sea fish dinners? Then you’ve come to the right place. Tuesday’s lobster special is a bona fide bargain. They serve small eight-ounce glasses of frosty draught beers, which is smart since nothing is worse than a warm, flat pint. And it’s all perfectly enhanced by the soft breezes that drift in from the nearby saltwater marsh.
205 S. Montowese St., Branford, 203-488-1500

G-Zen - Recently voted “Best Vegetarian Restaurant” in the USA by Travel & Leisure, G-Zen takes great pride in being a favorite of vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. But that’s hardly a surprise with award-winning vegan Chef Mark Shadle designing mouth-watering dishes that combine a pinch of culinary genius and a dash of Buddhism’s peace balanced with the freshest of ingredients — all 100% organic and all locally grown. His menu is known for pleasing even the most discerning diners.
2 E Main St., Branford, 203-208-0443

Assaggio “A Taste” - Assaggio is a spiffy white-tablecloth kind of place. A place where an intimate dinner enjoyed by candlelight can slowly become a romantic interlude. And best of all, a place where the creative presentation of contemporary Northern Italian fare in a beautiful setting is considered an art. You can ask them about their specials, but the truth is that everything here is special.
168 Montowese St., Branford, 203-483-5426

Nellie Green's - Set behind some weathered buildings at the marina — and both inside and out a bit of a plain Jane — Nellie Green’s is hardly the sort of restaurant you’d expect to sweep you off your feet. But as Exec Chef and Partner Jason notes with a smile, “That’s her charm.” And he’s right. She is tough to resist. Indeed, we were completely smitten by her beautiful views of the Branford River and a superb Rockport Lobster Cavatelli. And they serve a lobster burger that’s indescribable.
50 Maple St., Branford, 203-483-8400

La Luna - Having just celebrated its 20th anniversary, La Luna continues to be a shoreline favorite, with its upscale yet comfortable setting and expertly varied lunch and dinner menus, featuring both authentic Tuscan dishes and innovative culinary creations certain to please. And their legendary blockbuster Sunday brunch — which begins at 10:30 a.m. with the best of breakfast, then shifts into carving stations, antipasti, and all sorts of sinful desserts around twelve — lives up to their claim that it’s the best on the Connecticut coast. The complimentary mimosa or Bloody Mary is a nice touch.
168 N. Main St., Branford, 203-483-9995

Home - For some reason, small restaurants often take on the personality of its owner, and that’s how it is here at Home. Truth is, owner Jared’s genuinely hospitable nature seems to infuse the waitstaff, the kitchen crew, and even the customers with such warmth that diners actually feel, well… at home. Then there’s the food. Both lunch and dinner menus offer a nice fusion of modern American and Italian with plenty of choices, as well as gluten-free dishes — make dining at Home a memorable pleasure. Have a Thimble Islands Ale on us!
1114 Main St., Branford, 203-483-5896

GW Carson's Restaurant - They may call themselves a burger bar, but their burgers aren’t just burgers. Featuring Lamb, Veggie, Mexican, Greek, Salmon, Cajun Turkey, and Jumbo Lump Crab burgers — each with it’s own unique blend of tantalizing toppings, these burgers are amazing. And burgers aren’t all they serve, either. Their small plate offerings, like Thai-style Fried Calamari or the mesclun-based Sweet Citrus salads, are fresh and creative — and so are their dinner entrees. (Ever had Lobster Spaghetti? You have to.) Uniquely stylish plating adds flair to flavor, the house wines are designed to please, and it’s go as you are. So go!
308 East Main St., Branford, 203-208-1469

9 East Hibachi & Asian Kitchen - The first thing — no, make that the first five things — you’ll notice upon entering 9 East are the giant Buddha extending a warm welcome...the waterfall flowing gently behind him...colorful koi, a symbol of love and friendship, swimming happily below, …above, tiny lights that look like a sky filled with stars…and a blend of aromas so tantalizing that you simply cannot wait to order. But wait, you must, because their menu requires perusal. There’s sushi and sashimi, a host of different fusion rolls, and traditional Asian favorites. Teriyaki and Tempura. A whole section of East-Meets-West dinners. And the wildly popular Hibachi, where guests can watch chefs as entertaining as they are gifted creating their entrees right in front of them. Frankly, 9 East is an A-to-Zen dining experience you won’t find elsewhere. But call ahead — especially at the weekend. This place has earned quite a following.
310 East Main St., Branford, 203-315-8111

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Guilford Restaurants

Maritime Grille - Got your heart — and taste buds — set on authentic New England seafood? Then come here for grilled, broiled, baked, or seared-to-your-liking shoreline fare, prime cuts of steak, crisp green salads, and a raw bar. Grab a seat on the patio during the summer months. And after dark, unwind in the cozy lounge while enjoying the music of the area’s finest acoustical musicians.
2548 Boston Post Rd., Guilford, 203-453-0774

Augur's Irish Pub - This spirited little pub is all about time-honored Irish hospitality…a menu filled with appetizers and salads, burgers, sandwiches, pizzas, and traditional entrees like Bangers & Mash or Shepherd’s Pie — all prepared with pride…your choice of 14 different draft beers, including local micro brews…and live music on the weekends. The Leprechauns know where it is. You should, too.
29 Water St., Guilford, 203-453-4936

Som Siam - Despite its location off the Guilford Green, this little place attracts everyone with its genuinely happy bright-yellow clapboards. But while that may be what makes year-rounders and visitors come in for that first meal, they come back time after time after time because of Som Siam’s award-winning Thai cuisine. Indeed, their loyal following raves about the fresh veggie and seafood-combo stir-fried specials and the signature sticky rice. The mango dessert is not to be missed. It’s got a take-out window. And there are two additional locations nearby.
63R Whitfield St., Guilford, 203-458-0228
45 Mill Rock Rd. East, Old Saybrook, 860-388-5400
1209 Main St., Branford, 203-208-4204

The Place - Self-described as “an unusual restaurant,” The Place really is quite a place. For ambience, you’ll be invited to “put your rump on a stump” at one of the big, bright red picnic tables — and as evening falls, strings of lights suspended on poles illuminate the encroaching darkness. But then ambience isn’t what they are known for. What they are known for is food. Really good food cooked over a sizzling wood fire. Lobster, smoky roasted rather than boiled. Fresh clams on the half shell with butter and cocktail sauce grilled over an open fire. And their famous foil packet of steamed shrimp and roasted corn. BYOB and BYOF (fries), but leave your credit card home. A stump awaits you.
901 Boston Post Rd., Guilford, 203-453-9276

Quattro's - Specializing in both Northern Italian cuisine and a lovely fusion of Italian and Latin flavors, Quattro’s is proof that fine dining can be elegant and fun. Enjoy exceptional tapas served with drinks at a good-time bar where you can linger awhile. If you’re still hungry — or simply hungry for more of Quattro’s delectable dishes, grab a table and order the Zuppa di Pesce (a mix of fresh seafood sautéed in garlic and wine over linguine). And before you leave, take a peek through the kitchen door windows, where four slammin’ chefs (skillets flying) turn out their tasty, small plate creations you’ll want to try on your next visit.
14 Water St., Guilford, 203-453-6575

Kamana Fine Indian Cuisine - Have you been to Kamana? If not, you must. For starters, it combines the colorful vibrancy of an Indian marketplace with the calm and simplicity of a small temple — and it’s a lovely balance. Then there’s the service, which is delightfully attentive to all and especially so toward those needing a bit of guidance through a rich menu that even includes vegetarian selections. And finally there’s the cuisine, which, featuring the premium Indian spices, is wholly authentic, utterly delectable, and prepared to meet each customer’s preference for mild, medium, or hot seasoning. Kamana is, as they themselves say, a feast for body and soul — and that’s not something to be missed.
1004 Boston Post Rd., Guilford, 203-689-5728

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Madison Restaurants

Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale - Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tale isn’t just your run-of-the-mill success story. It’s a shoreline legend —period, starring an extensive menu of New England seafood so good that crowds of loyal followers, locals and tourists alike, have been totally hooked for years. Their lobster roll is king. But scrod, fried scallops, and the salt potatoes are right up there in the hierarchy. And you can either eat in or take out for the perfect picnic. Lenny and Joe’s is fast, fresh, and never flounders.
1301 Boston Post Rd., Madison, 203-245-7289
86 Boston Post Rd., Westbrook, 860-669-0767

501 Long Wharf Dr., New Haven, 203-691-6619

Bar Bouchée - Fashioned after bouchons — the neighborhood bistros of Lyon, France, the accent at Bar Bouchée is on French comfort food and casual conviviality. Indeed, guests, new and longtime, often greet the maitre’d with at least a few French words or phrases before being seated in the stunning dining room replete with furnishings directly from France or out on their stylish patio. The award-winning menu includes “perennial favorites with seasonal changes that reflect the offerings of our neighborhood farmers.” This is an absolutely lovely little spot.
8 Scotland Ave., Madison, 203-318-8004

Elizabeth's Cafe - It’s no secret that Elizabeth’s knows a thing or two about gourmet cooking. Indeed, this elegant little country-style café promises meals that simply defy expectations, its ingredients changing with the seasons but its excellence steadfast. Recently, the Rigatoni a la Vodka with chunks of fresh Maine lobster left diners breathless. And they know how to make a good drink, too — their specialties colorful peach and pomegranate martinis and grapefruit Cosmos superb.
885 Boston Post Rd., Madison, 203-245-0250

Cafe Allegre - Café Allegre is like a good friend you can’t wait to see — a friendship that just gets better, enduring not only the “taste” of time but outdoing itself with every passing year by creating an ambiance and seasonally inspired farm-to-table menu that blends the best of old worlds styles and traditions with today’s new world tastes. And the recipe for both this elegant café and its superb menu is a triumph. It’s white-linen dining at its best.
725 Post Rd., Madison, 203-245-7773

Zhang’s - Both Zhang’s have an amazing following, making it two of the hottest restaurants in the area — especially on the weekends. And no wonder. Featuring beautifully prepared Chinese dishes, like the Jumbo Shrimp with a white Marnier sauce and Crispy Orange Beef — and Japanese specialties like Donburi, Udon and sushi. Or enjoy the best of both worlds, by ordering a combination of your Chinese and Japanese favorites. You’ll never be disappointed. Choose either location.
44 Boston Post Rd., Madison, 203-245-3300
455 Boston Post Rd., Old Saybrook, 860-388-3999

Friends & Company - As its name suggests, Friends is a family favorite, because this restaurant turns out comfort food by the boatload. There are homemade soups and homemade breads. Delicious salads with savory dressings. Piquant pastas. Substantial sandwiches and wraps. And an abundant array of flavorful entrées. Stop in for a bite — and bring your friends.
11 Boston Post Rd., Madison, 203-245-0462

Old Schoolhouse Deli - The Old Schoolhouse Deli has a reputation for satisfying serious cravings with serious sandwiches. From gourmet combinations (including their cooked-daily roast beef and Boar’s Head) piled high on fresh-baked hero bread from New York to grilled specials and wraps, it’s all good. Very, very good. And if you prefer, order a salad or one of their hot-lunch specials. Be sure to try the Veggie Supreme Wrap — and add avocado. The prices and the staff are both delightful.
268 Boston Post Rd., Madison, 203-245-DELI (3354)

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Clinton Restaurants

Lobster Landing - Featuring the quintessential lobster roll (the “best in Connecticut” according to most), Lobster Landing is a bona fide shoreline original, as are its tattered little hundred-year-old building that sits on a dock in Clinton Harbor welcoming diners — and its owner, Enea Bacci. Just “Bacci” to his regulars, he can usually be spotted racing around the dock from table to table, enthusiastically delivering his pride of the place to eager patrons, while the rest of the menu (equally good with its tasty sausage/pepper/onion sandwiches, hot dogs, sodas, chips, and ice creams) longs for attention. And while this place may not be fancy, it’s a fanciful little place where the food is absolutely mouthwatering. Start with the lobster roll. But try everything.
152 Commerce St., Clinton, 860-669-2005

Westbrook Lobster - First of all, be alert to the fact that Westbrook Lobster is NOT in Westbrook. It’s in Clinton. (As well as just north of Branford and Guilford in Wallingford.) Confused? Don’t be. Its fans would go anywhere for Westbrook Lobster’s chowder (NE or RI), all the lovely seafood platters, their fabulous lobsters, its small plate menu, and the bar specials that make this unpretentious gathering place so popular. And frankly, it’s really refreshing to find an affordable spot like this with such dependably fresh fish. Clearly, a shoreline favorite.
346 East Main St., Clinton, 860-664-9464
300 Church St., Wallingford, 203-265-5071

Chow Food and Beverage Co. - What do you get when you combine the flavors of barbecue with traditional (and not-so-traditional) American cuisine? An exciting culinary experience. Farmhouse chic accents the eclectic dining room, making this a great place to meet, while the menu — ranging from innovative gourmet pizza to a rack of house-smoked ribs with homemade pineapple chipotle or raspberry-honey barbecue sauce — makes it the perfect place to chow down.
36 Killingworth Tpke., Clinton, 860-669-6200

Taste of China - Without a doubt, this is the finest genuine Chinese cuisine you’ll find on The Shoreline. And don’t be afraid to stray from the ordinary. Cold Sliced Conch and Bang Bang Chicken are superb appetizers. The dumplings get rave reviews. They usually have at least five fish choices in addition to beef, pork, chicken and shellfish specials. And Chicken Fingers, Clams with a Black Bean Sauce, Squirrel Fish, and Salt and Pepper Scallops are worth the adventure — and truly a taste of China.
233 East Main St., Clinton, 860-664-4454
954 Chapel St., New Haven, 203-745-5872

Hanami Japanese Sushi & Hibachi Steak House - This is the star of The Shoreline when it comes to sushi. Regulars often order without even looking at the menu, either creating their own combinations or heeding a tip from one of the savvy servers. They’re confident that they’ll get what they have come to expect — fresh, perfectly made, and beautifully plated. Our favorite? (Well, one of them, anyway.) The Hanami Special Roll.
114 E. Main St., Clinton, 860-664-9268

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Westbrook Restaurants

Bill’s Seafood - Join friends on the deck with for a pitcher of beer or a cold Pepsi, some fresh clams on the half shell, a steaming cup of lobster bisque, and their great fried clam platter. Here, the prices are fair and the food is terrific. But it’s the soft hum of cars driving over the “singing” bridge next to it, the sight of the boats that whisper by, and the sounds of the Dixieland music that make Bill’s a must for shoreline residents and visitors alike. Don’t miss it.
548 Boston Post Rd., Westbrook, 860-399-7224

Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale - Don’t worry! This is the same Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tale as the one in Madison or the one in New Haven. A shoreline legend — period, starring an extensive menu of New England seafood so good that crowds of loyal followers, locals and tourists alike, have been totally hooked for years. Their lobster roll is king. But scrod, fried scallops, and the salt potatoes are right up there in the hierarchy. And you can either eat in or take out for the perfect picnic. Lenny and Joe’s is fast, fresh, and never flounders.
86 Boston Post Rd., Westbrook, 860-669-0767
1301 Boston Post Rd., Madison, 860-245-7289
501 Long Wharf Dr., New Haven, 203-691-6619

Edd’s Place - Oh sure. Edd’s has indoor dining in the “Gazebo,” all ship-shape and retrofitted with checkered oil-cloth covered tables. But this delightfully zany “seafood shack” also invites hungry seafood lovers to dine al fresco on picnic tables that rest on sections of connected planking — a great view of the Menunketesuck River salt marsh adding even more flavor to a fearlessly far-ranging menu that includes everything from foot-long dogs and Panini to roast leg of lamb and all kinds of seafood. And how’s this for customer service: bring in your own freshly caught fish and they’ll cook it for you. A playground keeps the kids happy while the grown ups linger over excellent lobster rolls or whatever. And they make the best fries we’ve had in ages.
478 Boston Post Rd., Westbrook, 860-399-9498

Café Routier - It’s Thursday night, we’re road weary, and both the dining room and Mood Lounge are full. The two seats left at the bar are a welcome sight and we take them. The affable young bartender gives the Routier special, the Black Rita, a powerful shaking while hustling to keep up with the wine and drink orders coming from all directions. And while the appetizers and entrées from the regularly changing dinner menu are primarily French, a zesty global mix gives them the je ne sais quoi that is exactly what we needed. Treat yourself to the same gratification. Bon appetit.
1353 Boston Post Rd., Westbrook, 860-399-8700

Turtle Café - Some describe this little find as a diner. Others, a hole-in-the-wall. But I’m happy to stick my neck out and side with the throngs of regulars who rave about the Turtle Café’s fabulous breakfasts — breakfasts like the white-egg omelet with lobster, asparagus and goat cheese; the nutella crepe, all warm and hazelnutty; the lobster crepe; the salmon crepe; and every one of the frittatas. Get there early or expect a wait. But if there’s a wait, wait. It’s worth it.
4 Westbrook Pl., Westbrook, 860-399-1799

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Essex Restaurants

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, 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

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, 860-767-1776

Gelston House- Come by land, river, or sea — but come, because the stately Victorian Gelston House, set next to the Goodspeed Opera House and 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 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, 860-873-1441

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. And there’s an equally steady flow of jolly good cheer from a bar that’s homeport for boaters and their mates. 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

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Old Saybrook Restaurants

Alforno - OK, here’s the scoop: The lovely New Haven-style thin-crust roasted-veggie pizza — and the Pan-Roasted Pacific Flounder Livornese, prepared with fresh tomato, green and black olives, fresh sliced garlic cloves, sweet onion slivers, and capers over fresh spinach and served with four fat chunks of just-made crusty Pane Toscano (the house special) — are just two of the reasons this well-loved brick-oven pizzeria, which opened more than 20 years ago, is a shoreline favorite. Discover the rest for yourself. Eccelente.
1654 Boston Post Rd., Old Saybrook 860-399-4166

Liv’s Oyster Bar - Why do we love Liv’s? Well, there’s her extensive raw bar, along with some very creative specials all served up in a handsomely restored old movie house. But truth be told, it’s the good-natured staff that makes us happy as a clam. Our server once told us about a 40ish couple who loved the Sashimi Yellow Fin Tuna Pizza appetizer so much that they bought it for everybody at the bar. Anyone who didn’t love it could send it back. Needless to say, no one did. Another time I asked if the chef could make me some clam broth, though it wasn’t on the menu. She soon returned with a steaming bowl — and a bunch of littlenecks. It simply does not get any better than that.
166 Main St., Old Saybrook, 860-395-5577

Nancy's Rosemary & Sage - Much like a great piece of artwork, this place is an original. Indeed, unexpected takes on contemporary American cuisine prepared with a special touch are a delightful surprise. And with a full bar and an extensive selection of reasonably priced wines — along with Nancy and her attentive staff, every visit is truly satisfying.
1080 Boston Post Rd., Old Saybrook, 860-388-1166

Fresh Salt at the Saybrook Point Inn & Spa - A top contender for “where to be seen” along The Shoreline, Fresh Salt offers stunning water views, seasonal outdoor dining, an innovative approach to locally sourced American cuisine, the day’s fresh catch, and a raw bar. Go. Be seen. And enjoy.
2 Bridge St., Old Saybrook, 800-243-0212

Otter Cove Restaurant - If I had to describe Otter Cove, I’d say that for those seeking to impress, it’s elegantly casual. For those hoping to relax, it’s casually elegant. And for those just in search of a good meal at a good price, it’s ideal. From the beautifully weathered clapboards and crisp white trim of the restaurant’s exterior to the spacious fountained terrace, Otter Cover is charming. Inside, it’s cozy and warm, with a menu that includes all of the seafood and landlubber dishes you’ve been hankering for, like clams, scallops, shrimp, and lobster — and yes, steak. Factor in a variety of drinks (including beer on tap) and friendly service, and this little place is otterly perfect.
99 Essex Rd., Old Saybrook, 860-388-4836

Penny Lane Pub - This unpretentious yet tasteful little place not only looks uniquely British inside and out but feels like the neighborhood pubs beloved by the English since, well…forever — no matter how humble a pub’s traditional fare. But the fare at Penny Lane Pub is anything humble, with hearty traditional lunches like Shepherd’s Pie and Fish & Chips — as well as burgers, sandwiches, and wraps. For dinner, expect great seafood, beef, and chicken entrees, including Montreal Hanger Steak and Atlantic Salmon, as well as an extensive selection of Between the Breads sandwiches. Salads are numerous and satisfying. And their specialty wines and world-class beers round things out nicely. A brilliant little spot.
150 Main St., Old Saybrook, 860-388-9646

Zhang's - Both Zhang’s have an amazing following, making it two of the hottest restaurants in the area — especially on the weekends. And no wonder. Featuring beautifully prepared Chinese dishes, like the Jumbo Shrimp with a white Marnier sauce and Crispy Orange Beef — and Japanese specialties like Donburi, Udon and sushi. Or enjoy the best of both worlds, by ordering a combination of your Chinese and Japanese favorites. You’ll never be disappointed. Choose either location.
455 Boston Post Rd., Old Saybrook, 860-388-3999
44 Boston Post Rd., Madison, 203-245-3300

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Old Lyme Restaurants

The Chestnut Grille at the Bee & Thistle Inn - The Bee & Thistle’s Chestnut Grille welcomes guests with its classic bar room and a variety of quiet, tasteful dining spaces overlooking the Inn’s lush gardens — and the river beyond. The cuisine will impress even the most fastidious of critics, as Chef Kristofer Rowe’s award-winning menu blends fresh and local ingredients into some amazing offerings. A recent visit found the Seared Sea Scallops superb and the numerous specials rotate regularly with the changing of seasons. They’ve got an extensive wine list and creative cocktails, too. A bona fide gem.
100 Lyme St., Old Lyme, 860-434-1667

Stella’s Restaurant and Pizzeria - Stella’s is like a little diamond: Lots of facets — and they all sparkle. Its setting is spacious and warm, with cozy booths, as well as an expansive booth and bar area for parties of two — or actual parties. And the menus (including one just for kids) are brilliantly varied, offering everything from your basic cheese pizza to some sassy adaptations, like the Pesto Caprese pizza or their White Clams Casino version — all delizioso. And if it’s a fine-dining kind of occasion, entrées like Cioppino or their Pan-roasted Prawns are perfetto. Or, as they say here in America (and most jewelry stores), flawless.
163 Boston Post Rd., Old Lyme, 860-598-9385

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