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Best Restaurants in Connecticut 2021

Looking for the best restaurants in Connecticut? There are so many great spots to choose from, so we turned to the Connecticut Restaurant Association for the 2021 winners and nominees of its annual CRAzies Awards. The awards consider hundreds of contenders, select a short list of nominee finalists, and finally, award winners for the best restaurants in each region. In addition to naming the best restaurants, the awards recognize best chefs, best bartenders, best servers, and beyond.

The Connecticut Restaurant Association hosted more than 1,100 guests at Foxwoods Resort Casino to celebrate the restaurant industry. In addition to the record attendance, the association enhanced the event by adding a new nominating panel made up of media writers and influencers who, along with more than 11,000 online public votes, collectively helped the CRA hand out sixteen different coveted awards. Hope you’ve brought your appetite!


Arugula Bistro, West Hartford

This casual, comfortable, and white tablecloth bistro serves Mediterranean-inspired dishes, using middle eastern, northern Italian, and French flavors.  Indulge in a near fully house-made menu which includes fresh salads, falafel, calamari, as well as charcuterie selections and flatbreads, which guests are encouraged to share.

Shu Restaurant, West Hartford

Treat yourself to authentic Chinese food right in West Hartford. Sample a wide-ranging menu of mouthwatering favorites from seven flavor wontons, fried pork dumplings, and Kung Pao chicken to sizzling vegetable and tofu stir fry, wonton soup, and chicken fried rice.

Present Company, Tarriffville

Located in a former 1860s textile mill, Present Company is the home of chef Jeff Lizotte, who won Chef of the Year in previous CRAzies Awards. This chic, open-air kitchen offers seasonal American fare made from locally sourced ingredients. Chef Lizotte takes great pride in his cuisine and, in accordance with the restaurant name, is often present during guests’ dining experience, creating an engaging and personable environment.

Taproot, Bethel

This hidden gem offers a down-to-earth vibe in an intimate setting. Crafted with fresh and local products, the menu offers many popular small plate options as well as the On the Fly takeout menu, which is updated weekly based on seasonal ingredients. Extra tip: Taproot is tucked away beside Bethel Cinema and makes for a perfect pre-movie bite.

Community Table, New Preston

Set in a stylish environment, Community Table is a place to gather and celebrate with friends, as reflected in its name. Enjoy locally-sourced menu items from seared diver scallops and Atlantic halibut to slow-roasted Berkshire pork chop, though the menu changes weekly, so you'll be sure to find a delicious variety. Plus, don't miss their specialty house cocktails.

OKO, Wesport

Savor a menu inspired by Japanese techniques and traditions, crafted with local Connecticut ingredients. With an innovative take on traditional Japanese cuisine and sushi, small plate dining meant for sharing is encouraged in this lively and charming atmosphere.

Tavern on State, New Haven

While this restaurant is relatively new and won Best New Restaurant in the 2019 CRAzies, chef Emily Mingrone is already thinking outside the box with her ever-changing, ever-inventive menu. The creative ambiance comes complete with a flamingo theme (including a signature neon flamingo that lights up the space) and alleyway sidewalk tables.

Shell & Bones, New Haven

Whether you’re looking for a mouthwatering bite or a gorgeous waterfront view, Shell & Bones will not disappoint. Known for its award-winning steak, seafood specialties, and raw bar, each dish is prepared with fresh and sustainable ingredients. While Shell & Bones feels like the perfect seaside escape, it’s actually just a short drive from downtown New Haven, the best of both worlds.

Tony D’s, New London

Owner, Tony D’Angelo, has created a rustic Italian gem in downtown New London. More than just a place to eat, Tony D’s is a gathering place where friends and family can enjoy a homemade meal and reconnect. Even more interesting? All recipes have been passed down from generation to generation in the D’Angelo family. In addition to placing the quality of food and service on the highest priority, Tony has always tried to maintain a family-oriented customer experience.

TAO Asian Bistro & Lounge at Mohegan Sun, Uncasville

This Insta-worthy hot spot offers a distinctive culinary experience in a sensational setting. Guests can choose from a selection of Asian-inspired specialties, focusing on Chinese, Japanese, and Thai techniques and ingredients, including signature dishes like the satay of Chilean sea bass, lobster wontons, Peking duck, crispy snapper in “sand,” and tuna sashimi pringle. When you've finished dining, head to the casino for plenty more fun!

Stone Row Kitchen + Bar, Willimantic

The culinary team behind Cafémantic reimagined the destination restaurant, creating Stone Row Kitchen + Bar. This new spot includes a new look, a new bar, expanded outdoor dining, and a new patio level dedicated to "boozing and schmoozing." The menu features homegrown food and the restaurant works closely with regional farmers, foragers, and fishers. Highlights include the Duck Fat Fingerling Potatoes, Grilled Asparagus “Benedict,” and Grass Roots Burger.

Camacho Garage, New Haven

Taste contemporary Mexican street food in a fun and lively atmosphere. This spot offers an all-day menu with a focus on tacos and ceviches, as well as other Mexican and Latin staples like tostadas, tortas, salads, and guacamole made with fresh, local, and seasonal ingredients.

Shipwright’s Daughter, Mystic

Located in the heart of downtown Mystic, The Shipwright's Daughter is the newest addition to the town's thriving culinary community. Celebrating New England's fresh and flavorful food heritage, Executive Chef David Standridge introduces an inspired menu that changes daily, reflecting the unique character of coastal Connecticut. Enjoy gourmet cuisine in the same warm and comfortable atmosphere for which The Whaler’s Inn is known.

Dockside Brewery & Waterfront Biergarten, Milford

Located on the banks of the Housatonic River in Milford, Dockside Brewery is more than just a beer bar. It’s a gathering place that aims to embrace the surrounding community. The menu features more than 40 draft lines, cocktails, wine, New Haven-style pizzas, and a variety of bites from jalapeño popper grilled cheese to popcorn rock shrimp, Philly egg rolls, ahi tuna, and beyond. In the winter, don't miss their igloo dining which features themed outdoor igloos!

Don Memo, Westport

Set in Westport's original town hall, discover an innovative take on Mexican cuisine as inspired by trips to Oxacana, Mexico City, and Puebla. Enjoy delicious dishes from lobster tostadas and chorizo verde quesadillas to chicken enchiladas and beyond. Each dish is crafted with the intention of capturing Mexico's true spirit, and each bite is a treat for your taste buds.

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