13 Best Restaurants in New Haven, CT (Top Food)

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Home to the prestigious Ivy League Yale University, New Haven is a beautiful coastal city in Connecticut.

Located just a 90-minute drive from NYC via Metro-North, this charming on Long Island Sound is a great destination for a weekend getaway.

Whether you wish to visit the Yale University Art Gallery, see more than 150 hands-on exhibits at the Connecticut Science Center, or spend a day in the East Rock Park and Pardee Rose Gardens, there are plenty of fun things to do when visiting New Haven, CT.

Best Restaurants in New Haven, CT

New Haven is also known for its vibrant food scene. For instance, Apizza is a particular brand of pie New Haven is famous for. You should also try the local American cheese called Melinda Mae.

So, whether you are looking for a seafood joint, a cozy café that offers Italian-inspired cuisine that dominates the New Haven area, or a steakhouse, this list of best restaurants in New Haven CT has got you covered. Bon Appetit!

Best Restaurants in New Haven, CT

1. Modern Apizza

There is no shortage of apizza eateries in New Haven and Modern Apizza is one of the best places to try this local dish.

For those who don’t know, apizza is a style of thin-crust, coal-fired Neapolitan pizza that New Haven is famous for.

Opened up back in 1934, this New Haven restaurant offers delicious brick-oven pizzas and other Italian-inspired dishes. For starters, order something from their appetizers menus like garlic bread, bruschetta, and Caesar salad.

You can go for the traditional pizza options like the Mozzarella and the American cheese or get the special apizzas prepared with a mozzarella base such as spinach, clam, and veggie bomb.

The Italian bomb which includes a mozzarella base, bacon, sausages, garlic, pepperoni, onions, and mushrooms is definitely one of the most popular dishes on the menu here at Modern Apizza.

  • Address: 874 State St, New Haven, CT 06511
  • Telephone Number: +1 203-776-5306

2. Barcelona Wine Bar

Welcome to the Barcelona Wine Bar, a Spanish restaurant on Temple St in New Haven. This dining establishment boasts a lovely interior with an open kitchen, a stone fireplace, and steel and glass dining areas.

It’s all about small dishes designed to be shared here at the Barcelona Wine Bar. The food menu consists of charcuterie and cheeses, tapas, salads, and large plates.

Some of the most popular tapas options include patatas bravas, eggplant caponata, Iberico pluma, and pork belly.

On their charcuterie and cheeses menu, you will find options such as chorizo blanco (slow-aged pork sausage with garlic), Jamon Serrano (15-20 months cured ham), and drunken goat (red wine-soaked goat milk).

Save room for dessert and have a slice of olive oil cake or basque burnt cheesecake.

In addition to tasty foods, Barcelona Wine Bar offers an extensive wine menu and artisan cocktails like Smoked Sherry Manhattan, Tygra, and Flor de Sal.

  • Address: 155 Temple St, New Haven, CT 06510
  • Phone: +1 203-848-3000

3. Shell & Bones Oyster Bar & Grill

An award-winning restaurant in New Haven, Shell & Bones Oyster Bar & Grill is all about seafood, steak, and raw bar dishes.

Book a table on their beautiful seasonal deck and enjoy magnificent views of the New Haven Harbor while enjoying delicacies like Alaskan black garlic cod and New England clam chowder.

In winter, enjoy your meal in indoor dining spaces. The interior with a massive fireplace and large windows looks absolutely stunning.

Award-winning Executive Chef Arturo Franco Camacho is in charge of the kitchen and offers a seasonal menu featuring seafood, steak, and raw bar dishes.

A daily selection of oysters and specials is also available.

Seafood lovers will want to try the mussel pot with pomme frites or order steamed lobster. On the meat menu, expect to find delicacies like Allen brother’s black angus ribeye and Chefs prime filet mignon.

Shell & Bones Oyster Bar & Grill has a full-service bar and offers an extensive list of wines that can be enjoyed by the glass or bottle.

  • Address: 100 S Water St, New Haven, CT 06519
  • Telephone Number: +1 203-787-3466

4. Olea

In the mood for some tasty Mediterranean cuisine while visiting New Haven? Make a reservation at Olea, a lovely Spanish dining establishment in downtown New Haven.

The restaurant offers inside and patio seating, as well as curbside pickup and takeout.

The interior is quite elegant, making it a perfect place for a dinner date with that special someone. You will be in the hands of Head chef Manuel Romero who takes fine dining to a whole different level.

The dinner menu is extensive with traditional entrees, sides, and main courses. 

Start your gastronomic adventure at Olea with tuna tartate, pulpo, or foie gras.

From pan-seared scallops and fresh Atlantic cod fish to grilled beef tenderloin and duck leg confit, there is something for everyone on the main course menu.

Vegetarians can opt for the vegetarian platter (polenta, eggplant, sweet piquillo pepper, mushrooms, french beans, brussels sprouts, yellow squash, carrots, tomato, lotus root, romesco, and cilantro raita)

You can’t go wrong with ordering the Chef’s Tasting Menu, a 6-course meal available Tuesday through Thursday for $89 per person.

  • Address: 39 High St, New Haven, CT 06510
  • Phone: +1 203-780-8925

5. Geronimo Tequila Bar and Southwest Grill

No list of the best restaurants in New Haven would be complete without mentioning the legendary Geronimo Tequila Bar and Southwest Grill.

Open seven days a week, this buzzy restaurant is all about authentic Santa Fe, New Mexico cuisine.

The menu includes everything from small plates, tableside dishes, and nachos to tacos, main plates, and burritos.

Try Carne Asada tacos (marinated skirt steak with arbol salsa9) or order P.E.I. Mussels (mussels over black bean and pico de gallo broth, and toasted focaccia).

Southwest Chicken served with brussels sprouts, caramelized onions, butternut squash, applewood smoked bacon, and orange chipotle jus is also amazing and worth ordering. 

The restaurant also serves delicious brunch on the weekends. Brunch options include dishes like Huevos Rancheros, Breakfast Burritos, and Birria Chapparal.

Geronimo Tequila Bar and Southwest Grill has a well-stocked tequila bar with 400 types of tequila and mezcal.

  • Address: 271 Crown St, New Haven, CT 06511
  • Telephone Number: +1 203-777-7700

6. Union League Café

Situated inside an elegant 19th-century building, Union League Café is a charming French brasserie that offers both indoor and outdoor dining options.

Voted Best Overall Restaurant in 2023 by Connecticut Magazine, this elegant dining establishment with soaring ceilings and a large indoor fireplace is a perfect place to visit for special occasions like anniversaries and family gatherings.

On the menu, you will find classic French dishes like Raclette Ravioli, Duck Confit and Bouillabaisse, and Filet De Boeuf Grillé.

Don’t leave this place before trying their mouthwatering Raclette Ravioli (French alpine raclette cheese ravioli, celeriac purée, parsnip chips, freshly shaved winter black truffle, baby arugula, and mushroom emulsion),

Union League Café also has a raw bar with options such as Half Cold Lobster, Shrimp, and a Selection of Daily Oysters. For dessert, order a slice of Chocolate Tart or satisfy your taste buds with Crème Brûlée.

  • Address: 1032 Chapel St, New Haven, CT 06510
  • Phone: +1 203-562-4299

7. Pacifico Restaurant

Next on our list of the best restaurants in New Haven is the Nuevo-Latino restaurant, Pacifico.

Located in downtown New Haven, this restaurant is spread across two floors and offers a variety of tacos, soups, salads, entrees, and raw dishes.

Chef Rafael Palomino from Columbia prepares incredible fusion dishes like seafood paella, churrasco a la parilla, mussels in red sauce, and gambas al ajillo.

Meat lovers can go for the skirt steak with Chino-Latino stir-fried rice or get the Grilled NY steak with sauteed onions, yuca frita, and green chimichurri.

The signature meal from the raw bar menu is the Pacifico Seafood Plateau (6 market oysters, 6 little neck clams, 5 jumbo shrimp, and Rhode Island mussels).

Brunch at Pacifico Restaurant is served on Sunday. The Sunday Prix Fixe Menu will set you back $19.95 with options such as Ceviche de Camaron, Chorizo & egg, Tortilla Espanola, and Gaucho Skirt Steak.

  • Address: 220 College St, New Haven, CT 06510
  • Telephone Number: +1 203-772-4002

8. ZINC New Haven

Opened in 1999, ZINC New Haven is a charming restaurant in downtown New Haven that focuses on locally sourced ingredients and farm-to-table cuisine.

The menu here is inspired by a variety of cuisines from all around the world. For instance, you can order Szechuan Peppercorn Green Beans and Charred Vietnamese Chicken from their Asian-inspired dishes.

Guests can also enjoy Mediterranean dishes such as Pasta Bolognese and Braised Lamb Shank. Fish lovers should definitely Cold Poached Scottish Salmon.

Open for lunch and dinner, this award-winning restaurant in New Haven boasts a very chic and upscale interior and has a full-service bar.

We should also mention that the ZINC New Haven offers private dining for all occasions.

If you wish to throw a birthday party or need a dining room for a wedding reception, ZINC New Haven offers a 3-course menu and specialty cocktails and wines for private events.

  • Address: 964 Chapel St, New Haven, CT 06510
  • Phone: +1 203-624-0507

9. Atticus Bookstore Café

Atticus Bookstore Café is definitely one of the most iconic places to visit in New Haven. This glass-fronted bookstore has been around since 1975.

In addition to selling books, Atticus is also a grocery shop that does delivery and an eatery.

Expect to find a wide selection of breakfast dishes and sandwiches, as well as freshly brewed coffee and desserts.

The signature Farmer John’s Breakfast which includes grilled sausage, two fried eggs, and home fries with onions, mushrooms, and peppers with a topping of melted cheddar is a big crowd-pleaser.

To sum it all up, Atticus Bookstore Café is a great spot to read a book, shop for groceries, and have some delicious foods.

  • Address: 1082 Chapel St, New Haven, CT 06510
  • Phone: +1 203-776-4040

10. Cast Iron Chef Chop House & Oyster Bar

If you are searching for the finest cuts of beef and prime rib or maybe want to try fresh oysters, book a table at the Cast Iron Chef Chop House & Oyster Bar. This classic steakhouse and raw oyster bar is one of the most popular restaurants in New Haven.

The interior looks inviting with elegantly dressed tables and soft lighting. However, the main focus here is on the sizzling steak cooked to perfection in a cast iron skillet.

The menu of thick house-butchered cuts of USDA choice steaks at Cast Iron Chef Chop House & Oyster Bar is simply amazing. 

Some of the most popular options include cast iron prime New York Strip, cast iron Australian rack of lamb, cast iron porterhouse for two, and cast iron filet mignon.

Guests also love the Tomahawk pork chop scarpariello (24 oz. with roasted garlic butter, thyme, seasonal veggies, and a choice of roasted potatoes, sweet or regular baked potatoes) 

In addition to the extensive steak menu, the restaurant also offers free-range chicken and pork, burgers, sandwiches, seafood, and a fresh selection of oysters from the raw bar.

  • Address: 660 State St, New Haven, CT 06511
  • Phone: +1 203-745-4669

11. Harvest Wine Bar & Restaurant

An upscale bistro with a sophisticated ambiance, Harvest Wine Bar & Restaurant is one of the most beautiful dining establishments on our list.

It is situated inside a striking architectural building and offers a picturesque dining room with contemporary décor, elegant glass displays, and a full-service bar.

Step outside to find a magnificent open-air, stone outdoor dining room where you can enjoy the restaurant’s seasonal menu of farm-to-table cuisine accompanied by an extensive wine list.

Made from all-natural grass-fed beef, the house-made meatballs are a must-try item on the menu.

You should also try the mouthwatering Sausage Tagliatelle which is served with broccoli rabe, garlic, and basil pesto and sprinkled with some chili flakes and parmesan cheese.

If you are into burgers, don’t leave this classy dining establishment before trying their Harvest Burger (all-natural grass-feed beef, bacon, crispy onions, tomato mayo, grafton cheddar).

  • Address: 1104 Chapel St, New Haven, CT 06510
  • Telephone Number: +1 203-777-2500

12. Consiglio’s

Dating back to 1938, Consiglio’s is one of those family-run restaurants that you instantly fall in love with. It is actually the oldest family-owned Italian restaurant in all of Connecticut.

With both indoor and outdoor seating, Consiglio’s attracts both locals and tourists visiting New Haven. It is all about traditional homemade Italian dishes combined with friendly service here at Consiglio’s.

The menu consists of appetizers and main dishes (antipasti and entrees). All entrees include a house salad.

You simply must try their award-winning lasagna. Voted the best pasta in the state, this dish includes layers of pasta, ground beef and local ricotta baked with mozzarella and tomato sauce.

You can also treat your taste buds with their Veal Parmigiana (Veal cutlet baked with tomato sauce and mozzarella, with a side of penne) or try the Homemade Cheese Ravioli with marinara or vodka sauce.

  • Address: 165 Wooster St, New Haven, CT 06511
  • Phone: +1 203-865-4489

13. September in Bangkok

If you wish to enjoy delicious Thai cuisine while vacationing in New Haven, pay a visit to the amazing September in Bangkok restaurant. This place boasts a vibrant atmosphere and cute decorations, making it a perfect place for a memorable meal.

The menu focuses on modern Thai cuisine and includes options like string beans tempura, thai tacos, tom kha steamed mussel, and coconut shrimp.

Vegetarians can opt for dishes such as pad thai veggie, Thai fried rice with veggies, and panang tofu served with cauliflower and green beans.

They also have a specials menu where you will find some of September in Bangkok’s signature dishes like Pineapple Fried Rice Salmon (grilled salmon (9oz), sweet chili, and white cucumber sauce) and Lychee Duck (Panang curry, fresh coconut milk, red bell pepper, kaffir, Thai lychee, and blue rice).

  • Address: 754 State St, New Haven, CT 06511
  • Phone: +1 475-234-5239

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Final Thoughts

What we love about the dining scene here in New Haven is that it offers something for everyone.

Are you craving fresh seafood and fish? This coastal town is home to many amazing seafood dining establishments.

 As Connecticut is famous for its Italian-inspired cuisine, you will find plenty of options to enjoy hearty Italian cuisine in New Haven.

There are also Spanish eateries, Asian food joints, as well as classic American steakhouses here in New Haven.

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