Living in Fairfield County, it’s no wonder we love restaurant dining. From fine dining to quick bites, there is no shortage of destinations from which to choose. Italian and Mexican to Asian and American, the choices are mouth-watering, a true gastronomic feast. And with warmer temps inching closer, we can look forward to enjoying our meals al fresco.
If dining by the water is your preference, look no farther than Stone’s Throw on the Housatonic River in Seymour. With an expansive outdoor deck and patio along the river for outdoor dining, the restaurant also has indoor dining rooms and a bar with prime river viewing.
Whether you are looking for the freshest seafood, the perfect steak, or want to share a variety of appetizers, chef (and owner) Peter Hamme will take care of everything. Hamme, along with managers and co-owners Tara Hamme and Jennifer Recker, pride themselves on cooking with fresh, local ingredients as much as possible and have partnered with many area farms and businesses.
The menu changes seasonally, but diners can always indulge in Stone’s Throw’s Lobster Salad Sandwich, Grilled Open Faced Lamb Burger with Melted Brie, French Fisherman’s Stew, Sesame Crusted Yellowfin Tuna, or Fresh Mozzarella Stuffed Fried Macaroni and Cheese “Recking Balls” (named for owner Jennifer Recker). Add a seasonal craft beer, a signature cocktail or wine, and enjoy the dining pleasures at Stone’s Throw.
Westport’s Arezzo Ristorante & Bar also offers panoramic views and riverfront dining with its multi-tiered sundeck, and is the perfect complement to Chef Vinicio Llanos’s regional Italian cuisine with an extensive Italian wine list and wood-fired specialties.
From the homemade pasta dishes, such as Tagliolini Nero Frutti di Mare (squid ink pasta with shrimp, scallops, calamari, mussels, and clams in a cherry tomato sauce) to the Orecchiette con Salsiccia e Broccoli (pasta with hot and sweet Italian sausage and broccoli), Arezzo indulges the appetite. The menu also features Grilled Filet Mignon, Veal Chop Parmigiana, Melanzane al Forno (roasted eggplant with ricotta di bufala, Parmesan cheese and tomato sauce), and wood-fired pizzas, which pair the freshest seasonal vegetables, cuts of meat, and homemade cheeses.
Restaurateurs Joseph and Nes Jaffre purchased the Roger Sherman Inn in New Canaan in 2008 and have since been making graceful, yet elegant, renovations and updates. Here, diners can enjoy dinner or Sunday Brunch on the porch overlooking the facility’s beautiful grounds. Summer menu items include Traditional Shrimp Cocktail, Escargots, Crab Cakes du Chef, Trout Grenobloise with Lemon, Butter, Capers and Croutons, and Dover Sole Meuniere, among others.
For some lighter summertime menu options and a family-friendly atmosphere, visit Old Towne Restaurant in Trumbull, which offers seafood items including Sole Florentine, Seafood Frutti de Mar, Seafood Mac and Cheese, Crab Cake Sandwich, and Shrimp Scampi or Clams Casino Pizza, plus a comprehensive selection of salads, always a good summer choice.
Captain’s Cove, located in historic Black Rock Harbor, Bridgeport, offers scenic water views and fresh seafood in a casual, relaxed setting. Menu staples include hand-battered fish and chips, seafood and shellfish. There’s also a newly added craft burger menu and a gluten-friendly menu. Complete the dining experience with a signature cocktail or choose an ice cold beer from the craft beer list.
For six years, Cesco’s Trattoria in Darien has offered a rustic and hearty cuisine blending the freshest organic and local ingredients inspired by the season’s available, from fish, lamb, and cured meats to wild mushrooms, homemade pecorino, and ricotta cheeses.
Whether you dine indoors or outside, Cesco’s Trattoria’s owners and chefs, Aldo and Barbara Chiamulera, offer seasonal colors and tastes with dishes including Tuna Crudo with Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette, Buffalo Mozzarella with Heirloom Tomatoes, Burrata Cheese stuffed in an Orange Jazz Beefsteak Tomato, Linguine Vongole, Lobster Oreganato, Blueberry Gnocchi with Porcini Mushrooms, and Rigatoni Siciliana (fresh plum tomatoes with eggplant and basil topped with melted mozzarella).
The next time you’re in SoNo looking for a memorable outdoor dining experience, visit Washington Prime (also located in Georgetown). According to Dave Studwell, owner/operator, the restaurant has a view overlooking the historic South Norwalk harbor. “You can sit back, relax, sip, and eat while you watch the boats come and go,” he says. “We may be considered a steakhouse, but we also have a wide selection of seafood, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. Margaritas and fresh tacos, sure. Champagne and oysters, no problem. Wine and steak, we got you.”
Scena Wine Bar in Darien combines a quaint outdoor setting with its wraparound patio and summer menu. Owner Vincente Siguenza says, “During the summer months, we offer freshly made juices, which are always a hit. We change our food and drink menus seasonally, using fresh, locally sourced ingredients.” Scena was born of a desire to offer a Mediterranean-inspired experience with its open wood-fired brick oven, expertly crafted wine and cocktail list, and fresh ingredients.
Chef and owner Tim LaBant serves up a memorable dining experience with The Schoolhouse at Cannondale Village in Wilton, which overlooks the Norwalk river and is located inside a schoolhouse built just after the Civil War in 1872. The restaurant’s hallmark of quality, integrity, and excellence are found in its sourcing of ingredients and treating them simply and with respect. LaBant’s farm-to-table menu includes Lamb Sausage with Cavatelli, Roasted Tomatoes and Broccoli Rabe, Berkshire Pork Loin with Roasted Rutabaga Puree, and Lightly Smoked Trout with Potato Gnocchi.
Barcelona Wine Bar, with its scenic locations in Fairfield, Norwalk, Stamford, New Haven, and West Hartford, has long been known for its Spanish/Basque cuisine and tapas bar. Smaller dishes or “to share” plates paired with an extensive wine list provide the perfect fare for a summer evening. Vegetable Paella, Parrillada (New York strip, chicken, pork chop and Gaucho sausage) or Mariscos Paella (prawns, clams, mussels and squid) are sure to satisfy.
Portofino Restaurant and Bar in Wilton serves sumptuous fare in a beautiful setting. Whether you’re in the mood for a gourmet pizza (think such flavorful combinations as tomato, prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, and baby arugula for the Di Parm pizza), Filet Mignon Oscar with Lobster Meat, Asparagus and Béarnaise Sauce, Maine Crabmeat Salad with Avocado and Baby Greens, Grilled Atlantic Salmon Salad, or the Blue Burger with Crumbled Blue Cheese and Bacon, your taste buds will not be disappointed.