What To Eat in Connecticut
In and around New Haven, vintage bakery ovens turn out what may be the nation’s best pizzas. Along the shore, look for the state’s much-loved hot lobster roll, fried clams, and steel-gray clam chowder. Throughout the state are memorable artisan ice cream parlors and donut shops; and in a small area around the city of Meriden, you’ll find diners serving what may be the nation’s most peculiar burger variation, known as a steamed cheeseburger.
White clam pizza was first served in New Haven in the mid 20th century. It is a simple pie, made with neither tomatoes nor mozzarella cheese – just freshly-opened clams, minced garlic, a dusting of sharp Pecarino cheese and a sprinkle of herbs. The elegant medley is really more a flatbread than a pizza, its crust ultra-thin with a rugged underside from grains of semolina on the oven floor, its circumference puffed up in a golden circle that offers profound resilience in every bite.
A special steam cabinet is used to cook individual portions of ground beef and blocks of Vermont cheddar cheese, the latter transformed by steam into a pearlescent mass just viscous enough to seep into every crevice of the meat below, but not so runny that it escapes the sandwich. The soft hamburger (no crust on a steamer) and cheese are layered in a hard roll along with lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion to become a dizzyingly juicy burger feast.
Simplicity itself: hunks of warm, fresh-picked lobster bathed in butter and piled into a split-top bun that has been lightly grilled (in butter) on both sides. No mayo, no lettuce, no herbs or seasonings. Just sheer lobster-eating bliss.
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Rawley’s is a Gold Coast snack shack with blue ribbon red hots cooked in a deep fryer then finished on a griddle so their skins turn crusty. A Connecticut best!
Laid-back vibes reminiscent of the 1970s set the beat for Sesame Seed's menu of Middle Eastern standards, vegetarian fare, and wonderful lasagna.
Jordan's is a one-menu-fits-all restaurant/diner/pizzeria with Italian and Greek specialties including Greek-style pizza with a yeasty, crisp crust.
Hot dogs at Blackie's of Cheshire, Connecticut, are plumpies oil-boiled to the point that they literally erupt with flavor. Mustard & hot relish are musts!
Johnny Ad's offers fragile-crusted clams, shrimp, scallops, calamari & soft-shell crab either on a plate with fries and slaw or in a toasted buttered bun.
Carbone’s of Hartford, Connecticut, has been serving white-tablecloth Italian fare since '38. For a big deal, old-world meal, it reigns supreme.
Vividly flavorful Neapolitan pizzas make Bufalina a best bet along the shoreline in the pizza-rich state of Connecticut.
Locals love off-the-beaten-path Lorenzo's for meat-and-potatoes meals as well as for Italian fare and a full repertoire of pizza with crisp, thin crust.
A beloved Bridgeport dive since 1942, the Merritt Canteen serves a chili dog that will make your lips glow. Breakfast sandwiches are loved by regulars.