Disclosure: My original trip to New Haven was complimentary as part of a press trip. I’ve since returned on my own at my cost. All opinions are my own.
New Haven, Connecticut, located between Boston and New York City, is known for its fabulous food – especially the pizza. On a recent weekend trip to New Haven, I had the opportunity to check out some of the great New Haven Restaurants. Here are some of the best places I visited.
The Best New Haven Restaurants
On our first evening, we walked a short distance from our hotel (The Study at Yale) to Tarry Lodge, a restaurant owned and operated by Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich. It was the tail end of restaurant week, so I ordered off the special menu and got an appetizer (aronchini), entree (cavatelli with hot sausage and rapini), and dessert (olive oil flavor soft serve).
The food was all delicious, especially the entree, which is also offered on the regular menu. I returned to Tarry Lodge several months later with my family, and the kids loved the pizza. It’s definitely a family-friendly restaurant, and we all loved our meals.
The next morning, we walked over to the Omni New Haven Hotel. Guests of hotel, as well as the general public, can enjoy breakfast at John Davenport’s, which is located on the 19th floor of the hotel.
In addition to gorgeous views of the city, John Davenport’s offers a full breakfast buffet as well as a regular menu. I had the buffet, and especially enjoyed all of the spreads, jams, and fresh breads that are offered.
It’s a huge buffet, so I wouldn’t have it daily. However, it’s nice for one day of your trip. You’ll probably be so full that you won’t need to eat much for lunch.
The market has several locations that are open on different days, and the Wooster Square location is open on Saturday mornings on a seasonal basis. There are numerous vendors located there, with such diverse offerings as cheese, crepes, vegetables, and knife sharpening.
Even if you don’t have access to a kitchen during your vacation, I’d definitely recommend visiting the farmer’s market. It’s a great place to grab snacks during your vacation.
Our next stop was the famed Frank Pepe Pizzeria. Founded in 1925 by Frank Pepe, it’s one of the most popular pizzerias in America.
Lines can get long throughout the day, so arrive early to minimize your wait. Because of its popularity, Frank Pepe Pizzeria has expanded over the years to include locations beyond New Haven. But I’d still recommend visiting the original location in New Haven.
If you aren’t familiar with New Haven pizza, it’s something you’ll want to experience. It’s a neapolitan style, thin crust pizza, and is also called apizza.
While all of the pizza at Frank Pepe is delicious, the white clam pizza is one of their specialties, and my personal favorite. It’s so unique and so delicious. If you only visit one restaurant in New Haven, definitely go to Frank Pepe.
A few doors down from Frank Pepe is Abate Restaurant, which offers pizza, pasta, salads, desserts, and more. We had an absolutely delicious salad, as well as the pasta pictured above.
This casual restaurant feels like a grandma’s home – it’s warm and inviting inside. I would probably stick with pasta here. Although I didn’t try the pizza, I’d probably go to one of the more popular pizza places.
Between Pepe’s and Abate’s is Libby’s Pastry Shop, a traditional Italian pastry store. Their cases are filled with scrumptious Italian pastry specialties, but since we weren’t too hungry, we opted for a squeeze cup of Italian Ice. It was the perfect way to cleanse our palates during the food tour.
If you are visiting the area for dinner, I’d recommend getting dinner at Pepe’s or Abate’s, and then heading to Libby’s for a little dessert.
Our final stop on the tour was G Cafe Bakery New Haven, which offers sandwiches, soups, salads, baked goods, fresh breads, and coffee drinks. Full from all of the food I’d already consumed on the walking tour, I did try a few bites of bread and cookies.
The bread is fresh and delicious, while the baked goods are rich but not overly sweet. It would be a great stop for a quick breakfast, lunch, or treat.
Dinner on my last evening in New Haven was at Heirloom, the restaurant located in the Study at Yale. Heirloom, which probably isn’t entirely kid-friendly, describes their cuisine as farm and coastal cooking.
Their menu is loaded with a variety of entrees that I wanted to try, but I opted for the New Haven White Clam Risotto, pictured above. The risotto was perfectly cooked, and the clams added a salty, rich flavor.
Before heading home on Amtrak, we stopped at Claire’s Corner Copia. Claire’s, which recently celebrated their 40th anniversary, offers gourmet, vegetarian food made with fresh, natural ingredients. My breakfast, the Seasonal Goodness Sandwich, was one of the most delicious breakfast sandwiches I’ve ever had. The restaurant has a wonderful, warm feeling of community, which perfectly complements the healthy food.
On our second visit to New Haven, we decided to eat at Modern Apizza. It also offers New Haven style pizza.
We loved the pizza here too. While it was similar to Frank Pepe, it was also a bit different. It’s also a very busy restaurant, so it’s a good idea to arrive in an off-peak time.
During our family trip to New Haven, we dined at Caseus Fromagerie & Bistro. We loved it, and even the kids found food they enjoyed.
Unfortunately, that restaurant has since closed. However, the owners have reimagined it into Olmo. I haven’t been there, but I’d definitely want to check it out when I’m back in the area. Caseus was so delicious that I’m sure Olmo is equally as good.
There are other delicious New Haven restaurants that I haven’t yet had the opportunity to check out. These include Kitchen Zinc from chef Denise Appel. This restaurant offers salads and a variety of pizzas.
There’s also Louis’ Lunch, which is known for being the birthplace of the hamburger. Louis’ Lunch is a cash only establishment, and they have a small menu, so keep that in mind before you visit.
Have you eaten in New Haven? Which restaurants were your favorites?