Located in Connecticut’s Fairfield County, the coastal city of Norwalk has a rich colonial and maritime history, attracting tourists from across the Tri-State area. As the city develops and grows in size, as well as its diversity, Norwalk’s culinary scene continues to thrive with a dynamic selection of restaurants to try. We take a look at 10 great restaurants in Norwalk.
Courtesy of Bar Sugo
Bar, Restaurant, Italian, Vegetarian, $$$
Intimate, rustic and stylish are all adjectives suitable for describing Bar Sugo, which opened its doors on Wall Street. Voted a ‘neighborhood gem’ and ‘fit for foodies’ by consistently satisfied customers, the atmosphere is casual enough for a family dinner yet trendy enough for a romantic date night. The restaurant boasts a unique ‘Italian mind-set’ with an authentic Italian menu to match. Choose from an extensive selection of cured meats and cheeses or artisan meatballs to start, moving on to a meal of handmade pasta or pizza. An impressive list of barrel-aged cocktails and wines by the glass accompany the food menu, making Bar Sugo the perfect place to meet for a drink or a relaxed meal out.
Basso Café specializes in Mediterranean cuisine with a South American twist. Venezuelan-born and Italian-raised Chef Renato Donzelli opened the restaurant in 2007, sharing his multicultural upbringing with the community. Featuring a contemporary and sophisticated atmosphere within an old renovated house, Basso Café exudes an inviting ambiance with warm tones, soft lighting and jazz music in the background. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner, offering a mixture of tapas-style appetizers and inventive mains such as sea scallops with polenta, pancetta, watercress and ruby red grapefruit salad. Save room for a decadent dessert of traditional tiramisu or the acclaimed Tres Leches – vanilla cake with a caramel drizzle soaked in three kinds of milk. With a BYOB policy that keeps the bill down, Basso Café is one of Norwalk’s hidden gems.
Located on Norwalk’s Main Street, Valencia Luncheria offers authentic South American fare at reasonable prices. The restaurant specializes in what Chef Michael Young calls ‘Venezuelan beach food’, featuring a colorful and cheerful, albeit humble, interior. A chalkboard lists the daily arepas; artisanal Venezuelan corn cakes stuffed with sweet or savory flavor combinations such as avocado and cheese or chicken stew. The menu features an additional selection of Latin American specialities, such as empanadas and burritos, homemade desserts from flan to rice pudding and coconut rum tres leches and an extensive list of cocktails, wine, tequila and beer. Using only the freshest ingredients, Valencia Luncheria is a fun and vibrant spot for a casual meal of delicious food.
Restaurant, American, Fast Food, Vegan, Vegetarian, $$$
Specializing in consistently delicious American fare with Southwestern accents, Blue Cactus Grill offers breakfast and lunch with a side of great service. The hamburger is a popular choice at this eatery and several creative variations on this American classic keep the dining experience interesting for returning customers. The menu also features a selection of applauded Philly cheese steaks, soups and salads, made with traditional Southwestern flavors like chipotle and jalapeño. The restaurant is small but buzzes with customers, which are a mixture of loyal locals and pleasantly surprised first-timers. Choose between the signature Blue Cactus burger with charred jalapeño, avocado crema and melted American cheese, or a Southwestern cheesesteak topped with salsa, chipotle mayo and fresh avocado. Order a side of ‘cactus slaw’ and Fuego fries to complete your Southwestern experience.
Restaurant, American, Fast Food, Vegetarian, Vegan, Salad Bar, $$$
For an organic meal from start to finish, Fat Cat Pie Co. is a delightful choice. Primarily a pizzeria and wine bar, the restaurant also offers organic coffees, artisanal soups and fresh salads. The restaurant specializes in thin crust pizzas topped with an assortment of vegetables, meats and cheeses, distinctive for its organic component, which extends to the wine list. Featuring what TheNew York Times calls a ‘remarkably interesting, far-ranging’ choice of wines from all over the world, each option is categorized as dry, floral, spicy, etc. Fat Cat Pie Co. offers a modest menu of fresh ingredients and each pizza comes with a box of assorted ground peppers for extra flavor. For a casual meal of delicious food with a conscience, Fat Cat Pie Co. is a great place to try.
Since its doors opened in 1999, Match has been serving high quality, inventive New American cuisine in the historic neighborhood of South Norwalk. The restaurant features a combination of rustic and contemporary components, from dark wooden floors to exposed brick walls, antique accents and deep purple hues, fostering an atmosphere simultaneously stylish and intimate. Over the years, Match has worked to refine its menu of local farm fresh ingredients – a dynamic mix of global and in season flavors – keeping expertly flavored dishes a constant and experimenting with new additions. Choose from a selection of large and small plates, salads, pastas and wood oven ‘pizzettes’. In addition to wine and beer, Match offers a one of a kind cocktail menu featuring classics and inventive concoctions.
For a truly unique dining experience in Norwalk, Mediterranean is a must-try, located within the boutique Hotel Zero Degrees. Reminiscent of a luxury yacht cabin, Mediterraneo boasts polished wooden floors and bold pops of color in conjunction with a row of floor-to-ceiling windows that offer an open air quality to the room. Guests enjoy the sophisticated décor with a rustic view of treetops and the quiet rumble of a nearby waterfall, all of which can be seen from the outdoor patio in warmer months. The menu marries old world and contemporary Italian flavors, from a dynamic list of appetizers and seafood dishes to a selection of artisanal pizzas. Mediterraneo at Hotel Zero Degrees offers inspired cuisine, moderate prices and a fantastic view.
Specializing in traditional homemade Italian fare, Osteria Romana is a popular choice for quality Mediterranean food and wine. Open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch, every dish is made fresh with the finest ingredients, including pasta which is made on site. Diners enjoy a selection of salads, pastas, chicken and fish amidst a wooden beam ceiling and warm, Mediterranean accents. On select evenings the restaurant hosts live music events from opera to jazz, enhancing a relaxed yet sophisticated dining experience making it a great location for a date night or gathering of friends. After dinner, indulge in typically rich Italian desserts such as tiramisu, gelato or ricotta cheesecake paired with a coffee or liqueur. For attentive service, a pleasant atmosphere and delicious old-world Italian food, try Osteria Romana.
For a consistently delicious and authentic Greek meal, Pontos Taverna in downtown Norwalk is well worth a visit. Fostering a warm, lively and family friendly atmosphere, Pontos Taverna offers soups and salads, a la carte dishes such as stuffed grape leaves and fried hot peppers, seafood and traditional grilled meats in large portions at reasonable prices. The restaurant bears a simple storefront exterior and a laid back atmosphere so the experience here is focused on good food and great company. The restaurant aims to share the owners rich culinary heritage with Norwalk and has become a popular place for lunch and dinner. Topped off with excellent service, Pontos Taverna is a great choice for a casual meal out.
Elegance meets urban chic at Southern Norwalk’s The Spread, which merges rustic wooden tables, exposed brick and floral accoutrements beneath an industrial ceiling. The restaurant specializes in New American cuisine with inventive global accents, featuring an eclectic menu split into a series of categories; farm fresh meats and cheeses, soup, salad and a succession of small, medium and large plates followed by dessert. Pair your meal with one of their many beers, cocktails and wines on offer. The food is consistently delicious but the menu is always subject to change. The Spread boasts several accolades, from best appetizers in Connecticut to the award for Best New Restaurant, not to mention rave reviews by satisfied customers.