Dining In Connecticut At New Haven’s 10 Best Restaurants

Lighthouse Point Park - New Haven ©m01229
Lighthouse Point Park - New Haven ©m01229
Photo of Vincent JS Wood
9 February 2017

Home to one of the world’s most famous and well-respected educational institutions, Yale University, New Haven is open to a wealth of cultural influences that are prevalent in its architecture, art and cuisine. Eating out in the city is a truly multicultural experience, as dining spots range from Ethiopian fare to all-American eats. Here’s our guide to 10 of the best restaurants in New Haven, Connecticut.


Restaurant, Ethiopian, $$$
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Front door
Front door | ©Lalibela
A rather sparse and functional interior belies the exotic nature of the food served at Lalibela. There is no need for cutlery as meals are eaten on injera, a large spongy flatbread somewhat akin to a crepe. Largely containing curries, the menus are split into vegetarian and non-vegetarian categories, making sure there’s something for everybody, although it is still possible to mix and match from both.

Union League Cafe

Restaurant, Brasserie, Cafe, French, $$$
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Waterleaf-Duck Leg Confit
Waterleaf-Duck Leg Confit | ©Kurman Communications, Inc.
Uniting contemporary and classical influences, Union League Cafe brings the finest French fare to the tables of Connecticut with a flourish. Located directly across from Yale University, the brasserie itself holds a certain charm and sophistication that one might find on the Parisian boulevards, yet the atmosphere is far less formal than might be expected from its European counterparts. Although elegant dishes such as duck leg confit and entrecôte béarnaise may sound like they are from the opposite side of the Atlantic, the actual ingredients are from local and organic produce, many from small producers who are exclusive to the restaurant.


Restaurant, Malaysian, $$$
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Steamboat dishes
Steamboat dishes | ©H G
It is an eclectic mix of cultural influences that makes up the taste of Malaysia from Indian, Chinese, Dutch and English cuisines, and it’s this that Bentara brings to the table. The dramatic architecture and fascinating components of Malaysian history, dotted throughout the restaurant, compliment the spicy and aromatic food perfectly, making it a feast for the eyes as well as the tongue. Malaysia is comprised of 14 states, and each state is varied in its culture and tradition. Bentara brings all these flavours together in one glorious celebration of the country’s mixed palate and serves it up with fabulous presentation to boot.

Louis’ Lunch

The apparent birthplace of the hamburger sandwich, Louis’ Lunch stakes its claim to a piece of pure Americana with a recipe that has changed little from its historic prototype. The current proprietors, descendants of the original owner who created the famed sandwich, place such stock in the recipe that they refuse to offer any condiments to accompany it with cheese, tomato, and onion being the only acceptable garnish. This is an iconic eatery of New Haven, so much so that when threatened with the possibility of demolition in the early 1970s, patrons took it upon themselves to save the site and when a spot was found for relocation, bricks were donated to the build.

Louis’ Lunch, 261-263 Crown Street, New Haven, CT, USA, +1 203 562 5507

Exterior of Louis Lunch © larryfishkorn

Exterior of Louis Lunch ©

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana

The phrase ‘iconic American pizza’ tends to conjure up images of either Chicago’s famous deep dish or New York’s folded slice. However, New Haven has its own unique pizza known as ‘apizza’ (pronounced ‘ah-beets’ in the local accent) which is served without the mozzarella and is notable for its thin crust. This New Haven delicacy wad debuted at Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana and has served the great and the good including former US President Bill Clinton. A must-try is Pepe’s signature dish, The White Clam Pizza.

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana, 157 Wooster Street, New Haven, CT, USA, +1 203 865 5762

frank pepe exterior ©Krista

frank pepe exterior ©Krista

Mamoun’s Falafel Restaurant

Restaurant, Middle Eastern, American
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Mamoun's Falafel Restaurant, New Haven
Mamoun's Falafel Restaurant, New Haven | Photo courtesy of Mamoun’s Falafel Restaurant
Mamoun’s Falafel Restaurant aims to offer authentic Middle Eastern cuisine in a traditional environment with staples such as falafel, hummus and shawarma all served as either single dishes, on plates, in special combinations or even as sandwiches to take away. A selection of sweet pastries means that it is also well worth staying for dessert. There are vegetarian options too.

The Green Tea House

With a name like The Green Tea House it is perhaps unsurprising that this venue deals in all sorts of loose leaf teas, including black, green, oolong, matcha, herbal, white and pu-erh. With a full dining menu as well it is ideal for a relaxed and unique meal out. Focusing predominantly on Asian cuisine, like curry noodles and tofu wraps, guests can also choose from more western fare such as a range of panini or salads. Each meal comes with a suggestion of a tea pairing and you can even get your tea fix without having to buy a beverage, with such sweet treats as tea-infused cookies.

The Green Tea House, 1008 Chapel St, New Haven, CT, USA, +1 203 562 6000

Curry Noodles ©whity

Curry Noodles ©whity

Caseus Fromagerie & Bistro

Bar, Bistro, French, $$$
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cheese | ©stu_spivack
A real farm to fork food experience, Caseus’ menus change depending on what local produce is currently available. With a heavy focus on dairy products, most of the dishes on the menu include one of the artisan cheeses they stock. Customers can dine in the airy wood-panelled bar area or in a cozy basement environment dubbed ‘the cheese cave.’ Here, cheese experts are only too happy to explain and educate about the complimentary flavors of each cheese and how best they should be enjoyed.

Ashley’s Ice Cream

Ice Cream Parlour, Ice Cream
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Ice cream
Ice cream | ©Susanne Nilsson
Named after a Frisbee-catching whippet, Ashley’s Ice Cream is decked out with a range of Frisbees from down the years along the walls. Whipping the cream fresh in-store every day and never using any artificial flavors or colors goes perfectly with their freshly baked waffle cones or infamous bittersweet hot fudge. Founded in 1979, Ashley’s has been a popular feature of New Haven since opening and has consistently picked up awards.

Atticus Bookstore Cafe

Cafe, American, Vegetarian, Coffee, Tea , Fast Food, $$$
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Sandwich | ©Gabriel Garcia Marengo
Dining among the shelves of novels, biographies and the current art exhibit that Atticus Bookstore Cafe is hosting, makes for some inspirational eating. With three homemade soups offered daily, inluding one vegetarian, along with a wide array of salads, sandwiches entrees and sides, this is a one-stop shop for all lunching and literature needs.