Located in Connecticut State’s Hartford County, the city of New Britain possesses a diverse community with a particularly notable Polish population. The influence of Polish culture is reflected throughout New Britain’s culinary scene and the city boasts a prevalence of authentic Polish restaurants and cafes among other international cuisines. We take a closer look at 10 outstanding cultural restaurants in New Britain, Connecticut.
Located on Broad Street, Belvedere Cafe and Restaurant exudes an upper-scale vibe in contrast to the traditional feel of neighboring restaurants. This Polish venue consists of a sleek, dimly lit bar and a separate candle-lit dining room with contemporary decor and large works of art hanging on brick walls. The menu offers a selection of popular Eastern European dishes such as pierogi stuffed with mushrooms and cabbage, kielbasa, potato pancakes, borscht and goulash. Belvedere Cafe and Restaurant is the perfect place for a well-priced and hearty meal, particularly in the winter months, paired with excellent service, a lively, cultural atmosphere and an overall pleasant dining experience.
Cafe Beauregard is a relatively new addition to the New Britain culinary scene, having opened in early 2014 and quickly gained considerable popularity after a visit from President Obama. This small establishment on Main Street specializes in innovative sandwiches as well as crêpes, soups, salads and freshly baked pastries. Loyal customers call Cafe Beauregard a charming venue, notable for its outstanding service and personable owners, delicious, quality food and an inspired menu featuring specialty sandwiches such as the ‘Vegetarian Wrapture’ – a wrap filled with grilled portabella mushrooms, roasted tomato, fresh avocado, mozzarella and freshly made hummus. Considered the hidden gem of New Britain, Cafe Beauregard is well worth a visit.
Capitol Lunch began as a small shoeshine shop that sold hot-dogs as a method of attracting customers. The hot-dogs became more popular than the shoe shining, so Capitol Lunch became a restaurant in 1929. The hot-dogs have remained the same throughout the years, as Capitol Lunch has long been a New Britain culinary institution. The restaurant is still family owned, offering the same delicious recipe for only $1.80. In addition to Capitol Lunch’s traditional hot dog, the menu also offers hamburgers, cheeseburgers, French fries and onion rings. While the selection is limited, customers continue to rave about this establishment for its no frills food paired with a side of nostalgia. For truly unbeatable prices and what is perhaps the best hot dog in town, visit Capitol Lunch.
Criollisimo opened its doors in 1999 and has been serving large portions of fresh, authentic Puerto Rican food at reasonable prices for over 20 years. The menu consists of typical Latin American favorites, including rice and beans, empanadas, salads, soups, and meat dishes such as goat stew and fried pork. The service is friendly and the restaurant is simple but clean, with space to sit in as well as the option to take your food away. The restaurant is located on Arch Street and is opened Monday through to Saturday for lunch, dinner and event catering.
For the taste and feel of Germanywithout the necessity of a passport, try the ecclectic East Side Restaurant on Dwight Street. Family owned and operated for over 70 years, this restaurant and beer hall aims to transport customers to Bavaria with wait staff dressed in traditional German clothing and a hearty menu offering schnitzel, German potato dumplings, giant pretzels and a selection of wurst. The dining room features a mural painted by local artist Kenneth Larson, depicting grapes and wooden plaques alongside classical elements reminiscent of ‘Old Heidelberg’. The restaurant is designed to be both fun and family friendly, equipped with a ‘state of the art’ beer dispensing system and special tables that keep your drinks cold in the ‘Munich Room’.
Despite its simple storefront exterior, Mae Kong Thai Restaurant on Main Street offers delicious and authentic Thai cuisine. The restaurant’s interior is small but clean, with an informal and relaxed ambiance in which to dine. Surrounded by gold hued Thai figurines, atmospheric lanterns and bamboo plants, guests can choose from an assortment of appetizers, soups, salads and entrees such as wasabi fried rice with tempura fish, spicy mango salmon, traditional red and green curries, and pad Thai. Finish your meal with a selection of coconut, ginger, green tea or vanilla ice cream, fried bananas or Kanom Tuy, a dessert of steamed rice flour and tapioca flour in coconut milk.
For over 30 years, Pizza Pal of New Britain has been serving a variety of traditional Mediterranean dishes, including pizzas, seafood, salads, soups, and sandwiches. The restaurant offers sit in, takeaway and catering menus with options such as eggplant Parmesan, gyros and souvlaki, pastas, pizzas and grinders made from an assortment of cheeses, meats and vegetables. Pizza Pal of New Britain offers standard Greekand Italian favorites made in house from scratch, and local customers rave about some of the finest pizza in the city of New Britain. For a casual meal and delicious food, give Pizza Pal of New Britain a try.
As the name suggests, Riley’s Hot Dog & Burger Gourmet on Glen Street specializes in casual American food. The restaurant uses fresh, local meats and ingredients as well as inventive toppings to create unique flavor combinations and a pleasant dining experience for customers. The menu includes a dynamic selection of ‘gourmet’ hot dogs and burgers, such as the ‘Rabid Dog’ with hot relish, jalapeños and cheddar cheese, and the ‘California Dog’ with fresh avocado, salsa and sour cream, or the quinoa veggie burger, salmon burger and Kielbasa burger, topped with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and mustard. Additional options include baked potatoes and fresh cut fries. For a unique take on American culinary staples, stop by Riley’s Hot Dog & Burger Gourmet.
Seoul BBQ & Sushi, New Britain | Courtesy of Staropolska
Voted ‘Best Korean Restaurant’ in 2014 by the Hartford Courant, Seoul BBQ & Sushi subsequently boasts some of the best Korean and Japanesefood in the state of Connecticut. The menu features an assortment of authentic Korean and Japanese cuisine, including favorites like sushi, sashimi, miso soup and seaweed salad, as well as Korean dishes such as sweet potato starch noodles, spicy codfish soup, meat stews and barbequed beef. The restaurant provides a clean and modern atmosphere in which the food steals the show. With the additional perks of friendly wait staff and excellent service, Seoul BBQ & Sushi provides a unique and enjoyable dining experience.
This Broad Street restaurant offers authentic, home-style Polish food. Translating into ‘old country Poland’, Staropolska has served quality Eastern European cuisine to the New Britain community for over 20 years. With a review by the New York Times praising the establishment for its ‘bargain-basement pricing and whopping portions’, Staropolska offers the best in simply delicious home cooking from within a warm and friendly atmosphere. The menu offers a mix of typical Polish and standard American dishes, from grilled cheese, BLTs and hot dogs to pierogies, blintzes, kielbasa and borscht. For the taste of Poland from the comfort of home, Staropolska is a popular choice.