July 21, 2024


Simply The Best Food

Three New Haven eateries named in CT Magazine’s ‘Best Restaurants 2021’ list

3 min read

New Haven doesn’t exactly have a shortage of options when it comes to finding a great place to eat so it should come as no surprise that Connecticut Magazine mentioned three different New Haven restaurants in their “Best Restaurants 2021: The Top 15 Restaurants in Connecticut” list.

Chef Harinder Singh began with tried-and-true Indian favorites at his family’s restaurant, Sitar, in New Haven, but has since made a departure from both at House of Naan. The House opened in late 2016 with a few nods to the old ways — importing spices whole from India, then crushing, roasting and preparing them in-house — then uses the ingredients for craveable tikka fries, naanaco tacos, tandoors and chaats with a twist. Speaking of twists, the House cocktail selection, with drinks like the Howe Street Tea (including Bulldog gin with Asian botanicals, Darjeeling tea syrup, and chickpea water) are as flavorful and on-brand as the food. Our writers agree: this modern Indian kitchen is a gem of the Elm City. — James Gribbon, contributor to CTbites.com (Twitter: @GribWrites)

Located at 65 Howe Street. 203-562-6226 • houseofnaan.com • Instagram: @houseofnaan

Tavern on State

From the very beginning in June 2019, owners Emily Mingrone and Shane McGowan wanted Tavern on State to be a community-oriented establishment where people could get quality food and drink. Tavern immediately wove itself into the fabric of East Rock without pretense, using simple, straightforward ingredients and methods.

The food and drink menus rotate with the seasons, and now Mingrone has the luxury of full access to a whole animal butchery just a few doors down on Upper State Street. Spawned by the pandemic, Provisions on State was launched this fall to not only serve the neighborhood but to provide Mingrone with even more options to feed her creativity.

Tavern on State was recognized as Newcomer of the Year at the Connecticut Restaurant Association awards in December 2019. And as much as Mingrone and McGowan talk about their local community, a meal at their restaurant is worth the drive from anywhere in Connecticut. — Mike Wollschlager, writer and editor at Connecticut Magazine (Twitter: @MikeDoubleU_)

Located at 969 State Street. 475-202-6883 • tavernonstate.com • Instagram: @tavernonstate

Union League Cafe

One of Connecticut’s finest restaurants since opening in 1993, Union League Cafe across from Yale University on Chapel Street is the equivalent of “a man for all seasons.” The French-inspired brasserie with an elegant but welcoming atmosphere is that rarefied establishment that flawlessly delivers fine-dining experiences of several different types to its varied clientele.

Old-world charm, including a hearth fire in chilly weather, renders the main dining room the most formal space, and most suited to a lingering, three-course meal that might feature the signature escargot dish, served with garlic, parsley, tomato concassèe, and croutons, and the Lobster & Jura Wine entrée, a half, butter-poached Maine lobster with butternut squash risotto, Oregon chanterelles, sautéed chestnut, Jura wine and lobster bisque. The wine list is deep and fabulous, and particularly strong in red and white Burgundies.

Meanwhile, the bar in the back offers a more casual space for enjoying Prince Edward Island mussels with a glass of Loire Valley white wine — or a craft beer like Lawson’s Sip of Sunshine. In the summer, guests flock to La Terrasse to dine outside over bottles of chilled rosé, and Sundays bring a different opportunity, brunch with a side of live jazz.

Throughout these “seasons” of dining, chef and founder chef Jean-Pierre Vuillermet and executive chef Guillaume Traversaz use their culinary alchemy to turn the freshest local and organic ingredients into superb dishes inspired by French classical tradition, updated with a more contemporary approach to flavors, textures — and aesthetics. Everything at Union League is tres magnifique. — Douglas P. Clement, freelance writer, former senior and digital editor of Connecticut Magazine (Twitter: @DouglasPClement)

Located at 1032 Chapel Street. 203-562-4299 • unionleaguecafe.com • Instagram: @unionleaguecafe

This excerpt is from an article that originally appeared in Connecticut Magazine. You can subscribe here, or find the current issue on sale here. Sign up for the newsletter to get the latest and greatest content from Connecticut Magazine delivered right to your inbox. On Facebook and Instagram @connecticutmagazine and Twitter @connecticutmag.

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