Connecticut Food Tour of the World

Get your laughing gear round this!
CTMQ Ethnic Food/Restaurant Tour

[Late 2014 Update: Go ahead and read the next few paragraphs. Smile and enjoy the idea. Then check back with late 2014 me again at the bottom…]


starI’ve had this idea for quite a while and haven’t yet sorted out what I plan to do with it. I don’t even know why I’m putting this page together right now, other than to get a new list in order. And to use the phrase “Get your laughing gear round this!” which is absolute nonsense, but is an english translation of “Bon Appetit” according to this site.

I’ve started and stopped a few different food things on CTMQ. I always hit a point of realization that this site isn’t about food AND that writing about food is much harder than it seems. I should clarify that: To write about food WELL is hard. Starting a crappy food blog is easy.

But this idea should be different – and better. If CTMQ’s mission is to “Destroy the myth that there’s nothing to do in CT,” then I think highlighting some of the state’s more unique and often exciting restaurants fits that bill. Better yet, this should be the rare thing on this site wherein I am joined by non-family. We’ll see.

Longtime readers may remember my “World Cup Tour 2006″ that was similarly themed. If this turns out to be half as fun as that was, it’ll be worth it.

Seeking help from social media proved worthwhile and I’ve compiled a decent list here. Additional input is always welcome.

Yes, there’s a bias towards Hartford County. Because I live here. But by all means, please argue your case for additions or substitutes to my list below.


[Late 2014 me again. That sounded fun, didn’t it? I thought so too. Unfortunately, Reality Me sort of rethought the whole thing after a few rounds of this idea and realized that Reality Me is lame, and just can’t do this sort of thing on the regular. The problem is all mine – I feel the need to control the entire thing, I fret about attendance, reservations, “authenticity,” group dynamics, and on and on. It’s not fun for me.

Now, the people who attended the first three meals were GREAT. I LOVED meeting all of you. But for me, organizing this sort of stuff is just hard for me. So… what will I do with this page?

I will continue it, alone and with my little family. Or, hopefully, with small groups for friends whom I know. I still hate taking pictures in restaurants and drawing attention to myself, but that’s my problem – and I don’t want to make it anyone else’s.

Carry on.]

Around the World in Connecticut: (These are suggestions, not definites)

Portugal: O’Camelo, Hartford, 4/27/2013
Venezuela: Valencia Luncheria, Norwalk, 8/17/2013
Germany: Old Heidelberg, Bethel, 9/29/2013 and East Side Restaurant, New Britain

[Late 2014 Update: That was it with the group get-togethers for me. Again, this is because I’M lame. You guys are awesome. Now, if one of you would like to get together for some particular restaurant on the list below or a cuisines you are very familiar with, by all means, let’s make it happen.

I’ll also sort of combine more than one restaurant under the banner of a country when the situation arises.]

French Canada: Chez Ben, Manchester, November 8, 2014


Afghan: Shish Kebab House of Afghanistan, West Hartford
Albanian: Albanian Festival, Waterbury
Austrian: Watch Factory Restaurant, Cheshire
Balkan: NY-NY Pizza, Hartford
Brazilian: Terra Brasilis, Danbury
Cambodian: Royal House, Fairfield
Colombian, Saoco, West Haven
Cuban: Soul de Cuba Cafe, New Haven
Egyptian: Aladdin Halal and Mediterranean Cuisine, Hartford
English Tea: Celebrations Tea Room, Pomfret
Ethiopian/Eritrean: Abyssinian, Hartford
Greek: Cavos Tavern, Newington
Hippie: It’s Only Natural, Middletown
Hungarian: Goulash Place, Danbury
Irish: Hanafin’s Irish Pub, New London
Jamaican: People’s Choice, Norwalk (lunch only)
Jewish: Shuman’s Family Restaurant, Bloomfield
Korean: Seoul Restaurant, New Haven
Lebanese: Hanna’s, Danbury
Malaysian: Bentara, New Haven
Mexican (traditional): Casa Villa, Stamford
Mexican (Oaxacan): Monte Alban, Hartford
‘Murican: Charcoal Chef, Woodbury
Pakistani: Rasham, South Windsor
Peruvian: Cora Cora, West Hartford
Peruvian Oriental: Nichole’s Restaurant, Hartford
Puerto Rican: Criollisimo Restaurant, New Britain
Polish: Belvedere, New Britain
Russian: Europe Restaurant, West Hartford
Scottish: MacDuff’s Public House, Greenwich
Soul Food: Mama Mary’s Soul Food, New Haven
South Indian (vegetarian): Udupi Bhavan, Middletown
Syrian: Safita, Fairfield
Tibetan: Tibetan Kitchen, Middletown
Turkish: Saray Turkish Restaurant, West Haven
Vietnamese: Pho Boston, West Hartford

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16 responses to “Connecticut Food Tour of the World”

  1. Amy says:

    Texas Hot Wieners in Danbury.

    I believe the name says it all.

  2. Karen says:

    German–The East Side in New Britain.

  3. Bob says:

    Reuben – The best pastrami sandwich from Reuba at JAMSS in Old Saybrook.

  4. Rob says:

    How about some Irish at Anna Liffey’s in New Haven? Yes, there really is such a thing as “great Irish food”

  5. Steve says:

    Yeah. It’s called “Guinness.”

  6. Emily says:

    Skip Cora Cora. Go to la Kerencya in Hartford. Better. And there’s awesome entertainment on weekends.

  7. Brendan says:

    Wouldn’t it make more sense to do restaurants at which you’ve never eaten?

  8. Steve says:

    Perhaps. But keep in mind I have two little kids and while there’s a great Vietnamese restaurant in Danbury, it just makes sense to eat at one nearer to my house. (And one which can accommodate more than 3 people at once, even if it’s not the best in the state.)

    I’ve eaten at maybe 8 of these places. And I’m okay with that.

  9. Mara says:

    I recommend Istanbul Cafe in New Haven 245 Crown St, don’t know about the West Haven place.
    Also, South Indian is more different than traditional Indian than Pakistani is, so I’d say Udipi Bhavan should be on your list.

  10. Mara says:

    Oh, and my former colleague who is the child of Portuguese immigrants says the best Portuguese in town is Costa del Sol.

  11. Mara says:

    I think?

  12. Peter says:

    Hippie, now that’s an interesting nationality.

  13. Helder says:

    If someone claims to be of Portuguese heritage and says that Costa del Sol is the ‘best Portuguese in town”, shame on them for betraying their heritage. Costa del Sol clearly states that it is a ‘taste of Spain”. Sorry, just had to get that off my chest. Despite similarities, we are our own culture.

  14. Sarah says:

    The Polish National Home in Hartford might be worth considering, too.

  15. Gaspar Sancoche says:

    Unfortunately, In God We Trust Afrikan Restaurant is out of business. Same for the Tibetan place in Middletown.

  16. Steve says:

    Sarah – I think bringing people to Broad Street in New Britain, outside of the dining experience, is something that might surprise and even amaze some people. Storefront after storefront without a word of english. Also, we’ll be able to go to a Polish deli and buy all sorts of mystery meats in tube form the making of which the young Polish women can’t begin to explain in english. That’s what I”m talking about.

    Gaspar – I knew the Afrikan place would be fleeting, unfortunately. The Tibetan place is still open to my knowledge (it was 2 weeks ago). I know there was a Tibetan “goods/furniture/knick-knacks” store that closed in MIddietown last year. I’ll sort it out.

    As we know, a few of these will surely close before we get to them. Perhaps we should hurry to those we know are struggling.

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