Due to its long coastline along the Atlantic Ocean, the Connecticut River, the Thames River, and the many ports along Long Island Sound, Connecticut is often associated with maritime tradition.
With its links to the maritime industry and both the rivers and coastline, it is hardly surprising that some of the best restaurants in this state are seafood restaurants. If you are a fan of fish and seafood, you will find an abundance of fish and seafood restaurants from which you can choose.
These vary from casual eateries offering simple dishes to fine dining restaurants that serve creative cuisine. You will also find venues that serve traditional American seafood dishes alongside others that serve dishes that have taken inspiration from all four corners of the globe.
With so many options to choose between, you may have some difficulty deciding which are the best establishments for enjoying an amazing seafood meal. To give you some idea of the best seafood restaurants to visit in this state, here are the 20 best seafood restaurants in Connecticut.
20. The Place
Many people consider The Place the best seafood restaurant in Connecticut and it tops the list of recommendations from Only In Your State.
The only reason that this seafood restaurant does not rank higher on the list is that it is only open in the summer months. Located in Guildford, this is an outdoor venue with casual tree stump seating around circular tables. The food is cooked to order on the grill, and the grilled shrimp is out of this world.
19. Johnny Ad’s
From the exterior, Johnny Ad’s doesn’t look like anything exciting as it is styled like an old shack with boarding painted in blue. However, seafood lovers should not overlook this eatery in Old Saybrook based on external appearance as the food is something that you should not miss.
It serves traditional American seafood classics, such as lobster rolls, and the small restaurant has an informal and friendly vibe. Diners can also order their food at the window and dine outdoors at the picnic tables.
18. The Ancient Mariner
The top spot for seafood lovers in Ridgeford is The Ancient Mariner. The interior is an old-school beachfront style with wooden flooring, wood paneling, and maritime-related items decorating the walls. It has a cozy and welcoming ambiance that is perfect for date nights.
Many of the dishes on the menu feature seafood paired with pasta. This restaurant is also known for its creative and unusual combinations that you will not see on menus of other seafood restaurants in the area.
17. 85 Main
An award-winning restaurant, 85 Main combines a casual dining environment with a fine dining experience. Located in downtown Putnam, this restaurant serves New American-Asian fusion cuisine. There is a full raw bar, a sushi bar, and an extensive menu featuring fish and seafood.
Diners can eat indoors in the restaurant or out on the patio in warm weather. In addition to the food, this restaurant has also built an excellent reputation for its drink options. There is a wine cellar that houses an extensive range of wines, and an excellent cocktail list.
16. Red 36
At Red 36, diners can enjoy an ever-changing and eclectic American menu that consists of dishes made using only the freshest seasonal ingredients. In addition to the meals on the menu, diners can enjoy choosing cold foods from the large raw bar. Burgers and pizzas also feature on the menu at this modern eatery.
Red 36 is located in historic downtown Mystic and is set on the waterfront, so diners can enjoy water views while they dine. There are multiple indoor lounges and a large decked patio area, so guests can choose where they wish to dine.
15. Cava Restaurant
Those who are looking for an upscale seafood restaurant to celebrate an occasion or to enjoy a romantic meal should head for Cava Restaurant in Southington. It is a fine dining restaurant the exudes old-world charm and delivers an outstanding dining experience. This restaurant also caters for private events. It is open for both lunch and dinner seven days a week.
14. Oyster Club
If you are a foodie that loves the farm-to-table and ocean-to-table ethos, then this is the restaurant for you. According to Visit Connecticut, this restaurant is located in historic downtown Mystic, and they strive to serve sea-to-table coastal cuisine that is inspired by farms.
The menu is imaginative and features seasonal and sustainable ingredients. The restaurant is open brunch on Sundays, lunch and dinner services on Friday and Saturdays, and dinner only on the other days. There is a happy hour with reduced drinks and meal deals every day between 4 pm and 6 pm.
13. Lobster Hut
Located in Milford, Connecticut, Lobster Hut is one of the best places to eat lobster rolls as the majority of the menu consists of this dish served in various ways.
You can accompany your lobster roll with a side portion of onion rings, fries, or coleslaw. Another dish that this restaurant is known for is its creamy lobster bisque, which is served topped with crunchy oyster crackers. In the past, this venue was only open seasonally, but it is now open year-round.
12. Noah’s Restaurant
Although the vibe at Noah’s Restaurant is casual, the food served is the equivalent to a fine dining establishment, says Visit Connecticut. It is located at the heart of the historic Stonington Borough, and it is open from breakfast until late. This restaurant has been open since 1979, and it is chef-owned and operated.
The dining area seats 75, so it is small enough to have an intimate and romantic ambiance. All the dishes are cooked from scratch using only the finest ingredients, which are sourced locally whenever possible.
11. The Restaurant at Rowayton Seafood
One of the top seafood venues in Norwalk is The Restaurant at Rowayton Seafood. This is more upscale than many of the casual eateries in the area, but it is certainly not a swanky or expensive place to eat out.
There is a vast array of fish and seafood on the menu, but many people head to this venue specifically to eat the lobster. Two of the top offerings are the Maine steamed lobster and the truffled lobster Mac & Cheese. Another popular option on the menu is the crab cake sandwich.
10. Stowe’s Seafood
A combination of fried fish and fresh seafood are served at Stowe’s seafood. There is a wide selection of fish and seafood dishes on the menu. Those with larger appetites should consider ordering the Treasure Chest. This includes scallops, shrimp, crab cakes, haddock, sole, clams, and shrimp all served on top of a huge bed of French fries.
You will find this waterside restaurant on Beach Street in West Haven. From the outside, it looks more like a fish market than a restaurant. There are both indoor and outdoor seating options.
9. Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale
There are three Connecticut locations of Lenny and Joe’s Fish Tale in Madison, New Haven, and Westbrook. Whichever one you visit, you can expect mouthwatering food. They are casual restaurants that serve classic American seafood dishes, such as chowder and lobster rolls. Most people choose to dine outside in good weather, and the outdoor areas feature traditional carousels.
8. The Whelk
Best Things Connecticut lists The Whelk as one of the top seafood restaurants to visit in Connecticut. The highlight of the restaurant is a large raw bar that has a vast array of ingredients supplied by fishermen in New England and Canada.
For those who prefer a cooked meal, the menu offers a wide variety of fish and seafood dishes made from fresh ingredients including lobster, crab, brook trout, squid, and mackerel. This venue is also known for its exquisite desserts, so don't overindulge on your entree.
7. Jimmies of Savin Rock
Those with larger appetites will enjoy a meal at Jimmies of Savin Rock in West Haven. It sits in a beachfront spot and is known for its huge portions. Don’t expect anything fancy as this is somewhere to simply enjoy hearty and delicious American classics. It is particularly well known for its deep-fried tender clams.
The waterfront location of this restaurant means that diners can enjoy water views and beautiful surroundings while delighting in the quality of the food.
6. Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock
A bring-your-own-booze restaurant, dining at Captain Scott’s Lobster Dock is a casual occasion where you will sit at picnic tables. This restaurant is famous for its amazing lobster rolls.
They also serve an outstanding bisque and many delicious sides, including corn on the cob. It is located in New London and is considered a landmark of the area. The restaurant also has a food truck that you can hire to cater for your private events.
5. U.S.S. Chowder Pot IV
One of the best seafood restaurants in Hartford, Connecticut, is U.S.S. Chowder Pot IV. This family-owned establishment has become famous for its chowder and bisque, and its reputation is spreading throughout the state.
This restaurant has a warm and welcoming vibe, with its old-school interior that features a wooden bar, wood-paneled walls, and dimmed lighting to create a comfortable atmosphere.
4. S & P Oyster Company
An upscale restaurant in Mystic, S & P Oyster Company is one of the pricier options in the state, so it is one to visit on a special occasion. Although oysters feature highly on the menu at this restaurant, as its name would suggest, they are not the only option.
The pan-seared scallops come highly recommended. The dishes are served in a stylish and contemporary manner that is visually appealing. Although most of the menu consists of delicious seafood and fish dishes, there are plenty of other options for those who are not seafood enthusiasts.
They even have vegan and gluten-free menus. Furthermore, there is an extensive wine list from which you can choose the perfect wine to accompany your meal. You will find this restaurant along the Mystic River by the Bascule Bridge.
3. Shell & Bones Oyster Bar & Grill
Sitting on the water’s edge in New Haven is Shell & Bones Oyster Bar & Grill. This restaurant has earned an excellent reputation for the freshness, quality, and variety of fish and seafood dishes it serves.
While dinner at this venue is a rather formal event with food served in a contemporary fine dining style, brunch is far more casual with smaller plates of food being served.
It is just not the top-quality food that diners enjoy, as the restaurant itself adds to the overall dining experience as diners can enjoy ocean views from the floor-to-ceiling windows.
2. Harbor Lights
Located by the waterside at Norwalk, Harbor Lights is an upscale venue that serves stunning dishes made from fresh fish and seafood.
While the seating is formal, this venue has a light and airy feel thanks to the high ceilings and the floor-to-ceiling windows. The latter offers impressive water views for you to enjoy while you dine, which enhances the overall dining expereince.
All the dishes are served in a creative way and have imaginative touches. This is a restaurant that foodies will definitely appreciate due to the quality and diversity of food on offer.
1. Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough
According to i95 Rock, Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough tops the list of the best seafood restaurants in Connecticut. This Noank restaurant is a casual eatery where you can enjoy the finest quality seafood in a relaxed environment. The restaurant does not take reservations, so you just turn up and enjoy the food.
One of the highlights of the menu is the New England Seafood Feast, which includes steamed mussels and an Abbott’s steamed lobster.
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Written by Garrett Parker
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