The pretty little village of Mystic, Connecticut, is one of New England’s hottest tourist destinations. The Maritime museum, charming downtown, and fascinating supply of cute cafes and quirky local businesses may be what attracts the visitors in the first place, but it’s the food that keeps them coming back.
Despite Mystic’s small size, there’s no shortage of restaurants around; fortunately for seafood lovers, a fair share of them specialize in the fruits of the sea. Whether you’re a first-time visitor, a regular returnee, or a loyal local, don’t miss a visit to at least a couple of the fine establishments to feature on our round-up of the 10 best seafood restaurants in Mystic, CT for 2020.
10. Dog Watch Café
Where; 194 Water St Stonington, CT 06378
Fun, lively, and as welcoming to customers of the four-legged variety as it of the two, Dog Watch Café is a great place to indulge your seafood cravings. The Lobster Mac & Cheese is as deep, rich and comforting as you’d like, while the legendary Lobster BLT is, not to put too fine a point on it, worth selling your grandma for.
9. Abbott's Lobster In the Rough
Where: 117 Pearl St, Noank, CT 06430
First the bad news. Abbott's Lobster In the Rough is temporarily closed. Ready for the good news? It’s set to reopen in May 2020. If you know what’s good for you, you’ll start planning your visit now. Not that you can make a reservation, of course; the spirit here is informal, fun, and lively, with customers seated and fed very much on a “first come, first served” basis. The food, however, is more than worth the wait, with giant bowls of steaming, comforting clam chowder, thick, rich lobster bisque, and a legendary lobster roll that’s won Connecticut Magazine’s "The Best of Connecticut" award more times than we care to count.
8. Sea View Snack Bar
Where: 145 Greenmanville Ave, Mystic, CT 06355
If the thought of some classic New England specialties like whole belly fried clams, lobster rolls, scallops, home-made crab cakes, chowder and more besides has you chomping at the bit, head on over to Sea View Snack Bar. Not only is the food superb, but the views across the Mystic River are the perfect accompaniment to a long, leisurely lunch. Set smack in between the Mystic Aquarium and Mystic Seaport, its convenient location is hard to fault, as is the fun, informal vibe and unfailingly friendly service.
7. Sea Swirl
Where: 30 Williams Ave, Mystic, 06355, CT
If it’s a classic New England seafood shack you want, that’s exactly what you’ll get with Sea Swirl. Go there expecting first class service, fussy waiters, and a 5-page wine list, and you’ll leave disappointed. Go there expecting gut-busting portions, superbly fresh fried fish, French fries, onion rings, and some awesome shakes, and you’ll leave with a smile on your face and one very satisfied appetite. Draw up a seat on one of the benches surrounding the shack, order yourself some deep-fried morsel of fishy goodness, and prepare to get happy.
6. Rocks 21
Where: 3 Williams Avenue Mystic, CT 06355
If seasonal, local cuisine floats your boat, Rocks 21 is certain to please. Set in the charmingly historic the Inn at Mystic, the restaurant straddles the divide between fine dining and good old-fashioned comfort food to spectacular effect. Granted, the menu isn’t dedicated solely to seafood (expect plenty of handmade wood-fired pizza’s and amazingly fresh salads) but seafood is unquestionably the star of the show. Try the Scallop Casserole (a luxuriously comforting dish that feels like a hug in a bowl) or the exquisite Seafood Cavatelli for a taste sensation you’re unlikely to forget in a hurry.
5. Chapter 1 Restaurant
Where: 32 W Main St Mystic, CT 06355
Set in a great position in downtown Mystic, Chapter 1 Restaurant has a little something for everyone. The vast menu covers everything from vegan dishes to gluten-free cuisine, dry-aged steaks to risotto. The seafood is, as with everything about this fine restaurant, exemplary. The Maine Lobster Roll is as succulent and fresh as you could wish for, while the Asian Calamari is a spicy, innovative take on an old classic. Along with the excellent food, it’s also a great place to wet your whistle, with a mammoth 24 beers on tap and a fine selection of wines to boot.
4. The Captain Daniel Packer Inne
Where: 32 Water St, Mystic, CT 06355
A gastropub might not be the first place you think of going for some great seafood, but The Captain Daniel Packer Inne is no ordinary gastropub. Established over 200 years ago, it’s a local favorite- and with reason. The menu is refined, classic, and reasonably priced, with standout dishes including the delectable Seafood Risotto and a truly sumptuous Lobster Mac ‘n Cheese. The inviting décor and warm, attentive service, meanwhile, make it worth the visit alone.
3. Go Fish Restaurant
Where: 27 Coogan Blvd Bldg 22 Mystic, CT 06355
As the name suggests, Go Fish Restaurant puts fish right, left, and center. The quality and freshness of the fish is faultless, while the delicate handling, innovative preparation, and carefully balanced approach elevates the raw materials into something truly newsworthy. Along with a sushi bar and raw bar, there’s a set menu that’s guaranteed to please with dishes like New England Clam Chowder Lobster Bisque and Grilled Cajun Salmon Sandwich.
2. Oyster Club
Where: 13 Water St, Mystic, CT 06355
With each dish on Oyster Club’s exquisite menu cooked to perfection and ram packed with the freshest, most flavorsome ingredients you can imagine, this is a serious restaurant for serious gourmets. Not that’s there’s anything pretentious about either the vibe or the service: warm, cozy and friendly, it’s the kind of place you want to linger in. The menu changes daily according to what’s fresh in that day, but if you’re lucky enough to visit when the steamed mussels with coconut, lemongrass, lime, chili, and cilantro is on the menu, take our advice and jump straight in.
1. S & P Oyster
Where: 1 Holmes St, Mystic, CT 06355
Contemporary, chic, and more than just a little tasty, S & P Oyster makes a fine addition to Mystic’s restaurant scene. Although the menu contains plenty of meat and vegetarian options, it’s the seafood options that really shine; the Oysters Rockefeller is likely to be the freshest you’ve ever tasted, while the wood fired scallops wrapped in prosciutto are just a dream. As its more upscale than some of Mystic’s other options, prices are on the high side. That said, when the food’s this good, you’re unlikely to care.
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Written by Dana Hanson
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