What could be better accompaniments to a meal than a warm ocean breeze and a gorgeous view over the water? Come spring and summer, there's nowhere better to head for brunch, lunch, or dinner than a waterfront restaurant. If you're lucky enough to live in or be visiting Connecticut, you'll be spoilt for choice when it comes to eateries. But which ones rank as the best of the best? Find out as we count down the 10 best waterfront restaurants in Connecticut.
10. Ripka’s Beach Cafe, Norwalk
There's a time and a place for fine dining, but there's also a time to simply kick back with some friends and enjoy some tasty food, good company, and glorious views. Ripka’s Beach Cafe in Norwalk doesn't make its guests wear fancy clothes, doesn't serve them up tiny plates and giant bills, and doesn't expect anyone to do anything but have a great time. Relaxed, unpretentious, and as appealing to seniors as to teens, it's the perfect place to enjoy some fresh seafood, juicy burgers, and old-fashioned dogs.
9. Brushmill by the Waterfall, Chester
If you're wondering what to expect of Brushmill by the Waterfall, everything you need to know is in the title. There's a waterfall, a mill, and (admittedly, it's not in the title but let's overlook that) some of the tastiest food you'll find in Connecticut. The restaurant is one of the only eateries in the country with a waterfall right outside the window. Once you've had your fill of the menu (which is built around American classics with a contemporary twist), treat yourself to a stroll around the stunning falls. Combined with first-rate service and a gorgeously cozy, rustic dining room, it's unquestionably one of Connecticut's most lovely waterfront restaurants.
8. Brennan’s Restaurant, Stamford
If you're looking for a restaurant with relaxed vibes and a pub-style atmosphere, you can't go wrong with Brennan’s Restaurant in Stamford. In summer, there's nowhere better to enjoy a meal than on its large outdoor patio, which boasts enough seating for 40 guests, glorious views over the waterfront, and even a big screen for those who want to watch a baseball game while they tuck into their food. The menu is classic comfort food at its best - standouts include a West Beach Crab Burger and a kielbasa burger topped with chipotle mayo. The service is relaxed but incredibly efficient, making it a great place to enjoy a relaxed, casual dining experience with friends and family.
7. L’Escale, Greenwich
Why go to France to enjoy some gorgeous Mediterranean cuisine when you could save yourself the airfare and go to L’Escale in Greenwich instead? The restaurant began life with the aim of bringing the ambiance of a chic French eatery to the shores of Connecticut - with a seasonal Mediterranean menu designed by award-winning Executive Chef Frederic Kieffer, a rustic wood-burning stove, and elegant, 200-year-old stone tiles imported from Provence, it's fair to say it's succeeded. If you want to enjoy some dreamy food in a divinely elegant environment, it's a must-visit.
6. Saybrook Point Resort & Marina, Saybrook
Looking for a restaurant with a delicious seasonal menu, a divine waterfront location, and the kind of calm, relaxing ambiance that'll make you feel instantly at home? Then look no further than Saybrook Point Resort & Marina, Saybrook. With its breathtaking views over Long Island Sound, it's impossible to fault the location. The menu is just as divine - based around fresh, seasonal ingredients, and with the additional benefit of a raw bar and salad bar, it offers a great selection of dishes such as fried chicken and waffles and wild boar bolognese. If you head there in the evening, be sure to sample one of their handcrafted cocktails.
5. Mill on the River, South Windsor
Named as one of the best waterfront restaurants in Connecticut by Only in Your State, Mill on the River in South Windsor boasts a gorgeously romantic vibe and a scenic location surrounded by trickling fountains and peaceful walking paths. The menu is modern American with a creative twist. Combined with an extensive wine and bar menu, it makes the ideal location for a romantic dinner for two.
4. Prime, Stamford
As ctweekender.com explains, Prime opened as recently as 2016, yet despite being a relative newcomer to the scene, it's already established itself as one of the most popular restaurants in Stamford. Part of its popularity undoubtedly lies in its gorgeous views over the Long Island Sound. If you can, grab a seat on the outdoor patio to watch the boats as you enjoy your meal. The menu is surf and turf heaven, with a curated raw bar, superbly fresh sushi, and some fantastically flavorful 21 day dried aged beef. Don't miss the dessert menu - the layered s'mores dish is legendary.
3. Paddy's Beach Club, Misquamicut
With its divine ocean views and gentle sea breezes, Paddy's Beach Club in Misquamicut makes an exceptional place to enjoy a meal. The menu is exquisite- the seafood, as you'd expect, is divine, but the 100% certified Angus beef burgers and signature Chicken Popper and Porky Mac burgers are pretty awesome too. If you're in the mood for something a little lighter, treat your tastebuds to the Tuna Tartar with an Asian-style salad of seaweed, ginger, and soy - they're guaranteed to thank you for it.
2. Breakwater, Stonington Borough
Stonington Borough, Connecticut’s oldest village, is always a delightful place to visit, but it's even more special if you manage to fit in a meal at the charming Breakwater. Located on the stunningly scenic harbor, it offers guests the chance to enjoy its seasonal menu while soaking up the gorgeous views over the waterfront. The elegant dining room is studded with huge picture windows, but to make the most of the setting, grab a seat on the patio where you can enjoy the sound of the waves lapping against the harbor walls as you eat.
1. The Blue Oar, Haddam
As newengland.com says, at The Blue Oar in Haddam, the views are superb, the burgers are great, and the vibe makes you want to linger. What was once a storage shed for the marina is now one of the best seafood eateries in Connecticut. The menu is informal, with an emphasis on fresh local ingredients and seasonal specialties. There's a bring your own bottle policy in place, but thanks to the restaurant's private dock, you're equally welcome to bring your own boat. If you want, you can even bring your own tablecloth, your own glassware, and your own centerpieces to create a uniquely romantic dinner setting.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson