My Favorite Local Restaurants

My Favorite Coffee Shop

Sweater / Scarf (on sale for $10!) / Jeans / Boots

Now that we’ve lived in Connecticut for two years (I still consider myself a city slicker, but that’s another story), I feel like I finally have a solid list of go-to restaurants and bars. I often get asked where to eat in Fairfield County, so I rounded up a list of some of my favorite spots for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Anel and I are creatures of habit, and tend to find one great restaurant and stick with it, but we’ve made a big effort since moving here to explore more.

It’s definitely not like the city, where there are a ton of amazing options, but once we found the gems, we’ve kept this running list of our favorites.

I love supporting small, local restaurants, so I’m excited about American Express’s latest Shop Small for 2x Rewards offer which gives Card Members who use an enrolled American Express Card, including the Blue Cash Everyday Card, a chance to earn even more rewards when they #ShopSmall at qualifying merchants between now and December 31st. All of the restaurants in my list below qualify! For a list of qualifying restaurants near you, reference this map. Enroll your American Express Card to get more rewards, and learn more here.

I’d love to hear any of your favorite spots if you live in my neck of the woods!

Latte

Breakfast

Neat (Darien, Westport)
This is where we shot the photos for this post. I try to schedule as many meetings as possible at Neat because they make me dairy-free tea lattés that are to die for! They also have a few delicious gluten-free pastries, so I always know I can eat something if I need to. The outside courtyard is great in the summer, especially because you can bring your dogs.

Granola Bar (Greenwich, Westport)
If you follow me on Snapchat, you know I’m a Granola Bar addict. I could eat breakfast and lunch here everyday and never get sick of it. The Bababooey sandwich is maybe the best ever (they can make it on GF bread, for us weirdoes). I also love the Naughty Cobb Salad, The Shrek smoothie, and their paleo cookies. For breakfast, sometimes I’ll indulge in the “Crunchy Elvis” yogurt parfait, swapping in their cashew-based yogurt. So delicious!

Sugar Bowl (Darien)
If you’re looking for healthy, skip this section. But if you’re looking for a solidly delicious diner experience, read on. They decorate in a serious way for every single holiday. It’s like decorations on crack, but in a good way. Totally kitschy, and I totally love it. Currently, there are approximately 300 giant ornaments hanging from the ceiling. Go for omelets and coffee, but don’t expect anything fancy.

Green & Tonic (Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien, Cos Cob, Westport)
When I used to work in Port Chester, I’d stop at the Green & Tonic Greenwich location almost daily to pick up breakfast and lunch. It’s 100% vegan, but never compromises on flavor. The butternut squash and white bean quinoa bowl is great and you can’t go wrong with any of the smoothies or juices. If you’re looking to do a pre or post-holiday cleanse, they offer 3 or 5 day cleanses that are wonderful. I’ve done two of them and always feel amazing when they’re done.

The coffee bar at Kirby & Company (Darien)
I’ve talked about this before but Caitlyn makes the most delicious coffee/tea drinks and they have GF macarons! Plus you can shop while you enjoy one of their yummy breakfast quiches.

Cozy Coffee Shop

Lunch

Baldanza (New Canaan)
My friend Amanda and I meet here at least once a month for lunch (and recently for brunch which was also great). It’s all organic and they have an awesome selection of salads, grain bowls, and tartines. The turkey chili is to die for. I always take home a pint of it for Anel. Another plus is they serve breakfast all day!

Bodega (Darien)
I’ve only been to Bodega twice, but it’s becoming a fast favorite. I’m a huge taco-holic, and they make the best ones around, in my opinion. The fried avocado and Ya-mon (jerk chicken) tacos are my faves and I can’t pass up the massaged kale salad. The margaritas definitely don’t suck either!

Beach House Café (Old Greenwich)
Being in Old Greenwich just makes me happy, and this cute little spot, made to look like a boat, is no different. They have a good selection of salads and sandwiches, but my favorite are the spicy fish tacos.

Spotted Horse Tavern (Westport)
I love the old-timey tavern feel of the Spotted Horse. It’s great for lunch or dinner, but I love getting the Chinese chicken salad, and asking them to chop it for lunch. All of the salads are gigantic, and can definitely be a full meal. They make killer mussels, and the black truffle burger is always a good choice if you want to be a little naughty.

Layla’s Falafel (Stamford)
Don’t judge this book by its cover. Located in a strip-mall type of location, this hole-in-the-wall falafel joint wins awards every year. We takeout lunch from here on weekends and it never fails to amaze me. I go for the falafel platter with hummus and Fattoush salad, and Anel gets a mix of the chicken and lamb Shewarma.

Neat Coffee Darien

Dinner

Back 40 Kitchen (Greenwich)
It’s hard to find upscale health food restaurants in the ‘burbs, so Back 40 Kitchen is truly a gem. Everything from the cocktails to dessert is organic, so I always feel good about eating here. Literally every single thing I’ve ever ordered has been incredible. Just get passed the fact that it’s on the second floor with a weird long hallway, and you’re all set. Once you enter the actual restaurant, the ambiance is adorable!

Harvest (Greenwich)
A good wine bar is a solid thing to keep in your arsenal. Harvest has a great wine selection, which is only half the reason we frequent it for date-night so often. The farm to table menu is hearty and comforting, with something on the menu for everyone. You can’t miss the shaved Brussels sprout salad and the lamb burger.

Rowayton Seafood (Rowayton)
“The Restaurant”, as they call it, is attached to Rowayton’s fish market, serving some of the freshest fish around. You can sit inside or out, but either way you get beautiful water views. We love coming at sunset for oysters and lobster rolls in the summer.

Zaza (Stamford)
We recently discovered Zaza when we wanted a restaurant near the movie theater we were heading to later that night. It’s an Italian restaurant/wine bar that is constantly packed, so we figured we couldn’t go wrong. It was delicious! The Arugula di Parma pizza is unreal (prosciutto, arugula, cherry tomatoes, and lemon), and Anel and I both went crazy for the truffle Brussels sprouts. It has a good energy about it too!

Mecha Noodle Bar (South Norwalk, Fairfield)
Before we realized there was a location in South Norwalk, we used to drive 35 minutes just to eat at Mecha. On a cold winter night, their ramen soups hit the spot. The spicy miso ramen is the best, and I always swap out the ramen noodles for pho noodles made from rice. The kale salad looks boring but is SO good, and all of the steamed Baos are delish. Pro tip: Takeout isn’t as good, so try to eat there if you can.

Locali (New Canaan)
In the summer, you can sit outside and enjoy your wine and pizza, and it’s just heaven. We love the shaved local cauliflower, the meatballs, and cherry pepper Sriracha chicken wings. I recommend getting a bunch of plates and sharing so you can enjoy more.

Le Fat Poodle (Old Greenwich)
This fancier local restaurant is great for birthdays because they blast 50 Cent’s “It’s Your Birthday” and bring your dessert with a sparkler. It’s a funny juxtaposition given the stunning decor and high-end menu. I love the red snapper with coconut curry sauce, and Anel is obsessed with their take on chicken and waffles.

Thank you to American Express for sponsoring this post.

  • Kate Simone

    Love this post! My husband and I have been living in Stamford and just bought a house in New Canaan. We are in a restaurant rut so I’m so excited to learn about some new ones! Also- you have to try Rosie in New Canaan for brunch!

    • Oooh yay! Enjoy this list then. Will definitely try Rosie’s, everyone keeps telling me to!

  • When we visit family friends who live in Westport we usually eat at The Pantry & Corkscrew. Haven’t been in maybe 2 years but believe it’s still there!

    Love eating local and supporting mom and pop places!

  • Brittany

    Love all these suggestions! Rowayton is my favorite too! Been dying to try spotted horse and Neat too! Love BarTaco for a casual dinner in Westport!

    • BarTaco is always great but I think I’ve ODed 🙂

  • Wendy

    there’s a Mecha in New Haven too and has more tables than the Fairfield.location. I’d add Geronimo in Fairfield and New Haven, as well as Rainbow Thai in Westport and Fairfield to the list. New Haven has a great food scene worth checking out.

    • Oooh I love Thai food! I’ll try Rainbow Thai, thank you so much!

  • Carly A. Heitlinger

    Yes to Granola Bar and Mecha!!!

  • My friends are slowly starting to transition out of NYC for the burbs, and I’m spending more and more time visiting Fairfield County. I love Granola Bar and am thrilled to have more recommended spots to check out. Thank you!

    xx Jean
    http://www.skylineblossoms.com

  • kottavio

    Great list! Valencia in Norwalk all day for some amazing Venezualan beach food, yum!!

  • UCW

    If you are up for some good old school Italian, you have to go to Polpo in Greenwich! A bit pricey, but really fun. The scene is definitely on the older side, but the live pianist belting out jazz standards, and the genial bar tenders make it fun for an occasional night out.

    I also love Douro in Greenwich. Great, fresh food, and the chef is passionate about what he does.

    If you want a great diner, you need to try City Limits on the border of Stamford and Greenwich. They have a gluten free chocolate cake, I used to get a slice for my birthday as a special treat 🙂

    You should also check out some of the places in SoNo!!! I love Cactus Rose (lobster guacamole may sound horrible, but it isn’t). There are tons of great places within walking distance of the train station.

    Westport has the Whelk, which has amazing food and great oysters, and there is also a Terry Lodge right near Westport Train Station. And if you are in Westport, swing by the She La La boutique. I know there is also one in New Canaan, but I always like this one better. I get half of my holiday gifts there!

  • Mecha is my favorite. We go there monthly – even in the summer, and sometimes more frequently in the winter. I still love the Fairfield location the best, but it’s nice to pop into the New Haven one too.

    I really want to go to Neat in the evening and check out the bar scene!

    http://iamchiconthecheap.com

  • Valliere

    Live in Greenwich and there are some great food choices but love Kirby and Co for gifts and sugar bowl for grilled cheese and the best french fries !!!

  • Taylor

    I grew up in this area and love the choices you made. Bodega is my FAVORITE spot both in Darien and in Fairfield. Some other secret gems are Cafe Silvium in Shippan (Stamford by the water) its amazing Italian food. Also, on Hope street in Stamford I would definitely try Olio (recently in the NY Times). Both are smaller places but the food is delicious. For Thai take out I would either go with Little Buddha in Stamford or Little Thai Kitchen in Darien. If you haven’t yet been to Terrain in Westport you must go and eat lunch at their cafe. Its amazing! In Stamford I would also check out Brasitas – great food. As others mentioned Valencia, Polpo and Terry Lodge are great spots as well.

    • Ok I keep hearing about Cafe Silvium, I think it’s time to finally go! Never heard of Olio but adding it to the list too.

  • Virginia Merati

    I love your choices! Recently went to Kirby & Co. thanks to your blog’s recommendation and loved it! The concept of home goods store meets cafe is amazing!

    Bodega is one of my all-time favorites, and there’s nothing better than a glass of rose and lobster roll on the dock in the summer at Rowayton Seafood.

    Have you tried Barcelona? Like you said, a good wine bar is great to have in your arsenal, and as a bonus they also have excellent tapas – a little something for everyone. Tarry Lodge (Port Chester & Westport) is a good spot to grab some Italian and Terrain in Westport has amazing brunch!

    If you’re ever in Wilton or Ridgefield, there is a great coffee shop that I prefer over Neat, called Tusk & Cup. Give it a try if you’re ever in our neck of the woods!

    Hope you have a great weekend! XO

    • Oh yay! I’m so glad you loved Kirby. I don’t love Barcelona for some reason… I think it’s pretty good but not one of my top picks! Maybe I need to give it another chance though 🙂

      Terrain, I LOVE! Totally forgot to add to this list. They actually have a great dinner too which no one ever knows about.

  • Monica Duggan Webster

    We love Farmer’s Table in New Canaan…yum!

    • So funny! I literally was looking at their menu last night. Now I’ll definitely add to my list.