Hartford County in Connecticut is pretty dry. It’s easy to drive right through this county and ask, “So, what does this place even have to offer?” What’s worse is that this county’s residents often wonder the same because there really isn’t much — except a few killer restaurants you might want to give a try when you’re passing through.
1. Barcelona in West Hartford, Connecticut
Beyond those splurgy prices, the next most difficult thing about eating out is the tough call between two dishes. Barcelona solves this problem for you with their savory Mediterranean tapas. Their Spanish-inspired small plates give you a choice between meat and cheese samples, hummus plates, flavor-filled mini casseroles, and many other must-try options. To save your wallet, come for their brunch or lunch specials, and perhaps sip one of their great wine offerings, too.
2. Meadow in Simsbury, Connecticut
Are you a sushi lover with friends who won’t eat raw fish? Are you an anti-raw fish foodie whose friends just need sushi? Stop your raw fish arguments and come to Meadow. Meadow offers everything from eye-catching rainbow sushi rolls to picky-eater-friendly lo mein. The sushi here feeds the eyes just as much as your tummy. The Chinese (and Thai) dishes here likely one-up the last place you ate Chinese.
3. Trumbull Kitchen in Hartford, Connecticut
This place has something to offer for everyone. Everything from sushi appetizers to burgers and fries are offered on Trumbull Kitchen’s menu. Many of their dishes can be ordered with a side of make-you-feel-like-a-million-bucks truffle fries. Yes, truffle fries. Come here if you and your friends are a little indecisive because your friend who wants pasta can get it, and your friend who just wants a salad can be happy, too.
4. Max-A-Mia in Avon, Connecticut
Upon sitting down, you can start your meal out with one of their great soup or salad options (their Caesar salad is a must-try). Ask your waiter to crack open a bottle of wine, and later dive into a big bowl of pasta or a pizza pie. Gluten-free? They serve many naturally gluten-free foods, and they can substitute most of their pasta dishes. This restaurant also embraces local farming and small business culture.
5. Pho Boston in West Hartford, Connecticut
On a cold day, soup warms the soul. The problem with that, however, is that soup servings are often too small to fully fill you. This place solves this issue by bringing out a bowl of soup that kicks ramen’s ass minutes after ordering. Pho (pronounced “fuh” not “faux”) is a broth-based soup filled with comforting noodles, veggies, and meat. In addition, the menu offers awesome pad thai, spring rolls, meat appetizers, and rice dishes if you aren’t feeling soup.
6. Wood-N-Tap in Farmington, Connecticut
Despite popular belief, the best things can come in large packages (or portions). At Wood-N-Tap, portions are nice and big, and filled with dishes we just love. We know you’ll probably crave an all-American hamburger or some mac and cheese at some point on your mundane trip to Hartford County. Upon comfortably sitting down at this joint, you’ll be handed a warm bread basket and their mouthwatering menu. Even better than this is the fact that their seating offers a gorgeous lake view. What’s not to love?
7. First & Last Tavern in Middletown, Connecticut
Everyone loves the taste of truly authentic Italian food. Imagine a romantically lit restaurant that offers your favorite chicken parmesan, pasta dishes, pizza pies, and everything else that comforts the soul. Not a pizza or pasta kind of person? This place offers other great Italian pleasures, too, from subs to chicken plates. And if you love to start your decadent meal off on a fried note, they’ve got a great offering of calamari as well.