It’s hard to find a bad restaurant in New Haven, but in a city with what seems like 30 pizza places and 40 thai spots there are restaurants that stand out above the rest. We polled you, the students who wine and dine all over the city, to find out your favorites and come up with a list of the bests in several categories, the shining stars that deserve the Spoon seal of approval.
Best Pizza: Pepe’s
With multiple New Haven pizzerias often ranking on Best Pizza in the US lists from sources such as Food & Wine, The Daily Meal, Thrillist and Business Insider, the spot that makes the list the most, often at the very top, is Frank Pepe’s. Voters said “is that even a question?” and “it’s the epitome of New Haven Apizza that always leaves me wanting more.”
Although Pepe’s has expanded significantly, The Original in New Haven and The Spot right next door are still doing it best. Classics include the tomato and white clam pizzas, but I recommend ordering a pie with chicken for a new take.
Char covered hands and burnt tongues are always worth it at Pepe’s, but Bar was a close runner up; where else can you get mashed potatoes on your pizza?!
Best Latin Food: Rubamba
Praise for Rubamba include love for their ingredients, flavoring, authenticity and prices. The arepas at Rubamba are much bigger than at their cart (Ay! Arepa) and the sides at the restaurant, including yuca fries and street corn, round out the meal.
Spoon favorites include the lamb arepa with sliced avocado and yuca fries or the Cuban style pulled pork quesadilla with Monterey Jack cheese. Don’t forget to flash your Yale ID for 15% off Columbian dishes, or go on Sundays for 25% off the same dishes.
Best Thai Food: Thai Taste
Thai Taste is your favorite Thai place by a mile! Some people have very strong feelings about other Thai restaurants, but Thai Taste is your clear winner – here’s why: you love their pad thai, pad see ew, yellow curry, red curry and large portion sizes for the price. There’s no need to be embarrassed about the amount of thai food you consume from Thai Taste, there’s a reason why it’s everyone’s go to spot!
Best Splurge: Barcelona
Eating is more fun when you’re sharing, and sharing is easier when you’re eating tapas. You can’t go to Barcelona without trying the croquettes and sipping on a glass of sangria, and one voter says their vegetarian paella is “the best thing outside of Spain.” Besides the fabulous food and drinks, the atmosphere at Barcelona makes any meal there a real treat.
Best Brunch: The Pantry
If you haven’t seen the cinnamon bun pancakes from The Pantry on your Instagram feed, you probably live under a rock. Besides the flavored pancake specials, like Oreo and oatmeal raisin, The Pantry has great egg dishes including a variety of eggs Benedict plates. Although it’s a bit of a trek from central campus, one bite of the hybrid pancakes makes it all worth it.
Best Coffee: Blue State
Although our critic does not agree that this is the best coffee in New Haven, you all really love it! Whether it’s for the coffee, tea, snacks, convenience or study space, Blue State is Yale’s number one coffee spot. Koffee? came in a close second; even though it’s less convenient, we really love their drinks!
Best Sandwich: Atticus
Eating in book stores might not always be encouraged, but at Atticus it’s almost required and the sandwiches are the standout on the menu. Their bread comes from the local Chabaso Bakery and is topped with high quality meats and vegetables.
My two favorites, which don’t seem to be on the menu right now (what’s up with that?), are the artichoke panini and the pulled pork and pear filled panini sandwiched between two grilled cheeses. Both sandwiches are huge enough to last two meals and leave you warm and full.
Best Dessert: Ashley’s and Crepes Choupette
We love our locally sourced ice cream, especially flavors like coffee Oreo, Heath bar and Nutella chip. Their milkshakes have an impressive number of scoops in them and always hit the spot. When you need something to feed a crowd, their frisbees, filled with 8 scoops of ice cream and 10 toppings, are a winning idea.
Crepes Choupette has just opened a brick and mortar shop on Whitney Avenue so you can now get your crepe fix between the hours of 7 am and 6 pm every day of the week. Fill your crepe with some combination of Nutella, chocolate, fruit and marshmallows and you’ll have a dessert for the records.
Best Burger: Prime 16
Prime 16 has a huge selection of burgers made of beef, lamb, turkey, salmon, bison, veggies and even bacon! Choose from one of their suggested creations or make your own piled high with cheese, vegetables, extra meats and sauces. They have four types of fries and even tater tots. When you’re looking for a truly special burger, Prime 16 is the place to go.