Sunday, August 3, 2008

Restaurants: The Best of Bridgeport

Living in Fairfield, we are right next door to Connecticut's largest city, Bridgeport. Luckily for us, it has some fantastic eating destinations. If you're looking to liven up your weekend, head for the border and check out one of these great Bridgeport eateries!

In the past few years, several sections of Bridgeport have seen lots of positive development. The Black Rock Historic District has seen an influx of eateries in recent years, and has become downright (dare I say?) quaint. The section of downtown near the courthouse (Fairfield Avenue/Main Street) also has a slew of great restaurants, some new, some old, but all worth a visit.

In Black Rock, I recently ate at Dish Supper Club at 2889 Fairfield Avenue. It is by reservation only, and currently only open for dinner on Friday nights (although it serves breakfast on weekdays). It works more like a supper club than a restaurant, and you almost feel like you're part of a fabulous dinner party at someones home. The fixed price, set multi-course meal is served in a casual setting, at shared tables. During the summer months, the menu featured a New England Clambake---complete with wonderful clam chowder, mussels, clams, a whole lobster for each person, corn, potatoes, purple cabbage cole slaw and dessert (homemade ice cream sandwiches from Timothy's Ice Cream--YUM). It was really excellent...and I can't wait to go back in the fall to see what Janet, the chef/owner cooks up in her open kitchen. BTW, it is BYOB and will also open for private groups on other days of the week. This is a place NOT to be missed.

Other notable restaurants in the area are Cafe Tavolini (nice decor, nice Italian menu), Viale (classic, upscale Italian restaurant feel, very good food), and Home on the Range for breakfast (you'd pass it if you weren't looking---very small but a great breakfast!). Don't forget dessert---either at Timothy's Ice Cream (a mainstay---mentioned above) or the new Helado Vasquez for great, homemade gelato and sorbetto (all on Fairfield Avenue in the Black Rock section).

In downtown Bridgeport, Cafe Roma at 269 Fairfield Avenue is a relative newcomer to the scene (opened in 2006), and is owned by two Italian-born Fairfielders. The space is excellent---- two story ceilings, exposed brick, perfect lighting, and a friendly staff. The service is a little on the slow side, but it didn't seem incompetent---maybe just more of a laid-back European style. The food was really good, and the portion size perfect. Just the right amount so everyone leaves happy (not in a food coma). They even have an "economic stimulus plan" where if you pay in cash, you get a 10% discount!

Also in the same area of downtown Bridgeport is Ralph 'n Rich's (815 Main Street). It is a large, airy space with great energy and serves up excellent Italian food (in huge portions!). It's great for large groups too. Joseph's Steakhouse (360 Fairfield Avenue) has a traditional, old-school steakhouse feel to it, with excellent service and top-notch food (just keep the wine flowing so when the check comes, you don't have a heart attack). After eating at any of these great spots, head over to Two Boots for some live music (or go earlier for some great pizza).

What are you waiting for? Start eating out in Bridgeport! You'll be happy you did!

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