We’ve been saying this for some time: The Stamford food scene has exploded in recent years. “We are reaping the benefits of [new] construction in various neighborhoods and added residential traffic,” says Linda Kavanagh, owner of MaxEx Public Relations, an agency with restaurants in Fairfield County as its core client base. “Quality is also playing into the success of the city’s food scene. Everybody has had to up his game.”
Ask your friends and neighbors where to eat—everyone has a favorite they would fall on their swords for—then ask Siri to look up the menus. Need food shopping suggestions? We’ve got you covered there, too. We’ll bet by this time next year, you’ll be filling in your new neighbors on where to go for just about everything.
Like many major metro areas, Stamford holds two Restaurant Weeks—in February and August. It’s a perfect time to try new places at affordable prices.
Whatever is your favorite, Stamford is nothing if not full of great, ethnic food. Here you can travel the epicurean world without the hassle of a travel ban. Check these out.
From refined to family-style, The Capital Grille and Del Frisco’s Grille are the places for steak meals; F.I.S.H. is the place for anything from the sea. Mackenzie’s Bar and Grill serves a daily late-night menu until midnight while Long Ridge Tavern dishes up pub fare in a cozy, converted barn in the country. Drop by Harlan Social for brunch, a market driven menu and one of the best burgers in town. Then there’s Prime, the new, waterfront wonder, serving everything from rare cuts to premium sushi. Also: Cask Republic, Hudson Grille, Bareburger and Olio
Think more than just cashew chicken or California rolls. We would give our left kidney for one more taste of Ocha Thai’s crispy duck salad or lemongrass pork chop. Soosh has the freshest sushi, and it’s kosher to boot. Feeling peckish? Kumo offers an all-you-can eat sushi bar, and Asiana has a fusion vibe with Chinese, Thai and Japanese offerings. Also: Kiku Sushi, Kotobuki, Kona Grill and Kashi.
Soul Tasty is the only true soul food eatery in the city. (We could write an ode to the fried pork chops.) BarBQ just changed its menu, but the legendary wings remain. (Kids ten and under eat free with the purchase of an adult meal on Thursdays through Sundays.) Brother Jimmy’s BBQ and Dinosaur Bar-B-Que get big happy hour crowds, so if you don’t feel up for that, go for lunch instead. Judy’s Bar and Kitchen is Southern-style “house-smoked, scratch-made Low-Country cuisine.” The brisket and crispy chicken are what dreams are made of.
Also: The Boatyard at Smokey Joe’s BBQ.
Eat with your hands at Teff, which serves a gluten-free and vegan-friendly menu.
You can opt for traditional, regional innovations at Coromandel, or its Asian-fusion options. Either way, you’ll enjoy great cuisine. Tawa serves great lunch buffets. Navaratna is for all you vegetarians who crave the real deal with plenty of flavor.
If you’re looking for elevated brunch and munchies to go with your Guinness, find your way to Tigín Irish Pub. You will also find plenty of your brew and compatriots at Brennan’s, Casey’s Tavern, Fiddler’s Green and Tiernan’s, especially on big-game day.
There’s so much of this Mediterranean favorite in Stamford, we dedicated a whole section to it. Check it out here.
Classic Peruvian food reigns at Acuario and Fiesta on Main (recently relocated from Atlantic Street) while Bartaco serves lighter Mexican, taqueria style. Brasitas and Cilantro blend traditional Latin American flavors in ways that keep those in the know going back for more. Craving Tex-Mex? Head to Cantina Southwest Grill & Tequila Bar or Cantina Mexicana just a few blocks away. Both boast lengthy tasting tequila menus. For a quick bite, look for El Charrito Taco Truck: Magic comes out of that small kitchen.
Also: Casa Villa and Ole Mole.
Begin at Layla’s Falafel (Lebanese), where you must have the Arabic chicken shawarma sandwich. We
can’t get enough of the tagines at The Fez (Moroccan), and the salads at Tabouli Grille (Israeli) are so fresh, they practically walk onto the plates themselves. Order out from, or have an event catered by Myrna’s Kitchen (Lebanese and Greek); you can also get vegetarian and gluten-free there.
Eos (Greek) is more than just gyros, hummus and grape leaves. You could make a meal just out of the appetizers of lamb sliders, smoked eggplant and grilled octopus. Savor authentic Spanish tapas, paella plus a large Spanish wine list at Barcelona. For a taste of France, try Chez Vous and Noir, serving up that je ne sais quoi, Gallic style.
Pay attention to when the churches have their fairs, from early June to late August; the homemade food is worth pushing your way through the crowds.