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Vote for bestItalian Fairfield/New Haven county


CTchef
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So lets hear it people! What do you think the best is for Italian cuisine in these areas? Not that have to be the most expensive haut cuisine, just really good Italian food! From Italian American to regional Italian specialty restaraunts.

Let us try these places or comment on ones we have tried already, and thanks for the input from the new guy, CTchef! Great site by the way.

Now I think for the price, and quality of their seafood dishes Gabrielles restaurant in Orange, CT. on the Post road is delectible! Try their calamari, melt in your mouth! And the Marinara is suberb over shrimp or Scrod with Linguini. The price is reasonable and the portions very nice. THe warm bread at the beginning of your meal is to die for! Don't fill up though, leave room for a great appetizer and main course, and if you are brave and still hungry enough try their homemade mousse, or taramisu, suberb!

This is a place I think many will enjoy if you havent been there, reservations recommended on the weekends, but it is worth it, plus they have a good sized bar area to wait if need be. Now lets hear what else is out there to try.

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Paci in Southport.

Great Northern Italian. Spectacular Italian wine list. Maybe the best dining setting in Fairfield County (except for the big clock on the wall during those occasions when service can be a little slow). And maybe the best place around for eating at a bar. Top notch.

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NEW HAVEN CTY: Tre Scalini - Wooster Street New Haven. Awesome Northern Italian, priced right with great service and valet parking. My personal fav: PAPPARDELLE AL TELEFONO 16.95 - Large egg noodles tossed with lobster meat in a light pink sauce. Check www.trescalinirestaurant.com

(P.S. I also like Gabriele's.)

FAIRFIELD CTY: Via Sforza Trattoria in Norwalk - A non-discreet store-front Italian restaurant. Very good food. Excellent Arthur Ave style bread. Very very casual. Wait with lines on the weekend. Good Saturday afternoon lunch after a trip to Stew Leonard's!

VALLEY: Fratelli's in Derby on Route 34. Also a small street-front restaurant. Chef is originally from Rigoletto's in Arthur Avenue. Excellent food. Hope a lot of people don't find out about this terrific place.

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For insanely large portions of old-school Italian-American red-sauce cuisine, Lucibello's on Elm Street in West Haven (not to be confused with the unrelated pastry shop of the same name in New Haven) has become the standard meeting-place for us when we visit the in-laws. The pane cotto (greens and beans) is really superb, better I think than the same dish used to be at Leon's even when Leon's was good. Meals come with very good soup -- two choices per day -- and a trip to the salad bar. Finishing a meal is almost unheard of. Thursday night is prime rib night, with gigantic slabs of very good beef for some ridiculously low price like $13.95 (including the soup and salad and, I think, two vegetable sides). Had some soft-shell crabs over linguine that were out-of-this-world. Basic stuff like chicken/veal parm is quite good. Not all of the seafood is winning, but most is pretty good. This place is certainly better and cheaper than most of the New York institutions that serve the same style of food.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I have not yet tried Tre Scalini, but the menu does look appetizing, and the prices seem fair. Where is this Fratelli's on Rt 34? I have not even heard about this place and I am familiar with that road. If the cook was from Rigoletto's, then I do want to try it out. Can you give me some markers as to where I could find it? Thanks again. And thanks for all the responses.

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Route 8, Exit 15. Make a left and follow 34 into Derby. Fratelli's is on the right before you get to Elizabeth Street. It has a black awning with white writing, and there is on-street parking. If you come to Tartaglia's or Bridge Street (bridge that goes into Shelton Center), you went too far. Some nights they have had a mandolin player but am not sure if that is a regular thing. I have heard that weekday nights are quiet. I really hope the place makes it and keeps thriving. Let me know if you go; I am curious what you think.

P.S. Just read in this week's Advocate about a new place in Woodbridge on Amity Road that looks interesting--called Pazza Cucina. They got a decent review and critic compared it to Pasta Cosi in Branford. Sounds interesting as that area of town does not have much. Looks like nice place.

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Thank you Cheereeo70, I will try it, this weekend looks a bit busy, but I will perhaps during the week. I can go for some good Arthur Ave Style grub. I also will let you know what I thought of it. By the way, any suggestions on an entree? What are your favorites from this Derby eatery?

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Via Sforza on the post (as mentioned by Cheerieo70) is very good on a consistent basis. They just implemented a new menu. They have also just purchased an old building on the Westport/Norwalk border and will start constroction on a restaurant/wine bar to be completed late spring 2004

If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding. How could you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat!??

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Small but wonderful!

La Taverna

130 New Canann Ave Norwalk 203-849-8879

Chef owned. ( formerly at Maria's Trattoria) The food is great. The place is small and comfortable. The only negative is the very small and uninspired wine list.

APPETIZERS PASTA Portobello alla Griglia Calamari Grilled portobello mushroom Fried or Grilled Calamari $7.95 $8.95 Pasta e Fagioli Insalata Caprese Pasta and bean soup Fresh Mozzarella, roasted peppers $6.95 and sliced tomatoes $7.95 Minestra Escarole, beans and sausage soup $6.95 Penne al Peperoncino Cannelloni di carne e Funghi Pasta in a spicy sauce with proscuitto, Pasta filled with spinach, mushrooms and olives ground veal & mushrooms $14.95 $15.95 Orecchiette al Forno Lasagna Little ear pasta baked with tiny meatballs, Lasagna noodles layered with ground veal, mozzarella and tomato sauce fresh mozzarella, bechamel and tomato sauce $14.95 $15.95 Paglia e Fieno alla Crema Rigatoni Vodka con Gamberi e Pomodoro Fresh straw and hay pasta with pears and Rigatoni in a vodka sauce with shrimp proscuitto in a cream sauce and sundried tomatoes $15.95 $15.95 CARNI Vitello al Limone Involtini di Pollo Veal scaloppine with wine and lemon sauce Chicken breasts stuffed with proscuitto and mozzarella in a white wine sauce with mushrooms $16.95 $16.95 Vitello alla Sorrentino Pollo al Pomodori Secchi Veal scaloppine topped with proscuitto, eggplant Chicken with artichoke and sun dried tomatoes and mozzarella in a white wine sauce in a wine sauce $16.95 $15.95 Vitello al Spinaci Pollo e Salciccia Scarpariello Veal scaloppine sauteed in a marsala Chicken and thin sausage with hot cherry sauce served over fresh spinaci peppers $16.95 $15.95 PESCE Dentice alla Paesana Sogliola alla Mugnaia Snapper sauteed with capers and Filet of sole with capers in a sun dried tomatoes in a fresh lemon wine sauce tomato sauce $17.95 $17.95 Misto alla Bucaniera Gamberi al Pomodoro Mussels, clams, calamari and Shrimp in a marinara sauce garnished shrimp in a lite marinara sauce with clams and mussels served over over over spaghetti linguini $17.95 $16.95 Gamberi al Forno Salmone Shrimp scampi served over linguini Broiled salmon served with sauteed broccoli $15.95

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  • 4 weeks later...

Without a doubt, the very best restaurant, Italian or otherwise, in Fairfield County, is Pasta Nostra in South Norwalk. If you have eaten in Italy, have relatives "off the boat" who cooked for you, or even had a parent of any ethnicity who made food for you with love and skill, you will agree that the food at PN is simply superlative.

The enitirely Italian wine list at Pasta Nostra is stunning in its depth and breadth. For a restaurant, the mark-up is very fair, when you consider the "boutique" nature of most of the wines on this list.

If you live in the area, claim to know and love fine food, and haven't been there, what's keeping you?

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A close second to Pasta Nostra at the Italian restaurant summit would be Liana's Trattoria in Fairfield. An unassuming "neighborhood" style place, with a very talented young chef in the kitchen, and Liana's awesome desserts. Not to be missed!

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Connecticut chef trivia factoid of the day: Gary Zemola, who now operates the Super Duper Weenie in Fairfield, used to be the chef at Pasta Nostra.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Have been to pasta nostra, very good but those prices!!!

Hit the Daily Double on Saturday: 2 dogs at Super Duper Weenies (one new englander, one californian) and dinner at Pasta Nostra.

Agree with Jeff, Pasta Nostra is one of the best restaurants around but the prices are getting out of hand. As Joe Bruno (The Pasta Nazi) has mellowed slightly, the prices have gone through the roof. As an entree, I had ravioli stuffed with ricotta from Italy with bolognese sauce. Maybe 9 or 10 raviolis: $24. My wife had nantucket scallops with a side of pasta: $36. Appetizers in the $12-$14 range for really good but unadorned food served in a storefront setting.

I continue to go back, really enjoy the food, then bitch about the prices on the way home.

The wines are however a treat.

"These pretzels are making me thirsty." --Kramer

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I hear ya; people do complain about the prices at PN. But if one considers what other local restaurants charge for VASTLY inferior food, then Pasta Nostra's not so crazy after all.

And yes, Gary (the Weenie Man) Zemola is a PN alum; he worked in the kitchen and waited on us many times years ago before he rocked the Weenie world with his creations. Superb! His soups make me wish it was wintertime all year long......

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