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Cute Restaurants in Connecticut

Updated on September 22, 2017
LiteraryMind profile image

Exploring new places can be great fun especially when it's something a little different. When I find something interesting, I love to share


Little but Cute Connecticut Restaurants

We like to take day trips. They usually include a point of interest, or a hike, or a nice scenic ride. After, we like to stop at unusual shops and restaurants that are a little bit different. Let's face it, even if you like chain restaurants, that's something you can do anytime, anywhere.

It's important to try new things and experiences off the beaten path. . These restaurants have something unique about them that makes them interesting. These are the small local restaurants that mostly the residents know about.

The majority of the restaurants are in New London County, as those are the restaurants near me. In the interest of "plumping up" this article, I will try to scope out more Connecticut restaurants in other areas and add them to my restaurant reviews.

Middlesex County Restaurants


Al Forno

Old Saybrook, CT

This cute restaurant is tucked in a shopping center and at first glance you might think it was just a pizza shop, but it is far from it.

Inside reminds me of a modern Italian bistro. Beautiful modern pendant lamps light the table areas and one wall shows off their ample wine selection.

"Al Forno" means from the oven and they do have a large brick oven. I love their bread fresh out of the brick oven.

Check out the menu -- it's not the usual meatballs and spaghetti Italian food. It has been rated one of the top 1,000 Italian restaurants in the US by ZAGAT.

It's located off of exit 66 of I-95


Image creditclarita MorgueFile Free

Middlesex County Restaurants

A markerAl Forno Restaurant -
1654 Boston Post Road, Old Saybrook, CT
get directions

New London County Restaurants

When Pigs Fly
When Pigs Fly | Source

When Pigs Fly

Jordan Village, Waterford, CT

This is a tiny restaurant in a quaint little group of stores. The walls are adorned with flying pig images.

They are opened for breakfast and lunch. The portions are hearty and the food is inventive. In addition to their menu there are always 5 breakfast specials, at least one soup of the day, and one sandwich of the day.

My favorite is the tuna melt, but I have tried a lot of other choices and they are equally as wonderful. All sandwiches come with potato chips but for a little extra you can have a different side. Most of the time the side offering is a chic pea and artichoke salad which is so good.

There is seasonal outdoor seating on a sunny patio.


Somewhere-In-Time | Source

Somewhere in Time

Mystic, CT

Somewhere in Time and when Pigs Fly are sister restaurants. They share the same menu. At somewhere in time, the theme is formica tables from the 1940s. Again, it's in a quaint little group of stores.

Recently, they build an outdoor deck for dining. It is covered by a nice awning to shield you from the sun as you dine.

They are in Mystic, but not in the traffic laden downtown. Although, downtown Mystic is easy to get to from there. Somewhere in Time is just across the Stonington line on Route 184. This is a restaurant near me, so we eat here often.


Paul's Pasta
Paul's Pasta | Source

Paul's Pasta

Groton, CT

This is in a turn of the century building on the Thames River. It has old wooden floor and posts and beams. Many of the tables are fashioned on top of old metal sewing machine pedestals. There is a seasonal back room that overlooks the Thames River.

The portions are huge, but they do offer 1/2 portions with a salad. If you order linguine or spaghetti, you will see the fresh dough go into the pasta machine to make the ribbons of pasta. They have an assortment of salad and several times have won "Connecticut's Best Vegetarian Restaurant of New London County". Also, they have awesome desserts.

Expect to wait in line on a Friday or Saturday evening.




Norwich, Connecticut

Image of Cedars of Lebanon: Stock.xchng

This cute little Lebanese deli/bakery/restaurant is located on a side street in the Yantic section of Norwich.

The first thing you will notice is the sturdy vintage stone building in which it's located. Adjacent to this the restaurant has carved out -- literary carved out of stone -- an outdoor eating area alongside the Yantic river. There are 2 small tables inside.

Inside you will find a deli area with an assortment of middle eastern favorites in wraps and salads. Everything is freshly made to order so be patient and browse around the deli to see the middle eastern specialtiies. Do stop at the pastry counter for a look at the delicious phyllo dough pastries.

Lazizah Bakery Menu, Hours, Directions

New London County Restaurants

To give you an idea where these restaurants are, check the Google Map

show route and directions
A markerSomewhere in Time -
2175 Gold Start Highway, Mystic
get directions

B markerWhen Pigs Fly -
97 Rope Ferry Road, Waterford, CT
get directions

C markerPaul's Pasta -
223 Thames Street, Groton, CT
get directions

D markerLazizah Bakery -
125 Yantic Road, Yantic, CT
get directions

Tolland County Restaurants

Little Mark's Big BBQ
Little Mark's Big BBQ | Source

Little Mark's Big BBQ

Vernon, CT

This restaurant is not much to look at from the outside. Inside is warm and friendly country looking with checked tablecloths. Country western music is playing. The back wall has awards for "Connecticut Best Ribs" as well as Zagat rating plaques.

The menu is large and has just about every barbeque meal you could think of, with your choice of 4 sauces. There are additional daily specials on the blackboard.

The food is wonderful. We had the ribs with a side of potato salad and corn bread. The potato salad had an unusual delicious smokey flavor to it. The corn bread was dense and moist.

We were told if we ordered cookies when we put in our entrée order, they would bake them fresh and have them ready when we finished our meal. They were served warm from the oven, with a spoon as they were soft. The plate had goobs of whipping cream surrounding them so you could dip the cookie pieces in whipped cream.


Tolland County Restaurant

See the location on a Google Map

A marker -
226 Talcottville
get directions

Windham County Restaurants

Mrs. Bridges Pantry
Mrs. Bridges Pantry | Source

Mrs. Bridge's Pantry

Woodstock, CT

A cute little restaurant and tea room, with very few tables. The menu is British food -- maybe things Americans have heard of, but never had an opportunity to try. There is a large selection of tea choices. A steaming pot will be brought to your table in a tea cozy. Desserts are scrumptious.

In the next room there is a little gift shop that carries British delicacies and teas, teapots and cups.

Due to the limited seating, at peak times there may be a wait.


travelers-restaurant-connecticut | Source

The Traveler Restaurant

Union, Connecticut

This restaurant has a large menu of sandwiches and entrees. There is a lot of comfort food. All well made. It is warm and homey.

What makes this place unique is that it is just filled with books. There are free books and books to just read while you wait. Downstairs, in the basement, is a virtual library of second hand books for sale.

This restaurant doesn't have a website. Their phone number is (860) 684-4920

Vanilla-Bean  CC 3.0
Vanilla-Bean CC 3.0 | Source

The Vanilla Bean Cafe

Pomfet, Connecticut

Vanilla Bean offers a casual atmosphere with indoor and outdoor dining tables. There food is what I call "fresh American". Sandwiches on whole grain breads with avocado and beautiful cheeses. Hearty soups and many gluten free options. On the weekend they have inventive breakfasts.

Vanilla Bean frequently offers live entertainment.

For more information check out the The Vanilla Bean Cafe website

Before or after eating check out nearby attractions Martha's Herbery and Celebrations Gallery and Tea Room

Windham County Restaurants

See the location of these restaurants

show route and directions
A markerMrs. Bridge's Pantry -
292 Connecticut 169, Woodstock, CT
get directions

B markerThe Traveler Restaurant -
1257 Buckley Highway, Union, CT
get directions

© 2011 Ellen Gregory

Do these restaurants sound cute to you? - If you were in the area, would you try them?

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    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Yes, they sure sound cute! Hope they have good service.

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 3 years ago

      This looks like a fun hobby. Maybe I'll try it out too.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 4 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I have never been to Connecticut but if I get there, I know where I want to eat. These cute restaurants sound wonderful. I love to see the names of the restaurants. Some are so clever.

    • LiteraryMind profile image

      Ellen Gregory 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      @agedefyingworkout: I think you will enjoy it. You will have to follow their directions though as it not in the center of Mystic.

    • agedefyingworkout profile image

      agedefyingworkout 5 years ago

      I've lived in CT my entire life and haven't heard og any of the places in this article. On my next trip through Mystic, I'd like to try Somewhere in Time.