Our Finds - Casual - Classic - Upscale Contemporary - Breakfast - Pizza - Asian - Pubs

The Valley Book TOP 10 Restaurants

Table 570 Asian Fusion
Toshi Izakaya
Francesca's Wine Bar & Bistro
Present Company
La Figata
Metro Bis
Liki Sushi & Asian Bistro
@ The Barn
Meadow Asian Cuisine
Piccolo Arancio

Our Finds

Lotus Grill
College students may not know everything — but they know food. Good food. And affordable food. And the steady stream of undergrads flowing in and out of this modest little place on Route 4 is evidence that their food is both. The menu is rich with traditional Vietnamese cuisine and diverse, with a large selection of tasty appetizers and hearty Pho (or noodle) soups, and an equally generous selection of savory fish, beef, pork, and chicken entrees, all served with Jasmine rice. They aren’t shy about characterizing their peanut sauce as the best you’ve ever had — probably because it is. And good news: they now have a new location in Burlington called the Lemon Grass Asian Grill, so if you haven’t tried either or both, you’re in for a treat.
979 Farmington Ave., Farmington

@ The Barn
Jimmy Chen — owner of the always-popular Han Asian Cuisine right around the corner — has a new feather in his cap with @ The Barn drawing big crowds since shortly after it opened. Rustic on the outside and contemporary on the inside, @ The Barn is spacious and light, featuring booth or table seating, as well as a patio for warm-weather dining. The menu is upscale, well-executed, and beautifully presented. Top-grade steaks are the highlight, but they don’t overshadow a menu that is widely varied and thoroughly enticing. (The Paella, with shrimp, mussels, chicken, chorizo, steamers, peppers, tomatoes, scallions, and saffron calasparra rice is lovely.) Their wine list, by the bottle or glass, is very extensive, and the bar has all the right stuff — including comfortable seating for casual meals. In fact, it’s all really top-notch and the cognoscenti know it.
17 E. Granby Rd., Granby

Mikado Asian Bistro
Formerly Rice Fields Restaurant, Mikado Asian Bistro has been totally renovated — and delightfully revived. Comfortably contemporary, with cozy booths, striking colors, and a full service bar that rounds out the welcoming atmosphere nicely, Mikado offers just the right atmosphere for their menu, which features a unique combination of the Japanese, Chinese, and Thai culinary traditions. The presentation of all the dishes is beautifully done, and they have all the usually hard-to-find items that discerning sushi fans crave. And be sure to try the Chilean Sea Bass with seasonal mixed vegetables/ginger scallion soy sauce. It’s excellent.
220 Albany Tpke., Canton

Han Asian Cuisine
For a long time, Granby longed for a good restaurant. You know, a place that offered more than sandwich and salad lunches, and pizza, pasta, or burgers for dinner. And that’s just what they got when Han Asian Cuisine opened its doors. Truth is, whether you dine in or take out, this little gem serves a nicely varied menu of Japanese, Chinese, and Thai cuisine, featuring no less than 27 different excellent entrees, including noodles and sushi, sashimi, rolls, and pan-Asian offerings, all exquisitely presented. And the bar is perfect for gathering and relaxing.
10 Hartford Ave., Granby

Dom's Coffee
They say never judge a book by its cover — and this little place is why. At home in an old fashioned residence along Rte. 44, its interior reveals a stunningly minimalist Euro-design interior that enhances the lovingly laced lattes, beautiful pastries from la Petite France, and the delicious Lithuanian cheeses that Valley coffee connoisseurs have come to savor. So check it out. And feel free to linger with your computer or relax with a friend, depending on which suits your mood.
20 W. Main St., Avon

Avon Country Deli
Stop by this popular local deli on a Sunday morning, and you, too, will wonder how so many people found this little place, tucked in amongst the dozens of shops and restaurants at Riverdale Farms — and why they come here. But once you’ve found it, ordered your crepes or pancakes or Irish Eggs Benedict and taken that first bite, you won’t wonder anymore. Avon Counry Deli serves wonderful breakfasts all day — every day. (The lunches rock, too.) And the coffee. Can coffee really taste this good? Truth is, this place is the place to dawdle over a second cup any day of the week. Go see for yourself.
136 Simsbury Rd., Avon

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Our Picks Casual

Portobello’s has just about everything you might want in a good family restaurant. A huge menu of remarkably tasty grinders and pizza. Big fresh salads. Daily specials. Budget-friendly prices. An atmosphere as warm and welcoming as you’ll find anywhere. And a comfortable bar where you can eat, drink, and make new friends. The Pork Chops Scallopini are awesome. But then so is the Swiss Burger, all topped with sautéed mushrooms, melted swiss cheese, and shredded lettuce & tomato. (See what I mean!) It’s a keeper.
107 Main St., Rte. 44, New Hartford

There’s no doubt about it. Antonio’s is a restaurant, alright. And a good one, too, if you ask the kids and their families always scarfing down pizzas and burgers after a tough game — or couples enjoying serious fresh fish, steaks, and Italian standards on any given evening. But it’s also an experience, because this delightfully amusing spot — the creation of owner Steve Antonio — is also a tribute to ‘50s and ‘60s Americana, with its vast collection of memorabilia that includes vintage juke boxes, pinball machines, wanted posters, and Coke coolers now adapted for wine storage. Even the menu offers a taste of Steve’s humor, featuring a Chicken Marsala that has exactly 108 noodles and a Parmigiana served with 89 hand-chosen penne rigate. (You can count, but your food will get cold.) And you’ll be glad to know it’s all affordable.
1185 Hopmeadow St., Simbury

Dish 'n Dat
From its everything-for-everyone menu to its retro-chic diner décor, Dish ‘n Dat is a wonderful throwback to the ‘60s. The anytime breakfast menu has omelets cooked to any taste, pancakes in six varieties, and countless sides. There are all kinds of appetizers, burgers and sandwiches, salads and soups, shakes, beer, wine, and drinks — as well as the blue-plate specials some of us still remember. (Be sure to try the mac ‘n cheese). And Happy Hour starts at 3 p.m. every day!
The Shoppes at Farmington Valley, 110 Albany Tpke., Rte. 44, Canton

River's Edge Bistro
Set among a stretch of non-descript storefronts, River’s Edge Bistro looks a bit plain from the street. But don’t be fooled. Once inside, all that changes. Simple but stylish, with both comfortable booths and tables, it’s just the spot to enjoy a menu featuring the cuisine of Mediterranean countries like Morocco, Algeria, Italy, France, Spain, Greece, Egypt, Turkey, Israel, Cyprus, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria. Entrees like tuna steak, mousaka, and their mixed grills of meats and veggies are deliciously fresh and intriguing. Their soups are robust. Their salads substantial. And the burgers delish. And if you get the Turkish coffee, you’ll learn how fortune tellers read the future from the tracings inside the cup. BYOB.
45 S. Main St., Unionville

Galleria Restaurant
The Galleria Restaurant describes itself as a “casual Mediterranean restaurant and cocktail lounge.” But frankly, that’s too modest. It is that rare sort of restaurant that has something for everyone — and we mean everyone! Indeed, their dinner menu is incredibly varied, featuring an abundance of appetizers, soups, and salads; all sorts of pastas and parmigianas; seafood, veal, and chicken entrees galore, with chicken, steak and surf & turf right off the grill; plus a whole section of totally tempting pizzas and calzones. And since their lunch menu is derived from their dinner menu, albeit in smaller portions (with the addition of burgers and sandwiches), it’s just as diverse. Know what that means? It means that this is the place to go when you’re hungry for something awesome but you aren’t sure what — because whatever it is, they’ll have it! You’ll leave satisfied — and return soon. Trust me.
2 Spring Ln., Farmington

Marco's Restaurant
Having weathered both a tough economy and changes at the helm, Marco’s Family Ristorante continues to be a local favorite. The menu remains nicely affordable while offering everything you’d expect at a good Italian restaurant — and then some. (How about a grilled Delmonico steak as tender as it is tasty? Or their Cioppino’s savory blend of shrimp, clams, scallops, mussels, and calamari over linguine?) The kids menu is child tested, parent approved, and wallet friendly — and the pizza, reliable as always. There are still seven wines by the glass. And the remarkable bubble gum machine continues pumping out bubble gum. Of course, you’ll want to check that gum machine for yourself, so while you’re there, enjoy a nice meal. It’s just the place to mangia.
32 Main St., Tariffville

Tangiers International
A while back, Tangiers relocated — and while it was only a little ways down Farmington Avenue, just over the border in Hartford, we worried. Well, we’re glad to report that the only thing that changed was their address. Everything else is as great as ever. At lunchtime, order the falafel, which is made from a generations-old family recipe. It’s uniquely seasoned and served with tangy, herby tzatziki or tahini. Or try a gyro, authentic and flavorful. The pita bread is baked daily. The hummus superb. And the service always friendly. And while you’re there, browse their intriguing selection of imported groceries. Good stuff.
550 Farmington Ave., Hartford

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Our Picks Classic

Seasons Restaurant & Tap Room
Uniquely appealing with its elegant main dining room, Seasons offers guests a reliable hotel-style menu featuring such stand-outs as the pan-roasted Lamb Loin, with house-made spatzle, seasonal vegetables, and a mustard shallot pan sauce or the Balsamic glazed grilled salmon, served with a savory johnny cake, horseradish, pea & broccoli puree, and roasted shallots. Combined with a nice wine, good company, and panoramic views of Talcott Mountain Stream, this dressed-up pub is a winner.
Back of the Avon Old Farms Hotel
279 Avon Mountain Rd., Avon

Ruth’s Chris Steak House
Maybe the steakhouse trend came. And maybe the steakhouse trend went. But Ruth’s Chris doesn’t care, because it’s here to stay — their signature prime beef legendary, as are their perfectly cooked rib-eyes, their tender Porterhouse for two, or their full-bodied New York Strip. Fact is, everyone knows that when it comes to beef, Ruth’s Chris does it best. Just follow the sizzle.
2513 Berlin Tpke., Newington,

Piccolo Arancio
While its sister restaurant, Peppercorn’s, is a well-established hit in Hartford, Farmington’s Piccolo Arancio has been making quite a name for itself, too. Trained in Rome, Chef Salvatore Cialfi is known for turning fresh ingredients into authentic, thoughtful, and elegant Northern Italian fare “vivid” with flavor, which he encourages diners to enjoy “leisurely, sensuously, and with gusto.” Take his advice.
819 Farmington Ave., Farmington

Saybrook Fish House
Anchored at the junction of Routes 44, 179, and 202 in Canton, Saybrook Fish House is a good, down-to-earth fish house, featuring all the good, down-to-earth seafood that’s easy to crave — and hard to find, including Fish and Chips, crispy and hot. A raw bar stocked with fresh clams and oysters. Authentic chowders, both fish and clam. Steamers and whole bellies. Broiled oysters and scallops. Mussels. Sole, scrod, salmon, and tuna. Crab cakes or King Crab legs. Lobsters. And yes, for the folks they call “Fish Frowners,” there’s pasta, chicken and some excellent steaks. Need a taste of summer-by-the-sea right now? Make this your destination.
460 Albany Tpke., Canton

There isn’t a lot of New York-style haute cuisine in the Greater Hartford area, largely because Greater Hartford isn’t New York. But there is one downtown restaurant that is rather hauty without being haughty — and, being located on the 20th floor of One State Street (home of the venerable Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company), it’s called ON20. The service here is polished and unobstrusive, while the culinary team, led by Chef Jesse Powers, prides itself on serving an innovative menu that includes everything from Venison Saddle, with braised red cabbage, a poached bartlett pear, and sauce poivrade to Whey Polenta maitake mushrooms, leek hearts, and burgundy truffles, comte fondue. And for dessert, a Toasted Coconut Cream Cake, with coconut dacquoise, passion fruit jelly, white chocolate lime mouse and toasted coconut ice cream, promises to please. And needless to say, the view is extraordinary.
400 Columbus Blvd., Hartford

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Our Picks Upscale Contemporary

Francesca's Wine Bar & Bistro
Looking much like an actual sidewalk ristorante in Portofino, Francesca’s is decidedly charming, inside and out — the food a lovely indulgence both for the palate and the eyes. A Butler-family venture since June of 2017, this delightful little place in the heart of Collinsville (right near the bike trail!) is an ideal setting for Francesca’s uniquely innovative menu of Mediterranean and American cuisine, all creatively rendered by accomplished Executive Chef Sean Butler, whose commitment to seasonal farm-to-table cooking and locally sourced ingredients from neighbors like Bristol Farms and the Canton Creamery further enhances authenticity. And the wine list is equally exceptional, with libations including a good selection of beers and mixed drinks. If you haven’t been, go.
105 Main St., Collinsville

Max a Mia
Max a Mia is, by far, the Valley’s most consistent purveyor of up-market food and drink for those whose taste demands it — and for those whose budget allows it. The sensibly trendy neo-Tuscan booths and the solid bluestone bar make many Valley professionals and their friends feel secure here. The lunches, including wonderful soups, salads, exceptionally fine fresh fish, and their signature bread served with fresh-roasted garlic are a welcome treat, too. And don’t rush. Have a cappuccino.
70 E. Main St., Avon

Feng Asian Bistro
When Feng Asian Bistro debuted in downtown Hartford more than a decade ago, it was a hit. Now, its Canton location, which features a full bar, a sushi bar flanked by two dining areas, and a hibachi room with eight tables, has done the same — conquering the huge space at the front gate of The Shoppes at Farmington Valley by deftly combining the flavors of East and West without sacrificing authenticity. In fact, the menu is fusion genius, moving from a not-too-exotic sushi selection to a dim sum platter, pad Thai, and wild salmon with risotto in a lobster sake sauce.
The Shoppes at Farmington Valley
110 Albany Tpke., Rt. 44, Canton

Abigail's Grille & Wine Bar
Historic Pettibone Tavern — now Abigail’s, is undoubtedly the Valley’s most popular restaurant. And really, the reason is very simple: They give the people what they want, thanks to a variety of menus that offer excellent meat and fish, stone pies, kids plates, and raw-bar fare, as well as standouts like Bacon-Wrapped Jersey Pork Tenderloin Medallions, the Seared Black and White Sesame Encrusted Ahi Tuna, and the always superb Maine Lobster Pasta. They also have a Happy Hour on weeknights until 7 p.m., a reasonably priced seasonal three-course dinner, lunch specials, their Sunday/Monday/Tuesday Complete Dinner Specials, a tavern menu with small plates, burgers, hearty sandwiches, and salads, and a great Sunday Brunch. Oh, and they also have a ghost that refuses to leave. (Now, that’s the spirit!)
4 Hartford Rd., Simsbury

La Figata
You know how every so often you want to go out to eat somewhere kinda spiffy but end up feeling iffy about the whole thing? Well relax. La Figata is the place to go for people iffy about spiffy, because their menu, “inspired by a blend of northern and southern Italian cuisines,” features both lunch and dinner in a setting that’s upscale — yet comfortably casual. The lunch menu includes paninis and pizzas plus some seriously sophisticated selections like the Faroe Island Salmon, with potato calabrese, tomato, fennel, and freshly chopped herbs with arugula and salsa verde — or Shrimp and Asparagus Ravioli. And the dinner menu reflects that same laid-back mix, but minus the Paninis (which you won’t miss one bit when you taste the Zuppa Di Pesce, featuring shrimp, tomato, and saffron brodo with clams, mussels, calamari, shrimp, fish, and whole prawn over bucatini). Looking for spiffy without the iffy? This is it.
9 Bank St., Granby

Metro Bis
Now located in the Ensign House, one of the town center’s most interesting buildings, Metro Bis is Simsbury’s gem — a top-rated, country-style French bistro where acclaimed Chef Chris Prosperi creates a superb menu, drawing from the latest culinary trends for foodie palates. And while the bill of fare changes daily to leverage both the freshest ingredients and Chef Prosperi’s inspired imagination, this culinary treasure never disappoints. Ever.
690 Hopmeadow St., @ The Ensign House, Simsbury

Millwright's Restaurant & Tavern
Set in a beautifully restored late-17th century gristmill, Millwright’s gorgeous views of the waterfall and its wonderful downstairs tavern are worth the price of admission. Factor in Chef Tyler Anderson’s impressive credentials (including awards and trophies), his epic win on Food Network’s “Chopped” competition, and his remarkable ability to fashion simple, delicate creations from carefully selected, New England-sourced ingredients and Millwright’s becomes one dining experience you do not want to miss.
77 West St., Simsbury

Present Company
There are some very fine restaurants here in the Farmington Valley — Present Company included! Wait…what? You haven’t been there? Well, then you have some catching up to do, because this little gem in Tarriffville is superb. Indeed, an epicure’s delight. And here are just three of the many reasons why: Roasted Rainbow Carrots, with toasted coriander and cashews and blistered grapes, followed by a 7 Hour Lamb Shoulder, accompanied by glazed sunchokes and orange Bonito gravy, and topped off by a rich Peach Melba for dessert, featuring a verbena poached peach, cobbler ends, raspberry hibiscus sauce, and salted caramel ice cream. Few restaurants offer such elegant fare — Present Company excepted. And should you be hosting a luncheon gathering or business meeting soon and want someone special to cater it, you just found them.
2 Tunxis Rd., Tariffville

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Our Picks Breakfast / Lunch

Claudia's Grinder Shop
It’s high noon on Farmington Avenue — and there they are again. Claudia’s fans. Indeed, grinder connoisseurs who not only claim that her little shop makes the best grinders in the Valley, but line up daily to place their order. Oh sure. There are days when they can’t resist her homemade soups, the daily specials, or one of the wicked good wraps. But then, who can. And don’t let that line thing worry you. When the doors do open, this small but efficient little flavor factory has everyone served in no time. Claudia wouldn’t have it any other way.
1035 Farmington Ave., Farmington

Harvest Cafe & Bakery
Known as “the kitchen that never sleeps,” Harvest Café and Bakery is where breakfasts have long been legendary and the lunches actually speak for themselves. Both menus include some pretty simple standards, followed by original recipes, Kim’s Specials, Daily Specials, and Theme Specials — with humor a key ingredient and all of it fabulous. But you’ll want to know that it opens at 6 most mornings (7:30 on Sundays). And while lunch kicks in about 11, breakfast really goes on almost all day (at least until 2:30) so there’s no need to rush. In between, during, and after all that, they bake, cater, create holiday take-out meals, post stuff on their Facebook site, and think up new specials. So if you’re up for a legendary breakfast (or have never heard a sandwich actually talk), put Harvest on your short list. And put it at the top.
1390 Hopmeadow St., Simsbury

Farmer's Kitchen
Whether you plan to dine in or grab-and-go, you’ll find the food at the Farmer’s Kitchen first-rate. From warm-from the-oven baked goods, hot and hearty breakfasts, and satisfying sandwiches to sassy salads, and superbly smoked meats, every menu item is fresh in both concept and ingredients, thanks to the vegetables, fruits, dairy and other provisions locally sourced from nearby farms. (Their grain bowls and Poutine are uniquely tempting and the Brisket Platter is mouth watering!) And if you BYOB, you can enjoy your “old favorite” with your new favorite from the Farmer’s Kitchen for the best of both worlds. Planning a party? Then you’ll be glad to know they cater, too!
10 Hartford Ave., Granby

Ana's Kitchen
In this increasingly complex world, the simplicity of Ana’s Kitchen would be nothing less than a breath of fresh air — except that it smells sooooo amazingly good. The restaurant itself isn’t fancy. Just warm and welcoming, with an easy atmosphere that invites lingering — and the menu is just as beguiling, including all sorts of items that are creative in deliciously subtle ways. Ana’s serves great breakfasts until 11 weekdays, noon Saturday, and all day Sunday. And for lunch, there are savory soups, sandwiches, and salads — all as tasty as they are wholesome. Not surprisingly, Ana’s also offers a menu of expressos, iced and frozen drinks, teas and coffees, hot chocolate, vanilla chai lattes, and even a Fire Cider Toddy, all of which either pair nicely with the marvelous baked goods they make every day or provide something tasty to sip on while you get a little work done in the late afternoon. And Ana’s caters. (I know! How great is that.) Stop in and you’ll see. Simple as that!
712 Hopmeadow St., Simsbury

Popover Bistro & Bakery
As generations of Miss Porter’s grads will attest, the pizza at Naples is at least a few slices better than the rest. Indeed, the real deal. Always perfectly crusted and ready to be piled high with fresh toppings, for a New York-style pizza Napoletana right here in the heart of Connecticut. Take it home to enjoy, if you can wait. But feel free to grab a seat and dig right in. It’s that good.
838 Farmington Ave., Farmington

Truffles in Farmington is bustling with activity. The bakery is well-known for its hot and cold sandwiches, hearty soups, green and pasta salads, and of course lush confections, including cakes, cupcakes, cookies, cake pops and mini-desserts, French macaroons — and yes! Truffles. But these days, they also offer casual and formal catering for large and small gatherings, while their new food truck, which travels to office parks and sporting events, concerts, and other private affairs by invitation, somehow manages to offer a truly diverse and delectable menu! I’m not sure how they do it all, but they do. And well.
767 Farmington Ave., Farmington, 860-409-0667

Bushy Hill Orchard
They don’t call this place Hot Heaven for nothing. Fact is, their New York-style pizza crust is always just right. The toppings are fresh and varied. There’s a modest dining room where you can get yourself a good pasta dinner — and the kiddos something yummy from the children’s menu. And not only are you invited to BYOB but if you forget your Pinot Noir, there’s a wine shop next door! And everything is really reasonably priced. Really.
33 East Main St., Avon Village Marketplace, Avon, 860-470-0257

New England Pasta Company & Cafe
They don’t call this place Hot Heaven for nothing. Fact is, their New York-style pizza crust is always just right. The toppings are fresh and varied. There’s a modest dining room where you can get yourself a good pasta dinner — and the kiddos something yummy from the children’s menu. And not only are you invited to BYOB but if you forget your Pinot Noir, there’s a wine shop next door! And everything is really reasonably priced. Really.
33 East Main St., Avon Village Marketplace, Avon, 860-470-0257

Fabiola's Fine Foods
They don’t call this place Hot Heaven for nothing. Fact is, their New York-style pizza crust is always just right. The toppings are fresh and varied. There’s a modest dining room where you can get yourself a good pasta dinner — and the kiddos something yummy from the children’s menu. And not only are you invited to BYOB but if you forget your Pinot Noir, there’s a wine shop next door! And everything is really reasonably priced. Really.
33 East Main St., Avon Village Marketplace, Avon, 860-470-0257

LaSalle Market & Deli
They don’t call this place Hot Heaven for nothing. Fact is, their New York-style pizza crust is always just right. The toppings are fresh and varied. There’s a modest dining room where you can get yourself a good pasta dinner — and the kiddos something yummy from the children’s menu. And not only are you invited to BYOB but if you forget your Pinot Noir, there’s a wine shop next door! And everything is really reasonably priced. Really.
33 East Main St., Avon Village Marketplace, Avon, 860-470-0257

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Our Picks Pizza

Harry's Bishops Corner
What is it about Harry’s that has everyone hooked? Well, for starters the pizza is absolutely terrific. But that’s because they keep it simple and they keep it fresh — like their fall seasonal specials, which are layered with fresh tomatoes, basil, and red peppers from nearby Rosedale Farm. But they also keep things flexible, so if you want good, healthy whole-wheat dough, just ask. And Harry’s is easy on the wallet, stocking 21 different wines and pitchers of beer at nicely affordable prices. Expect a wait on nights near the weekend. But it’s well worth it.
732 N. Main St., West Hartford

Little City Pizza
If the path to Little City Pizza’s door looks a little worn, it’s because soccer Moms and hockey Dads know what’s best for their kids. And whether you eat in or take out, you can expect an excellent thin-crust pizza, good hearty grinders, home-style soups, satisfying salads, daily lunch and dinner specials, and some beer and wine for the parents. Score!
152 Simsbury Rd., Avon

Joe Pizza
The question? Where can you count on getting great New Haven-style pizza, one seriously lusty hamburger, mouth-watering calzones, powerhouse pasta plates, Sicilian salads made with love, and good kids meals — all for the best prices around? The answer? Joe Pizza, in Simsbury or Canton. Take your pick.
2 Wilcox St., Simsbury

Naples Pizza
As generations of Miss Porter’s grads will attest, the pizza at Naples is at least a few slices better than the rest. Indeed, the real deal. Always perfectly crusted and ready to be piled high with fresh toppings for a New York-style pizza Napoletana right here in the heart of Connecticut. Take it home to enjoy, if you can wait. But feel free to grab a seat and dig right in. It’s that good.
838 Farmington Ave., Farmington

Hot Heaven Pizza
They don’t call this place Hot Heaven for nothing. Fact is, their New York-style pizza crust is always just right. The toppings are fresh and varied. There’s a modest dining room where you can get yourself a good pasta dinner and the kiddos something yummy from the children’s menu. Not only are you invited to BYOB but if you forget your Pinot Noir, there’s a wine shop next door! And everything is really reasonably priced. Really.
33 East Main St., Avon Village, Avon

Pizzeria Artistica
The only thing better than a really good pizza is a really great pizza. And great pizzas are what Pizza Artistica serves. Design your own from your choice of 21 different toppings — or order the House Special, featuring pepperoni, peppers, onions, mushrooms, sausage, and beef ragu. And if you’re feeling a little adventuresome, try a Specialty Pizza — like their Gorgonzola and Fig Pizza or the Shrimp and Feta Pizza with pesto sauce. Truth is, you can’t go wrong because Pizza Artistica has a way of turning any piece of pizza into a masterpiece of pizza. And if pizza’s not your thing, don’t worry! There’s a Greek Gyro, a stuffed-to-the-max grinder, a piquant Panini, a delicious wrap, or a steaming platter of deep-fried Fish & Chips with your name on it and yums the word.
1019 Farmington Ave., Farmington

Lisa's Luna Pizza
Lisa’s Luna Pizza is a legend around here, thanks to consistently outstanding reviews for their thin-crust pies made with fresh ingredients. And you can’t beat it for a quick Margherita or beer before the show — or a few larges for the game. Eat-in, take-out, or ask for delivery. There’s no way to go wrong. Not at Lisa’s.
530 Bushy Hill Rd., Simsbury
860-651-1820 / Takeout 860-651-6591

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Our Picks Asian

Meadow Asian Cuisine
There’s a reason Meadow Asian Cuisine has a full house on weeknights when others have empty parking lots — and we’re betting it’s their well-balanced menu of absolutely superb sushi, sashimi, maki rolls, and Pan-Asian entrées, which is nicely rounded out by offerings like rack of lamb chops, sea bass, and steak. Of course, it could also be the harmonious flow of consistently excellent food orchestrated by owner Sam Lin. The white-linen service that’s discreetly attentive. A wine list diverse enough to please. Or the stylish little bar. But all that really matters is that Meadow has a full house on weeknights when others have empty parking lots. That speaks for itself.
532 Hopmeadow St., Simsbury

The Green Papaya
You’ll always be welcome at The Green Papaya, because that’s the kind of restaurant it is. But their popularity goes well beyond the warmth and friendliness of the gracious staff to the menu itself — a delectable fusion of Thai and Laotian cuisine that features a complexity of spices and ingredients, as well as a consistent quality that somehow remains undaunted by the wide-ranging menu. Indeed, The Green Papaya is enthusiastically praised in reviews from actual customers. And it doesn’t get much better than that.
160 Albany Tpke., Canton

It’s dinner time at Yume and seats are filling up fast. At four of the six Hibachi tables, families are already enjoying their meal — one eye on their beautifully grilled food and the other on the chef, whose versatility with slicing, dicing (and juggling very sharp knives) has them cautiously entranced. Nearby, three sushi chefs are pressed by the demand for Maki, Sushi, Sashimi, and specials like the Rainbow Roll from the weekday menu promising special pricing. And all the while, entrées are whisked out of the kitchen and off to hungry patrons, one right after the other, without missing a beat. So what’s the story? Simple answer. Good food. Fast. And reasonable. And that’s an unbeatable combo.
45 South Main St., Unionville

The Elephant Trail
This little gem — formerly reached by way of a circuitous path through Avon Village — has now ambled east down Route 44 a bit. Owned by the Tek family, who (like their restaurant’s namesake) never forget a customer’s face, The Elephant Trail offers wonderful service and an extensive Thai menu that’s healthful, delicious, and something of a bargain. You’ll want to stop by and see for yourself. And bring your herd of friends.
85 East Main St., Avon

Toshi Izakaya
Once upon a time, there was a popular Japanese restaurant in the Riverdale Farms Silo called Toshi — beloved by all, near and far. Then one day, a chef named Dan Ma took it over, renovating the space, revising the menu, and renaming it Toshi Izakaya (which, translated, means “a more relaxed bistro-style place with full bar”). Well, before long the folks with their ears to the ground found out and, deciding to keep the good news (and all those tables) to themselves, didn’t tell anybody. But a place this absolutely terrific, featuring Japanese cuisine and a wonderful sushi bar, can’t stay a secret for long, and in no time at all, Farmington Valley denizens near and far had a new “Toshi” to love: Toshi Izakaya, and they’re all eating happily ever after.
136 Simsbury Rd., Riverdale Farms, Avon

Table 570 Asian Fusion
The Farmington Valley’s latest restaurant entrepreneur has done it again. After opening two winners — Granby’s Han Asian Cuisine and @ The Barn, Jimmy Chen has completely redone the former Green Tea on Hopmeadow Street, opening Table 570 Asian Fusion to rave reviews. The food is excellent, with an eclectic mix of Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisines, as well as sushi that rivals the finest found in the superb Japanese restaurants our region is blessed with. Another win for Jimmy — and the Valley.
570 Hopmeadow St., Simsbury

Bamboo Asian Cuisine
Offering an expansive menu of authentic Mandarin, Thai, and Japanese food, as well as Sushi and Bento Box meals, Bamboo Asian Cuisine is a real find for those who enjoy both the artistic flair and sublime flavors of genuine Asian Cuisine — all expertly prepared with the freshest ingredients. Grab a seat at the bar and enjoy a delectably casual meal accompanied by a good game on the big screen TV. Gather with colleagues for one of Bamboo’s anything-but-ordinary luncheon specials. Select something light and luscious from a palette of fresh sushi (try the Sashimi Sampler) — or order a Japanese-style Bento-Box, served with miso soup, salad and rice. Be sure to stop in for a scrumptious dinner (don’t miss the the Hong Kong Steak — a filet mignon topped with oyster sauce) with friends in Bamboo’s spacious dining room. And if you prefer, go online and order your favorites for pick up just 15 minutes later! You won’t be disappointed.
3 Melrose Dr., Farmington

Liki Sushi & Asian Bistro
Liki Sushi & Asian Bistro may be new to the Valley, but they are clearly not new to creating a superb Asian fusion dining experience. The restaurant itself is simple on the outside and comfortably elegant on the inside — its contemporary décor warm, easy going, and just glam enough to make you feel like you’re somewhere very special. And the menu confirms that. Abundant with choices for those who love Asian Bistro fare, as well as for those who love expertly prepared sushi and sashimi, everything is presented so exquisitely you’ll think you’re in a fine art gallery, not a fine restaurant. Ahhh, but then you’ll taste your Ginger Scallion Lobster or your Stir-Fried Japanese Udon…your New York Strip Steak Teriyaki…your Triple Spicy Maki…or your Sexy Salmon rolled with fresh mango and topped with the chef’s special sauce and you’ll smile, because that’s when you’ll realize that Liki is indeed a little of both — and a place you do not want to miss.
385 West Main St., Avon

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Our Picks Pubs & Tavern

Cracker Barrel Pub
The Cracker Barrel isn’t just a pub. It’s a Tariffville institution, drawing an eclectic crowd from here and there, between and beyond. There’s a big boisterous bar, an informal dining room, and a comfortable deck (in season). Some solid grub is served for lunch and dinner — including burgers, sandwiches, and pizzas of all kinds. And with 24 beers on draft (15 by the pitcher) and lots of crafts, it’s a good place to spend an evening, watch a game, or meet friends. Everyone knows that.
30 Main St., Tariffville

The Red Stone Pub
In some English towns, where thatched roofs, narrow lanes and old stone walls prevail, places like The Red Stone are called “snugs” — or small, hard-to-find, dimly lit meet-ups with high backed booths that offer a lovely privacy perfect for those ready to unwind. Beer is, as might be expected, king here, with a long list of hard-to-find bottles scrawled on the chalkboard and fresh-tapped kegs, but the pub-fare sandwiches are hearty and good, and their snacks just right for settling in. Hungry? Thirsty. And maybe a little stressed? Head to The Red Stone.
10 Jim Gallagher Way, Simsbury

Lisa's Crown & Hammer Restaurant & Pub
Set in the Collinsville’s old and very diminutive wooden train station, this is a neat little spot to rendezvous with friends, enjoy live music, sample some good craft beers, or enjoy choosing from a contemporary working-person’s menu that ranges from burgers and big steaks to hearty bowls of bargain-priced pasta. You’ll have to squeeze into the bar area. But then that’s how many a good long-term relationship has begun.
3 Depot St., Collinsville

Old Well Tavern
Let’s play Truth or Dare. Here goes: the world can be kind of an uptight place as far as let-your-hair-down fun goes. Dare: This is the antidote — an actual dance hall with top local bands, one awesome jukebox, five pool tables, a no-frills bar room, 18 draft beers, over 30 bottled beers and a really good menu, including crowd favorites like the Tavern Burger — or “The Beast,” which is piled high with fresh pulled pork, coleslaw, and onion rings. And the rest of the menu includes some roll-up-your-sleeves ribs, big sandwiches, and a hefty prime rib special, all at moderate prices. Go if you dare. Or if you’re just plain hungry for some good food, some good music, and some good fun. Because at the Old Well Tavern, it’s all good. And that’s the truth.
20 Tariffville Rd., Simsbury

Plan B Burgers and Brew
OK, the burgers here are a little pricey. But sometimes you get what you pay for, and frankly, Plan B burgers are very, very good. Of course, so is the beer (all 70 choices), as well as the bourbons (all 60, including small batch, very small batch, and sustainable). And “a nip, three fingers, a flight, on the rocks, in a cocktail, for breakfast, shaken, stirred, bruised, or anyway you like it is the way they pour it.” It’s a unique kind of place — unique being a very, very good thing, so give it a go.
4 Railroad St., Simsbury

Cambridge House Brew Pub
Best known for their big selection of award-winning house-made brews — and a nice, low-key atmosphere, Cambridge House also offers a great selection of pub-food favorites, with plenty of entrees (the Steak Tips are wonderful); sandwiches and wraps (order the salmon BLT), and burgers (be sure to try the Jalopeña Swiss Turkey Burger). Grab a table and enjoy.
357 Salmon Brook St., Granby

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