Some restaurants are known for their hearty breakfast. Others, for their elegant dinner service. And then there's La Luna Ristorante, which is renowned for both. The restaurant owes its many awards in part to executive chef Edgar Ortiz, who mainly prepares his entrees in the traditional style of Tuscany. One taste of his perfectly grilled pork loins or mozzarella-stuffed scallops wrapped in prosciutto is enough to see why La Luna has earned high marks from Connecticut Magazine. The Sunday brunch is more universal in scope, with a massive buffet stocked with belgian waffles, custom omelets, and freshly carved meats. Several nights a week, guests can take in dinner and a show, thanks to live bands and waiters trained to recite the night's specials in iambic pentameter.
Ballou?s Wine Bar revolves around three prized delicacies: chocolate, wine, and coffee. From those staples, dozens of indulgent dishes ensue, including chocolate, Nutella, and peanut-butter-chocolate fondues and homemade truffles developed by Debbie, half of the husband-and-wife team that runs Ballou?s. Her chocolate fondue and homemade truffles are so deliciously decadent that they?ve earned the wine bar a spot on the Best of New Haven Reader?s Poll list for best desserts. In addition to rich desserts and froth-capped cups of cappuccino, guests can order wines from local and international vineyards, as well as a wide selection of pastas, sandwiches, and flat breads.
Owner and executive chef Greg Bozzi named his restaurant after the 1963 John Wayne movie, Donovan?s Reef. Bozzi fire-grills steaks and bakes lobster pies for the dinner rush. He tops burgers with fried onions rings and tosses crab meat and littleneck clams into bowls of marinara-covered linguine. Several nights a week, the eatery hosts live musical acts, trivia contests, and bird-calling competitions. Donovan?s Reef is also a certified green restaurant, with such eco-friendly aspects as energy-efficient lighting, a full-scale recycling program, and composting their food waste.
SBC Restaurant & Brewery lines up an inviting smorgasbord of comfort food to be devoured alongside an arsenal of brewed on-site beers. Take in the expanse of the appetite-assassinating lunch menu (served from 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m.) and try not to set off the fire alarms while your head smokes with indecision before easing yourself in with the SBC calamari, which comes prepared three ways: crispy with marinara and rémoulade, fried with hot peppers and artichoke hearts, and sticky with a sweet chili Sriracha glaze ($6.99). Follow that up with the crispy chicken salad, festooned with mandarin oranges, grape tomatoes, gorgonzola, and honey white balsamic vinaigrette ($12.99), or the margherita pizza topped with sliced fresh tomatoes, garlic, mozzarella and basil ($10). SBC burgers are 8 ounces of natural custom-quality beef served on a handmade roll and topped with american, provolone, cheddar, swiss, fontina, or mozzarella cheese ($7.99).
The ovens at Pompeo's Italian Restaurant have been popping out pizzas for 20 years. Chefs cover the crusts with steak, seafood, and broccoli rabe before sprinkling on handfuls of shredded mozzarella. The ovens pull double duty with the menu of pasta dishes, baking cheese ravioli, trays of ziti, and heaps of lasagna. A classic Italian eatery, the chefs naturally offer every staple dish, from chicken parmigiana to veal marsala to shrimp scampi. They can also supersize orders for gatherings to celebrate birthdays and graduations from traffic school.
Serving international teas and finger sandwiches, Alexandra's Tea Room comes alive inside Branford Ballou's. Guests can stop in for a sip of South African rooibos tea?a caffeine-free variety chock-full of vitamins and minerals?or opt for familiar offerings of black, white, or green tea. These hot healing drinks pair with teatime staples such as scones and cucumber sandwiches.