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).
La Luna Ristorante sates Tuscan cravings with its homemade pastas, sandwiches, seafood, and more. Midday munchers can anchor incisors to the lunch menu's offerings, such as the veal parmigiana sandwich, which caps a veal cutlet with a jaunty tam of mozzarella and marinara sauce ($9), and calamari alla napolitano, a curly bed of deep-fried calamari adorned with pignoli nuts and cherry peppers ($8). Dinner-craving robbers can abscond with precious dishes of manicotti ($17) and fettuccini a La Luna, which sautées lobster tail and meat with shallots and scallions before setting it afloat in a creamy vodka-sauced sea ($22). Palette-pleasing wines by the glass or bottle make excellent mealtime companions, and live music on weekends keeps ears and eyes occupied from their ongoing feud over facial property lines.
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.