Walls the colors of dijon mustard and acorn squash lend warmth to an environment founded on dark hardwood floors and awash with white linens. The aromas of Mediterranean and Spanish cuisines waft throughout the handsomely dressed, yet unfussy, restaurant, inviting visitors to discover how Bistro Mediterranean and Tapas Bar earned a "Don't Miss" rating by The New York Times.
In the 4,500-square-foot dining space, which seats 150, tables populate with tapas of chorizo, pork, and cod, plus surprising accents of piquillo peppers and quail egg. Entrees include seafood stews and Spanish paella, as well as grilled cuts of meat doused in wine. A breezy patio accommodates outdoor dining in warmer months, and a 45-seat bar enables guests to sip on glasses of wine while they wait for a table or wait for a strange-looking blind date to give up and go home.
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.
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 flames at Prime American Grille have escaped the kitchen. Not only do they live inside the sizzling-hot grill, they also exist atop flickering candles and inside the dining room's roaring fireplace. Flame-kissed rib-eye and new york strip steaks arrive at tables coated in house-made peppercorn, gorgonzola, or mushroom-and-onion sauces. Chefs also bolster their menu with ocean-fresh seafood, pizzas, pastas, and sandwiches. Bottles of wine litter a massive rack inside the restaurant's dining room, which boasts a warm color palette, dark woods, and strategically placed mirrors that make the space feel airy and light, like a helium balloon filled with tossed salad. On the weekends, Prime American Grille pulses with live music from DJs and bands, and each night, diners can sit at the full bar to watch sports on seven flat-screen televisions.
Purple tablecloths bloom with vases of cut flowers as petal-like fans whir overhead. Their regal hue symbolizes one of Zaroka Bar & Restaurant's guiding principles: that guests are akin to royalty. Inside the dining room, traditional Indian meals unfold amid ornately carved picture frames, vibrant music, and colorful conversations. To explore India's nooks and crannies, chefs craft dishes from far-flung regions such as Punjab, Gujarat, and Bengal. House specialties range from spiced chicken kebabs baked in a clay oven to curried shrimp simmered in a coconut pot. The kitchen also prepares an array of vegetarian dishes, such as savory garlic naan and three types of lentil dal. An ideal dessert or palate cleanser, the rosewater lassi teems with sweet, floral hints, like a game of charades with a potpourri sachet.