On any given night, Damon's Tavern is bound to be showing every patron's favorite sport. That's not just because the double-sided bar alone is outfitted with 43 high-definition TVs, but because each of the tavern's booths come with their own television, too. The TV setup has earned Damon's raves from Hartford Magazine, which named the tavern the Best Sports Bar in 2012 and 2013.
The tavern's dining options are equally praiseworthy. Its extensive menu includes upscale twists on bar food classics, from macaroni and cheese tossed with lobster and shrimp to house-roasted pulled pork topped with barbecue sauce and carolina vinegar slaw. Twenty-four draft beers complement hearty feasts, as can wines by the glass and bottle or classic cocktails like whiskey sour and tom collins.
A fountain's mists drift over a cool, quiet water outside the windows of Vito's By the Water, where chefs have been cooking up traditional Italian food for many years. Following recipes that have been in the owner's family for years, they craft traditional entrees such as New York strip steak with demi-glace or lobster ravioli with vodka-cream sauce. They also adorn thin and Chicago-style deep-dish stuffed crusts with quality toppings such as baby clams, breaded eggplant, and seasoned ricotta.
Vito?s chef-owner, Rob Maffucci, has also earned culinary fame with an October 2014 appearance on Food Network's, "Beat Bobby Flay". Here, he grappled with the ingredients of pumpkin puree and fresh pasta during a Halloween special that showcased the chef's talents, pitting them against culinary powerhouse, Bobby Flay.
Ranked 73rd best brewer in the world by RateBeer and 15th out of the top 50 American Microbreweries by BeerAdvocate, Thomas Hooker Brewery has earned its share of accolades. The brewery?s staff has been forging consistent, small-batch brews for more than a decade. Today, they produce 11 one-of-a-kind beers, with year-round flavors such as the Hop Meadow IPA, or the Irish Red Ale. Their seasonal flavors, meanwhile, include the Chocolate Truffle Stout and the Watermelon Ale, whose fruity notes make it ideal for summer drinking or as the proper liquid with which to hydrate a fruit garden. The team leads a tour and tasting on Saturday afternoons, and their gift shop is fully stocked with paraphernalia and growlers of their popular brews.
Before catching a thrilling blockbuster or whimsical cult classic at Spotlight Theatres, hungry moviegoers drop into Front Street Bistro—the sleek American eatery located in the theater’s lobby. Smartly dressed servers bustle about the cushy booths of the airy space, balancing trays of artisanal flatbreads, sizzling burgers, and Mediterranean-inspired specialties. Behind the bar, mixologists dole out glasses of specialty martinis, muddled cocktails, and drafts of craft beer. After dinner, the theater invites guests to bring drinks or a bottle of wine into the theater to sip on while watching a film.
Dedicated to bringing the culinary traditions of Peru to Hartford’s diners, Piolin Restaurant II has been serving the signature sizzling meats and sautéed veggies of the region since 1998. Within the bustling kitchen, chefs architect dishes such as Peruvian yellow potatoes, sweet plantains, and fried yucca in addition to hearty meats ranging from grilled chicken to fried red snapper. Along with the re-creation of time-honored recipes, the brightly hued walls and cheery decor of Piolin’s dining room grant guests the feeling that they’ve escaped to Peru without the hassles of answering a TSA officer’s riddles.
Vista Alegre, an eatery that opened in January 2013, serves up large portions of traditional Peruvian cuisine. Cooks marinate fresh seafood in lime juice to make refreshing ceviche, sauté pans of piquant Peruvian-style spaghetti, and grill rib-eye steaks to taste. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week.