Summer's Best Restaurant Openings in Connecticut

Labor Day marks the unofficial end to that glorious season we know as summer. Days filled with warm weather, early happy hours, and treks to the beach are hereby numbered. Thankfully, several new restaurants have opened in Fairfield County and beyond this summer, giving us more than a few things to look forward to as we ease into the seriousness of the back-to-school season.

Here are a few new restaurants that opened this summer we think are worth checking out.

Washington Prime in Norwalk

New to the South Norwalk scene, Washington Prime is a self-described "Eating + Drinking Well," reflecting the collective vision of locals and co-owners Rob Moss and Marco Siguenza with Executive Chef Jared Falco, who spent time in several of Fairfield County’s restaurants from Bar Sugo, to The Whelk, as well as NYC's Daniel and WD-50. Their opening menus show a desire to place a modern twist on some classic dishes such as the burger (smoked lettuce, Umami Bomb sauce) and a very tender small plate of octopus (served with duck fat roasted potatoes and pickled onions).

Read more: Washington Prime via CTbites | Visit Washington Prime online

Jojoto in Branford

The Venezuelan-inspired Jojoto Restaurant + Bar opened in Branford this August. Owner Victor Figueroa and Neil Fuentes, our favorite Singing Chef, teamed up to launch this intimate 40-sear Latin infused restaurant. The menu features rustic and traditional Venezuelan recipes that take inspiration from the land as well as the nearby shoreline.

Read more: CTbites Review | Jojoto's Website

Kawa Ni in Westport

Is it an american restaurant with japanese aspirations? Or is it a japanese restaurant with american inspirations? Both, says owner and chef Bill Taibe. The fun farm house style restaurant in Westport's Bridge Square takes its food and service cues from the Izakaya joints in Osaka and Kyoto. Food and drink are treated with equal reverence, or in this case, whimsy. Don't forget to order at least one of the sake bombs.

Read more: CTbites Photos, CTbites First Look | Kawa Ni's Website

Lobster Craft in Darien

What meal screams summer in New England as loudly as a lobster roll? Those screams were loud enough that LobsterCraft, a truck that served hot buttered lobster rolls, opened its first brick and mortar store in Darien. Their proprietary 12-ingredient seasoning blend and lightly toasted split-top bun is now available in both the truck and the Darien locations, and a soon-to-open midtown Manhattan spot. 

Read more: CTbites Review | LobsterCraft Website

Muse at the Mayflower Grace in Washington

The Mayflower Grace is a 30-room hotel on 58 acres of gardens and woodlands in Washington, CT. Befitting its location is the resplendent "Muse by Jonathan Cartwright, the new restaurant that brings with it a much different, sleeker and modern feel, complemented by the cuisine of Cartwright, the native of Sheffield, England, and world-class chef with a Grand Chef Relais & Châteaux distinction who offers refined modern European cuisine that incorporates the best of local and seasonal produce."

Read moreCTbites Review | Muse's Website

Espresso NEAT in Westport

"Coffee by day, craft cocktails by night" is music to our ears. The popular Darien coffee shop that sets the bar for Connecticut's well crafted coffee scene, is extending its hours and its repertoire with a new location (openng is imminent) in Westport and later hours for an evening crowd with a penchant for craft cocktails. 

Read moreCTbites Review | Neat's Website

Harlan Publick in South Norwalk

Chef Stephen Lewandowski first launched Harlan Social in Stamford's South End. Lucky for South Norwalk, he brought his creative and outstanding comfort food from Korean Fried Chicken to enormous Bone Marrow to complement a heft craft beer selection to the neighborhood. 

Read moreCTbites Preview | Harlan Public's Website


Aarón Sánchez, the Food Channel’s charismatic Mexican rock star chef, brings "fire and the finesse of fine Mexican and Latin American cuisines" to Stamford's Harbor Point. In addition to its Latin-inspired grill and handcrafted cocktails, the setting is unparalled. Paloma boasts Harbor Point's most stunning panoramic water view from each of its 250 seats.   

Read more: CTbites Preview | Paloma's Website