Where To Eat In New Haven

These are our favorite restaurants and bars near a certain college in Connecticut. And yes, there's apizza.
Where To Eat In New Haven image

photo credit: Emily Schindler

New Haven is best known for its prestigious university, but it also makes a great day-trip destination from NYC if you’re hoping to peep some fall leaves or catch a live show at the College Street Music Hall. Whether you’re just passing through on a road trip through New England or happen to be in town for academic things™, there are plenty of excellent places to eat and drink throughout the city—including but not limited to apizza, the particular brand of pie New Haven is known for. There’s everything from cozy cafes that are perfect for studying (or pretending to be a Main Character in a dark academia romance), to seafood joints along the water where you can eat loads of oysters without completely emptying your bank account.


photo credit: Emily Schindler


Wooster Square

$$$$Perfect For:Classic Establishment
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Sally’s should be your first stop in town when you want some New Haven-style apizza. They’ve been around since 1938, have served everybody from JFK to Frank Sinatra, and even though you’ll likely have to wait behind a bunch of tourists, the pies are well worth it. You should try at least one classic apizza with the thinnest layer of tomato sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan, but you can also load up your pie with toppings like pepperoni, hot peppers, anchovies, and more. Either way, your pie will come with a perfectly cooked crust that has plenty of bite and an even char. Plus, Sally’s has a large outdoor space, perfect for when the old-school dining room is at capacity (which is basically all the time).  

In a town best known for its old-school pizza joints, it can be hard to fit in if you haven't been around for over 80 years (see: legends Frank Pepe’s and Sally’s). But Bar isn’t so worried about that—their famous mashed potato and thick-cut bacon pizza send all tradition by the wayside. Purists should sample the red pie with mozzarella and meatballs, which has a sweet and tangy sauce and a thin, charred crust. Wash it down with one of Bar’s excellent home-brewed beers.

Modern Apizza is another classic apizza spot in New Haven that’s easier to get a table at than Frank Pepe’s or Sally’s. While there are fewer tourists, the pies still have a wonderful bite and char to their crusts. We recommend the clams casino for a riff on the true New England classic, but you also can’t go wrong with the Italian Bomb, which comes with loads of meat and pairs well with the old-school Italian cool scenery of the wood walls and leather booths.


People go to this place to take shots of the icing alone. Locals and students alike swear by the Lithuanian coffee cake, a delicious cinnamony slice that manages to be both dense and fluffy. Venture away from the crowd to try the ricotta chocolate chip cake, a sleeper that is actually the best dessert on the menu.

$$$$Perfect For:Drinking Good Cocktails

116 Crown is New Haven's best bar, thanks to the killer cocktails, truffle fries, charcuterie, and a pleasant atmosphere. The cocktail menu is organized by flavor profile, so whether you’re feeling “Aromatic & Subtle” or “Bracing & Bold” you’ll find something that suits you. One standout is the Forth & Clyde, a combination of gin, St. Germain, bourbon, honey, lime, and chili flakes that goes down way too easily.



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Heirloom is excellent for pretty much any occasion. From the classic burger to the scallops with caramelized spaghetti squash and capers, this place has a menu that suits all appetites. Additionally, if you’re planning to stay the night anywhere other than a friend’s couch, the Study Hotel is an immaculate, sleek option, and you can get Heirloom’s entire menu through room service. An egg sandwich in bed is probably worth an overnight stay.

Gather is the perfect place to settle in with a book on a couch or a lounge chair for hours at a time. Beyond all the local artists selling their work and grad students working on their dissertations, the interior looks like a sitcom coffeehouse stage, down to the floor-to-ceiling chalk calendar on the wall. But instead of empty prop cups, you can sip great coffee from a mug or mason jar. If you’re feeling hungry, they also do flatbreads and hummus, but we prefer the avocado toast that comes with a generous drizzle of olive oil and za’atar.   

Pretty much everything on The Pantry's brunch menu is worth it (and so is the 30-minute walk from downtown). Be prepared to wait, but the service is quick and the food hits the spot. Afterwards, take a walk around the upper State Street area to check out all the cute boutique bookstores and bakeries in the neighborhood.

Thanks to this bar’s $10 drinks ($7 during Happy Hour), this is a go-to party spot and somewhere students like to hit up for a late-night round of cajun fries. The drinks go down easy, specifically their mezcal apple cider mule and its vodka and rosemary counterpart Autumn In New Haven, both of which seem like the type of thing Rory Gilmore would drink during her time at Yale. The food menu offers fairly standard bar food—fried pickles and jerky waffle fries—that goes hand in hand with drinking and watching football games at the bar, but you can also have a quieter, laid-back dinner of sliders, salads, or sandwiches on the patio. 

Walking into Atticus Market in East Rock feels like entering a room full of your targeted ads in the best way. There are gorgeous pastries in the bakery display case, cookbooks staged next to organic produce, and coffee appliances throughout the market, and you could easily spend an entire paycheck before you even step up to order a sandwich or half-roasted chicken. Pastries like the laminated kouign amann and not-too-sweet anadama cookies are worth grabbing on their own, but you can easily put together an entire feast of mortadella panuozzi, grab-and-go green bowls, and chicken salad sandwiches. Enjoy it on the sunny front patio, or bring your spread with you for picnicking in East Rock park. 

This buzzy restaurant is the perfect place to grab dinner with your cool parents or in-laws, and the well-stocked tequila bar allows you to sample more than 400 types of tequila and mezcal. There’s a fun collection of margaritas and other cocktails that you can order by the glass or pitcher—which is a great jumping-off point whether you’re looking to have a drink with lunch or dip your toes into sipping tequila with your parents. The food is mostly Southwestern, with stunning tableside guac and dishes like Navajo frybread and Frito pie. The birria flauta is also a stunner, though you’ll have to order one per person—the single fried serving comes with a rich beef consomme that you’ll want to sip on its own and tender braised beef that is too good to share.


Shell and Bones is the type of spot where you can gaze longingly across the Long Island Sound with a martini and exude big Meredith Blake energy. The dining room and patio both have great views of the water and docked yachts, and the seafood and service here are consistently excellent. The menu is packed with great meat and vegetarian options—you can even ask for your protein to be simply prepared with your choice of sauce if you have food allergies, or happen to have an aunt whose dietary restrictions fluctuate more frequently than the tides. Highlights include the mussel pot with pomme frites and the Alaskan black garlic cod, but you can’t go wrong with a giant tower of shells for a showstopper. 

With soaring ceilings, waiters in suits, an excellent wine list, and a high-end bread basket, Union League Café is a perfect place for dinner with the parents. The menu here is strong across the board, with classic French items like duck confit and bouillabaisse, and there's a pretty solid crème brûlée for dessert.

This Belgian bistro is just a quick walk from the New Haven Green, and is ideal for just about any occasion. There’s a cute patio that’s perfect for people-watching and gossiping over Happy Hour drinks and bites, while the bright dining room is surprisingly big. The bossa nova covers of pop hits also help you feel like you’re in an estimation of a cool French bistro, rather than in Connecticut, and there are plenty of excellent $12 cocktails like the sweet peach smash and honey hibiscus margarita. The red curry moules frites is an excellent spin on the French classic, and the belgian fries are so good you won’t mind if it reminds your dining companion of the semester they spent abroad in Brussels. 

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