Last year we brought you the 1st Annual OmNomys: awards that celebrated the Best in Food in Fairfield County. Well, we couldn’t just let another year go by without giving out a new set of awards, could we? No, we can’t. That’s why we’re writing this post. But first, a quick refresher course on the OmNomys:
• We only select restaurants that we’ve been to in 2012, so it’s important to remember that the restaurants here are not necessarily the best EVER, but the best we had in 2012.
• If you don’t like this list, that’s cool…whatevs. It’s just our favorites of 2012. You’re welcome to create your own or comment below and let your love of local restaurants show.
Best Ambiance: Dolce Cubano, Stamford
Sleek and sexy red leather (like Zaza) can be found throughout Dolce Cubano, one of Stamford’s newest hot spots. Combine that with a chill bar (inside and outside) and waterside dining and you’ve got the perfect spot to hit up. Don’t forget the fireplace, either.
Best Asian: Bambou Asian Tapas & Bar, Greenwich
We don’t typically eat much Asian and have cut back on our sushi intake for 2012. That being said, we’ve had some decent sushi, but a recent meal at Bambou was quite impressive. The sushi rolls were very creative, especially a roll that featured goat cheese, mango, and salmon wrapped in a crispy spring roll. Also, the steamed veggie dumplings were some of the best that we’ve had with nice chunks of fresh vegetables wrapped up in a thin layer of rice paper. And, the desserts (which isn’t typical for an Asian restaurant) were fantastic.
Best BBQ Sides: Bar Q, Stamford
We love the concept behind Bar Q, owned by Bob LeRose of Bobby Q’s in Westport: tapas style bbq. Well, along with a bbq menu to sample in small doses, you can get some great sides and fixins’ to go with your meat. Some of our favorites are the chicken and waffles, fried green tomatoes, fiesta cornbread, hush puppies, baked jalapeno poppers, and mac & cheese. Although we were torn about our first visit, each visit thereafter seems to get better.
Best BBQ Meat: Dinosaur Bar-b-que, Stamford
Although Dinosaur Bar-b-que is a newcomer to Connecticut, they’ve been pumping out awesome bbq for years at their other locations. The pulled pork is tender and juicy, the brisket is smoky with that perfect pink smoke ring, and the ribs are juicy and delicate, coming off the bone with a slight tug. And their chicken wings, well… see that section below.
Best Beer Selection: The Ginger Man, Norwalk
With more than 50 beers on tap, The Ginger Man in the heart of SoNo is a great place to hit up. When you’re there, check out their creative specials, different each night and be sure to also try their monthly beer dinners.
Best Brunch: Terrain, Westport
Opened just this year, Terrain has created a buzz for itself most likely due to its farm fresh ingredients and Chef Wolfson’s attention to detail. The food here is great and their cornbread, served with yummy melted butter, is not to be missed. Come by for brunch in warmer weather and enjoy dining in the beautiful and tranquil outdoor patio.
Best Burger, Fries, and Milkshakes: Station Eats, Stamford
Station Eats opened their second shop this year in downtown Stamford and it’s quickly become people’s favorite burger joint. We can proudly say, though, we knew of their awesomeness back in the New Canaan days. Whether you’re getting a custom-made burger or hot dog, the station fries, or checking out their burger and shake of the month, you’ll have a great meal. At the Stamford location you can also try their adult milkshakes and a new variety of sandwiches, too. Oh, and for your veg-heads, the rumor is that they have the best veggie burger in town.
Best BYOB: Basso Cafe, Norwalk
This is the best restaurant that nobody has seem to have heard of (unless you follow our blog, of course). Located in an inconspicuous location in Norwalk, Basso Cafe delivers excellent and creative Mediterranean food with a Venezuelan twist, made from local ingredients.
Best Coffee: espresso NEAT, Darien and Greenwich
Using only the finest, purest, and most ethical coffees from around the world, espresso NEAT is where you go to get your caffeine fix. Unlike many coffee shops, they check the quality of their coffee, ensuring the perfect cup. Then, they grind it up and get it ready for you. They also have lots of fun events throughout the year like cupping demos and Coffee 101 classes. If you feel like staying around and chilling, check out their fresh salads, food from local bakeries, yumminess from Chocopologie, and lots more.
Best Cupcakes: Forever Sweet Bakery, Stamford
Where do we begin? While they started of selling their goodies at the Stamford Town Center, they have shifted over to other exotic locations and can be found at a ton of different places. Frances is always cooking up some great new, fun flavors. Plus, they do custom cakes, too, if you’re in the party kind of mood. Definitely check out their yummy and moist desserts.
Best Delivery: Nick’s Pizza, Stamford
This makes two years in a row for Nick’s Pizza. They certainly earn it with their super quick delivery, always hot food, and great selection of Italian classics. Our favorites are the antipasto (best in town), the baked cavatelli, the calamari fra diavolo, and the massive amounts of bread they give you. Hello carbs, we’ve been missing you.
Best Desserts: Olio, Stamford
Two words for you…ricotta donuts. These donuts remain lighter than air, but are probably the most moist donuts you’ll ever taste due to the ricotta. While there, don’t forget the ribs, the scallops, and…well…everything on the menu.
Best Entertainment: Coalhouse Pizza, Stamford
Winning the second year in a row, it’s hard to think of a better place with more options. Beer dinners, beer classes, bbq nights, flight nights, trivia night, game night, and more on top of their expansion that includes table shuffleboard, darts, and board games. Add in some brews from their 52 taps and some great pizza and you’ve got your easy go-to spot.
Best Farm-to-Table: Bistro 7, Wilton
Opened just this year, Bistro 7 is serving up some great farm-to-table food in an unsuspecting location. Chef Grossman offers fresh food from local markets and farms with spins on classic American dishes. If you pay close attention to the flavors and the items on the menu, you can also see hints of his German roots coming through. Desserts are killer here, too…check out the creme brûlée… best we’ve ever had. Also, don’t forget the wicked good mac & cheese.
Best Food Truck: Lobstercraft (mainly Norwalk)
Um, wow. When we first broke the news about Lobstercraft we had no idea how mind-blowing the food would be. Having tried nearly all the rolls on their menu, we can say they are all killer and are definitely nomworthy. Where else can you go to get lobster that the owner (Captain Mike) caught himself? We’re excited to try the other dishes that they’ve created like their lobster bisque.
Best Hot Dog: Super Duper Weenie, Fairfield
Can you really beat the freshly made condiments, the dogs, and the fries at Super Duper Weenie? No, you can’t. It remains an institution and a rite of passage for any person to reach full food maturity. But, be warned…don’t you dare ask for ketchup on your hot dog or you will be sternly warned, if not kicked out of the joint.
Best Ice Cream / Gelato: Volta, Stamford
There’s always a great variety of classic gelato and creative flavors here at Volta. It’s a hot spot in summer where you can sit outside or take your scoops to go while you walk around town. Don’t forget to try the delicious crepes here, too.
Best Indian: Tawa, Stamford
We’ve never been inside of Tawa, but we ordered delivery from them several times throughout the year. The food always arrived hot (temperature wise and spice wise) and ready to eat. The naan here is great as well as the selection of their classic curries such as korma, tikka masala, and vindaloo.
Best Italian: Morello Bistro, Greenwich
We’re pretty picky with our Italian food, so choosing our favorite for 2012 is equally as hard. We have to say, though…we were impressed with the food and homemade pasta at Morello Bistro. The garganelli bolognese is a must have dish here. Don’t worry, while the style and beauty of the restaurant is amazing, you’re not paying typical Greenwich prices for your food.
Best Latino: Valencia, Norwalk
Kristien and her co-workers clearly have a problem because they go to Valencia nearly every day. Whether you’re trying the specials for that night, sampling arepas, or downing Chef Michael Young’s green vegetable sauce, Valencia is the clear winner.
Best Drinks: Dolce Cubano, Stamford
When we checked out Dolce Cubano a few weeks ago, we decided to ditch the beer and wine that we usually order and go with some of the drinks that one of the owners, Nick Racanelli Jr., raved about. Well, we were blown away with mixed drinks like Spiced Cuba Libres, Wild Berry Mojitos, Blood Orange Margaritas, and Pyrat Passions. When there, check out the fun plays on Italian food and Cuban-inspired dishes.
Best Pizza: Letizia’s, Norwalk
People certainly have strong opinions about what makes good pizza (Dan swears Long Island pizza is best, Kristien swears Utica pizza wins), but we have to say…we really enjoyed the pizza at Letizia’s. The crust was thin (not too), crispy, and there was a nice sauce to cheese ratio going on. Don’t forget they are a no fee BYOB restaurant, too.
Best Seafood: The Whelk, Westport
When Chef Bill Taibe opened up The Whelk, he brought creative dishes with a local conscience to Westport. Just grabbing the menu and thinking about what to order will take you on a journey through the sea. With a great variety of small plates, medium plates, and large plates, you can make your own meal however you like. Sea-to-table dining at its best.
Best Service: South End, New Canaan
Not only is the ambience and farm to table fare impressive, the service is impeccable. We dare you to finish your water without it being refilled first. Waiters here are also very knowledgable about the menu and can offer your great advice about wine and beer pairings. Oh yeah, and we’ll say it again…the food is seriously impressive such as the bacon wrapped dates.
Best Small Plates: Scena Wine Bar, Darien
People don’t usually think of Darien when it comes to excellent food that will leave you satisfied. But, Scena breaks the mold with modern twists on classic Italian dishes served up in small plates so you can get a taste of many things. Hint: their handmade pillowy ricotta gnocchi (available as a small plate or entree) is to-die-for.
Best Special Event: Farm to table dinners at Holbrook Farm with Chef Bick, Bethel
Food doesn’t get much more farm to table when you’re eating on a farm. Picture two giant tables spanning across Holbrook Farm on a beautiful sunny day, featuring a multi-coursed spread of fresh and delicious food. Make sure that you get your tickets for these events because they quickly sell out.
Best Wings: Dinosaur Bar-b-que, Stamford
After we had these 4 hour smoked then grilled wings, we knew that other nearby wings just didn’t stand a chance. There’s a beautiful smoke and char with the perfect amount of Dinosaur Bar-b-que’s very own sauce.
Best OmNomivore (Facebook): James Lacerenza
James is the man behind fundraisers to help those affected by Muscular Dystrophy (and has an official day in Stamford named after him) but is also a rabid OmNomivore. Before we’ve even had a chance to leave a comment on a post, he’s already shared it with others or commented. Thanks for being so awesome James.
Best OmNomivore (Site): whitemist
Another second year winner, our buddy whitemist often comments on his experiences at restaurants that we’ve reviewed, or offering words of encouragement if we had a bad dish. Thanks for reading and making our blog a living conversation.
Best OmNomivore (Twitter): TapIntoCT
Kevin Mocci, who runs the blog TapIntoCT, is a huge supporter of our posts, tweets, and strangeness in general. He often shares some great stuff that he’s found out or gives us suggestions on things to write about. Thank you, Kevin, for being a good friend and a killer Tweeter.