New Haven Eating Adventures

I can’t believe I finished residency! We’re leaving New Haven for now, but there’s too many good friends and foods still there to not return back to visit. Here are my favorite places to eat (and you can follow my restaurant and travel food adventures on my instagram.)

We tell people New Haven is surprisingly a foodie town, and while there aren’t a million dim sum / tapas restaurants / Indian / steakhouse options like NYC or Chicago, there’s one great restaurant for each type cuisine (minus the city prices), which is all you really need.

Arethusa Ice Cream – Arethusa is my favorite for the flavors and price (massive scoops for just $3.50) for the highest quality ice cream. I lived next door to it which was a blessing (and dangerous for my weight). I like to buy it in pints (tip: you can skip the line if not being scooped). When guests come visit us, we always take them to get the scoop in a cone for the full experience (tip: ask for two half scoops when you order a single scoop). My favorite flavors are the almond with toasted coconut and coconut with dark chocolate chunks, but you can’t go wrong. This is also a great place to buy cheese and milk. The lines are often long but move quickly, so don’t let that scare you.

Fun story: intern year, we helped my friend/future chief resident propose to his girlfriend here!

New Haven apizza is thin-crust, coal-fired Neapolitan pizza heralded among national critics. “Which is the best apizza” a never ending debate amongst locals. My favorites are Frank Pepe‘s clam pizza, Franke Pepe’s Fresh Tomato pizza, and Sally Apizza‘s vegetable pizza. B loves BAR Pizza‘s famous mashed potato pizza with bacon (I’m not a fan, but it’s popular and iconic). For a fun hipster environment and creative pizza toppings, De Legna is great as well.

Of note, Sally’s is cash only/closes randomly. Frank Pepe’s usually has a long line, but The Spot, Frank Pepe’s (the smaller, original Frank Pepe next door) serves the same food, and we usually eat here because the line is shorter (it’s a local secret).

Shell and Bones – beautiful location on the sea with boats and great seafood. Classy and where I take my in-laws or where we go for special occasions like anniversaries. It you want a table stunner, go for the Tower of Shells for $98 to share among people. I personally love their tuna tartare and baked ricotta appetizers, which I eat as a main meal. Also popular for happy hour.

Lobster Rolls – a must have in New Haven! B’s absolute favorite is Lenny’s Indian Head Inn. I equally love Lenny’s and Lobster Landing, which has a beautiful ocean view with boats for the New England feel. Either way, I always get the Connecticut hot lobster roll with butter (much better than the cold with mayo Maine version). Lenny’s crab cakes are also excellent.

Fruit picking – Lyman Orchards and Bishop Orchards are both excellent places for pick-your-own. We’ve done raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, apples, pears, pumpkins, squash, and zucchini. A summer and fall must in New England.

Farmer’s Market
 in Wooster Square – we come here regularly for bread, cheese, and most importantly their apple cider doughnuts by Sweet Madeline food truck (the best doughnuts I’ve ever had and just $1 too).

Barcelona – Spanish food and amazing tapas. A nostalgic place for me as that was my Yale interview dinner (it clearly worked, it was the only dinner I stayed the entire time since the residents were so social/close knit, and definitely my favorite meal in the interview trail).

Chinese food – We have two favorites. Formosa – water hot spicy fish and spicy “fishy” eggplant (which isn’t fish but a special fried eggplant).  Lao Szechuan – Szechuan dumplings in red chili sauce, pork ear slice with red chili sauce, szechuan wild pepper with spare ribs.

I mix these two up frequently, but both are equally tasty, which maybe a slight edge to Formosa just for their “fishy eggplant” (which isn’t fish, but actually fried eggplant). I once insisted poor Lao Szechuan tell me what happened to their fishy eggplant and why was it gone (“I know you have it, I’ve ordered it before! Where is it on the menu?” “I’m sorry ma’m we have no idea was is a ‘fishy eggplant’?“) before B told me it was the wrong restaurant.

Other New Haven favorites: Mecha Noodle Bar – solid for ramen and baos,  Rice Pot and September in Bangkok for Thai, Great Wall for Dim Sum, Barcade (not because I like the food but the video games / Pacman are a New Haven classic), Tikkaway for Indian food, Prime 16 for burgers, Crown 116 for bar / upscale food, Ashley’s Ice Cream (the coffee oreo is popular), Heirloom for brunch, Vivi’s Bubble Tea for boba (I know it’s a chain, but it got me through so many 28 hour calls it deserved a spot – taro, oolong, and milk tea are my fav), and Blue State Coffee which kept us going through Internal Medicine Morning Reports (update: as of 11/2022, Blue State sadly closed all of its locations).

And the famous Louis Lunch? This cute little burger joint has been serving classic burgers since 1895. It’s one of the oldest, family-run businesses in the country, and is recognized by the Library of Congress as the Birthplace of the Hamburger Sandwich. Honestly though – I think the burgers on toast are meh and rather plain. Try it once for the novelty, snap a photo in front of the iconic red storefront, but I think there’s plenty of better fantastic food to eat around New Haven.

Update 11/2019: We came back to visit friends for Thanksgiving weekend, and I wanted to add the newly opened Fussy Cafe to this list. Try their London Fog with oat milk and their chicken and waffles!

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