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Any idiot can tell you the Best Places in New Haven. You’ve got a smart phone. You’ve got Yelp. You can Google things, right?

But it takes a very special kind of idiot to know about those beneath-the-radar places. Those places that may not get “stellar reviews” or may not be talked about in those fancy Best Of Lists (no, really, I don’t expect you to vote for me as Best Local Blogger, that’d be pandering).

Best of New Haven 2016
Oh, this old thing? I just had it lying around.

Listen. I’m gonna level with you. Some of these are going to be unpopular choices. That’s why they’re not the Best. They’re just… not as beloved.

Except by me and my big ol’ heart.

Okay, fam, let’s do this.

Kasbah Garden – Howe Street, Downtownish

I honestly have no idea why I don’t just hang out here all the time. Tucked away in an alley on Howe Street, Kasbah Garden is an adorable little garden respite in the middle of New Haven.

Oh, and it’s BYOB with a $5 corking fee. So that four-pack of Sip Of Sunshine just got a whole lot cheaper than Cask Republic. Plus, you’re sitting outside!

Kasbah Garden Cafe
For a second, you might forget you’re in New Haven.

They also have hookah and some solid Middle Eastern/Moroccan food to chill out and enjoy your cocktails. Do yourself a favor and check this place out in the summer months.

L’Orcio – State Street, East Rock

I don’t know why I never hear L’Orcio in the conversation along with the other great Italian places in New Haven. They make their own pasta and I’ve never had a bad dish there.

Oh, and the backyard patio is romantic as hell. That’s right. That’s between you and me. You wanna take out that fine lady/gentleman you’ve been seeing for a ambiance-filled, classic Old World-style Italian dinner?

L'Orcio Patio
You’re paying, right?

This is your spot.

Buffalo Wild Wings – Church Street, Downtown

Ohhhhhh that’s right, I did it.

No, it’s not hip. It’s not cool or edgy and you probably won’t hear anything from Bon Iver on the jukebox.

But you know what you will hear? The audio to literally any sport you want to hear at any time ever.. As the only Buffalo Sabres fan in Connecticut, I appreciate that.

Buffalo Sabres Logo
Come on, that logo has not one BUT TWO SWORDS.

You know what else they have? A decent amount of veggie snack options, like fried mushrooms and shit. You’d be surprised how few restaurants in New Haven bother with anything like that.

They also have a surprisingly okay tap list. Okay, a lot of it is Miller Lites and whatnot, but they almost always have Dogfish 60 Minute IPA on tap, which is not bad.

Buffalo Wild Wings inside
This one’s actually from Bangor, ME but honestly, they all look the same.

Plus, I have met some of the widest variety of weirdos sitting at the bar there. Seriously. Try it.

Fuel – Wooster Street, Wooster Square

Best coffee in New Haven. Their old spot was better, though. You can’t even hang out there anymore. Sad.

Fuel Coffee Shop
This is where the dark magic happens.

JP Dempsey’s – State Street, East Rock

Okay, I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for my first “local” New Haven place when I moved to East Rock. It’s where I made my first New Haven friend, and made out with a random girl before she puked.

It was a special time in a young man’s life, and perhaps that’s why I look too fondly upon the peanut-covered floors and the surly-but-lovable waitstaff who bring you a variety of surpsingly awesome beers and say things like, “Sir, I’m not supposed to serve you an entire pitcher of beer, but I can see UConn is losing but quite a bit, so it’s just between us.”

JP Dempey's
It’s a special place.


York Street Noodle House – York Street, Downtown

You got a giant bowl of pretty awesome noodles for like 6 or 7 bucks, it’s insane. You don’t even have to rob them, they’re literally selling it at that price.

Sure, sometimes you’re sitting in their weird basement and you’re pretty sure they’ve forgotten you and you’re not entirely sure the fire exit is legit, but… oh, gosh, that noodle bowl smells good, and all is forgiven.

Seoul Restaurant – Chapel Street, Downtown

Okay, listen. I’m not gonna tell you that it’s worth the rather exorbitant prices they charge for dishes at this unassuming Korean place in West Downtown or that the service is absolutely impeccable.

But if you can find a place where an older Korean gentleman will go stand in the makeshift music studio in corner of a Korean restaurant and play his guitar over a piped-in music selection while you eat, then you have to go that place, you know?

Seoul New Haven
Yes, this is really inside the restaurant.

Plus, it’s named Seoul. You know, like the capital of South Korea? Get it?

Did I miss something?

Of course I did. So why don’t you let me know so I can include it on the next one.

I’m gonna do something a little different this week and ask YOU, the Reader, what you want me to write about next week, so vote away:

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  1. Definitely checking out that patio at L’orcio. I agree with your thoughts on fuel. Sad. Especially since the old spot is STILL vacant. We could use a nice wine bar in Wooster Square…that place would be perfect.

    1. I wonder if Joker’s Wild could be converted into a wine bar. I was sad to see it go, but I can’t see a comedy club taking over there.

  2. Youve listed some pretty epic places to go, but now its time you explore the dumps and the dives that new haven has to offer. Wander your way through town and explore the fine Dive Bars new haven has to offer. Hit up Lou’s on blatchley, t-off or whatever its called now down grand ave. Porkys or whatever is there now. Then head over to westville find some dives out there, checkout mugshots hamden/new haven line, check out Slice. You know, DIVE bars. And do go at millennial time. Check them out from 11am to 5pm to see what the regulars are like

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