It’s not a stretch to make the claim that New Haven has as many restaurants as a good chunk of Manhattan. Besides New Haven pizza (yes, even better than Philly’s or Chicago’s) and burgers, the town’s also known for eclectic ethnic foods, such as Ethiopian, French-Vietnamese, and Japanese fusion. And we haven’t even started counting up the Thai places (dozens). The Dixwell and 9th Square neighbourhoods are good place to start your culinary exploration.
Louis’s Lunch ( 562 5507; 261 Crown St; burgers $5; Mon-Fri 11:30am-2pm) Though this eatery’s only open for a couple hours each day, it’s well worth the effort to squeeze into your schedule. The Library of Congress credits this little 1-room take-out shack with creating the first burger, back in 1895. They’re so good that management forbids you to use any condiments. They even frown slightly at side dishes-though they do make a mean potato salad.
Pepe Pizzeria ( 865 5762; 157 Wooster St; large pizzas $18; Mon-Fri 11am-10pm; Sat-Sun 12-8pm) If you go to one restaurant in New Haven, make it Pepe’s. Known as the birthplace of American pizza, Pepe is smack in the heart of Little Italy and an absolute icon. Be prepared to stand outside for at least 45 minutes before stepping in to order the thin-crust pizza topped with fresh clams, the house special.
Ibiza ( 865 1933; 39 High St; $40-80 main entrees; Mon-Thurs 5-10pm; Fri-Sat 5-11pm) The ultimate in luxury eating, this gem was recently voted the best Spanish restaurant in the country by The New York Times. Perfect for a romantic date or if you just like a rich glass of wine (and a wide selection of cigars to boot).
Anna Liffey’s Irish Pub ( 773 1776; 17 Whitney Ave; Sun-Thurs 11:30 am-1am, Fri-Sat 11:30am-2am) The perfect bar for the international set. You avoid the student crowds at many of the other bars and enjoy a bit of sophistication-exotic beers, scrabble night, and Soccer Sundays!
Toad’s Place ( 624 TOAD; www.toadsplace.com; 300 York St; Wed-Sat 9pm-2am) This is a must-visit destination. You haven’t experienced college life at Yale without going to Toad’s, or as the students say, “all roads lead to Toad’s.” If you’re lucky, you might catch one of their infamous shows. Modest Mouse and The Killers recently came.
J-Press ( 772 1310; www.jpressonline.com; 262 York St; Mon-Sat 9am-5:30pm) For the ultimate “Ivy League” shopping experience, a stop at J-Press is a must. Founded in 1902, the interior is the epitome of old-school preppiness. Resist the urge to pop your collar when you’re shopping inside.
Guide to New Haven: