The 16 Best Restaurants In New Haven For More Than Just Pizza

When you think of New Haven, you probably think of one of two things: Yale University or apizza. While the coastal city is home to the Bulldogs, we would argue that more people recognize it for its apizza restaurants like Sally's Apizza or the original Frank Pepe's. But there's a whole lot more to New Haven than just coal-baked pies topped with "mootz" or fresh clams. The city is actually home to an array of restaurants that are some of the most innovative and delicious in New England. 

As a born-and-raise Nutmegger (a person from Connecticut, for those who reside outside the state's borders), I've spent a fair amount of time in the city exploring its culinary scene. While the pizza joints may have a special spot in my heart, I have a deep appreciation for the cuisine of New Haven — as well as the people behind it. Here are some of the best restaurants in the city aside from its pizza.

Louis Lunch

There wouldn't be a ranking of the best restaurants in New Haven without one of the most historic restaurants in New England, Louis Lunch. This eatery was first established in Elm City in 1895, where it was claimed to have created the first hamburger sandwich. The fourth generation of the Lassen family owns the restaurant, which the entire New Haven community loves. 

The menu at this popular spot is simple and only includes burgers, a couple of sides, and a slice of homemade pie. Its patties are made fresh with a blend of five different types of beef and are cooked on the same flat-iron grills as over 100 years ago. Ketchup fans need to be forewarned about this restaurant, as Louis Lunch believes the only acceptable garnishes for Louis Lunch burgers are cheese, onion, and tomato. Grab a burger with a Foxon Park soda, and you're guaranteed to have a great start to your afternoon.

(203) 562-5507

261 Crowne St, New Haven, CT 06511

Union League Cafe

The Union League Cafe has been highly regarded as one of the classiest and most upscale eateries in New Haven — and for good reason. The restaurant is right across from Yale University and provides its patrons with the finest French-style dining that Elm City has to offer. 

This restaurant serves both lunch and dinner throughout the week and on Saturdays. You'll find endless options of raw bar favorites, including shrimp, littleneck clams, and an accompaniment of French Ossetra caviar. The main entrees include a variety of poultry, fish, pasta, and seafood, including bone-marrow-crusted flat iron steak, house-made ricotta ravioli, and butter-poached Maine lobster served with a side of spaetzle and lobster bisque. Although the Union League Cafe may not be an every-night spot, it is perfect for date night and special occasions when you're looking to expand your palate.

(203) 562-4299

1032 Chapel St, New Haven, CT 06510

Mecha Noodle Bar

Mecha is one of our favorite noodle bars in Connecticut and a must-stop place if we're craving cozy lunch fare in New Haven. Its menu features several different types of Asian appetizers, rolls, and snacks, but it's most well-known for its pho and ramen. Its broth base is made with chicken and beef and comes with several different kinds of protein options, including sliced chicken, grilled flank shank, and fermented bean short ribs. From there, eaters can choose to add different ingredients like tripe, marrow oil, and shrimp. The restaurant's ramen menu comes in both vegetarian and meat-based bases and includes classic ramen add-ons like nori, charred corn, and tomato. 

If you don't plan on visiting New Haven anytime soon, you may expect to see a Mecha popping up in your area soon. The brand has plans to expand to several other cities, including Washington D.C., Denver, Colorado, and Columbus, Ohio.

(203) 691-9671

201 Crowne St, New Haven, CT 06511

ZINC New Haven

ZINC New Haven is a relatively new restaurant on the modern American scene, but its food is creative, well thought-out, and makes a great addition to the city's dining options. Its menu includes adaptations from many cuisines, including confit pork belly, hickory-smoked duck nachos, and Saigon beef lettuce wraps. For dinner, you'll find a plethora of seafood options, including grilled yellowfin tuna and roasted Scottish salmon, while plant-based eaters will love their Malaysian curry with tofu, sweet chili sauce, and pickled bird's eye chili peppers. 

The cocktail and alcohol menu at ZINC is equally as impressive as its food; you'll find a medley of bourbons, rye, whiskey, gin, and tequila, as well as zero-proof and alcohol-free beverages. We also recommend taking a peek at the dessert menu, if you have any room left, and trying a bite of the caramel apple tart.

(203) 624-0507

964 Chapel St, New Haven, CT 06510

Mamoun's Falafel

We don't know what the folks at Mamouns put into the babaganoush. But, it has to be the lightest, most perfectly medley of flavors and consistencies that have ever graced our palates — so much so that we order at least two plates of it to go every time we're in the city. This Mediterranean restaurant has major hole-in-the-wall vibes, but it's still one of the best restaurants in New Haven for cheap-ish eats. The menu features Middle Eastern favorites, including freshly fried falafels, lamb and chicken shawarma, and kebabs. 

Another favorite part of Mamouns (besides its babaganoush) is that you can order plates, sandwiches, or combination platters of most of the stuff on its menu. And after you've enjoyed copious amounts of pita bread, we recommend stopping by the pastry case to grab a couple of baklavas in walnut or pistachio or the vegan-ized version of the delicious filo-layered desserts.

(203) 562-8444

85 Howe St, New Haven, CT 

Camacho Garage

Camacho Garage is a modern, sophisticated take on Mexican street food. The restaurant, at the helm of executive chef and co-owner Arturo Franco-Camacho, is located in a converted garage in the Westville neighborhood, where the crew serves up small plates like tacos, homemade ceviche, salads, and tostadas. You'll find traditional tacos like birrira served with beef consomé for dipping, as well as traditional Mexican salad jicama, watercress, cucumber, and mango. Its corn tortillas are made in-house and available to take home with you. 

One favorite thing about Camacho Garage is that its cuisine covers street food, as well as Mexican takes on American fare. Seriously, where else are you going to find a Mexican hot dog with minced escabeche, pico de gallo, and chipotle mayo? The food here is out-of-this-world, as is the collection of tequila and mezcal on the bar shelves.


36 Fountain St, New Haven, CT 06515

Sandra's Next Generation

Finding true Southern cuisine in New England is a challenge, but Sandra's Next Generation is one of the best. This Congress Avenue restaurant features three different plate options for patrons with tons of customizing possibilities so you can pile on your favorites. Fried chicken, smothered wings, fried pork chops, catfish, and tilapia are some of the many protein options to choose from, while no plate would be completed without a massive scoop of macaroni and cheese, fried okra, collard greens, candied yams, or fried plantains. If you still have room for more, we recommend ordering a serving of banana pudding, peach cobbler, or sweet potato pie. 

The food at Sandra's Next Generation is some of the most wholesome in the city. The restaurant is welcoming, and the food ties into the Southern hospitality element that so many restaurants in the area are missing. Guests never leave Sandra's without a smile on their faces ... or leave hungry, either.


636 Congress Ave, New Haven, CT 06519

Hachiroku Shokudo & Sake Bar

Although Hachiroku Shokudo & Sake Bar only opened in May 2022, it has made waves as one of the go-to spots in New Haven. This casual restaurant is styled after the Japanese shokudo, which are comfort-causal eateries. It features artfully designed fish like miso-cured black cod. Equally as impressive as the food is the restaurant's extensive sake menu, which includes bottles ranging in price from $50 to $70. 

This isn't a sub-standard Japanese noodle shop that will serve you copious plates of noodles, greasy tempura, or lackluster sushi. The plating is very artistic and focused on the prime cuts of fish and other proteins. The menu itself is very small and exclusive, but if you're looking for a gem hidden within the streets of New Haven, Hachiroku is the spot to go.

(203) 691-7984

261 Orange St, New Haven, CT 06510

The Anchor Spa

The Anchor Spa may have started in neighboring Milford, Connecticut, but this reimagined location on College Street is distinctively and proudly New Haven. The restaurant was originally an established cocktail bar but closed its doors in 2015. The restaurant re-opened after pressure from the community a year later and has since elevated its food menu to include seafood and jerk-seasoned favorites like chicken skewers, jerk fries, and Rasta Pasta with Scotch bonnet peppers. You'll also find Cajun staples like shrimp and grits and sweet plantain bread. 

The drinks at The Anchor Spa are some of the most artfully designed in the city. Must-try beverages: the Yale Beet Harvard, made with Appleton Signature Estate rum, Wray & Nephew Overproof, beet, orange acid, and molasses bitters. Fans of Mexican booze will love the All's Pear in Thyme, made with Altos reposado tequila, Avua Cachaca, pear, thyme, ginger, lime, agave, and mezcal rinse.

(203) 821-7065

272 College St, New Haven, CT 06511

Cafe Java

The best breakfast sandwich in New Haven can be found at Cafe Java on Elm Street. Its breakfast and lunch options are simple, yet done very well, and satisfy a hankering for a hangover sando like no other. Besides the egg and cheese on a roll, patrons can also enjoy a selection of delicious sandwiches, including pastrami Reubens, roast beef paninis, and chicken Caesar wraps nearing noon. You'll also find an array of rotating homemade soups that are perfect for a chilly winter day or when you just need a mid-day pick-me-up. The food at this spot is consistent, and you're likely to find a tantalizing option on the rotating specials board. 

The prices of Cafe Java's food are affordable compared to other upscale breakfast shops in the city. We love the bistro's cozy atmosphere and welcoming staff, as well as an iced caramel latte to-go when passing through New Haven.

(203) 624-1275

59 Elm St, New Haven, CT 06510

East Rock Coffee

New Haven isn't short on coffee shops, either. East Rock Coffee is one of our favorite spots to go for a proper espresso shot or a good roast — all of which are sourced from women-owned and operated farms. You'll find lattes, macchiatos, and cappuccinos made to your liking, as well as one of the best hot chocolates around. East Rock makes its hot cocoa with both syrup and Dutch-processed cocoa, which gives it a smooth and profound chocolate flavor beloved by sippers of all ages. 

Besides its hot and cold coffees, you'll also find some food options on East Rock's menu. For an invigorating start to your day, we recommend the Omega: avocado, arugula, smoked salmon, and extra virgin olive oil on your choice of a bagel, croissant, or toast. Or, grab a quick container of yogurt with homemade granola sprinkled on top.

(203) 785-9218

49 Cottage St, New Haven, CT 06511

Cast Iron Chef Chop House and Oyster Bar

Upscale dining in New Haven looks a lot like Cast Iron Chef. This award-winning steakhouse is one of the best that the city and Connecticut has to offer. All of its steaks are aged and cut in-house and highlight cast iron skillet cooking and come out still on the hot skillet. Patrons can also ask for their steaks, rack of lamb, or seared duck breast to be grilled for them tableside.

The Cast Iron Chef also accommodates other dining preferences on its menu and includes an array of entrées like Lobster Milanese, rigatoni in vodka sauce, and even pizza. You'll also find an array of fresh seafood from both the raw bar menu and the appetizer list, including cast iron mussels, scallops, and escargot. This is the perfect special occasion spot in the city to enjoy a filet mignon that you wouldn't even dream of cooking at home.

(203) 745-4669

660 State St, New Haven, CT 06511

The Luke Brasserie

The Luke brings fine Mediterranean cuisine to Elm City. This brasserie, located in the Taft Building downtown, offers an upscale menu of vegetable, seafood, and grain-based dishes. Customers can also order main dishes designed to be shared between two or more people, including an American red snapper, aged Prime ribeye, and free-range chicken cooked three ways. The presentation of these dishes is not only stunning, but the flavors always pair well with one another and create a cohesive, upscale dish that we crave. 

If you're not into the sit-down dinner, you can also stop at The Luke's bar to grab a quick bite, which includes $1 oysters every day, or with an aperitif at The Luke's café. And if The Luke does not yet entice you, you may be convinced when we mention it comes with complimentary Prosseco.

(475) 666-8001

261 College St, New Haven, CT 06510


Skappo is an Umbrian restaurant located in the heart of New Haven. This family-owned spot opened in 2004 and focuses on seasonal produce and authentic ingredients from the Italian region. Its menu is rather simple, yet inclusive of many of the flavors that the city of New Haven has come to know and love. Start your meal off with antipasti, including a fichi riempiti di Gorgonzola — Turkish figs stuffed with cheese and slathered in cream sauce. Then, make your choice of entreé from classic pasta dishes like spinach gnocchi, Rigatoni con Coniglio, and Pasta all Norma. There is also a small selection of meats on the menu, but the all-star dishes from this restaurant are all centered around pasta. Finish your meal with an order of tiramisu or cannolis made with ricotta cheese. 

It's not just the food at this Italian eatery that makes you feel welcomed, but also the staff. We've never had a bad meal at Skappo, and it's a great place to stop in when you're craving Italian but not necessarily apizza.

(203) 773-1394

59 Crowne St, New Haven, CT 06510


Noa prides itself on offering Thai and Lao food with contemporary twists. And the vibe of this restaurant accomplishes just that. It's moody and low but also modern and sophisticated. One of our favorite parts about Noa is that it's really made for going with groups of people; many of the items on its menu can be split and shared across people, including its moo tod (a fried marinated pork loin), Thai hot wings, or lychee and melon salad. If you're feeling like ordering a just-for-you order, check out its shrimp rad prik with chile sauce and Chinese broccoli, Noa drunken noodle, or pad see-ew served with grilled flank steak. You'll also find a rotating selection of curry and noodle dishes on the Noa specials board, which are perfect for when you're feeling something spontaneous. 

This spot is a must-stop for folks craving good Thai food or are looking for a modern event space with delicious cuisine. While New Haven may not scream Thai food destination, Noa is proving that there are ways to integrate modern flavors into classic Asian dishes in Elm City.

(475) 238-6290

200 Crown St, New Haven, CT 06510

Geronimo Tequila Bar and Southwest Grill

Although Geronimo Bar and Grill is in the same restaurant group as Camacho Garage, it has a more sit-down feel — plus a modern Southwestern brunch menu. You'll find several different nachos, tacos, lettuce wraps, and quesadillas, as well as main entrées like a half-rack of baby back ribs, carne asada steak, and Tex-Mex modern macaroni and cheese with sharp cheddar, chihuahua and gruyere cheeses, cornbread crumbs, fire-roasted hatch green chile, pico de gallo, and huitlacoche-truffle sauce. 

While we do love the mains at Geronimo, we have a soft spot for its blue corn pancakes and eggs benedict with a hatch chile hollandaise sauce. This is also a great spot for happy hour, considering the list of margaritas comes in flavors like strawberry, blood orange, and pomegranate. Or wash your enchiladas down with an agave flight.

(203) 777-7700

271 Crown St, New Haven, CT 06510