5 Best Seafood Restaurants on the Connecticut Shoreline
Best CT Seafood Restaurants from New Haven to Noank
My home state of Connecticut boasts hundreds of seafood restaurants, many close to Interstate I95 on the shoreline from West Haven through Noank.
For this article, I picked the ones I consider the 5 best seafood restaurants. Because I love seafood, I have visited all of them several times. What better recommendation than one from a CT shoreline native! You will get a short description and directions for each.
If you are traveling in southern CT this summer, don't miss these 5 seafood eateries (in order by town):
1. Stowe's in West Haven
2. Lenny's in Branford
3. The Place in Guilford
4. Fish Tale in Madison
5. Abbott's in Noank
Enjoy an excellent seafood meal this summer!
Stowe's Seafood in West Haven
A few years ago, I owned a house a few blocks away from the West Haven beach. One day, I decided to find an authentic clear broth clam chowder at one of the restaurants on the West Haven beach. First stop (restaurant unnamed) was a disaster - I threw the chowder away because it tasted awful and there were (count them) - 3 clams and 5 pieces of potato.
Next stop a few blocks away - Stowe's Seafood.
From the street, Stowe's looks more like a fishmarket than an eatery. But there were several people eating outside on picnic tables. I walked into Stowe's, stared at the marine paraphernalia on the walls, and bought my Rhode Island chowder and a lobster roll.
Pure seafood heaven.
Stowe's has a few tables inside the restaurant but the best summer eating is outside where you can see, hear, and smell summer at the beach.
For your GPS, Stowe's is located at 347 Beach St West Haven CT.
Traveling on Interstate 95 south, take the First Ave exit in West Haven.
Turn left onto First Ave.
Travel on First Ave for about 2 miles to the West Haven beach area.
Stowe's is on your right just before a Stop sign across from the beach.
Traveling on Interstate 95 north, take the Kimberly Ave exit in West Haven.
Turn left onto Kimberly Ave/Elm St and travel over the bridge.
At the second light on Elm Street, take a left onto First Ave.
Travel on First Ave for about a mile.
Stowe's is on your right just before a Stop sign.
A 2015 Update
I visited Stowe's on July 12, 2015 at about 2 pm to buy fresh swordfish and order takeout. I waited in line for about 15 minutes, ordered the swordfish, and then discovered the wait time was 45 minutes for takeout. This place is very popular in the summer!
Lenny's in Branford
Lenny's has been a go-to summer seafood place in my hometown ever since I can remember.
Unfortunately, many seafood restaurants look like shacks from the outside and Lenny's doesn't disappoint. Happily, the interior was re-modeled in the last few years. Weather permitting, you can sit in Lenny's outside dining area.
The restaurant is located in Indian Neck. In case you're unfamiliar with Branford, it has quaintly named areas of town (Branford Point, Indian Neck, Pine Orchard, Short Beach, Double Beach). Lenny's right next to the marsh - an interesting view all year long.
The food is above average, the price is right, and given you arrive at a less busy hour, you can dine leisurely and quietly.
Click the link above for written directions to Lenny's on 205 South Montowese Street, Branford, CT
The Place in Guilford on Boston Post Road
The Place is very different from any seafood dining experience you're familiar with.
First, you eat outdoors on tree stumps (or BYO chair), BYOB, and table amentities and sides. Rustic. Also bring the bug spray.
Eating outdoors in the summer at The Place is especially enjoyable. The food is outstanding - a la carte clams, shrimp, lobster, salmon, catfish, bluefish, steak, chicken, and corn on the cob grilled to perfection.
One issue - summer bugs love The Place. Bring fly swatters and bug spray.
The Place - a out-of-the-ordinary dining experience that should be on your bucket list.
The Place is conveniently located between I95 exits 58 and 59 at 901 Boston Post Road in Guilford CT, right across from the local Walmart.
The Fish Tale in Madison
Actually, there were two Fish Tales - one in Madison and one in Westbrook.
I've been to the Madison Drive-In Restaurant where they have indoor dining as well as a large summer crowd eating outdoors in a picnic area (seems to be a theme I like). The food is better than average with a big selection of fried foods and lobster. This Fish Tale is open 7 days a week all year long.
It's family eating on the shoreline at its best!
Directions to Madison Fish Tale, 1301 Boston Post Road, Madison, CT 06443
Take I95 Exit 62 connector and drive east on the Boston Post Rd.
Abbott's Lobster in Noank
This restaurant is my CT favorite place to eat seafood. It's right on the water and the views are spectacular.
The dining is indoors or outdoors, first come, first served, no reservations, BYOB.
In the middle of the summer, you may have a hard time at dinner time finding a parking space and you WILL wait in line.
It's definitely worth the wait. My favorite meal is called the New England Seafood Feast - Clam Chowder, Shrimp, Steamers and Mussels, and the best lobster on the CT shoreline. Abbott's calls it "A feast you'll not soon forget. It's our 'best buy.'" And it's best eats!
I've recently lunched at Abbott's on the way back from winning a few hundred bucks at Foxwoods. Instead of lobster, I opted for steamers, a cup of Rhode Island chowder, and crabcakes. Top it off with an apple crumb dessert covered in whipped cream, and I'm automatically off my low sugar diet! An excellent lunch for a seafood lover!
A caution - Abbott's Lobster (117 Pearl Street Noank, CT) is hard to find. If you're using a GPS, Groton is the town, not Noank.
Here are the website driving directions.
Falling in Love with Connecticut
If you're just traveling through the state of Connecticut, are vacationing, or live in CT, you may want to know a bit more about interesting places to visit. Depending on your interests, you can experience excellent theatre, dining, scenic routes, and stops that residents take for granted.
For example, the Mystic area where Abbott's is located is the home of the Mystic Aquarium and a very quaint town with plenty of restaurants. Ever hear of Mystic Pizza and the movie with the same name?
In the middle of the state on the shoreline, New Haven's Wooster Street area feels like an Italian festival every night during the summer. And it features Pepe's pizza, possibly the best pies ever made.
I can go on, but you get the picture.