Connecticut may not be the first state that comes to mind when folks start talking about matters gastronomical, but it actually has a lot going for it when it comes to food. Just for starters, it's one of the only states with a food-related nickname: Along with being the Constitution State, it's the Nutmeg State — a sobriquet possibly bestowed because its seaports were important in the Colonial spice trade. But that's just the beginning of its relationship to good things to eat, and to celebrate its culinary riches, we’ve rounded up 18 of Connecticut's tastiest comestibles and most essential eating and drinking places as part of our second annual guide to the best food and drink in every state.
To get specific, Connecticut stakes a claim — contested, to be sure, but what isn't these days? — to having been the birthplace of the hamburger, at the still-thriving Louis' Lunch in New Haven. (The state is also said, somewhat less controversially, to have spawned the steamed cheeseburger, and may have given the submarine sandwich, or "sub," its name, courtesy of the U.S. Navy's submarine base in Groton.) New Haven is also pretty much the pizza capital of America, home to the ineffable Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana (not to mention such standard-bearers as Modern Apizza, Sally's Apizza, Ernie's, Zuppardi's, the Brü Room at BAR, and Mike's Apizza).
With its 96-mile coastline, Connecticut is a great place for seafood, too, from Abbott's Lobster in the Rough, waterside in Noank (famous for its eponymous crustacean, either steamed or in the form of a Connecticut-style lobster roll, meaning warm butter-drenched meat on a toasted bun) to the fresh-shucked oysters at Oyster Club —whose specialties go far beyond bivalves, and which we rank as the best restaurant in the state, period.
Over the course of the past year we’ve honored everything from its best hot dogs and brunch spot to its best bar and craft beer in our comprehensive and wide-ranging lists and rankings, compiled through extensive research and with input from a wide network of site contributors, bloggers, journalists, and chefs. We’ve compiled the culinary treasures of every state (plus the nation's capital) into individual slideshows celebrating the best food and drink in every state, and you can find our Connecticut gallery here.