Top 10 restaurants in Hartford, United States

April 15, 2018 Concepcion Newsome

From its origins as a Connecticut River trading post in 1633, Hartford has become not only the state capital but also the insurance capital of the world, with a slew of historical attractions, a thriving arts and entertainment center, a revitalized riverfront and beautiful parks and public gardens. It was here that the lovable Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer were born in the imagination of celebrated author Mark Twain and immortalized on paper during the writer's Hartford years. Twain's home and those of fellow literary figures Harriet Beecher Stowe and Noah Webster are open to the public. The Wadsworth Atheneum, the oldest public art museum in the U.S., houses Pilgrim-Century furniture, the Amistad collection and a special treasure hunt system to entice kids to explore the museum's works. If your timing is right (end of June, beginning of July), you'll catch the Elizabeth Park rose gardens in bloom, but fall is also great for brilliant leaf colors, and spring yields colorful gardens and blossoming trees. For a bird's-eye view of the city, visit the observation deck of Travelers Tower, where you might also spot two resident falcons.
Things to do in Hartford

1. Salute

100 Trumbull St, Suite 2, Hartford, CT 06103-2412 Takeout, Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Private Dining, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Validated Parking, Television, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar Italian, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Late Night +1 860-899-1350
Excellent
74%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 830 reviews

Salute

Reviewed By TM B

As we had reservations for eight or nine, we were promptly seated and attended to by a really fun waitress. The food portions were extraordinarily large. I would have shared my dish rather than have to discard more than half. Only a few people complete the entrees because we all wanted to try dessert. The molten cake we ordered (learned our lesson on portion size) was delicious but the cake did not ooze when cut.

2. The Capital Grille

44 Front St, Hartford, CT 06103-2809 Reservations, Private Dining, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Validated Parking, Valet Parking, Television, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar American, Steakhouse, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Late Night +1 860-244-0075
Excellent
66%
Good
23%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 323 reviews

The Capital Grille

Reviewed By ulysses4 - Westfield, Massachusetts

There are nearly 60 Capital Grilles. Whether those away from D.C. are franchises or satellites of the original, the Hartford location suffers the same problem with any clone. Dilution and approximation. To be fair, this is primarily a steak and chop house, and we had our minds on seafood. There were four or five seafood choices, but not their strength.

The ambiance is certainly pleasant and "upscale". Our waiter was personable and perhaps a little overworked. There were a couple of annoying flaws that muted our enthusiasm for a generally well prepared meal.

The wine list on an I-Pad may appeal to millenials and generation X-ers, I suppose it makes it easier and cleaner to update. I can live with it. Even the 300% mark-up on a bottle of Pouilly-Fuisse. is a minor annoyance. But a restaurant needs to decide-are they going to serve the wine or have the customer do it. I find it "unsat" when a purportedly high end restaurant pours the first glass, then puts the ice cooler out of reach and then forgets about it.

The chief hiccup of the evening was timing. We allowed 2 and a quarter hours for a leisurely dinner before a show. We needed over 2 hours for a straight forward order of salads, mains and a shared dessert. Why it took an hour to bring out the salmon in a fairly uncrowded restaurant is an awkward mystery. We ordered creamed spinach as a classic side, and it was very good.

The salads, by the way, were well crafted. The salmon was of good quality and very simply prepared. Perhaps a little too simple. The coconut cream pie was rather bland and forgettable. We should have heeded the waiter's suggestion of ordering cheesecake.

No doubt, you can get a very good steak here. The wine selection is fairly long, but not particularly interesting.

The restaurant was convenient for where we needed to be. At its core, assuming there is one, it is a chain restaurant. Expense does not equal excellence. This is a far cry from "an original" steakhouse of genuine character. I wouldn't call this "fine dining", except it costs as much.

3. Max Downtown

185 Asylum St, Hartford, CT 06103-3408 Reservations, Private Dining, Seating, Waitstaff, Valet Parking, Television, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar American, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options, Vegan Options Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Drinks SGD 79 - SGD 105 +1 860-522-2530
Excellent
65%
Good
24%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
2%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 477 reviews

Max Downtown

The crown jewel of the Hartford, Connecticut dining scene, Max Downtown has been serving its guests for over 21 years and remains a fan favorite. After a top-to-bottom renovation in the summer of 2017, the restaurant has never looked (or tasted) better.

Reviewed By treznor - Hickory, NC

Overall the food was exactly what you'd expect from a quality steakhouse. The only hiccup was that the server stopped by right after the menus were dropped and then I didn't see him for 15-20 minutes... Finally appeared when a manager stopped by to ask how things were. It was Restaurant Week (though I didn't order off the RW menu), so they may have been busier than expected.

4. Firebox Restaurant

539 Broad St, Hartford, CT 06106-1402 Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Valet Parking, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Free Wifi American, Contemporary, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Late Night SGD 41 - SGD 66 +1 860-246-1222
Excellent
60%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 318 reviews

Firebox Restaurant

Reviewed By v0yageur22 - Killingworth, CT

Clearly a cut above most other Connecticut restaurants, Firebox serves absolutely wonderful, fresh, creatively prepared and locally sourced food. This is a destination restaurant worth a trip from anywhere. Everything we had (except for the rolls which were a little bland and the espresso which was both flat and salty) was superb: amazing PEI mussels in a chorizo cream sauce, flavorful roasted carrot and apple soup, wonderful grilled salmon with roasted potatoes and beets, incredibly tender and delicious pork tenderloin with wild mushroom risotto, and great desserts including a salted chocolate pudding and a warm sticky toffee pudding. Wine pairings were very well chosen. The ambiance is lively and bustling with a packed house full of people enjoying the terrific food. Service was friendly and parking is easy right next door.

5. Bear's Smokehouse

89 Arch St, Hartford, CT 06103-2832 Takeout, Seating, Parking Available, Television, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol American, Barbecue, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner +1 860-724-3100
Excellent
55%
Good
32%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 389 reviews

Bear's Smokehouse

Reviewed By benton2569 - Willington, Connecticut

I love this place and think the bbq is fantastic!

Its more casual and cafeteria style at the Harford location: you order and go down the line but the folks who work there are very nice, the portions are big and the food is the best. I've have been several times and have never been disappointed.

I've had the pulled pork, chicken wings (yum), beef brisket (my favorite) and the poutine (sp). I always get the hand cut fries with my meal - love them! They have a variety of sauces at the table also but honestly, the meat is so good that I hardly need or want sauce.

They is a separate bar area with several local craft beers on tap but since I always been there on a mid day work lunch have not had the privilege of enjoying a beer with my bbq...but as I type its now on my Spring / Summer bucket list.

6. Trumbull Kitchen

150 Trumbull St, Hartford, CT 06103-2403 Takeout, Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff, Valet Parking, Television, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar American, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Drinks SGD 46 - SGD 66 +1 860-493-7412
Excellent
39%
Good
44%
Satisfactory
10%
Poor
5%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 419 reviews

Trumbull Kitchen

Reviewed By W-Hartford_CT - Connecticut

A popular restaurant in the middle of downtown. Close to the XL Center, Hartford Stage and Theaterworks. Limited choices on the menu, but a good number of choices. Also, a selection of stone pies. I had Hilda's meatloaf, which was quite tasty; and my friend...MoreDear Fantastic Guest, Just wanted to thank you for taking the time to write such a nice review. We hope to see you back soon Thanks, David Mascolo Trumbull Kitchen [email protected]

7. Costa Del Sol Restaurante

901 Wethersfield Ave, Hartford, CT 06114-3127 Takeout, Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar Seafood, Mediterranean, Spanish, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Late Night SGD 20 - SGD 39 +1 860-296-1714
Excellent
59%
Good
31%
Satisfactory
8%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 164 reviews

Costa Del Sol Restaurante

Reviewed By ConnecticutLocavore - Connecticut

It's amazing how consistently wonderful this restaurant has remained over the years. The ingredients are still the finest, and the preparation so attentive to detail. The flavors are authentic, and everything on the plate goes together so beautifully. I have never had a dish that was in any way disappointing. I have read that the owners have an excellent reputation among Spanish chefs nationally. What a gem! And the prices are very reasonable for the food.

8. Agave Grill

100 Allyn St, Frnt, Hartford, CT 06103-1418 Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff, Television, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Takeout Mexican, Southwestern, Bar, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Late Night, Drinks SGD 33 +1 860-882-1557
Excellent
44%
Good
40%
Satisfactory
12%
Poor
2%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 239 reviews

Agave Grill

Reviewed By Alison L S - Springfield, Massachusetts

We love Mexican food and have eaten here before and been very pleased. Our experience this weekend was mediocre at best. One of our favorite items is fresh guacamole prepared tableside - usually creamy and wonderful. This time it was very salty and overloaded with cilantro. The taco chips were their usual, lightly salted delicious ones. I had their signature blue soft tacos and found them disappointing - the tacos did not have a nice, corn flavor. the filling was OK. The bean and rice sides were bland and unremarkable.

9. Black-Eyed Sally's

350 Asylum St, Hartford, CT 06103-2003 Takeout, Reservations, Seating, Waitstaff, Television, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar American, Bar, Barbecue, Cajun & Creole, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Drinks, Late Night SGD 28 - SGD 39 +1 860-278-7427
Excellent
43%
Good
36%
Satisfactory
13%
Poor
4%
Terrible
4%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 416 reviews

Black-Eyed Sally's

Come sink your teeth into our award winning bar-b-que and Southern cooking served up in a juke joint atmosphere. We are open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week, and feature live blues & jazz music. Try some of our house specialties such as Ribs, Pulled Pork, Jambalaya, and Blackened Catfish. Top it off with some Pecan Pie and you'll be hooked. At Sally's we feed your mouth and your soul!

Reviewed By venice a - Allentown, Pennsylvania

Went on a Saturday this time with my family. Live band, folks dancing and singing along, perfect atmosphere. Food served quick and friendly staff. Always a pleasure coming here! Parking was a little tricky but it was a Saturday night so plan ahead!

10. City Steam Brewery

942 Main St, Hartford, CT 06103-1214 Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Television, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Wifi, Accepts Discover, Reservations, Private Dining, Wine and Beer, Accepts Credit Cards American, Bar, Pub, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Late Night, Drinks SGD 13 - SGD 39 +1 860-525-1600
Excellent
44%
Good
37%
Satisfactory
13%
Poor
5%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4 based on 658 reviews

City Steam Brewery

Hartford, CT Restaurant with the Finest Handcrafted Beer, Live Comedy and Upscale Casual Cuisine in an Historic Setting.

Reviewed By always_come_home - St. Barthelemy

I think they didn't know what type of ambiance they wanted, so there are separate areas for the sports-oriented bar, tables, and couches in the large space. And they're all a bit aged. The TVs contribute to the loud atmosphere. Service gets backed up at the bar, so if you'd like to eat, sit at a table rather than dine at the bar. If you'd like a good meal though, then go elsewhere. Rather, City Steam is good for meeting friends for a beer in a dive-bar type setting.

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