above photo by Young Buns Doughnuts Welcoming signs hang on the pale sage building at…
Looking for a delectable meal in Southeastern Connecticut? Drive over the viaduct into the Stonington Borough and you’re in for a variety of tasty dining options, from seafood to Mexican to classic brunch. I grew up on Temple Street (by the library) and then Water Street, just a block past Noah’s. An idyllic place to spend your childhood, another thing is for sure; we never had to go far for a good meal, no matter what we were in the mood for. Now that I’m in my twenties, I can also appreciate the many great spots to grab a drink around town. If you’re looking for seafood, specifically, you’ve come to the right place. Stonington boasts the only working commercial fishing fleet in the state of Connecticut, meaning the surf will be FRESH no matter where you end up!
Dog Watch Cafe
A casual seaside restaurant right when you enter the Borough at Dodson’s Boatyard, Dog Watch Cafe has become a favorite for locals and visitors alike! For small bites, I love to grab a bowl of chowder and coconut shrimp, accompanied by a local beer. When it comes to entrees, I am obsessed with the Dog Watch Pasta: Roasted Tomatoes, Artichokes, Spinach and Chicken (or scallops, or shrimp) in a Garlic Wine Sauce Over Cavatappi Pasta. Traditionalists should try the lobster BLT. A casual seaside atmosphere, this place is a lot of fun. Don’t miss the Dog Pound, their dockside outdoor bar in the back (pictured above). If you’re like me, you’ll grab a mudslide, but there’s a ton of refreshing summer drinks to choose from before playing some cornhole or kicking back to watch the boats go through the harbor.
Dog Watch Cafe
194 Water St, Stonington, CT 06378
Quaint and colorful Mexican spot in the heart of the Borough, with a bright turquoise exterior, it’s hard to miss Milagro when heading down Water Street. Following a remodel, the restaurant has become more spacious and the decor is bright and full of character; see the wallpaper and fun details amongst the bar and dining room! The tight space makes for a lively atmosphere, yet the bench seating is cozy. A concise menu delivers authentic and fresh Mexican staples, with a twist above your average fare. Open with the tuna ceviche, and finish with a honey cinnamon margarita (or two).
142 Water St, Stonington, CT 06378
Water Street Cafe
Another Stonington classic! Co-owners Walter & Stephanie are seasoned restaurant professionals and work with many local purveyors to curate a menu of “New American” cuisine. Water Street Cafe boasts an impressive raw bar, with oysters harvested locally, as well as options from Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and the Pacific Northwest. Growing up, my mom and I would walk down Water Street and split the grilled chicken on ciabatta, pulled pork sandwich, and a heaping pile of shoestring fries. As I’ve grown up, I have learned the melt-in-your-mouth seared scallops are not to be missed! With a subdued nautical decor, and darker, more romantic atmosphere, Water Street is great for a nice date night, or to catch up with a group of friends over a stellar meal.
Water Street Cafe
143 Water St, Stonington, CT 06378
A Borough classic, Noah’s has been operating as a casual fine dining restaurant since 1979, and fits right in with the quaintness of the village. Check the website daily for lunch and dinner specials that keep the menu interesting, based on what’s fresh and available. As a kid, I grew up walking to Noah’s for a big pancake breakfast, and the Portuguese baked eggs with Linguica are a nod to the historic culture of the neighborhood. Stop by for Tuesday night buck-a-shuck if local raw bar is your thing. Ask for a seat in the big picture windows for people watching along Water Street!
113 Water St, Stonington, CT 06378
After an afternoon dip at Whalen’s Wharf, walk over for fish tacos at the bar, and stay for an incredible sunset over Fishers Island Sound. Formerly the infamous Skipper’s Dock, the remodeled Breakwater is in the perfect waterfront location for beautiful views of Stonington Harbor. Pull up and dock your boat for happy hour between 3-6pm, and enjoy half-price drinks and a solid menu of bar bites. Other notables include a 3-course Prix fixed menu and Sunday brunch from 11am-2pm! Come for the stellar views, stay for the fresh and ever-changing daily specials.
66 Water St, Stonington, CT 06378