Better men than I once said, “It’s all about the Hamiltons, baby!” The NCD+R area offers wonderful casual places where you can get lazy—sit-down spots for lounging or working. Here are some of my faves, where you usually can enjoy something superb for $10 or less.
The Chicken Pot Pie is killer (add a black cherry soda, too). Grab a spot outside, when you can, and check out the stunning water view. The wifi is exceptional for such a big place, as well.
157 Rowayton Avenue, Rowayton; (203) 852-0011
This is a popular Norwalk nosheria now. I like it as it’s not quite a café, and not quite a pizzeria, but the giant pizza is GIANT. Cappuccino with sfogliatelli; arancini with aranciata. Yum.
250 Westport Avenue, Norwalk; (203) 956-7103
An old-style diner, like Curley’s in Stamford. Booths, jukes, Cokes, coffee and quick-arriving eats. And it’s open all night (rare in these parts). Pace Norwalk’s other spots: The Silver Star and Penny’s…
213 Connecticut Avenue, Norwalk; (203) 866-9777
Such a solid place—you get a great no-fuss breakfast/lunch in a cozy Darien spot that defies its location. I’d driven past it for years! (Oh, and remember that Hamilton thing…?)
4 Ledge Road, Darien; (203) 655-2305
No matter the season, Darien’s beloved “luncheonette” is on point. Grilled Chicken Caesar Wrap? Check. Burger, hot dog, cheese steak, amid Christmas decorations? Checkmate!
1033 Boston Post Road, Darien; (203) 655-1259
I like the seating areas in the front of the shop (and the café counter in back, too!). Whoever thought of that is a (counter)intuitive genius.
865 Boston Post Road, Darien; (203) 656-1920
This place is great, although it’s often packed. Burger with fries; egg-white omelet, toast, coffee—can’t go wrong. Décor is fun, too, as you dine surrounded by lunchboxes and vintage Americana.
171 Post Road, Darien; (203) 655-3181
Some of the classic locals you’ll meet at the Darien Diner
A homey NC place, really, with an array of diverse offerings (huevos rancheros and…cupcakes!). Look, the cupcakes alone will keep ya coming back, honestly.
27 Elm Street, New Canaan; (203) 966-8998
I don’t know how to explain it, but Gingerbitz is perfect. The place is so pretty and charming, and I love the owners (and yeah, I’ve written about the gingerbread before…).
155 Elm Street, New Canaan; (203) 801-0281
My personal favorite in Norwalk, in terms of sit-down relaxation, particularly come 5 p.m. Small, cast-iron servings of meatballs for $9. Great wifi, $3 drafts, friendly folk. Respect the pig!
102 Wall Street, Norwalk; (203) 956-7134