12 Best Restaurants in Manchester, Connecticut

Last Updated on March 4, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Manchester is a charming town in Connecticut with a growing foodie scene. From upscale dining to causal family-run eateries, there is something for every palate. Known for its rich New England heritage, Manchester offers some classic dishes and contemporary cuisines made from local, seasonal ingredients.

With a renewed focus on farm-to-table dining, there are plenty of restaurants using ingredients sourced right from Connecticut itself. The warm, inviting atmospheres make dining in Manchester about bringing people together around delicious food.

This article explores 12 of the best restaurants that Manchester has to offer. From Thai food to Italian, the eclectic mix ensures that there’s always somewhere new to try. Some restaurants focus on quality organic ingredients, while others highlight exotic flavors from around the world.

Many also have impressive wine lists or handcrafted cocktails featuring local spirits to enhance your experience. With great dining options for lunch, dinner, and brunch, plus kid-friendly places, Manchester has an exceptional food scene not to be missed.

Best Contemporary New American Food – Metro Bis

Serving contemporary New American fare with French influences in a classy atmosphere, Metro Bis is one of the best eateries in Manchester. The seasonal menu highlights the region’s bountiful produce, meats, and seafood, such as the classic grilled New York sirloin with broccolini or pan-seared Atlantic salmon with roasted Brussels sprouts.

Don’t miss their full raw bar with local oysters. For the adventurous, try special plates like duck clafoutis or skate sautéed with grapes, capers and brown butter. The wine list has an impressive array of bottles to match the refined dishes. With knowledgeable waitstaff, this is a sophisticated place for a romantic evening or special occasions. The sleek décor with intimate lighting sets the stage.

Outstanding Indian Cuisine – Taste of India

For excellent authentic Indian cuisine, Taste of India can’t be beat. Fragrant curries, perfectly spiced dishes, piping hot naan and sweet desserts are what this restaurant is known for. Hailing from Northern India himself, the owner brings his family recipes to life through dishes like chicken tikka masala, baingan bharta, and succulent lamb biryani.

Vegetarians have many complex options, including daal makhani, palak paneer and vegetable pakoras. Mango lassis make the ideal accompaniment to tame the slow heat. Locals also rave about the large lunch buffet for its great value. The vibrant interior with colorful murals and lanterns showcase Indian décor, while the top-notch service matches the quality of the food.

Best Mexican Restaurant – Besito Mexican

Besito brings modern Mexican dining and vibrant flavors to Manchester in a bustling, energetic environment. Focusing on traditional techniques like homemade corn tortillas and open cooking, the menu includes all the classics and some inventive additions. Start with the tableside guacamole and modern taquitos with fried avocado, or try empanadas with roasted poblano chiles.

The mole poblano over ancho marinated chicken is the signature dish, but locals also love the tequila-lime shrimp fajitas and perfectly cooked enchiladas. Bold margaritas and a range of specialty cocktails fuel long dinners or pack the bar on weekends. Family-friendly by day, at night Besito transforms into a lively spot with great happy hour specials and amazing food and drink into the late hours every night.

Best Pizza – Marco Polo

For amazing artisanal pizza made from quality ingredients, Marco Polo is the go-to in Manchester. Run by the son of two Italian immigrants, this casual place serves up New York style pizza along with classic pasta dishes, sub sandwiches, huge salads and more. Starting with only the finest mozzarella, tomatoes, olive oil and fresh basil imported from Italy, the owner then perfected his dough technique over many years to craft crispy, thin crust pies that delight every customer.

Pizzas range from classic margherita to bacon cheeseburger or barbecue chicken, while whole wheat crust and gluten free options are also available. We highly recommend their meatball sub and signature chopped salad with provolone, olives, pepperoni and cherry peppers. So whether you stop in for a quick lunch or family dinner, Marco Polo always satisfies.

Best Seafood Restaurant – Porter House Gastro Pub

For fresh locally sourced seafood in a stunning atmosphere, Porter House Gastro Pub is the perfect choice. This fine dining establishment uses talent and technical expertise to craft seasonal dishes that wow diners. The chef has experience working under prestigious names like Thomas Keller. Start with Hammersley Farm heirloom carrots or lush burrata cheese with citrus. The creamy seafood bisque is legendary, made from lobster medallions, crab and brandy.

For entrees, the sesame crusted salmon gets high marks but the Maine sea scallops with English peas and pancetta steals the show. Their wine list features many boutique vineyards and small production wines from around the world to complement your meal. Coupled with an elegant interior boasting exquisite details, dining at Porter House is the ideal experience to celebrate special milestones or just splurge on a memorable meal.

Best Sushi – Sakura Fusion Asian Cuisine

While serving pan Asian dishes like pad thai, rice bowls and stir fries, Sakura stands out for its super fresh sushi and sashimi. As the only dedicated Asian fusion restaurant in town, locals flock here for the high quality rolls and nigiri featuring both classic and unique ingredient combinations. The spicy tuna rolls with kimchi and jalapeños add a satisfying kick, while their Sakura roll tops shrimp tempura and cucumbers with sweet teriyaki chicken for a warm and cool contrast in textures and flavors.

Daily special rolls are always inventive, recent options include a panko crusted snow crab roll with caviar and lotus chips or an octopus lover’s tempura roll with layers of flavorful tako sashimi, spicy mayo and masago. This family-run spot with friendly service offers great value for everything from quick lunch takeout to special occasion dinners.

Most Romantic Restaurant – Metro Bis

With its refined yet relaxed atmosphere, Metro Bis tops many lists as the most romantic restaurant in Manchester. The warm lighting sets an intimate mood, while large photographs of scenic European architecture speak to their French-inspired New American cuisine. Tables spaced generously apart allow for private conversations as you gaze into your partner’s eyes over bites of their wonderful food and sips from their extensive wine list.

Popular starters to share include the cheese plate with fromage blanc and raisin walnut crisps or shrimp cocktail delicate with harissa aioli. For special occasions, order one of their dry aged steaks, prepared to perfection. Decadent chocolate crème brûlée or molten chocolate cake provide a sweet ending. Metro Bis manages to achieve five-star indulgence and exquisite flavors while maintaining a welcoming vibe – the magic touch that wins people’s hearts.

Best Thai Restaurant – Thai Garden

With authentic Thai dishes carefully crafted to order using family recipes, Thai Garden brings the vibrant flavors of Thailand to Manchester. Renowned for complex curries brimming with herbs and spices, the menu doesn’t disappoint. Pad Thai with plump shrimp and crushed peanuts, fiery green curry with tender chicken and sweet red curry with fall-off-the-bone beef cubes are all standouts.

Voted best in Manchester 5 years running, new visitors often become instant regulars after their first sublime meal. While they offer many hard-to-find regional specialties, Thai Garden balances bold Thai palates with enough mild dishes to suit most American tastes. Their mango sticky rice sealed the top local spot for dessert too! The simple décor features rich woods, ornate carvings and Thai art, creating a soothing, tranquil ambiance. Reasonable prices make this family-run gem accessible for everyday dining too.

Best Italian Restaurant – Treva Restaurant & Tavern

For exceptional housemade pastas in a casual trattoria setting, Treva Restaurant & Tavern brings authentic regional Italian cuisine to Manchester. With exposed brick walls decorated with family photos and checkered tablecloths, the atmosphere is warm and inviting. Start with arancini crispy fried rice balls or tomato bruschetta, before moving on to soul-satisfying dishes like lasagna Bolognese, chicken parmesan, or seafood linguine in a light tomato broth.

Of course, the reginette pasta shines, be it buttery mushroom reginette, rich carbonara or their renowned meat and cheese reginette baked with peas, prosciutto and melted mozzarella. Locals rave that their tiramisu reminds them of Rome. Open late, Treva makes an ideal dinner spot. With bottles of wine half price on Mondays, it’s also a neighborhood favorite any night of the week.

Best Kid Friendly Restaurant – Besito Mexican Restaurant

Besito Mexican Restaurant tops the list as the best kid friendly restaurant in Manchester, catering equally well to both young and old alike. Even picky eaters enjoy customizing their own dishes like quesadillas, tacos, rice bowls or fajitas, with options spanning from simple like cheese or rice and beans up to more traditional Mexican flavors like al pastor or barbacoa meats. Their kids menu keeps the younger ones happy with favorites like chicken fingers, cheese pizza or buttered noodles too.

Wait staff will happily bring more chips and salsa or extra sides of guacamole or queso to satisfied little stomachs. Margaritas on the porch make parents happy while kids run around the grass or draw with sidewalk chalk. Besito also hosts fun events like kids eat free Tuesdays, $1 taco Wednesdays, live music or Latino cultural celebrations. With reasonable prices, it’s an easy weeknight or weekend choice guaranteed to entertain the whole family.

Best Local Farm-to-Table Restaurant – Millwright’s Restaurant and Tavern

Led by an award-winning chef dedicated to sourcing ingredients from Connecticut farmers, Millwright’s Restaurant and Tavern dishes up refined New American cuisine in a converted historic mill. Here seasonality reigns supreme, with dishes changing throughout the year to highlight what’s freshest from their local partners. Menus list the names and location of farms that contribute to each dish too. Currently, that means hearty braised meats like bourbon apple pork belly or wine-braised short ribs.

Local oysters top the impressive raw bar menu. For vegetarians, options like celeriac fondue ravioli or butternut squash risotto satisfy. Their bar features regional beers on tap plus a curated wine list from small family wineries across the world. With the tranquil waterfall and river out back, the renovated mill interior of brick and wood and the hyper-local ethos guiding the kitchen, dining at Millwright’s connects you to the deep roots and promising future of Connecticut dining.

Best Ethiopian Cuisine – Queen of Sheba

Queen of Sheba provides an authentic taste of Ethiopia in Manchester, a cuisine not widely found in the area making this restaurant truly unique. Characterizing the complex flavors of African and Middle Eastern cooking, dishes offer exotic spices and ingredients with interesting textures not found in more familiar English or continental fare. Their signature injera, slightly sour naturally fermented flatbread, forms the base of every meal.

Then sample many exotic vegetarian dishes like spicy red lentil stew, collard greens with ginger or yellow split peas simmered with turmeric and onions. For meat eaters, lamb tibbs (sautéed cubes) or doro wat (chicken drumsticks in red pepper sauce) offer tender meat in delicately flavored sauces. Ethiopian meals mean sharing dishes family style, tearing off pieces of injera to scoop up sides. The cozy dining room with colorful murals and African textiles transports you to East Africa as you dine. Don’t miss the Ethiopian coffee ceremony to end your meal.


Renowned for fine dining and casual eateries thanks to a bounty of local produce and culinary talent, Manchester offers diverse flavors for all budgets and occasions. Contemporary New American cuisine shines at Metro Bis, where their seasonally inspired dishes pair nicely with Old World decor.

For regional Mexican flavors and vibrant energy, Besito draws lively crowds with tequila cocktails and sizzling fajitas. Manchester turns more global through Queen of Sheba’s authentic Ethiopian stewed meats and spicy vegetarian sides served atop signature injera flatbread.

With intimate dining at Millwright’s using ultra-local ingredients and family-friendly picks like playful Besito, Manchester provides quality restaurants guaranteed to hit the spot morning, noon or night.

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