The Best of the Gold Coast – Casual Dining [2024]

Each year we poll Fairfield County residents for The Best of the Gold Coast awards. For 2024, you cast nearly 100,000 votes in 170 categories to pick your top restaurants, shops and services across the county.

Here are the top picks for the best casual dining establishments along the Gold Coast, as chosen by the community. Whether you’re looking for the perfect pizza pie or an organic lunch spot, take a cue from your neighbors and give one of these local favorites a whirl.

Best Casual Dining Spots in Fairfield County


Frozen Yogurt 

Readers chose 16 Handles, in Fairfield and Stamford, as the top spot for a sweet treat. The allure? Rotating frozen yogurt flavors (along with dairy- and sugar-free options) and plenty of toppings, ensuring a customizable treat for every taste.

1300 Post Road, Fairfield
(203) 292-9841

219 Bedford Street, Stamford
(203) 817-0707



A&S Italian Fine Foods is a beloved deli known for its high-quality Italian meats, cheeses and prepared foods. It offers a variety of sandwiches, salads and specialty items, making it our readers’ favorite spot for deli-style cuisine in Fairfield County. 

856 High Ridge Road, Stamford
(203) 322-3899

361 Post Road West, Westport
(203) 293-4042



Aux Delices is the locals’ favorite for salads, but you’ll also find prepared foods, pastries and catering services at its four Fairfield County locations. This chef-owned cafe is perfect for those looking for healthy and delicious meal options made with high-quality ingredients. 

25 Old Kings Highway North, Darien 
(203) 662-1136 

3 West Elm Street, Greenwich 
(203) 622-6644

1075 East Putnam Avenue, Riverside 
(203) 698-1066 

1035 Post Road East, Westport 
(203) 557-9600 



Colony Grill, famous for its unique hot-oil, bar-style pizza, is also known for its casual and vibrant atmosphere, making it our voters’ top spot to enjoy a pie with friends and family. 

1520 Post Road, Fairfield 
(203) 259-1989 

515 West Avenue, Norwalk 
(203) 866-5252 

172 Myrtle Avenue, Stamford 
(203) 359-2184 

Coffee For Good


Coffee Shop (Independent) 

A place where you can get a perfect cup of joe and also support a worthy mission? Sign us up! Greenwich’s Coffee for Good is both an inviting gathering spot with top java and a training ground for locals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In summer we’re all about the chilled caffeinated goodness of a cold brew or a sweet strawberry smoothie. We take ours to go with a muffin or scone. The shop offers our readers’ choice of favorite housewarming gifts—beans with name nods to spots around town like Greenwich Avenue Zest and Mianus Morning Dew.

48 Maple Avenue, Greenwich
(203) 979-4898


Health/Organic Food, Juice Bar 

Green & Tonic specializes in health-conscious and organic food options, including fresh juices, smoothies and plant-based meals. With four locations in the area, and three more opening soon, it’s a convenient choice for those seeking nutritious and delicious food in Fairfield County. 

15 Corbin Drive, Darien
(203) 656-1036

7 Strickland Road, Cos Cob
(203) 869-1376

21 Forest Street, New Canaan
(203) 594-1851

17 Jesup Road, Westport
(203) 557-6392



Harborview is known for its breakfast sandwiches, baked goods and creative lunch offerings, all made with fresh, local ingredients.  

218 Harborview Avenue, Bridgeport
(203) 367-7336



Hoodoo Brown BBQ is beloved for its mouthwatering ribs and authentic barbeque dishes. The perennially packed restaurant offers a rustic dining experience with a menu full of smoky, flavorful barbeque options that attracts BBQ lovers from near and far.  

967 Ethan Allen Highway, Ridgefield
(203) 438-6033


Hamburgers, Lunch Spot

Little Pub is a cozy spot known for delicious burgers and casual lunch options. With a menu that features a variety of comfort foods, it’s a great place to enjoy a low-key meal with friends or the whole family.  

2133 Black Rock Turnpike, Fairfield 
(203) 612-4567 

531 East Putnam Avenue, Cos Cob
(203) 717-1147 

10 Washington Parkway, Stratford
(203) 612-7523 

41 Saugatuck Avenue, Westport 
(203) 227-0511 

26 Danbury Road, Wilton
(203) 762-1122

Photo: contributed by Mecha Noodle Bar


Bowls and Noodle Bar/Noodles

If its name didn’t give it away, Mecha Noodle Bar is beloved for its flavorful Ramen and Pho options, like Tonkotsu, a 24-hour pork broth ramen with chashu, corn, butter, scallions, and tamago, and Pho Sizzle, which stars grilled flank steak. All of Mecha’s bowls come with a menu of optional add-ons, like chili oil, greens, and tofu, so you can customize your noodles to perfection.

1215 Post Road, Fairfield 
(203) 292-8222 

116 Washington Street, Norwalk 
(203) 295-8718 

151 Bedford Street, Stamford 
(203) 801-7577 



After more than 100 years in operation, we can confidently say that Orem’s Diner is a Fairfield County institution. This Gold Coast go-to is known for its extensive menu (you’ll find everything from pancakes and tuna melts to chicken souvlaki and baked meatloaf) and a friendly atmosphere.

167 Danbury Road, Wilton
(203) 762-7370

Pop Up Bagels


From the Gold Coast to the West Coast, PopUp Bagels keeps on, well, popping up. While we were all messing around with sourdough starter kits during the pandemic, Adam Goldberg was busy perfecting a new recipe and sharing his crispy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside bagels with friends from the backyard of his home in Westport. A few years later, the homegrown carb-heaven company keeps on growing from its flash sale and coveted subscriptions roots to include permanent walk-in locations and a nationwide following. Purists delight in the no-novelty philosophy (nary a rainbow nor blueberry or even a sliced bagel in the bunch.) The bagels make the most exquisite vehicle for PopUp’s schmears; Scallion and plain cream cheese are always on offer alongside rotating flavors, including dill pickle and cheeseball, as well as butters like chimichurri and hot honey.

12 Riversville Road, Greenwich
(203) 297-8819

971 Post Road East, Westport
(203) 297-8819

8 Main St., Redding
(203) 297-8819


Ice Cream/Gelato

With six locations across the Gold Coast, it’s no wonder that Sunny Daes has fans across the County Voting enthusiastically “thumbs up” for the family-owned joint’s homemade cool treats. Sergio Keskin opened the first Sunny Daes in 1999 in Stamford’s Shippan neighborhood. Since then the iconic, cheery pink-and-green shop has expanded to include outposts in Fairfield, Trumbull, Westport and, in 2023, its newest location in Norwalk. Toddlers enjoy the multitude of flavors and toppings as much as climbing aboard the friendly cows while big kids make it a must-stop on baseball Saturdays and soccer Sundays. The shop offers a wide variety of flavors of ice cream, froyo and gelato in cups and cones, plus other frozen treats like ice cream sandwiches, cakes and shakes, and, of course, sundaes like its playful name indicates. Seasonal offerings have included summer sorbets like pomegranate with fresh fruit, pumpkin ice cream for fall, eggnog for winter.

2505 Black Rock Turnpike, Fairfield (203) 372-3058808 Post Road, Fairfield
(203) 256-9055

211 Main Street, Norwalk
(203) 295-8528

633 Shippan Avenue, Stamford
(203) 977-0661

30 Riverside Avenue, Westport
(203) 557-4212

Photo: courtsey Super Duper Winnie


Hot Dogs

Being deep into baseball season brings to mind the staple ballpark handheld—a sizzling frank on a bun. This summer we’ll skip the sweltering heat and steep ticket price at Yankee Stadium, and enjoy a top-notch split-and-grilled Super Duper Weenie instead. And for the laziest of dog days this season, when even an I-95 drive just up to Fairfield seems too much to bear, we’ll gather the neighbors and bring the savory treats to us in one of SDW’s on-the-go food trucks. The house-made relishes are a tightly guarded secret and nearly steal the show in the reader favorite “New Englander” topped with sauerkraut, bacon, mustard and fresh chopped onion. Over the years the menu has expanded to include not just fresh cut fries but also sausage and steak sandwiches, chicken nuggets and more.

306 Black Rock Turnpike, Fairfield
(203) 334-3647


Food Truck

Tasty Yolk’s fleet of four food trucks, which you’ll find parked around Fairfield and Bridgeport six days a week, are sought out for their signature breakfast sandwiches and loaded potatoes at any time of the day. Want Tasty Yolk on demand? The trucks do private events, and there are storefront locations in Stratford and Black Rock.

2992 Fairfield Avenue, Black Rock
(203) 545-9311

3530 Main Street, Stratford
(203) 913-8994

Terrain in Westport


Brunch, Café/Bistro

Is there a Fairfield County spot that embraces and celebrates Mother Nature in its warm, elevated design quite like Terrain Cafe? We don’t think so. And neither do our readers. The dining-in-a-greenhouse vibe pervades everything here, from the leafy green decor to the seasonally inspired menu that reflects what’s ripe from local farmers. We’re loving brunch standouts like the foodie-heaven brioche French toast with rum-soaked stone fruit and vanilla maple mascarpone sauce and the sweet figgy-jammy grilled gruyere with apple and basil on sourdough.

561 Post Road East, Westport
(203) 226-2750

Photo: by Garvin Burke



Way ahead of the natural foods trend, the no-frills Norwalk mainstay has been serving up standout whole food dishes since 1979. The lengthy menu features plenty of vegetarian and vegan alternatives to the typical salad options offered at other spots that feature “V” prominently. Tofu croquettes baked in Thai orange sauce will make you rethink your opinion of bean curd. Meanwhile zucchini loaf made with carrots, sesame and sunflower seeds, cheddar cheese and tahini feels like a secret superfood. There’s plenty of seating at tables with checkerboard tablecloths inside but don’t sleep on the delivery option, which readers say is surprisingly quick across towns.

168 Main Avenue, Norwalk
(203) 846-9240



Norwalk’s Valencia Luncheria is known for its Venezuelan-inspired cuisine, but it’s the restaurant’s burritos that earned it top honors in our 2024 “The Best of the Gold Coast” awards. This vibrant eatery offers a unique and delicious dining experience with a menu full of bold flavors and fresh ingredients. 

164 Main Street, Norwalk
(203) 846-8009

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