There are places you visit or dine that instantly become one of your favorite destinations. The Restaurant at Rowayton Seafood is that kind of place. Located in Rowayton Ct, just south of Norwalk, this town has a wonderful New England seaside atmosphere. Rowayton is nestled between three bodies of water including the Long Island Sound and the 5 Mile River where the restaurant is situated. The restaurant is housed in a grey shingle style building that makes one feel they are in Cape Cod or perhaps Martha’s Vineyard. Next door and sharing the property is Rowayton Seafood Market , which once was the oldest lobster co-op on Long Island Sound, and where the restaurant obtains the fresh seafood it serves.
The setting on the 5 Mile River is perfect for a seafood restaurant. From the large bank of windows in the restaurant the patron can look out and see the river, the boats tied up in the marina, and the water birds circling the docks. The windows face west and if you time it right as we did, you will be fortunate to watch the sun set slowly into the west and over the water.
The restaurant has an upscale yet casual nautical design with a bar, outdoor dining and two separate indoor dining areas. One dining area is intimate with the wide board wood floors, white painted wainscoting, and fireplace. The larger area has floors that resemble the planks of a fine sailing ship, sails that serve as blinds, vintage lighting, large picture windows and more.
The outdoor dining deck is separate from the restaurant and sits directly overlooking the water.
We arrived for a late lunch and found a number of fine dishes from which to choose. I started with a cocktail from the bar, the Pom Pom, a delicious concoction of Tito’s vodka, lime simple syrup, pomegranate juice, and topped with champagne. A fine cocktail and perfect way to start the meal
For starters we ordered the Lobster Spring Rolls. The rolls were filled with lobster and soy wilted veggies and served with a sweet chile dipping sauce. The rolls were light and crispy and not at all greasy. Certainly a nice way to start the meal without filling up before your entree.
We also enjoyed the Shrimp and Bay Scallop Cerviche. This dish with fresh seafood was served in a small glass bowl with avocado puree, cilantro, tomato and citrus. Unlike some cerviches I have had with little chunks of seafood, this dish was filled with full shrimp, and full bay scallops. The preparation was fantastic and a highly recommended dish.
For our main course we naturally stayed with seafood. The Lobster Roll is served with fresh lobster meat, celery, mayo, and lemon on a buttered brioche roll. I have had lobster rolls from New Jersey to Maine and can honestly say this lobster roll rates as one of the best. The soft fresh lobster contrasted with the crisp taste of the buttered brioche roll was a real delight. No wonder this restaurant consistently wins awards.
The most outstanding dish for me was the Maine Lobster served Lazy Man Style. A full one and half pound lobster is steamed and then carefully removed from the shell, and then reassembled on the plate. It was culinary artistry. It was served with drawn butter and lemon, and a side. The taste as you can imagine was wonderful, and being next to the seafood market really makes an amazing difference in the taste and freshness of the seafood.
If seafood is not your favorite, have no worry. The menu contains steaks, chicken , grilled flatbreads and 6 different salads. There are also 12 different side dishes as well. Your dining party is well covered.
There is a complete raw bar available with oysters, little necks, clams and shrimp available. And of course you know it will be fresh. I sampled some of the raw bar and can proclaim it to be fantastic. Fried seafood is also on the menu featuring calamari, oysters, and even a sampler.
We had a little room to sample a dessert. We were having such a wonderful time overlooking the water that we needed to linger a little longer. Keeping with the seaside theme, we ordered the Key Lime Pie which was light and refreshing. The Molten Chocolate cake was decadent and served with berries and Tahitian vanilla ice cream. Delicious.
Our visit to The Restaurant at Rowayton Seafood was an escape for a few hours. We felt that we had been transported to the coast of Maine or perhaps Nantucket. Sitting in this special place and enjoying wonderfully prepared fresh food while enjoying peaceful scenery is something that will linger with me for a long time.
No wonder Yankee Magazine, the periodical of all things New England proclaimed this restaurant “Best Seafood” in their Best of New England issue. I agree.
The Restaurant at Rowayton Seafood
89 Rowayton Ave Rowayton Ct
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