“Where are we going to eat?”
Ahh, one of life’s most annoying questions: “so… where are we going to eat tonight?” Whether it's date night with your s/o, or a fun night out with your girl gang, it always seems to be a constant struggle choosing a restaurant that is tasty AND within your price range. Too often I check menus, my mouth instantly watering at the sound of the entrées, but have to close my browser, disappointed by the prices. As a college girl, with a bank account that's constantly declining, it can be tough to find restaurants that are affordable with great options, especially when you’re trying to have a nice evening. So, I have brainstormed a few of my favorite spots that suit any occasion and any wallet, as well as some fun post-dinner activities that are affordable enough to keep your night of rolling!
Here are the top contenders ranging from most expensive bite to least:
The Old Post Tavern: $$$
If you are looking to celebrate a special occasion, and are a willing to drop a little dough, The Old Post Tavern is the place to go. The atmosphere is warm and romantic, and if you are planning to eat here, definitely dress yourself up. The food is absolutely amazing; appetizers include BBQ Shrimp ($9), Rice balls ($9), and Cast-Iron Steak Tips ($8)– all crowd pleasers. Main plates vary from a 10oz. burger ($14.50), Pan-Seared Scallops ($26), and my personal favorite, the Lobster Ravioli ($26). The Crème Brulee ($7) is to die for and completes a wonderful night of decadence. Old Post never fails to impress, and it's a quick five-minute ride from campus. If you aren’t content with just dinner, bop around the town of Fairfield. There are so many little shops to go explore!
The Spotted Horse Tavern: $$$
The Spotted Horse is a cute, rustic restaurant a little ways away in Westport. They have a beautiful outdoor seating area, which is the perfect way to set the mood for your date! The menu is immaculate. Apps include Crispy Point Judith Calamari ($14.95), Tuna Tartar ($16.95), and the Eggplant Stack ($11.95). The main dinners include Parmesan Crusted Sole ($25.95), Steak Frites ($23.95), and “Spasta” (1$7.95), which is a heaping plate of spaghetti squash mixed with vegetables in pesto, pine nuts, pomodoro sauce, and parmesan cheese. The main attraction of this restaurant is the town of Westport surrounding it. Westport looks beautiful at night with the lights stringing from lamp post to lamp post, contributing to the magic of your potential evening!
I am personally a HUGE burger gal, so I recommend this place for dates, family outings and everything in between. Flipside is super affordable, as their most expensive burger is $18, and it's only a quick ride from campus, located right here in downtown Fairfield. My favorite burger at Flipside is the Mac and Cheese burger ($14). This juicy patty is topped with bacon, grilled mac and cheese, and fresh pico de gallo, making it easily one of my favorite bites in Fairfield. Although, you might ask, how is Flipside at all romantic for a date!? Who looks cute eating a burger!? Fear not! There are other options on the menu such as soups, salads, sandwiches, and even tacos, all ranging from $8-20. If you happen to be vegetarian, they have a great veggie burger too! I also recommend trying one of Flipsides killer milkshakes ($7). Splitting one with your date makes for cute pictures, and a fun memory. Flipside also has an outdoor seating area with a killer vibe, perfect for a semi-casual night with your loved one(s)!
Centro Ristorante: $$
Centro tends to be an overlooked restaurant in Fairfield, as it hides in a mini strip mall in town. Although it is overlooked, it is most certainly not overrated. Centro specializes in Italian cuisine, which becomes immediately apparent as soon as you walk through the door. Centro is made for an evening of romance, complete with Italian décor and an outdoor patio area. Centro has a large selection of appetizers such as Bruschetta ($10), Salads ($8-10), and Spiedini Da Roma ($10), an elegant classic cheese board. Their wide range of pastas cater to every taste and mood. My favorite pasta dish here is the Rigatoni alla Vodka ($18); you can truly never go wrong with this dish. Centro also offers pizza, burgers, and chicken dishes, all ranging from $13-30. Centro is a great option for a quiet night out with your boo... Mangia!
Brick + Wood: $$
Brick + Wood is another semi-causal restaurant in Fairfield that specializes in pizza, pizza, and more pizza! There is a huge brick oven in the establishment that customers can see while they are eating, that is if they choose to sit inside instead of in the outdoor area. Brick + Wood’s goal is to bring its customers a fun dinging experience, through their Mozarella Bar, Cheese board creations, and menu of Neapolitan Street food concoctions. If you dine here, it is a must to order the classic Margherita pizza ($12) and the Peanut Butter Chocolate Pizza for dessert ($11). You know what they say…“when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie…that’s amore!”
Firehouse Deli: $
Firehouse Deli has the BEST sandwiches around for a great price. I love that you can go to Firehouse at any time of day, as they cook up specialty breakfast sandwiches, omelets, and bagels. A fan favorite of mine is the Laguna Beach breakfast sandwich ($5.50), scrambled eggs, ham and Vermont cheddar on a toasted croissant. YUM. Their lunch menu is even more impressive, with a wide variety of wraps, salads, sandwiches, and even burgers! The Thanksgiving hot sandwich ($7.95) is always a classic pick. The sandwich is stuffed with house roasted turkey, corn bread stuffing, cranberry sauce, and mayonnaise all on a hard roll. This quant spot is right across the street from a cute gazebo and some picnic tables, the perfect place for a casual breakfast or lunch date!
Playa Bowls: $
Playa Bowls is the perfect date destination for a yummy (and healthy) meal! Playa Bowls has a variety of smoothie bowls with all different flavor bases, such as banana, chia seed, acai, and dragon fruit. My favorite bowl is the Nica Bowl ($10) which is a banana base, topped with granola, bananas, walnuts, strawberries, cacao nibs, and peanut butter drizzle. The atmosphere in the restaurant is fun and flirty, as it is decorated with bright wall art and beach scenery. The base of the bowls stay cold for a long time so grab your date and your food and utilize the beach located less than ten minutes away!
Whether you’re looking for an expensive elegant night out, or a casual date at the beach, there are plenty of dining options in and around the greater Fairfield area that are budget friendly! Grab a fork (and a honey) and get eating!