Unofficial Orientation Series: Middletown Eateries, Part 2

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You’re probably stuffed full after beccahope’s list of Middletown Eateries, but that was only Part One. Only amateurs stop eating after Part One, because obviously Part Two is more delicious and has funnier pictures. By the time this list is done with you, you’re going to be an expert on Middletown, CT’s wonderful array of om nom nommeries. Check out the glorious Part Two after the jump!

Once again, we price restaurants on a precise $ to $$$ scale. In the case that we’re still missing your favorite place, please let us know in the comments so it can get added in next year’s addition! We poor Wesleying writers can’t afford to try every place around, but we’d sure like to!

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Anoho: Asian fusion, $

I could wax poetic about Anoho for pages. Anoho = Asian Noodle House, and they do not let you down. The owner is extremely Wes-friendly and gives a nice 10% or so discount for students, making this hella cheap and high quality option even more appealing. Let’s get the non-noodle stuff out of the way: Anoho’s sushi is well priced and pretty filling, and their sushi lunch specials are some of the best I’ve seen; and their menu also offers more mainstream Chinese, Japanese, and some Thai dishes. But what you will want are bubble teas and noodles. If you haven’t had bubble teas yet, you’re in for a treat— essentially they’re iced, fruity flavored drinks (I prefer milk bubble tea over the regular fruit ones, but it doesn’t matter a whole lot) with tapioca “bubbles” for added deliciousness. Just try it. The noodle dishes are essentially make-your-own, with a menu of noodles, sauces, and meats/vegetarian options for you to choose from: anything from pad thai to yellow curry to szechuan sauces, with rice noodles, lo mein, and chow fun (wide noodles that are my personal fave). Go crazy. My friends and I come here more than any other restaurant, and for good reason: We are always satisfied, and very often we have a huge amount of leftovers.

Javapalooza Sweet Harmony Café and Bakerycoffee shop, $$

Javapalooza is dead. Long live Sweet Harmony. Javapalooza, like Klekelo, was where you went for coffee that’s not whatever Pi Cafe is serving. Now, replaced by a relocated local bakery and café, the now-Sweet Harmony seems to do just about the same thing, except without many drinks and with lots and lots of food. beccahope and I were dismayed when we found out about the change, because Javapalooza was damn good. It was one of my favorite places in town to chill and maybe get some work done, because the couches were comfortable and the background music playlist was top notch. Sweet Harmony is only just getting off the ground, so I haven’t been there yet, but they have an extensive menu of sandwiches, salads, and obviously desserts and baked goods. As long as they keep their music the same, it’s probably still worth checking out.

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La BocaMexican style, $$

Middletown is filled with delicious places to get your fill. La Boca is one of the more popular restaurants, and rightfully so: the more Americanized Mexican food is good, and the ambiance too. Their lunch specialties are killer, and although their dinner options are a little more pricey, the selection is not to be scoffed at, and apparently their burritos are quite filling. And don’t forget the wide assortment of drinks.They changed to a nice new location on Main Street, with more space for activities like in-house music performances. As a bonus, La Boca regularly hosts fun events during the week, such as open mike nights and Trivia Tuesday on (you guessed it) Tuesday nights.

Iguanas Ranas: Mexican, $

Let’s break it down: Really, really delicious and really, really authentic Mexican food. Iguanas is another hole-in-the-wall eatery, an informal taqueria, smaller and a lot different from La Boca, which some would count as more mainstream fare. Iguanas Ranas has the real deal, and it’s pretty cheap too: all kinds of tacos imaginable, tortas (Mexican sandwiches), burritos, you name it, mostly without any frills. But you can also order specials loaded with all sorts of creative (read: awesome) sauces.

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Thai Garden: Thai, $$

One of the most popular Thai restaurants in Middletown, Thai Garden has affordable prices, a kick-ass Pad Thai, and (reportedly) a free Thai iced-tea drink if you present a WesID. Middletown Cash is accepted here, so use your card for this instead of laundry, which is really less fun than panang curry.

Haveli India: Indian, $$

Haveli is probably one of the best restaurants in Middletown, and has one of the best reputation among students. Good Indian food is necessary for many of us to even make it through the semester, and Haveli is pretty well priced, which makes it the go-to catering option for a lot of events at Wesleyan. Haveli is a sit-down Indian restaurant about a ten-minute drive from campus down South Main St. The restaurant itself is a very warm and cozy set of dining rooms in an old little inn right on the road. They also serve a lunch buffet matching their dinner for quality, which is saying a lot. You can look at about $15 or $20 dollars per person all told, depending how many you bring along with you (protip for amateur group eaters: the more people you bring, the less it costs, and a good way of ordering Indian is ordering one less dish than you have in your party). Don’t worry about being hungry: it’s lot of food and almost no one finishes their plate. Don’t forget to order naan.

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Mondo’s Pizza: Gourmet pizza, $$$

Mondo’s is a short walk away from campus and a good use of your time and Middletown cash. When you’re tired of ordering Dominos pizza, Mondo’s has the more gourmet alternative— which also means it’s sort of pricey. Bring a few friends along, however, and it’s totally worth it: I recommend splitting a few of the smaller pizzas, mixing up between the Mondo Bianco (white sauce pizza with spinach or broccoli covered with ricotta & mozzarella, garlic and fresh basil) and something of your own creation (sun dried tomato tastes good on everything). I have friends who like their paninis and pastas, but I go there to get my pizza on. If you have a large party, you might want to reserve a table because they often get pretty busy.

Neon DeliDeli, $

Neon Deli is not technically part of Wesleyan University, but it’s practically an institution, and most likely the most-frequented non-Wes non-mobile food option. Located at the corner of Cross and Vine streets (across from Freeman Athletic Center, practically on campus) and offers great subs/sandwiches and a fair array of grocery-type items. Pro tip: Lobster roll. Even if you’re not eating in (seating is limited and it’s not exactly a dining atmosphere), a lot of people come here to get cooking supplies they can’t get/don’t want to pay for at WesShop. The building in which the deli resides is owned by Wesleyan (the abandoned store to the right used to be Club Liquors but closed a several years ago). The university had planned to turn the whole building into an expanded WeShop, but it seems those plans have been shelved for the time being. Some Neon Deli history, courtesy of The Argus. (2013: After a bunch of debate and Wesleyan community outcry, the WSA has withdrawn its proposed tobacco ban resolution, which would ban the sale of tobacco on Wesleyan-owned property, mainly Neon Deli. The Deli is the closest place for students to get cigarettes, and a poll sent out the student body came back with 64% in favor of dropping the ban. If you smoke, you’re welcome. Read more in this Argus article.)

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Mikado: Japanese, $$$

Mikado is an underground but upscale place just off of Main Street near Exit 16 (the door is in the back of the buildings on Main Street) that offers an extensive variety of sushi and other Japanese food like udon, soba, and tempura. The booths are pretty comfortable and good for larger parties, but this is not exactly a regular destination for an easy meal. While everything is high quality and well done, the prices are a little prohibitive on a college budget. Maybe a nice place for a date, a fancy birthday celebration, or to make your parents take you out on Homecoming weekend.

AmiciItalian style, $$$

Just like Luce, Amici offers nice Italian food for a slightly lower price without as strict of a dress code. You’ve got your salads, your paninis, chicken and veal dishes, steaks, a good selection of seafood, and pasta pasta pasta out the wazoo. Amici is located on Main St near the Police Station and the other dozen restaurants in that area. According to my sources, Amici’s bread basket is to die for.

The Nest: American, $$

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Located right next to Junior Village on Church street, the Nest gets pretty busy on Wednesday Bar Nights. On any other night though (or during the day for lunch) it’s not too crowded, and a apparently a fun place to grab some grub. With pretty reasonable prices, The Nest keeps a simple yet varied menu, including sandwiches, pizzas, salads, etc. Your typical American restaurant, really, which is nice to have around. And for when it’s nice outside, there’s a pretty chill patio to eat on, as well as chill bar to grab a beer at if you’re 21+. The artist formerly known as Cardinal’s Nest.

Eli Cannon’s Tap Room: Restaurant-bar, $$$

I’ve got to leave this to gabzalot to explain: “For those of you over 21 (especially those who love beer, but even for those who don’t), this place is yet another must. Located at the end of the downtown area, it’s a slight walk away from campus, but well worth the trip. Throughout the year, this place rotates through dozens of different ales in order to always have the 36 freshest ones available to you, many of which you have probably never heard of. Their extensive and ever-changing tap menu tells you where each beer is from and what style it is to help you out. And if you’re still unsure of what (or how) to pick a beer, just ask a waiter and they’ll hook you up with something really good. And what really makes the place is the fabulous indoor decor and the back outdoor patio, so be sure to check both the inside and the outside out. It’s this sort of place that makes being 21 really worth your while…”

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That’s about the North and South of it, folks. You have four years to explore all of Middletown’s diverse and really quite wonderful, locally-owned restaurants, and there are plenty that even we haven’t covered. Feel free to help add to our list, but this should start you off pretty nicely. Happy eating!

8 thoughts on “Unofficial Orientation Series: Middletown Eateries, Part 2

  1. Pingback: Wesleying Unofficial Orientation Series 2013 | Wesleying

  2. DJCheshireCat

    Igauanas Ranas is no longer a hole-in-the-wall nor $. It has moved into the former Nikitas bar space, adding a full bar and additional food to the menu. The quality of the food is the same, but the cost has increased.

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