Below is a list of all restaurants that have been approved for outdoor dining. We have hyperlinked their websites for your convenience. Thank you for patronizing Norwalk small businesses. As an added bonus, our ultimate foodie recommends her favorite things to order!
AJI 10 – Favorites: Make sure you get their chips to start; they come with tortilla chips and fried wontons. After you get those order the empanadas. If you want sushi the Macadamia Spicy Tuna Roll is so good. If you want a salad the Ensalada de Calamar Crocante has the best dressing I’ve ever had. For a main dish you cannot go wrong with the Lomo Saltado. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT leave without getting the Churros for dessert.
Allora Coffee and Bites – Favorites: Their Mocha Latte is the perfect amount of sweet to start your day or for a nice pick-me-up. If you want a snack their avocado toast is something more than the millennial crowd would just enjoy.
Bandido – Favorites: Start with the Guac. It is so fresh and delicious. Then get their Mole Poblano for dinner. It is so delicious they have one of the best Mole’s in Norwalk.
Barcelona – Favorites: GET A BOTTLE OF WINE. I usually go for the Txakolina? I think that’s how you spell it! Their bread is homemade and all of the food is fresh. I love the croquettes, steak with Chimichurri, and of course all their meats and cheeses for their charcuterie boards! This place is also home to my favorite brussel sprouts of all time so definitely try those too.
B.J. Ryan’s Banc House – Favorites: There are two menu items that you simply cannot miss, the Slammin’ Shrimp and the Cider Donuts for dessert. For dinner I usually get the Kitchen Sink Salad or the Dirty Bird you can’t lose either way.
Bruxelles Brasserie – Favorites: South Norwalk’s newest addition cannot be missed! I am a sucker for a good charcuterie and Bruxelles produces one of the prettiest ones I’ve ever seen. What better way to outdoor dine than with some wine and delicious meats and cheeses. I know there are people who hate fruits in salad but TRY THE WATERMELON SALAD. You will change your mind almost immediately. Also, croquettes, you cannot forget the croquettes. To round out your meal, channel your inner Julia Child and get the Beef Bourguignon.
Cafe Dolce – Favorites: GET. THE. CREPES. Any of them will win over your heart and DEFINITELY get an Italian ice too. Their coffee is next level – you can’t go wrong with anything on the menu honestly.
Caffe Social – Favorites: If you haven’t been here yet for brunch or lunch you are seriously missing out. Drinks: Iced Honey Almond Latte and the White Sangria (I always get both since I’m extremely indecisive when it comes to great food and drinks). For breakfast food I head towards the Bacon Cheddar Omelette adding broccoli but for lunch I ALWAYS get the Social Burger. The beefteki on the burger is inexplicably good. Before you get the check make sure to get a crumb cake to go. You’ll be stuffed so you’ll have to eat it later.
Colony Grill – Favorites: Hot oil pizza. Need I say more? Pro-tip: Ask for a side of their house dressing to dip!
Dairy King – Favorites: Dairy King is a Norwalk staple. If you’re looking for the best gyro in Norwalk Dairy King has it. Get the CrissCut fries fully loaded and make sure to end with a Mocha milkshake – or begin with a Mocha milkshake because I’m not here to judge!
Diamond Deli & Brick Oven Pizza – Favorites: Two words. Texas. Wrap. Don’t ask questions and just order it. If your feeling pizza their Buffalo Chicken Pizza can be made with GARLIC KNOTS AS THE CRUST. Wow.
Don Carmelo’s – Favorites: Remember the golden rule from above? Always start with a margarita and guac! I head for the skinny margarita but they have tons of flavors to choose from. Something in DC’s nachos really set them apart, I always order them. To eat I go for the Taco Salad but their fajitas are the best I have ever had. EVER. Leave room for the fried ice cream. I have come here for just that and it wouldn’t be right if you missed out on it.
Donovan’s – Favorites: A true SoNo staple. I usually shy away from the soup and chili section, especially in on warmer days but you seriously cannot miss their award winning Clam Chowder and Chili. You will be kicking yourself if you miss either of them. To cool down I usually get the Pear & Gorgonzola Salad with Mahi Mahi because its so refreshing and delicious. This is hands down my favorite salad of all time and you can’t get Mahi Mahi everywhere so take advantage while you can!
Dry Dock – Favorites: A Norwalk staple – if you haven’t been here do you even live in Norwalk? GET THE PULLED PORK NACHOS. If appetizers aren’t your thing, get them anyways. After you finish your app, get a burger. I always get torn between the Bees Knees and the Hangover Helper. If you’re in for drinks get the Cucumber Mint Lemonade – Melissa can make a mean drink. Remember to drink responsibly!
El Quetzal – Favorites: El Quetzal is as authentic as it gets. I have an unhealthy obsession with chicharrones- so I ALWAYS get them when I come here. Their Garnachas are also perfection – get the 6 because you’ll want more than just the 4.
El Segundo – Favorites: Bring back the golden rule! First, GET A MARG. Their house marg is so fresh and good. The best taco in Norwalk is at El Segundo. I don’t care if you don’t like seafood or shrimp you still need to get the shrimp tacos. I usually order like 4 of them because I am so obsessed. One of the best desserts in Norwalk is ALSO at El Segundo. The Churro Sundae is literally to die for. I have gone here just for it. The amount of times I have ordered it is probably close to the hundreds. That is how good it is.
Evarito’s Mexican Kitchen and Bar – Favorites: Golden rule: Always start with a margarita and guac. I love their fajitas, they are non-traditional and have a ton of other delicious veggies.
Harbor Lights – Favorites: Anything from the raw bar, the Poached Pear & Gorgonzola salad, and Calamari Fritti are all fantastic.
Haruki – Favorites: Haruki is Waypointe’s newest delicious addition. Their steamed buns CANNOT be missed – I love the Pork Chashu. I always go for the pork broth for ramen so definitely get the Tonkotsu!
Il Posto – Favorites: Il Posto makes a fantastic martini if you’re into great drinks. I always get the burrata as an appetizer and the lobster mac. For pasta, Cacio E Pepe is authentic and delicious and for pizza I am obsessed with Hot Honey so I can’t miss the Bee’s Knees.
Italia’s – Favorites: Family-owned and operated for as long as I can remember! If you want classic Italian dishes and pizza Italia’s is the place for you. Get the gnocchi. I’m hungry just thinking about it because who doesn’t want potato pasta together in one harmonious and delicious sauce? If you’re into pizza, that’s great here too. I’m usually not a purist when it comes to pizza because I like 8,000 toppings, BUT here just get the cheese. It is so good. End with the Italian pastries and you’ll feel like you’re on an exclusive vacation in Italy.
John’s Best – Favorites: I LOVE their Calabria Pizza and for a non-traditional pizza I love The Joey. I just love pizzas with Ranch dressing – it’s problematic. Any pizza you get here will be good and I also LOVE their Eggplant Parm!
La Antigua – Favorites: The empanadas here are ~chef’s kiss~. I usually also go for the arepas but my favorite meal here is Bandeja Paisa because carne asada gives me life but it also comes with my unhealthy obsession, chicharrones. Affordable, authentic, and delightful. You can’t go wrong here!
La Calle Arepas Bar – Favorites: Any arepa is a great arepa but my favorites are Pernil Especial and Arepita Cabimera (usually with steak). If you’re looking for a larger plate the Parilla Mixta for 2 is fantastic.
La Fuente – Favorites: Tacos and Tamales. Authentic and delicious – you can’t go wrong! But take a minute because this is just their restaurant; they also have a full BAKERY. Whether you want sweet breads or savory they have it all.
Los Portales – Favorites: This place serves burritos the size of my forearm. You won’t want to finish the entire thing but you will and you won’t regret it one bit. Get the chicken burrito with everything on it and add the avocado. You’ll want extra of the sauces that come with the burrito so don’t forget to ask!
Match – Favorites: I can finally tell the world about their cookies. I can’t even explain how good they are in words – they leave me speechless. When I come here with friends we get the Caesar Salad (trust me you haven’t had one like this), a wood oven pizza (usually the Margherita), and a bottle of wine. If I’m coming here for date night we go for the Bistecca alla Florentina for two. Always, always, ALWAYS, end with the cookies.
Mecha Noodle Bar – Favorites: KFC Bao as an appetizer, Tonkotsu 2.0 for Ramen, and you can get a spiked specialty drink!
Mike’s Deli – Favorites: Go-to deli sandwiches are the Budda and the Nikki Fresh. If you’re in the mood for breakfast don’t miss out on the Hangover sandwich.
Mike’s Ristorante – Favorites: Mozzarella Caprese to start and you can’t go wrong with any pasta dish! My go to is the pesto.
Mochica – Favorites: I have ordered from Mochica almost every week for takeout since they have the best Lomo Saltado in Norwalk and the best Aji Sauce. Get a large side container of it because you’ll want to keep it in the fridge for eggs, meat, rice, and really anything. Make sure you order the bread to dip too! I flip between getting ceviche and the Lomo here but either are fantastic it just depends if you want something hot or cold.
Mr. Frosty’s – Favorites: Come sit and relax and enjoy my favorite the Blueberry Pie Craver. If you want a cone and they have it get the Cannoli Ice Cream. OMG. It has little bits of real cannoli and omg I need it always.
Oak + Almond – Favorites: Oak + Almond is the best kept Norwalk happy hour secret. Their deals are amazing and their patio is divine. Throw out your low carb diet because you’ll want 17 of their loaves of bread with their amazing butter. The bread has chunks of sea salt and rosemary and the butter is infused with honey. It is the best combo. I love the Caesar Salad here and the burger. Their fries are shoestring and delicious! I love all of their apps too. For my anniversary last year we ordered everything on the app menu and I couldn’t say a bad thing about any of them.
Oishi Sushi – Favorites: If you want fresh sushi come to Oishi. My go to rolls always have spicy tuna or salmon. The Tuna Love roll is amazing. The addition of mango really is a game changer. Don’t be scared by the amount of sushi they serve – they also have another menu with kitchen entrees. My best friend HATES sushi and always goes for the fried rice!
O’Neill’s Irish Pub – Favorites: If you go to O’Neill’s and you don’t get a Guinness and an order of Shepard’s Pie did you even really go? Their chicken pot pie is also fantastic. Don’t miss it!
Osteria Romana – Favorites: This restaurant will make any Italian grandmother extremely satisfied. Authentic and delicious cuisine. If you have read all of my items thus far you will notice that I love a good app. Go for the Tagliere Casareccio since it has so many great meats and OLIVES which I love. I get two things from here and force whoever I’m with to get the other entree I want so we can split it. The lasagna and the Fettucine Alla Carbonara. Did you know that authentic Carbonara doesn’t have peas? End with the Tiramisu it is THE. BEST.
Pasquale’s – Favorites: I love the Veal Piccata but my best friend would literally kill me if I told you to get anything other than the Chicken Martini and I can’t blame her. It’s so good it makes me want to cry. If I could eat that and the fried calamari here everyday I definitely would.
Pauli’s Deli – Favorites: If you haven’t been to Pauli’s you obviously aren’t from here. For breakfast you’re going to want a Bacon Egg and Cheese on a bagel with home fries and jalapenos because it’s just what everyone needs. For lunch you should get Cuban. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Public Wine Bar – Favorites: Get wine here. Even if you don’t drink wine, get wine here. Again I’m going to start with a charcuterie because meats & cheese are so good for a snack/app. For dinner I get the Parrillada. It comes with so many different types of meat and the Chimichurri Sauce is to die for.
Rio Border Cafe – Favorites: Golden rule!!! Get a marg. They have really huge ones that are Instagram worthy, so get one of those! Start with the sampler platter so you can taste a ton of different apps. I usually go for the Combination Plates here and get the Chihuahua because I LOVE a good chile relleno.
Ripka’s Beach Cafe – Favorites: Definitely get a Po Boy! If you’re the mood for pizza get the Roasted Oyster Pie.
Rowayton Seafood – Favorites: I love getting a ton of different bites from Rowayton Seafood. The Buffalo Calamari is just WOW and so is the Truffled Lobster Mac & Cheese. If you’re going with more than two people get the double truffle mac because you’ll want it all to yourself. If you choose a cold lobster roll over a hot one… I’m probably judging you BUT the Rowayton Lobster Roll (their hot lobster roll) is next level good. If you want the cold roll I’m sure it’s fantastic too but come on get the hot one!
Sedona Taphouse – Favorites: Spicy Thai Shrimp, Devil’s Pass Pasta, and don’t forget to order the brussels sprouts!
Slice of Italy – Favorites: If you have a divided group where some what Italian and some want Venezuelan look no further than Slice of Italy who has BOTH. I usually mix it up and get a little of both. My favorite empanada here is the shredded beef so I usually get that but then I also get the SoNo Special Pizza. It has buffalo chicken cutlet, bacon, cheddar cheese, and my favorite – RANCH DRESSING. Seriously though this place has everything. Pasta, sandwiches, pizza, empanadas, parrilla… you could eat here every day and eat something different and delicious.
SoNo Baking Company – Favorites: SoNo Baking Company has the best salmon I’ve ever had and I know that sounds really weird coming from a bakery but trust me on this… Get the grain bowl with the salmon. You’ll also want an Iced Mocha because their coffee is so fresh and delicious. This place will put Starbucks to shame any day of the week. I can’t remember the name of my favorite cookie but it has ginger, chocolate chips, and crystallized sugar on top. You’ll want 12 of those to go and a Sourdough!
SoNo Sky Rooftop at the Residence Inn – Favorites: The view. Honestly one of the best views in the City. Their bites and drinks are delicious but what is really amazing here is the insta-worthy views.
Speedy Pizza – Favorites: I love The Works pizza from here but I also like getting calzones. Just cheese for me but sometimes I’ll add garlic and broccoli!
Stew Leonard’s – Favorites: A lot of people don’t know this but the grocery store has a burger barn that is absolutely to die for. I LOVE the Smokehouse burger because it comes with Hot Cherry Peppers and gives the bite all the right flavors. They also have lobster rolls and sometimes have seafood boils that you will not want to miss!
Sunset Grille – You’re going to need a reservation. Make sure to call ahead! Favorites: If you haven’t been to Sunset in the summertime you’ve lived under a rock and it’s time to come out. Most summer nights you can catch me here having Tito’s soda and hanging with friends. Start with the Artichoke Crab Dip. It is just wow. I usually do some oysters as well because you’ll want to prolong your time in the waterfront atmosphere of Sunset. As I’m writing these I’ve noticed I get salad a lot more than I thought. I am NOT a salad person so you know the ones I am getting have to be perfect. GET THE LOBSTER COBB!!!!!!!! I wish I could include more exclamation points because you need it. Also the burger here is so good!
Tablao – Favorites: Tablao has all of my favorites in one place: Tapas, Charcuterie, and Paella. Whenever you come here you HAVE to get the Paella. It is the best I’ve ever had. I also usually get a few tapas. My favorites are the Duck Breast, Hanger Steak, Short Rib, and the Cheese Croquettes. Get some wine and a charcuterie too because it’s the perfect snack.
Tavern on 7 – Favorites: I never have had an absolute favorite at Tavern on 7 because their specials are always eye catching, delicious, and perfect. For apps you cannot miss the Thai Chili wings or their nachos. If none of the specials catch your eye (which I can guarantee they all will) get the Drunken Salmon!
The Spread – Favorites: The Spread has the BEST Brunch. I love their mimosas (of course they are bottomless) and I LOVE their burger. It is FANTASTIC.
Valentino’s – Favorites: Valentino’s has been around for YEARS and has the best Italian cuisine. You can’t go wrong with their pasta dishes but I usually get whatever pizza they have on special. They have some crazy delicious combos that everyone should try!
Washington Prime – Favorites: The Spinach and Artichoke dip is so creamy and delicious. I can just eat the crostini by itself it’s so fantastic. You cannot come here and not have steak. The Tomahawk is always a crowd pleaser but the Aged Porterhouse is to die for.