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Whaler0718

Neighborhoods

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I've lived in the West End for about four years, and, once in a while, I'll take a drive around the city, exploring. But I realize that I stick very much to what I know, namely, the West End, Downtown, and some spots on Franklin (restaurants and pasty shops in particular). I've driven down Park Street a number of times, but never actually gotten out of my car. Same goes for Parkville (except for the movie theater and Stop & Shop), even though I've had Tastease's fantastic miniature donuts when colleagues bring them in. I've been to Scott's on Albany a couple of times but have largely ignored the North End, in large part because of its reputation, deserved or not.

I was looking at Hartford on Google maps and noticed, particularly, the vast swath of real estate that I haven't seen, north of Albany Avenue. And it made me think about how little I've actually explored the city's neighborhood and businesses. So, given that the folks on this forum are from and/or know Hartford's nooks and crannies, I thought I'd see their recommendations on places to visit, from restaurants, to shops, to pretty streets and vistas. It'd also be healthy to hear the bad bits, too--places that reveal the city's poverty and blight and what, if any, progress has been made.

Look forward to your contributions.

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I've lived in the West End for about four years, and, once in a while, I'll take a drive around the city, exploring. But I realize that I stick very much to what I know, namely, the West End, Downtown, and some spots on Franklin (restaurants and pasty shops in particular). I've driven down Park Street a number of times, but never actually gotten out of my car. Same goes for Parkville (except for the movie theater and Stop & Shop), even though I've had Tastease's fantastic miniature donuts when colleagues bring them in. I've been to Scott's on Albany a couple of times but have largely ignored the North End, in large part because of its reputation, deserved or not.

I was looking at Hartford on Google maps and noticed, particularly, the vast swath of real estate that I haven't seen, north of Albany Avenue. And it made me think about how little I've actually explored the city's neighborhood and businesses. So, given that the folks on this forum are from and/or know Hartford's nooks and crannies, I thought I'd see their recommendations on places to visit, from restaurants, to shops, to pretty streets and vistas. It'd also be healthy to hear the bad bits, too--places that reveal the city's poverty and blight and what, if any, progress has been made.

Look forward to your contributions.

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Timothy's behind the rocks, west of Trinity. Great for breakfast and they also bake goods that are terrific.

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Timothy's behind the rocks, west of Trinity. Great for breakfast and they also bake goods that are terrific.

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Is there something I don't get about Timothy's - everyone at Trin seems to love the place but every time that I go they are out of many things, over-priced for what they offer, and the food is poorly prepared - I choked on a bone in my chicken breast sandwich. Anyway, to each his own, I suppose. Anyway, I say check out First and Last on Maple or the Afghan restaurant on Franklyn (I think it's called Shish Kebab House of Afghanistan) - not the best Afghan food I've ever had but it is the only Afghan place I can find in Connecticut.

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Is there something I don't get about Timothy's - everyone at Trin seems to love the place but every time that I go they are out of many things, over-priced for what they offer, and the food is poorly prepared - I choked on a bone in my chicken breast sandwich. Anyway, to each his own, I suppose. Anyway, I say check out First and Last on Maple or the Afghan restaurant on Franklyn (I think it's called Shish Kebab House of Afghanistan) - not the best Afghan food I've ever had but it is the only Afghan place I can find in Connecticut.

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Get yourself a hotdog at the Ranch House. North on Main St all the way to the Windsor line. I just saw the Oxbow changed names, that was a great place, it was on South St near where South Catholic used to be. I would have suggested that place. The First and Last is a great place too though (in agreement with whomever mentioned it. Also, Scott's Jamaican on Albany Ave is good....

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Here are some of the places I frequent because they so convenient to where I live in the Asylum Hill/Parkville neighborhoods:

Bullpen Cafe: on Bartholomew. A full menu of the best Portuguese food in the city. And unbelievably inexpensive.

O Camelo: On Park. See above.

Lena's Pizza: On Park. Great for a quick slice or great homemade soups.

The Pantry: On Capitol. Recently reopened by Cuban management. Great cuban sandwich and cuban coffee.

The King and I : On Park. This tiny place(maybe 8 tables) in the middle of a Vietnamese neighborhood has the most authentic Thai food anywhere.

Tisane: On Farmington. Almost too many coffees and teas to choose from.

Ichiban: On Farmington. I loved their sushi and clam pot when they were downtown and I love them even more when they moved closer to me.

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Here are some of the places I frequent because they so convenient to where I live in the Asylum Hill/Parkville neighborhoods:

Bullpen Cafe: on Bartholomew. A full menu of the best Portuguese food in the city. And unbelievably inexpensive.

O Camelo: On Park. See above.

Lena's Pizza: On Park. Great for a quick slice or great homemade soups.

The Pantry: On Capitol. Recently reopened by Cuban management. Great cuban sandwich and cuban coffee.

The King and I : On Park. This tiny place(maybe 8 tables) in the middle of a Vietnamese neighborhood has the most authentic Thai food anywhere.

Tisane: On Farmington. Almost too many coffees and teas to choose from.

Ichiban: On Farmington. I loved their sushi and clam pot when they were downtown and I love them even more when they moved closer to me.

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If Afghan food like all other Middle Eastern food or is there something different?

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There is a great place that people rarely ever talk about which always baffles me. It is the West Indian Social Club on Main Street. A lot of people don't realize that Connecticut has the third largest population of people from the caribbean and Hartford is the center of that population. The social club was established in the 50's and it has been promoting the community ever since. Even if we ignore all the community events they do it is an amazing place just for the concerts they have. They have artists play there from all over the world! Reggae is popular in a lot of places that people don't realize like England, Japan, Germany, South America. One of the top reggae dj's is from Japan, they are called Mighty Crown and they just played there during Thanksgiving. They get all of the top artists to play there from the Caribbean and people travel from all over the tri-state area + Mass to see them. Yet nobody ever says anything about this great international venue in Hartford!

Another famous incident that occured there a few years ago was David Rodigan a famous reggae dj from England was playing at the social club. Wycleff the musician who recently had a hit song with Shakira, drove up from Jersey to hand deliver a song he recorderd especially for Rodigan, in the song he repeatedly shouts out Connecticut and the crowd went crazy! Bootlegs of this performance have been passed around the world.

Also you might want to check out the cricket teams that play in Keney park during the spring.

You mentioned Park Street which has some great food. You can get Puerto Rican, Cuban, Peruvian, Brazilian, Vietnamese, Salvadoran, Colombian, and more on Park street! Many consider Peruvian cuisine to be among the finest in the world and Hartford has about five Peruvian restaurants to choice from. Hartford also has some Bosnian, Ethiopian, and Polish restaurants. Hartford is a great international city!

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First I want to say something....Even though our great city is only about 17 square miles I still find new places to explore and new developments (small and big to look at). I never get sick of Hartford. When I came home from school (college in NYC) during Thanksgiving break I drove around the Capen Street area of the North End and was amazed at some of the historic housing that was still prevalent as well as some of the new single family homes that had been built. I discovered the new Dutch Point project which is on the site of the former Dutch Point Housing Project just south of downtown near Hartford Hospital and the Colt Project.

Some places (food related, streets, parks, etc)

First & Last on Maple Avenue - There is the restaurant and there is also the bakery part across the street which even features banquet space. The bakery part serves breakfast, sandwiches, baked goods and gift baskets.

La Casona on Wethersfield Avenue at Airport Road - Looks can be deceiving as this restaurant is located at a very busy intersection next to a gas station and across from a new CVS but this south end hotspot has great latin food and offers another option for great nightlife. http://www.casonarestaurant.com/

Club Barcelona on Congress Street near Main Street, Charter Oak Ave, Maple Ave and Wethersfield Ave - Not in the heart of downtown but this place is in a great old building and at Congress Street (one of the citys preserved historic streets). http://www.club-barcelona.com/

Mo's Midtown on Whitney Street right near Farmington Ave - Since you live in the West End im sure youve been there but in case you havent dont forget to go here for breakfast

Wood N Tap on Sisson Avenue at Capital Ave - Great food, great atmosphere, great people and a renovated bar area. Also if your driving theres a parking lot across the street with a man who watches over your car....a very nice older man, be sure to stop by and say hello to him. http://www.woodntap.com/index.html

O'Porto on Park Street near the West Hartford line in Hartford is in an renovated factory building and if your in the mood for an upscale Portuguese restaurant this is the place to head. http://oportohartford.com/

Bakeris on Franklin Ave - Im sure you have been there but here are some tips....South End Bakery is a tiny little building on the Avenue that features the areas best italian pizza (the red kind with sauce and a little grated cheese as well as the plain kind with anchovies). Be sure to get there early for a few pieces of that as well as there spinach bread. Modern Pastry ( http://www.modernpastryshop.com/ ) is personally my favorite - stop by there and sit down at the counters and have an italian ice in the summer or a coffee and a canoli in the winter.

Colt Park - Theres an entrance on Wethersfield Avenue near Main Street. You can drive in and park. Walk around and you have great views of the Colt complex and an array of parks and green space.

Morris Street & Congress Street off of Wethersfield Ave near Hartford Hospital - Filled with old historic buildings these tiny but important streets are a memory of the way Hartford once was

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Morris Street & Congress Street off of Wethersfield Ave near Hartford Hospital - Filled with old historic buildings these tiny but important streets are a memory of the way Hartford once was

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First I want to say something....Even though our great city is only about 17 square miles I still find new places to explore and new developments (small and big to look at). I never get sick of Hartford. When I came home from school (college in NYC) during Thanksgiving break I drove around the Capen Street area of the North End and was amazed at some of the historic housing that was still prevalent as well as some of the new single family homes that had been built. I discovered the new Dutch Point project which is on the site of the former Dutch Point Housing Project just south of downtown near Hartford Hospital and the Colt Project.

Some places (food related, streets, parks, etc)

First & Last on Maple Avenue - There is the restaurant and there is also the bakery part across the street which even features banquet space. The bakery part serves breakfast, sandwiches, baked goods and gift baskets.

La Casona on Wethersfield Avenue at Airport Road - Looks can be deceiving as this restaurant is located at a very busy intersection next to a gas station and across from a new CVS but this south end hotspot has great latin food and offers another option for great nightlife. http://www.casonarestaurant.com/

Club Barcelona on Congress Street near Main Street, Charter Oak Ave, Maple Ave and Wethersfield Ave - Not in the heart of downtown but this place is in a great old building and at Congress Street (one of the citys preserved historic streets). http://www.club-barcelona.com/

Mo's Midtown on Whitney Street right near Farmington Ave - Since you live in the West End im sure youve been there but in case you havent dont forget to go here for breakfast

Wood N Tap on Sisson Avenue at Capital Ave - Great food, great atmosphere, great people and a renovated bar area. Also if your driving theres a parking lot across the street with a man who watches over your car....a very nice older man, be sure to stop by and say hello to him. http://www.woodntap.com/index.html

O'Porto on Park Street near the West Hartford line in Hartford is in an renovated factory building and if your in the mood for an upscale Portuguese restaurant this is the place to head. http://oportohartford.com/

Bakeris on Franklin Ave - Im sure you have been there but here are some tips....South End Bakery is a tiny little building on the Avenue that features the areas best italian pizza (the red kind with sauce and a little grated cheese as well as the plain kind with anchovies). Be sure to get there early for a few pieces of that as well as there spinach bread. Modern Pastry ( http://www.modernpastryshop.com/ ) is personally my favorite - stop by there and sit down at the counters and have an italian ice in the summer or a coffee and a canoli in the winter.

Colt Park - Theres an entrance on Wethersfield Avenue near Main Street. You can drive in and park. Walk around and you have great views of the Colt complex and an array of parks and green space.

Morris Street & Congress Street off of Wethersfield Ave near Hartford Hospital - Filled with old historic buildings these tiny but important streets are a memory of the way Hartford once was

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A buddy of mine owns La Paloma Sabanera on Capitol Ave. It's a great little low-key coffee shop, and they have some sort of independant film nights every tuesday night....

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I'm surprised no one has mentioned Monte Alban, next to Tisane on Farmington Avenue. I've taken all kinds of visitors there and everyone has enjoyed it. The mexican food actually tastes healthy, and their corncake side is so yummy.

I'll also second the recommendation for Mo's Midtown, where I had the best apple-stuffed pancakes of my life.

And 2nd La Paloma Sabanera, which is run by some very creative people that are going to rejuvenate that neighborhood within a few years.

For non-eatery recommendations, I suggest the following:

Groceries-

I think it's called C-Town, on Park Street. Well-stocked and kept very neat. Bigger than a bodega but smaller than a grocery store. Parking in the back and on the street.

AppleTree- New Park Ave, West Hartford, near Home Depot. Large and diverse selection of low-priced fruits and vegetables. Also milk and eggs, and fish, although from the smell I wouldn't buy my fish there. Run by Asians, for Latinos, so it's got everything.

Sights-

Cedar Hill Cemetery in the South End is overlooked and could use more tending, but it's a beautiful "picturesque" cemetery/arboretum/park.

The Bushnell. It is unbelievably easy to see a Broadway-caliber show here. With the savings I get from not having to go in to New York City to see the show I can splurge on front row seats at the Bushnell.

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I had a job in 100 Retreat Ave yesterday, and it directly overlooked Congress and Morris. If I had a camera, you'd have pictures, it was a nice shot, all those great brick buildings....

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Wood n' Tap at the corner of Sisson & Capitol has great food.

Afghan House was great, but went out of business.

Vaughan's downtown on Pratt has a great neighborhood feel, as does McKinnon's.

Sorrento in the South end.

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Sorrento is one of my favorites on Franklin.

Afghan House didn't go out of business. They moved to West Hartford Center.

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Hey anyone know anything about Francesco's on Franklin Avenue (sort of across from Brooks Pharmacy and Mozzicato Bakery)?

Ive always driven by there and its in a very nice building....wanted to try something new on Saturday night (but my family wasnt up for it ) so we ate at City Steam which was awesome as usual but on the way home drove down Franklin Avenue and the parking lot was packed

Anyone know anything about it...it also looks like they recently got a website.

http://www.ristorantefrancescos.com/

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Francesco's is awesome! The food is excellent and there is always a lively bar crowd with dancing and live music from Tony Reale - an Italian singer from the South End. Check it out!

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Francesco's is awesome! The food is excellent and there is always a lively bar crowd with dancing and live music from Tony Reale - an Italian singer from the South End. Check it out!

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I had a job in 100 Retreat Ave yesterday, and it directly overlooked Congress and Morris. If I had a camera, you'd have pictures, it was a nice shot, all those great brick buildings....

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