Chef Arturo Franco Camacho (Franco) is a veteran of Connecticut’s food scene. Having opened several successful restaurants in Connecticut, a graduate of Culinary Institute of America, his cuisine has received numerous accolades from top publications like the New York Times, Zagat and Food Network’s Food Nation with Bobby Flay. He is currently the Executive Chef for both Geronimo Tequila Bar and Southwest Grill in Fairfield and New Haven and Shell and Bones Oyster Bar in New Haven. Chef Franco took time off his busy schedule to chat with Suburbs 101. We asked him where he thinks the best restaurants are in Fairfield County. He shares with us his top restaurants in Norwalk and Westport plus his go-to restaurants in Bantam and Waterbury, CT.
Eat Where the Chefs Eat is a column where local Chefs and food industry insiders share their favorite restaurants in the New York metro area. Learn where your favorite chefs go when they aren’t in their own kitchens!
What are the best restaurants in Fairfield County?
Can you recommend a restaurant for Cheap Eats in Fairfield County?
I love the Arepas at Valencia Luncheria in Norwalk. It’s so casual with a great neighborhood feel, and the flavors of the food are great with a very accessible menu.
Valencia Luncheria at 164 Main Street, Norwalk, CT- (203) 846-8009
Can you recommend a restaurant for special occasions in Fairfield County?
The Whelk in Westport features such fresh seafood, and the team’s approach to food is very progressive with clean flavors.
The Whelk at 575 Riverside Avenue, Westport, CT- (203) 557-0902
Can you recommend kid-friendly restaurants in Fairfield County?
My kids are grown, but when they were younger they loved Hibachi! Shake Shack in Westport is always great for a family with kids, as is Little Barn.
Little Barn at 1050 Post Road East, Westport, CT- (203)-557-8501
Shake Shack at 1849 Post Road East, Westport, CT- (203)-682-6570
Where do you take out-of-town guests?
I love bringing out-of-town guests to Barcelona for tapas – it’s casual and a great atmosphere.
Barcelona at 515 West Avenue, Norwalk, CT- (203)-854-5600
Can you recommend a restaurant for date night?
Arethusa al Tavolo in Bantam is a beautiful restaurant that really makes you feel like you’re going somewhere special for a date. Plus – it’s a bit of a ride so we have time to talk in the car!
Arethusa al Tavolo at 828 Bantam Road, Bantam, CT- (203)-567-0043
Can you recommend a good Italian restaurant?
La Tavola in Waterbury offers homemade Italian food with rustic and authentic flavors.
La Tavola at 702 Highland Avenue, Waterbury, CT- (203)-755-2212
Can you recommend a good Asian restaurant?
OKO in Westport for sushi made with fresh fish sourced from Tokyo.
OKO Westport at 6 Wilton Road, Westport, CT- (203)-557-8404
What are the best restaurants in New York City?
I love Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s The Fulton – the views are unparalleled overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge, the service is phenomenal and the small menu is well executed.
I also love ABC Kitchen, offering an eclectic mix of Vegetarian, Mexican and more! It’s a great place to visit this time of year – you can eat and window shop in the furniture store while you’re there.
The Fulton at 89 South Street, New York, NY- (212)-838-1200
ABC Kitchen at 35 E. 18th Street, New York, NY- (212)-475-5829
Tell me more about your restaurants? What is your favorite dish?
If you want authentic southwestern cuisine in Connecticut, go to Geronimo Tequila Bar and Southwest Grill. We have the largest selection of Tequila on the East Coast. We even source our Chile peppers directly from New Mexico! My other restaurant, Shell & Bones Oyster Bar and Grill is a waterfront restaurant located in the historic City Point area of New Haven, Connecticut. Go there for the seafood and steak! You have to try our award-winning New England Clam Chowder.
My favorite dish of the moment at Geronimo is the La Fladita. We’re currently offering it with lobster and avocado – who doesn’t love avocado? It’s crunchy and can be filled with anything. I’m also loving our new freshly made corn tortillas that we’re making in-house – they are gluten-free and can be filled with anything!
Geronimo Tequila Bar and Southwest Grill at 2070 Post Road, Fairfield, CT- (203)-955-1643 and 271 Crown Street, New Haven, CT- (203)- 777-7700
Shell and Bones at 100 S. Water Street, New Haven, CT- (203)-787-3466
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Suburbs 101 is an online lifestyle guide for the New York Suburbs of Westchester County, Long Island, Fairfield County and Northern New Jersey. Get the inside scoop on what it’s really like to live in the New York suburbs through our interviews with local suburbanites and features on Food, Fashion, Home, Travel, and Local Events. Be sure to Follow Us on Instagram, Like Us on Facebook and subscribe to our Monthly Newsletter.