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Weekender: The Litchfield Hills, Connecticut

Where to Eat

West Street Grill 43 West St., Litchfield; 860/567-3885; dinner for two $100. A fashion-conscious crowd communes in the art-filled restaurant, discussing contemporary artists over contemporary (and excellent) dishes: woodfired grilled salmon with garlic spinach, smoked plum tomato, and roasted tomato coulis; pan-seared sea scallops with celery root and chive purée.

Carole Peck's Good News Café 694 Main St. S., Woodbury; 203/266-4663; dinner for two $70. The celebrity chef is known for innovative "nouvelle American" fare. By that, Peck can mean anything from the gemelli pasta with asparagus, spiced pecans, Gorgonzola, capers, and sage, all drizzled with six-year-old balsamic vinegar; to fresh lobster chunks and Swiss chard in an "adult" baked macaroni with provolone cheese, sprinkled with truffle oil.

Mayflower Inn 118 Woodbury Rd., Washington; 860/868-9466; dinner for two from $50. The formal dining room, where dinner for two can easily average $100, specializes in simple dishes such as sirloin steak and lamb loin. Dinner in the casual taproom means a juicy burger or chicken breast. Whichever room you choose, expect flawless service and superb meals.

Charlotte 223 Main St., Lakeville; 860/435-3551; dinner for two $100. Love the basket on your table?Co-owner Dana Simpson will gladly sell you the centerpiece and replace it with another antique from her mother's shop, the Hammertown Barn in nearby Pine Plains, New York. When you're done admiring the décor, the sophisticated French menu, with modern takes on classics such as coq au vin and escargots, will satisfy your palate. Be sure to browse the wine list, which offers more than 1,000 bottles.

Oliva 18 E. Shore Rd., New Preston; 860/868-1787; dinner for two $60. Riad Aamar, formerly of the much-loved Doc's up the road, fills his Mediterranean-Italian menu with authentic creations: a Moroccan eggplant appetizer with mint, spices, and pecans; Italian sausage tortelloni; sautéed tilapia with garlic, cumin, roasted peppers, and white wine. In warm weather, go for the flowerpot-rimmed front porch.

Boathouse at Lakeville 349 Main St., Lakeville; 860/435-2111; dinner for two $70. Canoes hanging from the ceiling, oars on the walls, and a smashing boathouse mural behind the bar set a lively mood at Lakeville's most convivial bistro. Popular dishes include baby-back ribs braised in Bass Ale, pan-fried brook trout in toasted almond crumbs, and roast rack of lamb with mint sauce.

G. W. Tavern 20 Bee Brook Rd., Washington Depot; 860/868-6633; dinner for two $70. The rustic mood is enhanced by a grand fireplace, colonial murals, and pictures of George Washington himself. Serious comfort food is served, with fish and chips, meat loaf, honey-glazed shrimp, and "casino-crusted" cod steak as the standouts.

Chaiwalla 1 Main St., Salisbury; 860/435-9758; tiffin for two $20, served all day. The scones melt in your mouth, the fruit-filled French toast is sent directly from heaven. You simply can't go wrong at this favorite spot for a snack, located in a turn-of-the-century carriage house with bay windows facing front and back gardens. Don't overlook the tea menu—it lists more than 20 varieties, from Moroccan Mint to Himalayan Sherpa Climbers' Blend.

The Pantry Titus Rd., Washington Depot; 860/868-0258; lunch for two $40. No other joint in the county makes salads and sandwiches as hearty as the Pantry's. Sit at one of the few tables and sip a glass of wine with your meal, or carry it out for a picnic in the park nearby.


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