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Fearless Critic restaurant review
New Haven
Upmarket restaurant

Mon 11:00am–3:00pm
Tue–Thu 11:00am–9:00pm
Fri–Sat 11:00am–11:00pm
Sun 4:00pm–8:00pm

Features Date-friendly, veg-friendly
Bar Beer, wine, liquor
Credit cards Visa, MC, AmEx
Reservations Accepted


117 North Broad St.
Milford, CT
(203) 878-2500
Rainbow Gardens Inn
An almost-too-cute, haphazardly eclectic New England inn with an immensely popular lunch

The immeasurable quaintness of the Rainbow Gardens Inn explains why it is so popular that you need to make reservations well in advance, even (or perhaps especially) for lunch. So finely realized is the cute New England aesthetic that walking up to the porch and into the space is like stepping into a vacation in a Vermont resort town (the Inn also rents rooms). Place settings are just so, and many windows look out onto the street and Milford’s elongated town green. The restaurant is divided into smaller spaces, making every seat in the old house feel cozy.

It might come as no surprise, thus, that this establishment is generally frequented by an older crowd. They come not just for the escapist charm but also for the menu of American cuisine, which is eclectic almost to a fault—Asian here, Italian there. Cutesy, too, is the menu, with descriptions that range from the funny (“Beauty and the Beef”) to the just plain weird (“Outrigger Occurrence”).

And that menu is long. Sandwiches comprise part of it, one of which is the “Cape Cod Salty Dog”—a variation on the Reuben, with the amusing addition of cod, cole slaw, and chili tartar sauce. Stranger, however, was a special on one visit of sweet, loud coconut shrimp atop an overdressed Caesar salad that practically swam in a thick, strong dressing, intermingled with a mango concoction even sweeter than the shrimp.

But even if it’s more the atmosphere than the food that keeps Rainbow Gardens Inn so popular, the place is nonetheless an absolute hoot.

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