Located just off the Saugatuck River in Westport is your destination for excellent Italian-inspired cuisine. The environment is casual while the menu is on the formal side. As a Mario Batali partnership, you can imagine the quality of the dishes. The pizza makers are especially talented. Their oven heats up to over 700 degrees, causing their perfect pizzas to cook in just 90 seconds. If you have been to Italy, your palate will not be able to decipher pizza from here or from San Gimignano.
Tucked behind the Westport Country Playhouse is your home away from home. The Dressing Room is the first farm-to-table restaurant in Westport, opened in 2006 by chef, cookbook author and food activist Michel Nischan and actor Paul Newman. They support a movement for sustainable food and their mastery of comfort food makes this restaurant the ideal fall destination.
If you are a fan of authentic Italian food and the classic white tablecloth atmosphere that often comes with it, Pane e Bene is your new spot. It is incognito from the street and I have managed to drive past it several times and consequently had to turn around. Nonetheless, once inside, the large windows and relaxing scene manage to clear the mind. But getting down to what you need to know: The food is tremendous.
Located underneath the Gap in Westport center, Cru, which opened in June, is a restaurant and lounge with a modern and luxurious atmosphere. The dining room tends to fill up because of its popularity; therefore I recommend making a reservation. The lounge is an excellent area to have drinks and small plates, and dishes are paired with recommended wines.