In the small waterfront village of Rowayton in Norwalk, Conn., the Restaurant at Rowayton Seafood is a historic seafood market and restaurant with a robust wine list. Owner Kevin Conroy and his family are longtime fishermen, and he’s operated the property for decades. He opened the market portion in an old fishing shack that he purchased in 1978 (which was once the oldest operating lobster co-op on the Long Island Sound) and then purchased the restaurant in 1996. With a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence–winning wine list, it’s now a favorite among locals and visitors looking for top-quality seafood.
Ripe with New England flair, the restaurant offers waterfront dining complete with boat slips for guests arriving by sea. Following suit, chef Evans Corrales crafts dishes with fish sourced directly from the adjacent market. There are classic items such as butter-poached lobster rolls and local oysters, served alongside more modern dishes like sesame-crusted yellowfin tuna with yuzu soy broth, barramundi Milanese and shiitake mushrooms served with edamame.
The wine list, managed by general manager and sommelier Josh Mesnik, offers a mix of blue-chip wines and value-priced bottlings spanning the globe, from Napa to Lebanon. At 260 selections, guests can choose from particularly strong sections of French whites and Californian and Italian reds, plus a generous selection of Champagne. The restaurant also offers its own private label rosé sourced from France’s Pays d’Oc called Rowayton Water.
Mesnik continually evolves the wine list and plans to keep growing the selections. He also works with winemakers to host monthly, four-course wine dinners, like an upcoming event Nov. 9 with Sonoma’s Flowers. Both the restaurant and the fish market are open daily for lunch and dinner.