The legend is real: Mystic Pizza (56 W Main St., 860/536-3700, 10 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, $8–14), the real-life pizza shop that served as the inspiration for Julia Roberts’s late-’80s film of the same name, is still churning out pies every night. Tables can get crowded for dinner, so be prepared to wait. (Don’t worry: your fire-roasted veggie or seafood delight pizza will most certainly be worth it.)
The barn setting may not be entirely congruent with modern steakhouse style, but the menu at The Steak Loft (Olde Mistick Village, 860/536-2661, www.steakloftct.com , 11:30 a.m.–10:30 p.m. Mon.–Sun., $15–29) is the very model of it. Choose from big cuts of good-quality beef, seafood like the Maryland-style crab cakes, or tasty foul like apricot-glazed duck.
Owned by the same company and also part of Mystic Seaport , Go Fish (Olde Mistick Village, 860/536-2662, www.gofishct.com , 11:30 a.m.–9:30 p.m. Mon.–Sun., $17–27) sports a surprisingly daring menu of seafood. Think yellowfin tuna with tapenade, pastrami-style smoked salmon plates, and a sizeable raw bar to top it all off.
Fans of traditional New England dining will enjoy a meal at Daniel Packer Inne (32 Water St., 860/536-3555, www.danielpacker.com , 11 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, $16–24), a 1756 downtown establishment housing both pub and restaurant. In the latter, take a seat near the fireplace and sup on lemon-peppered chicken and baked scallops from nearby Stonington .