Bistro Mediterranean & Tapas Bar

You might wonder why I launched my blog, “NewHavenEats,” with a restaurant in East Haven, but long-time friend Marty O’Connor raved so much about Bistro Mediterranean & Tapas Bar that I had to start here first.

Owner Leonardo Carreño, originally from Ecuador, has worked in southern Connecticut restaurants for 11 years. With his brother Gabriel installed as chef, Carreño opened Bistro Mediterranean & Tapas Bar in East Haven in April, 2011.

The specials menu changes every few days – a challenge for the staff but a delight to diners. The day I visited, the specials included gazpacho blanco (white gazpacho), ensalada de brotes de bruselas (pictured, shredded brussels sprouts salad), pinchos de cordero (skewered lamb), halibut al sarten (pictured), and ravioli de cordero (ravioli stuffed with lamb).

With its tapas, the menu hits all the spots. There are also salads, pasta, and entrees (platos principales) of beef, lamb, chicken, fish and seafood. Desserts include several panna cottas with homemade sorbets (one pictured). A full bar includes mojitos, margaritas and sangria (pictured), and an extensive wine list with many Spanish wines.

The large dining room has lots of table options, and there’s cafe-table dining near the bar, comfortable stools at the bar, and dining “al fresco” under umbrellas on the patio.

It’s easy to miss the driveway entrance to the rear parking lot, between the Bistro and the Chinese restaurant next door.

One diner told me that before she had even finished her first meal there she vowed to return.

Mara Lavitt



• The Detes: 383 Main St. East Haven CT 06512 • 203-467-2500 • Open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner

• Price Range: Money left over for the baby sitter

• Style of Food: Spanish, Mediterranean

• Most Popular Dishes:  Tapas (great for light meals and sharing) and paella

• Most Popular Drinks: Mojito, Sangria, Margaritas

• Good to Know: Specials change every two or three days

• What’s Unusual About Your Customers?: “They’re all special.”


9 thoughts on “Bistro Mediterranean & Tapas Bar

  1. Food looks fabulous! I like the idea of including establishments outside the borders of New Haven, where I rarely wander.

  2. I wouldn’t know what to order here! It all looks wonderful. Great photos.

    Note to self: Don’t read Mara’s blog before I’ve eaten lunch.

    Have fun tasting all that New Haven restaurants have to offer!

  3. This place is horrible. I went here a few months ago with a group of 4 people. Dinner took forever and we had to beg for the check four times which was only given to us after we threatened to leave without paying. I will never go to this place again, it was hands down the worst dining experience in my life.

  4. Some friends took me here for my birthday last Saturday. It was probably one of the better meals I’ve had in a long time. It was expensive tasting food at a good tasting food price. I will DEFINITELY be going back (even though I’m still afraid to be in ‘staven. Also all the reviews I read on Yelp about the place were true. One minute you’d have 4 staff members at your table but then you wouldn’t see another one for 20 minutes (we ate a lot and had several pitchers of Sangria.)

  5. What a treat of a blog – New Haven food reviewed by the discerning Mara Lavitt and accompanied by her beautiful photos. Can’t wait for more!

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