West Hartford’s Hidden Gem – Arugula Bistro

West Hartford’s Hidden Gem – Arugula Bistro

May 1, 2018

Arugula’s Owner and Head Chef, Christiane Gehami, has a thing for donuts, as she remarks on her website: “I’m just a girl, standing in front of a salad, wishing it were a donut.”

But make no mistake. The delicious and innovative food she creates and serves to her eager customers at Arugula leaves donuts in the dust.

This beloved West Hartford eatery, first opened in 1996, and May 1st happens to be the 22nd Anniversary of this cozy and intimate 58-seat gem nestled in an easy-access spot at 953 Farmington Avenue, near the West corner of Farmington and South Main. Arugula is both the only woman-owned restaurant in West Hartford and the only one with a female Head Chef at the helm!


Arugula’s menus offer Mediterranean-inspired dishes, using Middle Eastern, Northern Italian and French flavors. Everything is prepared in-house, including the desserts, with the exception of their bread. Sharing is encouraged with cheese and charcuterie selections as well as a varied list of mezze (sharing plates) and flatbreads. Flatbreads can be made with gluten-free dough on request.

Christiane prepares food that is wholesome and genuine, yet nudges her diners slightly out of their comfort zone and entices them to try something new. That being said, there is truly something for everyone on Arugula’s menu.  Salads and charcuterie selections… chicken, duck, lamb and sausage dishes… tuna and salmon entrees… burgers and steaks, too. Plus an array of vegetarian entrees and gluten-free flatbread options that will suit any palate.  https://arugula-bistro.com/menus/dinner

The ambiance is quaint and casual yet sophisticated. This intimate white table cloth bistro is welcoming, gracious and romantic. Customers are truly treated as guests in Christiane’s home.  When she says, “I look forward to cooking for you,” she means it.

All desserts are created in-house and include brulees, biscottis, cakes, crisps, profiteroles, affogato, sundaes, cookies (including vegan and gluten-free options!) and even root beer floats.  A wonderful selection of dessert cheeses is offered, including items with flavors of caramel and butterscotch. (You will forget donuts ever existed!).

Exquisite wines are offered to the customers at reasonable prices. Her choices include selections from California to Spain, from France to Italy, and beyond, and she tries to offer options from wineries that practice sustainable farming with a small “footprint.” Wednesdays, Arugula offers wine specials – 40% off wines $60 and under.

Reservations are recommended, especially on weekend nights. Arugula’s cozy 58 seats can fill quickly. Call (860) 561-4888. They’re closed only on Mondays.

Parking is EASY and free or cheap! – Bring in your parking stub and your check will be credited up to $5.00 (one credit per table).  Parking is found on the street or right across Farmington Avenue in the affordable Brace Road lot.

Recent reviews of Arugula tell the story… Come experience what Christiane’s customers already know – her food is spectacular, and you will want to return again and again:

“I have gone to this restaurant for over 15 years and never been disappointed. The menu is the perfect size and you can always find something to enjoy. All the plates are unique and delicious.”

“…the size of the restaurant adds to the intimacy…”

“…The service was excellent. Our waiter was knowledgeable, friendly, and attentive without being intrusive…”

“…feels as though you’ve landed in a wonderful Mediterranean trattoria, where the servers are friendly, the food is delicious, well-prepared, homey, and affordable, and the staff is relaxed about letting you linger with your friends over your bottle of wine or coffees.”

Author: Jeff Lovanio

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