Part of your spring bucket list should include a stop at an outdoor restaurant in a park. There aren’t many of those, but one place is the Pond House Cafe in West Hartford.

The Pond House Cafe during the week does a prix fix only dinner that requires a special reservation for.

Since it changes seasonally, we went for lunch to get a better feel for their ‘base’ food.

Fried calamari

The fried calamari is interesting.

The calamari chunks are really big, with a nice spice to it.

There are vegetables strewn throughout (jalapenos, tomatoes, I even think some squash).

It is served with no additional sauce than what you see underneath; there just isn’t enough sauce.

So the dish is really about the flavor of the calamari.

Which is fine, because the calamari is well seasoned and great to get.

The Rating: Fried Calamari


Veal Osso Bucco with Risotto Milanese

The veal is fine.

It is cooked nicely, a bit over salter, but overall very nice.

The risotto is better, however.

The risotto is exceptionally cheesy, and with the earthy taste from the osso bucco sauce comes together wonderfully.

Overall, everything has good flavor here.

The Rating: Veal Osso Bucco


Shortrib Pasta

The mushrooms and pasta are excellent.

There is no shortage of earthy flavors here.

The pasta tastes homemade, and the mushrooms and sauce give the flavors of a wonderful beef stew.

The beef is tough, which is too bad, and the chunks are almost too big.

However, that doesn’t detract from the earthy rich flavor.

Very good overall.

The Rating: Short Rib Pasta


Chocolate Lava cake


This dessert was a complete letdown after a very good meal.

The cake is almost like unsweetened cocoa powder.

Which wouldn’t be overly problematic with the gooey center of a Chocolate Lava cake, except the center was almost unsweetened too.

Not good at all.

The Rating: Chocolate Lava Cake


Creme Brulee

Thankfully, the lava cake debacle was not an indictment of all desserts.

The Creme Brulee is nice.

It’s not vanilla bean, or if it is the beans are a very small part.

But it’s creme brulee!

The custard is good, and the toasted sugar on top is there.

Hard to miss on this one.

The Rating: Creme Brulee


Recommendation: The Pond House seems to have very good food. It’s not a place for fine dining, but aside from one misstep with the chocolate lava cake, everything was good or very good.

This is definitely a place to go eat outdoors during the springtime, right now, as flowers are budding.

Pond House Cafe

Address: 1555 Asylum Ave, West Hartford, CT 06117
Hours: Sunday 9:30am to 2:30pm
Monday and Tuesday Closed
Wednesday through Saturday 11:30am to 3:30pm