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A roundup of The Day's recent dining reviews

Rio Salado

8 Coogan Blvd., Mystic

(860) 245-5152

This is authentic, fresh and flavorful Mexican food. And the margaritas are very good, too. Rio Salado is bright and clean, and the employees seem to go out of their way to provide excellent service. We have been twice and left more than satisfied both times.

There’s so much to choose from it’s hard to pick out just one or two recommendations, but certainly try the tacos and the El Jefe ($17) — a burrito in a bowl. Another dish that came highly recommended and lived up to its billing was the Puerco de Cochinita Pibil for $21. A slow-braised pork shoulder with bitter orange and achiote, a nutty and earthy-flavored spice extracted from the seeds of the evergreen, was served with warm tortillas and sweet plantains. It was melt-in-your mouth good and the serving so large it was fit for a king.

— Ann Baldelli

Village Café

190 Flanders Road, Niantic

Phone: (860) 739-3000

My Greek-food go-to has always been the Greek Food Festival at St. Sophia Greek Orthodox Church in New London. Well, I have a new contender.

Village Café scores with its Greek specialties. The gyro here is the favorite one I’ve had. (It’s $12.95 and served with plentiful fries or salad.) And I discovered a new-to-me Greek pastry, bougatsa. It boasts a custard interior, wrapped in phyllo and topped with cinnamon and powder sugar. Sinfully delicious.

The café isn’t just Greek, though. It is primarily breakfast food and sandwiches, all done very well. I highly recommend the grilled three-egg wraps. The Village Wrap ($7.95) was a delicious mix of egg, sausage, spinach and feta.

— Kristina Dorsey

Cinnamon Grill

385 Bank St., New London

(860) 574-9414,

If it's true that Asian food options in America start with Chinese and then cluster between Thai, Vietnamese, Japanese and, ah, others, then it's extra great that Cinnamon Grill's goal is to introduce folks to a variety of perhaps lesser-known options.

The menu focuses on Sri Lankan fare, but includes generous and creative representations from Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, India, Malaysia, and Maldives. And it's very good.

Located in a familiar spot that has previously hosted Gaspar's, Steak Out and 385 Bank Street, Cinnamon Grill is clean and handsome, with very friendly servers and a set up that makes the on-site diner feel comfortable and safe.

While I was dismayed that my otherwise excellent Tamarind Cod ($16.95) had a hidden layer of  mushrooms that weren't in the menu description, there were no other glitches. We also enjoyed a lunch portion of rich Butter Chicken ($8.95 with rice and soup), a Sri Lankan street dish called Kottu ($15.95, beef,chicken or vegetables), and what a friend described as the best chicken wings he's ever had(!!).

By the time you read this, Cinnamon Grill should have a full bar open, and they're also available for takeout and delivery within Groton and New London.

— Rick Koster


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