As someone who lived here for 4 years (and is sadly...well kind of sadly, moving away in a few weeks), here are some of my thoughts on some Rochester dining destinations:
-Siena Bar & Grille: Yes, extremely underrated. Had a fantastic vegetarian stack with smoked mozzarella last time (as well as the grapefruit/fennel/goat cheese salad). One of the better Rochester meals.
-Tastings (Wegmans): I've always wanted to like Tastings, and it's alright, but it never wows me. The meals are always somewhat nice, but nothing knocks off your tastebuds. They do make a nice butternut squash soup in the winter though.
-Mundo Grille: Another eh from me, although I've only been there once. Got an adequate salmon dish that I found to be overpriced for what it was worth.
-Olive Tree: Downtown, Monroe Ave. Get the taramasolata. Best Greek food in the area. I think Aladdin's is also always a safe bet, but not nearly as nice as the Olive Tree.
-Magnolia's (Park Ave): Best Italian-inspired pizza in town. Really really good. Also fabulous Tomato-Artichoke-Cheese soup.
-Table 7: Owned by Mundo Grille. Next to Tapas on St. Paul (which I'll get to in a sec). Surprisingly great. Don't get there too late on a weekend or you'll hit the loud bar-goers. Good calamari salad, great pork tenderloin, best sweet potato fries around.
-Tapas: Good drinks, but it's too loud on the weekends in the dining room and the food has consistently gotten worse (although I guess it's stil good by Rochester standards if you know what I mean). Don't get the calamari salad because the dressing is dripping off of it.
-Park Ave Pub: Stuffy, country club atmosphere, but produces solid food, especially a nice potato-crusted salmon.
-Brio (Pittsford): They recently changed the format of their menu, but I've had some really solid fish dishes there. I'd say go there over Mundo Grille.
-Bamba Bistro: Had a nice trout dish and superb lemon meringue pie.
-James Browns' Place: Great breakfast joint you would never expect. First Taste on Park is also excellent for brunch.
-The Toad: Ok, so maybe not a first-rate dining experience, but they make British food really well (if there is such a thing)...including a fine roast every Sunday at a great price. Awesome "chips" too.
Phew!!! Still planning on hitting up Philip's European and Black & Blue soon. Any thoughts or other suggestions?
You're pretty dialed in as far as a Rochester palate
Tastings has the most potential out of any Rochester resto in the area. The exec chef just left because it was a creatively unfulfilling (Charlie Sacardi was a chef at Bouchon in Napa, and many more places) Was wowed more than once but it was just wasy over their clientele's head. They recently brought in a sushi master to start doing a japanese menu for their next place (Satoshi) and he rocks the house.
Mundo is decent at best but the best shrimp cocktail in town
Olive tree - agree on all counts
Magnolia's - agree again
Table7 - The Chef Josh Bickam was the former exec at Sienna who left and came back. Learned his pizza trade at Pomodoro and moved over there.
Tapas - hasn't had a good chef in years but a nice cocktail spot
Brio - better places at that price point
Park Ave Pub - food is just plain bad current;y as they look for new kitchen talent. One of the best cellar wine lists in town - Ted bargain basements a lot of older meursaults and 95 bordeauxs for what amount to cost nowadays.
Bamba? - shedding kitchen help left and right - fallout from the Rio debacle
Black & Blue - beautiful room with god-awful food. I haven't heard a positive review yet but hopefully they'll get it together