Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Favorite Albany Restaurants?


docsconz
 Share

Recommended Posts

I get down there so infrequently even though it is only an hour from where I live. What are some current favoriites in or just outside of Albany? How about favorites in differrent genres?

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I get down there so infrequently even though it is only an hour from where I live. What are some current favoriites in or just outside of Albany? How about favorites in differrent genres?

We love El Mariachi, serving the best Mexican food in upstate New York. There are two of them; we usually go to the one on the corner of Central Ave. and Dove, as it's so nice to walk around the neighborhood of brownstones between there and Washington Park. The chefs at El Mariachi are from Puebla (see Anthony Bourdan's chapter in A Cook's Tour entitled "Where Cooks Come From" - it's Puebla). This means you'll get great mole poblano there. Enjoy!

Lonnie

"It is better to ask some of the questions than to know all of the answers." --James Thurber

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I had dinner once in Albany last winter on my way back from a ski trip. I can't really say much in terms of where to go but more on where not to go. We ate in a French/Continental (that is how it was described to us) restaurant called La Serre, which according to the locals is one of Albany's classier dining spots. It was horrendous: thick and salty sauces everywhere, overcooked meats and fish, mushy and tasteless vegetables.

Having said this, since I pass through the area somewhat frequently whenever I decide to hit the NY or VT slopes, I will be following other members' responses with interest.

"A chicken is just an egg's way of making another egg." Samuel Butler
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to try this (El Mariachi) as I am starving for good Mexican up here.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
I have to try this (El Mariachi) as I am starving for good Mexican up here.

I'm not very knowledgable about Mexican food, but after hearing raves from several friends, I ate there tonight and really enjoyed it. The owner told me they are opening another place near Saratoga in about two weeks.... right off Northway (I-87) Exit 13N. I hope they don't spread themselves too thin.

By the way, this is my first post. I love eGullet.

Ilene

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to try this (El Mariachi) as I am starving for good Mexican up here.

I'm not very knowledgable about Mexican food, but after hearing raves from several friends, I ate there tonight and really enjoyed it. The owner told me they are opening another place near Saratoga in about two weeks.... right off Northway (I-87) Exit 13N. I hope they don't spread themselves too thin.

By the way, this is my first post. I love eGullet.

Welcome to eGullet !

I live in the capital region and am often disappointed with many of the restaurants in the area but am looking forward to trying El Mariachi.

Thank you for your post.

Robert R

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm from albany...

if you're looking for vegitarian:

Honest Weight Food Co-op for lunch

for burritos the size of your arm:

Bombers on Lark

for thai:

Sukothai on lark

High Class Italian:

Cafe Cappricio

Where everyone goes at least once in their life:

Jack's Oyster on state st.

Deadheads are kinda like people who like licorice. Not everybody likes licorice, but people who like licorice, *really* like licorice!

-Jerry Garcia

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to try this (El Mariachi) as I am starving for good Mexican up here.

I'm not very knowledgable about Mexican food, but after hearing raves from several friends, I ate there tonight and really enjoyed it. The owner told me they are opening another place near Saratoga in about two weeks.... right off Northway (I-87) Exit 13N. I hope they don't spread themselves too thin.

By the way, this is my first post. I love eGullet.

This is exciting! I am looking forward to trying it.

Welcome to eGullet!

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to try this (El Mariachi) as I am starving for good Mexican up here.

I'm not very knowledgable about Mexican food, but after hearing raves from several friends, I ate there tonight and really enjoyed it. The owner told me they are opening another place near Saratoga in about two weeks.... right off Northway (I-87) Exit 13N. I hope they don't spread themselves too thin.

By the way, this is my first post. I love eGullet.

This is exciting! I am looking forward to trying it.

Welcome to eGullet!

My first post - but I've been "lurking" for about two weeks now.

Im pretty new to the area - moved here about a year ago from Miami, and wanted to contribute my 2 cents.

I've enjoyed el Mariachi a great deal - I prefer the one on Hamilton, rather than the one on Washington. I usually get the same item - enchiladas with mole. Their mole is very complex and they do a terrific job at it. The margaritas are also divine. Of course, if I have the time, (and budget), I'd prefer to travel to Hudson NY and go to Mexican Radio. I think this would be a great place for our local group to meet - terrific food and outstanding drinks.

As far as other restaurants in the area, casa mia is "decent" italian food, but not anywhere near cafe cappricio. If you are looking for outstanding sushi, I'd recommend none other than Yoshi's in Latham. The place is certainly nothing great to look at, but the sushi is second to none. If you'd like to try something low key (i.e., inexpensive), I'd recommend Mamoun's falafel on Washington & Lark (do NOT park in the lot next door).

Of course Im still waiting to try out 677 Prime on Broadway - the new steakhouse in town, but recently had occasion to visit Jack's for the first time two weeks ago. I went for lunch, and although the meal was decent, it wasnt anything exceptional. I will have to try it again for dinner.

I hope this helps. I look forward to your review of el Mariachi.

--Chirag

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to try this (El Mariachi) as I am starving for good Mexican up here.

I'm not very knowledgable about Mexican food, but after hearing raves from several friends, I ate there tonight and really enjoyed it. The owner told me they are opening another place near Saratoga in about two weeks.... right off Northway (I-87) Exit 13N. I hope they don't spread themselves too thin.

By the way, this is my first post. I love eGullet.

This is exciting! I am looking forward to trying it.

Welcome to eGullet!

My first post - but I've been "lurking" for about two weeks now.

Im pretty new to the area - moved here about a year ago from Miami, and wanted to contribute my 2 cents.

I've enjoyed el Mariachi a great deal - I prefer the one on Hamilton, rather than the one on Washington. I usually get the same item - enchiladas with mole. Their mole is very complex and they do a terrific job at it. The margaritas are also divine. Of course, if I have the time, (and budget), I'd prefer to travel to Hudson NY and go to Mexican Radio. I think this would be a great place for our local group to meet - terrific food and outstanding drinks.

As far as other restaurants in the area, casa mia is "decent" italian food, but not anywhere near cafe cappricio. If you are looking for outstanding sushi, I'd recommend none other than Yoshi's in Latham. The place is certainly nothing great to look at, but the sushi is second to none. If you'd like to try something low key (i.e., inexpensive), I'd recommend Mamoun's falafel on Washington & Lark (do NOT park in the lot next door).

Of course Im still waiting to try out 677 Prime on Broadway - the new steakhouse in town, but recently had occasion to visit Jack's for the first time two weeks ago. I went for lunch, and although the meal was decent, it wasnt anything exceptional. I will have to try it again for dinner.

I hope this helps. I look forward to your review of el Mariachi.

--Chirag

Appreciate your input. welcome to eGullet! By the way I haven't been to any of these places. I have rare occasion to descend on Albany. Nevertheless, when I do it is good to have an idea of what is available.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have to add Claytons, which is on the other side of the dreded parking lot from Mamouns(god, I miss that place)... but, give yourself a bit of time and order the oxtail stew...

and thank you for making me so homesick :)

Deadheads are kinda like people who like licorice. Not everybody likes licorice, but people who like licorice, *really* like licorice!

-Jerry Garcia

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sad to say, but for the capital city of New York, Albany does not have much to offer in the way of great dining experiences. The best I have found is the Northern Italian cuisine served in the comfortable bistro-like setting of Cafe Capriccio. This restaurant is consistently rated highly and was just voted "Best Restaurant" in the Metroland newspaper's "Best of the Capital Region 2005":

http://www.metroland.net/guides/2005_best_...est_of_food.htm

This link provides a list of the Metroland staff members' favorite restaurants, some of which were mentioned above, e.g., El Mariachi II is listed as "Best Mexican."

Hope this helps docsconz. I think that you will have better luck in Paris than Albany!

"Some ladies smoke too much and some ladies drink too much and some ladies pray too much, but all ladies think that they weigh too much."

From a poem by Ogden Nash - Curl Up and Diet

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sad to say, but for the capital city of New York, Albany does not have much to offer in the way of great dining experiences.  The best I have found is the Northern Italian cuisine served in the comfortable bistro-like setting of Cafe Capriccio.  This restaurant is consistently rated highly and was just voted "Best Restaurant" in the Metroland newspaper's "Best of the Capital Region 2005":

  http://www.metroland.net/guides/2005_best_...est_of_food.htm

This link provides a list of the Metroland staff members' favorite restaurants, some of which were mentioned above, e.g., El Mariachi II is listed as "Best Mexican."

Hope this helps docsconz.  I think that you will have better luck in Paris than Albany!

Thanks for the link, Luna Calvados. Interesting choices.

Best Restaurant Worth a Drive (North)

Friends Lake Inn

Friends Lake Road, Chestertown

Such promise of friendship! Yet that’s exactly what you find here, where hosts Sharon and Greg Taylor have fashioned a restaurant that offers imaginative American fare in a lovely setting (with equally lovely accommodations) with a wine cellar second to none (see also under “Best Wine List”).

At one time I would have agreed with this assessment, but no longer. First of all, the Inn was sold just over a year ago by the Taylors. While the food may still be good (I was unimpressed my last visit there this past November), it is clearly outshone by The Inn at Erlowest and maybe a couple of others.

I should hope that I'll have better luck in Paris! :shock::raz::smile:

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Concur about Yoshi's. Might also want to consider Saso's for their noodles. Saso's Noodle House

Mr. Bauman -

Thanks for the recommendation about Saso's - I had a great experience there earlier this week.

First, I want to add that word is getting out about Yoshi's - it used to be that you could walk in, on just about any day of the week, and pull up a seat either at the Sushi bar or a table. I went there yesterday (Friday), and waited nearly 20 minutes for a seat at the bar, then another 30 min. to receive my food. Of course, this is a small price to pay for the great food. Yoshi's wife was a gracious host to all those who waited, passing out edamame and seaweed salad, to help break up the wait.

Like I mentioned, I stopped by Saso's earlier thsi week. I had a delicious ramen soup. The broth was largely reminiscent of a pho: clear and fragrant with a subtle blend of star anise seed, fennel seed, stock, onion, and pepper. I think the noodles were a bit overcooked, at least for my tastes, but the dish was otherwise very satisfying. I will come back again to try out the sushi dishes.

- Chirag

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Doc,

I am a newcomer to the board and some of my favorites in this area would be

Indian - Sitar's on Central Ave. I have heard good things about Karavelli's in Latham but haven't been.

Mexican - El Mariachi is better with the more authentic Mexican, and El Loco more tex-mex style

Italian - Paolo Lombardi's in Wyanaskill has been my favorite Italian place for a longtime. Not to be confused with Lombardi's in Downtown Albany, which is always good but I haven't been in a longtime. Others worth a visit are LoPorto's in Troy, Cafe Italia in Albany, Scotti's in Schenectady (Neighborhood type).

Steak - The Bear's in Duanesburg

And if you are going south of here - New World Home Cooking in Saugerties/ Woodstock is my favorite place in Upstate. Great food, very casual, allow corkage and Ric Orlando is a very nice guy.

Just thought I would add my 2 cents

Chris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Doc,

I am a newcomer to the board and some of my favorites in this area would be

Indian - Sitar's on Central Ave.  I have heard good things about Karavelli's in Latham but haven't been. 

Mexican - El Mariachi is better with the more authentic Mexican, and El Loco more tex-mex style

Italian - Paolo Lombardi's in Wyanaskill has been my favorite Italian place for a longtime.  Not to be confused with Lombardi's in Downtown Albany, which is always good but I haven't been in a longtime.  Others worth a visit are LoPorto's in Troy, Cafe Italia in Albany, Scotti's in Schenectady (Neighborhood type). 

Steak - The Bear's in Duanesburg

And if you are going south of here - New World Home Cooking in Saugerties/ Woodstock is my favorite place in Upstate.  Great food, very casual, allow corkage and Ric Orlando is a very nice guy.

Just thought I would add my 2 cents

Chris

Chris, Welcome to eGullet! I have heard particularly good things about the steaks at The Bears, but haven't yet been.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 year later...
Karavalli is ok. I've only had the buffet 3 times. I've had much better Indian food in Boston and NYC. I don't know if I'd go for dinner. I'n not a fan of Latham.  ....

We spent Saturday with our son, the CIA student, and his chef/mentor, Chef Eric Erway, a CIA grad who is still teaching at the Job Corps in Oneonta. The only Albany restaurant Eric mentioned as worth visiting was Shalimar, which we'd visited before and loved, so we just went back. The owner grinds all his own spices and insists on fresh ingredients. We asked him where we should eat, and he said that the only other restaurant he goes to in Albany is Bellini's, in Slingerlands or in Clifton Park, because the ingredients are all fresh. We tried out the one in Slingerlands. The food was very good, service was impeccable and atmosphere just right (read: correct lighting!). They were even serving a nice Ruffino Classico by the glass. However, nothing actually got me very excited. Tasty, done right, but not creative. Perhaps we happened to miss the creative dishes. The bread was exceptionally good - a slightly chewy, slightly crumbly texture that absorbed the most delicious warmed olive oil mixture - some cheese and a hint of herbs. But if I'm waxing eloquent about the bread, you know how impressed I was with the chicken and shrimp dish (Napolitan). The shrimp was, to be sure, done correctly - so very difficult to find upstate. But the sauce was something I could have made myself.

While eating breakfast at the Miss Albany Diner (the most creative breakfasts in upstate, IMHO - omelet with tapenade and pesto, for example), we sat next to an Albany foodie who said the best place was Cafe Capriccio on Grand St. We probably should have taken his recommendation! It was "chosen by Metroland as the Capital area's best Restaurant again in 2005." We'll be back.

Coffee at Professor Java's was pretty good and since you can get a variety of eggy sandwiches there served with fresh fruit, it's pretty close to my usually unattainable ideal: a great breakfast with great coffee. The barista confessed that he's as appalled by the two paintings on the wall as we were, saying they are favorites of the owner and have been up there for over eleven years and would we please tell him how awful they are? (I went one better and wrote an email with great detail.)

So... where do you get great coffee and/or a great breakfast in Albany? We did do coffee and an excellent fresh apple pie at Daily Grind on Lark. The espresso was really delightful, bright and somewhat fruity, as opposed to the mud one usually finds.

Ah yes... apparently there's a CMC at Jack's Oyster House. The menu looks enticing and not as expensive as I expected. Is this as good as it looks?

Lonnie

"It is better to ask some of the questions than to know all of the answers." --James Thurber

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 8 months later...

I'm bumping the thread to get some extra rec's... I am very, very excited to try Cafe Capriccio solely for the fact that they have a squid ink pasta on the menu right now.

Anything else crop up in Albany or the area? My girlfriend is doing research at RPI and we could use some nice places with interesting food. We're very spoiled from living in North Jersey and she's only up for the summer.

"Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside" -Mark Twain

"Video games are bad for you? That's what they said about rock 'n roll." -Shigeru Miyamoto, creator of The Legend of Zelda, circa 1990

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If you go to Capriccio, consider trying the eggplant with four cheeses; definitely not your usual eggplant parm. Since your girlfriend is at RPI, try to get to the Troy Farmers Market on Saturday mornings-it's down by the river by the municipal dock-just south of the Route 7 bridge. Go see Mike Gordon at Thunder Mountain Curry- pretty amazing Indian/Thai food. He's a CIA grad and has lived/studied/cooked in Asia and Africa. Some Indian & Pakistani students & their families have been initially skeptical about this American guy cooking "their" food, but once they try it, they've been blown away. Lots of other great vendors as well-try Mrs. London's bread/pastries.

Mark A. Bauman

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...
Karavalli is ok. I've only had the buffet 3 times. I've had much better Indian food in Boston and NYC. I don't know if I'd go for dinner. I'n not a fan of Latham.  ....

We spent Saturday with our son, the CIA student, and his chef/mentor, Chef Eric Erway, a CIA grad who is still teaching at the Job Corps in Oneonta. The only Albany restaurant Eric mentioned as worth visiting was Shalimar, which we'd visited before and loved, so we just went back. The owner grinds all his own spices and insists on fresh ingredients. We asked him where we should eat, and he said that the only other restaurant he goes to in Albany is Bellini's, in Slingerlands or in Clifton Park, because the ingredients are all fresh. We tried out the one in Slingerlands. The food was very good, service was impeccable and atmosphere just right (read: correct lighting!). They were even serving a nice Ruffino Classico by the glass. However, nothing actually got me very excited. Tasty, done right, but not creative. Perhaps we happened to miss the creative dishes. The bread was exceptionally good - a slightly chewy, slightly crumbly texture that absorbed the most delicious warmed olive oil mixture - some cheese and a hint of herbs. But if I'm waxing eloquent about the bread, you know how impressed I was with the chicken and shrimp dish (Napolitan). The shrimp was, to be sure, done correctly - so very difficult to find upstate. But the sauce was something I could have made myself.

While eating breakfast at the Miss Albany Diner (the most creative breakfasts in upstate, IMHO - omelet with tapenade and pesto, for example), we sat next to an Albany foodie who said the best place was Cafe Capriccio on Grand St. We probably should have taken his recommendation! It was "chosen by Metroland as the Capital area's best Restaurant again in 2005." We'll be back.

Coffee at Professor Java's was pretty good and since you can get a variety of eggy sandwiches there served with fresh fruit, it's pretty close to my usually unattainable ideal: a great breakfast with great coffee. The barista confessed that he's as appalled by the two paintings on the wall as we were, saying they are favorites of the owner and have been up there for over eleven years and would we please tell him how awful they are? (I went one better and wrote an email with great detail.)

So... where do you get great coffee and/or a great breakfast in Albany? We did do coffee and an excellent fresh apple pie at Daily Grind on Lark. The espresso was really delightful, bright and somewhat fruity, as opposed to the mud one usually finds.

Ah yes... apparently there's a CMC at Jack's Oyster House. The menu looks enticing and not as expensive as I expected. Is this as good as it looks?

Lonnie

Dear Lonnie...In August a friend and I are driving up to ALbany from New Jersey to pick up a new puppy and we were trying to figure out where to get a bite to eat before we head back...both Professor Jave and Miss Albany Diner sound in teresting..so I thank you for the recommendation....any others would be welcome... :smile::smile:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...