29 Best Restaurants in Albany and Central New York, New York

Brown's Brewing Company

$ Fodor's choice

The brewpub occupies a circa-1850 riverside warehouse. In warm weather, locals linger on the outdoor deck overlooking the Hudson; inside, exposed-brick walls set off local memorabilia, antiques, and old photos. A slew of beers is concocted on-site, including the smooth oatmeal stout, which won a gold medal at the World Beer Cup. The pub menu has been expanded and offers classics like burgers as well as sophisticated seafood dishes.


$ Fodor's choice

Locals love this place and have savored its Italian specialties since 1943. Start with the clams in wine, butter, oil, and garlic, or a hot antipasto. For a main course, consider the braciola, a longtime favorite; the tender rolls of beef are filled with sausage and baked in meat sauce. The restaurant is part of Schenectady's emerging Little Italy community on North Jay Street.


$$$ Fodor's choice

Utica's Italian community has gathered for years at Delmonico's, which bills itself as a steak house but really dishes up some of the region's most authentic Italian food. For an appetizer, try some Utica greens—sturdy greens cooked with olive oil, hot and sweet peppers, ham, and cheese. Rachel Ray did, and loved them so much she devoted a show to them. If you're not too full from the huge portions, sample the chicken Sinatra, which is simmered with hot peppers, mozzarella, and mushrooms. A waitress in pinstripes and a fedora will bring your food and offer you a selection from a long and tasty wine list.

Recommended Fodor's Video

Raindancer Steak Parlour

$$$ Fodor's choice

Everyone knows this big, busy restaurant 3 mi north of Amsterdam—including Hillary Clinton, who lunched here during her 1999 Senate campaign. Dining is casual, in cozy booths or at tables in wood-paneled nooks. Specialties include beef-and-seafood combo plates, such as salmon and filet mignon or Alaskan king crab and prime rib. Help yourself at the soup-and-salad bar.


$$$ Fodor's choice

At this Italian restaurant you can enjoy an intimate meal or just sip cocktails at the bar and listen to live piano music. The walls are covered with photographs of celebrities who have visited since the place opened in 1908. The menu offers pasta and seafood dishes as well as traditional preparations like manicotti and chicken cacciatore. The fried meatballs (greasy and rich as they are) are a popular appetizer. The cocktails are imaginative and generally well mixed. Try the Savoy Manhattan for a smooth, refreshing twist on an upstate favorite. The bar, separate from the dining room, has intimate seating.

Sushi Thai Garden

$$ Fodor's choice

A hostess dressed in a kimono is likely to greet you at this bright and airy restaurant with pale wood furnishings. A sushi bar serves a large selection of sushi and sashimi combinations; entrées include teriyaki, tempura, and kutsu dishes as well as Thai curries and noodles. Try the ika yaki (grilled squid in teriyaki sauce) or the fried soft-shell crab for a truly delicious indulgence.


$$$$ Fodor's choice

This intimate restaurant draws mostly business executives who come to savor curry and coconut-milk dishes. The menu, a blend of Indonesian and Continental fare, includes winners such as pistachio-crusted chicken breast in Madeira sauce and rack of lamb. If you want an experience to savor and linger over, order the Rijstaffel, a five-course Indonesian-style meal that includes appetizer, soup, salad, entrées, and condiments. For dessert consider the Kentucky bourbon nut pie. The wine list, covering more than 700 bottles, has been lauded by Wine Spectator.

Beardslee Castle


Thanks to the meticulous owners, you'd never know that this 1860 castle, now a fine American restaurant, had survived fires and years of abandonment. The place is said to be inhabited by ghosts, and that's not hard to imagine. Stone archways separate the five cozy dining rooms, where white cloths cover the tables. The food doesn't detract from the haunting ambience. Many entrées come grilled, such as pork loin with compote or honey-glazed duck with fig relish. Meat-free dishes like terrine of grilled vegetables also appear on the menu. For a really spooky treat, have a drink in the dungeon, located in the castle's basement. The restaurant is 6 mi east of the center of Little Falls.

Café Capriccioban


A favorite of local politicos, this intimate, wood-paneled eatery serves northern Italian and Mediterranean food. The breads and pastas are made on-site, and you can't miss with the risotto of the day.

Dominique's Chesterfield Restaurant


This family restaurant, a favorite for two decades, occupies a brick storefront with tin ceilings and Tiffany lamps. The kitchen serves traditional Italian dishes as well as local specialties such as chicken "riggies" (bite-size chunks of chicken breast tossed with pasta, hot and sweet peppers, cheese, and onions). Sip a selection from the nice wine and cognac list.



The menu of this tiny basement eatery offers a smattering of inexpensive dishes from Thailand, Mexico, England, Italy, and the Middle East. There's counter service only and just a few tables. Top a quick chimichanga with fresh fixings from the salsa bar.



Since 1938 this casual restaurant has been serving such Southern favorites as fried chicken, ribs, pork chops, and jambalaya—a warm welcome to those born south of the Mason-Dixon. Meals include homemade biscuits and corn bread and a choice of sides, including macaroni and cheese and sweet potatoes. In nice weather you can eat on the courtyard patio. Inside, tables—in checkered cloths—crowd together; overhead fans and a banging screen door keep the air circulating. The place does not take reservations in July and August; you just show up and wait.

Jack's Oyster House


For great seafood, this Albany establishment with tiled floors, white tablecloths, dark wood, and polite service is the place to go. Two menus are offered at dinner: one has dishes from 1913, the year Jack's opened, and the other lists more-contemporary preparations. Oysters, steak, and prime rib are regular features. Signature dishes from the 1913 menu include calves' liver sautéed with bacon, and Jack's Seafood Grille, which contains scallops, shrimp, and salmon.

Lake Front Restaurant


You can watch life on the lake go by from this shipshape casual dockside restaurant that's part of a motel complex. Prime rib is a favorite here, and seafood au gratin—lobster, shrimp, and scallops smothered in a white wine–cream sauce and cheddar cheese—is rich. The food is good, but the view is the real reason diners head here.

Lo Porto's


Veal Scorsese, one of the more popular entrées at this northern Italian restaurant, is named for Martin Scorsese, who dined here regularly while directing The Age of Innocence. The dish pairs wafer-thin pieces of veal with mushrooms, artichoke hearts, prosciutto, and capers, all covered with cooked tomatoes. Fresh seafood and pasta dishes are also good choices.

85 4th St., Troy, New York, 12180, USA
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun., Credit cards accepted



Young professionals, important legislators, and out-of-towners flock here to eat northern and southern Italian fare in a dining room where casual clothes mix easily with jackets and ties. Lombardo's is known for veal, pasta, and seafood dishes, and has some of the best waiters in the region. The lengthy menu manages to be a mix of sophistication and comfort food. The shrimp wrapped in savory prosciutto and silky mozzarella and baked in tomatoes is a winner.



Whether you're looking for drinks or an interesting meal, this always-crowded spot is the place to see and be seen in Albany. The innovative chef has put together a menu that ranges from Kobe steaks to Peking duck breast to tandoori pork tenderloin. Appetizers include yellowfin tuna and fig salad.



The restaurant is part of the Beeches, an estate with a lovely manor house. The place serves top-quality Continental fare that's full of flavor and attractively presented. Rack of pork, rarely encountered on menus in these parts, is marinated and slow roasted so that it melts in your mouth. Salmon steaks are broiled and dressed with the restaurant's tasty dill sauce. The dining room, with a large fireplace and hand-painted ceiling panels, exudes 1920s style. The chandelier, crafted by Raulli Ironworks of Rome, is original.

Peter Pause


Shirt-and-tie wearers mix with jeans-and-sneakers types at this tiny Italian diner across the street from Union College. The best seats are at the counter, where you can watch the soup simmer and smell the tomato sauce. Melt-in-your-mouth eggplant parmigiana sandwiches are the specialty. Daily pasta dishes might include spaghetti, ravioli, or linguine with red or white clam sauce. On a cold day, warm up with a bowl of stracciatelli (a soup made with eggs, semolina, and cheese).

535 Nott St., Schenectady, New York, 12308, USA
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun., No credit cards

PJ's Saratoga Style Bar-B-Q


You can smell the smoke pit for miles before you pass this '50s-style drive-in. Seating at this seasonal local favorite just south of Spa State Park on U.S. 9 is either under a roof shared with the kitchen and order counter or at outdoor picnic tables; a small section has table service. Chicken, ribs, and beef brisket are the specialties, but you can come just to have ice cream, listen to the DJ spinning oldies, and gaze at the classic cars that congregate in the lot on Saturday night.

Prime at Saratoga National


With high ceilings, draped tables, and mahogany-stained paneling, this restaurant in the Saratoga National Golf Club's Victorian-style clubhouse exudes quiet elegance. The food lives up to the decor. The menu might include Russian caviar, Australian rack of lamb, or seared ahi tuna. A lounge with a granite-and-wood bar and an outdoor terrace are more-casual dining options.



Savory and dessert crepes are the focus at this small eatery furnished with plain wooden tables and chairs. Side orders of Belgian-style frites (fries) come in paper cones sized for an individual or a table of diners, and may include several kinds of dipping sauce. The Mamma Mia crepe wraps up Italian sausage with sweet and spicy peppers—a ubiquitous ingredient in upstate.

River Street Café


On your way upstairs to the dining room, you pass the chef working in an exposed kitchen. The comfortable brick-and-mahogany room overlooks the Troy marina on the Hudson River. The eclectic menu changes frequently to reflect the seasonal ingredients available and incorporates Asian, American, Mediterranean, and other flavors. The menu changes often, but some recent offerings included flat-iron steak and duck with a sauce of port, balsamic vinegar, and blackberries. A caveat: the service can be slow.

429 River St., Troy, New York, 12180, USA
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: Closed Sun.--Mon., Credit cards accepted



The 1930s art-deco design at this restaurant on a narrow side street includes a black-and-white tile floor and equestrian art. Try the specialty, soft-shell crab (in season), or Maryland crab cakes, swordfish, or steaks. The restaurant also has a wine-by-the-glass menu that stretches for several pages, and tantalizing appetizers like the plate of smoked meats and olives. Reservations are not accepted in August.

The American


The handsome Greek-revival building, built in the mid-1800s, graces Main Street with its full-facade, two-tier porch. In the restaurant, a coffered ceiling, hardwood floors, painted wood chairs, and cloth-draped tables create a warm atmosphere. The contemporary American and Continental fare relies on its own richness, not gimmicks. The terrace has umbrella-shaded tables for warm-weather dining.

The Phoenician


Traditional Middle Eastern cuisine is the specialty of this small restaurant just outside Utica. Stuffed grape leaves, tabbouleh, and hummus with pita bread are among the appetizers. Kebabs of marinated and grilled lamb, pork, beef, and chicken are the most popular entrée. Also on the menu are kafta (skewered meatballs of finely ground beef and lamb), kibbi (raw, ground spiced lamb), stuffed cabbage, and several vegetarian dishes. A small patio offers outdoor dining.

Village Restaurant


Locals craving a Spanish omelet, baked ziti, and other comfort food head for this downtown diner just off Interstate 90. Everything is made from scratch, and seasonal decorations brighten the decor.

59 Church St., Canajoharie, New York, 13317, USA
Restaurants Details
Rate Includes: No credit cards

Wheat Fields


You can see fettuccine, lasagna, and other pastas squeezing out of the pasta machine in the front window of this main-street restaurant. Traditional Italian dishes share menu space with more creative fare. Smoked salmon, caviar, and scallions adorn angel-hair pasta in Alfredo sauce; the same sauce dresses breaded breast of chicken filled with asparagus mousse and served with tomato-tinted pasta. For a truly regional experience, try the handmade gnocchi—pasta made of potatoes and called "hats" in some parts. There are 24 wines by the glass.

Wine Bar


A sealed cigar room makes this one of the few restaurants in New York where you can still smoke. The lamb chops and the ahi tuna are two of the more popular items on the mostly American menu; small plates, with smaller prices, also are available. More than 40 wines are offered by the glass, but the bar pours other libations, too. Live musicians play on the weekends.