Ithaca & Finger Lakes [moved from Mid Atlantic board]
I've lived in Ithaca, NY for 35+ years & am a former restaurateur & am presently a food & wine educator, & hardcore foodie. Just now my 1st ever visit to check out local chowhound recs.
Frankly, I'm appalled. Some of the places mentioned are "joints," i.e. the profit motive is queeen & king & quality way down on the list. I'd rather keep it positive but I have to set the record straight. It'd be like a visitor to NYC going to a franchise/fast food resto (not something I ever do) instead of trying some of the myriad, authentic dining options there.
My foodie friends & I have had consistently good experiences at, in no particular order, the many local Asian restos (most of which don't have alcoholic bev licenses so BYO is the way to go); Just a Taste; Carriage House Cafe (likely the area's best bread); Pangea (best food in the area?); Simply Red Bistro in nearby Trumansburg; & Maxie's; & John Thomas Steakhouse(yes, that's really its name). I've had excellent experiences at, a bit further afield, Dano's Heurige, & have reliably heard great things about the Stonecat Cafe.
9 months a year we have a world class farmers' market (April-Dec.) that offers, among other things, some very good ready-to-eats (Saturdays & during warmer months also Tuesdays, Thursdays, Sundays).
-- Abby Nash, chowhound
Thanx 4 your reply & appreciative words. I was aware the posts were old, but lacking more current posts, I was concerned visitors to Ithaca area would still look for the recommended places that are still extant. I believe this is a lose-lose situation for both the diners & the operations I suggested, who so much more deserve their business.
It's been a long time since I've been there, but a
couple of recommendations come to mind. In Ithaca,
there is a restaurant called Joe's, it is Italian and
yummy, there is a Little Joe's in Collegetown, but I
recommend going to the original source. A favorite
place in Skaneatlas (it's been awhile so I've
forgotten how to spell it correctly!) is Doug's Fish
Fry. Also, if you are driving through Cortland on
Rte. 81, get off at the exit for Rte. 281 and take a
right out of the exit and stop at the first gas
station or market and ask if Bob's Barbecue is still
around. During the daytime in the summer, they
barbecue chicken all day long. It is one of my
fondest memories. I hope it is still there.
p.s. are you going on a day trip from nyc? you
realize that it is about 4 to 5 hours from here don't
re: Sandy Paik
re: Frank Language
re: Sandy Paik
Thanks for the tips Sandy & Margaret. I was getting
this info for my brother (who's doing the day trip from
Syracuse) who just wrote me:
"I tried a "Janet" method just now. I got a bunch of
B&B's in the Finger Lakes region and called them for a
recommendation. After calling & getting a few, I got
this woman who was a foodie type. I mentioned the
other suggestions and she had specific gripes with
them. She told me the Knapp winery & rest. has a great
chef this year and you can sit outside overlooking the
We'll have to wait until Monday to hear how well the
the cold calling method worked. I'll let you know!
re: Janet Traub
Based on my calls to several B&B owners in the Finger
Lakes last Friday, the general rule on places there
seemed to be: the better the view, the worse the food.
So I ended up in Ithaca at the Heights Cafe on Hanshaw
Rd (take Rt 13 north from town and take Triphammer Rd
exit; make right & go about 1 mile). It was in a
strip mall, but was actually a very nice place. Chef
owner James is a CIA grad, and does American with a
Mediterranean flavor. Food was very good with large
portions (you know it's upstate when the entrees
all come with a large salad!).
The B&B chowhounds also liked the 3 Seasons restaurant
at the Knapp Winery on Rt 89 on Cayuga Lake.
re: Tom Traub
FOR FUTURE REFERENCE:
a couple of suggestions...
1) Just a Taste -- a tapas bar on The Commons in
Ithaca...good wine and great tapas...good sandwiches
and other larger food, too...
2) Coyote Loco -- on East Hill in Ithaca...incredible
margaritas and good Mexican food
3) Ruloff's -- in Collegetown in Ithaca...good pub
food...right in the heart of the Cornell action...
4) Chapter House -- in lower Collegetown in
Ithaca...take this suggestion only if you're more
interested in drink than food...GREAT beers...wonderful
old-school atmosphere...passable pizza and sandwiches.
re: Sandy Paik