Not sure if these are all still open but
ALADDIN'S NATURAL EATERY, 8 Schoen Pl, PITTSFORD, 264-9000. Octopus salad, hummus.
ABYSSINIA RESTAURANT, 80 University Av, 262-3910.
EMPIRE BREWING COMPANY, 300 State St, 454-2337.
INDIA HOUSE, 999 Clinton Av S, 244-9210. Also their vegetarian cafe nearby.
THE KING & I, Henrietta Rd, HENRIETTA, 427-8090, Thai.
POMODORO GRILL & WINE BAR, 1290 University Av, 271-5000, former propeller factory now Italian restaurant.
MEX RESTAURANT (name?), 295 Alexander St, 262-3060; good Sun brunch to 7PM.
SINBAD'S MEDITERRANEAN CUISINE, 719 Park Av, 473-5655.
Also, these are the food snippets from a NY Times article that recently appeared, "36 Hours in Rochester":
Rio Bamba (282 Alexander St; 585-244-8680), an elegant, French-influenced restaurant in a restored 1880 building.
Get a sandwich at the Park and Oxford Cafe and Delicatessen (283 Oxford St; 585-242-8990), or try the imported treats at the Dutch Market (257 Park Ave; 585-271-6110) like pannekoeken (Dutch crepes, $5, plus 50 cents for fillings like apple, pecan, chocolate, bacon and ham) or a bowl of Dutch pea soup ($2.25).
For Asian cuisine, try the excellent dishes at Esan Thai Restaurant (696 Park Ave; 585-271-2030).
[In Pittsford] hop over to Hicks & McCarthy (23 S Main St; 585-586-0938) for hearty dishes in an unpretentious cafe setting. Especially good are the tenderloin dishes, like the cranberry pork tenderloin ($14.95), and the entree-size salads, like the Hampton salmon salad, with wild berries and pecans (also $14.95).
Have lunch at a local legend, Sal's Birdland (two locations: 400 Airpark Dr; 585-328-1620 and 309
Ridge Rd E; 585-544-4171), where you can order anything from a four-piece chicken wing snack
($3.89) to a 100-piece banquet ($52.95), as well as hot dogs, hamburgers and fish. Everything comes
with either the honey-mustard Sal's Sassy Sauce (hot or mild) or Sal's Hot Sauce.
Rochester's claim to culinary fame is the "Garbage Plate" from Nick Tahou's. It's home fries, baked beans, & macaroni salad, topped with two grilled hot dogs and then slathered wtih raw onions, mustard, and a meat-based hot sauce. The downtown Nick's on West Main Street is not a very pleasant place (but it is "classic"). There's another out on Lyell Ave. in near-by Gates. A Garbage Plate will give you heartburn for about 72 hours. But you can say you've done a classic ....
For breakfast, if you are satisfied with bagels, etc. and maybe, at most, a breakfast sandwich, try Spot Coffee on East Avenue. Wonderful setting in an old art deco auto showroom. Usual aray of special coffee drinks at insane prices. A very nice place to sit, chat, read the papers, etc. Scones are great. If you are around on a weekend, go to the Public Market on Saturday. There are 4 or 5 stands serving breakfast, from the sandwich things to plates of eggs, etc. Again, a "classic." Market is lots of fun to wander around, too.
Dinners - Pomodoro (on University) and Brio (on Monroe (the latter in Pittsford)have nice Italian / Med. influenced menus. Rooney's on Henrietta Street and Edwards on South Washington are very upscale and $$ places, both a bit hard to find if you don't know the area, but worth it. Also had a great meal at Legends on Penfield Road (in Penfield !) not too long ago - very ecletic menu that belies the plain-looking exterior of the place.
Another fun place you might want to try is Dinosaur BBQ. I've eaten at the one in Syracuse. They usually have live entertainment which is primarily local blues groups. The BBQ is pretty good for north of the Mason Dixon line and their sauces are nice. Also if I am not mistaken you have a wide variety of beers to choose from. Like the other places mentioned, its not a coat and tie place by any means. In fact the one in Syracuse usually attracts a few of the black leather two wheeler types, but its not a reason to avoid the place since they draw a pretty good general crowd as well.
If you need to know where they are located and their entertainment schedule, hit the net and find their web site.
A local food to try is the "hot chicken". It's by no means a place to go for atmosphere, it's to try a unique local food (half fried chicken with weird sweet/sour sauce). There's one near the airport (I think it's called Sal's chicken, but it's been 20 years since I've been). There's a few others around town too. Just ask and the local's will know.