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Mother's Day brunch in Albany-Troy

  • j

Looking for a good place for Sunday brunch in the Albany-Troy-Watervliet area. Given that I live to eat and that I hail from NYC, I tend to have high standards that really haven't been met by any Capital District restaurants (other than some good hamburger and hot dog joints). In looking on the board, I see a lot of ethnic restaurants that would be fine for dinner, but not for brunch (especially for my two elderly grandmothers). Any ideas on a place with good food and service -- nothing too out there cuisinewise -- kind of an Upstate version of Five Points, SQC, Balthazar, etc. Help would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. You might want to consider Trillium at the Sagamore Hotel on Lake George. They have a nice brunch that might meet your NYC standards.

    3 Replies
    1. re: George Lake

      Saratoga Springs has some places that are elegant and close to Albany, although only one that I can think of that rivals NYC for cuisine; Springwater Bistro has a Sunday brunch that would satisfy your refined NYC tastes, which are no doubt stimulated by the fine water we send down there. Both the Gideon Putnam and the Inn at Saratoga have live music with their Sunday brunches, probably better food at the Inn but a lovely visit to the park at the Gideon. All would be nice for your grandparents, and you don't have to tell them how second-rate the food is; they're probably better off not knowing, as we all are.

      1. re: PZ

        PZ, thanks for the water :)

        That's why NYC bagels are the best in the world! And The Jonesville Store in Clifton Park has H&H bagels (I'm an Ess-a-bagel girl myself).


      2. Hey folks, I was born and bred in the Capital District and can trace my local roots back at least six generations, so I have a license to issue criticism on this. I've tried to find good places many times, but it's been slim pickings when I've gone to the places recommended on this board. Call me a snotty New Yorker or whatever, but the simple truth is that there are areas of the country that are cuisine-challenged and Albany-Troy-Schenectady is one of them (and not the only one, by a long shot). As I mentioned, there is some great local comfort food, and luckily, it seems that some decent places with more complex offerings have opened just south of the area in recent years. I'd be happy to be proven wrong and have a few good places to eat of varying levels of formality and creativity when I'm in the area. Maybe some of this defenseness can be channeled into encouraging local restauranteurs to step outside the box a bit.

        1. The Desmond Hotel in Albany has a wonderful Mother's Day brunch too! I recommend it highly.

          Desmond Hotel
          660 Albany Shaker Rd, Albany, NY

          1 Reply
          1. re: ericstranburg

            I cannot recommend the food at the Desmond. There are many better choices in the Capital Region.

          2. I live in BOTH Upstate (where I'm originally from) and NYC. I do not find your post snotty - it's reality. Especially when it comes to ethnic cuisine like Chinese/Thai/sushi/Greek. Very few choices. Hard to find good Mexican in Capital Region or NYC (head West!).

            There are still many places I have not tried (Nicole, My Linh and Van's, Saratoga National, Dale Miller, Ali Baba, etc.). IMO Saratoga Springs has the best dining. Bloomer's in Malta. Downtown Albany and vicinity is becoming a dining destination (Dale Miller opened this week). Tosca in Troy has a brunch.

            If you are willing to go to Scotia The Glen Sanders Mansion may have a brunch. It is on the river which is nice when the weather is nice.


            Metroland is also good for ideas (I don't agree with all their rankings):


            Have a happy mother's day with your "older and better" grandmothers. Please report back on your experience.

            4 Replies
            1. re: financialdistrictresident

              Have you been to Bloomers recently since they lost their chef?

              1. re: jaylhorner

                Yes. It was still good. One time the calamari I adore was a little overbreaded. Other then that no noticeable differences. I seem to recall there was one dish we wouldn't order again, but don't remember what it was now . . .

                Can't wait to get to Dale Miller!

                1. re: financialdistrictresident

                  Was there Friday night checking out the place. Spoke with Dale and things looked great!

            2. New World Bistro Bar will begin serving brunch this Sunday.
              Perhaps that will meet your high standards.

              1. The food at New World Bistro is very good. It's a lively place. Not sure if it's the atmosphere OP might be looking for. A recent thread and a link to their menu:



                Maybe Cafe Madison? I haven't been yet but read good things here . . .


                  1. I grew up in the Albany area but live in NYC and I struggle every time I visit my family. Do not go to the Trillium. I posted on this place a while ago. If you are from the city, you won't like it. Chez Sophie was great last time I tried it. More of what you are used to. I also remember Ogdens being good, but don't know if it is even open anymore. What about L'Ecole? I used to like it when I lived there, but that was many years ago. Most likely you will have to grin and bear it, no matter where you eat. For some reason, the restaurants are just different. (Maybe they try too hard).

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: doughreme

                      Ogdens and L'Ecole have been closed for years.

                      1. re: PSZaas

                        Yikes!! I checked the web, but I guess I didn't look hard enough. Well anyway, those are the types of places I enjoy. Did something else open up in the old Ogden's? I thought we went there?

                      2. re: doughreme

                        doughreme, the dining scene has improved (still limited ethnic choices - Chinese/Thai/Japanese/sushi/Greek). I grew up in the Capital Region and divide my time between NYC and Upstate these days and have been pleasantly surprised. You might want to try Tosca (Troy), Yono's (Albany), New World Home Cooking Bistro (Albany), Bloomers (Malta) and The Wine Bar (Saratoga Springs), etc. if you have not already done so.



                      3. Since Joe's post is from 2005, where did everyone else end up for Mother's Day?

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: financialdistrictresident

                          Hi Folks:

                          You are welcome to discuss where you ate out in the area, but general discussions about eating at home and cooking are beyond the scope of this board. If you want to discuss what you cooked, please post on the Home Cooking board.

                          Thank you.

                          1. re: financialdistrictresident

                            Financialdistrictresident, Thanks for the recs. Heard of Bloomers, but haven't been. The rest I need to check out. Going next month, so this comes in handy. Going to start a new post about Loon Lake for the summer too.