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Suggestions for Webster or Rochester, NY?

My husband and I have to travel to Webster, near Rochester, NY almost every Friday in the next year or so. Since we are going to be there so often, I was wondering if I could get some suggestions for good restaurants and places to eat in the area. Anything in or near the Rochester area is fine. We don't mind going out of the way a little for good food.

In general, we like excellent food of any type and cuisine. Since we have many Friday evenings to spend there, a variety of recommendations would be great. Maybe some nice places, and some other cheaper options. We also like restaurants that are unique and authentic (if ethnic). Healthy is also a plus, though we don't mind the calories if it's for good food, just not some greasy, cheap, fast-food like places. A nice atmosphere is preferred, but the quality of the food is more important.

Any suggestions would be extremely helpful. Thanks so much in advance!

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  1. Well, it's greasy, and certainly not healthy, but something you will find only in Rochester is
    Sal's Birdland. ( http://www.salsbirdland.com/ ). They are a Rochester institution. The thing to get is a "bird": It's half a chicken, dredged in flower and fried in a kettle. Then it's dipped in their wonderful "Sassy Sauce"... a sweet & very hot and very addictive formula (thankfully, it's available at Wegman's near me so I can get my fix when necessary). The bird is served on 2 pieces of white bread (to sop up the sauce... true addicts will eat the bread), and a side of Macaroni salad, which does a great job of cooling you off.

    There is a simlar place called Country Sweet, but I don't think it's nearly as good.

    PS: I should mention that Jim Leff, the guy that runs this site, is a University of Rochester Alumni... If I remember correctly, he enjoyed Sal's as much as I did.

    Dang, now you made me hungry.

    1 Reply
    1. re: cranrob

      Sal's Birdland is in Syracuse also. On S. Salina St.

    2. Well, since I live in Webster, I'll try to give you some advice (starting with -- try to go somewhere else!!!).

      We have very bad restaurants in Webster - unless you like chains like Red Robin and Pizzaria Una.

      There is only one restaurant I would highly recommend in Webster - Proiettis. Real food, excellent. Make reservations.

      There are a couple of restaurants along the lake - avoid them unless you like overpriced food or blue-hair early bird specials. There is also a Mexican place (Maria's) in the village which I think is nasty but other people like it...

      These are some of our favorite area restaurants (sorry, I couldn't find web sites for some of them) --

      Bar B Que:
      Sticky Lips (my fave - but barbque's a personal thing

      Dinosaur BarBQue (downtown Rochester - most people's fave


      Edibles (excellent - downtown - be sure to stop into the little store across the street called Craft Compnay #6

      Veneto (downtown - our favorite casual date place - lively, bar infested neighborhood
      )Veneto Woodfired Pizza & Pasta (google it)

      Fairfield's Grill 2600 Baird Road, Penfield (not too far, suburban - google it - sort of a family run place, can get mobbed on Friday for fish fry)

      Park Ave Grill (fun neighborhood - elegant meal, small place)

      Jine's (diner in same fun neighborhood - great breakfasts - see you there Saturday mornings

      2 Vine (everybody's favorite - except mine - pretty pricey

      Remingtons (close - in city - spotty service

      As you can see, we travel a little to find good restaurants. We nearly always have to head into the city because we hate chain restaurants. So, if you don't mind running around a bit you can sample some of Rochester's best.

      Write back if you need any other help. Enjoy!

      1 Reply
      1. re: CindyK

        Well if you like sticky lips over dino you do not know GOOD food. Sticky lips is frozen smoked crap

      2. I see I screwed up and listed the wrong link for Park Ave Grill -- which I see I also listed with the wrong name (!) -- it is Park Avenue Pub. Senility.

        1. Thanks so much for the recommendations. We will try these places! Also, we enjoy trying different cuisines. Any good ethnic restaurants in the area?

          Thanks again for the replies. They help a lot!

          1. Our favorite Thai:
            The King & I, 1475 East Henrietta Road, Rochester, NY
            (note: Do not eat at the Thai place in Webster called Puket Thai)

            Our favorite Indian:
            India House, http://www.indiahouse.com/

            Our favorite Mexican:
            El Rincon, 6974 Old Ridge Road, Sodus NY 315-483-4199 (a bit of a haul - check mapquest


            Soul Food:
            Featuring Harley's

            none recommended

            And our favorite place for grazing:
            The Rochester Public Market (Saturday Mornings) All foodies must go there. 280 Public Market, Rochester 14609
            Richport Bakery for unbelievable Puerto Rican pastries
            Juan & Maria's Empanada Stop

            Here is a listing of other ethnic places, many of which I have never been to -- but this is the newspaper that would know if they are good or not:

            1. I'm surprised no one has mentioned Italian yet. Rochester has a plethora of great Italian restaurants. The pick of the litter has to be Guido's Pasta Villa though. It's a small place, but the food is excellent.


              If you don't mind a bit of a drive, you can also check out Fratelli's in Avon.


              One other place my wife and I love is the Mundo Grill. Seasonal menus and excellent food and drinks.



              1 Reply
              1. re: CRock2442

                Fratelli's restaurant is numero uno for italian food in the rochester area if u dont mind a drive. i found that they now have a myspace page- www.myspace.com/Fratellisrestaurant check it out, theres no menu yet but it says it will be up soon~!

              2. My absolute favorite burger in Rochester is actually in Webster at Charlie Riedel's, 1843 Empire Blvd at Bay Ave. Order "Charlie" burgers with everything and curly fries. Excellent. This is quintessential upstate NY stuff, including the teenage staff and their serious Rochester accents. Funny enough, no one has mentioned Nick Tahou's and the famed "Garbage Plate". It's located downtown in Rochester, worth the trip for the experience-- Google it for exact directions. I recommend the daytime. Have fun.
                Oh! And I second the recommend for El Rincon in Sodus. Fantastic Mexican.

                1. for indian food, my new favorite is thali of india (i used to be a strictly india house kinda gal), in the win-gate plaza, corner of jefferson & winton, in henrietta. it's really easy to get to off the 390. even the buffet food is phenomenal, for prices you can't beat. www.thaliofindia.com/

                  abyssinia is a great ethiopian place right downtown near eastman. the food is delish. http://rocwiki.org/Abyssinia. (the rocwiki mainpage also has a link to local restaurants, and you can peruse those reviews) i've heard the food at dashen is good as well -- a hole-in-the wall place usually inhabited by ethiopian men, but my friend swears by it. i have yet to compare.

                  speaking of holes-in-the-wall, paola's has the best burritos to be found locally. i believe the owners are either mexican, or mexican-american. it's kind of hidden -- there's a weird little "plaza" at the intersection of south ave and rte. 15-a. it's neighbored by a chinese place and a mr. shoes pizza.

                  for greek/mediterranean, i recommend sinbad's on park ave, alexandria's on east ave, or the olive tree on monroe ave (http://www.olivetreerestaurant.com/


                  for something a little more upscale, tapas, on st. paul, is usually a good deal -- i'd say the best way to describe it is latin/asian fusion.

                  fetta-chini's in the village gate (across from the memorial art gallery) is good, but a little pricey. it's, italian/greek, if you couldn't guess.

                  i second the above comment regarding 2Vine. way overpriced for mediocre food.

                  also, love, love, love the king & i for thai.

                  for dessert, you must check out phillips european in henrietta.

                  charlie's frog pond is another good choice on park ave for "gourmet diner" food (and my personal preference over jines, which is right next door) or, if you're in town for brunch, go and have their banana pancakes, just for the syrup.

                  i have heard good things about cibon (paninis) and magnolia's (noodles, salads, etc) as well, also on park ave, but have yet to try them.

                  i am planning on checking out el pacifico (in farmingdale) this weekend, rumoured to have good mexican food. i'll let you know!

                  happy chow!

                  1. for chinese, haven't been in a few years, but i really enjoyed the china gate, in henrietta, on jefferson road. it's a sit-down place, nicely done inside. not too greasy.

                    1. the public market is a great spot

                      go along park avenue for interesting places

                      cant beat dinosaur in rochacha its the best of the 3 in that chain

                      the fish counter at wegmans in brighton is good

                      i have had some of the best indian and sushi in my visits to rochester

                      1. I just want to say hanks everyone so much for their suggestions!!

                        1. Martini Grille at 176 South Goodman Street is AWESOME! Great food and atmosphere. Small restaurant, only 13 tables, but a daily list of specials that is incredible. It is in the Park Avenue district...visit Parkleigh across the street for some great shopping!

                          1. If you want to splurge a little, you might want to consider Max of Eastman Place:


                            2 Replies
                            1. re: markabauman

                              max can be very good. there was a bit of a lapse while their chefs changed, and i had one bad experience there. recent visits have been very positive though.

                              my new favorite italian place is panzari's, over in the corn hill neighborhood. it's at the end of the market/plaza next to nathaniel's pub or whatever it's called. prices are reasonable, the food is delish.

                              there's a new thai place that opened in the corn hill landing complex across the street -- has anybody been there yet?

                              since my last posting, i have checked out magnolia's, and was quite pleased. it's on park ave and oxford and has classic fare like sandwiches and salads and such. apparently their pizzas are pretty popular, though i stuck to a panini, that quite hit the spot.

                              1. re: nerdchick

                                There's a great little Asian place next door to Magnolia's that is dirt cheap. They don't really have room to sit - but they set up tables during the summer. They also serve bubble tea! I also like Aja in Brighton/12 Corners for inexpensive yet Americanized Asian, and Great Northern in the same area (or in Pittsford) for great Pizza by the slice (it's also a really welcoming place to sit - not just a quick pizza place). Simply Crepes has amazing breakfast/brunch meals.

                                Sinbad's is Lebanese, I believe (it's on Park Ave). They just renovated the place. It's inexpensive and has great falafel and pizzas (I like the "Pharoah).

                                Also like Pomodoro Grill downtown on University (a bit pricier, but definitely reasonable).

                                There is a Vietnamese restaurant called Le Lemongrass on Monroe with good soups/pho.

                                For Indian, Thali of India in Henrietta is a standard.

                            2. I would definitely try The Highland Park Diner on South Clinton Ave. The wings at either The Distillery or the Elmwood Inn are very good. They are both on Mt. Hope Ave across the street from Mt Hope Cemetary....I would also recommend a visit to the cemetary as well. I know it sounds crazy, but it's a very beautiful place and some famous folks are buried there.
                              I also second the 2 Vine suggestion.


                                1. Bistro 135 in East Rochester-minutes from anywhere-is THE place. Wonderful small plate apps. (ever had a lobster tail Frenched?) and creative full dinners. Friendly! And great jazz nightly! Check out their web site.

                                  1. We lived in Webster 30 years before moving to Asheville NC. The two places we miss most are Remington's on Merchant Rd in Rochester (nice dining, especially good filets, walleye and king crab legs if they still offer them) and Charley Browns on Penfield Rd about 20 mins from Webster but worth the drive - inexpensive, good drinks, and great bolognese sauce on the italian dishes. If we're ever in town again, that's where we would go.

                                    1. Plum Garden - Japanese, a little more formal than casual. 5 -guys burger joint, red robin restaurant, Champps at Eastview Mall(awesome asian rolls, fantastic nachos and burgers). pf changs, also at Eastview Mall, close to expressway!! CW - Pittsford, NY

                                      1. I would recommend you go to the Swan Market in the city on Parsells ave.
                                        www.swanmarket.com German meat market and restaurant, serves beer.

                                        Also try Restaurant Good Luck which is in the Village Gate off Goodman street. www.restaurantgoodluck.com
                                        I think Good Luck is the best restaurant in Rochester.

                                        I'm pretty dismayed that people here are recommending so many chain restaurants. Stay away from Five Guys, if you want a good "ground round" burger, go to Vic and Irv's or Schallers. Want a fancier burger? Absolutely go to the Gate House in Village Gate. Fantastic burgers and pizza.

                                        Want to get fancy? Go to Lento. Great food, good ambiance, nice wine list.
                                        Thai? King and I in Henrietta or Phuket in Webster. (Phuket Noodle is a great dish
                                        )Dinosaur and Sticky Lips for BBQ
                                        John's Tex Mex on South for Mexican or El Rincon if you want to make a drive.
                                        For a pub experience, Try the Old Toad on Alexander. They do Sunday Roasts and curry dinners.
                                        Fancy a bit more upscale pub experience with great food? The Tap and Mallet on Gregory (www.tapandmallet.com
                                        )For wings, Jeremiah's are consistently voted best in town. Me? I prefer Acme Bar and Grill for their burgers. They also frequently have a 2for1 beer special with a ton of craft beers on tap.
                                        Fish fry? Pittsford Seafood Market on Monroe.
                                        Diner? James Browns Place on Culver
                                        Want to order a pizza? Nino's on Culver
                                        Garbage plate? Irondequoit Hots all the way.

                                        Hope this helps someone. Need more Rochester info? Feel free to contact me.

                                        4 Replies
                                        1. re: kimeats

                                          How about vegetarian, chinese or japanese?

                                          1. re: kimeats

                                            Hi, all,
                                            This seems to be the most recent Rochester thread. We are going to be there for ONE DAY in about three weeks. Anybody have a top suggestion? High brow or low brow, exotic or straightforward, matters not. We love everything from food carts to fine dining. Thanks in advance!

                                            1. re: alsojanet

                                              Have a child in school at U of Rochester. Have eaten at a number of places, all good. For non-upscale, here are some examples:

                                              Tapas 77 (downtown) is creative, well made small plates of food. While Dinosaur BBQ is rightly well known, the wait is killer and an essentially equal choice is Sticky Lips. Better chicken, slightly worse ribs, much less wait. Open Face in South Wedge is very good sandwiches for lunch. BTW, Boulder Coffee - a few locations - has excellent coffee and they sell Balsam Bagels, which are super (also from Rochester). I like Cibon on Park, particularly the white cioppino. Piranha next door has a mix of sort of sushi and fish with a somewhat Brazilian twist. One good thing: they're across the street from Abbott's for frozen custard. If you want diner breakfast stuff, Highland Park Diner has some of the best corned beef hash I've had and very good pancakes. I could go on but I suggest looking on the rocwiki page for what you like.

                                              I've found the food in Rochester to be generally of high quality.

                                              Highland Park Diner
                                              960 Clinton Ave S, Rochester, NY 14620

                                              Open Face
                                              651 South Ave, Rochester, NY 14620

                                              1. re: lergnom

                                                Yay! My alma mater. Sorry off topic :(

                                          2. I can't recommend Lento enough. I ate there with friends while in town for a conference, and the food was incredible - fresh, local and bursting with flavor. The heirloom tomato salad was exquisite, and I had a vegetarian entree of local squash stuffed with black beans and pepitas that was just incredible. The fit and goat cheese cream tart that finished off the dinner defies my ability to keep finding superlatives! Great, great food, great atmosphere, and wonderful wait staff.

                                            274 Goodman St N, Rochester, NY 14607

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: cathboblet

                                              There are 3 upscale restaurants in Rochester that standout in my opinion:
                                              Lento, Good Luck and Rocco.

                                              Lento has a subdued upscale ambiance and focuses on fresh local food. Portion sizes are quite nice. I one hosted a dinner there for 14 people ranging from 3 yrs old to 80 with a wide range of tastes and everyone loved it.

                                              Good Luck has a prohibition era vibe with a creative menu. I have yet to eat there and not said how fortunate Rochester is to have this establishment.

                                              Rocco is a small, somewhat querky, Italian restaurant. Their homemade rocciata cheese appetizer is heavenly. Here again, I have always been impressed with the meal.

                                              Good Luck
                                              50 Anderson Ave, Rochester, NY 14607

                                            2. I lived in Rochester for a year and my husband and I visit still quite reguarly, so I had to get in on this discussion:

                                              I agree with the King and I. LOVE it! and the service? So fast!

                                              Park Avenue - we are big fans of Jine's (especially for breakfast) but the other secret is Nathan's Soup and Salad. Very cheap and cheerful, but absolutely delicious!

                                              I am sure there is another whole discussion on this topic somewhere, but we are big fans of Wegman's flagship store in Pittsford (on Monroe). Between their Fish market, (where they cook in front of you) tea shop, $6 fresh meals, asian/indian/salad buffet, burrito bar, pasta, sushi...its a great place for cheap, healthy food, especially when you are with a bunch of indecisive people. They have a large seating area on the second floor and they show kids movies on Friday and Saturday nights (and they sell popcorn and beer!).

                                              For italian, Pomodoro's on University has always been a favourite. You need to make reservations on the weekend. They have a bread that comes with roasted garlic which is excellent.

                                              Pizza - I have quite enjoyed Great Northern Pizza Kitchen which has an excellent herbed crust and isn't greasy. Don't plan on going their late, since they close around 9 or 10.

                                              I haven't gone, but I have great things about Open Face on South Avenue.

                                              I also LOVE Philip's European for dessert - dinner, not so great. They are closed Sunday, so don't make the trek there without checking the day of the week.

                                              Lastly, its not a restaurant, but Stever's homemade candy on Park Avenue is a stop for any foodie who loves a bit of something sweet. They have everything imaginable, but if you can, go for the seasonal chocolate dipped strawberries and raspberries. Also closed on Sunday.

                                              King and I Restaurant
                                              1455 E Henrietta Rd, Rochester, NY 14623

                                              Open Face
                                              651 South Ave, Rochester, NY 14620

                                              Jines Restaurant
                                              658 Park Ave, Rochester, NY 14607

                                              1. Can anyone recommend a restaurant or two in the Greece Area? Specifically near Unity Hospital or the Airport Marriott on Ridge Road West. Or the Fairfield in the airport. I have a construction project up there which will require bi-monthly visits to those areas.

                                                1. Thanks to everybody for suggestions. We have reservations for Lento for tomorrow night although our cooking teacher at the Wine & Culinary Center in Canandaigua prefers Good Luck. The menu at Lento is a little broader, however, and we are going with four other people with different tastes. I'll report back! Will try one of the other suggestions for lunch. You guys are the best. Thanks again.

                                                  Good Luck
                                                  50 Anderson Ave, Rochester, NY 14607

                                                  1. As promised, here is a brief report on Lento. Had the swordfish, served with mussels and a caper sauce. Very flavorful; the swordfish was very well prepared but not the best piece of fish I've ever had. (Above average, though.) Had a kind of pizzetta as an appetizer; the dish was average but the home-made lamb sausage it was topped with was unbelievable. My husband had head cheese for an appetizer -- LOVED IT. He also had a very good rabbit pot pie. Our friends had a grilled wild mushroom salad (fabulous) and lamb chops (pretty good); and lobster bisque (pretty good) and zucchini latkes (pretty good). The dessert was average. The wine and beer list very interesting and mostly local. The atmosphere pleasant; the prices about what I expected. The service was terrific but don't know if we just got lucky in our server. The menu was very ambitious. Our friends (who live in Rochester) say that the menu is always changing and that some of the entrees are usually superb, though it's not always clear which ones those will be.