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Dec 8, 2006 11:36 PM

TOP NY Capital Region-Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga, Troy

My favorite to date is Jack's Oyster House. What else is good in that upstate hood/s???

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  1. Chez Sophie in Saratoga
    Cafe Capriccio in Albany
    Lombardo's Albany

    Do a search on Albany - there have been a lot of recent posts

    5 Replies
    1. re: swarttav

      Good Places to eat cheap in Schenectady (since I don't know Albany)

      1. Kabul Night -Great afghan restaurant the food is full of subtle and complex flavors
      2. Bangkok Bistro - I live for their Pad Thai
      3. Chez Daisy - The only crepe place south of Montreal, very good
      4. King of Pizza - Hands down the best pizza in the capital region.

      Places to shop (all over):
      1. Honest weight Co-cop
      2. Eats
      3. Ocean State Job lots.

      1. re: YAYME

        Agree on Honest Weight -- great produce, bulk everything (nuts, dried fruit, grains), and the cheese/specialty dept is over the top!

        Is King of Pizza on Eastern Ave near Brandywine?
        BTW, you left out Gershon's Deli. Mmm that brisket and chopped liver; the eggplant special.

        Amazingly Ocean state job lot carries the full range of Bob's Red Mill products, including my favorite muesli!

        Gershon's Deli & Caterers
        1600 Union St, Schenectady, NY 12309

        1. re: NYchowcook

          no , King of Pizza is on Jay.

          Pizza King
          124 Jay St, Schenectady, NY 12302

        2. re: YAYME

          Where is this King of Pizza? I recently settled for my old standby High Bridge, but could use a change. Marino's is also one of my favorites there.

        3. Another vote for Lombardo's. Go for a "power lunch" where you're bound to see the political movers and shakers in Albany.

          At Lombardo's you can get a tasty meal at a reasonable price with that same old Albany ambience as Jack's. The portions at Jack's are ridiculously small and I'm not sure the food is anything special. It's more a place to "be seen" IMHO.

          And when you want a good down-to-earth meal without any hype, just roll over to the Blue Ribbon Diner in Schenectady. You'll never go wrong. Money back guarantee.;)

          1. I would have to say Saso's Japanese Noodle House in Albany.

            5 Replies
              1. re: YoungHood

                Their website should have everything but prices (it's a little more pricey for Albany, but good for NYC prices - about $23 an entree and $8 a roll). I don't think they serve lunch any more, but they have the very best quality in the area.

                1. re: YoungHood

                  We dined at Saso's earlier this evening for the first time. Without a doubt, the best sushi in the albany area. We tried 4 rolls (indulgence, tempura, albany, & red devil), plus other assorted sushi. My son and I liked the albany best, followed by the red devil (likely too spicy for the typical american). I'm a pacific islander and my family once owned 2 japanese restaurants (not in town). The agedashi tofu appetizer was also very good. There are many more rolls to try from the menu, we'll definitely be back. It is a little pricey as noted earlier ($130 for 3, including tip, only 1 of us had an alcoholic beverage). The neighborhood looks rough, but there is off-street parking.

                  1. re: YoungHood

                    Here's the Places link:

                    Saso's Japanese Noodle House - CLOSED
                    218 Central Ave Ste 1, Albany, NY 12206

                  2. re: yumcha

                    Saso's is okay. I posted on my survey of sushi joints in the area.

                    to date I find Yoshi Sushi on Rt 9 in Latham/Loudonville (just south of Latham circle on west side of Rt 9) to be the best sushi house.
                    Sushi Tei, 1800 Western Ave. (in back of L shaped shopping strip) has $1 sushi through December, and the quality is good and makes for a very economical sushi splurge.

                  3. Jack's and Chez Sophie have slipped - maybe fallen and IMHO Lombardo's never really was and will never be on my list at all ( went once a number of years ago and will never ever return. Cafe Capriccio is outstanding. Little noted but very good in way downtown Albany is Hudson Harbor a converted old office for the river steamboats/ferries when there were such things. Outside it needs much dressing up but inside and on the table it shines. And in Troy a new spot in the downtown near the Troy City Music Hall (Tosca Grille). It is superb, featuring a well thought out menu, a good and reasonable wine list. The dining room is a bit on the bright side but not enough to put you off and the tables are far enough apart to allow private conversation - a feature seldom seen anymore. It is brand new and will only improve as the staff and kitchen fine tune their operation. My only fear is that it is in Troy and that is one depressed city. The symphony orchestra nights are sure to provide customers and I only hope it gains attention - I have seen too many good dining spots in Troy dim and die.

                    13 Replies
                    1. re: feelinpeckish

                      Have you been to River Street Café lately? We lost interest when the wonderful Peter Calabrese left, but keep talking about trying it again. That’s somehow managed to make it in Troy forever, serving upscale cuisine.

                      In Troy we have also had good luck w/ Ali Baba and Shalimar for cheap, tasty munchies. There’s another good Turkish place on River Street/Antiques Row – it doesn’t look like much but it has great food. Can’t remember the name. We were excited to try Jose Malone’s, as we have some nice memories of El Loco (the owner was co-owner and a driving force there until his nasty divorce) but the food was just awful. We were there fairly early on, so I’d be willing to try again, but we also had a bad server experience, so I am in no rush.

                      I’ve also heard good things about Anselmo’s – haven’t made it there yet.

                      1. re: feelinpeckish

                        Ditto on the fabulous Lebanese place on River St./Antique's Row. It's called Al-Baraki and the food is out of this world. 184 River St. (518) 270-9404. The ambiance is nothing to write home about but who cares? Haven't had Tabouleh like that since I was in Israel. Everything's good, including their fragrant and muddy Lebanese coffee and their inimitable garlic paste, which thankfully, they sell in plastic take-home containers.

                        1. re: tleaf

                          I agree... one of the best meals I've ever had... the owner was so friendly.
                          The more we ate, the more he brought out... and we ended up going home with gifts of pitas and garlic paste...

                          I felt bad because we were headed to the Music Hall for a concert and I think we all smelled like garlic farmers. But it was worth it.

                        2. re: feelinpeckish

                          I had dinner at Cafe Capriccio in downtown Albany for the first time earlier this year. The atmosphere is warm and cozy, perfect for a cold winter night's dinner. Respectfully disagree with Capitalnosher's opinion that it is "fancy pants and precious," maybe when the capital folks are dining there. I felt Jack's had a much more formal feel than Cafe Capriccio. The room we were in wasn't even full and our booth was comfortable. It was lovely and everything was delicious. Unfortunately all I remember now is that we did not have their "signature dish."

                          Last night we had dinner at Tosca in Troy. We did not have a reservation and were seated almost immediately. There were several large groups and the noise level was okay. The atmosphere is like a music hall, the high ceiling and mural, musical instruments on the wall don't make for an intimate or romantic room. We thought there was something wrong with the lighting because the room would get dimmer (nice) and then get a bit brighter. There is a small bar in the back of the restaurant. I was amazed at all the space between tables, something that is rare in NYC. The service and food was very good. For appetizers we had the seared Hudson Valley foie gras with quince, apples and brioche. Another app was a salad with thinly sliced pear, bleu cheese and walnuts. Traditional but lovely. For entrees we had a special, the sea bass in a broth with vegetables and mashed potatoes. We also had the seared scallops with a Greek salad timbale (cooked spinach, tomato and feta on top). The fish was cooked perfectly. My descriptions do not do the meal justice and Tosca uses a lot of local greenmarket and organic ingredients which is much appreciated. NYC prices here and the quality and service to go along.

                          There are so few good restaurants Upstate it is nice to have discovered Tosca and Cafe Capriccio, in addition to Glen Sanders Mansion in Schenectady.

                            1. re: netmover

                              Not yet, netmover. What do you suggest there?

                              edit: Glen Sanders is in Scotia, NOT Schenectady.

                            2. re: financialdistrictresident

                              Had an early dinner at Cafe Capriccio on Friday night. Liked it even better than the first time. We had warm olives with spicy red peppers and bread fresh from the oven. For apps insalata caprese (house made mozzarella, tomatoes, arugula) and eggplant with 4 cheeses. Porcini and other forest mushrooms tossed with tagliatelle and the sea bass special for our entrees.

                              1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                This is good news as I believe their head chef of a number of years recently left (don't remember where she went) as was a little concerned about how things would be.

                                1. re: markabauman

                                  markabauman - have you been to Jack's since the new chef took over?

                                  1. re: markabauman

                                    She went to start the dinner service at Cafe Madison, which is well worth a visit; a really pleasant, moderately-priced bistro.

                                    Cafe Madison
                                    1108 Madison Ave # 1, Albany, NY

                                2. re: financialdistrictresident

                                  Had another delicious dinner at Cafe Capriccio Friday night. I think it was our best meal there. Their bread is homemade and very fresh (not Pereca's or artisanal quality). For apps we had salad caprese (tomatoes from their garden in back), beans and greens (I always forget this has bacon). For entrees we had the duck tagliatelle and seafood entree (don't remember the exact name on the menu). Service as usual was excellent.

                                  1. re: feelinpeckish

                                    A lot of the restaurants you might be thinking of actually closed due to bad management instead of poor attendance. There was a period about 9 years ago, shortly after I first moved there when one after another I think about 6 great places closed due to divorces, internal theft, and owners who lost interest. I would like to contest your point that it's a depressed city. It might be one of the most exciting places to be right now in the capital region.

                                    I surprised to read the Ali Baba and Shalimar were so bad. It's kind of run of the mill food, not great, but I would never call it bad.

                                    José Malones, while peculiar in theory, turned out to be reasonable. It may also be the most committed to vegan food in the area.

                                    Last time I went to Jack's I was very satisfied with their food and incredible service.

                                    My parents came back with a similar opinion of Chez Sophie about 8 months ago.

                                  2. Is John Riccitello's still open (in Schenectady near Union College ??