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Any decent eats near Watertown, NY (way upstate)?

My girlfriend's finally coming back from her year-long deployment overseas (yay!), and her parents and I will be meeting her soon up in Watertown, NY.

Now, I've been up to this town a bunch before, and it seemed like a restaurant wasteland. Bob Evan's is about the style...but maybe I'm missing something? There was a decent Greek place in a strip mall, and a not-bad Thai place, but anything else? Would love to have somewhere non-chain for us to go to dinner that's better than the crappy KBR cafeteria food she's had for the past year. Thanks!

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  1. I would love someone to prove me wrong on this board, but my in-laws live outside of Watertown and I have yet to find anything decent to eat up there. In fact I usually have to prepare myself for some pretty dreadful eating experiences everytime we make the trip. I am afraid 'restaurant wasteland' may be pretty accurate - but like I said, someone prove me wrong!

    1. Not much to offer:
      Best Western - Carriage House Inn has a decent brunch.
      Coleman's Corner has decent pub fare.

      There are some good places just outside Watertown- Tin Pan Galley in Sackets Harbor (about 15 minutes away). There is something in Clayton,... Harbor Inn? and maybe Foxy's in Fisher Landing (Italian). TPG is v. good (make a reservation if possible), the others so-so.

      Other than that, it's a wasteland. It is unfortunate, because so many out of towners come in to visit people on the base.

      2 Replies
      1. re: kloomis

        Do you know if TPG is open for lunch?

        Thanks

        1. re: kloomis

          Or cross the bridge to Gananoque, which has a slew of "nicer" restaurants downtown. The only one in Gan I've actually been to is the big one with the deck overlooking the public dock (forgot the name) where I had some great fish & chips and a Sleeman's.

        2. dixiday 2,

          I'm very familiar with the area and I too am at a loss for a good place to eat. I've heard the Tin Pan Galley in Sacket's Harbor is very decent as well. I personally have not tried it.

          I've also heard good things about this Korean Restaurant on Washington Street, not sure about the name. Apparently, it looks like a hole in the wall but, the food is good. Do not, go to the Korean restaurant on Route 37 - horrible, horrible, horrible waste of calories and food. I couldn't even categorize this as Korean food.

          If you're in the mood for pizza, Cam's pizza in Washington Square is apparently the only one. It's the only place my friend who is a pizza afficionado swears by (in the Watertown area of course).

          If you are spending a few days in the area, I recommend making a trek to Potsdam. It's about an 1 1/2 north of the Watertown area. There is a new restaurant called 1844 House. (www.1844house.com ) on Route 11 ph: 315-265-1844. It has been by far one of the best restaurant/food experiences I've had in that area for a long time! The food is wonderful. The only disappointment is when you get the check. The place is pricy but, it's worth it for special ocassions. The place is slightly pretentious but, once you try the food you'll forget all about it. Everything I've had there is great. They make their own flavored butters and sorbets for palate cleansing.

          While in Potsdam, if you are craving seafood, you'll want to check out Angelo's Seafood Restaurant on Maple Street. They have the best, snow crablegs I have ever had, EVER. I've tried crablegs at most places that serve them and it's Angelo's who I always compare them to. I would not order steak in the place but, any of the fish dishes you'll enjoy. The only thing to watch out for here is the inconsistency. If Angelo is cooking, you'll get a great dinner, if it's not him then, it's hit or miss.

          And then since you're in Potsdam, the only other place left to go is the new Indian restaurant on Market Street. I've only eaten there once and was very, very, very impressed by the food. It was truly a dining experience.

          Oh and since you're in Potsdam, you might as well stop off at the Potsdam Food Co-op on Elm Street. It's a natural food store but, they have best organic, free trade coffee and they have their own brick oven bakery. If you love sourdough bread, you'll love their multigrain. My personal favorite is their Batard.

          While there are other decent food highlights in Potsdam, these were the only ones worth mentioning.

          That's about it. Good luck! Tough place for decent food but, you can find every single food chain alternative there is.

          15 Replies
          1. re: calla0413

            I grew up there and there were only a few casual and mostly Italian restaurants then. In the city proper only Cucina on Massey St just north of St Patrick's RC church is worth checking for dinner. A throw back in time on the square is the Crystal Restaurant and perhaps only enjoyable by a former resident. In Sackets Harbor NY (about 10 miles away) is Tin Pan Galley. We ate there this past summer and the food, ambiance and service were excellent. In fact it is the only really outstanding dining spot in the area. Don't get me wrong, there are many casual and locally popular spots - Art's Jug being one (strictly ordinary but ok in a pinch eg on a summer weekend when every other place is closed).
            Driving to Potsdam is hardly feasible. It is quite a hike and if that distance doesn't faze you, you'd be better rewarded in Syracuse for some very good food. See previous comments on this site for recomendations for upscale dining in that city.

            1. re: feelinpeckish

              Would Cucina also be known as Cavallerio's? The place I'm talking about is at 133 N. Massey, just north of Rt. 3.
              Thanks

              1. re: Jambalaya

                Cavallerio's is in Alex Bay so, it's probably not the same one. BTW, Cav has mediocre food.

                I was just talking to a friend of mine who happens to live in Watertown and she just informed me that a new Indian place just opened there. She hasn't had a chance to try it and hasn't heard anything on the street, yet. So, if you're feeling adventurous...

                1. re: calla0413

                  Thanks for the reply, but now I'm really confused. I just
                  rechecked the website and the place I am thinking of is
                  called Cavallerio's Cucina and the address is in fact given
                  as Watertown. The photo of it on the website shows the front
                  entrance with one of those inverted half 50 gallon drum awnings
                  that is maroon in color with the entire name Cavallerio's
                  Cucina inscribed in white letters across the front of the
                  awning. Do you think this is what feelinpeckish refers to as Cucina
                  on Massey Street? I understand sometimes people who live in a
                  certain locale may not realize what the actual full name of a
                  place may be since its been going by a shortened version for so
                  long, but when an out of towner is looking for it and the name
                  is actually a bit different this makes things difficult. If you can
                  confirm whether or not this is the case it would be appreciated.
                  Thanks

                  1. re: Jambalaya

                    Jambalaya,

                    Sorry about the mix up. There is a Cavallario's Steak House in Alex Bay and a Cavallerio's Cucina in Watertown. My bad.

                    My reference was to Cavallario's Steak House in Alex Bay.

                    1. re: Jambalaya

                      Cavallerio's Cucina is in Watertown, but owned by the Cavallerio's in the Bay. I have not been there, but have heard the food is really good. Savory Cafe has really good food. Mostly sandwiches and homemade soups, but the sandwiches are awsome and so are the soups. Their desserts are homemade and to die for. Shuler's is also a good place for home-cooked type food owned by people that have been in the restaurant business for many years. There is a small bistro in the Washington St. shopping mall that is a suprise in itself. It is a very nice, small place that serves excellent pasta dishes. Dano's in Felts Mills is a great place for pizza and wings. They also have an all you can eat pizza buffet daily. There are good restaurants out there, you just have to hunt a bit. Bon apetit`

                    2. re: calla0413

                      Cavallerio operates both sites and I think the food in Watertown is quite good not excellent perhaps but above mediocre. Oddly enough, my wife liked the small pizza as a light "supper". I do find the Italian dishes with a cream sauce base are heavy and though I finished it (them) it was too much and better left half eaten or avoided for another choice. You have to realize the city doesn't offer a lot of choices

                      1. re: calla0413

                        Calla0413, Has your friend been to the Indian place? If so, how was it? I will be visiting Watertown with my husband on business and looking for places to eat. Please let me know how it is and the name of the place.
                        Thanks!

                        1. re: wench31

                          wench31, sorry about the long delay in reply, I haven't been checking the boards lately. Doing a lot of cooking at home. My friend has not tried it yet and not much Indian food. She will ask around to see what others say.

                      2. re: Jambalaya

                        Yes that is the location Jamabalaya and It is run by the same family, I believe and yes the one in Alex Bay is not really all that good but then Alex Bay is kind of tacky to put it mildly.

                      3. re: feelinpeckish

                        I completely forgot about Syracuse! I'm from way up north so, Potsdam came to mind first. So, yeah, if you're up for drive you'll have more choices in Syracuse. Plus, it's only about an hour's drive from Watertown.

                      4. re: calla0413

                        Hi again, calla0413! I love Korean food. Can you please give me the name of the Korean REstaurant that's on Washington Street? What are their hours?

                        1. re: wench31

                          Well, hello again! I don't have the name of the Korean place on Washington Street, what I can tell you is that it is a few blocks from the new Korean grocery store. It is headed away from downtown. So, if you're traveling down Washington and you just passed the new Korean grocery store, it'll be on your left. You have too look because the only distinguishing thing about this place is the Korean letters in the window. Let me know what you think of the place. A good place can be judged by its kimchi and bulgogi. I don't get to Watertown much but, the next time I get there, I will be making a stop at this little hole in the wall that's suppose to be fab-u-lous! Happy eats!

                          1. re: calla0413

                            It is not on Washington Street, it is on State Street and is called Suk Hui Hi's. The food is pretty good and the atmosphere is very friendly.

                            1. re: calla0413

                              I believe you are thinking of Suk Hu Hai's. Though it is on State Street, not Washington St. It is just a few blocks from the Asian Market. If I have the wrong place, I apologize. I don't know of any new Korean Restaurant on Washington St.

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