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Apr 14, 2007 09:48 AM

Southern Italian for 1 night in Schenectady?

We'll be college shopping in the Schenectady/Albany area. Any recommendations for Southern Italian that college kids wouldn't usually go to on their budget? Thanks for the help!

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  1. I'm not sure if you will find a dedicated Southern Italian restaurant in that area. However, take a look at I think will find something for everyone in your party. I think it is one of the best choices in that area (I grew up there but now live in Vermont). There are other options but this is a solid restaurant that I have always enjoyed.
    Good luck !

    1. In Schenectady - I am not quite sure if it fits as Southern Italian (it's really more French, if you have to put a name on it, but there is a lot of Italian influence as well.) but Cella Bistro is very nice and not far from Union. My husband is crazy for the lamb and duck dishes.

      Cornell's is nice - if you go, I recommend the slight up-charge for the house-made cavatelli as the side dish.

      Both restaurants are places we have taken guests - the only difference is that we also quite like to go to Cella Bistro when alone, and don't seem to make it to Cornell's unless we have relatives in town.

      In Albany, Cafe Capriccio is unquestionably a mainstay of the area and well worth a visit.

      1. D'Raymonds, in Loudonville.

        1. Cornell's is right by the Union College Campus and is beyond the means of the typical college student, and has authentic Northern Italian Cooking (minestrone, marinara, etc). If you are around for breakfast; stop by Villa Italia on Broadway for pastries and espresso, North or South that's the best bakery you'll find outside of NYC and Boston!

          1. Schenectady - Daughter graduating from union in june. the best resto in the area is parisi's. we have already booked for graduation weekend. go pastthe main gates on union ave, continue a few lights and make a left before the railroad underpass. there are a few stuffier hotel'ish restos if you continue down union ave go under the railroad underpass and across the major road.

            downtown albany will give you more choices

            10 Replies
            1. re: jfood

              WOW ! The JFoods in the Electric City ! As a former resident, I have never been to Parisi's (knew a few people by that name, maybe a connection). Congrats to you and your daughter, Union is a a great college. I'll have to try Parisi's the next time we are in Schenectady.

              1. re: TonyO

                i bet if you put one of those pizza vending machines in the dorms you would clean up.

                1. re: jfood

                  If I could get a pie from Marino's Flying Pizza to fit, I would do it !

                2. re: TonyO

                  Parisi's is quite good - I think especially if you like red meat, (it's an Italian steakhouse) but even a seafood-lover like myself can find plenty to enjoy. They do wine dinners on the first Monday of every month that are quite a good. Interesting atmosphere - it was originally a nightclub and it still has a kind of Ali Baba feel. Friendly, professional service, as well. Lisa Parisi was one of the first people we met when we moved to the Stockade an she gave us a warm welcome.

                  I quite like the Stockade Inn, but that is nowhere near Southern Italian. I can second the Villa Italia recommendation - we often take friends there for dessert after dinner elsewhere.

                  1. re: meg944

                    Lisa is one of the great people i have met in the resto business. She will bend over backwards to make your visit as enjoyable as possible.

                    1. re: jfood

                      Although not Italian, Glen Sanders Mansion, over the bridge in Scotia, is an excellent restaurant. We celebrated our son's Union graduation there.
             The good was delicious and the atmosphere lovely.

                      1. re: cookiez

                        The jfoods went to Glen Sanders once and when we arrived they palced us in a dank and dark space in the basement. It was cold and drafty and I thought I would catch pneumonia. Not a pleasant memory. If you do go, make sure you are upstairs.

                        1. re: jfood

                          jfood, IMO the "basement" is more cozy than dank. It is a bit drafty but so is the main upstairs dining room. The Inn is an old historic mansion and there are odd steps, creaks and drafts. That adds to the charm (might not be everyone's take). My sister and BIL just had dinner there and said the Mansion was excellent, better than the last time they went.

                3. re: jfood

                  Congrats! I went to Union, as did my brother. There never seemed to be a shortage of places for us eat then and it seems there are even more choices. We used to be crazy for Mari's sushi when it was further out near Knolls. I ate at the new location w/ friends last Spring during Re-Union. It was o.k. Is the Van Dyke still decent? That used to be a really fun place to eat, catch up and, of course, imbibe. :)

                  1. re: MRS

                    The Van Dyck really went downhill and recently closed “temporarily” – the owner has filed personal bankruptcy and hasn’t paid back some development loans. I actually think this is a good thing, as it’s an amazing location and the city is really taking off, so I am sure a more experienced restaurateur will wind up taking it over eventually. We had stopped taking guests there, as the service and food was so unpredictable.