Dinner in Buffalo?
Hi, I'm in Toronto and my boyfriend and I are thinking of taking a day trip to Buffalo. We aren't familiar with the city; the last time either of us had been there was when we were kids, and all we remember is burgers and fries.
We're wondering what places locals recommend for lunch or dinner. We both enjoy Italian and Asian the most, but if there are some outstanding places that serve something different, we'd love to hear about them as well -- even great burger and fries places. If you could give us a rough idea of cost, that'd be super.
I will post back later today or tommorow with an update of Itailan and Asian restaurants, but for now, here is an old post I wrote about the dining scene in general. I wrote it a while back, so it needs to be updated.
Left Bank, on Rhode Island, small but loud, upscale brownstone-type bistro with great dishes, thoughtfully prepared. $$ http://www.leftbankrestaurant.com/
Hutches, on Delaware Ave, old-time favorite of local foodies, never a bad meal, comfort dishes, attentive service. $$-$$$
Friar's Table, on Kensington Ave, retro style steakhouse, still authentically rat-pack era. Reasonably priced - consistently excellent steaks, and like stepping back in time. Hey Daddy-O, get a Gin Martini & Surf and Turf. $$
Schwabl's, on Center Rd. West Seneca, German. Carved roast beef on weck(salty bun) in a venerable 1940's institution. Expect to dine in comfy close-quarters. $-$$
Cole's, on Elmwood Ave, tavern and restaurant, very large selection of craft beers at the old wood bar. Very decent food. $-$$
Roycroft Inn, on Grove Street, East Aurora, Very nice menu in a authentically restored 1900 Arts-&-Crafts (mission-style) building. Excellent Sunday Brunch. $$
Gabriel’s Gate on Allen St, an old restaurant/tavern, and the only restaurant that still has a real woodburning fireplace. Good sandwiches for lunch. $-$$
Really Old Favorite:
Ulrich’s Tavern, on Ellicott St, oldest continually-run tavern in the city, German-Irish in flavor, it serves lunch weekdays, and dinner Thur-Sat (get the potato pancakes and German sausages.) $ http://ulrichstavern.net/
Laughlin’s, on Franklin St, gorgeously appointed, casual gastro-pub, good beer selection, good food, very comfortable. $-$$
Fiamma Steak, on Hertel, haven't been, but trusted friends say excellent steak, “best in Buffalo?” $$$
Shango, on Main, Cajun-Creole, with good craft beer (Chimay on tap) and wine list. $$
Buffalo Style Chicken Wings:
Anchor Bar, on Main St, inventor of the buffalo-style wing, most popular with tourists, and therefore open for lunch and dinner all the time. Decent wings, though locals have other favorites for any number of personal reasons. $-$$
Duff’s, on Sheridan Drive near UB, Amherst, local favorite, they advertise their hot as very hot, very hot as suicidal, you get the idea. Their wings are always too salty when I go. $
Elmo’s Sports Tavern, on Millersport near UB, Amherst, my personal favorite for wings. Other styles like Cajun, bar-b-que, and honey mustard, too. $
The Elmwood Village, was once a college bar strip, but now has plenty of upscale restaurants.
Delaware Avenue, was once millionaires row, and has mostly upscale restaurants, though spread out far between. Plan your trip and get reservations.
Hertel Avenue, on the northern side of town, is quickly becoming “restaurant row” with almost a new restaurant opening daily. Heavy percentage of Italian-American and ethnic restaurants. Just drive down the street and check out each menu in the window.
The ‘burb’s. Buffalo is a large city with a small population and small-town feel. An archaic state law prohibits the city from growing past the last century's established boundry, so much of "buffalo" is actually labeled as The highway system was designed to handle twice as much traffic than we have, so Buffalo is literally a “twenty-minutes-to-anywhere” town. Don’t be afraid to try a destination restaurant in a suburban area.
Buffalo is known for these culinary treasures (try them when you are in town):
Buffalo Style Chicken Wings, Beef On Weck, Sponge Candy, Loganberry Drink, Flying Bison brewery.
Two good sources for Buffalo restaurant reviews:
Started by a UB professor who was continually asked where to eat...
City based website with no news of the suburbs...
Jerry posts a good summary below; a couple further observations.
If you are from Toronto you ar likely to be disappointed with the Asian food (esp. Chinese). In fact, if you can smuggle in few good cooks from Chinatown we would be grateful. For Italian, there are several places along Hertel Ave. - Ristorante Lombardo is a good upscale one. Also heard good things about Di Giulio's & Co. On my last trip to Buffalo we really enjoyed our meal at Bacchus on Chippewa, which is a wine bar with food available as small plates/regular portions.
For really exceptional food, Daniel's in Hamburg. I'd skip Anchor Bar - for anything except tourism. I'd suggest Wasabi for Japanese, Papaya for Asian Fusion, Saigon Bangkok for (as the name suggests, Vietnamese and Thai) and BarBill in East Aurora for wings and Beef on Weck. Almost anywhere on the Hertel Strip for Italian.
Thanks a lot, everyone! All your suggestions are super helpful. We look forward to trying them out.