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any recommendations for Albany area?

Hi --

I'll be in Albany for 10 days later this month on business, and am looking for suggestions for chowish places for dinner. Am open to anything, and price isn't an issue. I'll be staying at out by the airport, but have a car and will travel for good food. I've done a search, but not much is cropping up for Albany, so figured I'd ask.

Thanks for any help you can give me --

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  1. McGuires... One of Albany's finest, if not the best!

    1. You will have to travel - the airport area is chain central. There is certainly good food to be had in Albany- especially if you include the area around the city. Just a few of my favorites, in no particular order:

      McGuire's - on Lark St. in downtown Albany - very pricey but great food.
      Hidden Cafe - at the Delaware Plaza in Delmar - good Mediterranean
      Avenue A - Delaware Ave. good food, nice mix of items
      Midtown Tea and Tap Room - just off New Scotland Ave. tapas, I've been once, liked it a lot

      1. The airport is deadville for restos. Wolf road is one big box store and chain resto after another.

        If you go up route 7 towards schenectady just past union college you can try Parrisi's steak House. Lisa, the owner is a wonderful lady and has great food.
        In the same 'hood, continue past Parissi's through 2 lights and on the right is an italian bakery/lunch spot. Also fantastic.

        Downtown Albany has Jack's Oyster House. A pretty good steak place. Second longest run family steak house in the country.

        Those would be jfood's top choices.

        2 Replies
        1. re: jfood

          We recently stayed near the Airport & ate at Afghan Grill after a recommendation on this board - it's in a strip mall off off of route 7 - it was pretty good, reasonably priced - kebabs/curries etc
          952 Troy-Schenectady Road (Peter Harris Plaza), Latham, 783-5553

          1. re: ctbrit

            We had take-out from the Afghan Grill tonight. It was great! Really different flavors. There was some mint but also some other spices I wasn't sure about. Three of us had the lamb tikka kebabs, one had the chopan kabab (4 nice sized lamb chops), and the vegetarian and I shared the kado borani (sauteed slices of spiced butternut squash), the gulpi (cauliflower in a slightly spicy, very tasty sauce) and aashack (vegetable stuffed dumplings, kinda shaped like tortelllini, in a garlic yogurt sauce). Everything was excellent, including the dressing on the salads, and the rice, which looked like basmati but was a tan-brown color. The kids said it was the best rice they had ever tasted. There wasn't even a bite of food left, so I know they enjoyed it. We can't wait to eat there (or get take-out) again!

        2. If you'd like to stay near the airport, Barnsider is a good place for steaks/steakhouse type food, and really good servers.
          Emperor's is at the beginning of Wolf Rd and has authentic chinese.
          If you need a quick lunch, Via Fresca is on Western Avenue near Crossgates mall and has great paninis, subs and other deli and italian food.

          1. Welcome to Albany, toaster. There was recently a long discussion about what's good in the greater Albany area. You can find it here: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/349608
            For non-chain places close to the airport, I would suggest Karavalli in Latham for amazing Indian (although there are 3 of them now, so maybe that counts as a chain), Real Seafood Co. on Wolf Rd for fresh seafood with a nice outdoor seating area, and Emperor's for great Chinese at the bottom end of Wolf Road.

            2 Replies
            1. re: AmyH

              Ooh - I forgot Karavailli's. I heartily second that one.

              1. re: AmyH

                I hear Real Seafood has gone waaaay downhill in the last couple of years.

              2. Albany/Shaker Road is the main artery going south out of the Airport. Once you get past the turnoff for the Wolf Road chain group, you go to an intersection with Osborne Road. (Couple of miles) Turn left at that point, and almost immediately turn left again into a little shopping plaza. Doesnt look too promising, but there is a restaurant called D'Raymonds. (Most locals can point you to it). Normally shows up in the local "best of" surveys done by newspapers, food weeklys, etc, for its veal dishes. Reservations help, but you may be able to score an unattached table/booth. Try the stuffed veal chop (about $20-25 bucks), and worth every penny. But anything else with veal is also excellent. Also concur with the earlier recommendations as to the Barnsider. If you go north out of the airport, to Route 7, and turn right, a mile or so down the road, on the left, is Otis and Olivers. Decent barbecue (at least for our part of the country), and not too expensive.

                1. Real Seafood on Wolf Road has about the best seafood - they even typically have west coast oysters at the raw bar. The best deli around is Gershon's in Schenectady on Union Street - about a 20m drive fro where you are. I always enjoy the Pump House microbrewery in downtoan Albany and the building itself is a marvel of 19th century industrialism - it is close to Jack's. Vans on Central Ave in Albany has good solid Vietnamese - I have heard My Linh on Delaware Ave is better, but I have not been there and they are not open for lunch. The Scrimshaw in the Desmond Hotel on Albany-Shaker Road used to get rave reviews but I have not been there in years - anybody been there recently? On Western Ave there is the Gingerman - a pretty decent wine bar - and the Washington Tavern - a more or less Irish like pub, both owned by an emigrant from Sligo.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: swarttav

                    As always, Cafe Capriccio for great Italian. Saso's on Central Ave. for sushi/noodles.

                  2. Everyone is making me glad that this Schenectady girl moved to NYC (Redwood hotdogs w/sauce, does that bring back childhood memories!) . . .If you want to drive to Schenectady one night (less than 30 min. on thruway) Glen Sander's Mansion is on the water right across the Scotia Bridge. You can eat in the pub or the restaurant. It is a historic mansion with an Inn.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: financialdistrictresident

                      As a former resident of Schenectady, I must plead ignorance about Redwwod Dog's . Where is this place ? Does it go by naother name ? I thought I new it all in the Electric City, but this one escapes my memory. I have eaten dogs at Mike's and The Newest Lunch, but the only Redwood I remember was a bowling alley in Colonie !

                      1. re: TonyO

                        See the link AmyH posted for details. It is a long thread (and brought back many memories). The Barnsider still exists (and from the posts appears to still be good). I went there years ago when I still ate red meat . . .

                    2. Price isn't an issue and you're staying near the airport? You need to transfer your hotel reservation to 74 State, 'toaster'. Way nicer than the desmond, great service; about time Albany had something like this. Interesting breakfast crowd. (www.74state.com


                      Assuming price was no concern:
                      We were at McGuires last week; great place. I hope you're not a vegetarian.
                      Jack's Oyster House, just down from 74 State. This restaurant that makes me think of 'Albany' more than any other place.
                      Yono Purnomo's, also in downtown Albany. A truly unique dining experience, by any standard. Yono has been on the Today show and has won more awards than most of the chefs in the capital district area combined.
                      Glen Sanders Mansion. Consistently very good.
                      Angelo's Prime, the newish expen$ive restaurant downtown. I didn't mind the cost ($200 for lunch with 2 clients), but the service was pathetic (the waitresses were all over the Albany Conquest coaching staff and ignored us) and food average. This place is a polarizer - some people love this it, others hate it, not too many people in between. Be prepared for the snobbery as soon as you walk in and get greeted by the lockers of the 'members'.
                      Albany Pump Station. Great place for microbrew lovers. Don't drive, use a limo.
                      Provence. French resto in Stuyvesant Plaza. No, it's not Paris, but it's guite good. Tapas. Next to All-Star Wine in Latham Farms. Somewhat unique spanish-type place.
                      Saso's, central avenue. Best sushi in town. Has off-street parking if the neighborhood concerns you. Try the Albany Roll.
                      Nicole's. Wonderful Italian place on Delaware Avenue. Way better than D'Raymonds.
                      Mezzanotte. Great family owned place in Guilderland. I can tell you that OTHER restaurant owners love this place.

                      I'm surprised some have recommended Real Seafood. It's a national chain, and as someone pointed out it's gone downhill lately, and it was never that good to start with. If you must really eat on Wolf Road, try Maxie's or the Macaroni Grill (a chain). Avoid the cheesecake factory. My sister has one (in another city), the food is the same as Friendly's (which oddly, 3 of my friends have mentioned who didn't know my sister owns one).

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: salvador

                        Thanks, salvador. That's two for Glen Sanders. toaster can eat in the downstairs bar area (charming)/good if you're dining alone or in the formal dining room. Anything good upstate in the seafood category (besides Saso's or Anchor Fish Fry)? Is it still pretty much Glen Sanders or head to Albany or Saratoga?

                        1. re: salvador


                          A couple of points I must contest:

                          1. Real Seafood, while not my first choice, is not a national chain. It is a local restaurant that has had it's ups /downs through the years but has managed to keep their doors open for 20 + years.

                          2. "The Cheesecake Factory has the same food as Friendly's". Either you really hate your sister or I missed it when The Cheesecake Factory added the Fishamajig, Fribble, Jim Dandy, and Happy Ending Sunday to their menu. That is the most ridiculous statement I have heard in quite some time. Just because a Sysco truck is in both parking lots has liitle to do with their menu. Plus, have you ever had a martini at Friendly' s ??????

                          1. re: salvador

                            I don't get to choose where I'm staying, but will be eating on my own most nights, which means that I can control my own destiny at least in that respect. You've all given me lots to go on. Thanks!