Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > General Tristate Archive >
Dec 16, 2007 08:49 AM

Looking for restaurant rec in Albany area

My brother and SIL recently moved to Albany. I would like to get them a restaurant gift certificate for the holidays. Any recommendations for good restaurants in that area? They are vegetarian and love Indian and Thai food. Thanks!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Karavelli is the best Indian option, with a lot of vegetarian options. Antipasto's in Clifton Park is a vegetarian-friendly Italian place; you'll have to call both places about gift certificates, though.

    9 Johnson Rd, Latham, NY 12110

    1028 Route 146 Ste 5, Clifton Park, NY 12065

    5 Replies
    1. re: PSZaas

      PSZaas, there's also a Karavalli in Saratoga Springs. Is it the same owners?

        1. re: jaylhorner

          One in Rotterdam, too, and I think in Lee, Mass.

    2. McGuires, great food, great bar and atmosphere and good service. Also we have been very happy with our last two times at Carmines

      11 Replies
      1. re: jspear

        Both are good restaurants (McGuires is probably a great restaurant), but poor choices for vegetarians.

        1. re: jspear

          Do they eat dairy and fish?

          I have not been to McGuire's. It's on my list to try. Heard it is pubby and has good food from this Board and my SO. Isn't this more of a burger or steak place?

          Does it have to be in Albany? I just got a gift certificate for the new restaurant in Schenectady, Aperitivo Bistro. There's also a popular Thai place in Schenectady though I have not been yet. My SO likes Bangkok Thai. It is on Wolf Road almost on the corner of Rt 5/Central Avenue. I have not been yet.

          1. re: financialdistrictresident

            McGuire’s is unquestionably fine dining. We remember Andrew Plummer fondly from his Allegro Café in Troy, and were excited to see him opening a new place in the area. If you like a clubby, expense account steak house kind of place, they do a wonderful job. We went a few times early on, but we prefer somewhat more adventurous fare, and then a friend had a negative experience there that has put us off going. (Nothing so horrible – he and his girlfriend live and work in the area. Just after the restaurant opened they came in, welcoming them, and talked to the staff quite a bit. They ordered wine, apps and dessert but split an entrée, and were hit w/ a sharing charge for the entrée. I’m sure it was listed on the menu, but we all felt that those charges are meant for people coming in and trying to be cheap, not people who are already spending over $150. With so many other places for us to go, we wrote them off.


            Though it is a good restaurant, I would not recommend Tosca for vegetarians, unless they went for brunch.

            Karavelli has really good food – more casual than some places mentioned, but the one in Latham, at least, is nicer than your typical store front Indian place and the food is much better.

            1. re: meg944

              Thanks for enlightening me meg944. So McGuire's has more of a Morton's, Peter Luger's clubby, old world steakhouse atmosphere (vs. "pubby").

              I don't eat red meat and had a delicious salad app and fish entree at Tosca. I agree there are some not many vegetarian choices on Tosca's menu.

              Looks like I'll be in the Capital District again this weekend. Might be going to Yono's. I did a quick search of this Board. Any suggestions or thoughts?

              1. re: financialdistrictresident

                McGuires does the best fish preparation in the area.

                1. re: financialdistrictresident

                  Have you tried Capriccio? Delicious Mediterranean-influenced dining in an old speak-easy. If you're looking for clubby, that would be it. A great squid-in-its ink preparation. Along with McGuire's and Jacks's, a consistent Albany favorite. Nothing much to do with the OP's question, but a good recommendation anyway.

                  1. re: PSZaas

                    Yeah it's clubby allright, and one of the reasons why I can't stand the place. We went 20 years ago and were treated like lepers, terrible terrible "wait on and fawn over all your friends first" service, passable food. Tried again years ago, same deal. Horrible service, okay food. Two years ago our friends treated a bunch of us to dinner at Capriccio and my soft shell crab dinner was dripping with grease, ugh. I even called them last year in the process of trying to find a nice place for a huge party, from omnivores to vegans, and Jim Rua could not have been ruder to me on the phone, quite full of himself. And that squid ink dish, love the idea, but it's loaded with bacon fat and chicken stock. I had squid ink spaghetti and cuttlefish at Esca and it was absolutely delicious, with a pure pristine essence of the sea, I even asked the waitress about the preparation "oh no why would you need bacon or chicken stock, we use fish stock". I'd much rather go to Caffe Italia, where everyone who walks in the door is treated like family, with consistently amazing food. Like they say, to each his own!

                    Of course the holidays are over, so this might be too late as regards to the initial post, but for vegetarian food Antipasto's is wonderful. And everything we've eaten so far at the new Food For Thought Cafe has been delightful. Very friendly owner and staff, super clean kitchen and cafe, everything is vegan. And I have to agree, Karavalli is by far the best Indian food we've eaten in the area. The weekend buffet is amazing.




                    1. re: PSZaas

                      Thanks, PSZaas. Yes, I've been to Cafe Capriccio and liked it a great deal. I didn't find it clubby. We sat in the back room and it was warm and inviting. Maybe it has more of a clubby feel when the lawmakers/business crowd are there. Ate at Jack's again on my last visit. There is another thread on BEST in Tri-State area where Jacks, etc. are discussed and I also posted a review of The Wine Bar in Saratoga recently. I received several restaurant suggestions on those threads. I just realized Yono's Indonesian and continental inspired menu might work for the OP (for future reference because by now they probably selected a restaurant). Since I have not been I'll defer to other hounds. I do hope the OP reports back.

                    2. re: financialdistrictresident

                      Several good options have been mentioned, but for a less-pricey, still tasty meal, especially fun with a group, we have had good luck at the Midtown Tap and Tea Room on New Scotland. It isn’t too easy to draw us out of downtown Schenectady these days, but this place does the trick.

                      There’s also enough variety here to make it enjoyable for a group of mixed eaters, which we often get when we go out (this one’s vegetarian, this one is afraid of new things, this one can’t eat cheese, etc.)

                      I haven’t been to the newest Yono’s yet, but we went to his last couple of places several times and I hear his food hasn’t gone downhill at all.

                      1. re: meg944

                        Thanks, meg944. I think we're going to Yono's tomorrow night. That said, I always welcome suggestions for inexpensive and delicious food. Now I'm getting curious about where the OP ended up getting their gift certificate!

                        1. re: financialdistrictresident

                          I had the same thought about Yono’s – certainly if one eats fish, it would be a fine choice. If they are looking for true vegetarian, I am not sure how extensive the menu is. I have one vegetarian sister and one formerly-but-still-kinda-vegetarian sister, so I try to keep an eye on that when we visit places. Fine dining places can be tough as there is often only one true vegetarian entrée option – I’ve been caught out once or twice at places I somehow remembered as being more veg-friendly than they were.

                          Enjoy Yono’s! After paying off our credit card bills from France, we are trying to cut back, but Sunday is our anniversary, so we may be at Chez Sophie or something.

              2. McGuire's is among the best in the Capital District!

                1. Thought of a few additional possibilities (more upscale): Tosca Grille in Troy, Cafe Capriccio (Italian) in downtown Albany and the Glen Sanders Mansion in Scotia. The atmosphere at Tosca (high ceilings, music hall-ish) is not very intimate/romantic. All should work for vegetarians.

                  1. I think Karavalli's is your best bet - great food and lots of vegetarian options. McGuire's, while a grest restaurant, usually has only one vegetarian entree and it always seems like an afterthought. Antipastos is nice - it's more than veg friendly, it is completely vegetarian. But not as special as Karavalli.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: lupaglupa

                      Has Antipasto's changed it's menu? They've always had several non-vegetarian ingredients on their menu (meat meatballs, for example, and real pepperoni to go along with the vegetarian pepperoni and veggie meatballs that they feature.) Their website calls the restaurant "Vegetarian Friendly."

                      1. re: PSZaas

                        My understanding was that all of the meat was "meat." I could be wrong! I always eat the vegetarian entrees so the issue of the meat wasn't important to me.

                        1. re: lupaglupa

                          That's right; the meatballs are meat, the veggie meatballs are saitan, or whatever the vegetarian substitute is. So "Vegetarian Friendly," not "Vegetarian." Their phrase.

                          1. re: PSZaas

                            That must be something new at Antipasto's; was in recently and didn't notice any change. Not a vegetarian, but don't eat red meat. Always saw that they use meat analogs, but maybe it's changed. Keep in mind if you go there (assuming that this hasn't changed) that they are cash-only, no credit cards. Excellent wine selections (the owner Steve's dad owns the wine/liquor store next store).