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Need lunch rec near Colonie or Crossgates/Albany

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I know a lot of little, interesting places in Albany, but am not aware of anything but the chains around Colonie Center (and/or Crossgates.) We'll be limited in time, so need to eat in or around the mall. Can anyone recommend a decent lunch place (any type of food) or a chain that's tolerable?
Was going to try P.F. Chang until I read the posts on the board, now that's a no. Have eaten at Cheesecake Factory once; that was enough (though I do like the cheesecake.)
Any thoughts?

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  1. Cheesecake Factory usually has a wait if you have limited time.
    Across the street is a decent Chinese restaurant...Emperor's Palace.

    1. BFS is a cozy Lebanese place, with terrific lunches (and dinners) just down from Crossgates Mall. Beats the crap out of any of the chains.

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      BFS Delicatessen & Cafe
      1736 Western Ave, Albany, NY 12203

      1. If you like Italian how about D'Raymonds in Loudonville on the Albany Shaker Rd. which has delicious lunches and reasonable (call ahead for a reservation and they are open on Mondays); Inferno Pizza also Albany Shaker Road has a nice dining room; TJ's Cafe or Ralph's Tavern on Central Avenue near Colonie Center; Real Seafood Co, on Wolf Road down from the Colonie Center for fresh seafood. Hope this has helped you out.

        1. Hope this post isn't too late to be helpful. Try Stuyvesant Plaza (Fuller Road & Western Avenue), a little shopping center close to Crossgates Mall. I've had lunch at Provence (French) and Mangia (a chain?).

          2 Replies
          1. re: financialdistrictresident

            Mangia is closed, pending a reopening in another format. Provence is very nice.

            1. re: PSZaas

              PSZaas, thanks for letting me know. I'm heading Upstate this weekend.

          2. Thanks all for the recommendations! Am going to look into the non-chain ones, especially BFS. Have done Sty Plaza often, found Mangia OK (liked when they had white whole wheat pizzas, back quite a while), and have had mix results at Provence.
            Thanks again!

            1 Reply
            1. re: mjoyous

              Try Beff's on Everet Rd for pub food, quick lunch and good pizza. I like almost nothing in the crossgates area.

            2. Ralph's Tavern on Central Ave., not far from Fuller Road, is a great lunch place. The menu is mostly Italian but they have lots of sandwiches and the prices are extremely reasonable. Awesome chicken wings too!