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Apr 8, 2008 04:58 PM

cornell university/ithaca visit with son need rec's

Visiting Cornell University with my son this weekend for four days. Any rec's would be appreciated. My son wants to try out some great local places so no chains please. He pretty an open eater, but doesn't want to go to a stuffy 3 hour meal. He's heard from his friend that Ithaca has a vibrant Asian dinning scene. He'd like to try places that he might be going to when he goes to school in the fall. Good food, good value. If possible he would also like to try places that are different from Los Angeles so no Mexican or Sushi. We have a car. I've looked at older links and came up these restaurants. I just don't know if they are still good and more importantly if they are still open.

For Breakfast:
Hope's Way
Carriage House Cafe

Lost Dog Cafe
Nines ( for the pizza and the "corn nuggets")
Glenwood Pines (best burger?)

Taste of Thai (best Thai?)
Dijon Bistro
Maxies Supper Club
An old post described an Vietnam Restaurant on Dryden Road
The Antlers

For Dessert
Cornell Diary (to try the raspberry truffle ice cream)
Purity Ice Cream

Looking forward to this College Road Trip with my son.

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  1. My son is a sophomore at Cornell. He like Mahagony Grill. It's in town not far from the Hilton Garden Inn, but don't have the exact address. I have taken him there for lunch a number of times. Good burgers and salads.
    Not sure if the Thai place you are talking about is the one that is just outside of town in a strip mall, but if so they had the best Pad Thai I have ever eaten.

    1. I'm a townie, so I'm not too familiar with collegetown places, but as for the rest of town...
      Ithaca Bakery on Meadow st has the best bagels, soups, and sandwiches in town (better than Hope's way, in my opinion). Great croissants, coffee and such for breakfast as well. Collegetown Bagels is owned by the same people but has a more limited selection. I was never a big fan of the pizza at the Nines (heresy, I know). Try Pizza Aroma on Cayuga St if you want pizza. Totally agreed about Taste of Thai on the Commons - best Thai in town. Glenwood Pines has a gret burger but not much else - pretty setting though, great views of the lake. Lost Dog is fun, excellent spinach-artichoke dip, and great live jazz Wednesday nights. Just a Taste is my favorite fancy-ish dinner restaurant (mostly tapas/small plates). Patisserie Renée Senne in Cayuga Heights has the most amazing pastries - her chocolate mousse iis one of the best I've ever had. Diamond's has good Indian, nothing particularly special. Skip the Antlers, it's pretty mediocre. Moosewood is also worth looking at, if a college-age guy is willing to eat at a vegetarian restaurant. If you drive on Dryden Rd up the hill through College Town you'll pass several Japanese, Korean, Thai, etc places. And it night be a little early yet, but if you're there on a Saturday or Sunday morning, you should definitely go to the Farmers' Market - there's all sorts of vendors selling everything from Cambodian food to ribs to crepes to macrobiotic/vegan to Cactus Heads' chile relenos and killer belgian waffles. It's my favorite place to go for breakfast - just be sure to bundle up.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Emmmily

        And if you're coffee drinkers, you have to stop by Gimme! Coffee. Great hot chocolate too.

        (I'm stuck on front desk duty doing basically nothing for the next 2 hours, so I'm sure I'll keep coming up with things...)

        1. re: Emmmily

          thanks for your help. great ideas.

        2. re: Emmmily

          Where is Patisserie Renée Senne? The only patisserie I've been too is the one in Community Corners, which is called Sarah's Patisserie (VERY good, and lovely people who work there.)

          1. re: 4Snisl

            Sarah's was formerly Renee's patisserie. I think Sarah was a protege of Renee. Regardless, both incarnations are very good.

        3. My daughter actually likes to be taken by us to the restaurant at the Statler on campus to be wined and dined, as a break from the relentless quesedila and cup-a-soup diet she deals with there on her own. Beautiful view of the sunset.

          1. Been around here awhile, hope I can help. Coming from LA, you can obviously skip the Mexican. I would say skip all the Asian -- not that there isn't some good stuff -- it won't be better than what you have, but if your son is looking for local eats it might be worth the research.

            Some comments:

            Lost Dog Cafe is decent, not amazing, but friendly vibe and good enough food for 'college crowd' eats.

            Nines: Bleh, but a seminal college experience, so might be worth it for that.

            Glenwood Pines: I wouldn't go out of my way for their burger -- I like the burger at Boatyard Grill much better, if you like your burger "pure" (i.e. "about the beef" rather than unusual toppings). Boatyard isn't the best value across their menu, but the burger is pretty solid.

            Dijon Bistro: Very excellent French bistro fare, odd location in a fringe part of town strip mall beside the DMV.

            Just a Taste: Tapas -- very good, but order a lot if you don't want to leave hungry. Still, excellent quality.

            Maxies: Love it. Go there.

            Vietnam: It's a nice Collegetown staple for the students, but it's not gonna blow you away coming from LA.

            Antlers: More of an 'early bird special' type crowd.

            Mediterraneo: ?? Must be gone.

            Cornell Dairy: Fun to visit and try things!
            Purity: Our de facto old fashioned ice cream parlor. Ithaca claims provenance for inventing the ice cream sundae. Purity's product is fine but not especially special.

            A few more candidates to toss in the ring:

            Smart Monkey Cafe south of town is a new-ish organic cafe. It is a tad pricey, but the selection and quality is good, interesting, creative, different. (Alas, they don't serve monkey.)

            Aladdin's in Collegetown is a solid middle eastern/natural-ish foods joint. Like a lot of places here, it's not the best of its kind you're going to find, but it is a college staple and is good for what it is.

            Echo recommendation of food at the Farmer's Market -- lots of very good stalls there, besides the produce and crafts. The burritos, macro mamas, sticky rice thai, jung ching, the wood oven flatbread guy...

            Pizza Aroma is good but it isn't really "NY style" if that's what you're after. If anything, it is more west coast in terms of eclectic toppings. While we don't have "true" NYC style pizza in Ithaca, close approximations include Ginos and Napolis.

            Among higher-end meals (such as Pangea), my pick is actually The Heights. Perhaps the best, or at least among the 2 or 3 best, in town. Dress up food.


            1 Reply
            1. re: thebordella

              my son will love these food ideas. You've been a big help.

            2. Live in Westchester and was in Finger Lakes on vacation this summer. Ate at Taste of Thai this summer and it was so good I still think about it. Do go.

              Purity was very good too as we enjoyed Taste quite a bit.