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Apr 15, 2008 11:02 AM

Best Restaurants in Saratoga Springs

My girlfriend, some friends, and I are visiting Saratoga Springs this weekend. My gf and I were there about a year and a half ago and had dinner at The Wine Bar and lunch at The Grey Gelding. We found both enjoyable. We're all from NYC, so our standards for dining are quite high. We would like to find a place that is good and by "good" we don't mean the definition of good most people in the US use (that is, "expensive" and where they call you "sir" every chance they get). I mean really good food. Anything aside from The Wine Bar that you would recommend? Also, any place that allows BYOB would be great.

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  1. Doesn't sound like this is what you are looking for but the Parting Glass is a great place for lunch. God place for pub food and a pint. Gets a little crowded though on the weekends. I haven't been there yet, but One Caroline sounds like more of what tyou are looking for.

    I've been to Lillian's a few times, and always had a good meal Last time I was there I had the baked brie with a raspberry sauce in a puffed pastry and followed that up with a shrimp scampi and steak. Not the greatest steak you'lll ever eat, but very tasty. I think it came to $70per person w/ drinks. For lunch it's amuch more bar snack kind of menu.

    It will be too cold most likely but the City Tavern has a rooftop bar, and the last time I was there the cocktails were great and the food was cheap. Fun spot to start or end your day.

    Honeslty, I go with a bunch of guys at least once a year for a golf weekend, so what we're looking for is relaxing, good food, at a moderate price. I'm sure you are looking for something a little more upscale. There are so many places in Sarartoga, it's hard to pick for someone else.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jhopp217

      I'd skip lillians. Yes the baked brie with the rasberry sauce was good, but I was their with my parents and my dad's steak was still frozen in the center when it was served. When they "fixed" the problem, the steak was still poorly done.

      I also had lipstick on my coffee cup and my dish was very oversalted.

      There were nine of us, and it was post track season, but for the price they charge I found the service to be lacking.

    2. I have not been in many years and they have since changed locations, but I have had some of the best meals ever at Chez Sophie. For what it's worth, I'm an ex NYC'er as well.

      9 Replies
      1. re: Ima Foodie

        As my wife and I are employees of the NY Racing Association we spend six weeks in SS every year for the past 10.

        Best Restaurants: Dine, The Wishing Well, Sergios, Ciros, Gotcha's Ya, Lanci's (the best!) that should be enough.

        STAY AWAY FROM THE PARTING GLASS. Unless you're a fan of terrible pub food.
        The wine bar is OK for, exactly that, wine. For a better enjoyed drink, the garden of the Adelphi Hotel is nicer.

        1. re: Stuartmc910

          Actually, what I mean is something that is NOT that expensive, which is the definition most people use for "good restaurant". I want something that has really good food that isn't the usual $45 surf and turf, white table cloth stuff. New York City does that better than anywhere else anyway.

          1. re: mobiusmodx

            Some local choices for mid-end dining: For beef, try Cliff's, if it's a night out with guys; really good beef, and really mediocre everything else (good bar). You might enjoy the new 51 Front Street Bistro and Wine Bar in Ballston Spa; a moderately price Southern-inspired menu with beer and wine; for that matter, you might like Sunset Cafe, a casual Southwestern place across the street; all are moderately priced. Enjoy.

            Cliffs Country Inn
            2345 Route 9P, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

            51 Front Bistro and Wine Bar
            51 Front St, Ballston Spa, NY 12020

            Sunset Cafe
            42 Front St, Ballston Spa, NY 12020

          2. re: Stuartmc910

            I concur. As I said in a much earlier post, I'd rather eat an MRE than chow down at the Parting Glass

            1. re: Stuartmc910

              It looks like Lanci's closed in April. What would be your favorite special occasion restaurant now that they are closed? We are a group of 6 celebrating a birthday. We are interested in really good food in a nice atmosphere. I am sorry that we missed Lanci's. It looks like it was a wonderful place!

              1. re: jhaas

                We ate at Chianti a few weeks ago. The food and service were both excellent.

                1. re: jhaas

                  jhaas, 8 Tables Restaurant is now in the former Lanci's location. We went for the first time recently.


            2. I would try Hattie's (southern food that is actually pretty darn good, and I am a transplanted southerner), I second One Caroline (piano bar, also uses local ingredients), and for gourmet ice cream you should go to the Ice Cream Man which is out by the fair grounds so it's a bit of a drive (and many of the high-end places in SS actually serve their ice cream). I went to the Wishing Well, and dinner was about 120 for the two of us; it's definitely more of a "local" place, though, so maybe the food is better on a busier night. We were not impressed with the food at all when we went. If I wanted a crudite platter of celery and carrots with black olives from a can, I could make it myself. We really like Springwater Bistro and recommend it highly to everyone; it has a tasting menu that is in the 40-50 dollar range per person, but which has 3-4 courses and wine. This was excellent. The Country Cafe has good breakfasts, and there are two locations. Also, the bagels at Uncommon Grounds are good, but we have been disappointed in the espresso they serve. Noone really knows how to pull a good shot. If you're up on a weekend after May 1 (so not this weekend, obviously), the Farmer's Market will be back in the park, and there is a ton of good stuff you could find there (local cheeses and baked goods in addition to veg) that could make a fun picnic. Also, Karavalli is a new Indian restaurant in town that is as good as anything I have had in the city. Mrs. London's is probably one of the best French bakeries in the country (the NY times had written it up several times, if you want a review), and they have excellent sandwiches in addition to croissants and pastries. Also, Ravenous is a creperie, and has excellent and inexpensive crepes. And pomme frites to die for, especially with the horseradish dipping sauce. And lemonade. And yeah, I just went to lunch there today. It's very busy, though, so maybe go right when it opens (11:30) or closer to closing time. These are places we like and frequent often. Good luck!

              10 Replies
              1. re: mandalei

                I second Hatties and Ravenous, although I sometimes find their fries too greasy and cold. Hatties has a buffet on Tueday nights which affords you an opportunity to sample many dishes. We only ate at Springwater two times, our first and last. The service was awful, I mean really awful. The irony was we were "checking it out" for a benefit for 375 as they do off site catering. They failed miserably. Maybe you have to be "known" at The Wishing Well as we always have a good to excellent meal there. Greet Benda, the owner, by name as "nice to see you again Brenda" might help. Down the road is Chez Pierre, excellent French (obviously) food.

                1. re: mandalei

                  As I've said in another thread - Ice Cream Man is amazing. I don't really like ice cream and I love their ice cream!

                    1. re: financialdistrictresident

                      SO went to The Wishing Well recently and raved about their steak Diane.

                      He also saw Mary Lou and her hubby there.

                      Should it be on my radar screen?

                      1. re: financialdistrictresident

                        I do not think this is the kind of place you would be interested in..... based on reading many of your posts.

                        1. re: financialdistrictresident

                          High quality ingredients, old-fashioned menu, really a blast from the past. Specialities are things like seafood, steak, triple-thick lamb chops. Relish tray included. It's a good restaurant, but on the opposite side from the cutting edge.

                          1. re: PSZaas

                            Thanks, jaylhorner, PSZaas . . .maybe when I'm craving retro :)

                            1. re: financialdistrictresident

                              my wife's uncle got a 50.00 gift cert for there but they live down in croton. we saw them at a family event and they gave it to us. it was definitely old school. good but we wouldn't run back. it was funny too as it felt like being in the 70's with the decor and the period fashion of most of the patrons.

                              1. re: davmar77

                                I usually think I'm in 1940's or 1950's. This is what fine dining used to be, and it's a refreshing change, once in a while, even now. Never had a bad meal here.

                    2. You might want to do a search of this site and check out: TOP NY Capital Region - Albany, Schenectady, Saratoga, Troy. is also useful. I live in NYC and go Upstate often. A few thoughts:

                      *The Wine Bar was very good when we went recently
                      *Dine was good (not in the same league as The Wine Bar)
                      *Beekman Street Bistro - we plan to try it soon
                      *Max London - heard good things but have not been yet
                      *Ravenous - I hear the crepes are very good but I have not been yet

                      If you have a car you might want to try Bloomers (American cuisine). Chef was sous chef at Chez Sophie's and it is in their old location. Thanks again to the hound who suggested it. We went again last weekend. The calamari with peperocini and scallions is a favorite app. The BBQQ quail with espresso and chipotle sauce entree is delicious. Bloomer's is a notch above Dine re: food in my opinion.

                      12 Replies
                        1. re: jaylhorner

                          jaylhorner, where should we eat next? Beekman Street Bistro, Max's or somewhere else?

                          1. re: financialdistrictresident

                            Max London's is pretty good.... haven't been to Beekman yet, but it gets good recs. In Saratoga, I also like Springwater Bistro.

                              1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                I've heard a lot of good stuff about Max London's from friends who live in Saratoga.

                                1. re: adventuresinbaking

                                  Thanks, adventuresinbaking. I still have not been to Max's. Had a lovely lunch at Mrs. London's over Thanksgiving.

                          2. re: jaylhorner

                            Went to Bloomer's again this weekend. Had the "special" escargot appetizer garnished with a crispy basil leave, a green sauce with a hint of tarragon and a cream sauce (with chives?). Non-traditional, very good. We also had the calamari with peperocini and scallions. So nice to have calamari that is breaded properly and cooked perfectly. One entree was "lite fair" - Southern fried quail and grits. Quail was cooked well and not overdone (tender and juicy - rivaled Degustation and Robuchon's quail in this regard). I had the "special" porcini crusted fish (halibut?). A porcini dust, actually. It was accompanied with basmati rice and some fesh vegetables. Another delicious meal. Thanks again, jaylhorner.

                            1. re: financialdistrictresident

                              You're welcome again! Glad to see you still like Bloomers. It's one of my favorites and now that track season is over, I will be there soon.

                            2. re: financialdistrictresident

                              Finally got back to Dine again. After a delicious dinner wondered why I'd been so dead set against eating at Dine. Perhaps I didn't order the right dishes last time or it was during racing season. I just remember my experience being mixed. Dine is now back on the list!

                              We ordered a bottle of wine, and nibbled on the fennel and pepper breadsticks. We had the fried oyster with caper aioli special app and a Dine salad with mixed greens, apricots, cranberries, nuts and gouda. Very good.

                              For entrees we had the cioppino with grilled bread and pan seared sea bass with fennel and apple. Appreciate that the chef accomodated my request for no prosciutto.

                              A very good meal with great service (Fitz and other server made our dining experience a lot of fun).


                                1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                  Capriccio Saratoga or something like that will eventually go into the Dine location. In the meantime, it's still Dine.

                            3. I've posted on Beekman street several months ago, an can highly recommend it...not overpriced IMHO, neat ambiance (local arts) and interesting wines. We walked out of One Caroline after an entirely too long of a wait (at the table) and negligibly interesting menu items....
                              Hatties is also really good, and can absolute recommend Mrs. London's for lunch/ pastries you'll find outside of paris

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: sixelagogo

                                Thanks guys! Yeah, we went to Mrs. London's for dessert, and it was stellar. I'm excited to try Bloomers! Thanks a bunch!

                                1. re: mobiusmodx

                                  So did you make it to Bloomers? What'd you think?

                                  It's one of the top 2 places in the Saratoga area, right up there with Beekman Street Bistro. In fact, I'd put Bloomers at #1 and BSB at #2. The overall experience at Bloomers -- food, service, ambience -- takes the cake. Only real drawback is its location (not walking distance from downtown, like BSB is).