Albany, New York -- HELP!
I will spend a few days in Albany, New York this week and weekend and am looking for some ideas for eating and shopping. I am familiar with a wonderful pork store called Rolf's on Lexington Avenue and will spend some time (and money) there. But there's got to be more, right? Restaurants? Markets?
Second the vote for Shalimar. I think the best falafel is Albaraki on Lark Street near centra. It is a very tiny hole-in-the wall joint - great for to go orders. If you venture a little further down the street their is the new Romanian Bakery, Crisan. They have great pastries and dollar a scoop gelato!
Cheesecake Machismo has the best homeade cheesecake. It is two blocks down from Lark street on the corner of hudson and South Swan. They have a great cup of coffee and a piece of cheesecake deal for 5 dollars. The flavors are great, cookies and cream to guiness as well as plain.
Also love debbie's kitchen. She is down on the corner of Madison and Lark, a few doors up from the Mobile station on the corner there. Best brownies ever and great food too!
I also second Mahar's for the beer, Shalimar for the Indian and the cheese counter at Honest Weight.
Vans on Central Ave by Quail St and South Lake is really good Vietnamese.
The best restaurant in Albany is probably still Cafe Capriccio. Great food and wine- maybe a bit romantic if you are solo. I've eaten at the bar though which is fun. Justins on lark often has good food, at least they used to. I don't get up to albany as much as I used to.
Honest Weight is an awesome health food store. A zillion interesting ingredients you won't find anywhere else. Hidden behind a Family Dollar store out on Central. Also acattered along central are 3 chinese markets and one decent Indian. My favorite of the 3 is actually right off Central on Colvin. Its 3 doors down from the best beverage store for microbrews in the area also.
Going to Cafe Capriccio tomorrow night. Yono's (not the upscale restaurant, their restaurant with a different menu in the same building).
If you have a car, head to Saratoga Springs.
OP, you might want to search this Board and check out the TOP Capital District - Albany, Schenectady, Troy, Saratoga Springs thread.
You'll be close to Central Ave and Lark St - I really have begun to like the Wine Bar & Bistro on Lark. It still has the old signage from Antica Enotica hanging in front of it. It's good for Tapas.
Otherwise... depending on when you go, lunch time usually = lunch buffet on M-F for all the state workers. You can get a steal at the Indian restos Ghandi and Shalimar, or Aashiana (great falafel). These restaurants are all on the same block on Central Ave.
On the opposite side of the street is Golden Choice. Excellent for Caribbean eats. Get the 'small' portions.
Are these close enough to where you are?
PS to Yumcha's comment: Shalimar's lunch buffet is open on Saturdays too, not sure about Ghandi, though. It is excellent.
Also - Cafe Madison on Madison Ave near N. Allen St. has excellent breakfast/brunch/lunch and very nice for dinner also.
IF you like a good pub, don't miss Mahar's next door - amazing beer selection, and one of the only places on the planet with 5-6 cask ales at any given moment. It is for the beer aficionado - I don't think they serve anything else, and a civilized place - no loud music or TVs.
I hear Cardona's Market on Delaware Ave has enlarged and remodeled and is now quite good for meats/fish, etc.
Another great market is Honest Weight FOod Coop - best cheese counter in Albany, and organic, fresh foods. Also has some prepared foods.