Best Eats in Ithaca
Viva Taqueria for decent, casual Mexican
Willow is great for a special dinner.
Joe's is just like The Olive Garden - skip it.
Moosewood for a nice lunch of soup, bread and salad.
Purity Ice Cream - get the bitterweet or Mocha Chip. mmmm
The Farner's Market on Sat or Sun mornings. Browse and enjoy the prepared foods, farm produce and the unique Ithaca style people watching.
I have to disagree with the Viva Taqueria recommendations--the few times I've eaten there I've found the food really unsatisfactory.
Mustard recently closed, probably because of the poor economic outlook?
The Carriage House Cafe is an excellent choice for brunch or lunch; they have the best bread in the area.
Tamarind is a new, cheaper knockoff of Taste of Thai. It doesn't have a liquor license, but you can BYO with no corkage.
Hazelnut Kitchen in Trumansburg is also a favorite. If choosing between Pangea, Willow, and HK (all of which are similar in price and style of food), I would pick HK any time.
As a frequent visitor, we like :
Pangea - our fave - funky and fun interior with food to match
Just a Taste - thumbs up like everyone else
Willow - looks like a nice place, only had martinis in the bar
Za Za's Cucina - adequate to good Italian in an interesting space
Joe's - passable Italian when with the kids and grandparents
Maxie's - fun N'awlins style bar food
Dijon - from what we've heard, it's the best food in town (French bistro)
Mustard - casual Commons comfort food - a work in progress from the Dijon people
Hazelnut kitchen - 10-15 minute drive to Trumansburg - very nice, casual bistro (fresh local stuff) - bonus for the quality kids offerings
If you do a search you'll probably find alot of info on this. Taking from something I posted awhile ago:
Taste of Thai - On Ithaca Commons, great Thai food...I like the "Taste of Thai Chicken" and the "Thai Spicy Noodles" with the highest spicy rating of 5.
Just a Taste - Tapas place on the Commons, great variety, delicious! Haven't been disappointed with any of the dishes there.
Za-Za's Cucina - in my opinion, better Italian than Lucatelli's. Great atmosphere as well. Only went there once right before I left Ithaca for good, but enjoyed it immensely.
Maxie's Supper Club - Cajun, "down-home" style cooking. Fun atmosphere. I usually stuck with the "Po' boy" sandwiches, all of which I enjoyed...the blackened catfish po' boy was my favorite.
Viva Cantina/Viva Taqueria - Mexican place on the Commons, one side is sitdown and one side is fast/takeout. The sitdown side is very nice, and the dishes are very fresh tasting.
Cafe DeWitt - This place hidden in the DeWitt Mall has a tasty brunch, with creative omelets, and dishes such as poppyseed pancakes.
And of course there are many more...Ithaca has so many good places!