Albany/ Schenectady area
We are headed from VT to Schenectady this weekend for a wedding. We will be with a 1 and 3 yo. Any recommendations on good eats? Being from Vermont where there is little in the way of cultural diversity we would love recommendations on ethnic restos- greek, lebanese, etc. We are willing to drive for truly good food...
Would also be interested in learning of nice markets to buy food to take home with us.
I may be posting too late for your weekend trip but....In Schenectady, I recommend Taj Mahal on Jay St across from City Hall. The management changed hands recently and the new cook is fabulous. It's relatively cheap, has a buffet that minimizes waiting time (a factor I remember when my kids were that young), and is casual enough for little kids. There's a great Italian bread shop/deli on the far end of Jay St called Perreca's. They make delicious bread, tomato pie (i.e., pizza without the mozarella), sandwiches, etc and they have a nice deli. There's no room for eating in, it's just take-out and day-time - not open in the evening. There's a great Jewish deli on upper Union St called Gershon's. You can eat in or take out and it's casual enough for kids. Not for young kids but VERY good is Mari's, a Japanese restaurant on Van Vranken that has wonderful sushi. Finally, there's a new indoor farmers market at Proctors on State St. It's open Sundays from 10 to 2 (http://www.schenectadygreenmarket.org/) and has vegies, fruit, pies, bread, preserves, cheese, wine, meat - all grown or produced locally. There's also music and kids activities and places to sit and enjoy the bustle. I hope you enjoy your visit!
432 State St, Schenectady, NY 12305
Schenectady Greenmarket is going well. Produce reflects the season (currently apples, pears, potatoes, squash) plus greenhouse goods (tomatoes, greens, herbs), but there's plenty more - grass-fed meat, cheese, wine, eggs, baked goods, pesto, a new muesli vendor this week, jams, maple syrup, teas, honey. You can get a cup of tea or coffee at the Muddy Cup and sit for awhile, listen to music etc. A very pleasant way to spend a cold Sunday.
Also too late for the OP, no doubt. but I am amazed that no-one has mentioned the Tosca-owned sandwich shop (the exact name of which I am of course blanking on right now) across the street from Tosca in Troy. Maybe the best sandwiches in a 50 mile radius :). And if you happen to be around for dinner, Tosca is the *one* capital region restaurant we've been unmitigatedly happy with since arriving earlier this year. Good stuff (albeit pricy for Albany/Troy).
You might want to check out this thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/349608
Second Pinhead Susan's (pub fare) in Schenectady. Miss Albany Diner might be fun and okay for kids. I don't think Albany/Schenectady area is that great for ethnic eats, though I've heard My Linh is good for Vietnamese. I've never had Greek food Upstate and only had Thai food on Lark Street and haven't tried the Thai restaurant in Schenectady yet. The Thai place on Wolf Road is closed. You might want to check out Roma foods in Latham. I'm not really up on kid friendly places.
If you are headed through troy, I'd suggest checking out Ali Baba. It is turkish food and right off route 7.
There is also a really excellent farmer's market in Troy on Saturdays that is all local. There website is http://www.troymarket.org/
There are bands and people selling everything from local produce to bread to homeade cheese and is super family friendly.
Vans is my favorite Vietnamese spot on :307 Central Ave
Albany, NY 12208 (518) 436-1868.
Albaraki in Troy has very good Lebanse: http://www.lebanesefood.tv/
Shalimar is my favorite place for Indian/ Pakistani. http://www.goshalimar.com/
Salsa Latina is a few doors down from Vans and does excellent Mexican and South American food. http://www.yelp.com/biz/salsa-latina-...
All of these places are pretty affordable and relaxed. Albaraki I think might be the only place that doesn't have its own child seats, but the owner is very accomondating.
If you are in Schenectady, you should also check out Villa Italia. They have really good italian pasteries and gelato. It is right near Proctors.
Crisan on Lark Street is the new pastry shop/ bakery there. Their gelato is a dollar a scoop and really wonderful.
If you are in downtown Albany, the Townsend Bakery on Washington near Henry Johnson Blvd has good wood fired bread and some really tasty soup. I had lunch there the other day and it was quite nice.
If you are coming from VT where will you be coming in, Route 7 throught Troy or further north and coming down the northway? If you are doing the latter, I would recommend that you stop in Saratoga and eat at the many great restos there including Forno, one caroline, Chianti, the Wine Bar, Olde Bryan Inn all on or near Broadway (route 9) in Saratoga. There is also Putnam Market right on broadway that has a good selection of ready made, baked and some ethnic foods. There is a new italian Resto on South Broadway that I have heard good things about as well. Once in Schenectady try Pinhead Susans or Parisi's steak house, both good for the kids. You won't have as much luck coming through Troy, mostly because you will have to go off the beaten track for things in downtown. Look at other boards for favorites of the capital district for other suggestions....good luck..
side note, potters tavern on route 7 has some family friendly eating as well.....