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Is there any high quality fine dining in Albany NY ??? [moved from The Best]

I've lived in NYC for decades and travel to Europe and SF frequently but am going to Albany for the first time. I'm looking for fine dining - restaurants using high quality fresh ingredients but not necessarily formal dining - just creative cuisine. Does anyone have any recommendations?

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  1. McGuires, Angelo's Prime 677 (not sure if that's exact). Others?

    3 Replies
    1. re: gerchak198

      gerchak198, still have not been to McGuires. How is it these days since chef left for Creo' ?

    2. Many good restaurants. Cafe Madison. Cafe Capriccio. La Canard Enchaine, Jack's, Marche, Milano, Provence, Hollywood Brown Derby, Karavalli, Dale Miller, Creo, New World Bistro Bar, Beff's. You might consider checking out som of the several posts on the subject on the Tristate board.

      9 Replies
      1. re: PSZaas

        Agree, many good restaurants. Very different then when I grew up in the Capital Region. Second many of PSZaas' recs. We have enjoyed Cafe Capriccio (Italian), Marche, NWBB. Yono's (more formal and casual dining options). Tosca in Troy. We have been to Cafe Capriccio and Tosca most often.

        1. re: PSZaas

          But are these really "fine dining" as nyperr wants? Of course, it depends on what their dfinition of fine dining is. For example, I love Karavalli but it is certainly not "fine dining."

          1. re: gerchak198

            gerchak198, you raise an interesting point. Especially for a frequent SF diner. The only "fine dining" experience I have had is at Yono's (service was reminiscent of EMP, GR, The Modern Dining Room, Robuchon experiences in NYC) in their formal restaurant. Jack's and Cafe Capriccio also draw the business and elected official crowd. At least the recent Albany political fiasco supported some local businesses. Nyperr's request for high quality fresh ingredients is easier. Creative cuisine is more challenging (The Wine Bar, Marche, NWBB). IMHO Saratoga Springs has the best dining options. Albany is probably second. Tosca in Troy.

              1. re: financialdistrictresident

                The main dining room at Dale Miller might also be considered "fine dining." At least Yono's and Dale Miller served an amuse-bouche and their bread service was formal as well. Don't remember if mignardise (includes petits fours) were served.

              2. re: gerchak198

                Poster said fresh ingredients, not necessarily formal. The poster was a little vague, so I threw in a bunch of stuff. The poster could read the board, and learn a lot. I put in Beff's in case he wanted a good burger.

              3. re: PSZaas

                La Canard Enchaine closed their Albany location.

                1. re: PSZaas

                  Dale Miller is now Taste and Chef Miller is at Sperry's in Saratoga. . .

                  1. re: PSZaas

                    For those who may not have seen the recent announcement, the Hollywood Brown Derby will be closing August, 25, 2012.

                    http://blog.timesunion.com/tablehoppi...

                  2. I dined at McGuires in mid-August, and the food and service were both outstanding. Best dinner I have had in a long time, and I have had some very good ones recently. Both appetizer (fig salad) and main (huge veal chop) were specials. If the regular menu items are of similar caliber, it might be a good thing the previous chef went to Creo.

                    1. The Sitar if you are a fan of Indian Cuisine. I lived in England and experienced wonderful Indian food, have not found anything in the Albany area that compares except the Sitar, it is amazing.

                      1. I recommend Grappa 72 quite strongly. It's on Central Ave, hidden in a little strip mall near the Hannaford plaza- this location used to be occupied by Carmine's, which mercifully closed after a long decline.

                        I knew before I even walked in for my first visit, when my companion and I saw fresh herbs growing among the flowers in windowboxes out front, that I could expect a memorable meal. We were not disappointed.

                        Menu is high quality Italian, in both modern and traditional varieties, the selections diverse without overwhelming one with dozens of choices.

                        We found the ambience elegant but not overly formal and the service was flawless- friendly and efficient, attentive without being intrusive, and pleasantly receptive to custom orders & off-menu requests. Crumbs were collected between courses and our water glasses never approached empty. Well-chosen music played softly; while quite audible, it never discouraged conversation nor did it elicit loud voices from the other diners.

                        And the food... ahhh, just delectable. (My mouth waters at the memory.) Our main courses were excellent- both the fish and the chicken cooked just right, well-seasoned and perfectly sauced, accompanied by sides that complemented the central flavors admirably. The sage reduction with my chicken Saltimbocca was a particular delight. Desserts also were wonderful, a decadent peach crumble with shortbread crust, almond whipped cream & hot buttered rum, and a perfect, classic creme bruleé garnished with fresh strawberry.

                        Although it's been open for some time now, Grappa 72 was a new discovery for me.
                        I intend to become a regular.

                        Very highly recommended.

                        I also second the recommendation of the Sitar- as I've posted elsewhere, the best Indian food I've found in the Capital District. They serve a most excellent version of chicken with cashews & cream, and the best palak paneer I've had anywhere. Also a very good Sunday buffet until 3PM.

                        8 Replies
                          1. re: financialdistrictresident

                            We went to Grappa'72 again recently. Almost as good as the first time. Different chef. Wouldn't consider it "fine dining."

                            1. re: financialdistrictresident

                              Grappa &2 has lost its edge. Food ranges from pretty good to so-so and management doesn't seem to care about poor service or customer care.

                              1. re: PamelaS

                                PamelaS, what did you have and when did you go? We haven't been for dinner in some time (once since the chef change). Went for cocktails and service was fine. That said we were the only people at the bar because it was early on a Sunday afternoon :)

                                1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                  I was there twice in the spring. I had been a few times before and had been very pleased. But these two times the service was unbearably slow and the management showed "attitude" rather than offering any type of apologies. My food was fine, but others in my party each time had undercooked food, blandly seasoned food, and dishes missing ingredients specified on the menu.

                                  1. re: PamelaS

                                    Did you tell them so they could correct the undercooked food, pacing of your meal, etc.?

                                    1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                      Yes, and while our server at one of the meals was responsive, the one at the second meal was not. And at both meals the management was rude to our friends and indifferent to the problems.

                                      1. re: PamelaS

                                        Thanks, Pamela S. Sorry your experiences were not good. Luckily we've only had good experiences (except for a dessert). To be fair, we've only been a few times and the most recent was last summer.

                        1. nyperr, it has been a year since your OP.

                          Did you go to Albany? Where did you end up?