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Nov 14, 2009 07:22 AM

HELP finding restaurants in Rochester NY

I will be going to Rochester NY for the first time and I am looking for the best restaurants using top quality local ingredients and local wines. I travel quite a bit overseas so I'm not looking for Asian or formal French but the best local dining.

Places that I have found on my internet research are :
2 Vine
The Grill at the Strathallen hotel.

We will be there only 3 nights. Please advise your recommendations.

Thank you

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  1. You've included 2 of my favorite kitchens in the city of Roch. Lento and Max's. Lento prides itself on local ingredients and the food is superior as well as the service. Max's (on Gibbs St.), food is also superior with equal quality service and the surroundings are lovely with a great bar.

    I have never been to Tastings, but hear regularly that the food is great. Tastings is in the flagship store of Wegmans supermarkets. If you have never experienced a Wegmans supermarket, trust me, this store on Monroe ave. in Pittsford is a must for any foodie. Wegmans (Tastings), also has a relationship with Constellation Brands and the New York Culinary Center, consequently they will have a fine selection of New York State wines.

    2 Vine has very good food, and a great sexy bar. Service is good, but the acoustics can be loud.

    I don't know anything about Virtu, and was not pleased with Strathallen on the one occasion that I was there. It might just have been the night.

    I can offer 3 others:
    Michaels Valley Grill, excellent food and service, with live dinner jazz on Friday evenings. This has become a staple for us when we want a great dinner but are in the mood for a quiet relaxed atmosphere. Great bar too. But it is outside city center by about 20 minutes.

    And if you are in the mood for a little out of the way Italian restaurant, Bacco's on Park Ave. is very fine. We don't go for the surroundings or the bar. The food and service are great. And the Park ave. area, further east of Bacco's is fun to drive along, and find a place for an after dinner drink if you want.

    ONE, is a relatively new rest. just off of East Ave. near downtown. The food is good. But people go mainly for the atmosphere, younger sexy crowd, and the space is beautiful. Great bar too. Service is good. But ONE can also be a bit loud.

    263 Park Ave, Rochester, NY 14607

    1 Reply
    1. Tastings is closed! Just got back from weekly shopping trip to Wegmans / Pittsford, and there was a sign announcing that Wed. is it. Sort of ... a replacement will open in December, with a new name and across the street (i.e., no longer attached to the supermarket). Maybe we should stop mentioning places we like; seems to shorten their shelf life ...

    2. Our favorite restaurant here is Veneto's. We eat there just about every weekend. Everything they make there is wonderful. It's a lively fun atmosphere. Kitchen is right out in the open. Website is a little stale, but you'll get the idea.

      Our favorite pricey restaurant is without question Rooneys. IMO way better than 2 Vine etc.

      We still love Park Avenue Pub for mellow atmosphere and consistently great food.

      IMO ONE Ryan Alley has gone drastically down hill...It started out strong, had a change of ownership, and well, it's just a mess.

      Baccos is consistently good Italian.

      And, of course, everybody loves Dinosaur Barbecue. Long waits. Head to the bar for a Bloody Mary or any Rohrbachs (local brewery) on tap.

      1. No real arguments with the preceding posts. Lots of good advice. I'd suggest Beal Street over the Dino BBQ; food is as good, if not better, lots less hype (and thus no / much shorter wait for a table). BTW: There is no Beale STREET in Rochester; the rest. is at the corner of South Avenue and Gregory Street.

        Tastings IS pretty good food, but service can be sketchy. They are not professional waitstaff; generally kids, albeit bright and eager ones. (Wegmans, the parent supermarket, has a very admirable practice of developing staff, providing scholarships, investing in the community). They also try to provide some atmosphere, but you ARE in a wing of a supermarket...

        Very much agree on Rooney's, Bacco, and Park Avenue Pub. Would also suggest considering Bamba Bistro on Alexander Street. Lots of people go to 2 Vine to see and be seen, which I'm guessing is not a big attraction if you don't live here. About a block away is Eros with a little less atmosphere but great food.

        Virtu is OK, but in the same complex (Corn Hill Landing, on Exchange Blvd.) you might want to check out Johnny B's if you like wood fired pizza. Also have a small selection of other Italian dishes. Both places offer nice views of the Genesee River. Panzarri's is right across the street, and it has excellent Italian. If you are in the mood for old-style, red gravy, neighborhood Italian joints, try Rocky's or Antonetta's in the City or (slightly more upscale) Perlo's or the Northside Inn in the village of East Rochester (about 5 miles east of the City).

        Only know Lento by its outstanding reputation, but if you want to get something lighter in that area (Village Gate complex, a refurbished printing plant on Goodman Street), check out the Gate House.

        Also on the River ( and virtually on Lake Ontario, too) is Pier 45. Excellent food, nice atmosphere. It's all the way up Lake Avenue, about 6 miles from center city, at the Port.

        Finally, because I'm a Rochesterian, I have sworn a blood oath to make mention of Nick Tahou's, home of the Garbage Plate, in forums such as this. The food will neither thrill nor kill you; the downtown westside location might do one of the two of them ... It's been written about by the Stern's in Road Food, been on FoodTV, yadda yadda. Get the "Hots, Potats, and Beans" version. If nothing else, you'll have a story to tell the folks back home ... well, and probably indigestion.

        Northside Inn
        311 N Washington St, East Rochester, NY 14445

        263 Park Ave, Rochester, NY 14607

        Johnny B's
        1457 Meriden Rd, Wolcott, CT 06716

        Bamba Bistro
        282 Alexander St, Rochester, NY 14607

        Park Avenue Cafe
        41 S Park Ave, Rockville Centre, NY 11570

        Gate House
        274 Goodman St N, Rochester, NY 14607

        Perlo's Restaurant
        202 N Washington St, East Rochester, NY 14445

        Pier 45
        1000 North River Street, Rochester, NY 14612

        2 Replies
        1. re: budgetrick

          These are great recommendations! Thank you. I have another question about Rochester food searches: we will be traveling and need to find a great bakery near Pittsford so that we can pre-order 3-4 great dessert items. Any recommendations? We love Carrot cake and chocolate ganache. Also, we like great pies as well. Please feel free to give me some names. Wegman's items are not quite good enough... Many thanks!

          1. re: citygirl

            I think the best bakery in town is Savoia's. It is not in Pittsford however. (You're right about Wegmans bakery. Yuk.)


        2. I have another question about Rochester, NY food searches: we will be traveling and need to find a great bakery near Pittsford so that we can pre-order 3-4 great dessert items. Any recommendations? We love Carrot cake and chocolate ganache. Also, we like great pies as well. Please feel free to give me some names. Wegman's items are not quite good enough... Many thanks!

          3 Replies
          1. re: citygirl

            While I'm not a big dessert guy, I suggest Cheesy Eddies on South Avenue in the City. Great carrot cake and (duh) cheesecake. Had a great linzer torte from there, too. Not exactly Pittsford, but easy to get to. When Leo's Bakery was in the City, we used to get good pies there, but I've not been there since they moved to East Rochester. We also get some baked goods from Malek's on Monroe Avenue, but more so bread and rolls, not much dessert stuff. They probably have some, it's probably good, but I'm guessing.

            1. re: citygirl

              Sorry - my reply to the bakery question is "misfiled." Look above.

              1. re: CindyK

                the best damn bbq in Rochester is Unkle Moe's, bar none, southern cooking at its best.