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Feb 4, 2010 08:48 AM

Vday dinner for 6 in Amherst/Buffalo/Niagara


We'll be staying in Amherst on Vday weekend. We live in Ontario( I'm American). Apart from my spouse, the other Canadians have never been to Buffalo. They want to try cheesecake factory ( no comments please)so we're headed there on Saturday night. I think we'll go to Duff's for wings on Sunday( I hope I can eat something else as I dont eat chicken wings). I'm at a loss for a Sunday dinner. I'd love some great Italian. ( not another chain please) Any suggestions as I have to make a reservation. Are there any great brazilian steakhouses?( I dont eat red meat, but those places usually have salad bars). Any great cupcake places too?

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  1. Duff's has the local reputation, (and I know they have locations in Ontario) but I don't think much of their wings. It is more of a college student hang-out. And you won't think much of their other menu selections.
    If your party is willing to split up, the Bamboo House is right next door to Duff's. I have never been, but the Chinese-Cambodian menu is supposed to be vegetarian friendly, so you may be a happy camper there, while your friends grease down on wings next door.

    If you want to stay together for wings, I would suggest you drive 4-5 minutes north of Duff's on Millersport to Elmo's. Their wings are better, and unlike Duff's, their other food selections are decent. Tell your friends to get a "beer-&-wing special", half-hot,half-cajun.

    For Italian in Amherst, I like both Siena, and 800 Maple, both of which are excellent traditional American restaurants with an Italian bent. Both have full bars, excellent wine lists, and decent cocktails, in case there is a wait on Valentines Day.

    For more authentic "regional Italian", check out Trattoria Aroma, also excellent. Very small, romantic, and a bit pricier- it might be hard to get in for Valentines Day.
    La Scala is a big place in East Amherst, and a bit of a trip up Transit Road, I have had drinks there, but cannot report on the food.

    If you want "homey" Italian, in a converted house, Lebro's is a popular place for no-frills reasonable Italian. It is very comfortable, with a pub-like atmosphere, and probably not a big romantic destination. Still, it is very popular with locals, so call ahead. It's not far from Elmo's.

    If your party is willing to drive 15 minutes away from Amherst, you can go to North Buffalo, specifically Hertel Avenue between Parkside and Delaware. Take Main St south, past the university, and then turn right onto Hertel.
    North Buffalo is an Italian neighborhood, and there are many fine Italian restaurants, quaint cafe's, bakeries,dessert shops, and pizza places up-and-down Hertel Avenue.
    I like Romeo & Juliet's, a little bakery/restaurant, and North End Trattoria.
    Fiamma is also on Hertel, and one of Buffalo's best steakhouses.

    There are no Brazilian steakhouses in Buffalo.
    There are two Brazilian Steakhouses in Niagara Falls Canada, but you will need to check the Ontario board for details on those.

    Also, I would be remiss if I did not mention Shango, my favorite under-rated Buffalo restaurant at the moment. Cajun, with a great wine list. On Main street in the University district.

    Enjoy your visit, and please report back.

    2349 Millersport Hwy, Getzville, NY 14068

    Romeo And Juliet's Caffe and Bakery
    1292 Hertel Ave, Buffalo, NY 14216

    Siena Restaurant
    4516 Main St, Buffalo, NY 14226

    Trattoria Aroma
    5229 Main St, Williamsville, NY 14221

    Lebro's Restaurant
    330 Campbell Blvd, Getzville, NY 14068

    3651 Sheridan Dr, Buffalo, NY 14226

    3260 Main St, Buffalo, NY 14214

    La Scala Ristorante
    9210 Transit Rd, East Amherst, NY 14051

    800 Maple
    800 Maple Rd, Buffalo, NY 14221

    Fiamma Steak House
    1735 Hertel Ave, Buffalo, NY 14216

    North End Trattoria
    1458 Hertel Ave, Buffalo, NY 14216

    The Bamboo House
    3689 Sheridan Dr, Amherst, NY 14226

    7 Replies
    1. re: jerryc123

      Thanks Jerry.

      After looking at the places you mentioned, I made a reservation for dinner on Vday at Lebro's. The prices look right for this group and the food looks tasty( if not inventive).

      We;re also going to hit Elmo's instead of duff's. I just finished watching a Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and Grover's was featured. Whats your opionion of that place?

      Once again, I dont eat meat, but the burgers looked great and I know the friends would be impressed as they'd never get a burger that size in Ontario.

      1. re: Calipoutine

        Ok, de-railing the thread now, but I'm a burger fan.

        Grover's has been a popular place with locals, and has been on my list of places to get to... But then they were featured on that show, and now I'm afraid to go near the place, on account of the crowds. As a local, I'll wait a while until the hype is over, and go on an off-night.
        Don't let that discourage you, though, it is a tavern and you can have beers while you wait. Be warned, they only take cash - no credit, and they are closed on Sundays.

        Across the street is Rock Bottom, also popular for their burgers.

        Other places that do a good burger are...
        Vizzie's Tavern
        Sterling Place Tavern , on Hertel Ave mentioned above. I've eaten there.
        Hirsch's, char-broiled burger, mmmm, in Amherst. I've eaten there.

        Here are some links for you...

        Sterling Place Tavern
        1487 Hertel Ave, Buffalo, NY 14216

        Grover's Bar & Grill
        9160 Transit Rd, East Amherst, NY 14051

        Hirsch's Restaurant
        8445 Main St, Williamsville, NY 14221

        967 Kenmore Ave, Kenmore, NY 14217

      2. re: jerryc123

        Jerry, you forgot to mention Restaurante Lombardo on Hertel, which I think has the best Italian in Buffalo. Well, Sinatra's too, but it is pricier.
        LaMarina is very good too, for fresh seafood.

        But I agree about Romeo and Juliet's!!! I am pretty sure the owners are from Italy - Sicily, I think.

        1. re: lisagambino

          I've never been to Lombardo's. The website looks promising - looks like a special occasion restaurant. Nice to see the chef is sourcing locally and making house made pancetta, etc. But, I am automatically pre-disposed to be cynical when I see any restaurant declaring themselves "Best Italian in Buffalo" Jeesh.

          The wait staff at Sinatra's is incredible. My last experience there reminding me of a great meal I had at Gramarcy Tavern in NYC, with super-attentive wait-staff attending to you with ninja-like service, without being overbearing.

          I have bought octopus from LaMarina, (only place to get octopus, besides the Korean market) but never had a dinner there.

          I'm pretty sure the owners from Romeo and Juliet's are from Northern Italy.

          Rosalie's La Marina Ristorante
          1503 Hertel Ave, Buffalo, NY 14216

          Sinatra's Restaurant
          938 Kenmore Ave, Buffalo, NY 14216

          Lombardo Ristorante
          1198 Hertel Ave, Buffalo, NY 14216

          1. re: jerryc123

            Because it's a little pricey, I agree that Lombardo's qualifies as a special occasion restaurant. But is it ever good! I'm from NYC, but visit Buffalo on a regular basis, and make sure to eat there every time. To me, it compares favorably with the best Italian restaurants in NYC.

        2. re: jerryc123


          We ended up at Lebros on Sunday night. It was really good and very inexpensive. Everyone was pleased with what they ordered. I had the scallop special and it was great. The marinara sauce had a bit of a zip to it( as other noted). The house salad was good and so was the minestrone soup. I didnt like the cake I had for dessert( from Dessert deli). Other ppl had ravioli, chicken parm, eggplant parm, an eggplant app and a giant ravioli appetizer.

          We attempted Grovers on Monday, but it was packed with a long wait and since we werent having burgers(other members of our party had already left), we went across the street to Rock Bottom. I wasnt too impressed with that( a grilled chicken sandwich, spouse had wings). I would go back to Lebros anytime. Thanks for the recommendation.

          1. re: Calipoutine

            Glad to hear that you enjoyed the recommendation.

            Dessert Deli is a very popular place in town for pastries, they have their own retail bakery in Amherst.

            Dessert Deli
            716 Maple Rd, Buffalo, NY 14221

        3. Calipoutine:
          All the cupcake places are on one stretch of Elmwood Avenue.
          Dolci has been around the longest and is great, but Zillycakes is brand new and has a great "build to order" CUPCAKE BAR! I Love it!

          Sweet Tooth is also on Elmwood, but a little further away.

          3 Replies
          1. re: mflipp

            Dolci's chocolate intensity cake is my favorite. Expensive - but sooo good!

            1. re: mflipp

              I went to Zillycakes for their cupcake bar - I was very underwhelmed.
              They seem to be mostly a custom cake decorating business and the cupcake bar is more of an afterthought. On the day I was there, there were no cupcakes on display, (they bring them out of storage, when you order them so they are always fresh, can't say I blame them) and they had two frosting choices, for $3 a cupcake.
              Gummis and other decorations were an additional charge, which might be fun, and expensive, if you had kids in tow, which I didn't.
              As a "gourmet cupcake destination" it kind of failed. I don't think there is enough business in Buffalo to support a cupcake bar of the caliber of Magnolia, though I suppose Wegmans, with their deep pockets, could do it if they had the will.

              1. re: lisagambino

                Maybe you went on a slow day or something. When I was there they had vanilla chocolate and cinnamon flavored cupcakes in the case, and would decorate to order.
                I completely understand them not wanting to pre-ice the cupcakes as frosting would get stale.

                Give them another chance, places like this need our support.
                BTW if wegmans had a cupcake bar, you know it would be popular, but the cake would be made from industrial pre-made commercial cake mix, whereas Zillycakes cakes actually taste GOOD!!!