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Coming to Albany/Saratoga Springs for Wedding need dining recs...

Hello Chowhounds of the North,

My girlfriend and I are flying into Albany this coming Thursday around 5pm (hopefully) and will make our way to Saratoga Springs for a wedding on Sat. I've been told it's roughly a 30 min trip, but am unsure of what the road(s) will be like given the forecast of snow.

That being said, I am looking for recommendations for dinner that Thursday in either Albany or Saratoga Springs, breakfast and lunch recommendations in Saratoga Springs, and since we are flying back out of Albany in the late afternoon, I'm not sure about brunch or lunch recommendations in either Albany or Saratoga Springs. Something where price and quantity meet is preferable though I realize this may or may not limit things. Please no Tex/Mex or Indian.

Is there something unique to these areas? A good European bakery won't hurt either.

Thanks a bunch!

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  1. I-87 from airport/Albany to exits 13-15 is rarely impassable! For your Albany dinners I would recommend either New World Bistro on Delaware or Dale Miller's downtown. For Saratoga dinner, try Chianti, Maestro's,Beekman St. Bistro, or 8 Tables. For Saratoga breakfast, I like Beverly's. Max London's does a great brunch. Mrs London's bakery (on Broadway) has been called "the best bakery between New York and Montreal." Others?

    1. Second gerchak198 rec for Mrs. London's. I was there for lunch today. I prefer it for breakfast. Miss Albany Diner aka MAD is an interesting breakfast option in Albany (please note cash only). Scallions is my favorite lunch place in S. Springs.

      Second 8 Tables suggestion for dinner (it's small and can get lively). Also like Dine. The Wine Bar would be my first choice.

      You might want to check out these threads:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/609052 Dale Miller
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/639111 8 Tables
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/509653 Best Restaurants in Saratoga Springs
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/349608 A really long thread on TOP Capital Region

      Enjoy!

      2 Replies
      1. re: financialdistrictresident

        I think all of these recommendations are spot on. My only comment would be on Scallions. The decor is very hard and, if it is crowded, the noise level gets very crashy. Tough to hold a conversation.

        1. re: trakman

          trakman, I have only been to Scallions for lunch and IMHO it's not a dinner place. Luckily, I have not experienced the noise level you mention. Noise is one of my pet peeves and unfortunately can be an issue at 8 Tables. At Scallions, the duck salad is quite good.

      2. Thank you to you all for the suggestions. Yeah I'm not sure about the timing/location for meals upon arrival/departure to the Capital Region and so thought it best to get recs for both cities. Was briefly in Albany a few years ago and only remember getting to a place called.. Bombers (I think it was a hip burrito joint) across from a park. I had a few things going on at the Egg.. Also I believe I looked at the super long thread, if that is where you get a nod FDR. It is mostly in stuck in 2007/08 and so I wasn't sure what to take away from it. Apparently Marino's, Village and Pope's are the pizza places in the area. I also took a look at TimesUnion site but am unsure how reliable it is.

        http://tinyurl.com/yz99tq9

        Two other question, who does the best either NY bagels or if you get them Quebec/Montreal Bagels?

        I should note our rehearsal dinner in Mechanicsville is going to be Italian based so we are going to try and avoid eating as such during our trip.

        19 Replies
        1. re: burgeoningfoodie

          Lanci's in the Times Union link is now closed. 8 Tables is in their former location. I agree and disagree with some of the TU ratings.

          I cannot recommend any bagels or bialies in the Capital Region because I have been spoiled by NYC bagels and Kossar's bialies :)
          I am not a fan of Pope's, to be fair I've only been once and had a slice not a fresh pie. Have not been to Village or Marino's.

          You might want to consider Bloomers American Bistro (on Route 9 not far from Saratoga Springs). Albany and Saratoga Springs should give you plenty of options.

          1. re: financialdistrictresident

            What is Putnam Market? THey make the claim to have the best desserts between Manhattan and Quebec or is that where Mrs. London's is located? Yeah I'm sure we will find plenty. Even though I'm coming from the South, Hattie's sounds like a well rounded place and if their Fried Chicken is THAT good it might be worth looking into.

            Although I do have to say, having seen a few posts about Ravenous and taking a look at the website.. I don't care how good your french inspired pancake maybe.. there is no reason that it should cost more than $7.50 or that there should be a charge for a dipping sauce. I don't know your opinion, but to me that screams rip off and sucker.

            Thanks again for the recs!

            1. re: burgeoningfoodie

              Putnam Market is a gourmet market on Broadway, across the street from Mrs. London's. Best cheese counter in town, although there's not a lot of competition, good sandwiches, some tables for eating 'em.

              Saratoga Springs is an expensive town; restaurants charge what they need to in order to make the rent and the payroll. Be prepared: Ravenous is one of the cheapest good meals in town.

              1. re: PSZaas

                Guess it doesn't seem like it would be so expensive. Am I right to assume it isn't a large town? It looks fairly walkable, but I neglected to remember the raceway eventhough it is the off season. I'll definitely keep that in mind. Note that comment isn't to say that the food at Ravenous isn't good.. it's like going to a burger joint and paying extraordinary amounts of money unless they start using truffles, foie gras or wagyu/kobe beef. Also, I wanted to go ahead and state that I'm definitely not dissing the town or the area. Was just a bit surprised.

                I see a lot of hits for Beekman Street Bistro, Wine Bar and Dine as well. Keeping in mind that we are doing Italian for one dinner already and that my gf is anti Indian and Mexican food (I love both though if it's TexMex I'll gladly take Indian over it)... those look like good places as well.

                Is there anything the area is "known" for or like a can't miss item .. like buffalo has its wings and beef on weck, NYC has.. well everything really (but in my case when I go to the city it's the pastries and deli foods).. For whatever reason the capital region of NC, which has loads of Northern retirees, can't get a decent bagel or deli place. There are some good bagels but not the stuff you get closer to the city and around the northern parts (Cranbury and up) of NJ.

                1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                  Uncommon Grounds, on Broadway, has perfectly good bagels, just not up to NYC standards. Saratoga is a small city, everything in the center of town is walkable. Hattie's is your best bet for a local favorite, then maybe a nightcap at 9 Maple (or Parting Glass, if an Irish Pub is more to your taste.) You're not going to be here long enough to try all the places you've mentioned, but you'll be able to decide if you want to return or not. I don't think any of the places you mention (Beekman St., Wine Bar, or Dine) serve lunch. Max London's, next to (and the son of) Mrs. London's serves lunch, but if you think Ravenous is expensive, you might not enjoy it. Scallions is a lunch favorite.

                  1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                    In Saratoga:
                    Def get to Hatties if you like fried chicken. Also try the mac n cheese w/ sausage.

                    If you want good deli, go to Roma's on Washington Street (not open Sundays). I've brought sandwiches back to the west coast from here, they are that good.

                    The sandwiches and desserts at Putnum market are very good as well, but this is not a traditional deli.

                    I would avoid Scallions.

                    In Albany:
                    Check out Bella-Napoli Italian Bakery. Looks like they have two locations. I went to the one near the airport at 672 New Loudon Road Latham, NY. Very very good.

                    1. re: Mike CP

                      Second Roma's. The one in Latham is larger. I'm not a big sandwich person but they line up for the sandwiches there.

                      I go to both locations for their fresh mozzarella, duck, harissa, etc.

                      Burgeoningfoodie, what is your price point? Saratoga Springs is one of the more upscale areas and restaurant prices reflect that (though there are many casual places, as well).

                      Fish fry, Italian food (unfortunately, not what you're looking for) and hot dogs with everything are what the Capital Region is known for, IMHO. Saratoga has water, potato chips and peppermint pigs.

                      Mike CP, just curious, why don't you like Scallions?

                      1. re: financialdistrictresident

                        i went there a bunch when i was first living in the area before i found out about some other places to eat. at first it was good, but as i ate there more I found it a little too pricy for how average it was.

                        i think it is an issue with their location.

                        yes, saratoga is expensive, but you can eat very well in that town without paying too much if you get off Broadway. I think Scallions would be good if they weren't on Broadway, because they wouldn't have to try to be qiute as fancy as they are.

                        1. re: Mike CP

                          Scallions hasn't been on Broadway for several years. 44 Lake Ave. Highly recommended for lunch, haven't developed the taste for their dinner service.

                          1. re: PSZaas

                            Scallions menu:

                            http://www.scallionssaratoga.com/menu...

                            The duck salad is quite good. I've tried their soup. I've never been for dinner. The space is pretty casual.

                    2. re: burgeoningfoodie

                      Saratoga is "known" as the birthplace of both the potato chip and the club sandwich. You might want to pick up a box of Saratoga Chips at Saratoga Salso and Spice. We are also known for Hattie's fried chicken which, by the way, beat out Bobby Flay on his "Throwdown" show last year. Ravenous has unbelievably great Belgian-style french fries. Yes, the town is walkable, pop. 27,000.

                      1. re: gerchak198

                        I saw about the Bobby Flay getting beat on the chicken on Throwdown, but for what it is worth I think his record on that show is pretty bad.

                        I had seen some things on Karavelli's too.

                        I didn't know it was the birthplace of the potato chip. I thought that was somewhere either in PA or Maine/Vermont.. Maybe it's due to the brand of chips that are around here.

                        As far as price point goes, I guess if lunch is around 10 thats fine and as far as dinner.. I guess I don't want to pay a lot for crappola. Some places are worth the price they charge either because of the ingredients and the quantity of what you get... without suffering in the execution. So maybe it's not price, but more where price = quantity and quality... Hot dogs could be a great lunch and they generally aren't expensive.. Though if you tell me to pay $7 for a hotdog with the works.. I'll tell you what I think you can do with said hot dog (j/k).

                        As far as our location to town center (i.e. canfield casino), we are staying South of it roughly a mile on 9/Broadway.

                        1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                          After your various comments, I'm now curious as to where you're from. And yes, Saratoga is the undisputed source of the potato chip. Moon's Lake House. Check it out. The concept of "longitude" and the idea of "scientific management" were also both presented to the world here. And Cambridge, NY, about 35 mins. from here, is the home of pie a la mode!

                          1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                            Don't forget about the pink peppermint pigs if you like peppermint or need to get some gifts . . .the shop is on Route 9 heading from Albany to Saratoga. I had my first peppermint pig this year. They are another local or Saratoga tradition.

                            Saratoga water in the blue bottles and Saratoga potato chips also make nice gifts or welcome gifts for house guests.

                            The Adirondacks are also home to maple syrup.

                          2. re: gerchak198

                            gerchak198, Price Chopper now carries Saratoga Chips. Not sure how the prices compare between Saratoga Salsa and Spice and PC. I have also seen them at The Jonesville Store.

                          3. re: burgeoningfoodie

                            Too bad Indian won't work for you because I've read good things about Karavelli in S. Springs (and Latham?) on this Board.

                        2. re: burgeoningfoodie

                          BTW last time we went to Beekman Street Bistro they charged for bread service :)

                          1. re: burgeoningfoodie

                            Simple equation in Saratoga when it comes to desserts: pastries=Mrs. Londons; Mrs. Londons=dessert. The Putnam Market doesn't come close enough to count in this field.

                      2. A great place for lunch is Pepper Jacks on Quail and Western.

                        Terrific Philly Cheese Steaks, wraps and soups.

                        Prices are good and food is tasty.

                        ~Fred19

                        1. What about organic, thin crust pizzas with a view of Saratoga Lake?

                          www.HarvestandHearth.com

                          Apologies, just read they are closed 2/13 - 3/1. . .