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Jul 1, 2011 02:00 PM

Good Italian between Troy and Saratoga Racino?

Will hit the Saratoga Racino in early August. Looking for a good Italian restaurant en route from Troy but NOT one in Saratoga due to the expected mob scene. Eating in Troy would be fine. Any good options?

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  1. D'Raymonds in Loudonville has won a couple of Times Union Best of the Capital District surveys for it's Italian cuisine, particularly the veal dishes. Pretty easy to get to from Troy. Just go over the South Troy Bridge, head west on 378, and turn right into the first shopping center you hit just before Albany Shaker Road. Have eaten there a number of times, and have never been disappointed. Agree with your assessment of Saratoga in August, my home town. Eat somewhere before you get to Saratoga.

    1. Pasta e pane in Clifton Park is very good. And Italian.

      1. If you're not familiar with D'Raymonds, don't plan on showing up without a reservation made several days in advance... it greatly diminishes your chance of being seated.

        1. Price range?

          From July 22- Sept. 5 we'll be avoiding Saratoga except for an occasional Tuesday night . . .

          Defazio in Troy. No ambience, super casual. Seating in their pork store or pizzeria. Homemade pasta. Reservations a must.

          A third for D'Raymonds, ambience is old school red sauce. Veal dishes are their specialty. I've been once (without a reservation). As already mentioned reservations suggested. My experience:

          Pasta Pane has the best ambience of the three if you don't mind noisy and lively. I've been once and liked my chicken dish.

          Both Pasta Pane and D'Raymonds have a bar.

          1. Time Union has a review of Wheatfields' Bistro & Wine Bar in Clifton Park in today's paper.

            More comments will be added to the Table Hopping blog regarding this review over time.

            Wheatfields Bistro & Wine Bar
            54 The Crossings Plaza Suite M, Clifton Park, NY 12065

            11 Replies
            1. re: Roger K

              Respectfully disagree with the Wheatfields rec.

                1. re: jaylhorner

                  To be fair, I have not been. Friends went recently to the CP location and have no plans to return. . .Maybe it has improved since they went?

                  Have you been? What did you think?

                  1. re: financialdistrictresident

                    I have not gone to the CP location. The last time I tried the Saratoga restaurant, I left after 20 minutes. The place was not busy and we waited forever to order a bottle of wine. Then I noticed crud on my silverware and bread dishes..... Ciao to Wheatfields.

                    However, the review stimulated me to give them another visit.

                    440 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

                    1. re: jaylhorner

                      SO won't go to the Saratoga location either. I took a look at their menu after reading the review. Please report back if you go . . .

              1. re: Roger K

                Roger K, so far the blog has 3 negative comments and 1 wants to try . . .If you go please report back . . .

                1. re: financialdistrictresident

                  FDR, ignoring those who don't specifically say they have eaten at the CP location, the score is now 7 positive and 6 negative. Obviously there are inconsistencies and differences in matters of taste.

                  We've been there 3 times in the last 2 years. Here's some comments I made after our last visit just over 3 months ago.

                  A pleasant meal and experience for a strip mall location. The food is good, not overly expensive, the atmosphere is comfortable and the service is satisfactory.

                  We happened to be there while Saratoga county was celebrating restaurant week so there were some three course specials for $20.11. One of us ordered off that menu while the other dinner was selected from the regular menu. Both portions were comparable in size and required taking a portion of each home for a second serving the following day.

                  The breaded chicken rollatini stuffed with spinach and cheese and surrounded by pasta seemed to be swimming in a fair amount of butter. But this worked out OK the next day since the butter hardened to the aluminum take-home container while in the fridge. Transferring the contents to a microwave safe bowl without that extra butter actually made the leftovers more enjoyable on day two.

                  The chicken scarpetta had a Marsala wine sauce. While Marsala wine tends to be sweet, the sauce on this dish seemed like an additional sweetener had been added. It also seemed like the sauce had a thickening agent added instead of being reduced. With the bell peppers and pieces of chicken in this dish, the flavors reminded me more of an Asian woked dish than an Italian dish. The sausage lacked the flavor of fennel and was not spicy.

                  If the above description sounds like we were displeased with our meals, let's just say we were surprised with some of the preparation and flavors. We're likely to return some day to try something different. We've had the appetizer, Arancine, twice now and would likely order it again. An imperial pint of Guinness is $4.50 and that in itself can bring me back.

                  1. re: Roger K

                    Thanks, Roger K. Sounds like good value for the CP family crowd and okay food (sometimes with odd preparations that don't quite work). I might go back to Pasta Pane again. Enjoyed my meal there.

                    1. re: financialdistrictresident

                      Interesting, FDR, we just said the same thing about Pasta Pane as we drove by tonight... might have to go back again since we were very disappointed on our first and only visit there after they were open for a few months. I keep reading mixed reviews to both extremes.

                      1. re: Roger K

                        Roger K, BTW I finally ate at Wheatfields . . .Liked Pasta Pane better (to be fair I've only been once) . . .Both of these are way down on my list . . .so many better places in SS and Albany . . .IMHO, for Italian Schenectady and Troy are the best bets. Cafe Capriccio in Albany is also a favorite and keep hearing about Cafe Italia (Albany) but have not been. Have not been to Testo's either . . .

                        1. re: financialdistrictresident

                          we've become somewhat regular at pasta pane. it's great having a really good place five minutes from home. it does get busy but still not like saratoga and you may have a wait. they have a patio now which is nice if it's not too hot out. we were there just last night for our anniversary. the menu changes along with some nightly specials and they are offering a 20.00 3 course price fix with some good choices.