Syracuse, with young people
I am going to be visiting Syracuse University with my daughter, a high school junior, who's thinking of going there. We'll also be taking out the daughter of a neighbor, who is a senior at the university. So I'm looking for a place or two that has very good food, but would appeal to a 16-year-old, a 21-year-old and their 50-year-old host -- in short, neither a loud student pitcher-and-a-burger hangout nor a place that would make them feel like they're eating with their grandparents. Mostly, though, good, solid fare, something that would be a treat for everybody, including me.
I also highly recommend Dinosaur BBQ. It has won several awards for best BBQ in the country. They cook the ribs Memphis style with a dry rub. The ribs, brisket, pulled pork and chicken are all yummy. Park in the lot across the street as parking can be a bear. And if you are going on a Fri or Sat night, get there before 5PM or you will wait a long time. This restaurant has been open since 1988, takes no reservations, and still has a wait of 2 hrs plus on weekend nights! There is no better testament to how good the BBQ is. Check out their website for the menu. I recommend their mac and cheese and collard greens for sides.
We live 1 1/2hrs from Syracuse so don't get there as often as we would like, but have been going since they opened in 1988. We call it "The Mecca".
One more plug for Syracuse. "Sweet On Chocolate" is a small shop down by the armory (close to the Dino) that has the BEST truffles I have ever had. I am a truffle hound and have tried many brands. A big two thumbs up for that wonderful chocolate shop.
I, on the other hand, have no problem recommending Dinosaur BBQ.
For your reference, http://www.cnymenus.com/ is a great resource to check the offerings at the various spots.
A few of our favorites, besides Dino bbq, are Tokyo Seoul for good Korean, Japanese and sushi.
For Thai food, we like Erawan or Appethaizing. Appethaizing is on the hill near SU, Erawan is down on the main drag, Erie boulevard.
Juanita's is a local favorite for American-style pseudo Mexican, cheese-heavy, but popular.
Personally, when I go out for Indian food, I like India House out in Liverpool, though there are places closer to the university and on the main drag.
Of course, there are the usual chains scattered, Red Robin, TGI Fridays, Ruby Tuesday etc and quite a number of Italian places. Gentile's on Burnet Ave is very good.
There are some neat restaurants downtown, too. My favorite is bc restaurant: http://www.bcrestaurant.com/