In Rochester for conference
I'll be in Rochester for a conference staying at the Radisson on East Main Street. I am looking for restaurants suggestions either within walking distance or driving distance but with a private parking lot (I don't want to look for on-street parking). I'm coming from Philadelphia which has a fantastic cosmopolitan restaurant scene, so I am not looking for typical ethnic restaurants. I would like restaurants which feature local ingredients and/or foods indigenous to Western New York. Prices and atmosphere don't matter: anywhere from a "jeans place" to expensive - as long as the food is "Chowhound quality". Thanks.
Go Philly! Go Rochester! I am also in Philly but grew up in Rochester. While I love the Philadelphia dining scene, I have to say I am always excited to explore Rochester restaurants when I return for hometown visits!
Here are a few ideas for you to think about. I haven't been to all of these places, but I've heard about them from my family members.
If your conference schedule allows, definitely try to stop by the Rochester Public Market on a Thursday morning (fewer vendors and thus quieter) or a Saturday morning (crowded with challenging parking). The market is on the outskirts of downtown Rochester and they open early. It is an outdoor market on a scale way beyond what we have in Philly, also there is a lovely cheese shop and bread bakery. Lots of local flavor. Even if you aren't doing your weekly shopping there, you can get breakfast sandwiches, pastries, coffee, hotdogs, empanadas, etc.
Cure is a new restaurant and bar on the site of the Public Market, open in the evenings and incorporating market offerings.
The Genesee Brew House is also new. It is at High Falls, just on the edge of downtown Rochester along the river. It is a good place to learn about Rochester and its brewing history and also have a Genny beer and a Zweigle's white hot (dog). They also serve burgers, sandwiches, salads, etc.
The Owl House is another place you might want to consider, also a quick drive from downtown. They have a creative menu that is vegetarian / vegan friendly but they do serve meat. I went to this location during a previous incarnation and I don't think they have a parking lot. But it is a residential neighborhood and the on street parking is a lot easier than in Philly. It is also across from the Abundance Food Coop which might be a fun place to stop in. I only was in there once, and I think it is quite small but active.
Lento is the fancier restaurant in Rochester that has a local spin. I haven't been there myself or heard any reports, but it would probably fit what you are looking for.
All of these restaurants are in buildings or neighborhoods that would give you a bit of a feel for Rochester. Have a good visit!