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Ithaca advice needed

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We will be driving to Ithaca from New York next weekend and are looking for current recommendations. A few I saw on older Chowhound posts are now closed.

I prefer chefs that use fresh, high quality, local ingredients somewhat creatively. I have booked Hazelnut Kitchen for one night but I'd like some place IN Ithaca or closer to town for the first night. I didn't see too much here about Banfi but I've heard that its not that good.
Also, any Sunday brunch suggestions.

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  1. We had a nice brunch at Simeon's on the Commons. And we liked Northstar as I think I mentioned in another thread

    1. Carriage House Cafe is a nice place for brunch and lunch- it does get busy and I don't think they accept reservations, so I would advise at least calling ahead to see what the current wait time is. I've had a variety of sandwiches and salads from there, and it's consistently been solid. One of my friends consistently craves their brie-stuffed french toast.

      Agava is also a nice place. They only accept reservations for parties of 4 or more people- if your party is smaller, I would also suggest calling ahead for wait time. I enjoy their wood-fired flatbreads and like that there are small plates, for the variety factor.I've only been there for lunch and dinner, not brunch.

      Northstar is also good- I haven't had their brunch, only been there for dinner. They have the best crabcake in town (not local, I know, but worth mentioning!) and I like their regular and veggie burgers. There was also a memorable stuffed squash on the menu (last year, I think?) that I've done my best to replicate at home when it went off the seasonal menu. They do take reservations.

      For breakfast, brunch, or lunch, you might check out Dewitt Cafe. It's a strange set-up- in an indoor atrium, adjacent to the famed Moosewood Cafe, but the food, from pancakes, eggs, salads and sandwiches are all great. Specials on the weekend get creative, and you may want a backup dish in mind in case they run out (it's a small place with lots of fans!) No resevations accepted.

      Banfi is OK- it's not necessarily going to have the same feeling of creativity or seasonality, but your sevice will likely be great (it is set up to train students of Cornell's hospitality school, so I guess that could be variable.)

      Other places to investigate may be Just a Taste (tapas menu, they do source locals foods, but you probably want to be with the right group to share and the wait times with no reservations accepted can get long) and Fine Line Bistro (only went there once, and it was decent, but I haven't rushed back since....again, may not be as locally-oriented as you'd like. )

      Have a nice visit!

      1 Reply
      1. re: 4Snisl

        I love Dewitt Cafe for brunch! Just be prepared for a wait on the weekends.