Below is a very selective and highly opinionated guide to local food and drink hotspots, adapted from the excellent 2006 Spring/Summer Dining Guide published by our friends at Metroland. (Pick up a free copy every Thursday for the Capital Region’s most extensive events listing, and also find them atonline.)
Please call the provided phone numbers before your visit to help prevent disappointment. And tell them The Sanctuary For Independent Media sent you!
Al-Baraki (184 River St., Troy, 270-9404,) Paul and Simone Chedrawee have been improving upon and expanding their little Antiques Row eatery even as the food remains uncommonly terrific, with the usual fare (hummus, tabouli) as well as wafer-crust pizzas and a variety of meatful and meatless dishes. Don’t forget to try Paul’s signature garlic paste. [VOTED Metroland BEST LEBANESE 2006]
Ale House (680 River St., Troy, 272-9740) Just a few blocks from The Sanctuary For Independent Media! Run the bar-patron gauntlet to get to the dining room in this cozy Troy pub, where you’ll enjoy homemade soups, great burgers, a variety of well-made daily specials, and some of the best chicken wings in the area. Lunch and dinner specials. Full bar, featuring microbrews and import drafts. Off-premises catering. Takeout available. Serving 11 AM- 12 AM Mon-Sat, noon-10 Sun. Cash only. $ [VOTED Metroland BEST PUB FARE 2006]
Ali Baba (2243 15th St., Troy, 273-1170) Just a few blocks from The Sanctuary For Independent Media! The prices have edged up but we don’t mind paying as long as the quality remains the same. Start with an appetizer platter, which also gets you a puffy loaf of lavash, and then try a wrapped durum kabob, which is known elsewhere as a gyro and is the real, carved-from-a-loaf thing. Turkish cuisine and pizza, which means you can get seasoned lamb on your pie. Most meals come with puffy lavash bread. Serving 11 AM-midnight Mon-Sat. Closed Sun. AE, MC, V. $ [VOTED Metroland BEST MEDITERRANEAN 2006]
Anselmo’s (95 Ferry St., Troy, 272-6100) Owner Sam Zolio has brought back his “no-nonsense Italian” restaurant to the location he made famous. To strains of Sinatra and Italian opera, enjoy satisfying Mediterranean Italian cuisine at very affordable prices. Full bar, on- and off-premises catering, takeout available. Serving dinner 4:30-10 Wed-Sat. AE, MC, V, personal checks. $$
Brown’s Brewing Company (417-419 River St., Troy, 273-BEER (2337),) Just a few blocks from The Sanctuary For Independent Media! There’s something amazing about beer-battered fries done right. Add one of Brown’s tasty burgers, bratwurst or a variety of tasty sandwiches, for the perfect pre-beer cushion. Grab some calamari (with honey-hop and chili sauce!) or wings (Jamaican rum and butter!) and you won’t be disappointed. This brewery-restaurant is located in a restored 150-year-old warehouse with a large deck overlooking the majestic Hudson River and Troy Marina. Menu offers pub-style fare, including appetizers, salads, sandwiches and wraps. Award-winning brewery offers 12 different styles of fresh ales and lagers. Serving 11:30-11 Mon-Thu, 11:30 AM-midnight Fri-Sat, noon-10 Sun. AE, MC, V. $ [VOTED Metroland BEST BREW PUB FOOD 2006]
Daily Grind (46 Third St., Troy, 272-8658.) Really everything a coffeehouse should be: The atmosphere is spacious, warm and inviting. They serve food and coffee, and now a selection of beer and wine as well. The Grind also serves as an art gallery, plays host to live music, and is an apt all-around meeting place.A true coffee bar with plenty of tables and couches, offering coffee of the day, espresso, cappuccino, and latte, as well as gourmet soups, sandwiches and desserts. Select teas, too. Serving 8-6 Mon-Wed, 8-11 PM Thu-Fri, 8-10 PM Sat, 9-6 Sun. Serving 7 AM-10 PM Mon-Sat, 7 AM-8 PM Sun. AE, D, MC, V. $ [VOTED Metroland BEST COFFEEHOUSE 2006]
Daisy Baker’s (33 Second St., Troy, 266-9200) This downtown Troy establishment serves gourmet American fare as well as an impressive array of seafood and pasta items. Full bar, on-premises catering. Serving lunch 11:30-3 Mon-Fri and dinner 5-9 Mon-Thu, 4-10 Fri-Sat. AE, D, MC, V. $$$$
DeFazio’s Pizzeria (266 Fourth St., Troy, 271-1111) What can we say about this Capital Region institution that hasn’t been said? The pizza at DeFazio’s is legendary. Brick-oven baked, homemade sweet sausage that is perfection, and a zesty sauce that has survived through generations. This is the place, nestled in Troy’s Little Italy district, where you take visitors when you want to show off just how charming the Capital Region can be—and just how tasty its gastronomic offerings. Twenty-one gourmet wood-fired pizzas, 21 pastas, antipasto and salads. Homemade Italian sauces available in DeFazio’s retail store next door. No alcohol. Off-premises catering available. Serving noon-10 Mon-Fri, 4-10 Sat. Closed Sun. Cash only. $ [VOTED Metroland BEST PIZZA 2006]
Famous Lunch (111 Congress St., Troy, 272-9481) Home of the Teenie Weenie! Serving 7 AM to 10 PM Mon-Sat. Closed Sun. Cash only.
First Choice (451 Fulton St., Troy, 266-9050) You’ll return again and again for the jerk chicken, but don’t forget to try the curries, callaloo and ackee. The lunch buffet is the area’s best bargain, and you dine in a casually appointed shrine to Bob Marley. [VOTED Metroland BEST CARIBBEAN 2006]
Flavor Cafe and Lounge (228 4th St., Troy, 266-9253) More than 30 flavors of fresh-brewed coffee; also plenty of teas and Torani syrups. Menu features soups, salads, wraps and panini sandwiches. On- and off-premises catering, takeout available. Open 7 AM-11 PM Mon-Wed, 7 AM-1AM Thu-Fri, 9 AM-1 AM Sat, 9 AM-8 PM Sun. Cash and personal checks. $.
Germania Banquet Haus (Third Ave. and 107th St., Troy, 237-5008) 5-8 PM Fri ONLY. Just a few blocks from The Sanctuary For Independent Media! Family dining hall. Run by the Troy German Hall Association, which has been around since 1890. A throwback to the settlement houses of yore–inexpensive, hearty German fare with beer on tap.
Holmes & Watson (450 Broadway, Troy, 273-8526) The menu boasts lots of homemade soups and salads, chili, wings, unusual sandwiches, charbroiled burgers and complete dinners from pasta to seafood to steaks. Daily lunch and dinner specials. More than 100 selections of beer, ale and stout—24 on tap. Full bar, banquet facilities, 250 seats on two floors and an outdoor courtyard. Serving from 11 AM daily. Reservations suggested for larger parties and Fri-Sat nights. AE, D, DC, MC, V. $$
Illium Cafe (9 Broadway on Monument Square, Troy, 629-0004) Soups, salads, sandwiches and paninis in an old-world, European-style coffeehouse in historic downtown Troy. Featuring fair-trade coffees. Serving 7:30 AM-10:30 PM Mon-Fri, 8 AM-10:30 PM, 9-5 Sun. MC, V. $
I Love NY Pizza (125 4th St., Troy, 274-0071) Late night pizza; fast, simple, cheap.
Irish Mist (285 Second St., Troy, 266-8915) Just a few blocks from The Sanctuary For Independent Media! American bistro featuring rack of lamb and Chicken Neptune. Enjoy the outdoor deck on the water. Full bar, on/off-premises catering, takeout. Serving dinner 4-9 Tue-Thu, Sun; 4-10 Fri-Sat; Sun brunch 11-2. AE, D, MC, V. $$
Jose Malone’s Mexican Irish Restaurant (405 River St., Troy, 273-2196) Just a few blocks from The Sanctuary For Independent Media! In a colonial Mexican atmosphere, dine on traditional regional Mexican and Irish dishes such as seasoned chicken steamed in banana leaves, Oaxacan-style tamales, chiles rellenos, lamb stew and Dublin coddle. Many vegetarian items; children’s menu. Large selection of tequilas and single-malt scotch. Full bar, takeout available. Serving 11:30-10 Mon-Thu, 11:30-11 Fri-Sat. Late-night bar menu. MC, V. $$
Lansingburgh Cafe (469 Fifth Ave. at 112th Street, Troy, 238-2673) Nice neighborhhood diner, inexpensive food. 6 AM-2 PM Mon-Fri; 7 AM-2 PM. Sat and Sun; 5 PM-8 PM Fri and Sat. Just a few blocks from The Sanctuary For Independent Media!
Lo Porto Ristorante (85 Fourth St., Troy, 273-8546) Martin Scorsese’s favorite Capital Region restaurant is still going strong, serving Italian specialties with a Sicilian flavor. Full bar, off-premises catering. Space available for private parties. Takeout available. Serving dinner 5-10 Tue-Sat. Closed Sun-Mon. Reservations strongly suggested. AE, D, DC, MC, V. $$$
Manory’s (Fourth and Congress streets, Troy, 272-2422) Troy’s oldest restaurant has been open since 1913. Menu features breakfast all day, gourmet deli sandwiches, wraps, appetizers, salads, homemade soups and desserts—such as ice cream and pies. Serving 6:30 AM-5 PM daily. AE, D, MC, V. $
Minissale’s Wine Cellar Cafe (One 14th St., Troy, 274-6225) Italian-American food. Tue-Thu 5-10 PM, Fri-Sat to 11 p.m., Sun 3-9 PM Closed Mon.
Moscatiello’s Italian Restaurant (99 North Greenbush Road [Route 4], Troy, 283-0809,) This family operated restaurant boasts a variety of Italian fare. In addition to the traditional, the menu also includes gourmet specialties and salads, including chicken rustica, shrimp scampi, chicken marsala, New York strip steak, and the bruschetta appetizer. Full bar and wine list. On/off-premises catering. Serving 11:30-10 Mon-Thu, 11:30-midnight Fri-Sat, noon-9 Sun. Reservations accepted for parties of five or more. AE, DC, MC, V. $$
Red Front Restaurant (71 Division St., Troy, 274-6114) Pizza, traditional Italian fare and prime-rib dinners are the specialties at this venerable Troy institution. Full bar. Catering for small parties. Banquet facilities. Takeout and delivery available. Serving 11-11 Tue-Sun. Closed Mon. Reservations suggested. AE, D, MC, V. $$
River Street Cafe (429 River St., Troy, 273-2740) Just a few blocks from The Sanctuary For Independent Media! The chef and chef-owner give personal attention to each item on the seasonally changing menu of fresh, New American fare. Beer and wine. Serving dinner 5:30-close Tue-Sat. Closed Sun-Mon. Reservations suggested. MC, V, personal checks. $$$
Ruck (104 3rd St., Troy, 273-1872) College hangout bar with burgers and wings.
Shalimar (405 Fulton St., Troy, 273-8744) Inexpensive, spicy Indian fare to eat in or take out. Serving a variety of vegetarian, meat and chicken dishes, fresh-baked tandoori bread and other stuffed breads. No alcohol; catering available. Lunch buffet 11:30-2 Mon-Fri (and also 12-3 Sat). Serving 11:30-10 Mon-Thu, 11:30-11 Fri, noon-11 Sat, noon-10 Sun. Reservations not accepted. AE, D, DC, MC, V, traveler’s checks. $
South End Tavern (757 Burden Ave., Troy, 272-9661) A friendly haven of comfort food that’s been a South Troy mainstay since 1934. Among the specials: baked ham on Monday, meat loaf on Tuesday, roast beef on Wednesday, corned beef and cabbage on Thursday and prime rib on Saturday. Also, for a special treat, try the scallops, haddock and shrimp. And, it’s the place to be on St. Patrick’s Day. Full bar. Serving 11-11 Mon-Sat. AE, D, MC, V. $
Sushi King (200 Broadway, Troy, 274-0015) Enjoy Chinese and Japanese cuisine, including numerous sushi selections, in this restaurant overlooking Monument Square. Beer and wine. Takeout available; free delivery within five miles. Serving 11-10 Mon-Thu, 11-11 Fri, noon-11 Sat, 3-10 Sun. AE, D, MC, V. $
Testo’s (124th Street and Fourth Avenue, N. Troy, 235-0444.) Just a few blocks from The Sanctuary For Independent Media! It may seem like the sort of joint where you’d get funny looks if you’re not from the neighborhood, but you don’t have to live in Lansingburgh to eat at Testo’s; hell, people cross rivers to come here. Seriously, the food is dependable and damn good, and modestly priced, and the staff are equally welcoming whether you live a block or a county away. To coin a new phrase for Italian restaurants, we’re all family here. Family-run Italian restaurant with a family ambience, specializing in pasta dishes, veal, seafood and homemade meatballs. Home of Testo’s Gourmet Pasta Sauce. Beer and wine. Off-premises catering. Complete menu available for takeout. Serving 11:30-9 Tue-Sat. Closed Sun-Mon. D, MC, V. $ [VOTED Metroland BEST FAMILY ITALIAN 2006]
Valenti’s Pub (729 Pawling Ave., Troy, 283-6766) Pub fare, specializing in pizza and pasta. Also burgers, wings, salads, subs and much more. Full bar. Takeout and delivery available. Serving from 11:30-11:30 daily. AE, CB, DC, MC, V. $
Verdile’s (572 Second Ave., Troy, 235-8879) Selections include fresh veal, homemade pasta and seafood specials. Full bar. Takeout available. Serving 11:30-10 Mon-Thu, 11:30-11 Fri-Sat, noon-9 Sun. Reservations not accepted. AE, D, DC, MC, V. $$
Credit Cards: AE (American Express) CB (Carte Blanche) D (Discover) DC (Diners Club) MC (MasterCard) V (Visa)
Entrée Price Ranges (Dinner): $ (Average entrée below $10) $$ (Average entrée $10 to $15) $$$ (Average entrée $15 to $20) $$$$ (Average entrée more than $20)