0

3 Herons Brewing Co

9632 Route 96
Trumansburg, NY 14886
Phone: 607-387-7000

Opening this summer is 3 Herons Brewing Co, a Trumansburg brewery and BBQ restaurant. They feature Texas-style beef brisket, ribs, Cornell BBQ chicken, smoked gouda macaroni & cheese, and more, all prepared on the premises. Their "soft opening" day is Friday, August 24th, though they've been offering take-out for a few weeks. A beer and wine license will follow.

4

AGAVA Restaurant

381 Pine Tree Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-319-4366

This southwest-themed eatery opened this spring near East Hill Plaza in the former home of Coyote Loco and Olivia. They've done a lovely job renovating the building with reclaimed wood from a local barn, and they serve good food and drinks at reasonable prices. The signature margarita is just $5, and the proverbial "$10 burger" is actually still $10, complete with fries. We hear good things about the tacos and the woodfired-oven flatbreads, and we look forward to trying brunch.

3

Aladdin's Natural Eatery


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100 Dryden Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-273-5000

Aladdin's offers pretty good but not spectacular Mediterranean-style or Greek-style food, at prices that generally seem too high for what they're providing. The fact that their menu can't even spell "souvlaki" consistently right is an unfortunate sign of the inattention to detail throughout the Aladdin's experience.

4

Antlers

1159 Dryden Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-273-9725

With its rich green and dark wood interior, accented with polished brass rails, the Antlers offers a comfortable and attractive atmosphere reminiscent of a good English countryside inn, but with classical American cooking. Known for their weekly prime rib and lobster nights, the Antlers is good any night of the week, suitable for a casual meal out or a special occasion.

4

Applebee's

2300 North Triphammer Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-257-6200

Considering the disdain with which “cookie-cutter” establishments are viewed by some, I was very impressed with how smoothly this trendy, yuppie-oriented chain restaurant has fit into the area. Applebee’s offers very speedy and friendly service, a pleasant surprise to anyone expecting anonymous or uncaring treatment. The food is good, reasonably priced, and plentiful, as well. Hot, tasty soup and a grilled chicken sandwich made a good lunch, and a recent visit for dinner yielded an excellent “Bourbon Street Steak,” their 10oz.

5

Bandwagon Brewpub

114 North Cayuga Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-319-0699

This underground brewpub just off the Ithaca Commons quickly became a favorite when they opened in the fall of 2009. They serve their own beer ranging from good to great as well as lots of other microbrews, and some outstanding pub and bistro fare from an ever-changing menu. It's casual enough for a late-night snack and a pint, and snazzy enough to bring a date for a nice dinner, and affordable either way. 

0

Black Diamond Diner

Route 89 near Covert Cottages Road
Trumansburg, NY 14886
Phone:

Pay a visit to the tiniest rail car diner ever -- a hot dog stand in a 70-year-old diesel engine. They serve hot dogs and white hots from Central New York's own Hofmann Sausages, and that's about it. Open seasonally, closing for the winter sometime in October, depending on weather.

4

BoatYard Grill

525 Taughannock Blvd
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-256-BOAT (2628)

This restaurant was opened by Mark Campagnolo, a former partner at Joe's Restaurant. The beautiful building with its nautical theme is a great setting for the exceptional, hearty food at this comfortable restaurant. Naturally, there's lots of fresh fish and seafood (brought daily from Boston), but the Texas Cowboy Steak (a porterhouse with a chipotle glaze served on the bone) and Boatyard Angus Sirloin (smothered with fresh roasted garlic) aren’t to be missed. Be prepared to wait for a table, and we keep hearing horror stories about iffy service.

4

Booker's Backyard

1638 East Shore Drive
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-319-0351

We love the attitude at Booker's as much as we love the menu, which offers a broad variety of comfort food prepared in creative ways. (There's a whole menu section just for macaroni & cheese variations.) There are burgers, brisket, and meatloaf; lobster rolls and scallop-laden sandwiches; and even an impressive array of vegetarian dishes, including roasted beet ravioli.

2

Burger King

1010 Ellis Hollow Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-277-6662

Our expectations aren't that high when we go to a fast food outlet, but this Burger King sometimes fails to reach even that low bar. Whether the food's not hot, or we've gotten where we're going only to realize we've got a different item than the one we ordered, this BK misses the mark just a little too often for comfort. When they get it right, though, a Whopper with onion rings can sure be satisfying.

4

Cafe Dewitt

215 North Cayuga Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-273-3473

In the basement of the Dewitt Mall, this tiny cafe offers breakfast, lunch, and Sunday brunch featuring lots of local food and creative recipes. Enjoy a cup of soup and a sandwich, or creative breakfast platters available any time. It gets crowded fast, especially on weekends, so be prepared for a wait -- both before and after you're seated.

0

Cafe WILD

301 Taughannock Boulevard
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-425-6475

Run by the self-proclaimed "Vegan Mafia Crew," Cafe WILD is a new "plant-based food" food truck operating in Ithaca's west end, in a small parking lot on Taughannock Boulevard. It's just the latest in a series of "farm to truck" initiatives bringing fresh, local food onto the streets where people can enjoy a casual meal. So far, they're using foods from Early Morning Farm, Littletree Orchards, Susie's Seitan, Cherry Knoll Farms, and lots more. The truck is open a few hours each for lunch and dinner on Thursday through the weekend, and they open at 10am for brunch on Saturday and Sunday.

3
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Capital Corner Restaurant

118 West State Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-272-7350

This new establishment where Asiatic Garden lived for decades has a lot to live up to, and is off to a very good start. We were impressed that our egg rolls came out of the kitchen almost as soon as we’d ordered them, hot and fresh. The steamed dumplings appetizer didn’t arrive in quite as timely a fashion, coming after the first of two entrees. Our beef satay, with chunks of fresh tomato, was a pleasant surprise, and the sesame chicken (a Chinese restaurant staple) was good. They have affordable combo dinners and lunch specials, and deliver free with an order of $8 or more.

4

Carriage House Cafe

305 Stewart Avenue
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-645-0152

This restored old building in lower Collegetown has been turned into a beautiful eatery with gorgeous event space upstairs that features live music on some weekends. During the week, stop in for breakfast, brunch, or lunch Tuesday through Sunday, but be prepared for a long wait on weekends. The brie stuffed french toast is decadent, the steak and eggs the best in town, and the burgers, made from local beef and served on ciabatta with homemade sundried tomato puree, are out of this world.

5
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CC's

159 Dryden Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-218-2851

This Collegetown eatery, in new digs across from the Dryden Road parking garage, offers healthy, fresh, design-your-own wraps, salads, and smoothies. The custom wrap and salad menu (starting at $6) features no fewer than 35 ingredients to choose from, not counting the tortillas and meats (grilled chicken, tuna, or eggs), plus a couple dozen dressings. Or pick from one of the $6 pre-designed salads or wraps. Check it out from lunch through late-night if you're tired of bagels, pizza, and cheeseburgers.

3

Chili's Grill & Bar

608 South Meadow Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-272-5004

This national chain restaurant in Ithaca's southwest serves up American grill-style fare and southwest-themed food, ranging from their famous baby-back ribs to Mexican-style fare like quesadillas and tacos, as well as burgers and sandwiches. The burgers are overcooked as a matter of policy, but we've loved the Cajun tuna sandwich and the country fried steak. The bar specializes in decent margaritas, and it's always buy-one-get-one-free "happy hour" no matter the time of day.

4

Chipotle Mexican Grill

740 South Meadow Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-272-0437

Now open in Ithaca's southwest, Chipotle is one of several chains specializing in burritos and similar fare assembled to order. Their philosophy leans toward quality food produced as sustainably as possible.

4

Coal Yard Cafe

143 Maple Avenue
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-277-0734

This delightful café on Ithaca's east hill, in the former coal yard building that once housed the Queen of Tarts, offers breakfast and lunch with made-to-order omelets, sandwiches, and daily specials such as lasagna or fried haddock. The breakfast sandwiches are made with a wonderful French peasant bread, as is the occasional french toast special. Daily soups are perfect if you need to grab something quick, but allow a few minutes for anything made to order.

4

Collegetown Bagels

415 College Avenue
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-273-0982

This legendary College Avenue eatery moved to much roomier digs on their current corner in the mid '90s, and has expanded way beyond their bagel roots. With a wide variety of sandwiches handmade to order from fresh ingredients, including many vegetarian options and lots of top-notch bread, this flagship CTB location also makes fancy espresso drinks, serves brewed fair-trade coffee, offers smoothies, and has a bar at the back with a few draft beers and carafes of sangria.

5

Corners Deli

200 Pleasant Grove Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-257-4019

This Community Corners institution is a family-owned delicatessen specializing in Middle Eastern specialties in addition to a wide array of fresh American-deli-style foods. The overstuffed sandwiches and pitas barely leave room for the exceptional baklava and other desserts. Great falafel and gyros, and fresh roast beef whose aroma permeates the neighborhood. Leave a little room for dessert, such as traditional baklava or a cinnamon baklava roll, honey cake, or a semolina cookie, along with a cup of the very strong middle eastern coffee -- or regular coffee or tea.

0

Creekside Cafe

4 West Main Street
Trumansburg, NY 14850
Phone: 607-342-8145

This new cafe on Main Street in Trumansburg offers breakfast and lunch Thursday through Sunday, with a farm-to-table ethos bringing locally sourced food to their menu. They have soups, salads, and sandwiches, with plenty of vegetarian options.

4

Crossroads Bar & Grille

3120 North Triphammer Road
Lansing, NY 14882
Phone: 607-533-7803

After a several-year hiatus, it's nice to see a favorite old watering hole reopened where North Triphammer Road meets Route 34 and Route 34B a few miles out in Lansing. The Crossroads Bar & Grill opened its doors in mid December, a family eatery with a full bar and the beginnings of a pub menu.

4

Crystal Lake Cafe

4367 East Covert Road
at Americana Winery
Interlaken, NY 14847
Phone:

This small cafe adjacent to the tasting room at Americana Winery does a fantastic Sunday brunch, and it's well worth the wait for a table. They offer a great brioche french toast, shrimp and cheddar grits with eggs, oatmeal pancakes, and other decadent breakfast items, as well as burgers, hummus wraps, and other lunch choices. Lunch and dinner hours vary seasonally; for winter and spring, they're open Thursday through Sunday.

0

Denny's Restaurant

323 Elmira Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-272-0139

The latest chain to reach Ithaca is the 24-hour "America's Diner." Denny's renovated and opened their restaurant in the former location of Ithaca's Friendly's on Elmira Road. They serve eggs and pancakes, burgers and sandwiches, and even salads.

5

Doug's Fish Fry

206 West Road (Route 281)
Cortland, NY
Phone: 607-753-9184

Doug's Fish Fry is worth the drive from Ithaca. It's a small privately owned Central New York chain with restaurants in Skaneateles, Cortland, Mattydale, and East Syracuse, that prides itself on simple, quick food, with no table service, no wait staff, and no tipping. Yes, a lot of the food is fried, but not all of it.

0

Dryden Community Cafe

1 West Main Street
Dryden, NY 13053
Phone: 607-844-1500

This non-profit, volunteer-staffed cafe on the corner of Routes 13 and 38 in Dryden is open Monday through Saturday for breakfast and lunch, plus has a weekly Thursday night all-you-can-eat pasta night. Stop in for coffee or espresso drinks using beans roasted by Cortland's Coffee Mania; fresh pastries or breakfast sandwiches in the morning; and soups, quiches, sandwiches, and paninis at lunchtime. Check their Facebook for daily specials.

3

Dryden Hotel

42 East Main Street
Dryden, NY 13053
Phone: 607-844-8293

The Dryden Hotel's history begins in 1844, but its current incarnation dates to 2005, when a refurbished building opened to offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week. After a typical omelets-or-pancakes breakfast menu, it's a step above diner fare, with salads, wraps, and sandwiches alongside burgers, fried shrimp, pizza, and prime rib. Vegetarian options are few and far between, and we admit we mostly get there for wing night on Thursday.

4

Fat Jack's BBQ

344 Elmira Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-319-0920

A new BBQ joint in Ithaca's southwest, Fat Jack's is part of a small Philadelphia-area chain focusing on slow-roasted meats and suitable side dishes. They offer pulled pork, slow-cooked brisket, shredded chicken, ribs, and more, with sandwiches, plates, and family-sized orders. The sandwiches are satisfying, with a hearty roll, but the plates let you get at the meat without distraction. Try the burnt ends. For now, there aren't really vegetarian offerings; most of the side dishes are cooked with meat. They do plan to add some vegetarian dishes down the road.

5

Fine Line Bistro

404 West State Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-277-1077

This relatively new west-end eatery features gorgeous exposed-brick decor surrounding an exposed kitchen, and lots of tasty and creative food, ranging from an excellent $10 burger (that's still "just" $10) to vegan tofu curry and a rack of lamb. There's lots of fresh seafood, fish, and tender pork and beef on the menu, as well.

5

Five Guys Burgers and Fries

222 Elmira Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-256-2565

Ithaca's is the 475th franchise of this DC-based chain that specializes in just burgers, hot dogs, and fries, all freshly prepared to order. The Five Guys web site says there are over 200,000 ways to order your burger, but if you want chicken nuggets, or cheese sticks, or milkshakes, or cherry pie, you'll have to go somewhere else. For fast food, the burgers are outstanding. Vegetarian options are limited to a grilled cheese sandwich or a burger-without-the-burger, plus the fries, but we know lots of vegetarians who are delighted with these.

4

Glenwood Pines

1213 Taughannock Boulevard
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-273-3709

A casual eatery four miles north of Cass Park on Route 89, with an active bar and plenty of relaxed seating. We highly recommend the fresh fish fry dinner or sandwich (depending on how hungry you are) or the infamous Pinesburger, served on French bread. Good steak and seafood dishes, and creative specials. Vegetarian options are very limited; the spaghetti sauce has usually had the meatballs cooked in it.

4
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Gorgers Gourmet Subs

116 West State Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone:

Now open across from the State Theatre, in the former home of the Prize Diner, Gorgers offers soups and gourmet subs on homemade bread, with locally sourced ingredients wherever possible. At $3 for soup, $6 for salads, and $7 for subs, the price is definitely right. Try the coconut shrimp po'boy, served with pickled vegetables and a Thai sweet chili sauce on a homemade sub roll, or make any of the subs vegetarian with eggplant instead of meat. The potato salad, made with a balsamic vinegar reduction, is a tasty side dish. Ready for a challenge?

4

Hai Hong Chinese Restaurant

208 Dryden Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-272-1668

A top-notch Chinese restaurant in Collegetown, this eatery moved up the hill from Ithaca's west end about five years ago. It's easy enough to stick to typical Chinese fare at Hai Hong, like sesame chicken or shrimp lo mein, and Hai Hong does them well, but it's worth stretching out and trying some new things. I'm a big fan of the roast duck appetizer, or when it's cold out share one of the soups... like the salted egg with mustard greens and sliced pork. Save room for the fried ice cream. 

3
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Hal's Deli

115 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-273-7765

Serving Ithaca for over fifty years now, Hal's has offered inexpensive breakfasts and overstuffed sandwiches to countless generations of students and locals. Hal Kuntz, the original proprietor, passed away years ago, but his memory lives on in the tasty food, and his wife, Sandy, still presides most mornings.

3
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Italian Carry Out

1070 Danby Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-256-1111

One of Ithaca's top pizzerias, this latest incarnation of Italian Carry Out (which used to be on Meadow Street) also offers hot and cold sandwiches, wings, fish fry platters, and such Italian dinners as lasagna, chicken parm, and a variety of pasta. Delivery takes a while and they might not get your order quite right, but they'll cheerfully fix it.

5

Ithaca Ale House

111 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-256-7977

This downtown eatery on "Restaurant Row" quickly became a favorite, sporting fresh salads, crisp flatbreads, creative appetizers, soup and seafood, and what consistently gets our nod as the best burger in Ithaca. The outdoor seating and big french doors are great on summer evenings, and a variety of seating from barstools to booths to big tables indoors can handle just about any group.

4

Ithaca Bakery

400 North Meadow Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-273-7110

When I told a friend in Florida I was going to visit the Ithaca Bakery, she exclaimed, "Oh, I love bakeries!" I had to stop and think for a moment, then explain that our Meadow Street "bakery" doesn't just do bread and pastries. They do bake the fresh bread, rolls, donuts, cookies, and cakes for a number of hotels, stores, offices, and other eateries around the region, but I was there to visit the eatery part of the business. Any time of day, you can satisfy your appetite at the Ithaca Bakery for just a few bucks for a bagel sandwich or deli sandwich, or spend $8-12 for a full meal.

3

Ithaca Beer Taproom

122 Ithaca Beer Drive
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-273-0766

Now open at the new Ithaca Beer facility, set back from Route 13 and Five Mile Drive (Route 13A) southwest of Ithaca near Buttermilk Falls, the Taproom offers sandwiches, burgers, and flatbread pizzas under the supervision of Leslie Muhlhahn, known for Just Desserts baked goods and the former Queen of Tarts cafe.

4
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Jack's Collegetown Grill

120 Dryden Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-233-4640

For delivery, carry-out, or to eat in, check out Jack's Collegetown Grill on Dryden Road, offering burgers, cheesesteaks, generous breakfasts whenever they're open, and Ithaca's only vegetarian wings, as late as 4am on weekends. It's an oddity at an eatery that serves so many burgers, cheesesteaks, and actual chicken wings, but vegetarians will appreciate the tofu wings. They expanded in the summer of 2012, with a new bar area so you can enjoy your food with a pint of beer and the game on TV.

4
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Jade Garden

113 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-272-8880

Jade Garden offers a small but well-stocked Chinese lunch and dinner buffet right off the Commons, plus tasty food prepared to order for dining in or carry-out service. They also deliver, with online ordering via GrubHub. The restaurant is clean and casual, and while they don’t compare to the sheer variety at the larger buffets in town, they don’t seem to have to.

4

Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches

122 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-645-0075

They're not rocket science, they're sandwiches. But Jimmy John's focuses on doing decent sandwiches and doing them quickly, and they've gotten very, very good at it. You can have french bread or seven-grain wheat slices, or go the "unwich" route for a low-carb sandwich wrapped in lettuce. We love the Vito or Italian Night Club, though we can't imagine why they put oil & vinegar and mayo on a sandwich. We usually remember to ask them to skip the mayo.

4

Joe's Restaurant


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602 West Buffalo Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-256-3463

This old favorite in Ithaca's west end reopened several years ago to great fanfare and high expectations. Despite a shaky start, Joe's has settled down and provides good Italian-American fare. Specials in the bar, such as a pizza and a pint, make it more affordable than a full dinner can be.

4

John Thomas Steakhouse

1152 Danby Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-273-3464

This classic American steakhouse dry-ages its own top-notch beef and offers very thorough, very decadent dinners. It's a special-occasion sort of eatery, thanks to the price if not the decadence alone. In addition to the wide variety of steaks, John Thomas offers several fish and seafood dishes, as well as chicken and (limited) vegetarian entrees. We love sharing the Porterhouse for Two, along with a side of creamed spinach, or you can build your own surf & turf by combining a steak with a whole or half lobster.

3

Kelly's Dock-Side Kafe

319 Taughannock Blvd
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-273-9642

Kelly’s, opened in a 28-seat trolley car over thirty years ago, is famous for its omelets and crab legs, and has outdoor seating that’s perfect for a pleasant Saturday morning. The owner, whose full name is Albert Kelly, though everyone just calls him Kelly, does most of the cooking. Try the spinach, mushroom and cheese omelet, with a side of crisp bacon and some home fries. Even the toast was done to perfection.

4

Lincoln Street Diner

309 Lincoln Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-216-1616

In the Fall Creek area near the Ithaca Falls, the Lincoln Street Diner, formerly Ziffy's, serves breakfast all day, hot and cold sandwiches, burgers, and daily specials like chicken and biscuits or a NY strip sandwich. The omelets are generous, and the signature breakfast is a pile of home fries and corn bread smothered in sausage gravy.

5

Little Thai House

202 Dryden Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-273-1977

A tiny, casual eatery for take-out or eat-in service. You can order items from the menu, but your best bet is to select two already-prepared entrees from the steam table as a combo (or one large portion) for $6.25. We recommend the Pad Thai and one of the other entrees, such as red curry chicken or eggplant and tofu. For a treat, add a Thai iced coffee to your meal. Some dishes are deliciously spicy, and there's good chili sauce if it's not hot enough.

3
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Loco Margarita Bar & Grill

308 Stewart Avenue
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-273-5626

The longtime home of ABC Cafe (briefly the Giving Tree Cafe) has been spruced up and reopened as a California-style Mexican bar and grill, featuring burritos, quesadillas, wings, and margaritas, with great happy hour deals and nightly specials. Monday is 25-cent wing night. It's not fancy, but it works.

4

Madeline's Restaurant

215 East State Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-277-2253

Best known, and deservedly so, for its decadent desserts and creative cocktails, Madeline's is also an upscale dining destination at the east end of the Ithaca Commons. Many of the dishes display an Asian influence, and the menu ranges from steaks and seafood to vegetarian and gluten-free dishes. The full bar has an enviable whisky selection, among its various strengths.

4

Mahogany Grill

112 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-272-1438

This beautiful space on Restaurant Row has good fare from sandwiches and salads to steaks and seafood, with quick and attentive but not overly pushy service. A wine list includes some decent Finger Lakes offerings, and the bar makes a great mojito. Try brunch, as well, for a good variety of omelets and eggs benedict variations, and either brandied french toast or a stuffed french toast. We'd provide a link to their web site, if it didn't start spewing unsolicited music at you. We won't do that to you, but we have faith you can find them if you so choose.

3

Main Moon Buffet

401 Elmira Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-277-3399

Ithaca’s original "Chinese Buffet," Main Moon has expanded in response to the arrival of competing buffets in town. They’ve added sushi and a more complete salad bar, in addition to the wide array of Chinese food and such kid-friendly offerings as chicken wings and french fries. There are always vegetarian dishes on the buffet.

3

Manos Diner

357 Elmira Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-273-1173

Dubbed "The Diner of Fate" by those who know, Manos offers the usual diner fare, from breakfasts 24 hours a day to sandwiches, burgers, and entrees, plus a full bar (and a nearly identical food menu) in the attached Ichabod's. Manos is perfect for an inexpensive but filling breakfast. Later in the day, try the fries with a side of gravy, and if you’re in the mood for a big meal, the turkey dinner can’t be beat. Ichabod's also features a nice, fresh salad bar, great with your dinner. The downside of a decades-old diner is that the building is showing its age.

5

Maxie's Supper Club

635 West State Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-272-4136

It’s worth putting up with the cramped feeling and excessive noise in this marvelous oyster bar and Cajun eatery. The food is almost all spicy, and you’ll need to go again and again to try everything that tempts you on the menu. Happy hour until 6 pm means half-price oysters and clams from the raw bar. For a good sampling, try the Cajun Mixed Grill and a side of fresh corn bread with tasty orange-honey butter. Vegetarian options are limited; go for the veggie jambalaya.

5

Mitsuba Japanese Cuisine

2300 North Triphammer Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-319-0760

Mitsuba Japanese Cuisine is the fourth location of a family-owned restaurant chain that offers fresh sushi and hibachi, the popular Japanese steakhouse style of cooking where meals are prepared right in front of the diner. They also have a variety of dishes prepared in the kitchen, and attractive lunch pricing. They're in the former location of Kyushu in Ithaca's northeast, near the Shops at Ithaca Mall, with updated decor and a remarkable attention to beautifully presented food.

4

Moe's Southwest Grill


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324 Elmira Road
NY 14850
Phone: 607-277-6637

Call it Mexican food or southwestern food, Moe's is all about putting food in tortillas in various forms. Moe's welcomes visitors with an assembly line, very much like That Burrito Place or even Subway. The place is colourful and full of energy, a perfect match to the southwest-style pseudo-Mexican fare. You can get a well-stuffed taco for three bucks or even less, or an overflowing salad in a big tortilla shell, or a burrito or quesadilla. Try fajita steak, ground beef, or chicken in any of the above, or even veggies or tofu.

3

Moosewood Restaurant


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215 North Cayuga Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-273-9610

Even people who've never been to Ithaca have a Moosewood Cookbook or one of its sequels, and this downtown eatery, focusing largely on vegetarian and vegan dishes, nearly lives up to the resulting reputation. Both food and service are OK but not great, and we find it to be a little on the pricey side for what you get. Lunch is a better deal than dinner.

4
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Napoli Pizzeria

401 East State Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-272-3232

Our favourite among the area's traditional, round pizzas is from Napoli Pizza, at the foot of the East State Street hill in the Gateway building. Napoli's roots go back decades in downtown Ithaca, and they know how to make their pizza. Napoli also has by far the best wings in town, great cold or hot subs, and beer on tap if you're dining in or waiting for your pizza.

3

New Delhi Diamond's

106 West Green Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-272-4508

On Green Street just off the Commons in Downtown Ithaca, Diamond's features an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet with an ever-changing variety of Indian specialties, as well as a dinner menu for sit-down dining. They never manage to maintain the supply of nan, the traditional Indian flat bread, or refill water glasses in a timely manner, costing the restaurant a rating point. The silver lining? When there's nan, it's fresh and warm, and perfect for mopping up some spinach aloo or other thick sauce.

0

Orange Blossom Pancake Company

423 Franklin Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-273-3428

[This eatery is closed, but the page is left here for archive purposes.]

2

Panera Bread

748 South Meadow Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-273-2590

They style themselves an upscale bakery, but Panera Bread is really just a soup, salad, and sandwich eatery with counter service. The food's not bad, but the slim portions, high prices, and general air of confusion behind the counter make it tough to justify a return visit. The many-columned menu board, with its "signature" and "premium signature" price bumps, is also optimized for making you spend more than you thought you were going to. If the place is full, it's probably because someone who bought a $2 item has parked at a table for two hours to enjoy the Wi-Fi.

4
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Papa John's Pizza

435 Franklin Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-273-7272

Papa John's makes one of the best traditional, round pizzas in town, thanks to a focus on fresh ingredients despite their chain status and their surprisingly affordable prices. It's a little dry unless you ask for extra sauce, which they'll gladly provide at no extra charge. We've always been a fan of the garlic dipping sauce and hot peppers that come with each pizza, and the slices-and-soda lunch specials are a good deal. 

2
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Pizza Hut

2301 North Triphammer Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-216-6163

Pizza Hut offers their own style of deep-dish pizza that's perfect when it's fresh and hot. This location, in the Cayuga Mall in the Village of Lansing, has a decent lunch buffet featuring pizza and salad, and sadly, like most Pizza Huts across Central New York, doesn't serve beer.

3

Plantation Bar & Grill


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1285 Dryden Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-273-4950

This casual pub out on Route 366 has good burgers, inexpensive cold beer, and dinner specials ranging from prime rib and New York strips to crab legs and fish fry. We love the potato wedges. There's live music a couple nights a week, and karaoke on Tuesdays. Check their Facebook page for upcoming events you might want to attend, or avoid.

3

Purity Ice Cream


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700 Cascadilla Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-272-1545

While it's definitely the place to be on a summer evening, Purity Ice Cream traded away its "made right here" cachet to gain additional indoor seating space. The ice cream is made for them elsewhere. They also offer pies and seasonal eggnog, quite good but overpriced.

5

Red Newt Bistro

3675 Tichenor Road
Hector, NY 14841
Phone: 607-546-4100

Attached to the popular Red Newt Cellars winery just off Route 414 on the east side of Seneca Lake, Red Newt Bistro offers a delightful selection of freshly prepared dishes, locally sourced whenever possible. Stop by to enjoy lunch or dinner at the beginning or end of an afternoon of winery touring, or visit for a special meal anytime.

4

Red's Place

107 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone:

This new eatery on Downtown Ithaca's "Restaurant Row" calls itself "a unique dining pub," and their opening menu offers dishes ranging from tacos to flatbreads, with some vegetarian and vegan options available. Bold and creative flavor combinations, including the Heart Attack, a basket of citrus peppered bacon with maple syrup. Go hungry. Bring friends.

5

Rogues' Harbor Inn

2079 East Shore Drive
Lansing, NY 14850
Phone: 607-533-3535

Situated in an old building on the corner of two main Lansing thoroughfares, Rogue’s has a great selection of beers on tap and Finger Lakes wines, and appetizers that fall heavily into the fried category but are worth sampling. They’re known for their prime rib and large portions of everything; we recommend the Chicken Riggies, a rigatoni and chicken dish with vegetables in a delectable cream sauce. Ask about the building’s past as a station on the underground railroad, and its underground tunnel to Cayuga Lake, and check out the antique maps on the walls.

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Rongovian Embassy

1 West Main Street
Trumansburg, NY 14886
Phone: 607-387-3140

We're not going to lie, we're just tickled pink that the famous Rongo is reopening a few miles up the lake in Trumansburg. The history of this legendary eatery, pub, and music venue spans decades and multiple owners, and the level of anticipation as they get back off the ground is palpable.

5

Rosalie's Cucina

841 West Genesee Street
Skaneateles, NY 13152
Phone: 315-685-2200

This bakery and Tuscan-themed Italian restaurant was opened in 1995 by Philip Romano, the restaurateur who's also responsible for the Macaroni Grill and Fuddrucker's chains. He built it for his ill sister, Rosalie, but she unfortunately passed away about a year after the restaurant opened. A meal here begins with freshly baked, hot Italian bread, with olive oil and a plate of oregano, grated cheese, hot pepper flakes, and minced garlic to mix into your oil as you see fit.

4

Saigon Kitchen

526 West State Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-257-8881

Now in Ithaca's west end is Saigon Kitchen, a new Vietnamese eatery from the owners of Wok Village, in the former home of Taste of Thai Express. The menu features such Vietnamese specialties as pho and vermicelli noodle dishes, stir-fries, and rice plates. They're offering lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday, with lunch and dinner delivery Tuesday through Friday, and dinner-only delivery on weekends.

3

Sangam Indian Cuisine


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424 Eddy Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-273-1006

Sangam's daily lunch buffet is a good way to sample this Indian restaurant's offerings, though there's not quite enough variety on the buffet from day to day to explore what they're capable of. Come back for dinner, or order lunch from the menu. The mango chicken is excellent, and Sangam offers traditional tandoori (clay oven) roasting. They can cater to vegetarian and even vegan needs.

3
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Scalehouse Brewpub & Northeast Pizza


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23 Cinema Drive
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-257-0107

This combination pizzeria and brewpub has good deals on decent pizza, wings, and subs, with both pizzeria and pub-style dining rooms, and a bar with a few beers brewed in-house. 

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Shortstop Deli

200 West Seneca Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-273-1030

Whether you call them subs or grinders or hoagies or whatever, Shortstop Deli specializes in those long sandwiches on fresh-baked French bread, or smaller sandwiches on kaiser rolls. They've got the usual ham, roast beef, and turkey, but they've also got seafood salad, eggplant, seitan, or prime rib. For the last few years, the Shortstop hot sub menu has had a selection of the famous Hot Truck French bread pizza subs. Supplement your sub with a fresh hot bowl of soup or chili. In the morning, enjoy their own custom coffee roast and a breakfast sandwich.

4
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Sicilian Delight


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40 Catherwood Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-266-9999

This pizzeria has offered freshly made pies and pizza by the slice, plus lasagna and other Italian dishes, salads, and side dishes for many years in the Cafe Square food court at the Shops of Ithaca Mall. The pizza's especially good when it's fresh, and the Italian entrees are a pretty good deal.

4

Smart Yogurt

335 Elmira Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-277-1491

Sharing a building with C.T. Bento next to the Hampton Inn, Smart Yogurt in Ithaca's Southwest offers frozen yogurt with an ever-changing array of toppings, such as pastel-colored M&Ms for Easter. The yogurts themselves range from a basic, tart yogurt similar to Greek-style yogurt, to fun "birthday cake" and "cookies 'n cream" options, and there's even a green tea yogurt made with top-notch tea imported from Japan. Toppings include the expected crumbled cookies and candy bits, but also a surprising variety of fruit, some of it fresh.

4

Souvlaki House

315 Eddy Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone:

If you're a fan of Greek food, you should never move to a town that has none. If you're in Ithaca, the options abound, and Souvlaki House represents the best combination of good food, reasonable prices, and good service. In fact, Souvlaki House offers both Greek food and Italian food, with the area's best souvlaki, Greek salad, and stuffed grape leaves, plus very good chicken (or veal or eggplant, etc.) parmigiana. Inexpensive lunch choices include subs, souvlaki and gyros, and Greek-style pizza. We recommend a bottle of Demestica, a Greek wine, with your meal.

3

State Diner

428 West State Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-272-6189

The State Diner opened in 1936, and has expanded from their early lunch car days -- with lots of booth seating as well as counter seats along the grill. When I think diner, I think breakfast, so an early morning weekday visit or even a late-morning weekend visit probably means blueberry pancakes, or even an omelet. Diners also draw us in late at night, and the State Diner gladly serves up plenty of 2am greasy goodness. We were surprised that a friend's "cheese fries" were really a plate of french fries with two slices of American cheese on top, slightly melted.

4

Subway (East Hill Plaza)

325 Pine Tree Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-277-SUBS

Subway has captured lots of attention with its $5 foot-long offers, its weight-losing spokesman, its toasted subs, and, yes, its "Chuck" exposure. What it comes down to is that Subway is a decent place for a decent sandwich made with decent food at a decent price. If you skip some of the gloppy sauces and the potato chips, it's even a healthy meal.

4

Sunset Grill

823 Danby Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-272-1986

This new eatery on South Hill at Rogan's Corner features a full breakfast menu that's a good value, and we especially love the "breakfast sides" section of the menu, which lets you add a single pancake for about two bucks, or a single egg for a dollar, to whatever you're getting. This is a very customer-friendly way of letting you build the breakfast you want, instead of having to order two $6 breakfasts if you want corned beef hash and pancakes. It's a typical but solid American-style lunch and dinner menu, with good food and reasonable prices.

4

Sweet Melissa's Ice Cream Shop

200 West Seneca Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-277-0090

On the east end of the Shortstop Deli in Downtown Ithaca, Sweet Melissa's is a seasonal ice cream stand offering a variety of soft-serve treats, hard ice cream, and more. There are even vegan options made with coconut milk from GreenStar Co-Op.

4
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Taste of Thai Express

209 South Meadow Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-272-8424

This west end eatery, just east of Route 13 on State Street, features fresh and tasty food, and  delivers as well as having eat-in service. Our food arrived far faster than the promised 40-45 minutes, and everything was correct, fresh, and hot. The cashew chicken, a Vietnamese-style dish, was a delightful surprise, with a marinated wood-grilled flavour and crunchy strips of onion and green pepper.

3

The Ginny Lee Cafe

9322 Route 414
Lodi, NY 14860
Phone: 607-582-6574

On the Finger Lakes Wine Trail, the Ginny Lee is the cafe at Wagner Vineyards. They offer freshly made salads, sandwiches, wraps, and flatbread pizzas, and a surprisingly limited selection of wines by the glass. Open daily for lunch and Sunday brunch, May through October.

3

The Rose Tap Room & Grill


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2255 North Triphammer Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone:

The Rose, in northeast Ithaca's Triphammer Marketplace, offers an ever-changing lunch buffet, a salad bar that's included with dinner entrees, a full bar with TVs for enjoying the game with a cold beer, and expanded space that's a nice change of pace from their former cramped quarters. It's straightforward American pub fare, featuring burgers and fish fry, but also broiled haddock, pasta dishes, and a tasty and generous chicken parmigiana.

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The Waterwheel Cafe

2 Main Street
Freeville, NY 14850
Phone: 607-844-4499

We've heard great things about this family-run restaurant along Fall Creek in Freeville, at the corner of Routes 38 and 366 in the Town of Dryden. Try the salmon topped with shrimp, crab, and hollandaise, a bacon-wrapped filet, local elk burger, or vegetable provencal. 

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Tim Hortons

411 Elmira Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone:

This Canada-based chain of coffee, donut, and sandwich shops snuck into Ithaca a few years ago thanks to a deal to open a coffee kiosk in most Tops Friendly Markets stores, but we finally have the full experience. Tim Hortons offers breakfast sandwiches in addition to the coffee and donuts, plus the famous Timbits, but in the afternoon and evening they add excellent freshly made sandwiches and soups to the mix. Stop in for a snack or a meal, and pick up a canister of their great and affordably priced coffee for home, while you're at it.

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Tokyo Japanese Hibachi


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722 South Meadow Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-277-8888

Newly opened in Ithaca's Southwest, Tokyo Japanese Hibachi Sushi and Asian Bistro offers hibachi prepared tableside, sushi, and other Japanese specialties. Their restaurant, in the former home of King Buffet and Sammy's Italian Buffet and Grill near Tops, has a dining room, a sushi bar, and hibachi tables.

4

Uncle Joe's Grill & Sports Bar

302 West Green Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-273-2662

Just southwest of Downtown Ithaca, Uncle Joe's is a straightforward and honest sports bar with good food, good drinks, and plenty of TVs for watching that game you've gotta catch. There are a dozen beers on tap, and the menu includes good wings and burgers, plus sandwiches and salads. Veggieburgers are available, and there are nightly specials. The half-pound burger with fries is a good deal at the regular $6.50-7.50 price, but the Tuesday $5 burger special is a bargain.

4

Unwind Cafe

40 Catherwood Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-266-9463

This latest incarnation of coffee shop at the south end of the Shops at Ithaca Mall, where the Borders Books was, has a wide range of coffee drinks from Finger Lakes Coffee Roasters, teas, pastries, soups, breakfast sandwiches available all day, and handmade paninis. They're friendly, the espresso drinks are expertly made, and the food is tasty and creative, as well as affordable. Give it a shot.

3

Viva Cantina

103 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-277-1752

Added next door to the Taqueria, Viva Cantina offers a similar, slightly deeper, burrito-and-taco menu plus a great selection of tequilas and some excellent margaritas at the full bar. The food's all pretty good, but we have trouble justifying the $1.50-$3.00 price hike from essentially the same items if ordered next door. (It would make more sense if a sit-down meal came with complimentary chips and salsa, as at pretty much every other Mexican eatery on the planet.)

4

Viva Taqueria

101 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-277-1752

Affordable and unassuming, this taco and burrito eatery provides a limited menu of pretty good if unexceptional California-style Mexican fare. The burritos used to be humungous and cheap, enough for two meals, but the portions aren't what they once were. The soft tacos offer better bang for the buck, and the soup's a pleasant surprise.

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