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.

3

Corks and More

708 West Buffalo Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-319-4172

Owned by the operators of Cayuga Lake Cruises, Corks & More is a wine bar on Ithaca's waterfront with a gimmick -- they offer a few dozen wines dispensed by self-service machines, portioned by the glass, half glass, or inexpensive taste. There's a fairly well-stocked full bar, and there are sharable appetizers and a few entrees available to order. The food's pretty good, but the wine's the draw.

5

Daño's Heuriger on Seneca

9564 Route 414
Lodi, NY 14860
Phone:

Amidst our favorite Seneca Lake wineries, Daño's offers freshly prepared European delicacies in a relaxed, attractive setting. The food includes simple charcuterie and a mouth-watering array of spreads along with freshly baked breads, and there's a broad selection of Finger Lakes and European wines.

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.

4

Heights Cafe and Grill

903 Hanshaw Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-257-4144

One of Ithaca's fanciest restaurants, The Heights has offered cozy fine dining for fifteen years. The menu ranges from comfort-food variations such as braised beef hash with a poached egg to gorgeous pan-roasted fish dishes and generous steaks. There are vegetarian offerings, including some of the handmade pizzas, and the Heights takes the gourmet burger prize with their $18 Brie Burger, featuring an entire pound of grilled sirloin. It's an expensive place to dine, but worth the occasional splurge.

4

Istanbul Turkish Kitchen

311 Third Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-345-3333

This lovely new Turkish bistro on Ithaca's northside offers freshly made and flavorful Mediterranean cuisine, focusing on tapas-style small plates called "meze," and kebabs featuring lamb, beef, chicken, or vegetables. The friendly atmosphere and crisp presentation match the tasty menu, and dinner is quite affordable.

5

John Joseph Inn & Elizabeth Restaurant

813 Auburn Road
Groton, NY 13073
Phone: 607-533-0097

In a beautiful country setting on Route 34 between Lansing and Groton, the John Joseph Inn is a marvelous bed & breakfast on the former site of the Rose Inn. Elizabeth Restaurant is in the refurbished 1852 barn that the Rose Inn called "The Carriage House," and they offer some truly outstanding meals. Breakfast for inn guests changes daily, and there's no menu -- but they'll adapt to dietary restrictions. Dinners are much more flexible, and are often an inspired and inspiring tasting menu showcasing local produce and meats. Reservations required.

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.

5

Just a Taste

116 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-277-9463

Catering to an interesting mix of business owners, college students, and everyone in between, this wine and tapas bar offers an ever-changing menu of creative food, and a broad array of wines to sample. Since the menu changes every night we can't suggest a specific dish, but we'll tell you that if it sounds like an odd combination, it's probably exquisite. Try the sangria.

5

Le Cafe Cent-Dix

110 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-319-0750

This new French bistro, developed by the owners of Mercato Bar & Kitchen, is finally open! The menu offers such French staples as frisee salad with a perfectly poached egg, steak frites, roast chicken, mussels, and bouillabaisse, and our mouths are watering just thinking about it. The full bar offers signature cocktails, a deep selection of French and other wines, including a few wines "on tap" by the glass, half-liter carafe, or liter carafe.

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.

5

Mercato Bar & Kitchen

108 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-319-5171

On "restaurant row" in the former downtown home of Ragmann's, Mercato Bar & Kitchen offers crostini and charcuterie, pasta and pastry, steaks and seafood. They serve an extensive and affordable wine list and a creative cocktail menu, and they're always near the top of our list of area favorites.

4

Mia Restaurant

130 East State Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-277-2000

Twenty years after opening his first restaurant, Just a Taste, Lex Chutintaranond has opened Mia on the Ithaca Commons, featuring pan-Asian cuisine embodied in a variety of fresh and interesting dishes. It's a very seafood-heavy menu, but there are also lots of meat and vegetarian dishes. We were impressed with the friendly and helpful service, and the delicious food. Be warned: when they say spicy, they mean it! (Try the spicy saketini cocktail.)

5

Northstar Public House

202 East Falls Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-216-8580

A fun neighborhood pub in Fall Creek with a creative menu full of small, medium, and large plates, featuring massive chicken wings (available Baltimore-style), tofu "wings," and an always-different macaroni and cheese of the day. We also love the garlic burger. The bar features a ridiculous number of beers, both bottled and on tap, ranging from Utica Club to Ithaca and Ommegang offerings to O'Reilly's stout, plus wines and tempting cocktails. Stop in on Saturday or Sunday for brunch.

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.

3

Stella's

403 College Ave
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-277-1490

Stella's is attractively decorated, has a fantastic bar selection, and offers a varied and creative menu. If the prices, portions, and service better matched the atmosphere, it would be a favorite. The burger, made with local beef, feels overpriced except when it's half price for "happy hour," and the $10-12 sandwiches feel skimpy, too. The fancier entrees head north of $20. The food's pretty tasty, so we wish we felt the portions and prices were better matched. The coffee shop side is much simpler and a better bang for your buck.

5

Taughannock Farms Inn

2030 Gorge Road (Route 89)
Trumansburg, NY 14886
Phone: 607-387-7711

Built 135 years ago as a private summer home, Taughannock Farms has spent about the last seventy years as a restaurant and inn, adjacent to the state park. Dinner here has an elegant feel, and virtually every table enjoys a nice view of the park and the lake, thanks to a tiered dining room whose walls are mostly window.

Each course was plentiful without being huge, so we left feeling well fed but not stuffed. We also felt well taken care of; our server was friendly and answered questions as they came up, always available without hovering.

4

Taverna Banfi

130 Statler Drive
Statler Hotel
Ithaca, NY 14853
Phone: 607-254-2565

On the second floor of the Statler Hotel on the Cornell campus, Taverna Banfi (formerly "Banfi's") is known for a solid lunch buffet, an exceptional and decadent Sunday brunch buffet, and a Tuscan-themed menu, with unrivaled views of campus. Much of the staff is from Cornell's School of Hotel Administration, learning how to operate a restaurant, but they're working with pros. For a casual visit, we love the simple tapas menu in the Banfi wine bar, set up nightly in the same room as the midday buffet.

4

ZaZa's Cucina

622 Cascadilla Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-273-9292

Since ZaZa's opened, we haven't heard anyone comment that they didn't like the food; at worst, people felt it was a bit pricey, or that the portions didn't match the prices. There's no question the experience is worth the price for a special occasion such as a birthday or friends visiting town, or just a relaxing mid-week treat. The food is very good, the presentation beautiful, and the service expert and attentive.

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