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.

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.

4

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 well-stocked full bar, and there are sharable appetizers and a few entrees available to order. The food's affordable and good, but the wine's the draw. Wing fans should stop in for wing night the third Monday each month.

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.

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.

4

Franny's Food Truck

University Avenue at Sibley Hall
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-255-0293

Named for a Cornell alumna and architect, Franny's is Ithaca's latest food truck, situated behind Sibley Hall, which houses the Department of Architecture. The truck offers salads, noodle bowls, rice bowls, dosas, and banh mi sandwiches, with meat and vegetarian options across the board. The bowls offer curried lamb, chicken, shrimp, or smoked tofu.

0

Gorgers Taco Shack

111B East State Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone:

A new eatery from our friends at Gorgers Subs on the Commons just a block from their sandwich shop. We're expecting excellent and quick tacos made from scratch with fresh ingredients, including meaty and vegetarian options just like their sandwiches, and we can't wait!

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

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.

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.

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.

4

Mexeo

111A Dryden Road
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-272-9367

This quick, new eatery in Collegetown, formerly Xeo's Cafe, now serves Tejano-style (Tex-Mex) taquitos and the like using fresh, local ingredients. The taquitos are tortillas wrapped around a variety of fillings, mostly local pork or beef. The vegan taquito, with marinated tofu and potatoes, is excellent, too. True to the Texas roots, it's not a vegetable-heavy cuisine, but there are a couple of vegetarian options. It's minimalist Mexican. We like it.

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.)

0

Microclimate Wine Bar

38 Linden Streets
Geneva, NY 14456
Phone: 315-787-0077

This wine bar near the Finger Lakes wine trail features lots of wines from the area and beyond, bottled beers and ciders, and a selection of local cheese, charcuterie, nuts, and other munchies.

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.

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.

3
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Pizza Aroma

128 South Cayuga Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-273-6165

We find Pizza Aroma's pizza to be just pretty good, but they're noteworthy for offering soy cheese and Daiya non-dairy cheese, a real boon to vegans who love pizza and don't want to skip the cheese. If you're not in a pizza mood, try the Salvadoran menu.

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.

0

Sahara Mediterranean Restaurant

118 North Aurora Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-319-4522

This new Mediterranean eatery in the former location of Micawber's on downtown Ithaca's "restaurant row" has just opened, promising fresh ingredients prepared to order. The menu features standards like falafel, hummus, and shish kebabs, as well as seared lamb chops and grilled swordfish. The owner is formerly of the tiny but tasty King David kiosk in Center Ithaca, so we look forward to trying the food. Their web site promises beer and wine soon.

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

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.

3
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Sticky Rice Thai and Laotian Cuisine


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401 East State Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 607-275-3641

A tiny Thai and Laotian eatery at the back of the Gateway Center, just east of the Ithaca Commons, Sticky Rice has a rabidly loyal following for its freshly prepared dishes. Enjoy the tamarind fish soup, the summer roll, and the spicy garlic chicken, but save room for the sticky rice and mango dessert. If you catch them open despite oft-unpredictable hours, pick it up or get it delivered; there aren't enough tables.

3

The Good Truck

Around Town
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone:

Ithaca has had food trucks for decades -- the Hot Truck and Louie's Lunch -- but, except on special occasions, they're always in one place. Enter the Good Truck, our first entry in the fad of food trucks that pop up in different places around town. Common stops for this taco truck are next to The Shop or The Westy, or at the Food Truck Roundup at Thompson Park in Fall Creek. The locally sourced food is tasty and almost, but not quite, worth the $5 per taco price.

3

Waffle Frolic


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146 East State Street
NY 14850
Phone: 607-319-0999

Is it the simplest restaurant concept ever? In the space best known as Juna's, Waffle Frolic features handmade waffles, from basic to buckwheat to gluten-free, with a wide variety of toppings including fruit, Nutella, bacon and eggs, and even all-natural, free-range fried chicken. There are also variations on the grilled cheese sandwich theme. A meal gets expensive fast, but it's a fun treat. The coffee, roasted by Coffee Labs in Tarrytown, is top notch. Our biggest concern is that the often-confused service better matches the food's simplicity than its price.

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