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Readers’ Poll: Food & Drink

by Metroland Staff on March 13, 2013 · 23 comments

Best American

1. New World Bistro Bar

2. Five Guys Burgers and Fries

3. The Standard

We obviously have a very diverse group of diners in the region. Even so, New World took this easily.

Best Italian

1. D’Raymond’s

2. Café Capriccio

3. Caffe Italia

This was one of the closest races in the poll—obviously our readers know good Italian food.

Best French/Continental

1. Provence

2. La Serre

3. The Epicurean Bistro & Wine Bar

The monsieurs et madames of the Capital Region have spoken.

Best Seafood

1. Reel Seafood Co.

2. Red Lobster

3. Jack’s Oyster House

The winner here pulled out a landslide victory. Must be their killer oyster selection.

Best Chinese

1. Plum Blossom

2. Ichiban

3. Ala Shanghai

Plum Blossom doesn’t just serve great food, the restaurant is a work of art. Watch out though, Ichiban fans ranked their choice just a handful of votes away from the top spot.

Best Japanese

1. Shogun

2. Sake

3. Koto Japanese Steakhouse

Domo arigato, to all of the readers who know their Japanese.

Best Vietnamese/Thai

1. Van’s Vietnamese Restaurant

2. Sukhothai

3. Blue Spice Thai

Simply put, you can’t beat Van’s pho.

Best Mexican/Southwest

1. El Mariachi

2. El Loco

3. Bombers

The top two are always battling it out for our readers’ affections. This time, El Mariachi won top burrito.

Best Southern/Soul

1. Hattie’s

2. The Flying Chicken

3. Capital Q Smokehouse

Hattie’s again reigns supreme here, but the Flying Chicken flapped in for a good showing in its first year in Troy.

Best Caribbean

1. Roy’s Caribbean Restaurant

2. First Choice Caribbean

3. Dutch Pot

Two tried-and-true caribbean spots are joined by tasty Madison Avenue newcomer Dutch Pot.

Best Indian/Pakistani

1. Shalimar

2. Karavalli

3. Jewel of India on Lark

Only two votes separated the top two spots—and, given the perennial ambiguity surrounding which of the three Shalimars you guys were voting for—they are not all run by the same people—the winner here might actually be Karavalli.

Best Indian Buffet

1. Shalimar

2. Curry House

3. (TIE) Karavalli, Lazeez

We love a good Indian buffet, and love having so many choices.

Best Greek

1. Athos

2. Anton’s

3. Greek House

While its country of origin sinks into austerity, Athos revels in a wealth of votes.

Best International

1. New World Bistro Bar

2. Mingle

3. Yono’s

Another win for Chef Ric Orlando’s Albany joint.

Best Vegetarian

1. New World Bistro Bar

2. Antipasto’s

3. All Good Bakers

There’s a reason why it’s always slammed at New World—and why they keep sweeping these categories.

Best Steakhouse

1. Angelo’s 677 Prime

2. Delmonico’s Italian Steakhouse

3. The Barnsider

You love a good steak, and Angelo’s seems to be doing it right.

Best Barbecue

1. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que

2. Capital Q Smokehouse

3. Tex’s Pig Pit

How grateful is the Capital Region to have gotten a Dinosaur? By the amount of people who voted for it, we’d say very.

Best Brew Pub

1. Brown’s Brewing Co.

2. Albany Pump Station

3. Druthers

In heavy voting, Brown’s bested the competition by a couple hundred votes.

Best Beer Selection

1. Mahar’s

2. The Ruck

3. The Bier Abbey

Let’s raise a glass and shed a tear for the passing of a Pine Hills institution, Mahar’s.

Best Diner

1. Latham ‘76 Restaurant

2. Alexis Diner

3. Gateway Diner

With Miss Albany gone, we’re just glad you didn’t say Denny’s.

Best Deli

1. Gershon’s Deli

2. Cardona’s Market

3. Nosh

Schenectady loves a good sandwich more than almost anyone else. Gershon’s won this category handily.


Best Brunch: Cafe Madison.


Best Brunch

1. Café Madison

2. New World Bistro Bar

3. City Beer Hall

Café Madison is undisputed in this category, year after year. City Beer Hall wins points for being the place to both tie one on and subsequently nurse one away all at the same table.



Best Outdoor Dining

1. Brown’s Brewing Co.

2. Jumpin’ Jacks

3. City Beer Hall

Yup, we could go for a little bit o’ that right about now.

Best Cheap Eats

1. Gus’ Hot Dogs

2. Bombers Burrito Bar

3. The Brown Bag

Hell yes to Gus’ irresistible pups.

Best Burger

1. Five Guys Burgers & Fries

2. Juicy Burger

3. The Brown Bag

This was a big win—a really big win. It’s those hand-cut fries, isn’t it?

Best Wings

1. The Ruck

2. The Ale House

3. Wings Over Albany

Between the Ruck and the Ale House, Troy seems to be the place to go for wings.

Best Pizza

1. I Love NY Pizza

2. The Fountain

3. DeFazio’s

You love I Love. And we love the consistency of your voting in this category year after year.

Best Bagels

1. Bruegger’s

2. Uncommon Grounds

3. Price Chopper

We scoff at you every year, dear readers, for crowning Bruegger’s chain-restaurant bagels—especially with an Uncommon in both Albany and Saratoga Springs. This may be one area in which Albany should take a cue or two from Long Island.

Best Sandwiches/Subs

1. Subway

2. DiBella’s

3. Andy’s Italian Food & Deli

Nothing against Subway—we eat at Subway, too—but you readers really have to try Andy’s on Albany’s Delaware Avenue. Really.

Best Ice Cream

1. Stewart’s Shops

2. Emack and Bolio’s

3. Ben & Jerry’s

We give Stewart’s special exemption from chain-store status, mostly because they’re awesome and make us feel like we’ve stepped into the ’50s. Case in point, their fine ice-cream selection.

Best Coffee

1. Dunkin’ Donuts

2. Starbucks

3. Stewart’s Shops

Ahem. We have a bone to pick with you on this one, dear readers. Our July Best Of the Capital Region issue will set you straight.

Best Desserts

1. Villa Italia Pasticceria

2. Crisan Bakery & Edible Art Gallery

3. The Cheesecake Factory

Shout-out to the guy who simply voted for “cake.”

Best Bakery (Dessert/Pastry)

1. Bella Napoli

2. Villa Italia Pasticceria

3. Crisan Bakery & Edible Art Gallery

Why did we choose to write these at lunch time? *Rumble*

Best Bakery (Bread)

1. Perecca’s Bakery

2. All Good Bakers

3. Bella Napoli

All Good is creeping up on Capital Region mainstay Perecca’s.

Best Wine List

1. The Wine Bar & Bistro on Lark

2. Charles F. Lucas Confectionery and Wine Bar

3. The Ginger Man

Less than 10 votes decided first and second place. Game on! And congrats to Troy newcomer, the Lucas Confectionery, for placing in their first year.

Best Tapas/Small Plates

1. Midtown Tap & Tea Room

2. Cella Bistro

3. Charles F. Lucas Confectionery and Wine Bar

This was a close race. Keep it up folks, we’re curious to see where this goes by next year.

Best Breakfast

1. Café Madison

2. Manory’s

3. Denny’s

Café Madison rules this category again, with Troy’s old-school mainstay a respectable second.

Best Restaurant To Take a Date

1. New World Bistro Bar

2. Angelo’s 677 Prime

3. The Ginger Man

Oh, dating. Good to know that people still do that, and that these fine establishments help keep those fires burning.

Best Restaurant To Take the Kids

1. Red Robin

2. Friendly’s

3. McDonald’s

Sometimes kids act like, well, kids. And these eateries don’t seem like a bad place to throw a temper tantrum.

Best Restaurant for a Power Lunch

1. Angelo’s 677 Prime

2. Jack’s Oyster House

3. Panera Bread

Every year Panera places third behind either Angelo’s or Jack’s, and every year the boss just shakes his head.

Best Restaurant to Eat at 3 AM

1. The Brown Bag

2. Denny’s

3. Bob’s Diner

Thank you, Brown Bag, for realizing that sometimes we need to eat at 3 AM, and for not judging us for it.


PizzaLover518 March 13, 2013 at 9:23 pm

the best pizza is at MARINO’s In Schenectady on State St!!! like the man said about Andys Subs this place is worth the Trip!!! Best pizza in Upstate NY!! Andys has GREAT subs!!!

greg March 13, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Scoff at Bruegger’s? You’re insane.

David Slater March 14, 2013 at 7:23 am

Nothing against Mahar’s and The Ruck, but The Bier Abbey placing 3rd in Best Beer Selection tells me not enough Metroland Readers have been there yet. They have 30 rotating taps of craft and imported beers, each kept at the proper temperature and served in the glass recommended by the brewer. No matter how far from Schenectady, it’s worth the drive for anyone who enjoys a great beer (and the food doesn’t disappoint either).

Mike March 14, 2013 at 5:23 pm

David- If people don’t know about Bier Abbey than whose fault is that?
Ever seen their online presence? Me neither.
I had a killer sandwich there. The place seems like a decent restaurant with a great beer selection. I’d bring my grammy there.

Britin @ All Good Bakers March 14, 2013 at 10:49 am

All Good Bakers (540 Delaware Ave.) is thrilled with our spots as #2 Best Bread and #3 Best Vegetarian! We’re open Wed-Fri 7:30am-3pm, Sat/Sun 9am-3pm. Seasonal Breakfast and Lunch menu all day: http://www.allgoodbakers.weebly.com Come visit us, we’re always happy to see you!

I Love The Capital Region March 14, 2013 at 11:04 am

I’m not a sore looser when my favorite doesn’t win, but Subway for best sandwich? That really makes no sense.

John March 14, 2013 at 2:28 pm

Exactly – their motto is “Eat Fresh,” but go to a Subway and ask to see their meat slicer. They’ll have a hard time showing it to you because they don’t have one. And their lettuce was sliced, chlorinated and bagged a week ago in California.

lauren welton March 14, 2013 at 11:18 am

Congratulations to my amazing son Zachary Welton, chef de cuisine at NWBB! HE has definitely earned these accolades ten times over. I couldn’t be prouder. They are so lucky to have you.

mary March 14, 2013 at 11:46 am

I love pizza really ? Come on , lots of better small pizza places

Joe March 14, 2013 at 2:58 pm

I’ll never understand why people think The Fountain Pizza is good, it’s awful. Sapienza’s on Pearl is by far the best Pizza in Albany.

Mattr March 14, 2013 at 7:39 pm

There is much better coffee out there than the big three. I wish people would try local coffee houses. If you like light roast coffee like Dunkin Donuts all you have to do is ask you local coffee shop most shops have dark, medium, and light roast coffee with much better quality coffee then the big three.

Brandon March 14, 2013 at 8:39 pm

Best coffee was pretty sad. When I see chains in this voting I just cringe. I agree, nothing against Subway….BUT….. Get out and try some new places. There are so many great little pockets for food, wine and coffee in the region. I would love to see the voting set up where chains aren’t part of the list. We need to add a category – BEST FOODTRUCK.
Hope to see it on the voting next year.

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