& R Italian Ristorante, 136 Madison Ave., Albany,
626-0001. No-surprises Italian fare, nicely done (try the
rigatoni cantadina), served in a very attractive dining room.
The cheesecake is outstanding. Serving Mon-Fri 11-11 Sat-Sun
3-11. AE, D, DC, MC, V. ***½
47 Railroad St., Great Barrington, Mass., 413-528-7767. Steaks,
fish and game are the offerings, with superior items ranging
from meat loaf and fried chicken to spit-roasted duck and
venison sausage. Serving Mon-Thu 5-10, Fri-Sat 5-11, Sun 5:30-10;
brunch Sun 11-3. AE, MC, V. ***˝
River Brewing Company, Latham Circle Mall, Latham, 786-6258.
Excellent beer and a varied menu are highlights of this comfortable
eatery, where you can have a religious experience if you ask
for the spicy version of the award-winning chili. Serving
Sun-Mon 11:30-9:30, Tue-Thu 11:30-11, Fri-Sat noon-midnight.
AE, D, DC, MC, V. ***˝
499 House, 499 Second Ave., Troy, 238-0499. A revitalized
local landmark with a wonderfully gracious staff and a classic
steakhouse menu enlivened by the talent of youthful chef Brian
Hinckley. Serving Tue-Sat 4-10, Sun 4-9. AE, MC, D, V. ***˝
Round-Up, 23 Main St., South Glens Falls, 761-0015. An
eclectic approach to Southwestern fare, served in a fun-to-look-at
emporium of different dining areas. The Pancho Villa quesadilla
combines chipotle pork, dilled Havarti and asparagus! Serving
Mon-Wed 4-9, Thu noon-9, Fri-Sat noon-10, Sun 2:30-9; Sun
brunch 10-2. AE, D, MC, V. ****
Pub & Grill, 153 Mohawk Ave., Scotia, 382-8909. Pub
fare with lots of sandwiches, hot and cold, and even vegetarian
items. The burrito el grande will fill you for a week,
and for only $7! Serving Mon-Thu 11-9, Fri-Sat 11-11, Sun
4-9. AE, CB, D, DC, MC, V. ***˝
780 Route 9, Saratoga Springs, 583-8877. Family-style Italian
dining, which means you should bring a bunch of friends and
share the large portions. Serving Wed-Sat 5-10, Sun 1-9. AE,
CD, DC, MC, V. ***˝
Ridge, 35 Burlington Ave., Round Lake, 899-6000. Former
Olde Dater chef Scott Ringwood offers fine dining at reasonable
cost at the former Sweet Nothings building; try the pork rack
or the duck breast for fresh takes on old favorites. Serving
lunch Mon-Sat 11:30-2:30, dinner Mon-Sat 5-8:45. AE, MC, V.
Chia Bob’s Bistro, 1036 Crane St., Schenectady, 386-2200.
An intimate, friendly spot in which to relax and enjoy a meal
presented with the flair of excellent home cooking. Filet
mignon for traditionalists; quesadillas, quiche, even hot
dogs and burgers are available. Serving dinner Wed-Sun 5-1.
AE, MC, V. ***˝
Café and Restaurant, 144 Washington Ave., Albany, 694-5320.
Impressive mix of continental and Israeli fare, with bold
flavors and sharp service. The Greek baked salmon in phyllo
is a knockout. Serving lunch Mon-Fri 11-3, dinner Mon-Sun
5-10. AE, CB, D, DC, MC, V. ****˝
Bay Clam Co., 2149 Doubleday Ave. (Route 50), Ballston
Spa, 885-0583. Solid, unsurprising seafood served fried, broiled,
baked—you name it. Steaks, chicken and pasta as well, with
daily specials that tend to be more interesting. www.greatbayclamco.com.
Serving Tue-Fri 11:30-9, Sat 4-9, Sun 12:30-8:30. AE, D, DC,
MC, V. ***
Raindancer Restaurant, 4582 Route 30, Amsterdam, 842-2606.
An old-fashioned steak house with chicken, pasta, and other
such items, and a generous salad bar with dinner. Serving
lunch (light fare) Mon-Sat 1-10, Sun 1-8; dinner Mon-Sat 4:30-10,
Sun 1-8. AE, D, DC, MC, V. *** ˝
Baba, 2243 15th St., Troy, 273-1170. Terrific kabobs,
and the $5 durum (wrapped) kabob is the best gyro in the area.
Wood-fired oven pizzas, casseroles and more at great prices.
Serving Mon-Sat 11 AM-2 AM. AE, D, DC, MC, V. ****
Springwater Bistro, 139 Union Ave., Saratoga, 584-6440.
Excellent food and eager service in a casual setting with
formal food; the menu changes daily, but try the lamb shank
when it’s available. Serving dinner Wed-Mon 5:30-9:30. AE,
DC, MC, V. ****˝
Russo’s Dugout, 43 Main St., So. Glens Falls, 793-9560.
Dine amidst vintage sports memorabilia and enjoy selections
from a wide-ranging menu of Italian and continental fare at
great prices, with a legendary wine list. Serving Mon, Wed-Thu
11:30-10:30, Fri 11:30-11:30, Sat 3:30-11:30, Sun 11:30-10.
MC, V. ****