It looks like a Dinner/Sport-bar/Country Style Restaurant. Very busy but the place is big enough. Has a ¨takeout¨ sections if you decide to call ahead and pick up your food.
Favorite Dish: If you are in the mood for BBQ, ribs, pulled pork, mac and cheese, and beers, this is it. They have more things in their menu, but these are definitively very good.
BF and I went to Van's while visiting the Capital District from GA for a graduation. I wanted something different and miss the food from NY (it's just better, sorry my southern friends!) and the reviews convinced me it was somewhere I wanted to try. I was not disappointed. There was one very harried server working on a slow Sunday but we were in no rush. We had the stuffed chicken wings for an app and they were good but definitely needed the nuoc nam dipping sauce to make them taste better. A little bit of fresh herb garnish would have taken them a long way. I had the bone in half duck and it was truly yummy. I could actually taste the marinade and the duck was very tender and flavorful, skin crispy and not dry or giving you the impression that it had been waiting around under a heat lamp for someone to order it. BF had the grilled pork with rice paper wraps and vermicelli and that was truly an above average dish. Pork had a nice grilled flavor, the meat was tender and again you could actually taste that it had been marinated with no shortcuts. But what made this meal for me was the sides. Fresh fresh fresh! lovely sprigs of fresh cilantro, basil, cucumber and pickled daikon and carrot just made everything taste so gooooood. Despite business picking up while we were there our server was nice enough to explain how everything went together for us and with both of us being line cooks we managed to actually make some pretty decent rice paper wraps before we left. Portions were more than enough for one (I ate it again for dinner) and the next time we visit Albany we will definitely be stopping in again at Van's. I'll echo the comments of some other diners who said they can't understand why some had such bad experiences. We had a great time!
Favorite Dish: The bone in duck. Just wonderful.
After checking out the 3 I Dines restaurants that were supposed to be open but weren't, SES and I decided to make a quick stop at Jillian's to grab a quick drink and a snack. Jillians is a chain restaurant/bar/pool hall that really doesn't offer much out of the ordinary. We had the boneless buffalo wings which were about average. I had my usual margarita and SES grabbed a bear. I wish I had more positive things to say about Jillian's but it really didn't impress me at all.
The hours of operation are as follows:
Monday - Thursday:
11am - Midnight
Friday & Saturday:
11am - 4am
Noon - Midnight
Favorite Dish: I had the boneless buffalo wings, but they weren't anything special.
Pinto and Hobbbs has moved around the corner to Washington Avenue across from the Albany Institiute of History and Art and with the new intimate space comes a new fresh food menu featuring some very tasty items. They roast thier own turkey which makes for great open face hot turkey sandwiches. They have burgers, rubens, salads and home made soups (perfect for a snowy Albany winter day). Ask for specials and things not on the menu - there is always something great. P&H has a nice, friendly, cozy atmosphere. Karaoke on wednesdays too. Don't miss this place - it is a hidden gem!
Favorite Dish: My favorite is the meatloaf sandwich served on an Italian roll with pepper jack cheese and some Chipolte ketchup...sooo good...plus it comes with an incredibly creamy side of Mac and cheese. The ultimate comfort foods.
The Daily Grind is a tiny, below-street level cafe located on Albany's famed Lark Street, and it serves up a wide menu of delicious coffee concoctions, as well as desserts and cafe food. Everybody I know loves this place. The size and service are intimate and perfect for a date. You sit at a little table and a waitress comes just to take your coffee order!
Best time to go (if you want to sit and relax) is generally in the evening when it's less crowded. The cafe is so popular but so tiny that it loses it's cozy-ness during busy hours and becomes just claustrophobic.
Try strange and new drinks that are frothy and unhealthy for you; I recently had a towering, thick pumpkin something-or-other topped with whipped cream. Ahhhh. So good.
Favorite Dish: Um, hello, the Belgian waffles!! I adore Belgian waffles whenever I can get them, and these are damn good. Eat them with fruit and cream if you're smart!
Open until 3pm (like most downtown Albany eateries), Maurice's is famed for its fresh (sliced in front of you) hot roast beef sandwiches. They offer a wide variety of typical deli lunches, but every sandwich is big, fresh and delicious. When I worked downtown, I ate at Maurice's as often as I could. I can't tell you how good my memories are of this place.
Sandwiches vary from $4 to $7 depending on fillings, and there are various sides (salads and chips) and fresh-baked goodies.
You can sit inside the deli, but if it's nice out, take advantage of the small office plaza's picnic tables across the street.
Favorite Dish: Fresh hot roast beef sandwich on a Kaiser roll with mayo, provolone and lettuce. Absolutely melt-in-your-mouth good: juicy, flavorful and tender.
We were driving home from Quebec and absolutely famished on the 4th of July. We couldn't find an open restaurant or there were lines out the door & down the block. I finally saw a police car & my husband was amazed that I asked the officer for a recommendation and she was beyond helpful. She put her lights on and escorted us to her favorite Pizza shop. Parking looked difficult & she told me not to worry; I wouldn't get ticketed.
This old style pizzeria was really hopping, everyone was very friendly & the pizza was wonderful. There were trays of homemade desserts that were equally delish. We can't wait to go back & hopefully will find it more easily.
Some very good pub food, this place has been known as one of the best for pizza for 25 years or more. They have dixieland jazz there from 10-2 on the 2nd Friday and Saturday of every month
Favorite Dish: Pizza, and fried mushrooms
This was a bit of a different beast of a dining experience.
We ate in the bar/grill/lounge section and not in the dining room.
A hostess welcomed you in but did not seat you. It was up to you to find a seat (we had to wait 10 minutes for a previous customer to vacate a table). A busboy quickly cleared the table for us and we hailed a waitress who brought some menus. We selected and ordered. But instead of the waitress serving you she just comes back to the table when the food is done and tells you that you can go to the bar section and get the food. Which we did and it was delicious. We all had the Hawkeye steaks (my niece's suggestion) and shared a pitcher of the house beer.
The decor is ranchhouse with wooden tables and chairs in a u-shape around the central bar-with-stools area. It was extremely busy on Friday night and crowded and noisy. Normally I would not go for this type of place but the people (staff and other customers) were so nice and friendly that the noise and crowding weren't an annoyance.
I thought the prices were a bit steep but Albany prices seem to be generally high anyways.
Just this past weekend my mother and I went out clearance shopping. While we were walking the mall we came across this great retro style dinner which reminded my mom of growing up in the 50's. I got her to go in by telling her I would pay for lunch. We were as far from being disappointed with this dinner as one could be. I ordered the Patty Melt and my mom decided on the Chili Cheese Fries. Mom also got a Root Beer Float. The fries were served first just as they were when my mom was a girl. They were fantastic and full of flavor. When my burger came I was equally pleased. It was done just right and was juicy but not greasy. They best part of the dinner is the wait staff. At one point during our meal, Staying Alive by the Bee Gees came on and the entire wait staff got up and did the John Travolta dance from Saturday Night Fever. It was a real crowd pleaser. This place is definately family friendly and easy on the pocket book.
Favorite Dish: The Patty Melt
A very small place, where you can watch your food being made. While most people take things to go, there are a few places to sit, and if you choose to do so, you get served on real, non-disposable plates. It's good food and it's cheap, but as a result, the line at lunchtime tends to be significant.
Favorite Dish: I got eggs. It was breakfasttime for me. Because it wasn't breakfasttime for anyone else, it took them about ten times longer to fill my order, but they filled it well, so I can't complain.
I went to Shalimar only after SES had pointed it out to me during a trip to Albany in February. Shalimar isn't anything spectacular, but it is cheap and the food is good. It has the traditional Indian dishes including Tandori Chicken, curry dishes and Nan. If you don't like spicey food this is not the place for you. They use traditional Indian curry and spices to get that authentic taste. If you ask they'll tone it down for you. The outside of the place looks like a dive and frankly the inside isn't much better. It's always crowded though, mostly with college kids looking for large portions for little money.
Takeout and eat in are available.
Lunch buffet Mon-Fri 11:30-2, service Mon-Thurs 11:30-10, Friday 11:30-11, Saturday noon-11 and Sun noon -10.
Favorite Dish: I love the Tandori special which is chicken, lamb, pork and shrimp.
This is Albany's serious fine dining establishment. The food is incredible (though on the pricey side) and the ambience is great. The walls of the dining room are decorated with vintage photos of downtown Albany so that diners can see the history of the city.
Favorite Dish: Their cheesecake is absolutely delicious. It manages to be light yet rich at the same time. Yum!
Beff's has the best burgers in the Albany area in a fun, pub-like setting decorated with vintage Guiness ads. They also have a vast selection of different beers, both on tap and bottled. They even have Saranac Root Beer, served in a glass bottle with a frosted mug. If you want a delicious burger in a bar-setting, this is the place to be.
Favorite Dish: Their bacon cheeseburgers are perfection itself, with a choice of cheeses. They're big (but not too big) and wonderfully juicy, and the fries are amazing as well. You won't leave this place hungry!
Bombers is one of the best places to eat cheaply in Albany. Located on Lark Street, they serve burritos stuffed with everything imaginable, including pulled pork. They also have quite a few vegetarian dishes. Upstairs, there's an actual bar where alcohol is served and there's karaoke on Tuesday nights. The dining room is furnished with brightly coloured naugahide booths and decorated with stickers from local bands. There's even a table where you can play Ms. Pac-Man as you eat!
Favorite Dish: Personally, my absolute favourite thing to get at Bombers is an order of cheese fries. They're only about $3.00, and you get an immense serving of crispy, golden french fries covered with delicious, gooey, melted cheese. And I'm talking actual cheese here, none of that processed sauce.