Where to Eat: best restaurants in Buffalo
Buffalo has so many great restaurants for a variety of tastes and price points, it can be tough to choose. Here’s a quick rundown of the best spots to dine in and around Buffalo, New York:
425 Center St., Lewiston
Seasonal, locally sourced ingredients are crucial to Italian cuisine, and Chef Carmelo Raimondi takes that principle to heart at his restaurant. Antipasti and beyond change daily on this restaurant’s menu, so go in with an open mind, and check their cocktail list for any seasonal specials. The risotto with butternut squash, sage and chestnuts is worth talking about long after the plate is gone. The sweet and savory flavors in the dish featuring day boat scallops are incredibly satisfying, or try the T-Meadow pork loin with maitake mushrooms.
4610 Main St., Snyder, NY 14226
The talented Chef Bruce Wieszala joined Tabree last year and brought his inspired approach to prepare fresh, seasonal food made from locally sourced ingredients. Tabree calls upon Oles Farm, Painted Meadow, Benbrook, T-Meadow, Dan Tower, Winter and Flat #12 for wares. Some foodies know Wieszala for his COPPA Artisan Cured Meat line, so it is natural that the charcuterie plate boasts his house cured meat and accompaniments, and it’s an ideal way to start your meal. There are a variety of French dishes to please, but the bánh mì is consistently exceptional and hard to resist. Featuring glazed pork belly, pork pâté, pickled vegetables, cilantro and spicy mayonnaise, this sandwich packs a ton of flavor into each bite.
Five Points Bakery
426 Rhode Island St., Buffalo
The bread at Five Points Bakery is 100% whole grain, made from organic Isadora hard red wheat grown on Zittel’s Farm in Hamburg. It is stone ground into flour daily and nothing is extracted from the flour. Go for breakfast and enjoy the most delicious cinnamon rolls around, as well as amazing toast, paired with lovely accouterments, such as a free range hard-boiled egg and gruyere or Nutella and marmalade.
1375 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, NY 14209
Hutch’s is arguably “old Buffalo” dining at its best. Since 1985, the restaurant has been a fixture of the city, with a comfortable blend of classic steakhouse dishes and other approachable fare. While the ambiance differs slightly from the main dining areas to the bar, there’s an unmistakably high energy running throughout the place. It’s noisy in a fun and forgiving way. The menu offers many small plate options worth trying—consider getting a few and making a meal out of them. Try the simple and refreshing house smoked salmon appetizer, which is paired with apple, frisée salad and horseradish cream. A myriad of entrée offerings range from delicious sandwiches (the Pittsburgh steak sandwich or lobster club) to veal chops (herb marinated and grilled with baby Brussels sprouts, bacon and pear mustarda).
Sushi lovers flock to Kuni’s for its tasty fare and cozy atmosphere. Tucked just off of Elmwood on the bustling Lexington Avenue, Buffalonians enjoy Kuni’s unadulterated sushi and sashimi among other authentic Japanese cuisine. Try the grilled baby octopus, hot hot hot fish salad, chef’s selected sashimi assortment mixed with cucumber in a spicy red-chili sauce, and sashimi 21, chef’s selection of thinly sliced sashimi, avocado and capers topped with yuzu-marinated onions and jalapeños. Perfect pairings such as mackerel and ginger or amberjack and scallion are favorite rolls here, but simple options featuring salmon, tuna, eel and tobiko are available as well. Be warned, though – you won’t find spicy mayo, crunchy panko or sweet sauces here.
1198 Hertel Ave., Buffalo
Start your meal with a Negroni Sbagliato to set the tone for what’s arguably the best place for Italian in WNY in what’s a fairly heavy Italian restaurant scene. As an appetizer, select the tender grilled octopus or opt for the oysters if they’re available. For your pasta course, indulge in the gnocchi di semolina, topped with grilled speck, robiola and a fried egg. Order a steak special (always solid here) or consider the grilled veal rib chop or veal cusinette alla marsala. Lombardo’s knows how to prepare veal perfectly. Finish with affogato, dessert and coffee in one.
475 Ellicott St., Buffalo
Begin your experience with the seafood tacos (raw fish, avocado and salsa on a crispy corn taco shell) and the Hudson Valley foie gras. Alternately, as SeaBar is great for sharing, get Bourdain’s last meal for more variety (marrow, pork belly, foie gras torchon). The difficult choices continue as you navigate among sushi and sashimi options versus entrées. If you have a love for fried chicken, do not bother browsing the remainder of the menu and order the chicken and waffles. It’s a memorable must try dish. The 24-hour beef short ribs are another winner worth considering. For sushi, the beef on weck is a playful roll that’s seriously tasty, and you must try the miso caramel crab, as it will leave your party humming with delight.
1989 Niagara St., Buffalo, NY 14207
For irresistible Burmese and Thai cuisine, check out Sun. You can try the kyit thar aloo, a Burmese-style curry mixed with masala, chicken, potato, ginger, garlic and chili, and if you aren’t as adventurous, go for the pad thai, featuring stir-fried noodles with light sweet and sour sauce, bean sprouts, garlic, green onions, eggs, carrots and peanuts. Best of all, Sun has a black rice menu, including sushi rolls, salads and more. For a fresh, flavorful salad containing all raw ingredients, try the black rice salad, with avocado, mango, red pepper, spring mix, cashews, peanuts and a light, tangy dressing. To really make your mark, order the bird’s nest soup. This traditional and exclusive dish made in part by swallows and their saliva (yes, you read that right) is said to give incredible health benefits.
Suzy Q’s Bar-B-Que Shack
2829 Niagara St., Buffalo, NY 14207
This casual smokehouse has a lot of finger lickin’ good to offer. Take your pick of Suzy Q’s house made K.C. and Carolina style BBQ sauces to maximize your enjoyment. A regular winner of the best barbeque in Western New York, their delicious food ranges from ribs and sides like mac ‘n’ cheese to its popular “Piggy Pie,” an intense stack of potatoes, baked beans, pulled pork, salsa and shredded cheese.
2290 Delaware Ave., Buffalo, NY 14216
Serving a variety of North and South Indian cuisines, this casual eatery gives guests a ton of flavor in each dish with enough heat to match your preference, plus friendly service to spare. The huge menu includes chicken, lamb, beef, goat, seafood, tofu and vegetarian specialties, such as dishes with lentils, paneer, eggplant, potatoes and more. Go for the unique flavor profile of xacutti (“sha-ku-tee”), a spicy curry made with roasted coconut, red chillies and spices, with the meat of your choice.
185 Main St, East Aurora, NY 14052
Bar-Bill flies under the radar as a contender for the best wings in WNY, but rest assured, they are worth the coveted title. Head to East Aurora for the chance to try their wings, which come in a variety of levels of hot – all the way up to suicidal (seriously leave your lips burning hot), as well as Sicilian, honey dijon, zesty honey pepper, teriyaki, hot and spicy BBQ, Cajun and honey butter BBQ. They don’t take reservations, it is cash only and there’s an ATM on site in case you need to grab some cash. Snag a table outside on a warm summer day if you’re lucky.
Elm Street Bakery
72 Elm St., East Aurora
This family-owned, local bakery meets café and market place offers seasonal food in the warm and rustic atmosphere of a renovated historic building. Salads (options like French country salad and Caribbean slaw are tough to beat), sandwiches (go for the jamon buerre) and soups that change weekly comprise the bulk of the menu. Wood-fired brick oven pizza is also available nightly—try the white pizza with baby arugula for a fresh twist on a classic. After dining, visit the bread counter for a fresh baked loaf and pastries, and grab a bag of recently roasted coffee beans while you’re at it.