Ithaca is known as having more restaurant PER CAPITA than New York City, and there is a restaurant for every taste in this town. Every visitor wants the local insider perspective of the best eateries; we’ve gone the extra mile to make sure your entire experience of the region is exceptional. The restaurants below were hand-picked by us for their top food, great ambiance, and quality service. Experience! the Finger Lakes guests will receive special offers at a number of these restaurants through our Experience!D The Finger Lakes Explorers Program.
- Downtown Ithaca
Coltivare: Eat like the locals! Coltivare was created with the express intent to provide fabulous cuisine made directly from farm fresh and seasonal produce from the surrounding area farms. The environment is modern, fresh and inviting. 235 S. Cayuga St. (607) 882-2333 $$ Reservations are available but not required. To make a reservation, please call 607-882-2333 or book through OpenTable.com
Ithaca Ale House: Fun, lively, and laid-back restaurant with great build-your-own burgers, unique flatbread pizzas, and delicious salads. Serves micro-brews and often has live music. 111 N Aurora St (607)-256-7977. $ Walk-in only; no reservations.
Just a Taste: A classic wine and tapas bar right off the Commons. A great variety of “little dishes” for tasting and sharing. 116 North Aurora Street (607)-277-9463 $$ Walk-in only; no reservations.
Le Café Cent Dix: Le Café Cent-Dix is a classic French Bistro featuring timeless café dishes such as Frisée Aux Lardons and Steak Frites. In keeping with tradition, the restaurant also offers a rotating Plats Du Jour. Patrons are equally encouraged to treat the establishment as a wine bar for snacks or a light meal, as well as taking advantage of the full menu. 110 N Aurora St. (607) 319-0750 $$ Cent Dix does not take reservations and seatings are prioritized on an arrival basis.
Mercato Bar and Kitchen: One of Ithaca’s hottest restaurants with a great vibe and a creative and excellent northern Italian menu. They feature a wonderful wine list of Italian and Finger Lakes wines and some wild cocktails. 108 North Aurora Street (607) 319-5171. $$ Mercato does not take reservations and seatings are prioritized on an arrival basis.
Mia Restaurant: Features high-end pan Asian tapas presented in an eclectic and modern atmosphere. Great sushi and awesome BBQ pork buns. On the Ithaca Commons, 130 East State St. (607)-277-2000 $$ Reservations accepted over the phone.
Northstar House: This fun, neighborhood bar/restaurant crossover is mostly walk-in with a menu that changes with the seasons. Featuring local and organic food, you will receive a true farm-to-table experience. Northstar boasts 12 rotating drafts on tap plus local wine and spirits. 202 East Fall St, (607-216-8580) $$ Reservations taken at https://www.yelp.com/reservations/northstar-house-ithaca
Simeon’s American Bistro: Classy setting for American fare served alongside cocktails & spirits, plus lively sidewalk seating. On the Ithaca Commons, 224 E State St. (607) 272-2212 $$ Reservations accepted on opentable.com.
Taste of Thai: Family owned and operated, this restaurant boasts authentic Thai food at its best. On the Ithaca Commons, 216 E State St (607)-256-5487 $ Reservations accepted.
Thompson & Bleeker: This pizza and wine bar, which also serves beer, promises that all of their menu items will be made fresh with the finest, freshest, and healthiest ingredients. No Freezer. No Fryer. No Microwave. On the Ithaca Commons, 220 E State St. (607) 319-0851 $$ Walk-in seating only.
Viva Taqueria and Cantina: Fresh, healthy, and delicious Mexican food. Great margaritas and premium tequila bar. 101 N Aurora St (607)-277-1752, $, Walk-in only; no reservations. All of the guests in your party must be present to be seated.
- Ithaca's West End & Outside of Ithaca
Boatyard Grill: Casual waterfront dining, specializing in fresh-cut steaks, seafood, and salads, there is something for everyone. 545 Taughannock Blvd. (607) 256-2628 $$ Same day call ahead seating only.
Maxie’s Supper Club: New Orleans-style fish house and raw bar serving Southern comfort cooking, fresh seafood dishes, and slow-smoked barbeque. Features a fun and always lively atmosphere. 635 W. State Street (607)272-4136 $$ 30-minute call ahead seating only.
Atlas Bowl: Their menu offers elevated-comfort food; the kind of food you want to eat when you are enjoying the company of friends and family. Featuring eclectic tacos, griddle-cooked burgers, shareable plates, and chef-driven entrees, stay for the bowling while enjoying your food.
61 W. Main Street Trumansburg, NY 14886
Reservations accepted over the phone.
- Near the Colleges
Agava: A Southwest-inspired restaurant featuring a wood-fired oven, a seasonal menu, and farm-to-table ingredients in a warm, fun, and community-minded atmosphere. They are located in the historic East Ithaca Train Station. East Hill near Cornell, 381 Pine Tree Road, Ithaca, (607) 319-4366 $$ Reservations can be made at opentable.com or by calling the restaurant.
Gola Osteria: Enjoy their unique and expansive menu that includes homemade pasta, sauces, and seasonal ingredients. Their full bar includes Italian and Finger Lakes wines list and a rotating selection of both inventive and classic cocktails. Please visit https://golaosteria.com/about-us/ regarding parking and how to get into the restaurant. East Hill near Collegetown, 115 South Quarry St., (607) 273-0333 $$$ Reservations can be made at opentable.com or by calling the restaurant.
John Thomas Steakhouse: Traditional high-end steakhouse with dry-aged prime beef and classic sides. Country inn setting with private dining options. South Hill near Ithaca College, 1152 Danby Road, Rt 96 B. (607)273-3464 $$$ Reservations accepted
The Heights Restaurant: A wonderful contemporary fine dining experience in Ithaca with an extensive wine list. Has a private dining room for small dinner parties. Features American cuisine with global influences. East Hill near Cornell, 903 Hanshaw Road (607)257-4144. $$$ Reservations accepted over the phone or online at http://www.theheightsithaca.com/reservations.cfm
- Watkins Glen
Graft wine + cider bar: New York focused wine + cider bar + bottle shop with locally sourced plates to pair and share, prepared in-house by Chef Christina McKeough. 204 N Franklin St., Watkins Glen, NY (607) 210-4324 $$ Walk-in only, no reservations
Nickel’s Pit BBQ: Fun, casual, and all American! But you’ll find no fast food here; every item on the menu is completely handmade, including burgers, bread, sauces, and of course, the BBQ. Served with handcrafted brews of Rooster Fish Brewing, this makes for a winning combination. 205-207 N. Franklin St., Watkins Glen, NY (607)-210-4227 Walk-in only, no reservations
Rooster Fish Brewing Pub: Brewpub menu is in-house curated and features unique ingredients and themes with decadent pairings for their brews. 223-301 North Franklin St. Watkins Glen, NY 14891 (607)-535-9797 Reservations accepted.
Thai Elephants: Offering delicious dining and takeout, this restaurant is known for its modern interpretation of classic dishes and its insistence on only using high-quality fresh ingredients. 133 E 4th St, Watkins Glen, NY (607) 210-4168 $$ Reservations accepted.
- Seneca Lake
FLX Wienery: The FLX Wienery is the special eatery project of couple Christopher Bates & Isabel Bogadtke. Christopher is a Master Sommelier and Isabel was awarded Best Service in the World by Mobil Travel Guide. Among other items, their menu features house-made sausages, freshly-ground burgers, and hand-cut fries and chips. 5090 State Route 14, Dundee, Starkey, NY 14837, (607) 243-7100 $ Walk-in only
Red Newt Bistro: The Bistro at Red Newt offers a Finger Lakes dining experience unlike any other. Exquisite, collaborative and authentic, it sources food from 30+ local Finger Lakes farms. It combines the flavor, textures, and personality of Finger Lakes wine and food, creating a synergy that is uniquely Finger Lakes. 3675 Tichenor Road, Hector, NY 14841 (607)-546-4100 Reservations accepted
Stonecat Café: Cool and relaxed, this café features local produce and meats, with the specialty of the house being their smoked fish and meats. 5315 State Route 414 Hector, NY 14841 (607)-546-5000. $$ Reservations accepted. Open April through mid-November.
Dano’s Heuriger on Seneca: Modeled on a centuries-old Viennese tradition, America’s first heuriger (Hoy-rig-ger) combines the traditional Viennese Winery Restaurant concept with the region’s award-winning wines and the superb Viennese-inspired cooking of Dano’s chef/co-owner Dano Hutnick and pastry chef/co-owner Karn Gilman. 9564 Route 414 Lodi, NY 14860, (607)-582-7555. $$ Reservations accepted.
Veraisons Restaurant: With menus that change with the seasons, Veraisons proudly sources ingredients from over 30 farms in the Finger Lakes and throughout New York state. Located at the Inn at Glenora Wine Cellars, 5435 NY-14, Dundee, NY 14837, (800) 243-5513, $$ Reservations accepted.