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.
Agava: 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. 381 Pine Tree Road, Ithaca NY, 14850. (607) 319-4366. $$ Reservation Information: Visit http://www.agavarestaurant.com/reservations.html.
Boatyard Grill: Casual waterfront dining. Fresh-cut steaks, seafood, and salads. Perfect for parties with mixed tastes. 545 Taughannock Blvd. (607) 256-2628 $$ Call ahead seating only. Visit http://www.boatyardgrill.com/contact_us.php for call-ahead seating information.
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 $$ Reservations accepted. Visit https://coltivareithaca.com/reservations/ to make reservations online.
Northstar House: This fun, neighborhood bar/restaurant crossover is mostly walk-in with a menu that changes with the seasons. Featuring local and organic food, you will receive a true farm-to-table experience. Northstar boasts 12 rotating drafts on tap plus local wine and spirits. 202 East Fall St, (607) 216-8580 $$ Reservations accepted at https://www.yelp.com/reservations/northstar-house-ithaca.
Maxie’s Supper Club & Oyster Bar: New Orlean’s-style fish house and raw bar serving Southern comfort cooking, fresh seafood dishes, and slow-smoked barbeque. Fun, always lively atmosphere. 635 W. State Street (607) 272-4136 $$ 30 minute call-ahead seating only.
Mia’s Restaurant: High-end pan Asian cuisine presented in an eclectic and modern atmosphere. Great sushi and awesome BBQ pork buns. On the Commons: 130 East State St. (607) 277-2000 $$ Reservations accepted by phone.
Mercato Bar and Kitchen: One of Ithaca’s hottest restaurants with a great vibe, and a creative and excellent northern Italian menu. Wonderful wine list of Italian and Finger Lakes wines, and some wild cocktails. 108 North Aurora Street (607) 319-5171. $$ Can only accommodate groups of 8 or less. No reservations. Seatings are prioritized on an arrival basis.
Le Cafe Cent Dix: Mercato’s sister restaurant. Excellent provicial French. Great appetizers, classic french entrees, and one amazing french wine list and bar. 110 North Aurora Street (607) 319-0750. $$ Can only accommodate groups of 8 or less. No reservations. Seatings are prioritized on an arrival basis.
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, sharable plates and chef-driven entrees, stay for the bowling while enjoying your food. 61 W. Main Street Trumansburg, NY 14886
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
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
Wild Flower Cafe: Fresh regional ingredients in every bite, this cafe boasts everything from cold sandwiches and handmade pizza to hot dinner entrees. Features local wine and brews from their own Rooster Fish Brewery. 223 – 301 North Franklin St. Watkins Glen, NY 14891 (607)-535-9797 Reservations accepted.
FLX Wienery: F.L.X. Wienery is a casual wine-country hang out for locals and visitors alike, in the heart of the Finger Lakes Wine Trail. Featuring an array of hot dogs, hamburgers, sausages and french fries, F.L.X. Wienery makes a perfect spot for a relaxed lunch or dinner. Christopher & Isabel opened F.L.X. Wienery in May of 2014 after many years in fine-dining including nearly a decade of managing Relais & Chateaux/Grande Chef properties and Forbes Five-Stars including the Hotel Fauchere and The Inn at Dos Brisas. F.L.X. Wienery 5090 State Route 14, Dundee, NY 14837 (607) 243-7100. $$
Ithaca Ale House: Fun, lively, and laid back restaurant with great build-your-own burgers, unique flat bread pizzas and delicious salads. Serves micro-brews and often has live music. 111 N Aurora St (607)-256-7977. $ Walk in only; no reservations.
Madeline’s: On the Ithaca Commons. Euro-asian fusion in jazzy, funky atmosphere. Desserts are the highlight of the evening, when you are forced to choose one from their 16 feet of fully stocked display case. 215 East State Street/The Commons (607)277-2253 $$ Reservations accepted.
John Thomas Steak House: 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 $$$ Reservations accepted
Just a Taste: A classic wine and tapas bar right off the Commons. A great variety of “little dishes” for tasting and sharing. 116 North Aurora Street (607)-277-9463 $$ walk in only; no reservations.
Taste of Thai– Family owned and operated, this restaurant boasts authentic Thai food at its best. 216 E State St/The Commons (607)-256-5487. $ Reservations accepted.
The Heights Café & Grill: A wonderful contemporary fine dining experience in Ithaca with an extensive wine list. Private dining room for small dinner parties. American cuisine with global influences. (East hill near Cornell) 903 Hanshaw Road (607)257-4144. $$$ Reservations accepted
Viva Taqueria and Cantina: Fresh, healthy, and delicious Mexican food. Great margaritas and premium taquilla bar. 101 N Aurora St (607)-277-1752. $ Walk in only; no reservations.