I have to admit I was extremely ignorant going into my visit to Rochester. I assumed, “upstate New York – fried foods and carnival finds” and I was so wrong. Rochester is home to a budding community of farm to table restaurants, family favorites and overall great dining. With this overall guide you’ll be able to taste the best cuisine that Rochester has to offer.
A casual family owned restaurant that boasts an old-world feel offering various French recipes. With farm fresh dairy (they even list the local farm they acquire milk and cream from on the menu!) and delicious bites including a ricotta toast with lavender honey Roux will definitely *wow* any palate.
This local eatery is the best of what upstate New York has to offer! Serving only the freshest ingredients acquired locally none of the eats here are made with nitrates, antibiotics or preservatives. With baked goods such as fresh breads, pastries and desserts as well as various breakfast egg sandwiches, quiches, and even stuffed French toast (yum) this menu will send anyone home happy.
With a menu that features local beer and wine and offers anything from a traditional crêpe to sweet crêpes and savory crêpes and even a crêpe cake, Simply Crêpes has a crêpe for everyone!
This American style grill boasts beautiful views of the Erie Canal and menu that offers classics such as eggs and French toast to signatures such as braised duck eggs benedict and a mozzarella, tomato and pesto omelet.
The braised duck eggs benedict from Erie Grill.
With fun flare such as poutine and shakshouka Orbs offers everything you’d want from brunch and then some. The mission of orbs is to “gather around the table with family and friends, eat good food, tell stories, imbibe and laugh” and they provide the perfect atmosphere and menu to do all of the above.
With fun spins on classic dishes such as “chicken and doughnuts” and porchetta hash ButaPub is an American pub that takes their menu inspiration from Asia. They pride themselves on being “so comfortable guests will want to visit everyday, but adventurous enough to discover something new everytime”.
With $2 mimosas and a “hangover breakfast pizza” Roam Café should already be at the top of anyone’s Rochester brunch list. Various options such as zucchini cakes and tofu scramble keep this menu can appeal to anyone!
Lunch / Small Bites:
This Latin kitchen also describes itself as a “cocktail parlor” and “social house”. The lunch menu offers various tapas such as crispy pig ears and chile rellenos and all types of taco options as well as sandwiches, a few entrée options. The restaurant is housed in a historic 1880’s mansion and anything from the menu options to the décor will send anyone home fulfilled.
Atlas Eats is a locals favorite that self claims, “we put good food on the map”. With an ever changing menu inspired by tastes and traditional foods from around the world. What’s even more special about this eatery is that the owners daughters local farm provides them with organic produce!
This upscale and contemporary restaurant serves American fare amid brickwork and modern elements. The menu boasts an all day/brunch menu as well as a late night bites menu. A perfect place for a bite to eat – for any meal at any time during the day!
With different wine and beer tasting options Via Girasole also offers charcuterie menus. Via Girasole’s meat and cheese options are the perfect compliment to the wine and beer they serve.
A wine tasting paried with a charcuterie board at Via Girasole.
The Cub Room serves fresh, seasonal American Fare and they allow the seasons to drive and inspire the menu. What’s truly special about the Cub Room is that they incorporate the farms into their menu options names, for example: “Maple Brook Farms Buratta Cheese” is one of the appetizers on their menu. They take pride in their local and regional network of farms and purveyors.
A napa style eatery and bar Label 7 is stylishly furnished and serves California wines alongside delicious small bites such as crab cakes and fried green tomatoes and large plates such as salmon and truffle mac and cheese.
The fried green tomatoes from Label 7 were topped with pico de gallo and delicious.
Nosh is a former factory turned restaurant that pays homage to the industrial surroundings with hands on, sociable food and drinks served with a commitment to genuine hospitality. With a summer menu boasting options that include the name of the farm where Nosh acquired the Avocado – it’s safe to say Nosh is successfully sticking to their mission.
Lento is Rochester’s first farm-to-table restaurant and an intimate, warm softly lit space that serves creative New American options made from in house- cured local meat and produce. With multiple oyster options, a seafood bar, and a cheese menu – Lento caters to a sophisticated palate.
This innovative, upscale restaurant is set in an industrial, yet intimate, space and was recently named one of the best bars in America by Esquire Magazine. With an ever changing menu (on menu version 88 when this article was published) Good Luck is a true testament to farm-to-table menus.
Up front is lamb meatballs from Good Luck and behind is their signature Margherita pizza.
Good Luck’s meat plate boasts in-house pickled vegetables and in-house prepared meat.
The Revelry is a restaurant and bar that serves “honest” American cuisine with odes to owner Josh Miles’ upbringing in the mountains and South Carolina Lowcountry. With awesome seafood options as well as classic southern country choices The Revelry is sure to please.
The Garbage Plate
“The Garbage Plate” is a local legend in Rochester. Trademarked by Nick Tahous, home of the original Garbage Plate, a dish traditionally made with meat and potatoes – variations include cheeseburger, hamburger, sausage, steak, chicken served on a combination of home fries, French fries, baked beans and in some garbage plates – macaroni salad. The plate is typically topped with “hot sauce” which is Rochester’s own spicy meat sauce. Some will opt to top their Garbage Plate with onions or mustard and if that’s not enough calories for you – it’s served with a side of buttered bread.
Other variations of The Garbage Plate have popped up on other menus, with names such as “Rochester Plate”, “Trash Plate”, “Trasher Plate”, “Compost Plate”, “Sticky Icky Plate” or “Junkyard Plate”.
Disclaimer: I was hosted in Rochester as a guest by Visit Rochester. My opinions, as always, remain my own.