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The 7 Best Albany Restaurants | Best Places To Eat In Albany NY

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Albany may be the capital city of New York, but it is also home to some great restaurants serving a variety of cuisine. Whether you’re in the mood for Italian, Greek, eggs benedict, or classic diner food, Albany has got you covered. 

The Top 7 Albany Restaurants

Capital City Diner

1709 Western Avenue // +15182504261

If you’re craving diner food, Capital City Diner is one of the best Albany restaurants for that purpose! With everything from drinks to desserts, there are great options for a variety of palettes. As far as drinks go, classic mixed drink options include “Bloody Mary,” “Screwdriver,” and “Mai Tai”—to name a few.

This diner also offers specialty drinks for $10. These drinks include the “Merry Melon Punch” made with Melon Liqueur, Vodka, Orange Juice, Pineapple Juice & Sour Mix, and the “Almond Joy” made with Rum, Cream of Coconut, Amaretto & Chocolate Liqueur.

This is a good option if you’re looking for a drink on the sweeter side. Red and white wines are served by the glass. Imported and domestic beer are also available. 

Albany Restaurants: Capital City Diner

Whenever I go to diners, I typically order soup and this is one of the best Albany restaurants to do that.

This diner does not lack in the soup department, as it offers a soup of the day, homemade chili and “Crock of French Onion Soup.” If you’re not in the mood for soup, they have a variety of appetizers including “Salt & Pepper Calamari” and “Crispy Coconut Shrimp” served with spicy pineapple & orange marmalade.

If you are dining with a larger party or are just in the mood for some more variety, the “Capital City Combo Platter” comes with buffalo style chicken strips or wings, salt and & pepper calamari, mozzarella sticks & cheeseburger sliders for $15.29. 

Albany Restaurants: Salt & Pepper Calamari

What stood out to me about this menu is the variety of grilled cheese options, including the “Traditional Grilled Cheese” to which you are able to add tomato, applewood smoked bacon or ham, or canadian bacon, for an additional cost.

The “Greek Toast” sandwich consists of ham & swiss on white bread, and the “South of the Border” sandwich is made up of avocado, applewood smoked bacon and cheddar. If you’re looking for a sweeter sandwich, the “Gouda, Apple & Raspberry Jam” sandwich could be a good choice for you.  

Their menu is so extensive serving a variety of salads, sandwiches, burgers, panini and wrap sandwiches, pasta, chicken, fish, and diner classics such as “Yankee Pot Roast,” “Ham Steak,” and “Roast Turkey Dinner.” 

However, if you decide to visit the diner for breakfast, they offer a variety of eggs benedict options, including the “West Coast Benny,” which comes with two poached eggs with avocado & tomato on english muffin halves, topped with Hollandaise sauce. 

Other breakfast favorites include buttermilk pancakes, Belgian waffles and french toast. The “Apple Pie French Toast” is a unique option and is made with sliced apples, cinnamon and vanilla ice cream.  

It would be a missed opportunity if I did not tell you about the plethora of dessert options which are all made on premises including the “Strawberry Shortcake,” “Chocolate Cream Pie” and “Rice Pudding”—to name a couple of options.

Albany Restaurants: Strawberry Shortcake

This diner is great especially if you’re ever craving a late night meal, as it is open until midnight Sunday–Thursday and 1am on Friday and Saturday. 

The Barnsider

480 Sand Creek Road // +15188692448

The Barnsider prides themselves on “delivering a delicate balance of superior food, service and atmosphere.” This steakhouse strives to serve exceptional cuts of meat and fish to its diners with its variety of entree options. No wonder it made my list of the best Albany restaurants.

The “Prime Top Sirloin” is the steak that made this restaurant famous and is described as having “no fat, no bone, just great taste.” In addition to the Sirloin, “Beef Wellington,” “Steak Au Poivre” and “Ribeye” are also available.

The restaurant also serves chicken dishes, including “Grilled Chicken Over Linguini Pasta” and “Chicken Florentine.”

Albany Restaurants: Chicken Florentine

If you’re not looking to eat meat and would rather enjoy some fish instead, The Barnsider has several options for you with “Baked Stuffed Shrimp,” which comes with 3 or 4 jumbo shrimp stuffed with a rich clam sauce and lightly topped with bread crumbs, as well as “Blackened Salmon with Orange Honey Butter,” which is described as “fresh salmon dusted with Cajun spices, seared on a red hot cast iron and topped with a medallion of orange honey butter.” 

You can add a final touch to your meal by ordering some dessert. The “Deep Fried Ice Cream” and “Turtle Cheesecake” are only a couple of the many options they have available. 

If you would like to dine here, call 518-869-2448 to make a reservation. 

Iron Gate Cafe

182 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12210 // +15184453555

Iron Gate Cafe opened in 2004 and is a family-owned and operated establishment in downtown Albany near the historical center square. 

Iron Gate Cafe is known for its breakfast, brunch and lunch options. They serve breakfast all day and their menu options include “Elvis’ Memphis Scramble,” which is made with “three eggs scrambled with bacon, maple sausage, green peppers, and onions, topped with pepper jack hollandaise.” This dish is served with grilled cornbread. The “Phoenix Rising’‘ benedict is also a unique option and consists of avocado, house made black bean sliders with pepper jack hollandaise.”

Lunch is also served all day and there are also a variety of options one can choose from, including the “Buffalo Chicken Salad” with breaded chicken, red onion, carrot, cucumber, tomato, mixed greens and blue cheese dressing, as well as “The Mother Clucker” sandwich, which is made up of a fried chicken thigh, cherry peppers, chopped lettuce, pepper jack cheese, chipotle aioli, and a fried egg on a toasted brioche roll. This sandwich is served with french fries. 

The menu also consists of vegan sections for both breakfast and lunch with options including “Vegan French Toast,” and “Tofu Scramble” which is made up of “marinated tofu, spinach, green peppers, and onions.” It is served with home fries as well. The “Vegan Buffalo Wrap” is on the vegan lunch menu. 

Albany Restaurants: Vegan French Toast

I always like when Albany restaurants have a conducive atmosphere for photo taking—and this one definitely does with its outdoor patio. 

Make sure to join the waitlist before arriving to save yourself time, once you arrive. Also, please note that the restaurant is closed on Tuesdays.

Cafe Capriccio

49 Grand Street // +15184650439

Cafe Capriccio, one of the best Albany restaurants, is on a mission to “serve delicious, authentic, regional Italian cuisine that will inspire you to return to our table time and time again.” 

Cafe Capriccio has an extensive menu with everything from antipasti and salads to pizza, pasta, and main courses.

Menu highlights include the “Risotto” made with local vegetables, fresh herbs and provolone. You can add shrimp, grilled chicken or sausage for an additional charge. The “Stuffed Eggplant” consists of “eggplant stuffed with spinach & roasted peppers, topped with our four cheese blend with vegetable of the day.” 

Albany Restaurants: Shrimp Risotto

You can make a reservation for Cafe Capriccio on Open Table. Please note that this restaurant is only open from 5pm–9pm daily. 

The Cuckoo’s Nest

234 Western Ave, Albany, NY 12203 // +15186507215

The Cuckoo’s Nest brings innovative southern comfort food to Albany, serving classic favorites for lunch and dinner. Individual lunch menu items include “Jalapeno Popper Deviled Eggs,” “Fried Green Tomatoes and “Nashville Hot Fried Chicken Sandwich.” 

Dinner offerings include “Shrimp & Grits,” “Lobster Mac and Cheese” and “St.Louis Style Ribs.” 

Albany Restaurants: Lobster Mac and Cheese

What is unique about this restaurant is that it offers family style options (which are only available to-go) and serves 3–4 people, including the “Hot Chick Soul Bowl Platter” which is mac and cheese topped with fried chicken breast, hot sauce, ranch, bacon and gruyere. Make sure to ask for details on pickup time and note that this offering is not available during weekend brunch. 

Reservations are strongly recommended and be sure to note that the restaurant is closed on Mondays. 

The Cuckoo’s Nest was listed as the number one amongst the Albany restaurants on Yelp as of April in 2019, so it’s a clear fan favorite among locals. 

Druthers Brewing Company

1053 Broadway, Albany, NY 12204 // +15186507996

Druthers Brewing Company has several locations, but the one in Albany opened in 2015. What makes this one of the best Albany restaurants is that it is housed in a 17,000 square foot warehouse that was built in 1901.

The menu has several sections. “The Best of What’s Around Section” includes offerings such as “Sesame Ginger Salmon” and “Fried Chicken and Waffles.”

If you’re looking to munch on a snack with a larger party, there are lots of options which are great for sharing, including “Chimichurri Brussels Sprouts,” “Loaded Monkey Bread” and “Chicken Verde Tacos.” 

Albany Restaurants: Chicken Verde Tacos

If you want something more substantial, the restaurant offers a variety of salads like the “Strawberry Fields” and handhelds, including the “Drutherbird Fried Chicken Sandwich.” A variety of burgers and pizza are also available. 

It would be a missed opportunity if I didn’t highlight the beer selections, some of which include the “All-In IPA” and the “Play For Keeps.”

What makes this menu unique is that it is updated seasonally four times per year, so make sure to double check online before heading out to eat.  

You can make reservations online using Resy. 

Athos Restaurant 

1814 Western Ave, Albany, NY 12203 // +15186086400

If you’re in the mood for Greek cuisine, Athos is one of the best Albany restaurants for that. It has been voted as one of the top Greek restaurants by the National Herald

Albany Restaurants: Athos Restaurant 

If you want to start your meal with a traditional Greek spread, they got you covered with spreads including “Tzatziki,” “Tirokafteri” and “Pikilia”—to name a few. 

Soups and salad options are plentiful. You can try the “Athos Seasonal Salad” or the “Avgolemono Soup,” which is traditional chicken & lemon soup. 

Albany Restaurants: Avgolemono Soup

With regards to entrees, the “Kota Sta Karvouna” and the “Grekolimano” are some options you can choose from. 

Reservations can be made using Open Table. 

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