Folks who know and love the village of Cazenovia fondly refer to it as ‘Caz.’ In fact, before John Lincklaen founded the town in 1793, the peaceful village had been a place tourists flocked to – a favorite spot to escape everyday stress by the shores of Cazenovia Lake.
It was fun to learn how the founder, Lincklaen, supposedly advertised the first ten families who decided to make their way to Cazenovia to help with his plan to make a prosperous and sustainable settlement could purchase land for $1.00 an acre – which translates to about $29.93 per acre in 2022. (are you kidding me?)
The town streets are lined with the gorgeous architectural design of years gone by, making one feel like they’re time-travelers. For example, houses on Lower Lincklaen Street, built during the 1820s and 30s, are proud examples of the Greek Revival Style, both well-known and sought-after back in the day.
Today, there are museums in the area people can wander through to learn about Cazenovia’s history. Retail shops line the main drag and offer one-of-a-kind items. There are waterfront parks, outdoor art parks, plenty of fishing and boating, magnificent waterfalls, stunning sunsets, friendly folks, delightful hotels to stay in overnight, and plenty of food choices.
Below you’ll find 11 of my favorite places to enjoy a meal. Trust me – Cazenovia caters to everyone’s taste buds.
11 Best Cazenovia NY Restaurants
5 Albany Street // (315) 655-3431
Since discovering it a few years ago, I’ve been to Brae Loch Inn several times. It’s a charming Inn amongst the Cazenovia NY restaurants with a lovely Scottish history featured throughout its property. If you can, don’t just eat there – book an overnight stay. Some even say it’s haunted – wouldn’t it be fun to find out for yourself?
The food is always spot-on, and I find it hard to choose my meal as there are too many great choices on the menu. On this particular night, I decided to try their Bonfire Shrimp, which are crispy and tossed in a delightful, sweet, spicy Thai sauce – talk about yummy.
Try the Scotch Fish and Chips if you can; The haddock is fresh, beer battered and fried to a light golden brown. The dish comes with a handful of thinly sliced French fries and crunchy coleslaw. I couldn’t even finish it, though I wish I could’ve.
If the weather is nice, enjoy the outdoor patio. You can see Cazenovia Lake from the Inn’s front yard, and people watch while you eat.
5 Ledyard Ave // (315) 655-9232
The Brewster Inn is located on Cazenovia Lake, and the views there are part of this restaurant’s allure. You don’t have to stay overnight to be able to dine here, which makes it very popular with travelers who might be in the area on business or vacation.
One evening my friend and I decided to eat there. The weather was beautiful, and the expansive patio was a perfect place to enjoy our meal while watching the sun set beyond the boats docked at the pier.
The New Zealand Rack of Lamb was an excellent choice for dinner. It was ridiculously tender after the chef had marinated the meat in a burgundy balsamic glaze.
The Chantilly potatoes were hot and had a delicious creamy texture. The restaurant’s seasonal vegetable of the day was green beans, cooked al-dente, just how we liked them.
For dessert, we decided to go all out. The souffle was a delightful surprise. It was light & airy, baked a warm golden brown.
Our waitress cut the top open and poured a Grand Marnier Anglaise inside the slit. Neither of us even knew what this was! Our waitress explained how Grand Marnier was mixed with egg whites, sugar, heavy cream, butter, and egg yolks. The flavor was fantastic – I highly suggest you try it.
64 Albany Street // (315) 815-4085
One of the things people talk about when reminiscing over a visit to Ireland is how friendly the people are. And when they remember the pubs, they use words like ‘homey, welcoming, cozy, and how everyone – no matter where they’ve traveled from, leaves a friend.’
Walking into McCarthy’s Irish Pub is like that; the bar and dining tables are well-worn, and oversized comfy chairs sit next to the fire, inviting people to relax while drinking a pint. All sizes of framed pictures hang on colorful walls, and their food includes traditional Irish fare. Definitely worth labeling it as one of the best Cazenovia NY restaurants.
The pub offers soups, salads, build-your-own sandwiches, extra-large chicken wings, various burgers, and more. The roasted beet salad is a favorite – field greens tossed in a savory balsamic vinaigrette with sliced beets, tomatoes, and onion.
Add grilled chicken, beer-battered shrimp, or portabella to make it more of a meal.
And you definitely should try their Irish Poutine – crispy ‘chips’ topped with local cheese curds and Guinness onion gravy. Yum.
They also carry desserts, which seem to change daily rather than be on the printed menu.
62 Albany Street // (315) 655-4161
Caz Pizza has been a family-owned business since opening its doors in 1985. They concentrate on offering the best pizza amongst the Cazenovia NY restaurants, using the freshest ingredients available. And who doesn’t look for a great slice when traveling alone, out on a date, or with children in tow?
They also offer one of the best beer selections in the CNY area. Not only is it continuously rotating, but they also have fourteen taps and a good selection of bottles for people who love a craft brew.
Their pizza options range from build-your-own to meat-lovers, Margherita, Greek, pesto, and veggie, to name a few.
They also offer specials – 12,14,16 or 24″ with 20-30 boneless wings. I love that this covers a smaller pizza I might want to take home or a large meal for friends – think football, with a combination of food to enjoy while rooting for the home team.
5276 E Lake Road // (315) 815-4311
Set high up on a hill, surrounded by natural beauty everywhere you turn, boasting row upon row of healthy grape vines, Owera Vineyards is one of the Cazenovia NY restaurants that will take your breath away when you first see it.
The property is a beautiful place to enjoy a glass, flight, or bottle of wine, and there’s plenty of indoor and outdoor seating for visitors to settle in, take their time, and enjoy a meal.
When my friend and I visited, we saw many couples and large families with children of all ages wander in for dinner.
The staff was amiable and willing to share details about the winery business and the grapes themselves.
We enjoyed a flight of red and white wines – which I asked them to choose for me. Deciding on a Charcuterie Board, we waited a few minutes while an arrangement of artisan cheeses, meats, crackers, fruits, chocolates, and nuts was selected to compliment the wines we were tasting.
The cafe menu is pretty expansive, so I’ll need to go back more than a few times. Entrees include items like flank steak, planked pork belly, surf & turf, pecan smoked rib tips, and more. Their brick-oven pizza looks impressive; we drooled as several were carried by while we sat at the bar.
76 Albany Street // (315) 815-4441
If you enjoy tea, this will be a nice little find amongst the Cazenovia NY restaurants for you to try. They offer a wide selection of loose-leaf teas from around the world – in a space that is homey and encourages community.
From their extensive tea menu, which includes white teas, China green teas, Japanese and Taiwan teas, green tea blends, and more, I went with a dark Oolong. The Tung Ting is rolled, medium roasted Oolong with a smooth golden body with sweet notes of vanilla.
But it’s not all about tea here. The lounge also serves delicious sandwiches, fruit bowls, and desserts that are almost too pretty to eat – don’t worry, you will.
It’s a great place to sit for a while over a pot, chatting with the waitstaff, catching up with friends, and occasionally being treated to live music at the same time.
33 Rippleton Road // (315) 815-4022
I don’t know about you, but I love a good beer, even better when it’s a great craft brew.
Meier’s Creek Brewery, just outside Cazenovia’s charming downtown area, is a fantastic place to stop anytime in any weather and one of the best Cazenovia NY restaurants.
I love that diners can peek through the floor-to-ceiling windows inside the facility, where they create their magic while sampling one of Meier’s beers – maybe even a new release.
The menu at Meier’s changes with the seasons – which I find refreshing. Enjoy one of the shareable plates – like corn & crab hushpuppies, house-smoked wings, or deviled eggs – to name just a few of their appetizers.
I love their brewhouse burger – made from local wagyu beef, garlic aioli, topped with American cheese, on a warm toasted bun, with a choice of a side. And they offer vegan and gluten-free items – something my friends look for when they go out.
They offer several sandwiches, side dishes, and a variety of salads – you’ll have a hard time deciding.
The property itself comprises 22 acres which include a hops field, an 18-hole disc golf course, hiking, snowshoeing paths, and an active apiary.
You can even catch a glimpse of Cazenovia Lake during the colder months when the leaves have fallen from the trees. Truthfully, eating at Meier’s seems more like an ‘experiential stop’ than a run-of-the-mill eatery. I hope you try it out!
47 Albany Street // (315) 655-0669
Kalamata Pita is a fabulous Greek restaurant located on the main drag in Cazenovia and one of the best Cazenovia NY restaurants.
Scott Baker and his wife Chrissie own the restaurant, which opened in 2018. Their children, Ethan and Ella, help out in the family business.
The menu is on the smaller side but offers traditional Greek fare such as pitas, gyros, pork souvlaki, falafel, and my favorite – Baklava, to highlight a few.
They have Greek-style salads, homemade hummus, a variety of rice bowls, and yummy curly fries.
If you love Greek food as much as I do, their Greek salad with protein is a great option. It’s made with plenty of fresh greens, sliced tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers.
You can choose your favorite protein, too; from chicken or pork souvlaki to hummus or falafel, you can’t go wrong. Add kalamata or black olives, pepperoncini peppers, and a generous scoop of feta cheese – you might not even need dinner tonight.
79 Albany Street // (315) 655-3461
Lincklaen House is another beautiful place amongst the Cazenovia NY restaurants.
They offer meals inside their spacious dining room, outside on their patio, and in the casual, pub-like tavern.
We decided on the formal dining room – natural sunlight streamed in through the windows, and we wanted to take photos of our food and the room, so it was a good choice.
The calamari was crispily fried and seasoned with the perfect amount of salt and pepper. We squeezed wedges of lemon over the top and used the chipotle ranch dipping sauce for a little extra flavor.
I loved how the calamari was tender, not too tough or chewy.
The New York Strip Steak was cooked rare for me and medium rare for my girlfriend. We were both happy with the dish.
The serving was more than enough and very tender. The chef had encrusted our steaks with peppercorns, topped them with sherried mushrooms, and served them atop savory hot mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables – tonight, carrots and summer squash.
2412 Route 20 // (315) 655-4706
The evening we decided to visit Madison County Distillery, the place was hoppin’.
We parked in the last row available – way out back, got out of the car, and made our way inside the gorgeous barn – newly constructed but finished with 200-year-old reclaimed wood taken from the property, to the sound of country music and people’s laughter.
Because the weather had started to cool off and the sun was moving lower in the sky as it headed towards sunset, we chose a high-top table out on the patio, where we could look out over the distillery’s 80 acres of farmland.
The tasty-bits menu ranges from chips & salsa to candied bacon, buffalo chicken dip to baked brie cups, and more. I chose the taco duo and a side of their (omg!) bacon. The chef had topped my corn tortillas with cabbage, queso fresco, lime crema, and house Pico de Gallo. Freshly fried tilapia sealed the deal for me – it had tons of flavor.
Sisters Beth and Marissa change items on the menu to follow the seasons, so you might have a different experience when you go. And their artisanal cocktails rock! Try their honey gin spritz or, my favorite – the bloody mary with your meal. One of the most unique Cazenovia NY restaurants.
35 Albany Street // (315) 815-4300
Recently I walked into Dave’s Diner for the first time with a friend and fell in love with the old-fashioned feel of this neighborhood restaurant. It’s for sure one of the loveliest Cazenovia NY restaurants.
They use local ingredients, giving back to the community, and cook from scratch – how great is that? Plenty of tables are arranged for patrons in the brightly lit dining area, and there’s a long bar where you can sit to eat a meal while you chat it up with the waitstaff.
The menu tempts you with various omelets, breakfast sandwiches, fruits, and oatmeal. For lunch, you can choose from several burgers, chicken sandwiches, and specialty items listed under the ‘Owaghena Favs’ section of the menu.
Salads, wraps, a whole bunch of sides, and desserts round out the Diner’s options.
Dave’s Diner advertises that ” food is not just something we sell, it is something we love, and you can taste it in every bite.” I’d have to agree.
The servers are friendly, and even though it was busy when we went – and seemed short-staffed, everyone working had a bright smile.
Check out their smokehouse brisket burger or the Buffa-love chicken wrap. You won’t be sorry.
Their Garbage fries – salt potato home fries, grilled onions, peppers, jalapenos, bacon, BBQ sauce, and Monterey Jack Cheddar Cheese – are to die for.
Cazenovia NY Restaurants: In Conclusion
If you’re anything like me, when you travel, you want options when it comes to eating. And you want a variety of restaurants to experience the ambiance or flavor of a new place.
Whether you’re in the mood for an overnight stay and dinner in a five-star restaurant, want to step foot in a place where the locals hang out, or only have a short amount of time to enjoy a great meal and hit the road again – visit Cazenovia, there’s plenty of both.
Visiting other destinations in the region? Check out our other delicious guides:
- 5 Must-Try Vegan Pizza Brooklyn
- 10 Must-Try Jersey City Restaurants
- 10 Must-Try Restaurants In Rochester NY
- 5 Best Restaurants in LeRoy, New York
- 7 Must-Try Batavia Restaurants
- The 7 Best East Tremont Restaurants
- Where To Find The Best Pizza In New York City
Theresa St. John is a freelance travel writer, photographer, and videographer based in Saratoga Springs, New York. Even though history was not on her radar while in High School, she has an interest in all things historical now. She has been sent on assignment for several different print magazines, online and in-flight publications. Theresa loves to write profile pieces and is always looking for interesting people to highlight in her writing. She has written several food articles and has her own restaurant review column in a local magazine. She is mom to two wonderful young men and nonnie to six rescued pups.