Just like the year before, 2015 witnessed a healthy number of restaurant openings – and great ones at that. The casual fine dining trend we’ve come to know and love here in Buffalo has continued, bringing us more fantastic food in “come-as-you-are” settings. Frankly, we can’t get enough. From gourmet burgers made with quality ingredients and care, to next level brewery fare, various adventuresome cuisines and spaces reinvented, we’ve never been more excited to eat in Western New York. Here are our picks for the best new restaurants of 2015. Great food is a standard in choosing the best new restaurants, but it’s not the only important factor. We also consider style, creativity, and the overall dining experience. (Some places that opened we think are better suited for Best New Cafes or Best New Bars – stay tuned!)
Allen Burger Venture
175 Allen St, Buffalo, NY / (716) 768-0386
A collaboration among chef Dino DeBell, craft beer enthusiast Mike Shatzel and professional rock musician Johny Chow, ABV was a hit from the word go. While it may seem like these guys have been open for years thanks to their reputation, delicious food, and ridiculously inviting atmosphere, in reality it’s been less than a year. The reason we (and everyone else in town) loves them so is because of their commitment to a burger centric menu with all the bells and whistles (grass fed beef, twice-fried fries, a fantastic beer menu) and their attention to quality and detail pretty much never fails. We dare you to have a bad time here.
Big Ditch Brewing Co.
55 E Huron St, Buffalo, NY / (716) 854-5050
While some of the new breweries don’t exactly qualify for this list due to their lack of “restaurantness”, Big Ditch has wowed us with a lot more than just their beer menu. Everything from the space (two floors), to the tables (engraved with the Erie Canal), to the service, and the menu has kept us coming back for more throughout the year. We’re obsessed with antojitos, impressed with the Smoked Salmon Cobb, and in food love with every mac and cheese plate that comes out of that kitchen.
535 Main Street, Buffalo, NY / (716) 342-2167
What started out as an olive oil and vinegar shop, which they are still very much involved in today, has expanded into a bistro style restaurant featuring gourmet sandwiches made with freshly baked bread, and salads, and pizzas, and antipasto showcasing their quality oils and vinegars. This second go at D’Avolio Kitchen on Main Street has quickly become one of our favorite new lunch spots thanks to an awesome make-your-own menu, quick table service, and the opportunity to taste test their products while you wait or before you buy.
Deep South Taco
291 Ellicott St, Buffalo, NY / (716) 235-8464
If there’s one thing Buffalo needs, it’s a taco joint on ever corner. No, seriously. This first iteration of Deep South Taco on Ellicott Street is very different and unlike anything we’ve seen so far in Buffalo. Both the menu and the décor are decidedly modern, but both include nods to tradition and vintage culture. The service is friendly, the branding makes us happy and the patio and rooftop bar has us more excited for hot, sunny days than any before it. Fish taco purists will be thrilled with Deep South’s version. What more can you ask for really? Besides maybe free chips and salsa.
Read More: About Deep South Taco
Fiero Mediterranean Fusion
408 Evans St, Williamsville, NY / (716) 631-4090
The husband and wife team of Joanne and Michael Berger with Executive Chef is Sergio Aquino offer some great and unique flavors in this ode to the Med. We love the regional instead of national theme – think dining adventure to Turkey, Morocco, Greece, Italy, Spain all rolled into one. Cool dishes like Chicken and Lamb Tangine, awesome ingredient combinations, and brick oven pizza make this tops in our book. DO NOT leave without trying the Bastilla.
Read More: Our Recommendations
5445 Transit Rd, Williamsville, NY / (716) 580-3701
This year the wait for Griffon Gastropub to hit Transit Road finally came to an end. The new addition to Clarence, which opened in a homely strip mall adjacent to Rocco’s Wood Fired Pizza boasts a mind blowing 100 beers on tap. And it’s not your average pub with bar food either. One meal at Griffon and you’ll see that they put just as much effort into the food menu as the beer list, not to mention training their staff. If you’re looking to venture slightly outside your comfort zone (think Duck Wings and Banh Mi Burger), and have a good time doing it, this is your kinda place.
Read More: Our Recommendations
Juicy Burger Bar
1 Buffalo St, Hamburg, NY / (716) 648-3200
What can you say about America’s favorite dish (sorry hotdog) and a side of the best of France? Juicy does it up right with quality meat cooked to perfection on awesome buns and what we think is an excellent ingredient ratio. They give you several options for your burger including a secret sauce specialty and a good mix of beers on tap, a key party of any superior burger joint. Add that to scrumptious non-burger options, sides, cocktails, and wine and we got a winner. We recommend the “Juicy” Burger, the Hogzilla, the Yolks On You, the Fried Pickles…you get the idea.
LLoyd Taco Factory
1503 Hertel Ave, Buffalo, NY / (716) 863-9781
LLoyd Taco Factory is FINALLY open! You may not have seen LLoyd on this list the first time around, as we wrote this baby before their opening at the end of December. But after checking out the new fast casual restaurant and bar this week we knew there was no question about it – the list had to be amended. As to be expected, we’re into everything they’ve got going on at their Hertel Taco Factory, from the light fixtures to the exposed piping to the graffiti murals and beyond. Not to mention the food…ahhh the food. They’re serving all the “Old School Playas” we know and love as well as “New School Options” like the Dirty South and Skinny Thai, plus they’ve created a small but legit list of “S’more Stuff”. You absolutely must get the Mexicali Spring Rolls.
Read More: About LLoyd Taco Factory
Lucia’s on the Lake
4151 Lakeshore Rd, Hamburg, NY / (716) 627-9752
Lucia’s on the Lake in Hamburg (formerly McKenzie’s) opened up last winter to oohs and aahs from long time patrons. The place has been spruced up, but still offers great views of the lake and a nice homey feel. New is a northern Italian menu that seems to get better with age, and a hands-on management style that keeps service top notch. The menu offers a lot of interesting options buttressed by a fresh and creative list of specials. We really liked the Bang Bang Shrimp.
Read More: Our Recommendations
Marble + Rye
112 Genesee St, Buffalo, NY / (716) 853-1390
From the folks that brought us one of Buffalo’s fav food trucks, Black Market Food Truck (BMFT) – along with Chef Dan Borelli, comes Marble + Rye. Set in one of the city’s blossoming restaurant ‘hoods, this elegant upstart offers craft cocktails and straightforward, savory sustenance. We loved the roast chicken, the burger and particularly the pickled onion rings, not to mention their sense of creativity.
717 Ridge Rd, Buffalo, NY / (716) 827-1134
The Mess Hall in Lackawanna is the love child of two popular, south of the city eateries Mulberry Cafe and Brick Over Bistro & Deli’s. A bit off the beaten path of fine dining row, the Mess Hall boasts the best of blue collar and brings a new standard to the casual/comfort food concept in Western New York. A good beer list and dishes like Short Rib Tots and Homemade Oxtail Pierogi makes this a popular diner/bar with pretty much everyone that stops. One possible improvement could be sleepovers where post-dinner drinks role right into breakfast. Just a thought.
437 Ellicott St, Buffalo, NY / (716) 342-2901
Great expectations preceded the opening of Toutant and Chef James Roberts did not disappoint. Like a quick road trip to the Big Easy Toutant fills the night with mouthwatering southern cuisine, dreamy jazz tunes and heart-warming whiskey. I always recommend the Fried Chicken, but make sure to try the Cast Iron Corn Bread, Pork Rind Craklin’s, Hush Puppies, and (yes, we meant AND) the Biscuits with Gravy. Remember to save room for dessert – best bring the big boy appetite, elastic waistband and remember to make reservations well in advance.
3268 Main St, Buffalo, NY / (716) 835-7286
We promised you adventurous, so here it is. We love everything about SATO Ramen from the casual vibes to the pain-staking effort taken to craft a heartwarming, soul satisfying, flavor bursting meal (they make their own noodles people). Rarely do you find a place where so many different kinds of people fit in so well. Don’t have deep pockets, yet still craving a cultural experience? Our answer is SATO Ramen. We need more of this in Buffalo.
Read More: Best New Restaurants of 2014