Say you’re so in love that only the perfect spot will do for your next romantic dinner? You’re looking for the very best and you aren’t worried about breaking the bank? Here are some of the top gourmet experiences in Buffalo and the Niagara Frontier.
Hutches has been a Buffalo favorite for decades. First rate service, consistently great food and extravegent pricing will certainly impress your date. Make sure you get there early enough to enjoy a cocktail. One of the best bar rooms in the city pairs well with superior mixolgy.
1375 Delaware Ave. Buffalo (716) 885-0074
The “Rue” has been a staple in Buffalo for years. The area’s true French restaurant, it makes you feel like your sitting on the Champs-Elysees. Everyone knows the French practically invented romance. The snails and the braised pork cheeks are my favorites. The service is as good as the food.
341 Franklin St Buffalo, (716) 852-4416
Soft lighting, an elegant bar and tastefully decorated, the 31 Club will impress. Much of the year outside dining is lovely, but that won’t help you anytime soon. Friday and Saturday they have live music, and the Sunday brunch is worth checking out. Ask about adding a lobster tail to your fillet.
31 N Johnson Park, Buffalo, (716) 332-3131
Starting with the valet service and ending with dessert Mike A’s is first class all the way. Some say the way to go is a pre-dinner cocktail at the hotel bar, and finish with dessert in bed upstairs. Hard to argue with a plan like that. If you’re a real big spender, or a true food enthusiast you’ll want to check out the Tasting Menu. You won’t be disappointed.391 Washington St., Buffalo (716) 253-6453
Rick’s on Main
Rick’s on Main in East Aurorais set in a lovely old house with updated dining and bar areas. The food is consistently high quality and the staff is knowledgeable and friendly. The folks in EA have a lot of good eateries from which to choose and Rick’s is always at the top. My favorite is the Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin with a roasted shallot balsamic demi glacé. My bet is they’ll have something very special for Valentine’s.
687 Main St, East Aurora: (716) 652-1253
The little white gastronomic delight is open again in the southtowns. Long time chef Daniel Johengen has retired but picking right up where Dan left off is Scott Donhauser, recently at Butterwood Sweet & Savory. The food and service are still top notch, and the decor has been updated. They still have the best salmon dish in western New York. The space is small and it fills up quick, so don’t wait to make your reservation.
174 Buffalo St. Hamburg (716) 648-6554
Outstanding Northern Italian cuisine that is made with love every time. This is truly a family run operation that makes you feel like you’re back in the old world. My favorite is the Quaglie del Contadino – fresh quails sautéed in cognac and shallots with a porcini mushroom sauce- direct from heaven. This is also a limited seating establishment so call now.
2082 Kensington Ave. Snyder: (716) 839-5876
Tabree has evolved into one the premier restaurants in WNY since they moved into spacier, swankier digs in Snyder. The eclectic menu appeals to anyone with an discerning appetite. Insiders say you must try the smoked liver pate if not the charcuterie to start. If you like seafood the Ciopinno is outstanding.
4610 Main Street, Snyder (716) 844-8477
Black & Blue Steak & Crab
This transplant from Rochester offers a stunning contemporary atmosphere and top notch steak and king crab. They say their family-owned St Petersburg Fl. fish & seafood company is where they hand pick and ship the freshest gulf seafood available. It touches no purveyors, and no middle-men from the boat to black & blue. That sounds almost good enough to forgo the steak.
5493 Sheridan Dr. Amherst: (716) 839-2525
Carmelo’s might be the best kept secret in town, at least in my part of town. The setting is modestly elegant with a touch of handsome. The food is second to none in the western New York area, and that includes every big shot you can think of. If Lewiston is too far for dinner it’s worth it to spend the night – honest. The pork is fantastic, direct from T-Meadow Farms. Some say the Prime Flat Iron Steak with oyster mushrooms, butternut squash puree, charred shallots can be life changing.
425 Center Street, Lewiston, NY (716) 754-2311
Peller Estates Winery Restaurant
Sweeping vineyard views and a warm ambiance make it easy to enjoy the company of the special someone. The restaurant recently received the highest possible rating for food by Zagat readers and received the Certificate of Excellence for 2013 on Tripadvisor. The food is outstanding and the wine produced onsite.
290 John St. East, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON, L0S 1J0