Special Sections » Best of Rochester

Best of Rochester: Food & Drink

Hankering for burgers, baked goods, or beer? CITY readers come here . . .

Best Bakery
SAVOIA
savoiapastry.com

Family owned and operated since 1929, this landmark Clifford Avenue bakery is the place to go when visions of biscotti, cannoli, pastries, and spumoni dance in your head. Its Easter bread is a hot item.
Flour City Break Company | Get Caked! | Leo’s Bakery and Deli | Scratch Bakeshop

Best Barbecue
DINOSAUR BAR-B-QUE
dinosaurbarbque.com

You don’t need directions to get to this joint. Just follow your nose.
Bubby’s | Good Smoke | Sticky Lips

Best Breakfast
ORIGINAL STEVE’S DINER
originalstevesdiner.com

Now with three locations around the Rochester area, Original Steve’s is fast becoming THE place for breakfast and lunch, enticing diners with 36 varieties of giant pancakes and 18 styles of eggs Benedict.
Highland Park Diner | Jines | Mad Hatter

Best Burger
GOOD LUCK
restaurantgoodluck.com

Good Luck’s namesake burger — a pound of house-ground, grass-fed local beef topped with Cuba cheddar on a brioche bun — is worth every penny of its $28 price tag. Go on an empty stomach.
Gate House | Playhouse/Swillburger | Charlie Riedel’s Restaurant

Best Calzone
STROMBOLI’S
stromboliexpress.com

A favorite lunch spot that’s been serving your choice of pepperoni, sausage, meatballs, steak, or ham stuffed into a 12- or 16-inch pocket dripping with ricotta and mozzarella cheese in Rochester’s East End for 26 years.
Mark’s Pizzeria | New Ethic Pizzeria Café | Salvatores



Best Candy Shop
STEVER’S
steverscandy.com

Going to Stever’s has been a happy family tradition since Douglas and Hilda Stever opened their first shop at the corner of Benton and South Goodman streets in 1946. For the last 51 years, the operation has been on Park Avenue, where the next generation of Stevers, Kevin and Leslie, make fresh confections every day.
Andy’s | Hedonist Artisan Chocolates | Laughing Gull Chocolates

Best Chinese Restaurant
HAN NOODLE BAR
hannoodlebar.com

Han’s touts a tagline of “No Fusion, No Gimmicks,” and it delivers. The best part? The noodles. The noodles. The noodles.
Chen Garden | Flavors of Asia | Hung Wah | Szechuan Opera

Best Deli Sandwich
DiBELLA’S SUBS
dibellas.com

This hometown hero of heroes now operates more than 40 locations in five states, but Rochester has a soft spot for its soft sub buns. The Dagwood — turkey, ham, and corned beef — is a local favorite.
Calabrasella’s | Rubino’s | Wegmans

Best Doughnuts
RIDGE DONUT CAFE

ridgedonuts.com
With prime placement on Portland Avenue and a purple donut mascot that somehow works, Ridge Donut Café is a must-stop for locals and tourists alike for a consistent selection of 33 varieties of super-soft doughnuts.
Boxcar | Donuts Delite | Misfit Treats & Eats

Best Farmer’s Market
ROCHESTER PUBLIC MARKET
cityofrochester.gov/publicmarket

Serving the greater Rochester community since 1905 from its digs on North Union Street, the Rochester Public Market with its 300 vendors is a runaway favorite in this category.
Brighton Farmer’s Market | Fairport Farmer’s Market | West Side Farmer’s Market

Best Fish Fry
CAPTAIN JIM’S FISH MARKET
facebook.com/Cptjimsfish

You don’t have to wait until Friday for your fish fry and slaw at Captain Jim’s, a barebones and predominantly takeout spot in North Winton Village that keeps the fryer going all week long.
Charlie Riedel’s Restaurant | The Old Toad | Tap & Mallet

Best Food Truck
LE PETIT POUTINE
lepetitpoutine.com

Le Petit Poutine has been churning out varieties of the Canadian cuisine of fries and cheese curds since 2011 and has plans to open a shop on Elton Street this year.
Marty’s Meats | Neno’s Gourmet Mexican Street Food | Stingray Sushifusion

Best Global Foods Market
RUBINO’S ITALIAN FOODS
rubinos.net

Rubino’s on Ridge Road in Irondequoit is known around Rochester as one of the best places to buy authentic Italian ingredients and prepared foods. Its deli counter is loaded and its cheese collection is stacked.
Asia Food Market | Asia Market Groceries | International Food Market & Café

Best Ice Cream
PITTSFORD FARMS DAIRY
pittsfordfarmsdairy.com

On North Main Street off the Erie Canal in Pittsford, this historic dairy makes its classic flavors and quirkier ones from scratch.
Abbott’s Frozen Custard | Hedonist Artisan Ice Cream & Chocolates | LuGia’s Ice Cream

Best Italian Restaurant
RESTAURANT FIORELLA
restaurantfiorella.com

Located in the Rochester Public Market, Restaurant Fiorella serves up casual farm-to-table Italian fare with a focus on fresh, locally-sourced ingredients.
Guido’s Pasta Villa | Ristorante Lucano | Rocco

Best Late-night Eats
DOGTOWN
dogtownhots.com

When it’s late and you’re hungry, 18 varieties of hot dog toppings on Zweigle wieners nestled in French bread await.
Jay’s Diner | Mark’s Texas Hots | Swan Dive

Best New Restaurant
PIZZA WIZARD
pizzawizard.pizza

Limited hours of operation and delicious pan-cooked pizza with thick corner slices have kept demand up at this new joint on South Clinton Avenue.
Crumpets | F.L.X. Wienery | Velvet Belly

Best Mexican Restaurant
OLD PUEBLO GRILL
oldpueblogrillroc.com

Among the best north-of-the-border Mexican fare anywhere. Known for its huevos rancheros.
Monte Alban Mexican Grill | Neno’s Gourmet Mexican Street Food | Salena’s Mexican Restaurant

Best Outdoor Dining
Genesee Brew House
geneseebeer.com/brewhouse
Part brewery, part museum. The outside dining area offers diners and drinkers a gorgeous view of High Falls.
K2 Brothers Brewing | Native Eatery & Bar | The Owl House | Richardson’s Canal House

Best Pizza
PONTILLO’S
pontillospizza.com

Originally an import from Batavia, this regional chain is all Rochester, with over 20 locations serving up pizza people love.
New Ethic Pizzeria & Café | The Pizza Stop | Pizza Wizard

Best “Plate”
DOGTOWN
dogtownhots.com

This is the answer to customers who want Dogtown’s 18 varieties of hot dog toppings and Zweigle wieners on something other than toasty French bread.
Charlie’s | Charlie Riedel’s | Nick Tahou Hots

Best Ribs
DINOSAUR BAR-B-QUE
dinosaurbarbque.com

When you win Best BBQ, as Dinosaur did this year, taking the “Ribs” category usually follows.
56 Underground | Bubby’s | Good Smoke | Sticky Lips | J-Ribs

Best Sushi
PLUM HOUSE
plumhouseny.com

From the Rochester Roll to the Dragon Roll, this Japanese restaurant is known for its creative, expertly-rolled combinations.
Poke Sushi | Shema Sushi | Wegmans

Best Thai Restaurant
THAI MII UP
https://m.facebook.com/Thai.mii.up/

This local Thai chain doesn’t have to rope anyone into sampling its chicken satay, seafood pho, and yum goong.
Khong Thai Cuisine | ThaiYada | The King and I

Best Vegetarian/Vegan Restaurant
THE RED FERN
redfernrochester.com

If you still think that vegetarian food is twigs and berries, visit The Red Fern and wipe that thought from your head.
New Ethic Pizzeria & Cafe | The Owl House | Voula's Greek Sweets

Best Wings
JEREMIAH’S TAVERN
jeremiahstavern.com

This local chain has had the market cornered on Best Wings in Rochester for years. From the standard Buffalo to the Catatonic and the Nawlins Blues, the options make Jeremiah’s wings soar.
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que | New Ethic Pizzeria & Café | Windjammers

Best Bar to Drink Alone
LUX LOUNGE

lux666.com
Drinking solo? There’s plenty to keep you entertained at this South Wedge watering hole — a kickin’ juke box, an outdoor fire pit, and cool art.
Angry Goat | Cheshire | Skylark Lounge

Best Beer Selection (Bar or Restaurant)
TAP & MALLET
tapandmallet.com

Best bar for a beer, or two, or three. The rotating list of popular and rare sours, stouts, IPAs, and hard ciders from New York and beyond draw daily crowds.
Rochester Beer Park | Rohrbach Brewing Company | Three Heads Brewing | TRATA

Best Beer Selection (Store)
BEERS OF THE WORLD
mybeersoftheworld.com

Singapore? Spain? Sweden? Visit any country on the planet through this wholesaler and retailer of imported and domestic beers. Build your own six-pack with singe-bottle sales.
AJ’S Beer Warehouse | One Stop Brew Shop | Wegmans

Best Coffee
FINGER LAKES COFFEE ROASTERS
fingerlakescoffee.com

This spot’s passion for the perfect cup is on display in every blend, single origin, and flavored coffee. Three blends are perennial favorites: Canandaigua, Seneca, and Lake.
Fuego | Java’s | Ugly Duck

Best Cidery
SCHUTT’S APPLE MILL
schuttsapplemill.com

Schutt’s has been making its crystal clear and sweet apple cider the same way since Paul “Great Grandpa” Schutt opened the place in 1918. Want your cider hard? Try Great Grandpa’s Grog.
Blue Barn Cidery | Seed + Stone | OSB Ciderworks

Best Cocktails
GOOD LUCK
restaurantgoodluck.com

Good Luck is known for its inventive and flavorful cocktails as much as its food. Waiters know their drinks and bartenders have a knack for knowing what their customers want before they do.
Cheshire | Cure | The Revelry

Best Craft Brewery
THREE HEADS BREWING
threeheadsbrewing.com

Rotating seasonal craft brews, food trucks, a patio, and live music, Three Heads has it all.
Roc Brewing | Rohrbach Brewing Company | Swiftwater

Best Distillery
BLACK BUTTON DISTILLING
blackbuttondistilling.com

Founded in 2012, Black Button Distilling is the first grain-to-grass craft distillery to open in Rochester since the end of Prohibition and it uses only locally-sourced ingredients.
Apple Country Spirits | Finger Lakes Distilling | Hollerhorn Distilling | Iron Smoke Distilling

Best Karaoke
ROAR
roarroc.com

This Culver Road nightclub highlights wannabe rock stardom every Thursday at 8 p.m. after bingo.
Brewster Mobile Entertainment | Firehouse Saloon | Temple Bar and Grille

Best LGBTQ Bar
ROAR

roarroc.com
Born to fill a void after the closing of some prominent LGBTQ-oriented nightlife spaces in Rochester, ROAR’s focus is on creating a unique safe space for the community. Check in throughout the year for LGBTQ events.
140 Alex Bar and Grill | Avenue Pub | The Bachelor’s Forum

Best Pickup Bar
LUX LOUNGE
lux666.com

The best place for drinking alone is, ironically, the best place to find love, too. Lots of personalities at Lux.
Radio Social | ROAR | Swan Dive

Best Smoothies/Juices
JUST JUICE 4 LIFE
just-juice-4-life.com

Just Juice makers cold-press organic produce into raw, delightfully tasty seasonal sips. Get your Kale Ales, Beet Its, and Green Loves here.
Body Fuel | Breathe Yoga | Refresh Café and Smoothie Bar

Best Sports Bar
JEREMIAH’S TAVERN
jeremiahstavern.com

What goes great with this local chain’s award-winning wings? Watching football, of course. And baseball, and hockey, and soccer, and basketball, and anything that involves athletes running, jumping, and throwing things that us mere mortals can’t do.
The Distillery | Old Stone Tavern | TC Hooligan’s

Best Trivia Night
TAP & MALLET
tapandmallet.com

Pop culture know-it-alls geek out at this Gregory Street establishment every Tuesday night at 7:30. Five categories, 25 questions, and resident quiz master Biggie in charge of the proceedings make for a fun night.
Old Toad | ROAR | Unter Biergarten

Best Winery
LIVING ROOTS WINE & CO.

livingrootswine.com
An urban winery in the Finger Lakes and a not-so-urban winery in the Adelaide Hills region of South Australia run by the husband-and-wife team of Sebastian (an Aussie sixth-generation winemaker) and Colleen Hardy.
Casa Larga | Fox Run Vineyards | Dr. Konstantin Frank Winery

Best Wine Selection (Bar or Restaurant)
LIVING ROOTS/ROC URBAN WINERY
livingrootswine.com

Located in Rochester's Neighborhood of the Arts, this winery has a bar, patio, and books private parties.
Apogee | Flight | Solera

Best Wine Selection
LISA’S LIQUOR BARN
lisasliquorbarn.com

Lisa Tobin Healey, a graduate of Brighton High School and the University of Rochester, recalls opening Lisa’s Liquor Barn in 1987 with the goal not being the biggest, but the best. CITY readers think she succeeded.
Century Liquor & Wines | Marketview Liquor | Pinnacle Liquor

In This Guide...

  • Best of Rochester: The winners . . .

    This year, some 10,349 discerning CITY readers cast 426,656 votes to determine the Best of Rochester winners across 110 categories. Here, we present the top picks of the people, places, and things that make Rochester home.

  • Best of Rochester: Arts & Entertainment

    Nightlife, music, theater, and art, CITY readers know them by heart . . .

  • Best of Rochester: Recreation

    From first dates to dancing and shooting stick to shooting hoops, CITY readers have the scoop . . .

  • Best of Rochester: Goods & Services

    Whether you're looking for flowers, a haircut, or that special gift for a four-legged friend, CITY readers recommend . . .

  • Best of Rochester: Who we are

    They rise above the crowd, they make CITY readers proud . . .