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Top 10 CNY Restaurants (2014 Edition)

Photo May 02, 6 22 55 PMAbout 18 months ago, I wrote a list of my top 10 CNY restaurants. These were not necessarily the restaurants that I thought were the best, but the one’s that I would go to if I had to build a permanent rotation of places to dine.

Since I posted that list, much has changed in the CNY food scene. One of the restaurants, Circa, has closed. Last week Gentile’s, loved my many in this area, shut its doors. A new version of The Krebs is open in Skaneateles at the end of August.

As we approach fall and begin our CNY hibernation (coming out only for food and SU basketball), I thought I would update the list. These are not necessarily the best restaurants in town or really even my 10 favorites. This list represents the permanent rotation of the area’s 10 best restaurants that I would go to exclusively (in no particular order):

  • Moro’s Table, Auburn [website]. The alpha and the omega. If money were no object…
  • Asti Caffe, Syracuse [website]. The best red sauce restaurant* in Syracuse.
  • Pastabilities, Syracuse [website]. Great for lunch. Good for dinner. The second best red sauce in town*.
  • Dinosaur Barbque, Syracuse [website]. Their bad days are a lot better than my good days. Remember, it’s not the 10 best, but the 10 that I would go to exclusively if forced to pick.
  • The Mission, Syracuse [website]
  • Otro Cinco, Syracuse [website]
  • Zabroso, Oneida [website]. The past three restaurants are distinctly different takes on Latin-American/Spanish food. The Mission is Mexican/Pan-American; Otro is a Spanish/Mexican hybrid; and Zabroso is Spanish. All three are wonderful.
  • Laci’s Tapas Bar, Syracuse [website]. Eclectic and fun. One of the area’s best dining experiences.
  • Ironwood, Manlius [website]. Good pizza. Good beer. Really, I’m easy to please.
  • The Restaurant at Elderberry Pond, Auburn [website]. An impossible car ride to get there, but farm-to-table begins and ends there.

*Angotti’s is not the best restaurant in town, nor is it the best red sauce restaurant in Syracuse. But it has long been a gathering spot for my family. It’s like my kitchen away from home. It doesn’t make this list because it transcends this list. And because I can almost always get a table.


Koto Japanese Steakhouse, Syracuse, N.Y.

Crazy Tuna Roll

Good sushi is not difficult to come by in Syracuse. Great sushi, on the other hand…well, that bus doesn’t make it that close to the Salt City. It’s the downside of being at least five hours from a major fishing port.

Tokyo Seoul and Secret Garden were the best of the best for a long time around here. There are others that serve sushi, but those two reigned in terms of fresh fish and quality preparation. Koto, a regional chain with locations in Albany, Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut, was a game changer when it came to town in 2010. It brought a menu of traditional and specialty rolls representative of sushi restaurants in larger cities.

Saturday’s visit with The Wife was not our first. When it first opened, you could sit right at the sushi bar — my preference — and order directly from the chefs (the seats are still there, but now you have to order through a server…meh). Since The Wife was paying and made the reservation (it was my birthday), we sat at a table. Continue reading Koto Japanese Steakhouse, Syracuse, N.Y.