20 Best Restaurants in Rochester, NY

This article was written by local contributor Barry Woods & edited by the Travel Lens team.

Best Restaurants in Rochester, NY
Paul Brady Photography / shutterstock.com

Rochester, New York, is a city rich in history, culture, and amazing food that often goes overlooked.

I've spent many years living here, exploring, and experiencing the diverse and vibrant culinary scene we have to offer.

It's almost a journey in itself, discovering new flavors and appreciating the nuances of our local cuisine.

From the famous Garbage Plate to fine dining, Rochester has it all.

Here, I'll share the 20 best restaurants in Rochester, New York, taking you through the must-try spots that make our city a true foodie paradise.

So, put on your walking shoes and bring an empty stomach because we're about to embark on a delicious adventure!

La Bola

Delicious food served at La Bola

During the weekend, I decided to explore the local cuisine and ended up at La Bola, a charming restaurant in Rochester.

The atmosphere was cozy and elegant, and I could tell that this was a place where people came to enjoy good food and good company.

As I glanced through the menu, I couldn't help but notice the wide variety of options available.

From tempting appetizers to mouthwatering entrรฉes, La Bola had something for everyone.

I decided to start my meal with the delightful tapas, which were beautifully presented and bursting with flavor.

The combination of local and imported ingredients made each dish unique and delicious.

For my main course, I opted for paella, a traditional Spanish dish that had been highly recommended by the staff.

As I took my first bite, I was immediately transported to the streets of Spain.

The flavors were rich and authentic, and the seafood was cooked to perfection.

The portions were generous, and I could hardly finish my plate.

To accompany my meal, I chose a glass of wine from their extensive wine list.

ThaiYada Restaurant

Shrimp stew at ThaiYada Restaurant

One of my favorite places to dine in the area is ThaiYada Restaurant.

I have been going to this little gem for quite some time now, and it never disappoints.

The atmosphere here is cozy and welcoming, making it a perfect spot to enjoy a delicious Thai meal with friends and family.

The menu offers an incredible variety of Thai dishes, which can be a bit overwhelming at first, but I have found that you can't go wrong with any of their dishes.

Personally, I absolutely love their Pad Thai - it's packed with flavor and has the perfect combination of sweet, sour, and spicy.

Their Tom Yum Soup is another dish that I can't get enough of, as it has a unique blend of spices and flavors that make it incredibly delicious and comforting.

I also appreciate that ThaiYada offers a great selection of vegetarian and gluten-free options, so there's always something for everyone.

One of my friends who came along with me on one occasion has a gluten allergy, and she was delighted to find that she could still enjoy a delicious meal without any issues.

Furthermore, ThaiYada's presentation of their dishes is always impeccable.

The food always looks as amazing as it tastes, making the entire dining experience even more enjoyable.

Rella Oysters

Oysters served at Rella Oysters

I recently visited Rella Oysters, which happens to be one of my favorite local spots for a fantastic seafood experience.

The restaurant is nestled in a cozy corner. The moment you step inside, you are welcomed with a warm and retro ambiance that speaks volumes of the easygoing nature of the place.

On my last visit, I was craving their eclectic seafood menu and their fine wine selection.

And let me tell you, I was not disappointed!

I started off with their fresh oysters, which were shucked to perfection, accompanied by a glass of crisp white wine.

The waiter even recommended a perfect pairing to go along with my dish.

The oysters were so fresh and delicious that they practically melted in my mouth.

I was absolutely blown away by the flavors!

For the main course, I opted for one of their seafood pasta dishes.

The portion was generous, and the pasta was cooked to perfection; the seafood was juicy and tender, and the sauce was rich and flavorful.

I could tell that the ingredients were of the highest quality, and I enjoyed every bite.

Capri Wine Bar & Restaurant

Charcuterie board served at Capri Wine Bar & Restaurant

Capri Wine Bar & Restaurant is a hidden gem in our neighborhood that never disappoints with its delicious Italian cuisine and extensive wine list.

Their menu offers a variety of choices, from classic Italian dishes to unique culinary creations.

The Caprese salad is always a great starter, with its juicy tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and flavorful balsamic glaze.

For the main course, I often find myself torn between the Chicken Marsala and the Shrimp Scampi.

Both dishes are cooked to perfection and are served in generous portions.

One thing that sets Capri Wine Bar & Restaurant apart is its exceptional service.

Another aspect that adds to the charm of this restaurant is the live music that usually accompanies your meal.

It creates a lively and fun atmosphere, perfect for a night out with friends or a romantic dinner for two.

Of course, you can't visit Capri Wine Bar & Restaurant without trying their incredible wine selection.

With options from around the world, you're sure to find the perfect pairing for your meal.


Short rib served with mashed potato at Polizzi's

One of my favorite spots to dine in town is Polizzi's. As someone who loves Italian cuisine, this restaurant never disappoints.

From the moment I entered, I was impressed by the cozy atmosphere and the attentive service.

As for the food, everything I've tried has been delicious.

The homemade lasagna is out of this world, with layers of pasta, rich sauce, and melted cheese combined into an irresistible masterpiece.

The chicken piccata, served with a tangy lemon caper sauce, is another favorite of mine, cooked to perfection and full of flavor.

What really sets Polizzi's apart from other Italian restaurants, however, is their dessert offerings.

Their tiramisu is the best I've ever had, creamy and bursting with coffee flavor.

And when they bring out their homemade cannoli filled with sweet ricotta cheese, it's nearly impossible to resist.

Every time I visit Polizzi's, I leave feeling satisfied and eager to return โ€“ it's no wonder why they've earned such positive feedback on Yelp.

I feel incredibly fortunate to have this gem of a restaurant in my neighborhood, where I know I can always count on a fantastic meal and great service.

Ristorante Lucano

Salad at the Ristorante Lucano

I had the pleasure of dining at Ristorante Lucano last night, and I must say, it was an unforgettable experience.

The moment I walked in, I was captivated by the old-world murals and textured walls that adorned this upscale Italian establishment.

The menu offers a wide variety of Northern and Southern Italian dishes, making it difficult to choose just one.

While I enjoyed my main course, I couldn't help but overhear the guests at the neighboring table rave about their Pollo alla Sorrentina - a chicken dish topped with mozzarella, eggplant, and tomato sauce.

I made a mental note to try it on my next visit, as it seemed to be a popular choice.

Dessert was the perfect finale to an exceptional meal, as I indulged in a slice of Torta della Nonna - a lemon-infused custard tart with a shortbread crust.

The tartness of the lemon balanced the sweetness of the custard, making it a refreshing way to end the night.

Zoc's Gourmet

Burger at Zoc's Gourmet

I recently had the pleasure of dining at Zoc's Gourmet. The ambiance was cozy and welcoming, perfect for enjoying a delicious meal.

The menu at Zoc's Gourmet was extensive, offering a wide range of options to satisfy any craving.

After much deliberation, I finally decided on one of their famous gourmet burgers, and I'm so glad I did.

The burger was cooked to perfection, juicy, and full of flavor.

The toppings were fresh, and the combination of ingredients created a unique taste that I won't soon forget.

In addition to the fantastic burger, I also had the opportunity to try some of their mouthwatering sides.

The truffle fries were a standout, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, with just the right amount of truffle flavor.

I also sampled their mac and cheese, which was incredibly creamy and flavorful - definitely worth trying if you're a fan of this classic comfort food.


Heart shaped Pizza served at Fiorella

One of my favorite spots to dine in the neighborhood is Fiorella, a minimalist-chic bistro that specializes in wood-fired pizzas and housemade pasta.

They pride themselves on using local ingredients, which is something I always appreciate.

As soon as I enter, I notice the warm and inviting atmosphere, and I can't help but feel at home in this cozy dining space.

The star of the show at Fiorella is definitely their wood-fired pizza.

The crust is perfectly crispy, and the toppings are always fresh and delicious.

My all-time favorite is their Margherita pizza, a classic choice that never disappoints.

I've also tried their prosciutto pizza, which was equally fantastic.

Another standout dish at Fiorella is their housemade pasta.

I've had the chance to try their pappardelle with wild mushrooms and truffle oil, and it simply blew me away.

The pasta was cooked to perfection, and the combination of flavors was just divine.

Aside from their mouthwatering dishes, Fiorella also offers a great selection of wine and cocktails to complement the meal.

I usually enjoy a glass of their house red, which suits the pizza and pasta dishes perfectly.

Rooney's Restaurant

Crab cake at Rooney's Restaurant

Last weekend, my friends and I decided to visit Rooney's Restaurant for a night out in town.

Located in a cozy residential area, this hidden gem is a must-visit for anyone who appreciates delectable American cuisine and an inviting atmosphere.

As we entered Rooney's, we were immediately drawn to the warmth of its long wooden bar and intimate setting.

We started our dining experience by trying some of their delicious appetizers, like the succulent scallops and flavorful mushroom bruschetta.

They were the perfect opening act to our culinary journey.

For our main courses, we opted for a variety of dishes, including the tender filet mignon, the perfectly cooked salmon, and the mouth-watering braised short ribs.

Each dish was meticulously prepared, and the flavors were simply divine.

We also enjoyed their extensive wine list, which had an impressive array of options to satisfy any wine enthusiast.

The ambiance at Rooney's was the perfect combination of upscale and relaxed, making it an ideal spot for a romantic dinner, a gathering with friends, or even a special family occasion.

We couldn't have asked for a better dining experience.

Galleria Pizza

Mac and cheese at Galleria Pizza

One of my all-time favorite spots for a delicious slice of pizza in town has to be Galleria Pizza.

This bare-bones parlor may not look like much from the outside, but trust me, their pizzas, wings, pasta, and subs are absolutely worth the visit.

What sets Galleria Pizza apart from other joints in the area is its unique pizza toppings.

I remember the first time I tried their crab and potato skins pizza - it was truly a game-changing culinary experience!

The crab was fresh and flavorful, while the potato skins added an unexpected yet delightful texture to each bite.

While their creative pizza options are the star of the show, don't overlook the rest of their menu.

Galleria Pizza also offers a mouthwatering selection of wings, pasta, and subs.

I particularly enjoy their buffalo chicken wings, which are always cooked to perfection and generously coated in a tangy sauce.

Their pasta dishes, like the marinara, are always made with fresh ingredients and taste just like home-cooked meals.

Abyssinia Restaurant

Vegetarian platter at Abyssinia Restaurant

One of my favorite places to dine in town is the Abyssinia Restaurant.

I'm always on the lookout for unique and authentic cuisines, and Abyssinia doesn't disappoint.

The restaurant offers a wide variety of classic Ethiopian fare, including many vegetarian and vegan options, which suits my dietary needs perfectly.

The atmosphere is upscale-casual, and there's a full bar available to complement the dining experience.

As a fan of Ethiopian food, I was truly impressed with the injera โ€“ a delicious, spongy sourdough flatbread that's a staple in Ethiopian cuisine.

It was the perfect accompaniment to the flavorful dishes served.

One of the highlights of my visit was the vegetarian combo platter, which allowed me to sample several mouthwatering Ethiopian dishes in one go.

The lentil dishes, in particular, were scrumptious and well-seasoned.

The portion sizes were generous, and I appreciated the fact that the menu was clearly marked with vegetarian and vegan options, making it easy to navigate.

Tournedos Steakhouse

Seafood served at Tournedos Steakhouse

I recently visited Tournedos Steakhouse for a special occasion.

The elegant atmosphere, with its plush lounge and mahogany bar, made me feel like royalty.

Tournedos is known for serving dry-aged beef, and its selection of over 500 wines is truly impressive.

From the moment I walked in, the service was impeccable.

I chose the dry-aged steak as my main course, and it was cooked to perfection, tender, and full of flavor.

The side dishes, especially the creamed spinach, were delicious and the perfect accompaniment to the steak.

The wine list was extensive, and the sommelier was more than helpful in recommending a wine that would complement my meal.

I ended up selecting a beautiful red, which turned out to be an excellent choice.

Shema Sushi

Fresh sushis served at Shema Sushi

Last week, I decided to visit Shema Sushi after hearing about their impressive Japanese noodle dishes from friends.

The moment I stepped inside, I was amazed by the calm and urban atmosphere that welcomed me.

The establishment has been around since 2007 and serves a variety of beverages, including beer and sake.

As I glanced through the menu, I noticed that they had a diverse range of options to choose from.

I decided to go with their signature dish, and boy, was I in for a treat!

The presentation was impeccable, and the taste was just as exceptional.

The noodles were cooked to perfection, and the flavors were incredibly authentic.

In addition to the amazing food, the service at Shema Sushi was top-notch.

Maru Sushi & Ramen Bar

Gyoza at Maru Sushi & Ramen Bar

One of my favorite spots to grab a bite in town is Maru Sushi & Ramen Bar.

I always start my meal with their delicious dumplings or tempura appetizers.

They are light and crispy, making it the perfect beginning to a flavorful dinner.

When it comes to sushi, Maru offers a wide variety of options, both traditional and creative.

I've tried their rolls like the Dragon Roll, which is beautifully presented and packed with fresh ingredients.

I also love their signature dish, the Maru Special Roll.

It's a fusion of flavors that leaves you craving for more.

Of course, I can't forget about their ramen.

The broth is rich and flavorful, and there are so many toppings to choose from.

I usually go for the Tonkotsu Ramen with the melt-in-your-mouth chashu pork.

The noodles are cooked to perfection, and you can tell they use high-quality ingredients in every dish.

Velvet Belly

Fish stew served at Velvet Belly

Recently, I decided to treat myself to a day of relaxation and rejuvenation at Velvet Belly.

With a wide array of services available, I was able to choose the perfect combination to suit my needs.

I started off with a much-needed massage therapy session, and the therapist was incredibly skilled and attentive.

She used a combination of techniques that left me feeling completely relaxed and refreshed.

I could feel the tension from my everyday life melting away, and by the end of the session, I was practically floating.

Next, I decided to try one of their revitalizing facials.

The esthetician took the time to assess my skin type and created a customized treatment plan that left my skin feeling fresh, clean, and rejuvenated.

I especially appreciated the thorough extractions and the use of high-quality products throughout the service.

My skin has never looked or felt better!

Throughout my visit, the ambiance of the spa was soothing and inviting, making it easy to unwind and fully enjoy the experience.

The facilities were impeccably clean and well-maintained, allowing me to feel completely at ease.

Jines Restaurant

Spanakopita at Jines Restaurant

I recently had the pleasure of visiting Jines Restaurant for their all-day breakfast, and I must say, it's no wonder the place is always packed with happy customers.

The Sunday brunch was a delightful experience as well, and I found the Greek-inspired dishes to be quite delectable.

One of the highlights of my visit to Jines Restaurant was the opportunity to enjoy my meal on their lovely sidewalk seating.

It was the perfect spot for people-watching and soaking in the atmosphere of the neighborhood.

The menu offered a wide variety of options, with something for everyone.

I opted for their famous omelette, which was cooked to perfection and bursting with flavor.

I also couldn't resist trying one of their scrumptious waffles, which did not disappoint.


Kataifi served at Cure

One of my favorite spots in town is definitely Cure, a stylish market eatery that offers the best of local and seasonal French cuisine.

I usually start my meal with one of their unique and delicious craft cocktails.

They have an impressive selection to choose from, and I've never been disappointed by their creative concoctions.

Cure's menu is a masterpiece of French culinary artistry.

One of my favorite dishes is their perfectly cooked and beautifully plated duck confit - it melts in your mouth!

Their menu changes with the seasons, which means I always have something new to look forward to when I visit.

And, of course, no meal is complete without one of their scrumptious desserts to finish off the night.

The Classic Kitchen & Cocktails

Platters at The Classic Kitchen & Cocktails

One of my favorite spots in the neighborhood is The Classic Kitchen & Cocktails.

As soon as you walk in, you're greeted with a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

I remember the first time I tried their Truffle Mac & Cheese - I was blown away!

It was so rich and creamy, with just the right amount of truffle flavor.

Since then, I've tried a variety of other dishes, and everything has been consistently delicious.

Their cocktails are also fantastic, with a great selection to choose from.

I personally recommend the cucumber gimlet - it's so refreshing!

Another aspect that sets The Classic Kitchen & Cocktails apart is their attention to detail.

The presentation of the dishes is always spot-on, and the ambiance is perfect for a date night or a fun night out with friends.

I've also attended a few events at The Classic Kitchen & Cocktails, and they never disappoint.

From live music to trivia nights, there is always something going on to entertain and engage the guests.


Waffles at Roux

I recently had the pleasure of dining at Roux, a cozy, family-owned restaurant tucked away on Park Avenue, which boasts an authentically old-world atmosphere and serves up exquisite French recipes.

Not only was the food absolutely delightful, but the charming ambiance made me feel like I was in France, experiencing the best of its culinary delights.

One of Roux's standout features is the absinthe bar, where I had the chance to sample a variety of unique and interesting cocktails.

If you're looking for a truly unique drinking experience, the absinthe bar at Roux is not to be missed.

As for the food, I was blown away by the quality and presentation of the dishes.

I started with the savory escargots, cooked to perfection, and followed it up with the mouthwatering duck confit.

Each dish was beautifully plated and tasted even better than it looked.


Ramen served at Furoshiki

I've always been a fan of Pan-Asian cuisine, and Furoshiki on Park Ave has become my go-to spot for some comforting and delicious food.

Nestled in a charming neighborhood, this nook offers an extensive menu of ramen bowls and other mouthwatering dishes that never fail to satisfy my hunger pangs.

What I love the most about Furoshiki is the welcoming and warm atmosphere.

From the moment I step in, I feel cozy and at home, making it the perfect place to unwind with friends after a long day.

I've tried several dishes at Furoshiki, but my absolute favorite has to be their ramen bowls.

The broth is rich and flavorful, with just the right amount of spice to keep me coming back for more.

I also appreciate the generous portion sizes โ€“ it's perfect for when I'm extra hungry or craving something hearty.

Aside from their renowned ramen, Furoshiki offers an impressive selection of other Pan-Asian comfort food, such as their delectable appetizers and rice dishes.

On top of that, their seasonal beers and house sake make for the perfect accompaniment to scrumptious meals.

Final Thoughts

Living in Rochester has truly been a culinary delight.

From the upscale ambiance of Tournedos Steakhouse to the cozy atmosphere at Fiorella, there's always a perfect spot to satisfy my cravings.

No matter what your taste buds are craving, Rochester's restaurant scene has you covered, and it's just one of the many reasons I'm proud to call this city my home.

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