For many visitors to Saratoga Springs during track season...I am their FIRST stop. As a result, I am often in the position of recommending my favorite Spa City spots. Honestly, sometimes I feel like a one woman welcome wagon! You ALL know that my opinions on where to dine and cocktail can be trusted....so...here's a little rundown of a few perennial favorites, with a few new hot spots thrown in for good measure. Cheers and I'll see you trackside.
In no particular order:
Pennell's: Leave the gun...take the cannoli. Seriously, you can HAVE Chianti. THIS winechick prefers Pennell's. Great portions...the best Veal Parm in town and loads of great track people watching at the bar.
The Brook Tavern: My second home? Some people think it is. Bob Lee's attention to detail does not go unnoticed. I still adore The Wishing Well if we are feeling a little fancier...but The Brook? I'm surprised my fanny hasn't made an indelible mark on the barstool in the corner. Jimmy is a barkeep extraordinaire (and one HELL of a great guy) who KNOWS his booze and crafts a superb cocktail. BEST BET.
15 Church: Extraordinary. FABULOUS wine list...superb cocktail menu...great food..cool, upscale atmosphere. Paul McCullough has a winner here. I've never...I repeat..NEVER had a bad meal here....not even a MEDIOCRE one. Flawless. (and I don't use that term lightly)
9 Maple Avenue: NO explanation required. You want the best scotch and bourbon selection in town? Look no further. Period. End of story.
Shake Shack: I'll admit it. I am obsessed. My countdown to Opening Day is as much about the fact that I can have a Shake Shack burger as it is about horse racing. (well..ALMOST)
The Barrelhouse: Disclaimer: One of our best friends is an owner. They just opened. They have some tweaking to do...hey, ALL great things are a work in progress. BUT...Tyler makes THE best Bloody Mary in town. Dan Passamonte is in the kitchen (and he KNOWS what he's doing) Mark my words...this place is the next fun Beekman Street casual hotspot. You're welcome.
The Lodge: I've had a love-hate relationship with The Lodge the past few years...service was inconsistent..menu was so-so. etc. But...the truth remains that it is THE most gorgeous spot in all of Saratoga Springs. My galpal Marty is behind the bar now...the menu looks much improved. We shall see. BUT..it's worth going there just for a cocktail to soak up the atmosphere.
Siro's: Nothing will ever say "I am in Saratoga" as much as Siro's does. It's an institution for a reason. Expensive? Hell, yes. Worth it? It's a bucket list thing. Seriously. Where else can you have dinner sitting next to Bobby Flay?
Village Pizzeria: When we want to get a little out of the 12866...we head to see our friend Sandy. The wine list is EXCEPTIONAL..oh, and it's NOT mind and pocket numbingly expensive either. Are there $200 Barolos? Of course..but Sandy wants her customers to enjoy wine as much as SHE does. And it shows. Hubster is obsessed with the Lobster Pizza.
Hattie's: I really don't need to elaborate here, do I?
Panza's: TRY to go there on a Friday night when my friend Jay is bartending..,oh, and please...do me a favor and order 5 different kinds of annoying drinks. (wink wink) They have recently resurrected a location on Brown's Beach as well that's a bit more casual. This is old-school EYE-Talian at its best.
**Normally, I would include Jack Dillon's on this list...but the last time I was there, it seemed a touch chaotic. I am hoping they find their groove for the season because their food is outstanding.