Home Travel Ultimate Food Guide to Capital-Saratoga

Ultimate Food Guide to Capital-Saratoga

by Ohio Digital News

Credit: @hattiesrestaurant on Instagram

The Capital-Saratoga region (or as foodies call it, the 51Ate) is a hub for distinct and drool-worthy delicacies. Saratoga has one of the highest number of restaurants per capita in the country, attracting some of the most talented chefs and food-focused visitors, while the Tri-City Area (Albany, Troy, and Schenectady) is bustling with epicurean experiences that you simply cannot taste anywhere else. Dig in to our list of everything you have to eat in Capital-Saratoga!

Hometown Classics

Mozzarella sticks and melba sauce

Mozzarella and Melba

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You can immediately identify a native of the Capital District based on their answer to “Melba or marinara?” Melba, a tangy sauce made from pureed raspberries, pairs perfectly with mozzarella sticks. And while neither ingredient was created in the area, the combo itself is widely regarded as a Capital Region staple. Check out the best spots to chow down on this delicious duo: Excelsior Pub, McGeary’s Pub, Ralph’s Tavern, Philly Bar & Lounge, and Scubbers Wings (pictured).

Saratoga Chips

potato chips on red and white checked paper

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In 1853, the potato chip was invented by chef George Crum in Saratoga Springs after a diner complained in his restaurant that the french fries were too thick. This serendipitous snack is now sold in stores throughout New York State, and homemade variations can be found in many Saratoga dining establishments.

Peppermint Pig

A pink peppermint pig candy on a red cloth that has been shattered by a small hammer

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In Victorian culture, the pig represented good health, happiness, and prosperity. Inspired by this symbol, old-fashioned candy makers in Saratoga created Peppermint Pigs™ each year during the holiday season. These sweet treats were made of hard peppermint candy (similar to a candy cane) and appropriately colored pink. Peppermint Pigs™ have been featured on the Food Network, the Today Show, Live with Regis and Kelly, CNN, CNBC, CBS News and countless magazines and newspapers across the country. You can buy your own from Saratoga Candy Co.


Oboy cut in half sits on a wooden cutting board

Credit: @originaloboy on Instagram

Chicken, cheeses, green onion, and spices, all enveloped in a golden brown chewy dough, that is the simple masterpiece of the doughboy! Started by chance on Caroline Street in 1995 at Esperanto in Saratoga Springs, this small-town staple has been consumed by hungry locals over 2 million times and gained such popularity that it has been rebranded as “The Oboy” and is sold in Stewart’s and in grocery stores.

Mini hot dogs

Mini Hot Dogs

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Brought to the Albany area in 1922 by a Greek immigrant, the mini hot dog is a satiating staple with deep regional roots. Whether you order them plain or with “the works” (mustard, chopped onion, and meat sauce) there are a number of locally-loved spots to feast on these 4-inch delicacies, including: Famous Lunch, Hot Dog Charlie’s (pictured), and Gus’s

Must-Try Meals

Hattie’s Restaurant

A dish with fried chicken stacked on it from Hattie's

Credit: @hattiesrestaurant on Instagram

Hattie’s award-winning fried chicken is well known for its unique recipe that has remained the same since 1938. The restaurant (which has a location in Saratoga and just opened a new one in Albany) further cemented its legacy as having the best fried chicken after winning on Bobby Flay’s Food Network show “Throwdown.” Get your chicken with all the fixins including: hush puppies, fried green tomatoes, prawns, gumbo, and fried catfish.

Romo’s Pizza


Credit: @perfectcrustpizzaliners on Instagram

Crowned the 2023 winner of the “Pizza World Cup” in Naples, Italy, Romo’s in Glenmont is a pizza-lover’s paradise. Whether you prefer Chicago deep dish, Sicilian, Detroit, cracker thin, grandma, or artisan style, there is truly a slice for everyone. 

Hamlet & Ghost

Hamlet & Ghost

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What began as a feed and grain store in the 1870s has evolved today into Hamlet & Ghost, a high-end Saratoga Springs New American eatery, offering a menu that blends local flavors with global tastes. Nightly specials bring unique meat, fish, seafood, and farm-fresh produce to the table. Flavorful bar snacks, tapas, and creative sweets, including coffee cocktails, round out the dining experience. Menu highlights include: faroe island salmon crudo, quail farci, and duck breast.



Yono’s in Albany boasts the longest-tenured four-star restaurant in the region, and has been recognized by the James Beard Foundation, Wine Spectator, Santé, DiRoNA & The American Culinary Federation. Chef Yono Purnomo’s signature blend of contemporary American cuisine with Indonesian influence utilizes seasonal, farm-fresh ingredients from Upstate New York and beyond. Menu highlights include: slow braised beef short rib, pan seared George’s banks scallops, and roasted Lovers Leap Farm suckling pig.



Credit: @pereccas on Instagram

Break bread at a Schenectady staple with over a century of family history and recipes rooted just outside of Naples, Italy. The 100+ year-old coal-fired brick oven stays lit 24/7/365 and produces their famous breads and tomato pie once named one of the best pizzas in the country by Food and Wine magazine. Perreca’s offers brunch, dinner, and a bakery. Mangia!

Unique Dining Experiences

Sushi By Bao

Sushi by Bao

Credit: Mary Martin

Savor authentic Japanese flavors in a 1920’s inspired Prohibition-era venue. The Omakase (“I leave it up to you”) epicurean experience features a master sushi chef serving up their choice of 12 or 17-piece fresh-from-Japan sushi courses. To further elevate your dining experience, every Thursday and Friday the venue features a live jazz band.



Get your game and grub on at Schenectady’s first 100% plant-based arcade, bar, and restaurant. Weekly events include live music, trivia, music bingo, drag shows, and there is always an array of games from Area 51 to air hockey, ping pong, Star Wars pinball, and vintage Pac-Man. With eight draft taps showcasing local cider and beer, an ’80s-inspired cocktail menu, and a variety of vegan dishes like a spicy jalapeno Beyond burger, truffle hot cauliflower wings, and GARDEIN Buffalo chicken sandwich, this spot is truly UnBEETable. 

The Shaker & Vine

The Shaker & Vine

Discover the Capital Region’s premier self-serve wine bar, boasting a display of 70 wines dispensed at the push of a button. Voted best outdoor dining spot in 2023, The Shaker & Vine offers breathtaking views of the Mohawk River in Schenectady. Indulge in tapas such as sesame crusted tuna tataki, meatball and ravioli flights, chocolate fondue, and gourmet flatbreads. 

Bard & Baker

More than 1,000 board games (ranging from classics like CLUE, Stratego, and Scrabble to contemporary games like Catan and Ascension) are waiting to be played at Troy’s beloved Bard & Baker. While you lose yourself in a game, you can enjoy sandwiches like the “Triple Word Score” (BBQ pork belly, lettuce, tomato, and sauce on homemade ciabatta), Buffalo chicken pizza bagel, gourmet mac and cheese, and extensive cocktail, tea, coffee, and bubble tea menus. Get on board with their special events, including: trivia, Rock Band night, Pokémon Go Community Day, Dungeons & Dragons: Learn & Play, book club, and plant and sip workshops.

International Cuisine

Tara Kitchen

Tara Kitchen

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Woman and minority-owned, Tara Kitchen led by Chef Aneesa has made Moroccan cuisine accessible to all. The restaurant first opened in Schenectady and now has locations across the Capital Region, NYC, and India! Vibrant dishes are seasoned with spices that reflect Morocco’s history as a cultural crossroad, including: signature tangines, lamb meatballs with preserved lemon, fish in spicy date sauce, and white beans with harissa.

Umana Yana

Umana Yana

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Guyanese for “meeting place for the people”, Umana Yana in Albany offers a welcoming setting for international dinners, drinks, and Sunday brunch. Originally from Guyana, the owner provides an authentic Afro and Asian Caribbean menu including: coconut curried chickpeas, red curry fish tacos, jerk lamb lollipops, and the Dartmouth Village red bean stew.

Brasserie Benelux


Chef Armand Vanderstigchel prepares European-inspired cuisine from scratch using high-quality, locally-sourced ingredients and international flavors. As author of two nationally published cookbooks, “Adirondack Cuisine” and “Chicken Wings Across America”, it’s no surprise to find chicken wings on the menu as well the award-winning Swedish meatballs, Baltic-style smoked salmon board, and Viennese veal wiener schnitzel.


Social, interactive dining is the focus at MOSU. Choose between cook-yourself Asian barbeque or Chinese hot pot, or grab a spot at the bar for a journey through Asia’s street markets with authentic street food fare and specialty craft cocktails influenced by Asian flavors. When you opt for hot pot dining, you’ll cook a variety of meats, seafood, vegetables, and noodles tableside, using soup/broth as a cooking medium.

Sweet Treats

Mrs. London’s

Mrs Londons

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This boutique bakery and cafe is rooted in French culinary tradition, and since 1977, the bakery’s home has been on historic Broadway in downtown Saratoga, enticing palates world-wide. Scratch-made delicacies include macarons, croissants, scones, baguettes, quiches, and croques. Mrs. London’s has been featured on the CBS Mornings, the New York Times, and Food & Wine Magazine.

Sweet Mimi’s Cafe & Bakery

Sweet Mimi's

Credit: @saratoga_springs_eats on Instagram

Housed in the historic Caffe Lena, the building itself is as legendary as the food created in it! Repeatedly voted “Best Breakfast” by local publications, the cafe and bakery earns its stripes with famous menu items like the lemon ricotta pancakes (as seen on “Beat Bobby Flay”) and bacon pancakes (as seen on “CBS’ The Talk.”) Save room for dessert, as the delectable display of homemade baked goods includes cookies, homemade granola, muffins, scones, and more!

Cider Belly Doughnuts

Cider Belly

You doughnut want to miss out on this Capital Region goodie. Waft in the smell of warm, scratch-made cider doughnuts as you peruse the display of tantalizing treats in Albany. Enjoy a classic “Sugar Daddy” (cinnamon & sugar), or opt for a loaded confection off the rotating menu, like a peanut butter buckeye, berry cheesecake, or baked apple moonshine. Gluten-free and vegan doughnuts are always available as well as made-to-order specialty hot and iced coffees. 

Cheesecake Machismo

Cheesecake Machismo

Credit: @cheesecakemachismo on Instagram

Say cheese…cake! Anywhere there is regularly a line out the door is usually a spot worth checking out, and Albany’s Cheesecake Machismo is no exception. More than 600 flavors including: Ube, Raspberry Beret, Salted Caramel Brownie, and Miso Maple Pecan reside in the Cheesecake Machismo recipe box, and each day a fresh new combination of flavor selections are offered by the cake house.

Food-Centric Events



What else could bring 40,000 people together outside in February besides chowder?! Saratoga Chowderfest, which just celebrated its 25th year, draws crowds to downtown Saratoga Springs to sample chowders from 80 of the city’s top restaurants. Chow down on 4 oz. chowder samples for $2 each and vote for your favorites! The fun is souped-up with live entertainment and family-friendly activities throughout the day at various venues.

Greek Festival

Celebrating its 52nd year, the highly anticipated Greek Festival returns to St. Sophia Church in Albany this May. Each year, the festival draws in nearly 10,000 attendees over the course of a weekend and celebrates all things Greek! The food is the star of the show: souvlaki, gyros, salads, spanakopita, dolmades, moussaka, baklava, a marketplace with 20 vendors, live Greek music and dancing, and a festival program book that includes popular Greek recipes. 

Wing Walk 

Stroll around downtown Schenectady sampling unique chicken wing recipes from 20 different restaurants. This fall-time flavorfest draws in several thousand attendees each October, and asks a panel of local judges and attendees to vote for their favorite wings in a variety of categories: Judges’ Top Wing, Best Sauce or Rub, Most Creative, Most True to Flavor, Best Bite.

Mac-n-Cheese Bowl 

Say cheese! Each October, Historic Remsen Street in Cohoes hosts the Mac-n-Cheese Bowl, with event proceeds benefiting the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York. Enjoy nearly 30 competing mac-n-cheese stations, beer tastings, and more vendors.

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