A Chowhound’s Guide to Finger Lakes Wine Country

Summer visitors to Finger Lakes wine country will find plenty to eat between vineyard visits, from fancy French to pub grub. Here’s a selection of hound-endorsed choices, high and low.

CANANDAIGUA LAKE

Max on the Lake, Canandaigua: Solid, simple, upscale American at the Inn on the Lake resort–steaks, roast chicken, sauteed salmon, etc.

MacGregor’s Grill and Tap Room, Canandaigua: Not far from Max, a nice downscale option. The Finger Lakes outpost of an upstate mini-chain has decent burgers, wraps, fried seafood, and other pub fare.

El Rincon Mexicano, Canandaigua: This place inspires confidence by nailing the basics–beans, rice, salsas, etc.–and is a fine spot to while away an afternoon with chow and cerveza, says jbird.

KEUKA LAKE

Esperanza Mansion, Bluff Point: phishphyx prefers the more casual Grill Room (sandwiches, burgers, pastas, grilled and roasted meats) to the formal dining room, the Mansion. “Amazing views…the staff can be a little flaky.”

Bully Hill Vineyards, Hammondsport: Solid American chow (steaks, salmon, chicken Marsala, pork tenderloin, crab cakes, etc.) in a beautiful setting with attention-grabbing views, says sg.

SENECA LAKE

Stonecat Cafe, Hector: Eclectic, heavily organic American food, including house-smoked meats and fish, on a deck overlooking the lake. Quite good, says Joseph Moryl.

Suzanne, Lodi: French-inflected “country elegant” cuisine. The short, often-changing menu focuses on local ingredients (like the Riesling that flavors the sauce that accompanies roast free-range chicken). Mark A. Bauman reports a fabulous dinner there last summer.

Dano’s Heuriger, Lodi: Viennese-inspired roast meats and other hearty food. A must-eat, says Laura Rebecca.

Ports Cafe, Geneva: Eclectic American with Southwestern accents like fajitas and steak-black bean quesadillas.

Fox Run Vineyards cafe, Penn Yan: A fine lunch spot for sandwiches, salads, soups, etc.

Veraisons at Glenora Wine Cellars, Dundee: French-influenced food with fusiony touches like chipotle Caesar salad and cumin-chile-crusted calamari steak. Good food, “a little ambitious with sauces and chutneys,” says tagine.

CAYUGA LAKE

Pumpkin Hill Bistro, Aurora: Solid American chow–steaks, burgers, roast duck, chicken pot pie, etc.–in a beautifully restored 1820 house. “A great, tucked-away little place. Food is mostly great, the staff is super-nice,” says phishphyx.

Knapp Vineyards Restaurant, Romulus: Steaks, seafood and more, with Louisiana accents like blackened chicken and Cajun sausage-vegetable saute. Enjoy sprightly flavored champagne cocktails and gorgeous vineyard views.

Ithaca Farmers Market, Ithaca: An appealing road-trip option for breads, fruit, sweets, and good prepared foods, including vegetarian, Vietnamese, and Thai choices. Open Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at this time of year.

SKANEATELES LAKE

Giverny at Mirbeau: Upscale French-influenced American food, emphasizing seasonal local produce, with a couple of tasting-menu options. A smaller, cheaper bistro menu is served in the bar area. “Absolutely wonderful ambience, local fresh ingredients, excellent wine list,” writes daveinchelsea.

Rosalie’s Cucina, Skaneateles: Grilled prime meats and other upscale Tuscan. One of the best options around the lake, says JimmyG, though inconsistent. “Portions are large (at prices to match). I have had good meals and some not so hot.”

Sherwood Inn, Skaneateles: Seafood-heavy American menu, charming setting. JimmyG finds the less formal Tavern a better bet than the inn’s Dining Room.

Blue Water Grill, Skaneateles: Stick to simple orders–like fish sandwiches, which Sara pronounces excellent–at this spot right on the lake.

The Krebs, Skaneateles: Traditional chow in a procession of courses–fruit cup, roasted meats, creamed mushrooms with toast points, and the like–that has barely changed since 1899. Some say it’s gone way downhill. Central New Yorker, a fan of its desserts and lobster Newburg, finds it “a nice expedition into the culinary past.”

Doug’s Fish Fry, Skaneateles: Big, fresh fish sandwiches and other seafood in a casual setting–“and I mean sit-at-a-counter-or-picnic-table casual,” says tracie. Afterward, head for the ice cream parlor near the marina, grab a cone, and take a stroll on the pier.

WINERIES

Hound reports have tended to focus on food rather than wine, but daveinchelsea suggests that some of the best stuff comes from the wineries around Keuka and Cayuga Lakes. He singles out a couple: Konstantin Frank (“capable of some of the finest Rieslings outside of Germany and France”) and Treleaven. For a guide to the region’s wineries with an interactive map, see: http://www.fingerlakeswine.com

Max on the Lake Restaurant [Ontario County]
770 S. Main St., at Canandaigua Inn on the Lake, Canandaigua, NY
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MacGregor’s Grill and Tap Room [Ontario County]
759 S. Main St., at Lakeshore Dr., Canandaigua, NY
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El Rincon Mexicano Dos [Ontario County]
5 Beeman St., at Main St., Canandaigua, NY
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Esperanza Mansion [Yates County]
3456 Rte. 54A, Bluff Point, NY
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Bully Hill Restaurant [Steuben County]
Greyton H. Taylor Memorial Dr., at Bully Hill Vineyards, Hammondsport, NY
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Stonecat Cafe [Schuyler County]
5315 State Rte. 414, near Norbud Rd., Hector, NY
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Suzanne Fine Regional Cuisine [Seneca County]
9013 State Rte. 414, between Upper Lake Rd. and N. Miller Rd., Lodi, NY
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Dano’s Heuriger on Seneca [Seneca County]
9564 State Rte. 414, between County Rds. 149 and 137, Lodi, NY
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Ports Cafe [Ontario County]
4432 W, Lake Rd., at Clarks Pt., Geneva, NY
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Fox Run Vineyards [Yates County]
670 State Rte. 14, between Angus and Carlson Rds., Penn Yan, NY
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Veraisons Restaurant [Yates County]
5435 State Rte 14., at the Inn at Glenora Wine Cellars, Dundee, NY
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Pumpkin Hill Bistro [Cayuga County]
2051 State Rte. 90, between Moonshine and Lake Rds., Aurora, NY
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Knapp Vineyards Restaurant [Seneca County]
2770 Ernsberger Rd. (County Rd. 128), between Main St. and Rte. 89, Romulus, NY
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Ithaca Farmers Market [Tompkins County]
545 3rd St., at Steamboat Landing, Ithaca, NY
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Giverny [Onondaga County]
851 W. Genesee St. (Rte 20.), at Mirbeau Inn and Spa, Skaneateles, NY
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Rosalie’s Cucina [Onondaga County]
841 W. Genesee St. (Rte 20.), between Fuller St. and County Line Rd., Skaneateles, NY
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Sherwood Inn [Onondaga County]
26 W. Genesee St. (Rte. 20), between Jordan and Hannum, Skaneateles, NY
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Blue Water Grill [Onondaga County]
11 W. Genesee St. (Rte 20.), between Jordan and Hannum, Skaneateles, NY
315-685-6600
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The Krebs [Onondaga County]
53 W. Genesee St. (Rte. 20), between Hannum and Griffin, Skaneateles, NY
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Doug’s Fish Fry [Onondaga County]
8 Jordan St., near E. Genesee St., Skaneateles, NY
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Dr. Konstantin Frank Vinifera Wine Cellars [Steuben County]
9749 Middle Rd., at Wright Rd., Hammondsport, NY
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King Ferry Winery [Cayuga County]
658 Lake Rd., between Rte. 90N and Atwater Rd., King Ferry, NY
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Board Links: Buffalo-Rochester-Finger Lakes–where to stop for a bite…
Does The Finger Lakes area have ANY good restaurants?
Good Food in the Finger Lakes (specifically Keuka) area?
Finger lakes region
Name of restaurant near Skaneateles please?