Buffalo’s Five to Try

An Opinionated
Guide to Local Dining

Buffalo has a reputation as the comfort food capital of the United States – the city where wings were born and a host of hearty heartland dishes were perfected. With that kind of birthright, it’s no wonder Buffalonians (yes, that’s what we call ourselves) have some pretty strong opinions about what tastes great and what goes down smooth and easy. We wanted to tap into that college of local knowledge so we asked a group of passionate and opinionated locals to share some of their favorite spots to eat and drink. Let their 5 to Try choices guide you to some of the best of Buffalo dining.

Amanda Amico is the manager of the Swan Street Diner,
700 Swan St., Buffalo, in the city’s Larkin Square neighborhood

  1. Sophia’s

    Sophia’s always has that homey feeling when you walk in the door. That is if you can walk in the door! They tend to always be packed. It’s hard for me to get anything off the menu, but the giambotta. It’s a huge scramble of Italian sausage, peppers, onions, potatoes and eggs. I always get the homemade bread and it’s delicious!

    749 Military Rd., Buffalo

  2. The Howling Rooster

    The food is always fresh and tasty, and the staff is always attentive and quick. Your coffee won’t go unfilled. I like their spins on some standards. Like “The Chill” breakfast sandwich with ham, spinach, smoked gouda on sprouted grain toast. My wife is a big fan of the potato pancakes.

    529 Englewood Ave., Buffalo

  3. Savory’s

    Savory’s is a little bit of a hike, and I don’t get out there often, but it’s great! The food is fresh and there are always different specials to choose from. The skillet scrambles have fun mixes of ingredients and their omelettes are done right.

    5564 Camp Rd., Hamburg

  4. Breadhive

    Breadhive is the kind of spot I love. Their bagels are literally the best bagels ever. It’s counter service and the vibe is perfect. You have to get “The Courtney” which consists of scrambled eggs, pastrami, swiss, greens and whole grain mustard on one of their bagels, or pretzel if you prefer. It’s to die for.

    402 Connecticut St., Buffalo

  5. Five Points Bakery

    This toast café and bakery is perfect for a light bite and a casual hang out. Their toast menu is just perfect for that. From the Vollkornbrot – sauerkraut and raclette, to the Apple Cider – with triple cream brie. A cinnamon roll is a MUST! It’s the best cinnamon roll I have ever had. And make sure to grab some bread to go.

    44 Brayton St., Buffalo

Jessica Railey is a partner and sommelier at Waxlight Bar a Vin, 27 Chandler St. in Buffalo.

  1. The Dapper Goose

    Dapper is all about the chill vibe, the welcoming atmosphere, the smiley, warm service, and the wine! Keith, Tim and Peggy do an excellent job of always having some of the most interesting wines by the glass available, while also having some classic options, which is what I really appreciate.

    491 Amherst St., Buffalo

  2. The Little Club

    They have an ever-rotating by-the-glass list that’s fun and quirky. So much of the owners’ and staff’s personalities shine through here and it’s fun to see someone else not sticking to “the rules.” And they always have great featured wines — they’re excited about fermented grape juice, dare I say a little nerdy about it, and I love it!

    1197 Hertel Ave., Buffalo

  3. Toutant

    Toutant has a very special place in my heart, and I go back for the fried chicken AND the most perfect Vieux Carre crafted by bar manager and my good friend, Jill Hutnyan. When I want a cocktail, I want a classic, and Jill just puts her magic touch on this rye and cognac based New Orleans drink like no other.

    437 Ellicott St., Buffalo

  4. Mes Que

    I usually go to Mes Que for a crisp, gigantic European beer, and a wee bit of bourbon, rather than for soccer. Prices are wildly reasonable and it’s always a relaxed but buzzing environment.

    1420 Hertel Ave., Buffalo

  5. Casey’s Black Rock

    Casey’s just re-opened, but it is and has been a Black Rock gem, and this time, it’s so much better. It’s clean, has great food, fun games, good decor, awesome staff, and there’s always sports on. It’s the best stop after a long night at Waxlight or on a Monday when we’re off to order a Utica Club or a Miller High Life with some solid bar food.

    484 Amherst St., Buffalo

Kartika Carr is the former owner of Buffalo’s Khari’s Café and is an expert on an ideal spot for coffee lovers, café aficionados, and those yearning for a warm dish to start their day.

  1. Brother’s

    I’m honestly obsessed, their shrimp and grits, their fried lobster, I STAN! Brother’s has always served amazing food, given great service, and handled last minute requests with diplomacy, I can’t say enough about them. 

    <p475 Ellicott St, Buffalo

  2. Campfire Grille

    I was invited there back in 2019 and my life was forever changed. They have these amazing home fries that are perfectly seasoned. And I can’t forget their cinnamon roll pancakes. They are to die for and I can’t help but get them every single time.

    3003 Walden Ave, Depew

  3. La Casa De Sabores

    La Casa makes homey Dominican food and they’ve been filling my need for good mangu! The traditional Dominican breakfast includes mangu (mashed plantains), fried cheese, eggs, and salami. It’s a filling meal for a long day and is paired nicely with a fresh cup of coffee.

    1 Letchworth Street, Buffalo

  4. Undergrounds Coffee House and Roastery

    There’s something heavenly about chipotle apricot jam. This is the signature spread on Undergrounds’ Colonel Francisco sandwich. The pairing of the jam with the pepperjack cheese is a unique play on sweet and spicy. The kick may be mild, but the sandwich is full of flavor.

    580 South Park Ave, Buffalo

  5. Traphaus Catering

    I truly can say there are no better cooks in Buffalo than Thomas and Marquita Page. They have mastered breakfast. They, hands down, have the best grits in Buffalo, and their banana fosters French toast is something magical. They can be found on Facebook for ordering instructions.

Jessica Kelly is a freelance writer and photographer, with a focus on food, travel and events.

  1. Roost

    Bringing flair to Buffalo’s West Side, Roost’s breakfast pizza didn’t disappoint!  Loaded with sausage, pancetta, thinly shaved potatoes and drizzled with egg yolk and maple syrup, this was a dish to remember.

    1502 Niagara St., Buffalo

  2. The Grange Community Kitchen

    Visiting the Grange feels like hanging out in a friend’s beautiful apartment.  Sunlight fills the entire restaurant, and their open kitchen concept with shelves filled with cookbooks makes you feel right at home. Be sure to grab a warm cinnamon bun to go!

    22 Main St., Hamburg

  3. Toutant

    Toutant’s creamy shrimp and grits made with heirloom white corn grits, gulf shrimp, Tasso ham, and tomato broth will leave you trying to lick your plate clean. Pair that with a Lobster Caesar and you’ll have yourself an amazing meal. Don’t forget to ask about their pastry of the day!

    437 Ellicott St., Buffalo

  4. Britesmith Brewing

    Pair your beer with brunch favorites like fresh cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting and their famous brunch pizza with garlic cream, soft scrambled eggs, potato, Swiss American cheese, house sausage, and scallions.

  5. The Roycroft Inn

    In addition to its historic architecture and furnishings, the Roycroft serves a legendary Sunday brunch. Brunch is particularly special here in the summer months when you can dine outside on the peristyle among the beautiful gardens. Enjoy a complimentary Mimosa to cap off your trip to lovely East Aurora.

    40 South Grove St., East Aurora

Pizzaiolo Jay Langfelder is the former owner/operator of Kenmore’s Jay’s Artisan Pizza.

  1. Frank’s Gourmet Hot Dogs

    While I really love everything they do, from burgers to dogs and sides, the French Fries are truly my favorite anywhere. The fries are always perfectly cooked and salted.

    707 Kenmore Ave., Kenmore

  2. Chin Hills Restaurant

    I almost always order the bibimbap with tofu which is a hearty rice bowl with sides of pickled and marinated vegetables served with gochujang.

    2756 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo

  3. Casa Azul

    They have great handmade tortilla shells and creative and perfectly executed tacos. The fish taco is my favorite; it has a beautifully battered and fried piece of fish.

    128 Genesee St., Buffalo

  4. Squeeze Juicery

    The fruits and veggies they incorporate into their smoothies make for a quick and healthy lunch. The smoothies here are always the perfect consistency.

    770 Elmwood Ave., Buffalo

  5. Mattina’s

    Quintessential Buffalo-style pizza with concentrated tomato, pepperoni right off the stick and burnt edges. One of the few places still following the traditional preparation of Buffalo style pizza.

    6040 Sheridan Dr., Amherst

Harrita West is the owner of Park Vue Soul Food Bar and Restaurant in Buffalo’s Schiller Park neighborhood.

  1. Baba’s Place

    Baba’s Place located on Bailey Avenue in East Buffalo, in the University District is my favorite Mediterranean restaurant. Chef Bashir and team take pride in serving fresh food made to order. Two of my favorite meals are the open chicken soulvaki and shrimp stir fry served with a warm pita. Their food melts in my mouth.

    3318 Bailey Ave.

  2. Ms. Goodies

    An East Buffalo favorite for the Sunday dinner buffet and the junkyard dog. The Sunday buffet consists of a main course and three sides, cornbread, and Kool-Aid as a beverage. Chef Celena and Team have been serving the community for 17 years.

    1836 Bailey Ave.

  3. Phat Catz Restaurant & Bar

    This minority and locally owned restaurant is also located in East Buffalo. Chef Kim and her team specialize in soul food cuisine–specifically southern fried chicken, seafood and much more.

    965 Kensington Ave.

  4. The Rose Bar & Grill

    The Rose Bar & Grill is in downtown Buffalo. The owner and staff are friendly, and they offer great food, great drinks, and a great atmosphere. My favorite is their salmon dinner.

    199 Scott St.

  5. Parkside Meadow

    Located in Buffalo’s Historic Parkside community. I love going there not only because of the amazing food but also the décor. Everything in the building is decorated with unique Buffalo memorabilia. The House Burger and Buffalo Chicken Wings are my favorite items from this restaurant.

    2 Russell St.

Chris Hawley is an urbanist and preservationist who loves all things Buffalo. He is also the owner of Eugene V. Debs Hall in the Broadway-Fillmore neighborhood.

  1. Essex St. Pub

    Essex St. Pub opened in 1986 in a building dating to 1886. A jukebox and pool table bar, it’s a great spot for late night shenanigans and chowing on barbecue. Don’t miss the “Macky Joe,” a sloppy Joe with mac’n cheese on top.

    530 Rhode Island St., Buffalo

  2. Eddie Brady’s Tavern

    Eddie Brady’s Tavern is where gruff Irishmen, downtown law and finance types, and college good-times seekers collide. Of any Buffalo tavern, Brady’s feels truest to its pre-Prohibition saloon heritage. Among other nightly specials, Brady’s offers the city’s best turkey and gravy dinner—available on Mondays.

    97 Genesee St., Buffalo

  3. Arty’s Grill

    Arty’s is like walking into the East Buffalo of 1972. Polka is playing over the speakers and Polish import beers are cheap and free-flowing. Prepare yourself for stories from regulars of the old neighborhood, and their visions for a revived Central Terminal—Buffalo’s vacant, iconic train station, only steps away.

    508 Peckham St., Buffalo

  4. Gene McCarthy’s

    My tough Irish grandmother wore out the same McCarthy’s barstools when she was my age, and I imagine this bar feeling much the same as it did then. Even as it’s evolved with the times—McCarthy’s is now a craft brewery with the best beer garden in town—it is still a working man’s tavern in the shadow of the grain elevators. The best Buffalo wings in town? Quite possibly.

    73 Hamburg St., Buffalo

  5. Rohall’s Corner

    This Black Rock tavern is a museum-piece of the Streamline Moderne Style of the 1940s. The sweeping curves of the bar, ceiling, and even the lit glass block entryway communicate a city on the move. Few places are friendlier as a neighborhood gathering spot.

    540 Amherst St., Buffalo

Born and raised in Buffalo, Marcene Robinson is inspired by what the city was and motivated by its potential. He supports his community the only way he knows how – by sharing the stories of the great people who make up this city.

  1. Tappo

    Serving Italian fare, Tappo’s lunch menu offers a range of salads, soups, sandwiches and pasta dishes. Did I mention that a bottle of wine begins at $16? It’s five o’clock somewhere!

    338 Ellicott St.

  2. Tom’s Restaurant

    The chicken souvlaki is always char-grilled to perfection and the Greek salad is a crispy delight. But the standout here is the Greek potatoes. Seasoned with lemon, oregano, sea salt and olive oil, they provided a light zest and became more refreshing with each bite.

    3221 Sheridan Dr.

  3. Lloyd Taco Factory

    You no longer have to track down a food truck to get your Lloyd fix. Lloyd Taco Factory offers all of your specialty taco and burrito favorites with a few tasty additions.

    1503 Hertel Ave.

  4. Roost

    Roost changes its menu every few weeks, ensuring a fresh experience each time you arrive. And their brunches have an ardent local following.

    1502 Niagara St.

  5. Miss Hot Café

    A hidden gem tucked away in Amherst, Miss Hot Café offers guests the opportunity to experience the rich – and spicy – flavors of authentic Chinese cuisine.

    3311 Sheridan Dr.