Choices abound more than ever when it comes to dining out in the 716, from neighborhood joints to bistros to fine dining establishments. Whether you pay your tab with cash, credit card or Venmo, prices vary as much as the featured menus. We dug in to find some of the region’s best values ranging from casual meals to fine dining.
It’s tough to find a good burger for under $10 these days. But for $8.95, you can scarf down a mouthwatering bacon cheeseburger on kimmelweck with a side of fries at Washington Square Bar & Grill, a casual neighborhood tavern downtown.
But those aren’t the only good deals, said owner Misty Spano. For $8.25 you can get their famous beef on weck or a turkey bacon club sandwich. Specialty salads are also very popular, including a classic Cobb, Souvlaki chicken or Cajun chicken salad for $8.95. Need a break from $12 craft cockatils? Well drinks are always just $4 here.
Runner-up: On Tuesday nights at the Roycroft Inn in East Aurora, get a prime beef burger and hand-cut fries plus a pint of craft beer or glass of wine for $15—all in the beautiful site’s cozy Craftsman Lounge.
Bar apps and snacks
For tasty deals and an emphasis on authentic hickory barbecue, Al-E-Oops on Genesee Street in Lancaster is an interesting choice. Once a stagecoach stop, the eatery is known for ribs, pulled pork dishes and full dinners, but owner/chef Kevin McGowan says several evenings feature deals on other dishes.
“On Tequila Tuesday, available at our bar, we offer Buffalo shrimp or Buffalo quesadillas each for $5; and freshly prepared tacos, served with homemade cheese sauce, for just $6.”
Among the other deals: a full menu of apps like Alfredo fries—crispy spuds oozing with Alfredo sauce, topped with cheese and baked. McGowan said guests will generally mix and match the dishes and add some drinks. Margaritas are $4, and buckets of beer, which include five bottles, are $12 (domestic) and $15 (imported).
His popular Wednesday Wing Night satisfies fowl cravings at the right price. “I keep the deal straightforward—half-price wings for a single or a double serving,” McGowan said.
Runner up: In Orchard Park, Buffalo Sports Garden offers up two tacos for $4 on Tuesdays, plus daily happy hour apps until 7 p.m. (Monday-Friday) for $3 or $5, including potato skins, mozzarella wedges and more.
Three courses under $30
“People are dining out more than ever, but spending a little less,” said Mike Andrzejewski of Seabar on Ellicott Street downtown. He’s responded by offering interesting menu items—including the eatery’s signature sushi and sashimi, plus specialties like a foie gras burger or cubano sandwich—at various price points.
Andrzejewski said several courses can be had for a tab that won’t break the bank. “You can enjoy soup, a sushi roll and homemade dessert for $30,” he said.
“The diversity of our menu draws in an eclectic clientele,” Andrzejewski added. “Our regular customer base will often be Goth punks sitting next to blue-haired ladies from the suburbs—often exchanging bites—next to businessmen in suit and tie.”
Runner-up: On Tuesdays, Bonefish Grill offers a 3-course menu ranging from $16-22, which includes salad, entrée and dessert. Dinner choices include shrimp pad thai, a cold water lobster tail or a 6 oz. filet.
Fine dining favorite
Got the urge to splurge? If you enjoy fine dining with a French flair, Webster’s Bistro & Bar in North Tonawanda has earned a reputation as a special occasion destination. Owned by Barbara and Kevin Hughes, the Webster Street bistro focuses on getting the dinner-only details right.
“Guests count on exceptional service and high standards at a white tablecloth restaurant; that includes beautiful dishes in appearance and in taste,” said Barbara Hughes, describing the ambiance as “country club casual.”
Entrees are a la carte at Webster’s; filet au poivre, frenched pork chop, or duck á l’orange are all in the $30 range. With salad, soup and dessert—the 17-layer chocolate cake is among the most popular—the tab at Webster’s can top $50 a person in a hurry. That doesn’t factor in wine or cocktails.
But on Tuesdays, guests can indulge in Tuesdays for Two dinner—three courses for a total of $50. The restaurant also features Wine Wednesday with select bottles at half-off, and daily happy hour specials.
“It’s a great way to introduce guests to our restaurant, whether it’s a crepe and a cocktail or a big night celebrating a milestone.”
Runner-up: Dinner for Two at Russell’s Steaks, Chops & More, which includes a starter, side dish and entrée for $45 or $49, depending on what you order (options include filet mignon, strip steak, salmon and more).
Story topics: Food & Drink