Where To Eat & Stay In Saratoga SpringsFried chicken and biscuits, cinnamon rolls, pork belly ramen and more.
Upstate New York’s “Spa City” has always been known for The Three H’s (a thing we just made up): history, healing mineral waters, and the horse racing track, which is why the population doubles for eight weeks every summer. In the last decade, the food scene has blown up as well, making Saratoga a notable destination for people who just really like to eat, drink, and have a good time.
As a solid home base for exploring both the Catskills and the increasingly popular Adirondack Park, it’s really no surprise that great restaurants have become more of a thing in Saratoga Springs. Once relatively under the radar, more and more people are becoming privy to the fact that this is a destination for everything from culture and history provided by the natural springs, Saratoga Battlefield Park, and live music, to outdoor adventures and excellent food. It doesn’t hurt that it’s a straight, three hour shot from Manhattan, either. You’ll find everything from killer sushi to crunchy fried chicken, with a whole bunch more in between. And, when you’ve had your fill, sleep it off at one of the hotels we’ve included as well.
NEW & NOTEWORTHY
There’s not a bad seat in the house at The District, one of Saratoga’s newest restaurants. Snag a table on the patio for a Sunday brunch of chicken and waffles or milk bread french toast, or grab one inside for a birthday dinner and order things like their signature juicy chicken breast with couscous, beets, and apricots and the tender strip steak with salsa verde. Whenever you’re here though, definitely order the double patty burger with shredded lettuce, onion, American cheese, topped with some kind of thousand island-esque dressing sans the relish that’s been occupying our thoughts nonstop since we tasted it.
Rhea is all about creative ramen combinations and cocktails and beer to go with it. There’s a citrusy yuzu gin and tonic that pairs perfectly with the pork belly ramen, and for something you won’t find at most ramen joints, try the delicious birra ramen topped with a cheesy tortilla. They have a sizable 40-seat bar, which works great for a solo meal, or grab one of the cozy booths for a date night that involves a lot of broth sipping. Don’t skip the crispy fried shrimp or one of the bao buns from the appetizer section either.
Bocage is the closest you’re going to get to France in Saratoga, as you can order oysters and charcuterie boards, hang out in an airy, white-washed space, and drink some champagne or a wine from the Loire Valley under the crystallized chandeliers. The small bar fills up with late afternoon and early evening groups looking to catch up over a bottle of rose, romantic duos on a date, or solo drinkers interested in learning about wine varieties just as much as drinking them. And if you end up here not in the mood for a drink made from grapes, you’re still in excellent hands if you order an Old Fashioned or a negroni.
DON'T MISS CLASSICS
While Hattie’s has been the place in town for Southern food since they opened in 1938, they might be equally known for the lively gatherings that happen on their patio after days at the horse-racing track. Even if you’re not in town for the ponies, you can dine in the original front room, which hasn’t changed much since its origins, with old photographs adorning the walls above casual checkered tablecloths, or head to the back bar where fake moss dangles from the ceiling. The menu includes classics like hush puppies, peel-and-eat shrimp, and gumbo, but you absolutely must order the fried chicken and a homemade biscuit. Add on some sides, like the mashed potatoes and cajun coleslaw, and consider getting your chicken “Nashville hot,” which has just enough heat to please spice-lovers without making you full-on sweat. And if you’re here for brunch, the Bloody Mary is one of the best in town.
After moving a few buildings down and reopening with a new rooftop bar in 2018, this perpetually busy Mexican spot is better than ever. Sidle up to the bar for their weekday Happy Hour to take advantage of their two-for-one margaritas and $5 bar snacks like queso fundido and warm, housemade tortilla chips. The extensive menu has something for everyone, but we especially like the tacos. Order the baja fish, carne asada, or any of the other six options, and they’ll come out in trios on corn tortillas. It’s the kind of spot that’s perfect for any occasion; family dinner, catching up with friends, or celebrating the fact that you finally booked that Mexican vacation.
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This tapas bar is pretty versatile. You could people watch on their Broadway-facing patio, hang out at the bar on a date, or grab one of the cozy tables and gossip with a few friends. There’s a nice wine list that hits a bunch of price points, including sections devoted to Priorat, a region in Catalonia, and Tempranillo. Go heavy on tapas like the stuffed dates, pork belly, ham croquettes, and garlic shrimp, order some meat and cheese platters, and don’t miss the gigantic paella mixta if you need something more filling.
A former plumbing supply store isn’t the first place that comes to mind for date night. But this corner plot on Caroline Street has all the makings of a romantic spot: the old brick building feels like a two-room speakeasy hidden in plain sight, with one space where you can watch the busy bar, and another looking into the bustling kitchen. There are plenty of delicious mocktails and cocktails (try the new Unlikely Pear, where blended scotch, grapefruit, bitters, and egg white are mixed to enhance the pear brandy), and the food menu is packed with seasonal dishes and highlights like the farm sourced squash and parsnips, or the autumn staple, cider-battered cheese curds. Go for duck-fat french fries, anything involving heirloom tomatoes, and entrees like the grass-fed burger and the NY strip steak. Something else we love about Hamlet & Ghost: whenever it’s raining, they take $2 off their dark and stormy cocktails, and if it’s snowing, they’ll take $2 off a hot toddy at the bar.
The menu is always changing at Osteria Danny, but everything coming out of the kitchen is a prime example of why keeping things simple isn’t so bad after all. You’ll find plates of burrata and prosciutto and a classic caesar salad, but we tend to prioritize the pastas and entrees. Go for the fresh, homemade egg fettuccine with pistachio pesto and “Shrimp The Way My Father Liked It” with shrimp cooked in a tomato-based sauce, served over lemon risotto. While we love this spot for date night or a work dinner, Osteria Danny is really a place where you could easily come back every night of the week and not get bored.
Sweet Mimi’s usually has a line from first thing in the morning, but this is a line you should absolutely be standing in. Whether you stop in for weekend-only cinnamon rolls or still-warm scones to take back to your Airbnb, or stick around in the bright dining room for brunch dishes like lemon ricotta pancakes, you won’t be disappointed. For our money, the best move is to get a table, order a breakfast dish like the Roman Eggs with prosciutto, asparagus, and ciabatta, and grab a fresh oatmeal cookie sandwich or a slab of pumpkin bread on your way out.
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While they’re known for their locally sourced ingredients, the sourdough crust is what sets the pizzas apart at 9 Miles East Farm. What started as a pizza delivery service has evolved into a brick and mortar shop, where the menu also includes very good, kind-of-healthy options like salmon, vegetable egg bowls, and salads. Going for dinner will give you the widest array of options—try the chimichurri skirt steak over seasonal vegetables, the barnyard pizza with local mozzarella and sausage, and the simple salad with local baby greens. There are few things better than having their Farmhouse Pizzas and a local beer from Common Roots or Northway Brewing Company at one of the patio tables when it’s nice out.
WHERE TO HAVE A DRINK
This brewery is constantly busy, with an often packed taproom and plenty of people hanging out on their sprawling patio next to the tableside heat lamps. The taps flow with everything from their craft IPAs to golden ales and sours, and when it’s time for something to eat (we’d estimate that’s after your third beer), there’s all kinds of drinking-friendly food on offer, like Bavarian-style soft soft pretzels with beer cheese dip, a loaded grilled-cheese sandwich stuffed with pulled chicken and bacon, and macaroni and cheese served in a hot skillet. You might even catch some live music on their patio if you stick around long enough.
We used to think of Henry Street Taproom as one of Saratoga’s best-kept secrets, but pretty much everybody hangs out here now. Don’t let that discourage you—there are plenty of great craft beers, the bartenders are friendly, the food options are always solid, and you can even play shuffleboard. Their chalkboard menu changes daily, with different salads, pizzas, and oysters, but we love the regular menu staples like the duck wings, fried chicken sandwiches, or the light and crisp fish and chips.
Inside the Adelphi Hotel, Morrissey’s Lounge & Bistro does cocktails and a full food menu in a swanky setting with leather seats and framed vintage photographs without feeling stuffy. Which all seems pretty standard for a hotel restaurant. What isn’t at all standard is the entire menu of fresh sushi, which is absolutely the thing to order. Everything is fantastic, especially the Adelphi Maki roll with crispy spicy tuna, cucumber, and avocado topped with both spicy and wasabi mayos and tempura flakes. You should probably make a reservation, though you’ll have luck during off-peak times later in the afternoon before the dinner rush, or Monday nights when there’s live music. Or, come for the very good brunch, with dishes like maple-glazed bacon, lobster dumplings, and steak frites.
The Adelphi Hotel
The lobby of the Adelphi Hotel feels like stepping back into the Victorian heyday of the 1870s. It was renovated back in 2017 and remains a historic landmark with a very elegant staircase. The hotel is right on Broadway, the main drag through downtown Saratoga, so you’ll be super centrally located. Highlights of some rooms include soaking tubs, rainfall showers, private terraces, and views overlooking Broadway so you can people-watch from your window.
Situated on northern Broadway near the City Center, the Saratoga Arms is a family-run boutique hotel in a late 1800s building with a wonderful front porch, where you should sit with a morning coffee or an evening drink and watch the world go by. A complimentary breakfast is a welcome bonus so you can fuel up before heading out to see what Saratoga is all about, whether it be the trails in Saratoga Spa State Park, sampling the different mineral water springs, or catching live music at the famous Caffe Lena.
Bluebird Spa City Motor Lodge
The Bluebird Spa City Motor Lodge is a revamped old motor lodge motel that’s within walking distance to downtown Saratoga. It’s also one of the most affordable lodging options in town, with rates that hover around $140 a night. Highlights include coffee on tap in the massive common area and complimentary bikes that you can rent and use to cycle around town. All the rooms are pet-friendly and some even have balconies.