The Best Restaurants In Troy, New York

Hot dogs, pit-smoked chicken wings, and more things to eat in Troy.
The Best Restaurants In Troy, New York image

photo credit: Kate Previte

If you want some of the best food in Upstate New York, head north of the Hudson Valley and plan a long weekend in Troy. Located just outside of Albany, it has everything from farm-to-table Korean food to destination-worthy hot dogs. Troy is also home to two colleges, a historic district with some seriously pretty architecture, and tons of nearby outdoorsy things to do. These are some of our favorite places to eat in The Collar City.


photo credit: Kate Previte


$$$$Perfect For:BreakfastLunchCasual Weeknight DinnerLiterally Everyone
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You can find some of the best diner-style cooking in the entire state of New York at Naughter’s. Try to snag the vinyl booth next to a stack of classic rock cassette tapes, and settle in for a meal that you’re going to be thinking about long after you’ve left the Capital Region. We can’t stop thinking about their chopped cheese and the vegan Industry Eggplant sandwich, the latter of which comes with a garlicky aioli as well as roasted and pickled peppers. If something gets served with a side of mac and cheese, get it, because theirs is made with orecchiette and finished on the flat top, which results in some delightful crispy bits. As with any diner, breakfast here is always a good idea.

The birria tacos at La Capital, located in a former cab stand downtown, are some of the best you can have anywhere—and that includes Mexico and Los Angeles. The graffiti-covered interior is a nice place to sit and have a moment with a cup of consommé that will live rent-free in your brain forever. Don’t be afraid to branch out from birria, either. The vegetable calabacitas filling is great, and their chorizo quesadilla has a thick layer of oaxaca cheese.

Most of the produce used at Sunhee’s comes from the owner’s parents’ farm nearby, and everything on the menu is great—but the kimbap, kimchi jjigae, and spicy pork rice bowls are particularly good. Sunhee’s is a cornerstone of the community in Troy, providing English classes and job assistance to local immigrant communities. The farm also uses scrap from the restaurant for compost and animal feed. Basically, you’re going to leave here feeling like you did something good for the world just by having an excellent lunch.

DeFazio’s has been a staple of Troy’s dining scene since 1951, and the first thing you should know is that if you want a pizza on Saturday, you need to order it on Friday afternoon. That’s because they will almost definitely be sold out by Saturday morning. Their wood-fired pies have a uniquely thick, almost bread-like crust, plus an ample helping of cheese and some interesting toppings, like a General Tso’s Chicken option, and a specialty pie that swaps typical red sauce for bolognese. Their pasta dishes are also excellent, but the real star of the show here is the Italian Hangover Cake, which is heavy on boozy, citrusy flavors. Order it at the beginning of your meal in case they run out.

Mallo’s is a lowkey sandwich shop with some cool contemporary art on the walls. Expect to find things like a deeply satisfying cauliflower reuben and an elevated take on a classic Italian combo. The best thing, though, is unquestionably their onion rings—the onions are lightly pickled and the batter is perfectly crisp. Make liberal use of the accompanying buttermilk ranch, and save room for a slice of cake from Rage Cakes in Albany for dessert.

Tara Kitchen serves Moroccan food in a vibrant space that makes us want to redecorate our home. When it comes to ordering, there are no wrong answers here—everything is excellent—but order an appetizer sampler and at least one of their 11 different lamb tagines for your table. During lunch, they also make some Moroccan-inspired pita pizzas. If you can’t stop thinking about your meal here, the chef, Aneesa Waheed, also has a cookbook.

The Troy mini dog is one of the city’s claims to fame, and there are three main places where you should try them. We recommend…all of them. The rivalry between these spots is fierce, and your personal favorite will either depend on where your family ate when you were a kid, or which chili sauce you like best. Famous Lunch is a downtown spot that’s been open since 1932, and it’s hard to beat their peak nostalgia aesthetic. Grab a counter seat, get an RC Cola, and order a few mini dogs. They’re around two bites each, so let that information dictate how many you get. Their rice pudding is also very good.

The rivalry between Gus’s and Famous Lunch is the kind of thing that can divide families, so you should really visit these two back to back and let the debate start. They're technically located just across the river in Watervliet, but you can’t talk about the Troy mini dog without mentioning Gus’s. This roadside stand has a spacious outdoor seating area, and the sauce here has a bit more sweetness and heat. The Greek Lightning burger is also great, if you want to get something other than hot dogs.

Hot Dog Charlie’s is a chain with a few locations, but the one across the river in Cohoes is actually the closest to downtown Troy. The natural casing of their mini dogs has a really pleasant snap to it, and if you want a break from chili, you can also get them with a delightfully neon yellow cheese sauce. It’s also mandatory to order some curly fries and a milkshake, no matter what time of day it is—if it’s before noon, get the coffee milkshake. Hot Dog Charlie’s has the most expansive menu of the three mini-dog spots, so you can get full-sized hot dogs with or without casing, griddled burgers, clam rolls, and Italian sausage sandwiches.

Dinosaur BBQ occupies a huge waterfront space with indoor and outdoor seating, and it’s a great place for a casual group meal. Expect to find all of your favorite BBQ classics, including some extremely spicy and delicious pit-smoked chicken wings. Surprisingly, this is an ideal place to take people with dietary restrictions, too. There’s an entire section of their menu devoted to gluten-free options, and you could happily make a vegetarian-friendly meal out of a few of their fried green tomato sliders and a bunch of sides.

Little Pecks is an all-day cafe that makes great coffee and some especially good breakfast sandwiches. We’re partial to the egg and cheese, which comes with fry sauce and zucchini pickles on a fluffy biscuit, but they also make a vegan breakfast burrito that’s a great way to fuel up before a day of hiking or rock climbing at nearby Thatcher State Park. If you need something more than caffeine on a weekend morning, you can also get your coffee here with booze in it, or opt for a mimosa or a Bloody Mary.

Jacob Alejandro is a chic little coffee shop near the waterfront that makes some inventive caffeinated beverages. A good example is the Uptown Chapina, made with single-origin Guatemalan espresso, pureed tropical fruits, and Guatemalan spice syrup, served over vanilla bean and citrus ice cubes and topped with an edible flower. They rotate through 20 of these specialty drinks every year, in addition to their regular menu, which has some exciting single-origin beans, mocha lattes made with the exceptional chocolate from local bean-to-bar spot Fruition, and strawberry milk cold brew. Jacob Alejandro has a rotating selection of snacks and baked goods, too. 

This classic Italian bakery makes excellent pastries. We love all of their cannolis, but especially the ones with limoncello flavoring. They also have a few regional specialties, like the half moon (an upstate NY take on the black and white cookie) and radio bars, which are sort of like packaged snack cakes if they were made by actual bakers and not machines. We’ve never had a sweet treat we didn’t love from Bella Napoli, but the sleeper hit is actually their french dip sandwich. The roast beef is very thin, the bread is soft on the inside and crusty on the outside, and we would happily drink the jus like it was a cup of coffee.

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