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Cafe Capriccio tops with some of the best Italian in the Capital Region

Ever since moving Upstate, I’ve been scoping out local Italian restaurants. I’ve found plenty of delicious little gems in the area, and even some popular well-known restaurants. Ultimately, I was looking for something that reminded me of home.

Growing up in an Italian family, every birthday, holiday, etc. consisted of various Italian foods and places. I’ve had my fair share. What always stuck out the most was the ambiance. The old school, wood grain, dark, “like your grandmas” Italian restaurants always scored an extra point in my book. My family would always go to Mulberry Street in NYC and always steered towards the smaller, less recognized restaurants. And I can tell you, they always had the best food.

Last night, my fiancé and I decided to make a reservation at Cafe Capriccio in Albany. I’ve heard only great things about the restaurant, family, and employees. It’s tucked away, sort of hidden on a small strip of housing on Grand St. The dining room lays on the ground floor, which gives it these awesome “speak-easy” and old school Italian restaurant vibes I’ve been looking for. We were immediately greeted and sat within walking in.

To start, I ordered the House Pinot, which was absolutely fabulous. The bread was soft, crusty, hearty and delicious. The house olive oil on the table and balsamic were the perfect pairing for the bread. We might’ve ate the whole entire half loaf and easily eaten another one. Our appetizer was the sea scallop ceviche. This is something I’ve never had. Classic Mexican style ceviche with lots of lime and cilantro, yes… sea scallop ceviche with a citrus fennel slaw, red pepper, arugula, and onion, it was a first. I loved it. The peppery arugula was perfect with the delicate sweet scallop. The pepper and onion balanced out the citrus and fennel perfectly. I absolutely loved it.

The main star by far though, was my entree. I ordered the Sliced Steak served over Gorgonzola and arugula gnocchi. Topped with sautéed mushrooms and balsamic reduction. It was absolutely amazing. The steak was cooked a perfect medium rare, the gorgonzola cream sauce was delicious, and the gnocchi was clearly fresh made. My fiancé ordered the lump crab risotto and loved it as well. I ordered a second glass of wine, this time a cab and it was great. A perfect pair with the sliced steak entree.

To finish off the night, we had the cold brew coffee gelato and tiramisu. They both hit the spot and were great. From the attentive and friendly staff, to the food, and packed restaurant on a Monday night, I just wanted to shoutout this gem. Thank you for the hospitality and a delicious meal.

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Best Breakfast in a College Town

Throughout my time at SUNY Albany, one place we always visited for breakfast was Cafe Madison. Once you step in, you’ll know why they have some of the best breakfast in the Capital Region. The decor is cute, the place is cozy and the lines are always long. Prior to the pandemic, you used to be able to get on the waitlist using the Yelp app — but it looks like they weren’t doing that this time around.

My guest and I arrived around 9:30am. We had the option to sit outside on their extended large patio in the front, or inside. It was a bit chilly so we chose inside. There was only about a 15 minute wait, which is usually unheard of for Cafe Madison on a Saturday morning. We were seated promptly and our waitress came over for our drink orders right away.

We both started with the pumpkin chai (pumpkin pie liquer, spiced rum, captain morgan, chai) which was warm, perfectly sweet, and definitely boozy. It was fabulous. After a long, invested, and thoughtful look over the menu, after debating with ourselves for a while, we FINALLY chose what to order. Although their mac daddy french toast (APPLE CIDER DONUTS, woah) did sound incredibly intriguing, we both ordered omelets since we were heading to Darling Doughnuts in Saratoga afterwards. Our choice was the Farmers Omelet. Pro Tip: Add cream cheese to your omelet. 

The omelet was perfectly cooked and loaded with cheese, potatoes, Canadian bacon, onion and tomato. It was filling but also light at the same time. Let’s talk about their bread… oh my gosh. The dill onion has always been my favorite. It’s always so perfect and it’s made in house. The potatoes are also made in house and loaded with an herb and garlic seasoning. They’ve always been a hit for us.

Our second cocktail, yes let us live our lives, was the hot spiked apple cider. Need I say more? It was the perfect sip of fall in a cup.

Overall, our experience was perfect. Our waitress was attentive, the environment was warm and inviting, and the food was nothing less but perfect.

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Best BBQ in the Capital District and Surroundings

Once of the most asked questions in the foodies group is “where is the best BBQ?”. Each BBQ place in the Capital Region is different in their own way. Whether it’s Texas-Style, Kansas City-Style or Memphis-Style BBQ, each BBQ restaurants offers different menu items. Our team of 6 moderators decided to get together and have a fun little competition. We decided to order: ribs, brisket, potato salad and mac and cheese from these establishments. Our participants were: Rollin’ Smoke Handcrafted BBQ, Iron Works Grille, Memphis King BBQ, Miller’s Backyard BBQ, Pig Pit BBQ, Wagon Train BBQ, PJ’s BAR-B-QSA, and Curvy Girls Catering.

We administered a blind taste test from each establishment and ranked each category 1-10. Of course, each is personal preference as is any taste test.

Here are the results:

  • BEST BRISKET: Rollin’ Smoke BBQ

  • BEST RIBS: Rollin’ Smoke Handcrafted BBQ & Iron Works Grille Tied for First!

  • BEST MAC & CHEESE: Miller’s Backyard BBQ

  • BEST POTATO SALAD: Miller’s Backyard BBQ

After tallying all the points per category and averaging them, it resulted in the top 3 overall winners.

1st Place: Miller’s Backyard BBQ

2nd Place: Rollin’ Smoke Handcrafted BBQ

3rd Place: Iron Works Grille

Thank you all for participating. There were no losers here, we enjoyed each and every place thoroughly. I want to give a huge shoutout to Iron Works Grille in Troy on Campbell Rd, they’ve only been open 3 weeks and they killed it! The potato salad was amazing, and came in so close at 2nd place.

We look forward to our next competition!

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Takeout & Delivery List in the 518 during Coronavirus Pandemic: Stay Safe!

Please view the list below of restaurants open for takeout and delivery in the 518. (D) indicates delivery option. This list will be regularly updated. Please comment on our Facebook group post with updates or comment below. Thank you all!

 

List of Restaurants Offering Delivery & Takeout:

(D) - Delivery

** Please comments edits and additions.

  • Cuckoo’s Nest - Albany (D)

  • Margarita City - Albany (D)

  • Bountiful Bread - Albany (D)

  • 677 Prime - Albany

  • El Mariachi - Albany (D)

  • Ama Cocina - Albany (D)

  • Risotto - Albany (D)

  • New World Bistro - Albany

  • Barcelona - Albany (D)

  • Grappa 72 - Albany

  • El Charro - Albany

  • Juniors - Albany (D)

  • Albany Ale & Oyster - Albany

  • Spinners - Albany (D)

  • The Madison Theatre (D)

  • The Poke Bar - Albany (D)

  • d’Raymonds - Albany (D)

  • Lynn’s Uptown Tavern - Albany (D)

  • CH Evans Brewing Pump Station - Albany (D)

  • Swifty’s - Albany (D)

  • Ship’s Pub - Albany (D)

  • Cafe Italia - Albany

  • TJ's Cafe - Albany (D)

  • Stickies - Albany (D)

  • Pearl Street Pub - Albany (D)

  • Molly O'Bryans - Albany

  • Chicken Joes - Albany (D)

  • Iron Gate Cafe - Albany

  • Ralph's - Albany (D)

  • Graney’s - Albany (D)

  • The Healing Meals - Albany (D)

  • Savoy Taproom - Albany

  • Capital City Diner - Albany

  • Crave Burgers - Albany (D)

  • Pearl St. Diner - Albany

  • Miranda's - Albany

  • Dan's Place 2 - Albany (D)

  • Berben and Wolff's - Albany (D)

  • Nicole's Restaurant - Albany (D)

  • Tipsy Moose - Albany

  • Towne Tavern - Averill Park

  • Lakeview On Crystal Lake - Averill Park (D)

  • AJ's Pizza - Averill Park (D)

  • Carney’s Tavern - Ballston Lake (D)

  • Mom & Pops Cafe - Ballston Spa

  • The Ripe Tomato - Ballston Spa (D)

  • Brickyard - Ballston Spa

  • Front Street Social Club - Ballston Spa (D)

  • The Factory Eatery - Ballston Spa (D)

  • Nomad Coffee & Crepes - Ballston Spa (D)

  • Ribbon Cafe - Ballston Spa (D)

  • Front St Deli - Ballston Spa (D)

  • Henry's Tavern - Ballston Spa (D)

  • Augie’s - Ballston Spa

  • Fox Creek Market - Berne

  • Pizza Supreme - Broadalbin

  • Stella Pasta Bar - Burnt Hills

  • Burnt Hills Café - Burnt Hills

  • Iroquois Lanes - Canajoharie

  • Crisp Cannoli - Castleton-on-Hudson

  • 394 Main - Catskill (D)

  • Chatham Brewing - Chatham (D)

  • Jackson's Old Chatham House - Chatham (D)

  • Lagonia's - Chatham (D)

  • Crowing Hen Cafe - Clarksville (D)

  • Wheatfields - Clifton Park

  • Primavera Pizza - Clifton Park (D)

  • West End Bagels - Clifton Park

  • Caputo's - Clifton Park (D)

  • MochaLisa's Caffé - Clifton Park (D)

  • Bellini’s - Clifton Park (D)

  • 30 Park - Clifton Park

  • Sushi Thai - Clifton Park (D)

  • Ravenswood Pub - Clifton Park (D)

  • Yanni Too's - Coeymans

  • Delmonico’s - Colonie (D)

  • Buca di Beppo - Colonie (D)

  • Sarabella Pizza - Colonie (D)

  • BJ’s Brewhouse - Colonie

  • The Bread Butler - Colonie (D) Up to 15 Miles

  • Blessings Tavern - Colonie (D)

  • Little Anthonys - Colonie (D) Vegan Options

  • Demarcos - Colonie (D)

  • TORO Cantina - Colonie

  • Bourbon St. - Colonie (D)

  • Sweet Willy's - Colonie (D)

  • Babe’s Cafe - Cohoes

  • Smith’s - Cohoes

  • Bill’s Restaurant - Cohoes

  • Cafe Monocle - Cohoes

  • Max 410 - Cohoes

  • Table 41 Brewing - Cohoes

  • Tugboat Tavern - Cohoes

  • Uncle John’s Diner - Cohoes

  • Cake Street Sweets - Cohoes

  • Anthony’s - Cohoes

  • Caskade - Cohoes

  • D&L Hospitality - Cohoes

  • Donnie Magoo’s - Cohoes

  • Joe’s Tavern - Cohoes

  • Signal 30 BBQ - Cohoes

  • Spindles Wine Bar - Cohoes

  • Yuan Sushi - Cohoes

  • China One - Cohoes

  • Cohoes House of Pizza - Cohoes

  • Lucky House - Cohoes

  • Mick’s Pizza - Cohoes

  • Pig Pit BBQ - Cohoes

  • Pizza Stop - Cohoes

  • Pop’s Pizza - Cohoes

  • Sub Stop - Cohoes

  • Subs-Ta-Toot - Cohoes

  • Four Corners - Delmar

  • Perfect Blend - Delmar

  • Shogun Sushi - Delmar (D)

  • Swifty's - Delmar (D)

  • Delmar Bistro - Delmar (D)

  • Los Panchos - Delmar (D)

  • My Place & Co. - Delmar (D)

  • Chongtong Thai - Delmar (D)

  • Jonathan's - Duanesburg

  • Maple on the Lake - East Berne

  • Track 32 - Feura Bush (D)

  • Juniors - East Greenbush (D)

  • The Chuck Wagon - East Nassau

  • Cock N Bull - Galway (D)

  • Radici Kitchen & Bar - Glens Falls

  • Romo’s Pizza - Glenmont

  • Angela's Pizza & Pasta - Glenmont (D)

  • Akira - Glenmont (D)

  • Taj Fine Indian Cuisine - Glenmont

  • TJ’s Flightline - Glenville (D)

  • Athos - Guilderland (D)

  • Cafe Calabria - Guilderland (D)

  • Via Fresca - Guilderland (D)

  • Pizza Gram - Guilderland (D)

  • Reddy's Deli - Guilderland (D)

  • Tesoro - Guilderland

  • Hana - Guilderland

  • Orchard Tavern West - Guilderland

  • Rollin’ Smoke BBQ - Halfmoon

  • Halfmoon Sandwich - Halfmoon (D)

  • Oh! Corn Arepas - Halfmoon

  • Powers Inn & Pub - Halfmoon (D)

  • Union Hall - Johnstown

  • Township Tavern - Knox

  • JJ Rafferty’s - Latham

  • El Charro - Latham

  • Scarbouroughs - Latham (D)

  • Tipsy Moose - Latham (D)

  • Bellini's Counter - Latham (D)

  • Philly - Latham (D)

  • Latham 76 Diner - Latham (D)

  • On the Hill Cafe - Latham (D)

  • Otis & Oliver’s - Latham (D)

  • Taste of Italy - Latham (D)

  • Century House - Latham (D)

  • Lanie’s - Latham (D)

  • Vincenzo’s - Malta (D)

  • Andy’s Adirondack Grill - Malta (D)

  • Nana and Pop’s - Mayfield

  • Mayfield Grill - Mayfield (D)

  • Ugly Rooster - Mechanicville (D)

  • Inferno Pizza - Niskayuna (D)

  • Uncle Rico's Pizza - Niskayuna (D)

  • Silverspoon Cafe - Ravena (D)

  • Illusive - Rensselaer

  • Jimmy Casey's - Rensselaer

  • Salsbury Place - Rensselaer

  • Cusato’s - Rotterdam

  • Whisky Business Bakery - Rotterdam

  • Tops - Rotterdamn (D)

  • Center Stage Deli - Rotterdam (D)

  • River Road House - Rotterdam

  • Maxon's - Rotterdam

  • Hattie’s Chicken Shack - Saratoga

  • The Hideaway - Saratoga (D)

  • Taverna Novo - Saratoga (D)

  • Solevo - Saratoga (D)

  • PJ's BAR-B-QSA - Saratoga

  • Nostalgia Ale House - Saratoga Lake (D)

  • Amigos Cantina - Saratoga

  • Four Seasons Natural Foods - Saratoga

  • Wine and Dine on 29 - Saratoga

  • Sperry’s - Saratoga

  • Prime at Saratoga National - Saratoga

  • Hattie’s Restaurant - Saratoga

  • Salt & Char - Saratoga

  • Morrissey’s - Saratoga

  • Blue Hen - Saratoga

  • Saratoga Casino - Saratoga

  • 30 Lake - Saratoga

  • Panza’s Restaurant - Saratoga

  • Longfellows Restaurant - Saratoga

  • The Saratoga City Tavern

  • Coffee Planet - Saratoga

  • Full Course Restaurant at Brookhaven Golf Course - Saratoga

  • Mama Mia's Restaurant - Saratoga

  • Taquero - Saratoga (D)

  • D'Andrea's - Saratoga (D)

  • Clark's Steakhouse - Saratoga (D)

  • 13 North Restaurant - Saratoga (D)

  • Karavalli Restaurant - Saratoga (D)

  • Peabody's - Saratoga (D)

  • The Wine Bar - Saratoga (D)

  • Three Vines Bistro - Saratoga (D)

  • BurgerFi - Saratoga (D)

  • Phila Fusion - Saratoga (D)

  • Palette Cafe - Saratoga (D)

  • Pizza 7 - Saratoga (D)

  • The Local Pub and Teahouse - Saratoga (D)

  • Spot Coffee - Saratoga (D)

  • Ravenous - Saratoga (D)

  • Saratoga Broadway Deli - Saratoga (D)

  • Eddie F’s - Saratoga (D)

  • Spa Café - Saratoga (D)

  • Tatu - Saratoga (D)

  • Bubbles Restaurant - Saratoga (D)

  • Wheatfields - Saratoga (D)

  • BWP - Saratoga (D)

  • 2 West Bar + Grille - Saratoga (D)

  • Uptown Café - Saratoga (D)

  • Jacob & Anthony’s - Saratoga (D)

  • Putnam Market - Saratoga (D)

  • Forno Bistro - Saratoga

  • Hamlet & Ghost - Saratoga

  • Fat Paulie's - Saratoga (D)

  • Nostalgia Ale House - Saratoga (D)

  • Malcoms's - Schenectady

  • Manhattan Exchange - Schenectady

  • Bowled - Schenectady

  • Hunters on Jay - Schenectady

  • Gershon’s - Schenectady (D)

  • Maria's Cafe & Catering - Schenectady (D)

  • Our Original Pizzeria - Schenectady (D)

  • 20 North Broadway - Schenectady

  • Combo's Fish Fry - Schenectady

  • Homestyle - Schenectady (D)

  • Katie O’Byrnes - Schenectady (D)

  • Canali’s - Schenectady

  • Prima Pizzeria - Schenectady (D)

  • Backstage Pub - - Schenectady

  • Broadway Joes - Schenectady (D)

  • Celadon Thai Bistro - Schenectady (D)

  • True Juice Cafe - Schenectady (D)

  • Wagon Train BBQ - Schenectady (D)

  • Dave's Gourmet Burgers - Schenectady (D)

  • Mad Jack - Schenectady

  • City Squire - Schenectady (D)

  • Druthers - Schenectady (D)

  • D’Angelo’s - Schenectady

  • Tops - Schenectady (D)

  • Union Cafe - Schenectady (D)

  • RAW Juice Bar - Schenectady (D)

  • Ferrari's - Schenectady (D)

  • Lorenzo’s Cafe - Schenectady

  • Tara Kitchen - Schenectady (D)

  • Perecca’s - Schenectady

  • Luca's - Schenectady (D)

  • Johnny's - Schenectady (D)

  • Marino's - Schenectady (D)

  • Puzzles Cafe - Schenectady (D)

  • Ambition Coffee & Eatery - Schenectady (D)

  • Water’s Edge Lighthouse - Schenectady (D)

  • Pinhead Susans - Schenectady (D)

  • Memphis King - Schenectady (D)

  • Mohawk Taproom - Schenectady

  • Apple Barrel - Schoharie

  • J&T'S Family Cafe - Scotia (D)

  • DeMarcos Rt 5 - Scotia (D)

  • Viscos Pizza - Scotia (D)

  • Midway Cafe, call for take-out - Selkirk (D)

  • R Pizza House - Selkirk (D)

  • Roux - Slingerlands (D)

  • Tomo Asian Bistro - Slingerlands (D)

  • Emma Cleary's Cafe - Slingerlands

  • Norte Azul Cantina - Stephentown

  • Red Front - Troy (D)

  • Benevento's - Schenectady (D)

  • Bombers - Schenectady (D)

  • Tara Kitchen - Troy (D)

  • Tipsy Moose - Troy (D)

  • Nighthawks - Troy (D)

  • K-Plate - Troy (D)

  • Notty Pine Tavern - Troy (D)

  • Lo Portos - Troy

  • Burrito Burrito - Troy

  • Bootleggers - Troy (D)

  • Big Bellies - Troy (D)

  • Chicken Joes - Troy (D)

  • Rustic Barn Pub - Troy (D)

  • Brown’s Brewing Co. - Troy

  • Arsenal City Tavern - Watervliet (D)

  • Route 20 Cafe - Westmere (D)

  • Shell Inn - Westerlo

  • Vince Anna's - Westerlo

  • P&L Deli - Westerlo

  • D'Andreas - Wilton (D)

  • La Bella - Wynantskill (D)

  • Eadilyn's Table - Wynantskill

  • Paolo Lombardi’s - Wynantskill (D)

  • Detox Box Delivered - Delivery Only, All of NY

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Pay Backstage Pub a visit.

On my quest to find the best pub style food in the 518, I stumbled across Backstage Pub. Right across the street from the Proctors parking lot lies this little bar. I’ve heard it was under new ownership and have heard only great things, so we needed to check it out. Make sure to park on the street, or in the Proctor’s lot if there’s no show going on - the lot the bar sits in is reserved and you will get towed.

Parking was easy on a Friday night in late November, we parked right across the street. The bar was steadily busy, with the stools filled and a few couples at the bar top tables. It looks like they had an extra seating area as we walked in. We sat down immediately and the waitress brought over 2 menus.

The beer list was great with plenty of variety and local brew options. We enjoyed a Sloop Brewing Co. Sour and a Wolf Hollow Oktoberfest. The music was great, the ambiance was nice and rustic, and the staff was wonderful. Our waitress was very attentive through the whole experience.

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To start, the menu is very small. We were a bit surprised, but it could also be good because the smaller the menu, the more focus on those specific items. We started with the Open Faced Jalapeños (Jalapeños with a cheese blend topped with smoked paprika) - they were great. They were missing some sort of fried component and texture, but the flavor was definitely there. I would definitely try the deviled eggs next time, because the flavors change daily.

Since it was Friday, they had a Friday Fish Fry as a special with homemade tartar sauce. I never say no to a good fish fry. And just that it was, crispy and delicious. They used Panko bread crumbs instead of the classic wet batter. The fish was cooked perfect, the breadcrumbs were seasoned well and the tartar was delicious. The panko really made such a difference and was very unique to other fish fries. It added a wonderful textural element that made me eat every last bite. The fries were definitely fresh cut, and fried to order. And the coleslaw - LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THAT COLESLAW - amazing. It was like blue cheese dressing meets shredded cabbage. Definitely craveable.

My dinner guest ordered the fried chicken sandwich topped with housemade coleslaw. Pick your sauce:
Bacon Jam, Charred-Pineapple Habanero, Teriyaki, Garlic-Parm, Honey Sriracha, Chipotle Lime, Mild, Medium, Hot, Extra Hot. He ordered the chipotle aioli, which I don’t see listed above, but he loved it. It was easily one of the best fried chicken sandwiches he’s ever had. The chicken was crispy and brown, yet juicy and tender. The bun was sweet and toasted. We both finished every last bite of our meals.

Overall, our experience was wonderful. The ambiance was comforting, the owner walked around and made sure everyone was enjoying their meals. They really care about what they’re doing and the food they’re putting out to customers. It shows through the taste and the customer service. This will definitely not be our last time at Backstage Pub. Keep up the good work and awesome food.

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Hunters on Jay is a hidden gem on Jay St.

I recently put out a post on the group 518 Foodies asking for recommendations because I was craving some good pub food. With many recommendations, we decided to stop at Hunters on Jay. Just a short drive from the famous 20 North on Broadway, Hunters sits just near the dead end next to Civitello’s. The only parking it street parking, but it was pretty dead at night.

We walked in and the place was pretty small, definitely a dive bar. We sat at the table across from the bar and were thoroughly impressed by their craft beer list. With over 20 drafts to choose from, there was an option for everyone. There was a variety of IPA’s, ales, stouts - lots from local breweries. The bartenders were welcoming and personable. Your immediate thought was if you were getting served by a friend. The beer was nice and cold.

For dinner we decided on the bacon cheeseburger and reuben. I’m not the biggest fan of thousand island dressing so I ordered mine with blue cheese instead. If you haven’t tried it, I definitely recommend - it’s a game changer. It was absolutely delicious. The bread was perfectly toasted, the corned beef was tender and the dressing was great. It was packed with flavor and definitely one of the best I’ve had, even the fries were great.

My dinner guest ordered the bacon cheeseburger and it was absolutely perfect. The bacon was crispy, the burger was cooked exactly to his liking and was extremely juicy and flavorful. The meat was seasoned very very well. And the fries… well I could eat a whole basket of those.

This is definitely not what he expected, it was so much better. The crowd seemed to be regulars, but in the best way possible. Everything about this place was inviting from the staff to the patrons. If you’re ever in the area, we definitely recommend stopping by. This dive bar has great food, great beers and great people. Tell them you saw them on 518 Foodies.

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