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25 Cant-Miss Best Restaurants in Ithaca (New York)

Ithaca is known for its waterfalls, but what do you know about the restaurants in Ithaca?

Ithaca is a city in the Finger Lakes region of New York, located on Cayuga Lake.

The city has so many things to do; you never know what you’ll discover. But since we are here for restaurants to explore, then get ready to be wowed.

Ithaca is a foodie’s paradise brimming with award-winning wines, delectable local cuisine, and craft beverages.

Spend the day exploring Downtown Ithaca Commons, which features over 50 restaurants, including quaint coffee shops, upscale dining establishments, pubs, and lively dessert spots.

The city has something for everyone; whether you’re looking for a place for a dinner date, a business meeting, or just casual dining, you will love it here.

Restaurants in Ithaca

1. Red’s Place

Red's Place

The Red’s Place

Red’s place might be a good place to begin your tour of the culinary wonders of Ithaca.

It is located on Ithaca’s restaurant row, next to the Ithaca Commons.

Once you enter, you will notice that the décor is also distinctive. The bar is made of reclaimed barn wood, the lighting is mason jars, and the back of the hostess stand is a nearly 100-year-old door.

Shareable plates, flatbreads, crab cake, lamb burgers, and Cuban sandwiches are on the eclectic menu.

Red’s call’s itself “a unique dining pub.”. Many of the menu items have amusing names as well.

It all starts with Red’s creativity, with the names of their menu items, such as “Please Romaine Calm” salad, “Every day I’m Brusselin'” appetizer, and “Talk to the Ham” flatbread.

Because it is located on a main street in downtown Ithaca, parking could be a real issue during peak hours.

Dogs are welcome at the front sidewalk tables.

Address: 107 N Aurora St, Ithaca, NY 14850, United States

2. Saigon Kitchen

Saigon kitchen ithaca

The Saigon Kitchen

Saigon kitchen is a hole-in-the-wall restaurant with a relatively small space and closed seats.

This is an excellent Vietnamese restaurant in the Finger Lakes area! And, of course, one of the best restaurants in Ithaca.

The restaurant serves authentic Vietnamese, fairly large meals at very reasonable prices.

They have a diverse menu that would appeal to everyone, including good options for those on a diet.

Get the lemongrass pork vermicelli, crispy tofu, spicy jungle fried rice, and, without a doubt, the crab rangoon.

They get very busy, so plan to arrive a little earlier than your preferred seating time.

It’s important to note that it’s BYOB, so don’t hesitate to bring in a crowler or growler from one of the breweries in the area.

Furthermore, because of the popularity, you may feel rushed when eating to ensure a quick turnaround for the next group.

Address: 526 W State St, Ithaca, NY 14850, United States

3. Wegmans

Wegmans, Ithaca

The Wegmans, Ithaca

Wegmans is an award-winning supermarket with a wide variety of excellent food options.

It is an excellent place to shop for groceries and various delectable treats.

Stop by for some sushi, a hearty sandwich, a hot slice of pizza, or a nutritious salad.

Sushi, soups, salads, mac & cheese, desserts, and other restaurant favorites are also available. Stop by the onsite coffee shop to enjoy organic coffee.

Address: 500 S Meadow St, Ithaca, NY 14850, United States

4. Mercato Bar & Kitchen

Mercato Bar & Kitchen

Mercato Bar & Kitchen

Want to have an amazing date night in Ithaca? Visit Mercato.

The cozy Mercato is on Ithaca’s Restaurant Row and is a local favorite.

Mercato Bar and Kitchen feature seasonal dishes that change throughout the year, highlighting Italian flavors and cooking.

It is run by people who are passionate about food, and it shows in every detail.

The restaurant has six dog-friendly tables outside during the summer.

The main courses include grilled hanger steak, fettuccine with clams, and pork Milanese.

The drink menu includes a variety of house cocktails, beer, and a diverse wine list featuring vintages from all over Italy.

From the innovative cocktail program to the bartenders who take great pride in their work to the owner who will gladly pour you a taste of one of his new wines, you will love it here.

Heads up, meals can be expensive, but there are salads and appetizers for smaller appetites and late-night bites.

Mercato Bar and Kitchen is open seven days a week from 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm. Reservations are not accepted.

Because the restaurant does not accept reservations, it is best to arrive early—before 6:30.

Address: 108 N Aurora St, Ithaca, NY 14850, United States

5. Gola Osteria Restaurant & Catering

Gola Osteria Restaurant & Catering

Gola Osteria Restaurant & Catering

If you are passing through Ithaca and want an authentic Osteria as if you were in Italy, this is it.

Gola Osteria Restaurant & Catering is one of the best Italian restaurants in Ithaca.

Gola Osteria is tucked inside a historic Building, offering an old-world charm with antique Stickley-style furniture.

You park outside near a lovely fountain, make your way through the twists and turns of what appears to be student housing, and into a well-thought-out and appealing dining room with heavy solid farm-style wood tables.

The dining room is nicely appointed and has an enclosed patio with a view of the woods.

Gola serves modern Italian cuisine with an emphasis on imported Italian ingredients.

Furthermore, a well-curated Italian and Finger Lakes wine list and a rotating selection of both inventive and classic cocktails are available.

The dishes are also delicious, and the prices are very reasonable.

Even though the restaurant is a little difficult to find, it is still worth the effort.

Address: 115 S Quarry St, Ithaca, NY 14850, United States

6. Moosewood

Moosewood ithaca

The Moosewood Ithaca

Moosewood restaurant is one of the top restaurants in Ithaca to visit if you want vegetarian food.

Since 1973, the restaurant has served vegetarian fare, fish and shrimp, and house-made desserts and cocktails.

In fact, Moosewood is a true American classic that has remained true to its original vision and quality for nearly fifty years.

When it was founded, vegetarian food was considered “fringe.” However, Moosewood has had an impact on changing that reality and perception.

The restaurant is located in the Dewitt Mall in downtown Ithaca.

The menu changes daily; you can view the current menu on their website.

Check out the pasta; it is delicious (everyone orders it), and the curry is tasty. Broccoli with tahini is flavorful and delicious too.

The covered outdoor seating is dog-friendly and handicap accessible if you have someone else to check in with the host(ess), as you don’t have to go all the way around to avoid the stairs.

Address: 215 N Cayuga St, Ithaca, NY 14850, United States

7. MIX

MIX, Ithaca

The MIX, Ithaca

Mix undoubtedly has one of Ithaca’s most extensive breakfast and lunch menus. It is truly extraordinary.

The restaurant is excellent for those who want to share food on small plates (like tapas).

Their small plates are roughly the size of a “half-meal,” allowing you to order more variety while keeping the quantity low.

MIX has amazing options for whatever meal you’re looking for. Sourdough French toast is one of the breakfast favorites. You can even have your french toast in a variety of ways.

Similarly, lunch specials include Smokehouse Beef Short Rib with sticky barbecue sauce, old-fashioned onion rings, aged cheddar, and ciabatta garlic bread.

Try some of the fantastic seasonal cocktails for dinner! There are also delicious appetizers like Garlic Cheese Bread, Hash Brown Casserole Skillet, Pomme Frites, and others.

Address: 205 Elmira Rd, Ithaca, NY 14850, United States

8. The Heights Restaurant

The heights restaurant, ithaca

Heights restaurant, Ithaca

The Heights is a fine dining location in Cayuga Heights, just north of downtown Ithica.

Culinary Institute of America graduate James Larounis and his wife Heidi opened The Heights Restaurant and Bar in 1995.

The restaurant has a casual, modern vibe and serves Mediterranean-inspired American cuisine.

The service is excellent, with well-trained wait staff, constant water refills, and so on.

The menu is also varied thanks to numerous daily specials, and the lava cake dessert is to die for.

There is also a small patio outside.

Overall, the Heights is a spectacular choice for all occasions, whether a quiet date night out, a family affair, a gathering with friends, or a full buyout.

Address: 903 Hanshaw Rd, Ithaca, NY 14850, United States

9. Ithaca Ale House

Ithaca Ale House

Ithaca Ale House

How would you love to sit and enjoy a locally made brew while people-watching in Ithaca?

In an area where some restaurants come and go, the Ithaca Ale House seems to have struck the right balance of good food, great beer selections, and an atmosphere that caters to the Ithaca crowd.

The Ale House is located on a street that has been closed to cars and is now known as the “Streatery” at the east end of the Commons.

While the Ithaca Ale House serves a variety of ales, the food is the reason to visit this establishment.

Whatever you order from the extensive menu will be extremely tasty and plentiful. The portions are also HUGE!

The French Onion soup and the Buffalo Eggs Rolls are great appetizers on the menu.

In fact, their lunch/dinner entrees are all spectacular; you can’t go wrong with a salad, burger, or one of the pizzas.

Finally, its Mrs. O’Leary’s cookies are the best things on earth; Served with a glass of milk, these cookies are a meal themselves but so delicious.

Address: 301 E State St Suite 1, Ithaca, NY 14850, United States

10. Simeon’s American Bistro

Simeon's American Bistro

Simeon’s American Bistro

There are some restaurants in Ithaca where you go to eat at and others where you enjoy the experience. Simeon’s lets you do both!

Simeon’s is conveniently located on the corner of The Commons in Ithaca.

The location allows for plenty of natural light in the dining room during the day and plenty of activity on The Commons in the evening.

The light and windows contrast the dark wood paneling, which gives the decor a vintage feel.

There are a few tables outside, and you should eat outside if the weather permits; the Commons is a popular spot for people-watching.

The menu is short but diverse enough to please all diets and price ranges.

The menu also offers a good mix of familiar favorites and new items to try.

Similarly, they have several nightly specials, such as seared Halibut.

Simeon’s also serves a large selection of local wines by the glass, so if you want to try something without having to drive out to the winery, this is a great option.

Address: 224 E State St, Ithaca, NY 14850, United States

11. The Boatyard Grill

The Boatyard Grill

The Boatyard Grill

Visit the Boatyard grill if you want beautiful scenery on the water and delicious food/flavors.

The Boatyard is a steak and seafood restaurant with Asian influences.

You can go to the restaurant by land or sea because it is located right on the water.

You will enjoy breathtaking views of the water, dynamic and vibrant energy, live wood-grilled steaks, fresh seafood, burgers, sandwiches, and more.

The Boatyard menu is a classic American steak and seafood restaurant with a few items with an Asian flavor profile.

They also offer several gluten and vegan options, including dessert!

You can order drinks at the bar and take them to the Adirondack chairs near Cayuga Lake. Then, when you’re about to eat, notify the hostess, and she’ll text you when your table is ready.

Address: 525 Old Taughannock Blvd, Ithaca, NY 14850, United States

12. Mahogany Grill, Ithaca

Mahogany Grill

The Mahogany Grill

Mahogany Grill is also an excellent steakhouse in downtown Ithaca. The heavy wood décor creates a relaxing atmosphere.

It has a modern decor, well-presented dishes, indoor or outdoor seating areas, tender steaks, creative cocktails, and signature pasta.

The calamari and specialty orders are excellent (especially the sweet potato fries that come with the burger! ), but the pasta is average and slightly overpriced.

Order the Chop House Burger for a filling brunch.

To sample an elegant steak dish for lunch, try the Beef Stroganoff.

Overall, the outdoor and well-spaced indoor seating make this place the ideal restaurant for unwinding and enjoying a delicious meal after a long day of hiking nearby.

Address: 112 N Aurora St, Ithaca, NY 14850, United States

13. The Farmers Market, Ithaca

The Farmers Market, Ithaca

The Farmers Market, Ithaca

If you’re looking for casual restaurants in Ithaca to eat and sample freshly baked goods, and mouthwatering street food, the Farmers Market is the place to go.

The Ithaca Farmers Market is a cooperative market run by its members, who grow or produce their products within 30 miles of the pavilion.

The market has something for everyone, including hot prepared foods, a full selection of vegetables, fruit, cheese, pastured meat, wine, cider, eggs, bakeries, and more.

There are also picnic tables and benches with a view of the water.

Visit Dearie Pies to sample fresh-from-the-oven pies; there are several flavors to choose from, including peach raspberry and apple rose.

Get your coffee from Silent City Uprising, then explore the many vendors and artists of the market.

Address: IFM Winter Market, 2255 N Triphammer Rd, Ithaca, NY 14850, United States

14. Viva Taqueria & Cantina

Viva Taqueria & Cantina

Viva Taqueria & Cantina

Mexican food seems to be a go-to wherever one goes, and viva Taqueria is a nice option if you want Mexican food.

Viva is a straightforward “Mexithaca” restaurant. It is located at the far end of Ithaca Commons.

The restaurant has options for all types of eaters and consistently provides adequate service.

Drinks are reasonably priced and consistent, and each plate contains more than enough food to satisfy.

It can get very busy most nights of the week, so be prepared to wait. However, while you wait, you can observe people on the Ithaca Commons.

Try the margaritas; they are highly addictive. They serve a variant called “goat.”

Address: 101 N Aurora St &, E State St, Ithaca, NY 14850, United States

15. Tamarind

Tamarind ithaca

The Tamarind

Tamarind Thai Restaurant is well-known in the Ithaca community for its outstanding Thai cuisine, excellent service, and friendly staff.

This place doesn’t appear to be much from the outside, but don’t let that deter you. Once you get inside, you are greeted with friendly faces and flavorful aromas.

Despite its small size, this is one of the best Asian restaurants in Ithaca for the money.

The food is delicious, and there is no long wait. However, make a reservation if you want to be sure of getting a seat at the desired time.

They have a sit-down menu as well as take-out food.

The restaurant’s menu also indicates that most dishes can be made to accommodate vegans and vegetarians.

Address: 118 W State St, Ithaca, NY 14850, United States

16. Thai Basil

Thai basil ithaca

The Thai basil, Ithaca

Thai Basil is a great place to go if you’d love to eat Thai meals.

The atmosphere is peaceful and appealing, with wood walls, comfortable seating, and a video screen above the bar showing relaxing sea creatures’ views.

They serve wine and beer, which can be consumed while perusing the menu.

There are several Thai meals to choose from, all of which are reasonably priced. Once you place your order, it is delivered on time.

Furthermore, the menu is extensive, with traditional Thai dishes as well as some new additions.

You leave the restaurant with that happy and full feeling that comes with eating delicious dishes made with fresh ingredients.

Address: 118 W State St, Ithaca, NY 14850, United States

17. Souvlaki House

Souvlaki house ithaca

Souvlaki House Ithaca

Located in Collegetown, Ithaca, Souvlaki House is one of the best restaurants in Ithaca, especially if you fancy Greek foods.

Souvlaki House has been a fixture in Collegetown for more than five decades.

Part of the appeal is that most of the food is homemade and beautifully prepared, and the prices are student-friendly.

This is not the place to go if you are a foodie who must eat at the most trendy bistro you can find from street level.

However, if you’re looking for simple, delicious, unpretentious food prepared and served by people who genuinely care about you, your taste buds, and your budget, this is the place to be.

The Greek Garlic Bread with Feta is almost enough to fill you up!

Similarly, the vegetarian options include pasta with marinara, fried eggplant, Greek Salads, Primavera Arrabiata, Falafel, and Veg pita.

They also have excellent pasta and pizza at Family-friendly prices.

Address: 315 Eddy St, Ithaca, NY 14850, United States

18. Monks on the Commons

Monks on the commons

The Monks on the commons

Monks on the Commons is a casual American eatery located in the lobby of the Marriott.

The location and the large oversized window add to the open-air feel.

If you sit at the bar, you quickly notice how dedicated the bartenders are to making perfect and exciting drinks with so much attention to detail.

They do have a menu with the specialties listed, so you can take advantage of their skills.

Similarly, the menu is very well done and quite inventive, with items such as a steak and egg burger.

The matchstick fries are also fun and addictive, very thin, and come in a mountain if ordered as an appetizer.

The chicken wings appetizer is delicious, with a nice crispy outside and tender juiciness on the inside.

Instead of traditional fries with a burger, they serve crispy shoestring potatoes, which are admittedly difficult and messy to eat but quite tasty.

Your dog is also allowed to join you at one of the dog-friendly tables.

Monks on the Commons is open seven days a week from 8 am to 11 pm.

Address: 120 S Aurora St, Ithaca, NY 14850, United States

19. Maru Ramen

Maru ramen ithaca

The Maru Ramen Ithaca

Maru Ramen is the perfect place to go in a pinch, with a small group of friends, or if you need a heartwarming meal.

The restaurant is one of the best Asian restaurants in Ithaca.

Maru Ramen offers great food (ramen, bibimbop, dumplings, etc.), friendly, efficient service, and a reasonable price.

It is a Korean restaurant on the west side of State Street in Ithaca specializing in Japanese food.

Its name translates to “round wheat noodles in broth,” two fundamentals of ramen.

Prices are reasonable, and portions are large, especially if you order one of the Ramen entrees. Additionally, portions are generous and filled with delicious broth, noodles, and plenty of fresh vegetables.

The restaurant is completely traditional, with orange plastic hardback chairs, bare walls, a constantly blowing air conditioning unit, and piped-in music.

It’s truly one of Ithaca’s best and most consistent restaurants.

Address: 512 W State St, Ithaca, NY 14850, United States

20. Old Mexico

Old mexico ithaca

The Old Mexico, Ithaca

Old Mexico in Ithaca is perfect for a quick Mexican meal and beverage.

The restaurant has an Old World feel and flavor!! However, don’t let the outside appearance of a diner deter you from entering an authentic throwback to old Mexico.

The usual brightly colored cheesy flags and banners, painted metal sculptures, old photos, and leather sofas are reminiscent of Mexico.

You can try the Mango Margarita and Tequila Shrimp Taco platter or the beef tacos; they are outstanding.

The mango margarita is perfectly made. The Tequila Shrimp Tacos are also delicious and flavorful.

Address: 357 Elmira Rd, Ithaca, NY 14850, United States

21. Texas Roadhouse

texas roadhouse, ithaca

Texas Roadhouse, Ithaca

Ithaca’s Texas Roadhouse is a legendary steakhouse serving American cuisine.

They’re well-known for their hand-cut steaks, fall-off-the-bone ribs, freshly baked bread, ice-cold beer, and legendary margaritas!

If you like steak, you should try them; they have a unique atmosphere. You can also select the type of raw meat you prefer from the various options available in the fridge!

They also have a bar, plenty of TVs,  and a large can of fresh peanuts on each table with hot tasty rolls.

The portions are also generous, and there is a diverse menu to please everyone’s palate.

Address: 719-25 S Meadow St, Ithaca, NY 14850, United States

22. Agava Restaurant

Agava Restaurant

The Agava Restaurant

Agava restaurant is one of the most popular restaurants in Ithaca. It is located near the Cornell campus but easily accessible from anywhere in the city.

First, the restaurant is lovely; a warm mix of colors has lots of space, and is relatively quiet.

The restaurant has a Southwest-inspired decor, the centerpiece of which is a series of stunning murals created by local artist Bill Benson.

The menu is a diverse array of southwestern flavors, vegetarian and vegan options, and Mediterranean touches. Furthermore, the Daily Specials offer a wide range of tastes and cuisines. Seafood, stews, and fresh vegan options abound.

Though many dishes are Latin-inspired, they also serve cajun favorites like Shrimp and Grits.

They do not take reservations, as do most Ithaca restaurants, so expect to wait unless you go early for lunch or dinner.

The restaurant serves brunch from 10 am to 3 pm on Sundays and 11 am to 3 pm on Saturdays, with sweet and savory plates, flatbreads, burgers, sandwiches, and cocktails.

Additionally, throughout the week, AGAVA frequently hosts trivia nights and drinks specials.

Address: 719-25 S Meadow St, Ithaca, NY 14850, United States

23. Maxie’s Supper Club and Oyster Bar

Maxie’s Supper Club and Oyster Bar

The Maxie’s Supper Club and Oyster Bar

Maxie’s is a popular place to get southern/New Orleans-style comfort food.

Besides, if you want excellent unique seafood with top-shelf service, this is it.

Inside, it’s dim and cozy and glittery, giving it an appealing intimacy

The location is a little off the beaten path, but there is plenty of parking, and it appears to be popular.

The setting is not fine dining, but the food and service are excellent.

They have a great selection of well-prepared seafood and Cajun favorites, as well as some unique offerings. For example, they serve both Fried Green Tomatoes and Utica Club beer.

It can get a little crowded in the entryway, with patrons squeezing past each other to go in and out.

Address: 635 W State St, Ithaca, NY 14850, United States

24. Bickering Twins Restaurant & Tequila Bar

Bickering Twins Restaurant & Tequila Bar

The Bickering Twins Restaurant & Tequila Bar

Bickering is the place to go if you are looking for one of the best tacos in Ithaca or New York.

The restaurant serves Mexican cuisine to its customers. Delicious chicken, shrimp tacos, and salads will wow you from the first bite.

The food here tastes so good, like home-cooked food you get to eat when you visit a house of a friend who enjoys cooking.

From the tacos to the sides, you can tell in every bite that they put a lot of work into what they do.

They also serve delicious beer, Sangria, or Tequila.

Address: 114 N Cayuga St, Ithaca, NY 14850, United States

25. Luna Inspired Street Food Downtown

Luna Inspired Street Food Downtown

Luna Inspired Street Food Downtown

Luna’s is one of the nice restaurants in Ithaca. The food is delicious, and the menu is diverse and unique.

Inspired by street vendors, carts, and trucks from all over the country and the world, luna strives to provide a diverse menu while also supporting local farmers and suppliers.

There’s a luna in Collegetown; however, it has more indoor dining space, whereas the Luna’s in the Commons has more outdoor seating but less indoor seating.

The restaurant has a nice cozy vibe and ordering. There’s definitely a wide variety of dishes and cuisines to choose from!

There are also plenty of vegetarian options.

Address: 113 N Aurora St, Ithaca, NY 14850, United States

Final Remarks

Whether you are passing through the city or a resident, Restaurants in Ithaca have diverse cuisines to satisfy any tongue.

Spend some time exploring Downtown Ithaca Commons, where you will come across different establishments, including quaint coffee shops, upscale dining establishments, pubs, and lively dessert spots.

Bon Appetite!