While Buffalo is associated with one very famous local food (here they’re just chicken wings), plus a host of other only-in-Buffalo dishes like Beef on Weck and sponge candy, it has a dynamic and varied restaurant scene serving local and international cuisine from around the world. Whether you’re looking for farm-to-table takes, authentic Ethiopian food, or yes, Buffalo classics, you’ll find them at a variety of casual, modern, and upscale restaurants around Queen City. Here are our picks for the best restaurants in Buffalo.
Toutant (437 Ellicott St, Buffalo, NY 14203, USA)
This southern-inspired spot is known for its late night eats, decadent brunches, and its addictive buttermilk fried chicken and fluffy biscuits. The industrial style is marked by exposed brick walls and reclaimed wood tables and shelving behind the bar that’s filled with hundreds of liquor bottles—which means you shouldn’t sleep on the drinks, either. They include New Orleans favorites like a Sazerac, Vieux Carre, and the so-called French Quarter Frozen Daiquiri.
Bacchus Wine Bar and Restaurant (56 W Chippewa St, Buffalo, NY 14202-2206, USA)
Although the wine list is impressive here (and award winning, natch), the food is just as good. Pair your glass with dishes like a roasted beet salad with crispy goat cheese, pecan crusted salmon with sweet potato hash, and a filet mignon with a gorgonzola crust. Located in the historic Calumet building in the heart of Buffalo’s entertainment district since 2003, the restaurant’s dining room was recently renovated and provides an elegant but welcoming atmosphere.
Oliver’s (2095 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY 14216, USA)
Ever since Frank Oliver opened Oliver’s in 1938 on Delaware Avenue it has been a special occasion favorite for Buffalonians and visitors alike. Now owned by Dave Schutte, who brought the space into the modern era by renovating it in 2016, the restaurant still tops of the list of many. Menu classics like Chicken Milanese, Prime Filet Mignon, and Wedge Salad are accompanied by Decadence of Egg, Spring Pea Agnolotti, and A5 Wagyu Flatiron Steak. There’s also a kid’s menu, making Oliver’s ideal for a special family night out. Don’t forget to save room for dessert—the chocolate pot de crème and lemon ricotta cake are beautiful and tasty.
The Black Sheep Restaurant & Bar (367 Connecticut St, Buffalo, NY 14213, USA)
A farm to table restaurant celebrating Western New York’s bounty, The Black Sheep serves handmade globally inspired dishes using local produce and sustainable raised meats. Married owners Executive Chef Steve Gedra and Pastry Chef Ellen Gedra opened their dream restaurant in 2014 and in 2017 garnered a James Beard Award nomination. Guests enjoy eclectic dishes like Burmese Style Seafood Salad, Carrot Pakora, Pierogi, and Feijoada for dinner and sticky toffee pudding and mille fuille with a chocolate pistachio ganache for dessert. Black Sheep is also a popular brunch spot, with Ellen’s pastries a highlight—Cheddar-Chive Scones, Smoked Brisket and Cheese Croissant, and Chocolate Babka are just a few of her delectable creations.
Roost (1502 Niagara St, Buffalo, NY 14213-1104, USA)
While chef/owner Martin Danilowicz has acquired a reputation as a controversial creative, he’s also cemented his name as one of the best chefs in town, thanks to his boundary pushing in the kitchen as well. After finding success with Martin Cooks, his smaller now-closed restaurant on Buffalo’s west side, he opened Roost on Niagara Street in 2016, quickly garnering acclaim for his inventive dishes, convivial atmosphere, and the industrial-chic style highlighted by a mural of a rooster by local artist Chuck Tingley and the glowing metal centerpiece bar. Diners can munch on pizzas with inventive toppings like lemon and ricotta and fig and prosciutto, pig ears lettuce wraps, turkey slathered in a mole sauce, and a pork and posole stew.
Ted’s Hot Dogs (124 W Chippewa St, Buffalo, NY 14202-2007, USA)
This local Buffalo mini-chain was started in 1927 by Greek immigrant Theodore Spiro Liaros as a horse-drawn hot dog cart and has since grown to eight brick-and-mortar locations around the area (plus one more in Arizona). The beloved all-beef hot dogs are charcoal broiled to order and are available in regular, foot-long, and jumbo size. The accompanying Ted’s Famous Hot Sauce is a local favorite and sold by the bottle. Fries, onion rings, and handmade milkshakes (including local fave loganberry flavor) complete the meal but there are also hamburgers, sausages, and vegetarian dogs on the menu as well.
West Side Bazaar (25 Grant St, Buffalo, NY 14213, USA)
This marketplace celebrates Nickel City’s many immigrants, with food stalls offering cuisines ranging from Ethiopian to Burmese to Chinese. Abyssinia Ethiopian Cuisine owned by Ethiopian native Zelalem Gemmeda has dishes like Miser Wot made with red lentils simmered in a Berbere sauce, Beef Tibs made with cubed beef fried with tomatoes, onions, peppers and herbs, and plenty of spongy injera flatbread to sop it all up. Burmese husband and wife Win W. Shwe and Khaing M. Thein own Rakhapura Mutee and Sushi, serve mutee, a soup from the Burmese state of Arakan, along with other Burmese soups and salads and a long list of sushi rolls. The bazaar is great for wondering through on a cold day; there are also non-food stalls selling crafts and other items.
Hutch’s (1375 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY 14209, USA)
A Nickel City institution for 25 years, Hutch’s is an excellent fine dining spot for perfectly cooked steaks and all the sides and trimmings you’d want. Chef/owner Mark Hutchinson has a knack for taking familiar dishes to the next level and diners can’t get enough of his juicy prime steaks, fresh seafood, and creative starters like Thai Calamari and Deconstructed Hot Banana Peppers with anchovies and house-made ricotta. Don’t sleep on desserts like Milk Chocolate Kahlua Cremeux and Double Chocolate Bouchon.
Bar-Bill Tavern (185 Main St, East Aurora, NY 14052, USA)
While not the originators of Buffalo, er, chicken Wings, Bar Bill Tavern has become known as one of the best spots in the city to get them, thanks to their selection of 13 sauces (mild, medium, medium hot, hot, extra hot, suicidal, honey dijon, Sicilian, spicy Asian, medium Cajun, hot Cajun, honey butter BBQ, and hot and spicy BBQ) and their homemade blue cheese dressing made fresh daily. We also recommend it because it’s also one of the best places to get an authentic Beef on Weck, a Buffalo-invented sandwich that’s a must-eat while in town. The weck, which is actually short for Kummelweck, a South German word for a kaiser roll topped with caraway seeds and salt, is made fresh. Here, it’s properly crusty on the outside, soft on the inside and piled high with roast beef slices, a bit of beef au jus on the top bun, and a side of more au jus for dipping, plus horseradish. Wash it all down with a cold beer from one of the choices on their long list.
San Marco Ristorante (2082 Kensington Ave, Buffalo, NY 14226-4723, USA)
When first-generation Italian-American Frank Grimaldi and his wife Nancy opened San Marco more than 35 years ago, they brought authentic Northern Italian cooking to Western New York, perhaps for the first time. Since then, they have been lauded for their cooking chops and Western New Yorkers enjoy the romantic atmosphere almost as much as the food. Delectable pastas like seafood linguine and fettuccine with a veal and lamb Bolognese complement dishes like Saltimbocca Alla Romana and Filetto Al Carbone in a creamy mushroom sauce. Enjoy your meal with one of the dozens of Italian wines on the balanced list.