Wednesday, December 14, 2005


My picks for best Italian in Albany:

1. D'Raymonds. It's just off Albany-Shaker Road near Osborne Road. This is one of our absolute favorites in Albany. Surprising we don't get there more often. Great reputation for veal (though I'm not much of a veal eater). All the dishes are great.

They start you off with a little fried dough treat. If you order the salad, you get a lot of salad for not much money. Haven't been there in a while, but I just love everything they have.

It's got a nice atmosphere - feels homey. Not a good place for kids though. Also it looks crowded when you're walking in, but you don't notice that feeling when you're sitting down.

2. Lombardo's. On Madison near Pearl. Also outstanding. Again, surprising we don't get there more. Last time I think I picked my wife up for lunch and we got over there. Great food.

Also has a special atmosphere. Feels like you walked into the 1930s. Not that I would know since I was born in the 60s, but still. Has a bit of a celebrity thing too. Seems like I often see a local celebrity when I go there. I've seen TV news people. Once we saw the retired DA with the retired political cartoonist - even had a nice chat with them.

3. Carmine's. On Central Avenue, between Everett and Colvin, in the back of a minimall. Excellent food. Carmine is a local celebrity. His menu is more edgy. It's not classic Italian food, but maybe a bit nouvelle. Last time we were there seemed like a lot of dishes had sundried tomatoes in them.

That's the cream of the crop. I should put in honorable mentions for Provence and Milano. I haven't been to them as much, but they're good.

For some reason my wife likes Olive Garden, and we go there all the time. I'm kinda sick of it, but it is better for kids - if you can get a table.

Note from 7/30/06: I forgot to mention the Italian Community Center. Also one of my favorites, and I'm going there all the time now since it's now next door to our new office. It used to be called Le Caravelle, but they've dropped that name. It's run by Mallozzi's now. Food was good before and continues to be good now.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Garcia's and other Mexican

This is a tough one. We like going to Garcia's. Our older daughter likes it too - a good place to bring kids. The food is pretty good. It's probably one of the best Mexican places in Albany.

But there's the rub. I went to college in Houston, Texas, and also lived in California for three years. When you consider that I think the Mexican food in California wasn't all that great (except for a recent dinner in LA), it's not surprising when I say that being the best in Albany is not saying all that much.

But with that said, we like Garcia's. I like the fajitas. My wife usually orders enchiladas or something like that.

I also go to Moe's Southwest Grill some. I've turned that down a notch with my frustrating low-cholesterol kick. Moe's is also pretty good. It's a bit better than Taco Bell (I'm almost ashamed to admit I like Taco Bell), but it's more than a bit more expensive.

Lately I've been ordering the big burrito (all the items have funky names, but I can't remember the name of the burrito yet - maybe the homewrecker?). I used to get the same thing in the form of a salad, but the lettuce isn't all that special.

Still a good place to go once in a while.

I hear good things about Mexican Radio in Hudson, but that's a long drive from Albany. We talk about it but haven't made it there yet.

Metro 20 Diner

I go to Metro 20 Diner once in a while. Usually on Sundays if I'm in the office because BFS is closed. Metro 20 Diner is a decent place. Food is generally good. Just my opinion here, but it's a bit overpriced for the quality. There are some very good items, and the menu has a lot of choices, but the quality is basically diner and that's it. There are other diners in the area where you get similar quality for significantly less money.

On the bright side, the place is very clean. Service is generally good. And it's got a great location, which is why they can charge more for their food.

I'm on a low-cholesterol kick lately, so I've been ordering salads. Greek salad is pretty good. I used to order gyros and liked them too.