Capital Region Spotlight: Schenectady

It feels like I am always writing and posting about some place in Schenectady. This probably is largely due to the fact that there are a lot of great restaurants and cafes in town, and partially due to the fact that I spend a lot of time there in general.

I’ve written about restaurant week, the events, and the beer. But there are plenty of options in Schenectady so here’s a quick breakdown of a few of the top spots.

For Brunch: Ambition Bistro

In the center of all the action on Jay Street, Ambition Bistro is a great spot for brunch, lunch, and everything else in between. Build your own breakfast sandwich or dive into a plate of blueberry pancakes and enjoy it alongside a boozy coffee or a classic mimosa. Prefer the lunch menu? Get a sandwich on a pretzel bun.


For Dessert:  Villa Italia

Villa Italia wins this title based on volume alone. If you’re looking for a sweet treat they’ve got baked goods, italian pastries, and gelato all under one roof. But Sprinkleista is a personal favorite when you’re looking for a sweet treat to go along with your happy cappy.

For Italian: Johnny’s OR Cornell’s in Little Italy

I couldn’t pick just one because they’re both really good for different reasons. Cornell’s in Little Italy feels authentic from the grated parmesean all the way down to the pronunciation of their famous homemade cavatelli pasta (pronounced cava-teels). But Johnny’s deserves fair recognition as their homemade pasta blends well into a menu of Italian classics like eggplant rollatini paired with American staples like the sicilian cowboy – a cheeseburger.

For Salad: Puzzles Bakery & Cafe

Supporting Puzzles means supporting a good cause. The bakery’s goal is to help improve the livelihood of individuals, families, and communities affected by autism spectrum disorders, employing adults with disabilities and helping them grow. On top of supporting a good cause, a menu deep with rich and flavorful panini’s, soups, and salads puts Puzzles Bakery & Cafe on the list.

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For Pizza: More Perreca’s 

More Perreca’s could easily fall in the Best Brunch or Best Italian category, but instead they deserve a category of their own. Go for lunch and order a personal pizza from More Perreca’s. They may be known for their bread, but their pizza dough is pretty good too, especially as it gets coal-fired to perfection.


For Something Different: Tara Kitchen

Schenectady has been known for it’s Italian for a long time, but there is a lot to be said about this Moroccan spot that has made a name for itself. Tara Kitchen offers exotic meals that are not widely accessible in the Capital Region. Among those menu items are  lamb meatballs, chicken and preserved lemons, and spicy harissa dip. Intimidating to picky eaters and those who are apprehensive to new things, Tara Kitchen is 100% worth a try.

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As with the other Capital Region spotlights I’ve written, like Troy and Albany, this list is just a quick summary. There are many restaurants I still need to try and this is just the beginning. Also, don’t forget everything I write is based exclusively on my own personal opinion. Be sure to follow along on Instagram as I keep exploring.


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