Rochester is a growing city that’s developed some big city swagger. Restaurants offering chef driven menus, craft cocktails, local brews, and wine menus created by in-house sommeliers are opening up throughout the city. It’s Melissa’s hometown and it’s the city we’ve lived in together for five years, so we’re pretty familiar with the restaurant scene here.
Here’s a list of our favorite 6:
Bleu Duck Kitchen (14 4th St SW) There’s nothing standard about the place. It’s exceptional in all ways: drinks, food, service, atmosphere – everything. Bleu Duck Kitchen was voted Rochester’s Best Restaurant in 2019 and 2020. We love their Happy Hour!
When we decided that it was time to venture out and eat food not made at home after 26 days of quarantine/shelter-in-place, Bleu Duck Kitchen was the first place we wanted to go to. They are always evolving, so we recommend visiting their site.
Five West (1991 Commerce Dr NW) for breakfast with friends. Their weekday breakfasts are so affordable and delicious. The service is prompt too. For dinner, our favorites include the Grilled Flank Steak Salad (Yukon gold potatoes, arugula, grilled red onion, shaved parmesan, and balsamic vinaigrette) and the Blackened Chicken and Avocado Melt (Pepper Jack, tomato, and garlic aioli on toasted sourdough).
Bar Buffalo (20 3rd St SW) is a gin-focused bar with small plates for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. We love the Dirty Fries. They’re fries tossed with shaved prime rib, topped with sauteed onions, peppers, Fresno chilies, and avocado cream.
Terza Ristorante (30 3rd St SE) is an Italian restaurant with delicious handmade pasta. Our favorites include Chicken Parmesan and Gnocchi with Mother Sauce. The gnocchi is hand-crafted in house by Chef Vincenzo.
Chef Vincenzo owned a restaurant in Italy. Then, Sheryl from Minnesota ate at his restaurant and wanted his recipe for chocolate cake. The two fell in love. Now, thanks to their journey, we eat the most delicious hand-made pastas at least once a month.
Bitter & Pour (18 3rd St SW Suite #1) is a below ground, speakeasy style hideaway that was voted Rochester’s Best Bar in 2020. During the summer months, our favorite is the Strawberry and Rhubarb Old Fashioned. When it’s not summertime, we’re always trying something new.
Half Barrel (304 1st Ave SW) is one of the top 50 whiskey bars in the United States. They have over 400 different types of whiskey lining their shelves. You can order a flight of whiskey, or try our favorite nightcap: Knobs & Holler. The recipe includes Knob Creek Single Barrel, Tempus Fugit Creme de Cacao, Demerara, Cacao Nib Tincture, and Dashfire Old Fashioned Bitters.