ROC Foodie Bucket List: A Guide To Everything & Everywhere A Food Lover Must Eat In Rochester, NY (2024)

Rochester has beenrecognized as one of thetop cities for food in the country, and our local restaurant sceneis filled with scores of creative culinary hotspots. Known as "TheYoung Lion of the West," Rochester drew settlers from around the world, and they brought their recipes with them. More than 200 years later, the region is a smorgasbord of traditional and contemporary cuisines, and diverse ethnic flavors.

From gourmetto the Garbage Plate, we're breaking down all the restaurantsfood lovers are going to want to eat at when they visitRochester, NY.

Thislist was created as a guide just for you, foodie! Be sure to add therestaurants listed belowto your food bucket list for the next time youvisit Rochester.

Only In Rochester

Abbott's Frozen Custard
For nearly 100 years, an Abbott’s Frozen Custard stand has been the perfect destination for a sweet treat in Rochester, NY.Visit the original Rochester stand along the shores of Lake Ontario across from Ontario Beach Parkfor classic vanilla or chocolate in a cone or signature Turtle(made with layers of Abbott’s frozen custard, Spanish peanuts, and fudge, frozen on a stick and dipped in dark chocolate).

Donuts Delite
Since 1958,Donuts Delite on the corner of Empire Boulevard and Culver Road has been an iconic spot for donuts and treatsin Rochester. The shop recently opened a new store on West Ridge Road on the west side of the city.While a new family owns Donuts Delite, the original donut recipes are still used! In 2020, Donuts Delite received national attention for creating a popular pandemic comfort food -adonut that featured the face ofDr.Anthony Fauci,America’s top infectious disease expert.

Genesee Brew House
Once a century-old packaging center,The Genesee Brew House has transformed the 9,200 square-foot space into a beer destination, featuring interactive exhibits, multimedia content, gift shop, pilot brewery and pub-style restaurant. The Brew House was created to capture and share with you the long history of The Genesee Brewery - one of the largest and oldest continually operating breweries in America.

It doesn't get more Rochester than enjoying a Genesee beer while overlooking High Falls -Rochester's 96-foot tallwaterfall located in the center of the city.

The Mercantile on Main
The newest addition to Rochester’s renowned food scene features a flavor for every palate. TheMercantile on Main is Rochester's first food halland one of the largest food halls in upstate New York.The Mercantile on Mainis a curated collection of some of the best food and drink this town has to offer withthe help of itskitchen vendors.

Nick Tahou Hots - The Home of theGarbage Plate

The Garbage Plate is the thing of legends andRochester's most infamous dish*the name “Garbage Plate” is trademarked by Nick Tahou Hots, home of the original Garbage Plate.A traditional plate isyour choice of a protein (cheeseburger, hamburger, Italian sausages, steak, chicken, white or red hots) that isserved on top of any combination ofhome fries, french fries, baked beans, and/or macaroni salad. The plate is usually topped with “hot sauce”, which is a spicy meat sauce,with the option to add mustard and onion on top.

Watch to learn more about Rochester's original Garbage Plate or check out Visit Rochester's Guide to the Garbage Plate.

Rochester Public Market

Rochester's City-run Public Market isone of the oldest public markets in the United States. The markethas served the community at its 280 North Union Street site since 1905, and is open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, year-round. Vendorsoffer local produce,meats and seafood,eggs and dairy products,ethnic delicacies,prepared and packaged foods,specialty items,general merchandise,and more in three covered outdoor vendor sheds and also a fully indoor shed.

In addition, an array of independent local businesses -cafes, food stands, coffee shops, specialty food purveyors, breweries, retail shops, and more -can be found on market grounds and in the surrounding market district.


For more than 140 years, Zweigle's has been a Rochester staple with its flagshipPop Open red and whitehot dogs that are bursting with flavor. A regional favorite andZweigle's most iconic hot dog, the"white hot" is a unique combination of pork, beef, and veal that is uncured and unsmoked to give the hot dog its white color. You can eat a Zweigle's hot dog when you order from the Genesee Brew House, Nick Tahou Hots, or Bill Gray's among many other local spots!

African & Ethiopian

Made with love is what is often said by those that visit one of Rochester's African or Ethiopian restaurants. Rochester's African and Ethiopian restaurants are also a greatspot for those looking for a healthy,vegetarian or vegan meal.

Abyssinia Ethiopian Restaurant| Ethiopian

Kamara's African Restaurant | West African

Philomina's| Nigerian

Zemeta Ethiopian Restaurant|Ethiopian


Rochester's Asian population, while small, has explosivelygrown due to refugee resettlement and our two large research universities-the University of Rochester and Rochester Institute of Technology. With this growth, we have also seen an increase in authentic Asian cuisine available across Monroe County with Chinese, Japanese, Korean,and Thai restaurants.

Chen Garden| Chinese

Han Noodle Bar| Chinese

Roc City Ramen| Japanse

Sodam Korean Restaurant| Korean

Szechuan Opera| Chinese

The King & I| Thai

Barbecue & Cajun

You might not think ofNew York when you think of great barbecue or cajun food, but thefollowing spots are SMOKIN' and won't disappoint anyBBQ lovers!

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que| Barbecue

Sticky Lips Pit BBQ Juke Joint | Barbecue

Texas Bar-B-Que Joint| Barbecue

The French Quarter Cafe| Cajun

Uncle Moe's Bar-B-Que| Barbecue

Burgers & Hots

Rochester's food scene has a strong history that ties back to ground rounds (burgers)and hots (hot dogs) andthatdateback to the 1940s with restaurantsalong the shores of Lake Ontario. With anod to our gastroroots, many modern restaurateurshave elevated the standard burger or hot dogwith gourmet options.

Bill Gray's| Classic Burgers & Hots

Dogtown| Gourmet Hots

Don's Original| Classic Burgers & Hots

Tom Wahl's| Classic Burgers & Hots

The Good Luck Burger at Restaurant Good Luck| Gourmet Burger

Playhouse // Swillburger| Gourmet Burgers

Schaller's| Classic Burgers & Hots


Warm up with classic Caribbean dishes includingpepperpot, jerk chicken, plantains, and more.

D'Mangu| Dominican

Livie's Jamaican Restaurant| Jamaican

PeppaPot| Jamaican

Three Little Birds Jamaican Food| Jamaican

Dining With A View

Catch the best views around Rochester at one of these Rochester hot spots.

Corso - Italian Eatery & co*cktails| City Skyline

Erie Grill | Erie Canal

Genesee Brew House | High Falls

Hattie's| City Skyline

Horizons| Highest Elevation In Monroe County

Label 7 Napa Eatery & Bar | Erie Canal

Marge's Lakeside Inn | Lake Ontario

Max of Eastman Place | Eastman Theatre

Pane Vino on the River | Genesee River

Fried Chicken &Wings

Crispy andjuicyfried chicken or wings slathered in hot or sweet sauce. Check out one of Rochester's chicken-only restaurants or enjoywingsthat are amenu stapleat anylocal sports bar or pub.Be sure to taste the legendary Country Sweet Sauce that started out as a simple sweet & tangyrecipe in Rochestermore than 40 years ago.

BoBo'sChicken Shack| Fried Chicken

Chick'N Out| Hot Fried Chicken

Country Sweet Chicken & Ribs| Fried Chicken

Jeremiah's Tavern| Wings

Just Chik'n| Fried Chicken

MacGregor's Grill & Tap| Wings

Murph's Irondequoit Pub| Wings

Hispanic &Puerto Rican

Monroe County and the City of Rochester is home to the second largest Hispanic population outside of New York City.The Puerto Rican Festival of Rochester isthe longest running cultural festival in the County of Monroe. The annual festival started in 1969 to celebrate andrecognizethe culture of Puerto Ricans. Enjoy the flavors of hispanic and Puerto Rican food all year round at one of these restaurants.

Carmen's Cooking | Puerto Rican

El Pilon Criollo| Hispanic

Juan and Maria's EmpanadaStop| Spanish

Sobrino's Restaurant| Spanish


The many Indian restaurants across our community make fresh,authentic Indian cuisineaccessible for all to enjoy.

IndiaHouse| Indian

Naan-Tastic| Counter-Serve Indian

Tandoor of India| Indian

Thali of India| Indian

Italian |Pizza & Pasta

Rochester has one of the largest Italian American populations in the country, behind major cities includingNew York, Philadelphia, and Boston, and ourlocal food scene shows it!Local Italian restaurants are a mix of these classic Italian-American restaurants that feature "Red Sunday Sauce" made from family recipes, red and white checkered table cloth topped by a fresh basket of bread, as well as fine dining options like Fiorella, Fiamma Centro, and Rocco's.

Agatina's Restaurant| Italian

Branca Midtown| Italian

Fiamma Centro |Neapolitan​

Fiorella| Farm-To-Table Italian

Proietti's Italian Restaurant| Italian

Red Fedele's Brook House|Italian

Ristorante Lucano | Italian

Rocco | Italian

The Northside Inn| Italian

Veneto Wood Fired Pizza & Pasta| Italian


From traditional family-style Mexican restaurants to elevated authentic Mexican cuisine,enjoy the taste of Mexico through food and drinksin Rochester.

Bitter Honey| Mexican

La Casa| Mexican

Maria's Mexican Restaurant | Mexican

Neno's Gourmet Mexican Street Food| Mexican

Salena's Mexican Restaurant| Mexican

The Silver Iguana | Mexican

Middle Eastern &Mediterranean

Hot offthe stone pita bread, homemade hummus, and spinningshawarma are just a few of the sights and smells you will experience in Rochester's Middle Eastern and Mediterranean restaurants.

Aladdin's Natural Eatery| Greek

Cedar Mediterranean| Lebanese

Chortke House of Kabob| Persian

Jine's Restaurant| Greek

Radio Social| Middle Eastern


From "The Obama" special at Magnolia's to a classic deli sub, Rochester has a sandwich for everyone.

Dibella'sOld Fashioned Submarines| Sandwiches

Lovin' Cup| Sandwiches

Magnolia's Deli & Cafe| Sandwiches

Palermo's | Sandwiches

Rubino's Italian Food|Sandwiches

Steak & Seafood

Rochester has a growingfine dining scene with many restaurants serving next-level steak dishesand seafood flown in daily. We recently welcomed Richard Reddington, Michelin-star-winning chef,restauranteur, and Rochester native back to the region, as he opened REDD Rochester.

Black & Blue Steak & Crab | Steak & Shellfish

Char Steakhouse & Lounge| Steakhouse

Max Rochester| Steakhouse

REDD Rochester| New American

Rella| Seafood

Tournedos Steakhouse| Steakhouse

Velvet Belly | Coastal Cuisine

Trending With Locals

Check out the following restaurantsto enjoythe trendy hotspots that have quickly become local favorites!

Avvino| Contemporary American

Bar Bantam| Clever Bistro Fare

Lento | Farm-To-Table

Native Eatery & Bar| New American

Nosh| New American

Park Avenue Pub | American

Restaurant Good Luck| New American

Rohrbach Railroad Street Beer Hall| Brewpub

Strangebird | Brewery

The Cub Room| Seasonal American Fare

The Revelry| American

Vern's | Italian

Vegetarian &Vegan & Allergy-Friendly

Omnivores, vegetarians,and vegans all come together at the following Rochester restaurants -which are also allergy-friendly spots.

Allah's Kitchen | Gluten-Free, Soy-Free, Vegan

Natural Oasis | Ethiopian, Vegan

New Ethic | Pizza, Vegan

Owl House| Gluten-Free, Vegan,Vegetarian

Philomina's| Vegan

Red Fern| Gluten-Free, Vegan

ROC Foodie Bucket List: A Guide To Everything & Everywhere A Food Lover Must Eat In Rochester, NY (2024)


ROC Foodie Bucket List: A Guide To Everything & Everywhere A Food Lover Must Eat In Rochester, NY? ›

Have you heard of the Garbage Plate? This unique mashup of ingredients is widely regarded as Rochester's signature dish. The Garbage Plate has become a thing of legend, and the notorious local dish has been documented in many articles and news stories around the nation.

What is the signature dish of Rochester New York? ›

Have you heard of the Garbage Plate? This unique mashup of ingredients is widely regarded as Rochester's signature dish. The Garbage Plate has become a thing of legend, and the notorious local dish has been documented in many articles and news stories around the nation.

What is the famous Garbage Plate New York? ›

Nick Tahou Hots's best known dish is the Garbage Plate, which consists of a selection of home fries, macaroni salad, baked beans and French fries topped with meats of the customer's choice.

What food was invented in Rochester, NY? ›

The inventor of breakfast cereal, James Caleb Jackson, is from the Rochester area. His masterpiece was called Granula and it had to be soaked overnight to be eaten.

What is Rochester best known for? ›

Throughout its history, Rochester has acquired several nicknames based on local industries; it has been known as "the Flour City" and "the Flower City" for its dual role in flour production and floriculture, and as the "Imaging Capital of the World" for its association with film and still photography.

What is New York's most iconic food? ›

Keep Exploring
  • New York pizza slice. Out of all the foods associated with New York, perhaps none is more famous than pizza. ...
  • New York cheesecake. ...
  • New York–style hot dog. ...
  • Nathan's Famous at Coney Island. ...
  • Bagel with lox and cream cheese. ...
  • Pastrami sandwich. ...
  • Corned beef sandwich. ...
  • Matzo ball soup.
Jan 4, 2023

What is the most famous dish in New York? ›

You can't think of New York food without one thing coming to mind: pizza! The first pizzeria in the country, Lombardi's, was opened in Manhattan's Little Italy in 1905.

What is New York's national dish? ›

There's a reason why New York State's official food is the apple and NYC is dubbed 'The Big Apple' – apples abound in the Empire State!

Why is it called a Garbage Plate? ›

Alex Tahou's son Nick added his name to the restaurant in the 1940s when he took over the family business. And in the 1980s, the plate got its current monicker when, according to legend, coeds started asking for “that plate with all the garbage on it.”

Where does garbage go in NY? ›

Trash is placed in containers at one of the three marine transfer stations, the containers are taken by barge to the Staten Island waste transfer station and placed on trains bound for landfills and incinerators outside the city.

What is the garbage etiquette in NYC? ›

Trash cans must be covered unless all refuse inside is in a securely tied bag. The City does not sell or give away trash bins. Place your trash curbside the evening before your scheduled trash collection day: Between 6 PM and midnight if it's in a bin with a secured lid, or.

What are 3 famous foods? ›

Italian pizza is the most photographed food in the world
  • Pizza.
  • Burger.
  • Ramen.
  • Paella.
  • Pierogi.
  • Moussaka.
  • Boeuf Bourgignon.
  • Eisbein.
May 24, 2023

What food is upstate NY known for? ›

Sign up now.
  • Utica greens. An Italian American dish made with hot peppers, sauteed greens, escarole, grated pecorino cheese, breadcrumbs, garlic, oil, chicken stock or broth, and variations of meat and prosciutto. ...
  • Chicken riggies. ...
  • Tomato pie. ...
  • Turkey joints. ...
  • Salt potatoes. ...
  • The Garbage Plate. ...
  • Michigan hot dog. ...
  • Beef on weck.
Jun 1, 2022

What is unique about Rochester NY? ›

FUN FACTS. Rochester is the birthplace of Kodak film, created by George Eastman in 1888. Learn more at the George Eastman Museum. The city is known for its "Garbage Plate", which consists of a plate piled high with various combinations of meats, chili, baked beans, macaroni salad, fried potatoes, sauces, and more.

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Tyson Zemlak

Last Updated:

Views: 5231

Rating: 4.2 / 5 (43 voted)

Reviews: 82% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Tyson Zemlak

Birthday: 1992-03-17

Address: Apt. 662 96191 Quigley Dam, Kubview, MA 42013

Phone: +441678032891

Job: Community-Services Orchestrator

Hobby: Coffee roasting, Calligraphy, Metalworking, Fashion, Vehicle restoration, Shopping, Photography

Introduction: My name is Tyson Zemlak, I am a excited, light, sparkling, super, open, fair, magnificent person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.