Asti Caffe

Categories: Casual, Eat-in, Italian
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Published on: May 7, 2014

What's the four-one-one on Asti Caffe?  It's their address – 411 North Salina Street in Syracuse.  Not quite in the "heart of downtown," but darn close.

On a recent sunny (but not really warm) weekday, a friend of mine joined me for lunch at Asti.  Neither of us had ever been before.  I have to say that parking on a weekday at noon was tough, but available.  We wound up parking at a meter across on a tiny side street and walking over.  Walking up to the front door, you're greeted by a warm, red brick facade.  The recessed door is reached after you walk under a wrought iron arch.  There's construction work going on nearby, but I was struck by how fresh and clean the front looked.

DSCF0249Part of the sidewalk is blocked off behind a low partition.  Given the tables and chairs out there, I assume that in good weather, seating is available out there for dining al fresco.  We entered the front door and were greeted promptly.  There's a small seating area of booths right in front, with a small, friendly looking bar off to your right.  We were taken back and to the left into a larger, more open dining area.

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King David’s

Categories: Casual, Eat-in, Middle Eastern
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: April 30, 2014

Tucked away in the Towne Center plaza where – a million years ago – Fayetteville Mall stood is the 2nd location for that Syracuse-based Middle Eastern delight, King David’s.  While this location has been open for a number of years, in the past couple several upmarket chain restaurants have opened within a stone’s throw.  Carrabba’s, Red Robin and Bonefish all have their good points, as evidenced by the throngs of people filling their seats.  But while we’ve been the last customers in the dining room at King David’s, we’ve never been there as the only customers.

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My wife and I went on a recent Tuesday evening.  We’re not there very often because it’s over an hour round trip form our place.  But every once in a while, we make the trek.  King David’s actually has two (two and a half?) dining areas.  As you walk in there door, there are a couple small tables to your right.  The prep and cooking area – I can’t really call it a kitchen – is to your right and open, so you can see what’s going on.  Walk past that, down a narrow hallway, and you enter the “main” dining area, with about 4 tables and eight or so booths.  There’s a doorway at the back, which leads into the enclosed mall.  There’s another seating area here, with about 40 or so seats.  They’ve got enough room for a lot of folks!

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Erawan

Categories: Asian, Casual, Eat-in, Take-away
Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: April 25, 2014

I’m going to be blunt, but truthful. Erawan is the best Thai restaurant in Syracuse. From its reasonable prices, charming menu, and friendly staff, I enjoy coming back to this awesome restaurant, located on Erie Boulevard.

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Erawan is a medium sized restaurant, with pink tablecloths and napkins, and tasteful Thai decorations, much of which are elephants (which is fitting as Erawan is a mythological Elephant in Thailand). The restaurant is not quite a hole-in-the-wall, and lacks the tackiness of a chain restaurant. It is humble and prides itself on serving good food.

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Ocean Sushi

Categories: Asian, Casual, Eat-in, Take-away
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: April 23, 2014

On Oswego Rd in Liverpool, across from Kost Tire and katty-corner from the entrance to Bayberry is a tiny little plaza. There’s a Starbucks here, a FroYo shop and a custom embroidery place.  And in the middle of it all sits Ocean Sushi.

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The plaza is cute, like cute ’cause it’s small.  Ocean Sushi is small.  In a way it reminds me of the tiny bars & shops you find along the streets in Japan.  Okay, it’s a lot bigger on the inside than that, but by American standards it’s kinda small.  There’s half a dozen seats at the immaculately neat and clean sushi bar, and a series of tables for parties of various sizes.  I’ve been here as part of a romantic dinner for two, and as part of a raucous party of 8.  The tables have a crackly, beat-up finish, but I think that’s on purpose.  The rest of the place is as neat and clean as the bar area.

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appeThaizing

Categories: Asian, Casual, Eat-in, Take-away
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Published on: April 18, 2014

On top of University Hill, down a dark alley, wedged next to a bar, and down an unassuming flight of stairs, is appeThaizing. Although the location is not the easiest to get too, with limited parking and the threat of having to fight through mobs of college students to get there, appeThaizing does deliver tasty Thai food.

I have been to the restaurant on a handful of occasions, and am never disappointed, although some dishes overwhelmingly trump other ones. On my most recent visit, a friend and I decided to eat out on a Monday after our classes. We went there for dinner, around 6’oclock, walking down the alley, and then down the stairs that lead down to the restaurant. I am always surprised by how the restaurant fills up despite its humble sign outside, and rather peculiar location.

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China Road

Categories: Asian, Casual, Eat-in, Take-away
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Published on: April 11, 2014

A couple of our friends wanted to meet up for an early dinner one Sunday, so the hubby and I met them at China Road in Mattydale.  I’m not sure just how long this restaurant has been open, but a girlfriend took me there for lunch about 20 years ago.  I don’t go every week, but I’m there several times a year.

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China Road is a clean, neat, hole-in-the-wall.  If you’ve ever been to New York City’s China Town, and eaten at one of the better places on Mott Street, then you’ll really enjoy eating here.  Walk in and you’re greeted by Chef Simon or his wife.  The front room is tiny – eight tables, including one larger family style table, and the front one where they stage take-out orders.  On especially busy nights, they open the back dining room, which is larger and seats maybe twice as many as the front room.

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Canale’s Liverpool

Categories: Casual, Eat-in, Italian, Take-away
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Published on: April 4, 2014

Canale’s of Oswego, a restaurant going back over 50 years, opened a simple take-out place in Liverpool a few years back.  It’s on Rt 57, in the Glenn Crossing Plaza.  There are a few other ethnic restaurants here, so it seemed like a good choice.  The space was small, meant only for cooking, with a small waiting area for patrons who were picking up their food.

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Nope.  The patrons would have none of that!  These folks wanted to sit down and actually eat what they’d ordered on premises.  So Canale’s immediately obliged.  The place got so popular that they even build a little area in the warm months, where people can sit outside and be served.  True, the atmosphere out there can be a little. . . smoggy, but what the heck, you’re eating outside!

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Basil Leaf Ristorante

Categories: Casual, Eat-in, Italian
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Published on: April 2, 2014

Basil Leaf moved last year. It was this tiny hole-in-the-wall place in North Syracuse. Last fall, they moved down the road to the corner of Rt 11 and Taft Rd, into the old Fresno’s building. I was afraid it wasn’t going to be the same.

Basil Leaf used to be a very romantic place.  A grotto, if you will, where parties of two could talk in low tones, music in the background.  Sure, you’d get larger parties, but the small, intimate space and dark interior was custom made for dates.  The food and service were spectacular.  Attentive but not intrusive staff.  Delicious entrees seasoned just right.  Even the bread was delicious!

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Sparky Town

Categories: All American, Casual, Eat-in
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Published on: March 30, 2014

Despite living only a jump and a skip away from Sparky Town, I hadn’t had the pleasure of visiting the restaurant.

I had heard that it had good, down-to-earth food and that it was an extension of the “gay-bourhood”, which is basically the Hawley-Green area. So when some friends asked if I wanted to join them, I gladly agreed, and we headed there for an early dinner on a Tuesday afternoon.

We got a bit lost on the way there, as it is inconspicuously located on the corners of Burnet-Catherine, and we parked across the street as they had no parking lot, and hurried inside to avoid the cold.

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Santangelo’s in Liverpool

Categories: Casual, Eat-in, Fancy, Italian
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Published on: March 10, 2014

Santangelo’s has been around for over 25 years.  It’s on Old Liverpool Road, just past the stoplight at the end of Electronics Parkway.  Unless you’re new to CNY, or you simply don’t like Italian food, you’ve probably been to Santangelo’s.

The parking lot is large, but so is the interior.  Many nights I’ve seen cars parked on the grass, or in some other place the owner felt they could wedge in.  Reservations are accepted, and I encourage them, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.

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