For the fresh faces in Rochester: Hi, I’m Olivia, a junior, and your new life coach. Food is life, so I have taken the liberty of planning a food tour to start you on the right path. These establishments have been reviewed by CT Eats in the past and are some of my favorites.
Let’s begin with the most important meal of the day, serving it up Gary’s way: breakfast. I adore Blu Wolf Bistro. I recommend Blu Wolf’s chicken and waffles or one of their many bowls. Each bowl is comprised of different things all piled on top of each other. The first one that I remember ordering had macaroni and cheese, gravy, breakfast potatoes, and meat in a melting pot tasted better than it could ever sound.
If you visit Blu Wolf around lunch or dinner time, their burgers are to die for, and they make a fabulous garbage plate with macaroni and cheese if you want a Rochester garbage plate but don’t like pasta/potato salad (like me).
For lunch, the two places I frequent most are Osaka and Yummy Garden. Osaka offers an all-you-can-eat sushi experience where you pay a low entrance fee, they hand you a menu without prices, and you order until you can’t eat anymore. I have never left Osaka without stuffing myself beyond capacity, and I intend to keep it that way.
Yummy Garden serves up a variety of Asian food, delicious and dirt cheap — making it a great place for broke students. My recommendation is the bento box, a huge and cheap customizable plate. My favorite menu items (which you can get in the bento box) are the General Tso’s chicken, egg rolls, and the taro bun.
If you’re in search of a sweet mid-day snack, Pittsford Farms Dairy is your place. Their fresh pastries are splendid. I particularly recommend the lemon bar. Another favorite Rochesterian sweet treat is Coco Garden’s taro milkshake. Coco Garden, a Malaysian restaurant, is a great place to grab a full meal, but their bright purple taro milkshake needs its own shoutout for its unique earthy flavor and its creamy decadence.
If you’re not full yet, here are some dinner favorites. If your folks are in town for Orientation and you’re looking for a family dinner, I recommend both Lento and Amaya. Lento features classy farm-to-table cuisine. I strongly recommend the seafood dishes (namely the Jon Dory and the octopus salad) and any of the desserts. Amaya might be the best Indian food I’ve ever had, and my family said the same thing when I took them there. The best way to do Amaya is to go family-style: Order a plethora of dishes for everyone and share everything — don’t forget your garlic naan.
Whether you’re going with family or just friends, I have to mention the Old Toad, which offers classic British pub fare. When I reviewed the Old Toad for CT Eats, I sampled multiple traditional dishes — all were delicious — but the one item I urge you to order no matter what is the scotch egg.
And if you’re still not too full, complete your UR student rite of passage by grabbing a late-night meal at Jay’s Diner. The best way is to get either pancakes or a waffle sundae with a milkshake, but truthfully, Jay’s is a big mood, so if you’re feeling like getting lasagna or fried shrimp in the middle of the night, that’s valid.
There are some great options in Rochester to satisfy those with dietary restrictions — my favorite is Red Fern, a vegan establishment. From when I was vegan to now, Red Fern has been one of my most cherished restaurants. They also offer options — like gluten-free — for those with additional dietary restrictions. So, be you vegan or omnivorous, in search of brunch or lunch, really hungry or just sorta in the middle, Rochester’s got your back.