Beyond the elegant bistro's striped awning, chef Kevin O'Connell Jr.'s contemporary culinary creations titillate palates in the form of small plates and upscale entrees, featured by the Buffalo News. Dishes parade out from the kitchen bearing grilled veal loin with fried mozzarella or smoked-salmon pizza. Larger plates showcase grilled rib eye with cheddar and bacon and barbecued Hudson Valley duck breast, as patrons sip or spit-take handcrafted cocktails, wines, and craft beers. A hand-painted mural of the French countryside and paintings by local artist Claire Essley beam down upon the main dining room's sleek black chairs and white tabletops, and the bar's glass mosaics and pounded copper glimmer beneath a sundial dome. Red umbrellas speckle the outdoor patio, and a private room spaciously accommodates large parties. Further delighting guests, regular movie nights and special events offer up a welcome respite from the humdrum home-dining entertainment of the family dog playing the spoons again.
As pedestrians bustle past the eclectic restaurants and theater of the lively Chippewa District, the aroma of sizzling ground beef and freshly baked brioche rolls draws them toward Soho Burger Bar. Executive chef Ray Flor's kitchen is the source of these smells, where chefs whip up a variety of specialty burgers using specialty ground beef from the local Johnny's Meats and custom-made buns from Romeo's Bakery Cafe. They adorn patties of grilled ahi tuna, bison, and turkey with gourmet cheeses, sauces and garnishes, pairing burgers with appetizers of fish tacos or sides of truffle tater tots. Meanwhile, bartenders blend premium liquors into cocktails and decadent spiked milkshakes.
Reporters who lauded the restaurant's burgers in publications such as Buffalo Rising or Buffalo News were equally charmed by the interior decor, citing sultry lighting, an inventive chandelier made of liquor bottles, and walls covered in illuminated retro album covers. Cozy conversation nooks, bistro tables, couches, and translucent tortoiseshell patio chairs scatter the vibrant dining room, upstairs lounge, and outdoor patios of the versatile restaurant, which transforms into a quirky eatery during the day, a lively hot spot at night, and an enchanted yo-yo factory by early dawn.
Each morning at 7 a.m., Justin Brandon and his mother, Joan, open the doors of Bertha's Diner—the cozy North Buffalo restaurant they took over from former owners Ken and Liz Kerr. The spot "oozes with charm and delicious food," according to one Buffalo News writer, who savored breakfast items including fresh blueberry banana bread, pancakes that were "cooked to perfection," and "heavenly hash, obviously made in the kitchen from real corned beef." When lunchtime rolls around, the kitchen crafts delicious eats such as tuna melts and meatloaf sandwiches smothered in gravy. Images of Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, and other 1950s icons decorate the walls alongside a giant 45 rpm record. Bertha's Diner is open until 3 p.m. except for Friday, when they are open until 8 p.m. for fish fries. They open at 8 a.m. on Sundays.
Steeped in the knowledge of old-world family recipes, Orazio's Italian Crepes and Gelato prepares traditional Italian treats with a modern twist. Try a savory Mediterranean crepe with baby spinach, olives, feta, and grape tomatoes, or satisfy sweet cravings with a dessert crepe stuffed with Nutella and fresh fruit. Gelato?in flavors such as strawberry, roasted pistachio, and coffee?pairs well with an espresso or cappuccino, creating the perfect snack to lull away the afternoon.
Amaretto Bistro produces a menu of Italian-centric dishes that feature rich and simple ingredients. Housemade venison link sausage and mussels seasoned with white wine and butter serve as preludes to Amaretto's entrees, which include fresh pastas, seafood, and steak such as the bone-in rib eye with radish-chive compound butter. For lighter fare, the kitchen churns out goat-cheese salad tossed with green-apple and raspberry-chianti vinaigrette.
Walking across the red-and-gold carpeted floors at Salvatore’s Restaurant, a quick view explains why the fine dining spot was first known for its over-the-top decor. Chandeliers, racks of fine wines, heavy red drapes, and white linens splash across the various rooms. Even the ceiling appears to twinkle. And guests sitting at the patio don’t miss out on the decor, either: white linens paired with high-backed black chairs make the patio feel more elegant than most formal dining rooms.
The menu is equal parts decadence and comfort. Steaks are aged 36 days then rubbed with sea salt, black pepper, and fresh rosemary, and broiled to order. Then, homemade steak butter tops it off, plus grilled asparagus drizzled with balsamic and orzo. Italian specialties and seafood also abound on the menu, from prosciutto tortellini and lobster ravioli to sea bass and yellowfin tuna. And if you’re concerned about drink pairings, brace yourself: the wine list is 17 pages long.