Proprietor Nick Kotrides’s open-kitchen concept offers Empire Grill patrons a low-flying bird’s-eye view of chefs plating hand-cut 12-ounce steaks and Cajun shrimp alfredo. Modern light fixtures and floor-to-ceiling windows keep the two-story diner bright and welcoming, and semicircle booths surround a stocked bar. Flat-screen high-definition televisions and free WiFi let patrons tweet their most up-to-date thoughts on big games and sated stomachs inhibiting their ability to digest the importance of big games.
From its charming Bryant Street storefront, Trattoria Aroma serves up authentic boot-country fare using local and organic products whenever possible. Launch a decadent dining experience with an order of peppercorn-seared pork belly, served with a cracked egg, sweet-pea pesto, and shaved parmesan ($9), or opt for the crispy fried artichoke hearts over parsley pesto ($7). Gourmet pizzas ($12+) and house-made pastas, such as the lobster ravioli with fried leeks and brandy cream ($21), offer sophisticated twists on familiar flavors, while Trattoria Aroma's meaty fare perks up frownful Florentines. Poultry loyalists exchange regal high-fives over juicy bites of chicken saltimbocca, a fragrant sage- and prosciutto-enhanced dish with asparagus, roasted potatoes, and a white-wine-lemon sauce ($22). Vela osso bucco Milanese, with saffron-parmesan risotto and gremolata ($29), offers a marrowful meal for opulent meat-lovers and makes an ideal accompaniment for any of the fermented favorites off of Trattoria's award-winning wine list.
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.